Film Is Not Dead

As I alluded to in a previous article, my mother found and gifted me the 1985 Minolta Maxxum 7000 35mm film camera.

She needed some cleaning and restoration, especially from corroded battery acid but she is up and running. I cannot wait to test her out and then re-learn the art of film photography.

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Photography’s Future

The 2019 iPhone 11 Pro

I’ve written about mobile photography previously and I wanted to add to my thoughts now that the tools have changed significantly.

I will not go into the full specifications of the device but rather the benefits.

Yes, the cost of the new iPhone Pro is $1,000 and yes, it could be a deterrent for some but honestly, we as photographer’s spend the same money if not more on a new body or a new lens. When was the last time your new prime lens could make a phone call?

What camera do you own has the capability to capture, edit and share your images all in one except for your mobile device?

I was honestly content with my current xR and was thinking of upgrading my mobile photography with external lenses such as a telephoto, fisheye and wide angle. I could have spent hundreds of dollars for these.

Instead, Apple has included three fully synchronized lenses built in. A 12MP wide angle lens, another 12MP Ultra Wide and a 12MP telephoto lens. Combined, all of these will fit my portrait photography needs. Combined with all these lenses, I’ll be able to shoot 4k quality videos as well.

I am looking forward to lightening my camera kit and taking images with one device. We’re not quite there yet, almost. But photography’s future is looking better and better.

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How To Become a Creative Photographer

You ‘should’ be doing _____

Photographers are creatives at heart and usually find their own style of photography and their own workflow. But too many of us want do it the easy way and find those shortcuts to the instant online credibility that we crave. When watching YouTube tutorials or other methods shared online by people selling these tutorials, photographers want to duplicate almost exactly the same look.

But when this happens then you’ll notice their photos pretty much look like everyone else’s. There is no uniqueness or even creativity. BORING!

It is perfectly fine to study how other’s are doing their craft but there way may not be perfect or fit for you and your creative views.

Learn the tech and the specs of your camera. Follow those rules and master them. Then and only then do you realize that they are simply guidelines that can be experimented and played with.

Following the rules will get you almost perfect, sharp, beautifully exposed images, sure. And then find your own style by bending those rules.

Every image you snap will be different. If you capture the same scene every day there will be changes. The weather and the light will be different. So take what you learned and apply it to these changing situations. You can’t get this from a tutorial.

Apply your own creativity and skill for the results you want and not to please others.

Shoot how it ‘feels’ instead of what it ‘looks’ like

Only your feelings and emotions will allow your unique perspective to come through. Add your feelings to these photos. Who else can see the world as you do? No one.

You want your images to convey feeling and to provoke emotion. These are the most compelling.

Learn Your Camera and shoot constantly

Like every thing learned, it will take time and practice. The more you go and shoot, the faster you acquire desired skills.

Shooting in automatic mode? Try manual instead.

Using your camera’s built in flash? Learn to master exposures instead.

Once you’ve acquired the skills you need, you’ll be able to create and express yourself faster

And pretty soon, you’ll be a creative photographer.

We are created to become creative. Try not to rely on other’s creativity. Make your images brilliant and unique.

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What’s Next?

I’ve been exceptionally busy this past summer communicating with photographers, connecting with clients, working those portrait sessions and preparing for an art gallery showing at my favorite art bar. At times I was far behind in delivering promised images. This was all self-inflicted and have no one else to blame but myself.

But I feel the results have been satisfying and I am grateful. What’s next?

Archive Organization

Before I can begin to think bigger I must get organized. I struggle with managing my archives. I recently acquired a 10TB EHD and I’m actually looking forward getting a fresh start knowing where everything is and can be recalled easily.

Developing Photographs

Thanks to the art show, I have a renewed desire to print more of my work. It is simply a joy to see your image turn into a photograph. In addition to the website, I want to start and build a portfolio as well.

While I’m discussing prints I want to find a photo print exchange with other photographer or print enthusiasts. This will challenge me to be more deliberate in my sessions and choosing what to print and on a schedule.

Book Club

I may even publish photograph books and magazines for. In both print and digital. Educating myself on how to publish will be a welcome challenge as well as delivering frequent content to digital subscribers (email newsletters?)

Digital Publishing

I will continue of course to maintain this platform. Obviously it is the easiest way to communicate what is going on here in the studio. But I do need to be more deliberate in sharing my experiences and thoughts here.

Adobe Lightroom Presets

Something that has been on my mind for a long time is developing my own film filters to use Lightroom. I think I can even publish them for others to use as well.

Film Is Not Dead

My mother recently acquired and gifted me a gorgeous Minolta 35mm camera that needs some restoring love before using. I’m eager for this to happen as soon as possible. In addition to that, I came across a Canon 35mm to play with as well. If time permits, I may even hop back into one of the darkrooms in town and play with some chemicals to get my images developed.

