As a photographer in Portland Oregon I am always Scouting locations for future photo shoots. If you glanced at my google maps you'd see countless pins scattered all over the united states. Location Scouting is very time consuming, there's a reason why it's a career all on it's own but I really enjoy doing it so today I'm going to share with you what I found. Whether you are a film maker or photographer like me looking for locations or just obsessed with castles, there is something on this list for everyone. Check out these 33 beautiful Castles in the united states you have to visit before it's too late.
In this article you will find 33 absolutely stunning locations to photograph or explore. Although each location could be considered a castle technically some of them are Villas, Estates, Manors, Universities, Mansions, Palaces, or Chateaus. I have organized each location alphabetically by state starting with California. I promise you will find some castles on this list that you didn't know existed and I hope that excites you as much as it does me. The United States of America is a country full of beautiful castles to visit. From the East Coast to the West Coast, there are many castles that are worth visiting. These castles are not just historical landmarks but they also offer some of the most breathtaking photography in America.
Must see Castles in California
1. Castello di Amorosa - Calistoga
The only authentic medieval (13th-century) Italian Tuscan castle and winery built in America, Castello di Amorosa, officially lowered its drawbridge for business in April 2007. Castello di Amorosa is nestled in the western hills on 171 acres just minutes south of The Napa Valley town of Calistoga. I have personally had the pleasure of enjoying wine here with my family in 2018 and it was even more impressive in person. This castle features 136,000 square feet, including 107 rooms (90 of which are devoted to winemaking and wine storage); an enormous Great Hall with 2-story replica Tuscan frescoes painted by Italian artists and a 500-year old fireplace; 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled stones; 8 levels (4 above ground and 4 below); a drawbridge, dungeon and torture chamber; medieval church; and arguably the single most impressive wine barrel room in the U.S., with ancient Roman cross-vaulted ceilings.
2. Castle in the Forest - Skyforest
Nestled in a deep canyon nearby serene Lake Arrowhead – you will find Southern California’s secret gem: The Castle In the Forest. Surrounded by towering pine and dogwood trees, this secluded 10,000 square foot chateau provides an unforgettable intimate setting for your stay or photo shoot. This castle is full of endless unique custom features.
From the moment you descend its driveway – you and your guests will be enveloped in this magnificent private estate. Once inside the castle, you will marvel at its cathedral ceilings, glittering chandeliers, fireplaces, floor to ceiling windows (with forest views) and custom-made, gothic architectural features.
Situated on multiple levels (Including a tower wing)· the Castle has several dozen rooms, including seven luxurious suites, an acoustically perfect great room with balcony, custom kitchen, a formal dining room and several salons – plus multiple themed rooms: study, game room, and even a Bavarian-style pub with a sunken bar. Finally, multiple lower and upper terraces complete this spectacular edifice.
3. Hearst Castle - San Simeon
Hearst Castle, which closed during COVID, then stayed closed after storm waters forced major road repairs, will reopen May 11 with slightly lowered admission prices. This boujee castle was built in 1919 and boasts a magnificent 115-room main house plus guesthouses, pools, and 8 acres of cultivated gardens. The main house itself, "La Casa Grande," is a grand setting for some of Hearst's art collection.
Tip: Photography is encouraged but flash photography is not allowed inside the buildings. Tripods are not permitted on the hilltop, but monopods are allowed. Please see more on Hearst Castle On-Site Photography I should note Commercial photography is not normally permitted (e.g., fashion, T.V. commercials and stock photography) however you should visit Museum Guidelines for Film Crews for more information.
4. Pirate Tower - Laguna Beach
Pirate Tower was built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase to the beach for William E. Brown and unlike many castles on this list it's free to visit and open to the public for photos at no charge. But be ready for a walk over rocks and keep up to date on tides. Safety first!
5. Vikingsholm - Lake Tahoe
You may not know this but Located in Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe, there sits a magical "castle" that looks like something straight out of a Disney movie. Vikingsholm is a unique blend of nature's spectacular beauty and man's architectural ingenuity. Although the smallest castle on our list it is one of the most stunning but there's a catch, it can only be accessed by foot or boat.
Must see Castles in Colorado
6. Bishop Castle - Rye
This has to be the quirkiest castle on our list by far. For nearly 60 years, Jim Bishop has been constructing one of the most impressive monuments to perseverance in Colorado. Bishop Castle features three full stories of interior rooms complete with a Grand Ballroom, soaring towers and bridges with vistas of a hundred miles, and a Fire-Breathing Dragon! I've never been but Bishop Castle seems like an unforgettable experience! The best part, visitors are always welcome free of charge, and much like 711 the castle may not always be doing business but it's always open.
Must see Castles in DC
7. Smithsonian Castle - Washington
How do you sum up the Smithsonian? It is 19 museums, ranging across everything from the National Zoo to the Air and Space Museum, from the Natural History Museum to the American History Museum. There was a time though, when it was just one building - the Smithsonian Castle. Built in 1849 this beautiful castle will inspire anyone who has a love for Gothic Revival architecture, Romanesque Revival architecture, Victorian architecture, or Norman architecture.
Must see Castles in Idaho
8. Schweitzer Castle - Sandpoint
Located less than 5 minutes away from Schweitzer mountain resort, Schweitzer Castle’s Château de Melusine is the best place for you and your family to stay and enjoy a unique experience. They are a close distance away from Schweitzer mountain resort which allows you all the amenities of staying at the hotel while remaining independent in the best place to stay in Northern Idaho. Whether you need a stunning castle for your next photoshoot in Idaho, summer time lake adventure or winter time fun on the slopes don’t miss out on the best stay of your life! This place looks magical, I just added it to my photography bucket list.
Must see Castles in Massachusetts
9. Hammond Castle - Gloucester
Hammond Castle is a Sprawling medieval-style complex built in the 1920s by inventor John Hays Hammond & open for tours. Professional photoshoots require approval from the Museum and requests must be submitted no later than one month before your desired date. The rental fee is $350 per hour before 5 pm, and $450 per hour after 5 pm. The fee grants you access to both the interior and exterior of the Museum. Photography dates and times must be approved by the museum before your arrival.
Nestled on Gloucester’s rocky Atlantic coast, the Hammond Castle Museum is the perfect setting for your photoshoot, wedding, or other memorable event. Full Wedding Rental Structure is as follows:
The rental fee includes 20-minute educational tours for your guests, specific pieces of furniture and décor for your use, and separate rooms for the Bride and Groom throughout the event.
The Bridal party is welcome to arrive at our Seasonal closing time (4:00 pm) for Pre-Ceremony photographs.
A one and a half-hour set up and a half-hour break down is provided free of charge to your vendors and a half-hour ceremony rehearsal is offered if the wedding takes place on-site.
A $1,500.00 deposit is required to secure your desired date. Deposits are non-refundable but are transferrable to another date and are deducted from the total rental cost. Full payment is due one month prior to your event. Payment plans are available. Online payments can be made here.
Must see Castles in Michigan
10. Meadow Brook Hall - Rochester
Visitors of Meadow Brook Hall are invited to learn more about the estate and the people who lived and worked here in the twentieth century through our two guided tours:
Must see Castles in New Hampshire
11. Castle in the Clouds - Moultonborough
Castle in the Clouds is a Mountaintop estate with a 1913 mansion on 5,500 acres with lake views, hiking & a restaurant. A popular destination for wedding photography in New Hampshire.
12. Searles Castle - Windham
Searles Castle is an authentic English Tudor castle nestled on a 175-acre estate. Specializing in full-service, elegant, tented weddings within their gated, granite-walled courtyard, they host only one wedding per day. They are located only 30 minutes north of Boston. Corporate and other social events are accommodated. Photography here is welcome but at a price.
Must see Castles in New York
13. Bannerman Castle - Beacon
50 miles north of New York City sits a run down castle on an island, it's known as Bannerman Castle. While the island looks “abandoned” it's owned by a Trust that gives tours of the castle from May through October. Tours leave from either Newburgh or Beacon and are $37.50 for adults and $32.50 for children. You can also visit Bannerman on a variety of kayak tours and through a special Metro North package leaving from Grand Central. Beyond tour opportunities, the Trust also hosts movie nights, lectures, special dinners and theatrical performances in the shadows of the castle and of course photos are encouraged making it a great location for abandoned photography.
14. Belvedere Castle - New York
One of the most iconic features in Central Park, this miniature castle built in 1872 is located atop the huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock, the second highest natural point in Central Park and has become a hot spot for photographs by travelers and photographers.
15. Boldt Castle - Alexandria Bay
The magnificent Boldt Castle & Boldt Yacht House features six stories, 120-rooms, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge and a dovecote. This castle has been on my places to visit in New York list for years.
16. Lyndhurst Mansion - Tarrytown
Lyndhurst Castle is a 19th-century Gothic Revival mansion set on a 67-acre estate with self-guided audio tours available and of course photography welcome. Lyndhurst also welcomes film, television, fashion, and editorial photography and has a long and successful history of working with productions of all sizes on the 67-acre property. Film and Television Location Managers can schedule appointments in advance or drop in when in the area to see our landscaped grounds and 15 historic buildings. Lyndhurst has many different aesthetics, both outside and in, and multiple support spaces suitable for your project.
17. Singer Castle - Chippewa Bay
The stunning Singer Castle is a century-old, 28-room castle with guided tours exploring its artifacts & secret passageways. It includes a five-story clock tower, four-story boat house, heated squash court, pergola and rose garden, as well as hidden passageways into almost every room and outbuilding. Located on a seven-acre island in the St. Lawrence River. It's the perfect setting for wedding photography or editorial photography. One bedroom suites are available for visitors to stay overnight.
