About Me

My photo
El Paso, Texas, United States
I photograph what inspires me. This could be just about anything as I am a person of many interests and look for the beauty in everything that I see and one of the first thoughts is how I can photograph a subect to portray it how I see it. This could be rendered as HDR, traditional portrait, or even using photoshop techniques.

February 1, 2012

Personal View on Working with Models

     There are several options to choose from for amateur and professional photographers alike when finding models to work with on photo shoot projects.  In my personal opinion, Model Mayhem has been a fairly good site in order to find these models.  You can find a wide range of models, ones with little to no experience that are trying to get their foot in the door and ones that are experienced and knows how to work with the photographer.

     I will not claim that I am all knowing about model photography but I have seen some good points and bad points when working with models.  First thing that I do when looking for a model is to know what type of photo shoot that I want to do, the concept, what type of clothing I would like for the model to wear, how their hair should be, etc.  Then I will contact the model and ask them if they would be interested in working with me on a photo shoot project that I have coming up.  I always try to give the model at least a week prior to the photo shoot.  I will also research each model that I am considering prior to sending them a message.  I try to find models that will fit the look of what I am trying to go for and not just choose any model that will work with me.  Below are some recommendations for Do's and Don'ts when looking for models.
  • Do look for a model that compliments the photo shoot project
  • Do look at each model's portfolio to get a feel of their experience
  • Do ask the model what type of compensation they are looking for (TFCD/TFP, Paid)
  • Do be upfront about your project concept so they can get an idea of what to expect
  • Do let them know the location, directions if needed, time they would be expected, and your contact info so that they can call if they maybe running late or have trouble finding the location

  • Don't choose a model that asks to be paid and also a CD of all images taken, in my opinion this is a concept of double dipping, asking to be paid is one thing or asking for TFCD is another, there is no consideration of your time by the models even though it takes you much more time to photograph the model and process the images where the model only has to model for the photo shoot
  • Don't be afraid to work with models that are wanting to break into the industry, of course this will come with a learning curve for you as the model will look to you for guidance of what to do, how to stand, what to do with their hands, and so on (This will require some research on your part of how to do posing and what to look for)
  • Don't forget to have a model release for the model to sign either before or after the photo shoot
     As a photographer, the main point that I have come to is to not let the model dictate how the photo shoot is to go and/or who gets paid for the photo shoot.  A photographer can still make a living without having to photograph models, but a model cannot make a living without a photographer to take pictures of them.  So don't be afraid to stand your ground and make sure that each model understands what guidelines you will go by.  There is much more that I would like to write about this and it may be another post on another day to come.  As always keep practicing and in the words of Henri Cartier-Bresson, "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst."

December 14, 2011

How Time Flies

I can't believe that this year is almost over.  I have met wonderful new people and taken so many great photos throughout this year.  I think what has been the most fun for me (besides photography) is the meeting of the new people.  I do not look at these individuals as clients where I am there to do a job for them.  I like to get to know them, what are their likes and dislikes, so as to complement their style into the photos.  This, at least for me, makes for a better photograph.

This coming Saturday I am conducting a photo shoot for some local models.  This is a free for all where I can get models and other photographers to meet each other then go out and take some pics.  I know what I am capable of doing when it comes to photographer, but for me it is so much more enjoyable to help other photographers learn about different styles.  It is also a good way to network these individuals.  They say that the best advertisement is by word of mouth.  So I need to be on my "A" game with these upcoming photographers and models so they know that I can help them.

I have added a photo below to show one of my recent photo shoots.  It is of the daughter and her mom after seeing this photo is asking me to take her High School Senior Photos this coming year.  Until next time, keep on practicing.

December 6, 2011

To Know or Not To Know

I have done a couple of maternity photo shoots in the past and recently I was given the pleasure to do another one which was by far one of my best maternity photo shoots to date.  I don't want to offend anyone out there, but I have found that there are a lot of females that are timid around a male photographer and prefer a female photographer for these types of photo shoots.