Keep Shooting And Have Fun!

Of course in the immediate, I’ll be shooting more portrait sessions but at a slower pace of course. On tap is another loft shoot with four models instead of five this time.

There are a brilliant mixture of immediate, short term and lofty projects to chip away at and I cannot wait to begin.

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What To Wear: Boudoir

A lot of people about to pose for a boudoir session have the same question and that is: “What do I wear?”

After years of photographing people in this type of setting, let’s see if we can offer some peace of mind. Most photographers such as myself love to coordinate almost everything. The backdrop/setting, the model’s hair color, eye color, skin, wardrobe choices, etc. Ideally the client will send images of the wardrobe prior to sitting. For the ladies:

Casual Wear
If you are concerned about what to wear to this session than let’s start casual. Real casual. A tee shirt or over-sized sweater over underwear is simple and can produce amazing results.

Underwear:
A bra and panty is always a good choice. To keep a consistent look, try to have them match! Or be playful and mix and match. I’d suggest if you want to do that then it’s best reserved for outdoor shoots. Either way it’s fun.

Speaking of fun, try a sexy twist and wear something that your partner does. One of their tees or button downs for example.

Accessories:
Jewelry, glasses, bags, hair accessories can all enhance your session. Viewers’ eyes are drawn to everything so why not enhance this with a personal touch?

Lingerie:
If you want that sultry, sexy look then lingerie will always be ideal. Garters, slips, teddies, stockings are all sexy, intimate choices.

And for the men?
Again, simplicity is best.
Start with a simple tee, or tank top.
Jeans, then a mix up of either briefs, boxers or boxer briefs.
After that? Time to get creative.

The most important thing to wear is your confidence and personality. This is you at your sexiest.

Look vs Feel

My photography aesthetic lately as mentioned previously has been monochrome. Dark, gritty, mysterious. And this is what I want to capture.

Anyone can shoot what a scene looks like. But me? I want to capture what it *feels* like. I want these feelings to provoke a response.

Provocative photography.

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Embracing Monochrome

So you’ve noticed by now that this website is almost entirely monochrome, or devoid of colors. Black and white photography is my ideal artistic approach. I can appreciate all of the colors of course but for me, B&W is best.

B&W is simpler and minimal. In a chaotic, distracting world I choose simple. Simple is better.

Monochrome photography can be more of a challenge because sometimes you have no idea what the results will be. You know what your subject looks like in real life. You can visualize all the colors around you, and there is no mystery or fun there. But with black and white, there is that mystery and that is what keeps me going. To find that perfect blend of light and shadows to reveal your subject in newer, creative ways.

I love the monochrome setting on my camera and will sometimes shoot strictly in that mode just for the hell of it. I shoot in RAW because all of the color data is still imprinted on that image file and I can always convert to color in post processing if desired.

Try using your black and white mode or convert later, you’ll see the world literally in a different light.

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Mobile Photography


A mobile phone can be one of your most important pieces of gear in your photography kit for multiple reasons. Not only can you produce amazing images with the advanced camera quality and intelligent software, you can work on your post-processing and also publish to your desired platform. Hopefully not just social media but your own website!

The hardware and software that these devices have really advances mobile photography into a legitimate medium. At this time they are not ready to replace manual digital cameras but they are trying. With lens adapters added on to these devices there are very few limitations.

Speaking of limitations, I’ve been using apps that mimic vintage film cameras and treatments. Some will mimic a film camera to the point where you have to wait to see the images for a day, just like we had to do when we had our film rolls developed.

Mobile photography is readily available and can be more fun that traditional cameras and I don’t hesitate a moment to use it on a photo shoot when desired.

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Hotel Photography Tips

White hotel bedding is magic

Photographing inside a hotel room has all manners of convenience and risks. I treat the room just like I would a studio rental, politely. I am there to use their space with and no shenanigans or fuckery. This isn’t spring break, and you aren’t a rock star with a massive budget to replace a damaged room, this is a work assignment.

Try not to bring negative attention to yourself such as breaking things. Only recently have I had my first hotel room damage. I made the mistake of sitting on a table with three legs and down I went to the floor. Thankfully a little wood glue goes a long way!

Don’t try to alter the scene with smoke or too many candles. That sets off fire alarms and sprinklers and of course, brings negative attention. Remember too, that courtesy goes a long way to avoid said attention.

Clean rooms, modern furniture, neutral tones and hopefully a decent view can really make your session stand out. Don’t limit yourself to just the room though. Hopefully your room will have a balcony to make use of. Pool areas, decorative halls, lobbies and more can be discovered if you are able to scout ahead of time.

Another benefit to using the room as a multi-hour studio rental? If you’ve reserved the room then it is yours to enjoy for the rest of the evening. I can’t tell you how beneficial it is to treat yourself to a little staycation. Think of it as a reward for all the hard work you’ve just put in.

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