Must see Castles in North Carolina
18. Biltmore Estate - Asheville
Elegance and grandeur abound at Biltmore, America’s largest home since 1895. This French Renaissance castle in the heart of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains is an architectural jewel. This castle boasts 250 rooms, 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces.
In addition to the house, the 8,000-acre estate is home to forested trails and beautiful gardens, which include one of the country’s most complete collections of azaleas. Biltmore is also where you’ll find the nation’s most-visited winery. As you explore the estate, enjoy shopping, dining and luxury accommodations.
Must see Castles in Ohio
19. Loveland Castle - Loveland
Château Laroche, also known as the Loveland Castle, is a museum on the banks of the Little Miami River north of Loveland, Ohio. This stunning European style castle was built in the 1920s.
20. Squire's Castle - Willoughby Hills
This beautiful old castle from the 1890s is modeled after German and English baronial castles and is a unique feature of North Chagrin that is a popular destination for people of all ages. Squire’s Castle should be on every photographers “must photograph” list for North Chagrin Reservation. The open expanses in front of the castle are great for games, photography, and picnics, and the castle itself is a popular spot for wedding and engagement photography or an opportunity to explore the past.
Must see Castles & Villas in Oregon
21. Del Mar Villa - Dundee
My home away from home, Del Mar Villa, a 26,000+ sq ft luxury ‘Italian Chateau inspired’ Villa on 46 acres in the heart of Oregon Wine County (less than 1 hour southwest of Portland, Oregon). Sprawling out behind hundreds of acres of hazelnut and blueberry groves, Del Mar Villa encompasses acres of impeccably maintained lawn, patio areas, sports courts, walking paths, an arbor, and much more.
Perched above the Willamette River, the Villa features 11 bedrooms (8 luxury suites and a 3-bedroom family suite), 10+ bathrooms, private and gathering spaces, ballroom, chefs’ kitchen, 3 kitchenettes, pool table with entertainment area, 3+ dining spaces and endless outdoor spaces! Del Mar Villa is available for Vacation Rental stays year-round, and on occasion, Bed & Breakfast stays. Del Mar rents out their space for all kinds of photography and I have personally hosted many photo shoot here from Portraits to fashion to boudoir to head shots. I can't recommend them enough.
22. Villa Catalana Cellars - Oregon City
Okay so, much like Del Mar Villa, technically Villa Catalana Cellars is clearly not a "Castle" but I'm putting it on the list because it's the closest thing we have to one in Oregon. Plus they have amazing wine and I want to support one of my favorite local vineyards. It's actually the only winery where I'm a wine club member. I go here all the time and I have to say it's my happy place. I can't think of a better place for some wine and photography.
23. Witch's Castle - Portland
The Stone House, also known as the Macleay Park Shelter also known as the Witch's Castle or Witches Castle was built in 1929 as a storage room and it's rumored to be one of the most haunted places in Oregon. It also happens to be one of the most popular locations in Portland for photo shoots. Just keep in mind it's a slightly difficult, half-mile hike from the Upper Macleay Parking lot near the Portland Audubon Society.
Must see Castles in Pennsylvania
24. Fonthill Castle - Doylestown
Built in 1908, Fonthill Castle serves as an early example of reinforced concrete and features forty-four rooms, over two hundred windows, and eighteen fireplaces. Fonthill Castle’s interior features Mercer’s renowned, hand crafted ceramic tiles designed at the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. This location looks like a photographers dream, I'd love to photograph this castle someday. Looks like a beautiful place for photography in Pennsylvania.
25. Glencairn Castle - Bryn Athyn
Glencairn Castle is a Museum of Eastern & Western religious history housed in a medieval-style castle, with daily tours.
26. Grey Towers Castle - Glenside
Grey Towers Castle, located on Arcadia University’s idyllic campus just outside Philadelphia, Pa., is an elegant and luxurious wedding venue where guests feel like royalty on their special day. Making it the perfect location for Wedding Photography, Engagement Photography, portraits, headshots, or fashion photography.
Must see Castles in Texas
27. Falkenstein Castle - Burnet
No event is too big, or too small for the grounds of the epic Falkenstein Castle. Look no further if you'd like to insure that your wedding or event is the true fairytale you have always dreamt of. Falkenstein Castle is also available for short term rental via AirBNB. The Castle and grounds can be yours for a couple days, a week, or even a month! It's the perfect place to host a photography retreat.
28. Newman’s Castle - Bellville
I have to admit Texas is the last place I'd expect to find a castle but here we are. Experience the old world charm of Newman’s Castle, a one-of-a-kind custom creation hidden just outside of Bellville in the rolling countryside. The castle features a moat (watch out for gators!), a massive working 3,000 lb. drawbridge with an accompanying portcullis, a chapel, five round corner turrets, a courtyard, and a central keep with a dramatic view of the surrounding lands, perfect for Texas photography.
Newman’s Castle is available for day tours 6 days a week and special events and photography. Reservations are required. The castle hosts weddings, wine tastings, birthday parties, and any other special occasion so Texas photographers, add this to your tool kit.
Must see Castles in Utah
29. Wadley Farms - Lindon
Nestled in the middle of Lindon Utah sits a beautiful Castle and family farm named Wadley Farms, which has been around and farming for more than 150 years. They take pride in caring for the land and sharing their fresh produce with their visitors and community. Go to their History Page to learn about the history of Wadley Farms.
Must see Castles in Virginia
30. Virginia House - Richmond
Virginia House, a romantic English Tudor manor house, was relocated to Richmond's Windsor Farms neighborhood in 1925. Nestled on a hillside overlooking the James River and surrounded by nearly eight acres of grounds and gardens designed by Charles Freeman Gillette, it is the perfect backdrop for portrait photography, wedding photography, engagement photos, headshots, fashion photography, retreats, dinners, ceremonies, receptions, and so much more. I'm super jealous of Virginia photographers right now.
Must see Castles in Washington
31. Graystone Castle - Arlington
Graystone Castle is a luxury Castle completed in 2018 with all the amenities you want in a modern castle; just 1 hour from Seattle or the Canadian border. Located in a private gated neighborhood, Graystone Castle sits on 5+ mature acres of lawn, overlooking the Stillaguamish River and the Stilly Valley. This epic 20,000+ sq ft castle features 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, movie theater, spa inspired master bath, ballroom, chefs’ kitchen, pool table room, poker room, 4+ dining spaces, 4+ living/lounging rooms, many terraces and outdoor spaces, life-sized chess, arcade games, outdoor fire pit, and MUCH MORE!
Graystone castle offers the perfect blend of gathering places and private spaces for groups of all sizes! If you're a photographer in Washington you have to check this place out for portraits, editorial, or fashion photography! Book with confidence; this property is managed to a high standard.
32. Thornewood Castle - Lakewood
Set in a 500-year-old Tudor Gothic-style Thornewood Castle sits on 3 lakefront acres. This upscale B&B is 4.6 miles from McChord Air Force Base and 11.9 miles from Tacoma. As one of the few genuine private castles in the United States, Thornewood is not only a world-class historic site – it's also their home, a magnificent location for Seattle/Tacoma weddings and receptions, and the most romantic getaway in Washington State. Weddings at the Castle are breathtaking. With both outdoor and indoor venue options, stunning scenery, and gorgeous architecture this is the perfect place for photos, plus on-site staff to assist you. Washington photographers, you must add this location to your tool kit.
33. Sleeping Beauty Castle - Orlando, FL
Okay this one was just a bonus because I love Disney World and technically it is a castle :)
You made it to the end, but your journey has only just begun.
There you have it my friends! You made it to the end. But your adventures are just about to begin. Save this list and hit up as many castles in the US as you can. How many have you been to on this list? Have any to add? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Connect with me on Instagram, and please remember to always do your research before traveling to any of the locations on this list, some of them are only open seasonally and some of them only allow photography for a price so "know before you go" and please treat every location you visit off this list with the respect they deserve.
How to make engaging Reels on instagram with still photos
This will be a quick and easy step by step tutorial on how to make an engaging reel on Instagram from your mobile phone just like the example below, perfect for any photographer, artist, or creator who wants to show off their work on Instagram. No getting on camera required. We've all seen them, flipping through reels on instagram and BOOM, an epic 10 second slideshow of beautiful photos with quick and unique transitions synced to the beat of whatever hip new song is trending that week. And if you're like me you think to yourself "how do they sync the photos to the music!?" Well I'm about to tell you.
If you haven't used Reels on instagram and you're a creator you are missing out on the biggest source of new traffic there is on Instagram. Period. The unfortunate truth for photographers is that still photos don't even get half the engagement as video. Instagram's algorithm is built that way. They saw the huge success with TikTok and have decided to do the same thing. So think of Reels as the TikTok of Instagram and where all the attention is. If you want new followers, Reels is the best way to get in front of users who aren't already following you.
1. Download CapCut
Before we start you'll need these 2 free mobile apps. (Assuming you already have Instagram) and 13 photos you'd like to use.
First app you'll need is CapCut. This is the App you'll use to create your video & no this article is not sponsored.
2. Download Repost
Repost is an App you'll use to save my video from instagram. Once the video is saved on your phone you can extract the music in CapCut.