These photos are of Jose and Christina, which were very easy to work with as well as to become very comfortable around.  What did I mean by the title of this post, "To Know or Not To Know" is what I am getting to explain now.  After I had taken these photos, Christina found me on Facebook and liked my page without me asking and said that was extremely pleased with the photos and looked forward to working with me in the future once their baby was born.  I do not like to pry into others lives when I am working with them.  Come to find out that Christina is actually Christina Zapata Cuervo and is one of the main reporters for Univision 26 in El Paso.

Now comes the question.  Do you think as a photographer that you would have treated the situation differently if you knew ahead of time that one of your clients was a public figure or celebrity?  I looked back at this situation and do not think that I would have.  I prefer not to know so as to ensure that I am concentrating on the photography and not about the person.  This is my take on it.  Until next time, keep on practicing.


November 29, 2011

Why use an External Flash (Part 2)

I wanted to provide some additional information and example from my previous post.  Using an external flash has its pros and cons as with just about every other piece of equipment used in photography.  Another added benefit is that using an external flash during sunsets can allow you to capture the deeply saturated colors of the sky while capturing your subject at the same time.  Also by using the external flash, your shutter speed can be kept above 1/125 which will help keep the primary focal point (your subject) from being blurred and keeps it sharp.

I had the opportunity recently to have the lovely subject Kelly (above) that wanted to have some college graduation photos done and wanted some of them to be with the sunset.  Anyone that has been in El Paso knows that having a sky with any clouds is an unusual event and we were actually lucky enough to have had just a few.  I would have liked to have had more clouds so as to bring out more color, but in hindsight this was actually just the right amount so as to not distract attention away from the subject.

For photographers, understanding light is one, if not the most important aspect in photography to learn and understand.  It is not just knowing how to capture the light coming from the sun during the day, but it is also every aspect of lighting to include using an external flash.  I could have even gone further with the photo and used the external flash on a tripod just to the right of where I was standing, but with time of the essence while taking the photo which was only about five minutes total, I did not want to take that precious time away from the subject.  You have to know when to compromise and when not to.

I hope that I have given you something to think about when using an external flash and hope that you realize that you must be diverse enough to use all available resources in order to achieve the desired results for your clients.

As an additional note, after the client seen the final photo ordered many more prints for family members and friends which allowed me to gain a good profit from the photo session.  If you learn, you will eventually profit from your experience whether expecting to or not.  Until the next time, keep on practicing.


November 17, 2011

Why use an External Flash

There are "Photographers" and "Fauxtographers" everywhere you go.  One of the areas that separate them is knowing when and how to use an external flash when shooting.  This is not saying that if you do not use a flash that you are not a photographer and I do not want to start contraversy with others in my statement.  But there are certain instances that when using a flash will greatly improve your image and provide the right lighting in order to flatter your subject.

I am extremely opposed to using the built in flash that comes standard with cameras, but have been known to use it as a last choice when my external flash is not working.  I currently use a 430EX external flash when I need it and contrary to popular belief, a flash is not only for shooting inside or when it is dark outside.  As you can see in the above photo, it is toward the middle part of the day around 10:30-11:00am and I still used my flash.  The reason I use the flash was to provide enough fill light on the subject since the sun is behind the left side of the tree and would have had a great amount of shadows fall on the subject.  By doing this, I give just enough power to the flash (current photo was diffused lighting at 1/4 power) giving the appropriate lighting to the subject, at the same time able to use a fast enough shutter speed to not have a completely washed out sky and able to even pull in some of the blues from the sky in the image.

This is not the easiest thing in the world to learn and takes a lot of practice in order to estimate the amount of light needed in different scenarios.  I am not perfect in this aspect either and this set-up even took me about 2-3 tries to adjust the power and shutter speed to get the look I was after.

I hope that this has helped you understand some situations that you could use a flash and why it is needed.  It has been awhile since my last post and was actually determining if I would continue this blog or not due to being extremely busying with work.  The main reason I am starting to write this blog again is that I really have a passion to teach others from my own experiences and to help those that are starting out in photography.

Last note that I will mention is that the one reason I do not use the built in flash on cameras is that the maximum effective distance for the flash is around six feet and even when it is used it can cause your subject to look flat by having no shadows.  I recommend that everyone should have an external flash that has the ability to adjust the power level.  Good shooting everybody and hopefully I will be able to write again soon.