3. Save the song on Instagram
Now that you have those apps we can get started. First step is saving the audio on Instagram so it's easy to find later when we upload our Reel on Instagram. You always want to make sure you use the audio via instagram because it links that song to your video when you upload it and the algorithm will show your video to more people rather than uploading as original audio. I'll explain.
For this specific video we will be using the audio Hipinozze by Counterparty.
1. Type Hipinozze in your search bar on Instagram and tap "See All Results"
2. Under the search bar you will then see "Top" "Accounts" "audio" "Tags" and "Places" You want to click "Audio"
3. Tap "Counterparty"
4. Tap "Save Audio" You'll see why we did this later.
4. Save the video
Now that the song is saved for later you have to save the video so you can open it in CapCut and extract the audio to help you sync your photos.
To save a video (in this case we will use mine)
1. Open my Reel HERE
2. Tap the 3 dots in the top right hand corner.
3. Tap "Copy Link"
4. Open the Repost App I had you download
5. The App should open that link automatically. Tap the video.
6. Tap the square and arrow in the top right corner.
7. Tap "Save Video"
5. Open CapCut
Finally we can start creating.
1. Open the CapCut app.
2. Tap "New Project"
3. You'll see "Videos" "Photos" and "Live Photos" Tap "Photos"
4. Select the 13 photos you'd like to use and then tap "Add"
5. Tap "add audio"
6. Tap "Extracted"
7. Select the video you just saved from Instagram using Repost. Should be 9 seconds.
8. Tap "Import Sound Only" & Just like that you have your 13 photos & audio all ready to go.
6. Set the length of each photo
Now that we have the photos and audio we need to set the length of time each photo is shown so it syncs with the beat of the music. Luckily for you I've already figured out the timing to make this very simple. Tap the first photo and in the left hand corner you'll see how many seconds it's pre set too. I want to say the preset is 3 seconds. Tap and hold the right handle of the photo and drag to the left until you see 2.4s then tap the 12 other photos and do the same till each photo is 0.5s The last photo should line up perfectly with the end of the song.
First photo 2.4s
12 other photos 0.5s
7. Add the animation
Great news! You're almost done! Now that all the photos are synced to the music it's time to add animation to each photo.
To add animation:
1. Tap the photo
2. Tap "Animation"
3. Tap "Combo"
4. Tap the corresponding animation I detail below.
5. Make sure the "Duration" is all the way up and you're good to go. Below I will detail what "animation" you should choose for each photo to make it super easy.
1st Photo - Combo - Sway in
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th and 13th Photos - Combo - Wobble
5th, 7th and 11th Photos - Combo - Pendulum 2
6th, 8th, 10th and 12th Combo - Pendulum 1
8. Change the format to 9:16
This part is totally up to you. If you want your photos full screen you'll need to change the format to 9:16 by tapping "Format" and then tapping "9:16" then tap each photo and using both fingers push your fingers apart and expand the photo to full screen and adjust all pics to the size you’d like. And Just like that you're all done! Now you can export your video as 1080p x 30fps.
9. Upload your video to Instagram as a Reel
Now that your video is done and ready to post, open Instagram:
1. Tap the plus sign as you normally would to post.
2. Tap "Reel"
3. Select the video you just made.
4. Tap "Add"
5. Tap "Audio"
6. Tap "Saved" (this is where you'll find the audio I had you save on step one)
7. Tap "Counterparty"
8. Tap "Done"
9. Tap "Preview"
10. Tap the music icon at the top
11. Under Audio Controls you'll see camera audio at zero and Effects is at 100.
12. Under effects you can tap "edit" to line up the song perfectly but you shouldn't have to. Then tap the video.
13. Tap the "Aa" in the top right corner if you'd like to add any text over your video. If not just tap "Next".
14. Tap "Cover" to choose the cover image.
15. Make sure Also Share to Feed is selected.
16. Tap "Crop Profile Image" to choose how it will look on your page.
17. Add the Location
18. Write an engaging caption and throw in 3-5 corresponding hashtags.
19. SHARE and that's it!! You did it! Yay!
Say hi on Instagram and let me know if this article helped :) If so I can make more with other songs.
Find more Free Resources and tips here.
Enjoy your new reel 🔥
NFTs and Photography. Is it worth it?
From blockchain and cryptocurrency to Ethereum and bitcoin... how do NFTs fit into this relatively new world of digital transactions & Photography?
To understand how NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are impacting the world of digital photography and other forms of art, we first need to understand exactly what an NFT is within a wider context.
An NFT is a non-fungible token. Already, things might be getting a little confusing, since ‘fungible’ is likely not part of your standard daily lexicon. Essentially, ‘non-fungible’ means that it cannot be swapped for anything else. Each of these tokens is completely unique, so NFTs do not work in the same way that regular cash works.
You would easily be able to swap a one-dollar bill for another dollar bill, and have exactly the same item at the end of the transaction. Its value and appearance will remain constant.
So, NFTs are digital tokens that comprise unique pieces of information. This could be anything from artwork to photos or a piece of music you have created.
How do NFTs work?
A non-fungible token usually belongs to the Ethereum blockchain. Again, if you are unfamiliar with this topic, you may need to take a few hefty steps back in order to understand what this means.
A blockchain, at its core, is a digital database that stores records of transactions in chronological order. It is a verified record book of digital transactions that is permanently viewable to anyone, and not centrally owned by any organization.
Blockchain is an extremely secure way of storing digital information and transactions. Since each ‘block’ of information is ‘locked away’ when it is full, it will usually not need to be touched again. If a hacker were to try and steal data from a blockchain, they would need to make noticeable changes to a past ‘block’ of information. Others would be alerted to these changes.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin make use of a blockchain to record all transactions and store the currency securely - away from a central bank or other organization.
So, as stated before, many NFTs belong to a blockchain called Ethereum. As well as being a cryptocurrency, Ethereum is a blockchain that supports NFT transactions.
Almost anything can be turned into an NFT and sold, one example of something you wouldn't expect that has been made into an NFT would be Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet. The tweet has fetched over $2.5 million after being sold on a platform called ‘Valuables’.
Although this tweet will remain publicly viewable on Twitter, there was a bidding war that resulted in this NFT going to Sina Estavi - a blockchain founder from Malaysia. He received a signed digital certificate and all metadata related to the tweet.
Interestingly, Estavi compared the tweet to classic pieces of art: “I think years later people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting”.
Dorsey’s first tweet is certainly a landmark moment in the history of the human digital age, and could even be considered a work of art in its own right.
But, how can NFTs integrate with other artwork, including digital photography?
Can digital photography benefit from the rise of NFTs?
As a digital photographer, the increasing use of NFTs to trade artwork could certainly be arousing your interest. There are definitely some benefits to consider when it comes to selling your photos in NFT form:
Even better, you get to maintain your copyrights over the image. This changed the way artists and creators make money from their work. There’s no longer the need for agencies, intermediaries, or other parties.
NFTs are designed to give the buyer ownership of the work, but the photographer retains copyright and reproduction rights. So, even if someone else owns the original art piece (NFT), you still maintain copyrights to the image. It’s a win-win.
Also, NFTs have an interesting feature for photographers. Just like trading sports cards you can trade NFTs for more bitcoin in the future. This means someone can buy an NFT of your work for let's say $200 and then sell it later for more if it becomes more valuable in the future. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because you can add a royalty fee to your selling price. This way you get paid a percentage every time the NFT of your photo is sold or changes hands. This means, if your NFT goes “viral” and balloons in value, you’ll still see some of that value and benefit from it.
Another great example is Bryan Minear, a landscape photographer based in Michigan, who did an NFT drop with Bitski featuring five photographs ranging from $200 to $2,500. Within 10 minutes, he sold out of nearly everything! Bryan has also sold a photo for 3 ETH...... That's $7,033.89!!
There are some drawbacks to consider when it comes to selling digital photography in the form of NFTs, however:
How Photographers Benefit from NFTs
Time to bust out all of those dusty hard drives you have photos saved on and turn them into cash. You know what I'm talking about, every photographer has hard drives full of amazing photos we've taken that haven't made us any money... Until now.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, you have heard about NFTs. A form of digital certificate that somehow can sell for thousands of dollars. Artists, graphic designers, celebrities, influencers, and yes even photographers are among the ones creating these forms of digital certificates that become highly valuable overnight and can turn a profit in a relatively short time.
But, if the idea of NFTs still bugs your mind, keep reading to learn more about the question on everyones mind right now: What’s an NFT? and how does it benefit my photography?
What Are NFTs?
NFT stands for “non-fungible token.” This means each one is unique and cannot be replaced with something else. These are one-of-a-kind images or digital images that cannot be exchanged for something of similar value.
Each NFT is verified using the blockchain, a transparent ledger of ownership, purchases, and trades that no one can edit or see. Most NFTs are in the Ethereum blockchain, which is a cryptocurrency. However, there are different marketplaces and blockchains where NFTs are becoming more and more available.
While it’s hard to wrap your head around the value of NFTs, most people recommend you compare it to buying one-of-a-kind art pieces. Say, a unique Picasso someone found in an old garage in the middle of nowhere. It’s like the digital evolution of fine art collecting. You could also compare it to trading rare baseball cards.
Benefits of Creating NFTs
The most significant benefit for photographers making NFTs is money. Some photographers have earned over $25,000 from selling a single NFT photograph. Take Kate Woodman for example. Kate is a the Portland based conceptual photographer and NFT artist. Her cinematic style is centered around narrative storytelling, nostalgia, vernacular architecture, and a strong use of emotive color. She is also the creator of thebackdropstudio providing immersive backdrops for Photographers. Kate sold a NFT for one of her photos for 11.888 ETH...... That equals $27,854.30!!!
Even better, you get to maintain your copyrights over the image. This changed the way artists and creators make money from their work. There’s no longer the need for agencies, intermediaries, or other parties.
NFTs are designed to give the buyer ownership of the work, but the photographer retains copyright and reproduction rights. So, even if someone else owns the original art piece (NFT), you still maintain copyrights to the image. It’s a win-win.
Also, NFTs have an interesting feature for photographers. Just like trading sports cards you can trade NFTs for more bitcoin in the future. This means someone can buy an NFT of your work for let's say $200 and then sell it later for more if it becomes more valuable in the future. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because you can add a royalty fee to your selling price. This way you get paid a percentage every time the NFT of your photo is sold or changes hands. This means, if your NFT goes “viral” and balloons in value, you’ll still see some of that value and benefit from it.
Another great example is Bryan Minear, a landscape photographer based in Michigan, who did an NFT drop with Bitski featuring five photographs ranging from $200 to $2,500. Within 10 minutes, he sold out of nearly everything!
According to PetaPixel Bryan said “I was crying by the end of the day,” “It’s not like a life-changing money, but at the same time, when you go so long just creating for the love of it, and then you finally have that moment of validation, like somebody loves your work that much they’re willing to spend some money on it, it’s kind of incredible.”
Minear said the reason he chose to embrace NFTs was when he realized crypto was “here to stay” — despite speculation that the NFT market is a bubble at risk of popping.
However, he doesn’t see NFTs as a way to eliminate the potential of copyright, or the blockchain as a way to control the dissemination of his work online, but as a new opportunity to reach an audience that is passionate about digital art and willing to pay for it.
“I think that the biggest reason is that you can monetize yourself easier,” Dinch said. “There’s a market for photography, but with the proliferation of things like Instagram, where a lot of photographers are putting out incredible content and getting tons of likes, but haven’t been able to convert that into paying rent.”
Bryan sold this photo below for 3 ETH...... That's $7,033.89!!
Are There Any Risks Involved?
To be honest, NFTs have been around for a while, but people still don’t understand them fully. All new technology comes with risks and growing pains. For example, anyone can create an NFT. When someone makes an NFT from works they didn’t personally create, this brings up another set of issues.
There aren’t many specific laws explaining who’s liable for copyright infringement, what’s considered copyright infringement in the digital world, and how you can prove ownership of an NFT in the first place.
Then, there’s the tax issue. Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs require buyers to pay sales tax and pain tax gain when selling one. This is all new ground for most governments, so adjustments are being made yearly.
Finally, the marketplace itself has its risks. While rare, there are some reports of NFT collections vanishing from marketplaces without notice.
How to Make Your Own
Creating and selling an NFT is relatively easy, but setting the initial value and listing it in the marketplace can get tricky. Here’s a straightforward process to making and selling your first NFT as a photographer:
1. Create It: first, you have to create your photograph, GIF, video, or graphic. Alternatively, you can choose an image from your archives like I have to turn into an NFT.
2. Find Your Platform: there are different marketplaces for NFTs, including Nifty Gateway or SuperRare, but Foundation & Opensea are the most popular. I like Opensea because after the first gas fee you don't have to pay any more gas fees and Foundation is by invite only.
3. Decide Your Value: Pricing your work is perhaps the most challenging part. You decide the price of NFTs, but there’s no framework to work from. You could set the price at $10 or $1,000; you have the final call on how much you think someone will pay for your art. But you also have the option to set a price and let users bid on your work at auction.
4. Think of Editions: you can choose how many editions of your work you want to sell. It doesn’t have to be a single one. You could sell different NFTs of the same artwork. However, if you’re going to bid on higher prices, a one-of-a-kind piece will likely go for higher.
5. Decide your Royalties: not to quote Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank, but royalty fees will be your best friend. A royalty fee is a percentage you’ll get paid every time your NFT changes hands or gets sold.
6. Mint Your NFT: it’s time to mark your photo available for sale. Minting is the process of creating an NFT certificate and publishing it to the blockchain. This is what makes your photograph essentially non-fungible.
7. Get eyes on your new NFT: Learn from me, it's not as easy as throwing your work up setting a price and waiting for the bids to role in. Literally no one will see your NFTs unless you send people to your gallery in my experience, at least with Opensea. So use social media to promote the hell out of your NFT gallery and maybe one of your fans will drop 20K like Kates fan did.
There’s a lot of moving parts with creating, selling, and minting NFTs and lets be honest, cryptocurrencies are ever evolving but ideally, if you’re a photographer looking to benefit from NFTs and make some extra cash on epic photos you've taken that are just sitting on your computer, you should start learning and reading more about cryptocurrencies, which is the closest thing to a non-fungible token.
Cosplay For Beginners 11 Tips
Good cosplay tips for beginners are hard to come by these days. So as an experienced cosplay photographer in Portland I'm going to give away my best advice for those of you wanting to dip your toes into the cosplay world. I've been shooting cosplay for years and have been featured in multiple publications, articles, and even on the news.
Every Comic-Con I've been to I always see beginner cosplayers. I can always tell the level of cosplay experience from someone by how worried they are about how they look. Some look great, others look..... awful if we're being honest. Ever wonder why some look amazing, while others look...... less than great?
In this article I break down how you can avoid common cosplay mistakes so you don't come off as a newb, look your best, and actually enjoy con to the max! Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
1. Don't get Intimidated
If you're only getting your inspiration from major cosplay sites or curated Instagram accounts like badasscosplay, it's easy to get intimidated by the amazing "Hollywood Quality" costumes people make especially when prosthetics are involved as shown below.
With many professional cosplayers, costumers end up helping them make those costumes via free collabs. Not everyone has the money, time, or skill to create massive works of art.
Now granted I don't typically photograph people in cheap Halloween costumes they got from Spirit Halloween but if you need a simple low budget costume to wear to Con, Spirit or Amazon works great, you'll still have a blast, and you'll still get compliments and photos taken :) However, if you want to spend a little bit more to get a better quality costume like the one shown below plus many more options I made a list of my top ten websites to get cosplay costumes and props.
2. Ask Questions
Whether you go to con as a participant or just a spectator never be afraid to talk to others at conventions. If you see someone who made an epic costume it's okay to approach them, compliment them, and ask them how they made it. I've been to many cons and never seen anyone that wasn't thrilled to talk about their costume, especially if they made it them selves. Most cosplayers are pumped to share some guidance. Take Downen Creative Studios for example. Beverly is always sharing tips on how she creates her epic costumes (as seen below) on her Instagram. Like I said before, cosplay is without a doubt one of the most welcoming communities you can join.
3. Do it for the right reasons
"Professional" Cosplayers are few and far between. Meaning, those who make a living from their cosplay. But they're out there. It's absolutely possible. Just look at cosplayers like, Myrtle Sarrosa, Marie-Claude Bourbonnais, Meagan Marie, Alodia Gosiengfiao, Linda Le, D-Piddy, Lisa Lou Who, Spiral Cats, or Yaya Han. Just keep in mind Professional cosplay is very competitive, and it's a community that takes its craft very seriously.
There's a lot of drama involving cosplayers these days, primarily because there are a lot of people who get into cosplay because they want to get rich, have millions of fans, and get endless attention. Like Jessica Nigri for example who has over 4 million followers on Instagram alone. The "business" of cosplay can get dirty. So never start cosplay with any goal other than having fun and expressing yourself. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for failure. People can always tell if you're not dressing as characters you actually like and only doing it for the money.
4. Choose the right character for your build
One of the most common questions from beginners is "who should I be?" I always tell them to choose a character/costume that would naturally complement their looks and build and obviously a character they connect with and like. Luckily, the nerd universe is filled with characters of every shape and size.
For example, someone who has a thin build would make a great spider man or black panther. As shown below.
Where as someone with a bulkier more muscular build would be better off as Batman, Thor, a Spartan, or Adam Hunter as shown below.
5. Know your skill level
When it comes to a custom costume, know your skill level. If you don't have the time or money to make props and accessories I suggest a full body suit like spider man. That's as easy as it gets. On the other hand, bigger, bulkier cosplay costumes can easily get torn, crushed, or dirty in transit. So, if you have a lot of gear, make sure that it can be packed easily.. Once again, this is why fully body spandex and cat suites are so popular among beginners as seen below.
6. Keep transit in mind
When making a custom costume keep transit to con in mind. How do you plan on getting to con? Uber, bus, walk, plane, or driving yourself? Larger or bulky pieces might need to be foldable or reduced in size in order to make it work. Armor, for example, should be able to be pulled apart into pieces so that it doesn't end up getting broken while in transit to your next con. Example below. Many newbies have learned this the hard way so please heed my warning.
7. Keep the season in mind
Some of my favorite cosplay costumes I've ever seen were massive creations involving bulky materials or thick costume material. At first I was envious until I learned they wanted to pass out from heat stroke after a few hours at con. Conventions tend to be very warm, you don't want to be the person who makes the mistake of wearing a thick heavy non breathable cosplay costume in the middle of summer. I don't care how epic it is, you'll hate wearing it.
8. Use the right face and body paint
Alot of cosplayers use face and body paint to complete their look and although it can look really good when they show up, I've seen far too many look like crap after a few hours in a warm convention center. When buying makeup for your face and body make sure it wont run or get streaky when you sweat. A great hack you can use to get out of full body paint is by using painted nylon stockings or a full body spandex suit as a base for your body, then all you have to do is paint your hands and face to match as seen below.
9. Don't be a creep
Obviously every con is full of beautiful people, some in more reveling costumes than others. But just because someone is showing more skin that doesn't give you or anyone the right to be inappropriate. Show everyone at con the same level of respect you'd show your family. You can admire and compliment but never touch a cosplayer unless requested to. Never cat call and if you have a photo taken with a cosplayer you should still avoid touching them.
10. Ask before taking photos
look, there are countless opportunities to take photos at con but it's always best practice to ask before taking a photo that way the cosplayer can strike a pose before you take the photo. There's nothing cosplayers hate more than random shitty photos online of themselves half dressed in costume on a break shoveling food in their face. As long as you ask they will always be happy and willing to strike a pose or take a photo with you.
11. Know your limits
If you are at a con in costume and someone snaps a photo of you half dressed on a break or you simply weren't ready for a photo don't hesitate to say "hey man, I'm glad you like the costume but I wasn't ready, can we retake it and I'll put the rest of my costume on and pose for you?"
And if someone is being inappropriate don't hesitate to say something to them and or security.
The best advice I can give you is stop worrying about what others think, Cons are extremely welcoming to all nerds at every level, just show your true self and have fun with it. :)
Portland Photographer empowers kids by transforming them into iconic movie characters. Must See!
Hello my friends, my name is Lance and I am that photographer based in Portland Oregon. Because I am known for my cinematic cosplay & horror photography I wanted to share some of my fan favorites I've done with kids. Some of these projects have even been shared on local and international news. From a very young age I always loved Halloween and scary movies. My goal is to become a big Hollywood Photographer someday. I think my favorite thing about being a photographer is that I get to pretend it's Halloween 365 days a year. I love my clients because they share that love for Halloween & so do their kids.
Do not be fooled, some of the photos below may look scary but I promise you the kids are always having a blast. That's my number 1 rule. The family is always there and I always make sure everyone is comfortable. All photos below were taken by me on my SonyA7iii and couldn't have happened without an amazing team around me. I work with amazing designers for custom made outfits and as you'll see insanely talented makeup artists like Taelorfx & Jordan DuPont. Let me know your favorite set in the comments below and Connect with me on Instagram HERE or get a quote HERE.
Disclaimer!! All blood is obviously fake. I use "Vampire blood" I get on Amazon. Works great!
1. Edward Scissorhands
2. Wolverine / X23
4. Sweeney Todd
6. Trick 'r Treat
7. Georgie / IT
8. The Joker
9. Peter Pan and Wendy
11. The Omen
12. Alice in Wonderland
As you'll see below sometimes the kids aren't always playing a specific iconic character but rather having fun playing a part as a side character in a themed photoshoot.
The Tooth Fairy
How to get into Modeling. 11 Tips you should know
As a fashion photographer in Portland I'm often asked by my clients how they can get into modeling. Modeling is easily one of the most popular career paths among the youth today. Along with a high salary, there is a laundry list of perks that make a career in modeling appealing—glitz and glam, fame, travel, and, of course, freebies from sponsors!
However, there are many less glamorous aspects of being a model you should know. Modeling can be a full-time grind, requiring you to put in long hours of shooting and promotion, you are required to take good care of your body and skin, be mindful of predators, and more.
Having said that, these “rough” aspects seem trivial in comparison to the glitz and glory models like Kate Moss & Naomi Campbell enjoy. Not to mention the indescribable feeling of seeing yourself on the big screen and billboards. If you are ready to become a model, I am here to help with some expert advice I've gained by photographing and working with signed models over the years. I hope the following tips will help you take the necessary steps in your modeling career.
1. Hire an Agent
Modeling agencies are a great option for you if you don't want to wait to be scouted. These agencies are readily available to represent you and help you land your first modeling gig. In fact, some have said not using an agency to represent yourself is akin to going to a trial without a lawyer! These agencies will provide you with much-needed exposure, help you get paid what you deserve, and boost your overall identity and value as a professional model.
With that said, you must ensure that you only work with reputable modeling agencies. Unless you have a lot of time and money to spend, do your homework before reaching out to any agency. Make sure that you only partner with approved agencies that have a solid reputation in the modeling industry and follow these 10 safety tips every model should know.
2. Don’t Contact Professional Photographers Just Yet
If you are just starting out, you do not need to blow a hole in your wallet by hiring a professional photographer like myself and stay away from heavily Photoshopped photos. Scouts and agencies want to see the “real” you, and they are not expecting you to look like David Gandy or Gigi Hadid. They just need some simple snapshots—even pictures taken from your phone’s camera would probably do the trick, however if you want to show you can do multiple looks and styles of editorial hiring a photographer might be a good idea. Better your portfolio better your odds of getting hired.
Only after the agencies are convinced of your potential and talent would you need to spend a decent amount of cash on professional photography. They will advise you on investing in photos that are right for the market in which you want to work.
3. The industry has Evolved
The good news is that the modeling industry’s attitude has changed dramatically over the years. Models no longer have to be size 0 (case in point: Ashley Graham) or super tall (case in point: Emily Ratajkowski) to make it big. This means that if you *think* your body is preventing you from pursuing this career, you must rid yourself of negative thoughts... the industry has done it as well!
The modeling industry is much more inclusive today, which was certainly not the case ten years ago. Everyone has a chance—no matter their skin color or BMI.
4. Let the Market Choose You
Modeling and travel are inextricably linked. If you have limitations on the places you want to work, this might not be the best career path for you. That's not to say it can't be done. Keep in mind that you can get work from anywhere in the world. Learn the industry’s cardinal rule: the market chooses you, not the other way around.
So, even though you want to work in Paris, Milan, New York, or London, just go with the flow and seize opportunities regardless of where they are on the map. Prepare to go wherever the job takes you.
5. Have a Friendly Personality
Modeling is about more than just your face and body; it is also about your attitude and personality. No matter how talented you are, people will dislike you if you have a condescending or unpleasant personality. This would have a tangible effect on your career. You wont get many job offers and miss out on many golden opportunities that would have catapulted your modeling career if you're unprofessional, entitled, and not on time.
However, if you have a pleasant and friendly personality, most sponsors will be delighted to work with you, and you will continue to receive exciting modeling gigs. The takeaway? If you want to be a successful model, learn to be a decent human being first. Seems like a no brainer but you'd be surprised.
6. Worship Your Body
This advice cannot be overstated! You must respect and care for your body. Maintain good hygiene and stick to a regular workout regimen. Maintain your hair, nails, and skin. Yes, modeling requires you to go the extra mile.
Above all, do not be afraid or embarrassed to seek professional help. After all, you are a human, and that makes you imperfect. Are you facing acne issues? Schedule an appointment with a dermatologist near you and get it treated. Want to reach a weight loss goal? Hire a personal trainer or sign up for a fitness center.
7. Don’t Let Rejection Impact Your Self-Esteem
This tip is the most important. You will face many rejections along the way—perhaps you may not be picked for an audition, or you may not walk the runway at a major fashion show or even a local fashion show anytime soon. However, you should never let these rejections affect your self-worth. I can't begin to tell you how many brands have rejected me as a photographer. I get it.
Not everybody is fortunate enough to be picked on the 1st attempt, or 2nd, or even 3rd, 4th, or 5th. So, take rejections and critiques with a healthy dose of optimism. Allow them to serve as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. Remember that after you have tasted the bitterness of failure, the fruit of success will taste sweeter.
8. Attract Model Scouts
Think of model scouts as your non-virtual job portals. They are always on the lookout for young people with promise, such as yourself. Modeling scouts can be found in a variety of settings, from malls to concerts, to Instagram, to TikTok. In fact, they travel all over the world looking for aspiring models like you so always dress fashionable.
That being said in the age of social media, your chances of being scouted are much greater than they were 20 years ago. This means that you no longer have to rely on being found while out and about, you can now attract scouts on social networks like Instagram and Facebook or TikTok by posting consistent content. High quality photos will get you noticed and this is where a professional photographer can come in handy. Just make sure, and I cant stress this enough, if you're scouted in person or online that you vet the person and agency they work for before having a meeting with them in person.
9. Do Not send nudes
Should any "model scout" or agency tell you they need photos of you nude in order to hire you, or further your career they are lying and should be avoided at all cost. No legit professional agency will ask this of you. Remember that.
10. Decide what kind of model you want to be
It is your job to research and decide what kind of model you'd like to be. There's many different options so narrow down what interests you the most and what your body and features are best suited for. Runway, swimsuit, commercial, fitness, glamour, lingerie, or editorial?
If you're serious about becoming a model you have to study, study, study! Don't expect to just show up to a shoot and look pretty. You may have to model under water, in the rain, in the cold, in the heat, or in the wind. All these scenarios present their own challenges you'll have to overcome. So if you show up prepared with the knowledge your competition is lacking you'll have an edge. Do the research, listen to the podcasts, go to seminars, learn from the professionals on Youtube and TikTok. Hire and learn from photographers in the industry. Practice in your room.
It is not easy to become a model, but it is highly gratifying for those who put in the time and work to make it happen. I hope that the tips listed above will help you achieve your dreams to be in the spotlight someday.
To really stand out, create a Media Kit. A media kit is a 1 or 2 page digital or physical document containing information about you and all your accolades much like a modern resume. Were you featured on the cover of bridal magazine? Put it on there.
The point of a media kit is to catch the eye of a modeling scout or agency that already has a stack of wanna be models photos to go through. Fact is if you want to become a model and already have a massive following on social media you have an edge over your competition, agencies will be very attracted to that so make sure to show off your followers in your media kit. Your kit should be a one-stop shop for all of the information a agency or scout might need. Have your height, weight, and body measurements in your kit as well as 2 of your best photos. I'll show you my media kit below to give you an idea.
Read more at: https://publicrelationssydney.com.au/media-kits-what-is-a-media-kit/
Average salary for a model
According to Indeed.com the average salary for a model in the U.S. is $23.10 per hour. and female models tend to make more money than male models. How much you make as a model depends a lot on your experience and your reputation as a quality model. You also need to work with a good agent who will find you well-paying jobs.
4 Times You'll Regret Not Hiring a Professional Photographer
Photography has been a unique blend of art and science ever since the first photograph was taken in 1826. From lighting to set design to helping people feel at ease, photography is a skill that can be fun to dabble in but takes a great deal of time and training to perfect.
Hiring a professional photographer is an exceptional way to capture life’s greatest moments with grace and beauty. Here are some of the ways a professional photographer can help your most cherished memories live on forever.
Capture the Love
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. Whether in an intimate church, a grand celebration, or a fairy-tale Paris elopement, wedding photos are something you will revisit over and over again. That’s why it’s important you have a photographer who can capture your wedding day memories without intruding on the moment.
Aside from taking photos of the look of love at your first wedded kiss and your bridesmaids celebrating your big day, a professional wedding day photographer can:
Stage a Home
Selling a home is one of life’s biggest changes — and challenges! In order to make sure your home is appealing enough to elicit offers at first glance, you’ll want to start setting the stage by clearing the clutter.
Staging may feel intimidating at first, but staging your home can be a simple, yet powerful way to create beautiful photos and engaging virtual tours and open houses. That’s where your photographer comes in! A pro will:
Launch a Business
Your company is more than a logo, just like you are more than your Linkedin profile. But both need to convey who you are.
A professional photographer can help you launch your business and connect with customers by:
Memorialize a Milestone
When it comes to children, the days are long but the years are short. It’s easy to lose track of the time in between school, work, dinner, and bath time. But it’s those sweet moments that we often hold on to the most.
While a cell phone snapshot can capture the moment, a professional photographer can document the milestone. You can hire one to preserve life’s biggest blessings like:
The best part is for moms, wives, or girlfriends to actually be in the photos as they so rarely get to be in many of them.
A professional photographer can capture a first smile a first kiss, or the first dance.
Skilled photographer Lance Reis offers unforgettable and empowering brand photography services in Portland.
Call (541) 760-7293 to book a private session!
Best Free Website Builders
Guest Author: Jack Vale
With more people launching businesses or otherwise wanting to communicate a message to others, free website builders have seen growing popularity in recent years. They reduce the reliance on coders in website creation, helping to encourage those without technical skills to assemble attractive websites.
Not all free website builders are created equally. Some are gems that help you design beautiful websites with simple drag-and-drop interfaces, or other equally-simple solutions. Others can be less useful, either offering a more complex user experience or incessantly promoting a paid plan.
This quick guide is to help guide you towards some of the better free website builders on the market. We have taken a look at their benefits and drawbacks, creating a list of the ones we believe can help you design a functioning website with the least headache.
As one of the biggest global names in website builders, it is logical that it should feature on this list of the best free website builders. Wix does offer paid plans, but you can still get a lot done with its free version.
Unlike other free website building services, you can edit your Wix domain to better reflect your business. This, alongside other customization features like the ability to actually drag content to exact positions, makes Wix a clear favorite for building a free website.
Wix is very intuitive and flexible, offering simple functions like ‘Ctrl + Z’ to undo actions and organized templates.
This is a great option for beginners to learn how to create a website. There is a walkthrough feature with plenty of explanations to make the experience as painless as possible.
If you are looking to build a serious website for your business or otherwise, this might compare unfavorably to Wix because of the inability to edit your domain name. SITE123 provides you with a website address full of random numbers and letters.
However, it is really easy for beginners to use with live chat support and intuitive website building.
Strikingly is a great way to make a personal website for free. Perhaps best reserved for those wanting to design a simple website with limited call-to-action buttons, this is user-friendly and makes it very easy to change your design.
While not as detailed as some of its competitors, Strikingly is focused on helping you to set up a simple, personal website as quickly as possible.
Take this recommendation with a word of warning: WordPress is built with blogging in mind. If you want to set up your own blog, this could be the free website builder for you. WordPress offers a great way to categorize blog posts, add a comments section and publish new content.
If you are looking to build an eCommerce website or something more visual, this might not be the free website builder for you.
Weebly is another great option for building a free website. If you just want to get online as quickly as possible, they offer a quick Q+A to get to know your needs before they give you a brand new website.
Alternatively, you can get hands-on with the standard Editor. You can still pick between attractive templates and access live chat, so this option remains suitable for beginners.
Jack Vale is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with Checkworks, a classic personal checks retailer.
Best Modeling Agencies in Portland, Oregon
As a prominent and well connected photographer in Portland Oregon, I have worked with many models over the years. Some signed and well established and some just starting out. For those just starting out I'm often asked for any advice on finding a local modeling agency and who I'd recommend. I'll go into detail on how to get into modeling and what to expect in a future article but for now this article will focus on the 5 talent agencies in Portland, Oregon that I recommend.
10 safety tips every model should know.
My recommendations are strictly based off opinions from models, designers, and stylists I've worked with in the past that I trust, testimonials, and personal interaction with these agencies. I am not a photographer for any of these agencies nor am I affiliated with them in any way.
Questions to Ask Before Signing with a Modeling Agency
Before I get into my 5 recommendations let's identify what you should look for in an agency and red flags to avoid on your quest to becoming the next Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid.
Once you've selected an agency and schedule an interview be prepared to answer questions like, "Why are you interested in becoming a model?" What type of modeling are you interested in?" "What made you choose their agency?" and "What value do you bring to their agency?"
27 posing ideas for women
Just as important as the questions they have for you are the questions you have for them. If you want to stand out among the countless other beautiful faces you need to show the agency you’re professional, engaged, dedicated, and take your modeling career seriously. Keeping in mind you can find the answer to some of these questions yourself online here are some important things to discuss during your interview with the modeling agency to make sure they are the right fit for you:
15 fashion designers you need to follow on Insta
On your quest to find a reputable modeling agency It’s imperative that you do your homework first. If you're looking for a reputable modeling agency in Portland this article is where your research will begin but not where it will end.
Red Flags I tell new models to lookout for include:
Truth is, most modeling agencies are legitimate and safe, but you can never be too careful. I suggest when you find a modeling agency that looks like a good fit go through their Instagram feed and contact some models they have featured and ask them about their experience with the agency. You'd be shocked at how open people can be to sharing. Now, let's get into my recommendations.
1. The Option Agency
The Option Agency is searching for a whole range of shapes, sizes, and colors to help fuel the narrative that being active is a lifestyle, not a look. Option is an elite collective of veteran agents that has honed its sights and skills on the freshest, most focused talent. Option seeks a balance between offering boutique, white-glove service and bold, gloves-off representation. I appreciate the variety in their portfolio.
The Option Agency represents influencers such as: Hailee Lautenbach, Angelina Yasmeen, Chad White, Nic Palladino, and Nick Kent.
Who they are Accepting :
What you will submit:
• 1 smile headshot
• 1 no-smile shoulder up
• 1 full-length body shot
• 2 two-piece swimwear full-length body shots, one with hair up, one with hair down (teen/adult females only)
• 1 shorts-only full-length body shot (teen/adult males only)
@theoptionagency on Instagram
2. Muse Model Management
MUSE Model Management is a fashion and athletic modeling agency based in Portland, Oregon that represents models to clients in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Some of these clients include: Nordstrom, Hollister, Abercrombie, Macy’s, Nike, Adidas, Jordan, Fred Meyer, Columbia Sportswear, Reebok, Converse, Microsoft, Apple, Boeing, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, Nintendo, Levi’s, Eddie Bauer, Norm Thompson, Pendleton, Sahalie, Hanna Andersson, Dakine, Portland Monthly, Oregon Bride, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Nautilus, Sony, Footlocker, New Balance, Brooks Running, Saucony, Precor and REI. Just to name a few.
In addition to regional bookings, MUSE places and manages international careers and has sent dozens of models around the world collaborating with top international agencies such as IMG, The Society, Next, DNA, Elite, Ford, VNY, Soul, NY Models. As a result, their models have worked for Vogue, Bazaar, W, GQ, Details, Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, Abercrombie, Hollister, American Eagle, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Bulgari, Chanel, Versace, and L’Uomo Vogue.
Some MUSE discoveries include: Kerry Degman, Julia Dunstall, Terron Wood, Nick Clark, Brandi Brechbiel, Kate Nauta, Amanda Jensen, Darla Baker, Aaron Bernards, Noa Thomas, Mariah Morrison, Samantha Bondurant, Alesha Cubitt, Wellington Grant, Mercedes Hurzeler, Cristal Chavez and Phil Blank.
If you want to model for MUSE they have 2 options
They will require two photos of yourself. (One head shot clearly showing your face and one body shot in a swimsuit or athletic wear) They will want something current that shows them what you look like right now. Quick snapshots are fine.
Come in and see them. Even if you send them a photo, they're going to need to see you in person anyways. They have an open call every Thursday @ 5pm, and the first Saturday of every month @ 12pm (Noon), at their office in downtown Portland. They request you do not come in at any other time without an appointment.
For their market, a specific height range is generally required. For girls, this is 5’7” to 6’. For guys it’s 5’11” to 6’3”. There are exceptions, but please keep this in mind.
@musemanagement on Instagram
3. Q6 Model and Artist Management
Q6 Model Management is more than just an agency, they're a home base. Helping talent develop their skills in an ever evolving industry. Q6 strives for people to feel welcome and seen for their unique identities. For over 3 decades, they've been a leader in the Model and Acting industry of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Jonny Shultz: Co-Owner
Jonny prides himself on building relationships with the Models of Q6. Starting his career as a junior booker almost 20 years ago, Jonny rose the ranks of the industry becoming a Scout for one of the world’s top agency networks, Ford Models. He’s an expert in model development and seeks out talent whose personality shines.
Dorianne Palmer: Co-Owner
With over 25 years’ experience at all levels of agency life, Dori helps keep the culture of Q6's history alive and thriving.
Crystal Walen: Agency Director of TV / Film
For 15 years Crystal has been embedded in the TV / Film community. With experience in casting as a Casting Associate (Portlandia, Green Room, Restless), and in production and contract management Crystal brings clear communication to each project she works on.
Adam Rosko: Junior Booking Agent
Began his career in 2009 as artistic director of Atomic Arts (which produced the wildly popular, Trek in the Park), before moving on becoming a Casting Associate and Background Casting Director for dozens of tv/film projects.
Q6 Talent is Not currently hosting open calls.
Thier Code of Conduct goes as follows:
"Q6 is committed to maintaining ethical and social values in the workplace. We have and will continue to uphold the highest standards of integrity and respect for others and expect that same from those with whom we work.
All Models and Actors must be treated with respect and professionalism and we will continue to communicate that requirement to all parties with whom our Talent interact with. We require that all Models and Actors should be provided with a safe, drug and alcohol free work environment, sufficient privacy while dressing, and be provided with all breaks and meals as required by State Law. Should we learn of any violation of these requirements or discover that any of our Talent have been subject to inappropriate conduct or conditions of any kind including, sexual advances or propositions, inappropriate physical contact, emotional or sexual coercion, offensive or derogatory comments or language, or invasion of privacy we will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to remove the Talent from harm’s way and to remedy the situation.
We will work with our clients to ensure that the physical and mental health, safety, wellbeing and dignity of our Talent are protected and maintained while they are on assignment. We will advise clients they may not insist or request that a model perform any activity that may be degrading, unprofessional or demeaning, or to request that a talent perform any activity that may be dangerous, without having first raised the risk with Q6 and with the model, and having obtained the talents' written consent. Any nudity, semi-nudity or sexualized content or situations must be pre-approved in writing by the talent.
We believe in transparency, Models and Actors are provided with rate, usages, and client expectations at the time of casting, and again during the booking process."
@q6models on Instagram
4. Sports & Lifestyle Unlimited
Slu agency represents a leading roster of professional fitting/fit models. Their fit models span the major size sets and are engaged by a wide range of major athletic and lifestyle apparel brands to independent designers and pattern makers. Today's consumers are increasingly making active healthy lifestyle choices towards products and services related to sports, fitness, health, and wellness. These consumers are more educated and savvier than ever. So, it's crucial that brands and their creative/production partners hiring talent as part of their efforts to reach this audience, select talent that are authentic and credible to these consumers.
Slu is proud to represent the strongest roster of professional models and talent that support the varied production and branding needs of these brands and their creative partners from across the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries. An industry leader for almost 30 years, Slu takes great pride in their commitment to the core company values of integrity, honesty, respect and professional service that drives their company culture. They place high value in their relationships with their industry partners and the models and talent that have trusted Slu to represent them.
What Slu Agency is Looking for:
Prior industry experience is not required but can be an advantage. For thier sports/fitness division, they represent talent with advanced level athletic skills and experience that would support the credibility and authenticity sought by advertisers. For their lifestyle division, they are primarily interested in representing women (5'7" to 5'11"), men (5'11" to 6'3"), and teens/kids who represent a healthy active lifestyle with strong potential marketability as commercial models. Slu is open to all sizes and ages but sign only a limited number of kids each year.
A recruitmint warning from Slu: We consider the safety and well-being of aspiring models to be a top priority. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and authenticity and want to advise models about unscrupulous people who prey on their ambitions.
Please be aware there are individuals on the internet falsely claiming to be representatives or scouts of SLU or other organizations. If you are contacted by anyone claiming to be a representative of SLU, do not respond without first verifying their identity by promptly calling us directly at (503) 227-3449 and we’ll be happy to assist you. Please note that SLU never requests photos in the nude or in lingerie and never requires monetary payment to review your materials or consider you for representation. If you are under 18 years of age and are contacted by someone claiming to represent an agency, always alert your parents or a responsible adult.
@sluagency on Instagram
5. Reaction Models and Talent
Reaction Model Management is a Pacific Northwest modeling agency focused on developing and helping talent in Portland, Oregon. They act both as a booking and mother agency, finding interesting people, and providing the tools for them to develop into dependable and compelling models. They are inclusive and represent a wide variety of talent.
As a husband and wife team, Jeff and Brittney McChristy Shanes are fully invested in the service they supply to their clients and models. They pride themselves on their availability, dependability, and ethical standards. Their personal goal is to help their models and actors achieve their goals, and to be a resource for projects to run smoothly and efficiently for their clients.
Some Clients of Reaction Model Management are - Columbia Sportswear / Nike / Adidas / Intel / Google / Microsoft / Unilever / Reebok / Starbucks / Kroger / Sony
Currently they are looking for people who meet the following requirements:
We are especially interested in beautiful ethnic women! We strive to be very inclusive. Pacific Northwest types with individual style/tattoos are welcome to apply.
@reactionmodels on Instagram
Do you have a personal experince with one of the agencies I mentioned? Or have one to add to the list? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. If you're in need of a photographer in Portland to help build your portfolio contact me for a quote today!
How to grow your following with Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups has to be one of the most overlooked and under valued free ways to multiply your following and double your business among photographers and content creators. As soon as I started using Facebook groups to show off my work my following on Facebook & Instagram tripled and so did my business. In this article I will give you actionable steps on how to grow your Instagram following as well as your Facebook following using Facebook groups. Of course there are countless great ways to grow your following using YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest but I will just be discussing Facebook groups in this article.
How to Triple your website traffic with Pinterest
Do followers really matter?
Before I explain how to get more followers on Instagram and Facebook you first need to understand why you want followers in the first place. I know to myself and many of you reading this it may seem like a no brainer if your trying to build a brand. But you would be shocked if I told you how many photographers and creators don't even use Facebook or Instagram. Maybe you've tried the social media game and you never saw results so you deleted your account. Well I'm hear to tell you, if your work is good, and you're consistent you should be getting new clients via social media. No question. If you aren't using Facebook to grow your brand YOU ARE LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE.
Let's look beyond the superficial reason we all want a large following on social media shall we? and instead look at the practical reasons we want more followers and how they correlate with our business. With every new follower comes more opportunity and more potential. I'll explain.
1. Every follower is a possible client.
Maybe not today, maybe not a week from now but at some point they will convert. I've had new clients contact me on Instagram and say "I've been following your work for 8 months and I have to work with you! I've been waiting for the right time and I'm finally ready to hire you" Even though that client (like many of my clients) followed me for months they rarely engaged with my posts. This is important to note because it shows me that people are always watching. Don't be discouraged if you're not getting alot of engagement. As long as your consistently posting quality content and not posting drama I promise you someone is planning on booking you as we speak.
2. Followers = free advertising.
Think about it, a certain percentage of your followers will always share your content. That's FREE ADVERTISING! It's like having your own little sales team out there constantly promoting you and your work for free! It's really simple, the more followers you have the larger your "sales team" will be. So why wouldn't you want to grow your following? People buy from those they know, like, and trust. Word of mouth will always be the best form of advertising.
3. Brands want creators with a large following.
If you're wanting to work with brands the hard truth is they wont even look at your work these days if you don't have a following. Big brands today look at following first and then quality of work. Sadly if it's between you and another content creator of equal skill the one with the larger following will always get the job. I mean it makes sense from a marketing stand point. As a brand I want to go with the photographer with the biggest following because that means my products will be seen by the most people. And that means more sales.
4. Free Stuff.
Who doesn't like free stuff? I'm what is considered a "micro influencer." Someone with 5,000 to 40,000 followers and over the years I've leveraged my following for free massages, studio rentals, discounts on hotels, free coffee, free sun glasses, free jewelry, free float tank therapy, free acupuncture, free liqueur, free laser treatment, and the list goes on. Even if you only have 4,000 followers you can leverage your following for free stuff as long as you have good engagement. Fact is influencer marketing is the future of advertising. Brands know they can pay you far less than they would on traditional adverting and still get more value. It's a win win for everyone.
How to use Facebook groups.
Now that you hopefully understand the value in building a following on social media and why it's important, let's talk about how you do it using Facebook groups. It's actually very simple. This works best for photographers and content creators. I will use myself as an example and tell you exactly what I do. Every time you post a new photo or photos on Facebook like you should be doing from your personal page (That's important) I want you to share that post in every Facebook group you can find that is related in any way to that post.
For example: If I posted a really stunning photo of a humming bird I would then search Facebook groups for any group that is not only related to photography, but also birds, hummingbirds, wildlife, or location specific. For example, when I shared my humming bird photos to the Facebook groups: Oregon City Chit Chat (a local group), Photoshop and Lightroom, Northwest Creative Collective, The Hummingbird Whisperer, Birds, PNW Photographers, Fstoppers, Hummingbirds Anonymous, and Birding Oregon. Example shown below.
As you can see just in the group alone my post got 343 likes, 49 comments, and 17 shares. and that's not counting the engagement from the group members who clicked the post and engaged with it directly from my page. I know those aren't crazy numbers but this is a small example of how a post can lead to many new followers on Facebook and Instagram. What you don't see in that screenshot is the link I posted to my Instagram on the original post. And that's how I convert Facebook followers to Instagram followers. Before I move on to another example there are a few important things to note:
1st. Make sure your account is public. You can't share your post in groups if your account is private. I'll save the details for a future post but I can assure you without question a post on your personal page will always get far more engagement than if you post on your business page. If you take anything from this article it's this: You will be far more successful putting all your effort into growing your personal page instead of a business page. Free engagement on a business page is absolutely awful and not worth your time. The goal after all is to get the most eyes on your work as possible so MAKE YOUR ACCOUNT PUBLIC.
2nd. Read and follow the rules of the group. Every group is different. Rules to lookout for are as follows:
Rule #1 Some groups don't allow you to share a post in the group from your page. They might require you to post straight into the group. No biggie, just make sure and check if they have a limit on how many photos you can post at one time. Some only allow 1-4 in one post.
Rule #2 Some groups don't allow links. So if you share a post from your personal page and you linked to your Instagram they may delete the post. For groups that don't allow links just say something like "@kickassdesigns on insta" in the caption. It is your job to read and follow the rules of each group!
3rd. Don't waste your time with groups that have little to no engagement. As shown below when searching for a relevant group to join only join groups that have 40K members and up. So out of the options below when I searched birding I would only join "Birds" and "Hummingbird Anonymous". After joining a group and being approved immediately check the engagement of the group. If there is alot of posts but no one is engaging with the posts leave the group and don't bother.
With all that in mind here's an example of how a post can go viral when a post is shared in the right facebook groups. The below post did good on my personal page but only hovered around 500 likes, 150 comments, and 300 shares until I shared it in the following groups: Oregon City Chit Chat (a local group), Photoshop and Lightroom, Northwest Creative Collective, PNW Photographers, Fstoppers, Art of Portrait Photography, Crisp nights & Halloween frights, I love Halloween, Extreme Halloween, Autumn fall and Halloween, This is Halloween, Cosplay, Spooky weird and cool, Amazing Cosplayers, Bette Midler Fans, Cosplayer Nation, and Mommy Needs a Vodka.
I really want you to think outside of the box. Notice how I didn't just share the below post in a cosplay group and a photography group and call it good. The key is joining and sharing in any group that's relevant. So What's relevant to my Hocus Pocus photos? Cosplay, Halloween, Autumn, Spooky, Photography, Portraits, Fall, Family, kids, Etc. So I searched all those key words in Facebook groups and joined all the ones I found that had good engagement. Needless to say that post alone got me countless new followers on Facebook and many converted to Instagram.
I have gone semi viral a few times thanks to this method and I promise you can too if your work is good and you follow the steps above. Another example: Let's say you're a landscape photographer and you shot a stunning photo of Mount Hood. Keywords I might search for in facebook groups are: Landscapes, PNW, Oregon, Photography, Hiking, Explore, Travel, Mountains, still life, nature, adventure, vagabond, Etc.
Another reason to share in Facebook groups, you never know who's in them looking for exactly what you have to offer. I shared a Photoshoot I did of a kid as Joker with batman in a group and the owner of Boredpanda saw it and wrote an article about the shoot and shared it to their massive audience which led to another article written by a Canadian news channel CTV and my local news.
My last tip: To keep your post showing up in the feed reply to every comment. But leave at least 45 minutes between each reply. and when you hit reply, type your comment and then click cancel, you'll then see a message that says "you're no longer replying to blank if you continue what you write will appear as a comment on your post." then click continue and post the comment. Facebook views this as a new comment each time and thus repopulates your post in the feed each time. ;)
I hope this article has helped. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. More information on how to grow your Instagram Following HERE.
25 Common Photography Terms New Photographers Need to Know
If you're anything like me, the first thing you'll do as a new photographer is watch countless YouTube videos to learn how to take that perfect shot, and although that's great, you'll hear words like “shutter speed,” “aperture,” and “ISO” thrown around and it can get really confusing really fast.
If you have ever found yourself feeling confused among your fellow photographers you have come to the right place. Today I will be defining all the most common photography terms that you need to know before you can grab your camera and head out to capture some kickass photos. Now before you get overwhelmed just remember rules are meant to be broken and you can absolutely still be a great and successful photographer without knowing all of these terms. Hell, I didn't know half of these terms for the first 3 years of my photography journey.
1. Aperture or f-stop
Considered one of the three pillars of photography—shutter speed and ISO being the other two—aperture refers to the opening in a lens through which light enters the camera. Meaning, if you want to capture a brighter photo, you will have to increase the aperture. And if you are aiming for a picture with less amount of light, you can use a smaller aperture.
Aperture not only affects the amount of light in the photos, but it also controls the depth of field (we will discuss this in detail later). While a wide aperture gives you a blurred background and shallow focus, smaller apertures work well for sharper images.
Additionally, an aperture is measured in “f-stop” or “f-number”—the letter “f” appears before the number. The small numbers represent a wider aperture, and the large numbers represent smaller apertures. So, f/2.8 will give you brighter photos and a blurrier background than f/11. For example f/2.8 is shown below.
2. Aspect Ratio
Simply put, the aspect ratio is the relationship between your image’s width and height. This is how aspect ratios are written: x:y (‘x’ stands for the width and ‘y’ for the height). While the aspect ratio might not seem important, it can immensely impact your photographs. If you change the aspect ratio, it will affect your subject’s position in relation to the sides of the frame.
Most of the cameras can capture images in 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, and 16:9 aspect ratio. While 1:1 is perfect for capturing square photos that you can post on social media platforms like Instagram, 16:9 is commonly used to capture videos.
Pro Tip: Don't use a 1:1 crop on Instagram, instead crop your photos to 5:4 for Instagram. Perfect for vertical portraits. This will take up the most space on your Instagram viewers feed and thus will standout more. :) More on How to grow your Instagram following HERE
Bokeh refers to those out-of-focus orbs of light in the background of an image with a subject in the foreground. Like the image below. That is called the bokeh effect, which is also the most used in camera effect in portrait photography.
Bokeh comes from a Japanese word meaning “blur.” This blurred background shifts the focus of the viewers towards the subject—the background blur results from the shallow depth of field, which is created using a wide aperture.
4. Burst Mode or Machine gunning
You might be aware of this feature as it is present in iPhones too. Burst mode or "machine gunning" as it is known around my condo is a camera function where you can capture a series of photos in quick succession. All you need to do is hold the shutter button down, and the camera will shoot continuously until it can’t process images anymore. If you've ever used this feature you'll understand the name.
This function is useful when you are trying to capture a fast-moving subject or short-lived candid moments. Photographers who cover sports events or wildlife commonly use this setting to get the perfect shot. This is how I achieved the below image.
5. Depth of Field (DoF)
Depth of Field is the range of distance that appears sharp or the area in the image that is in focus. While the shallow depth of field is best for portrait photography, where we do not want the background to be in focus, landscapes look better with a larger depth of field as the entire scene is in focus. Like the image below. But remember that the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus is gradual.
6. Digital Vs. Optical Zoom
Digital and optical zooms are the two primary ways of zooming in photography. Optical zoom requires changing the camera’s lens to get a closer view of the far-away object. Digital zoom, on the other hand, leverages magnification technology that enlarges a specific area of the image.
In optical zoom, the focal length increases; thus, the apparent proximity of the image changes. In other words, the lens moves away from the image sensor, enlarging the desired section of the image. Whereas digital zoom enlarges the pixels and crops out the rest of the image, thereby magnifying the subject.
Exposure refers to the overall brightness and darkness in your photograph. The three elements that determine the exposure value are ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. An image can either be overexposed (usually due to harsh sun and natural light) or underexposed. (Usually due to low light situations.) A picture is overexposed when its highlighted area is unreadable or washed out, and it is underexposed when the information in the shadows is missing—the concept is pretty much the same.
8. Exposure Compensation
Every modern camera and cell phone can automatically control the exposure settings. When in a low-lighting area, the camera increases the brightness on its own, and vice versa, so you get a decent picture. However, cameras can be a little aggressive while doing this, which results in an overexposed or underexposed image.
This is where exposure compensation comes into play. This means the photographer takes control and overrides the camera’s automatic settings. It is for this reason why I always shoot in manual mode. I prefer to manually maneuver the brightness to achieve my desired result.
9. File Format
In digital photography, pictures are stored as digital files. The three main types of files are TIFF, JPEG, and RAW. The choice of file format can impact the quality of your image. Besides, the file format should be decided based on the kind of post-processing you require. I recommended always shooting in RAW as this will give you the most control over your photos when editing.
10. Focal Length
The focal length can be defined as the distance between the optical center of the camera’s lens and its sensor. The camera lens mentions the information about its focal length. As a photographer you need to know the focal length as it determines how much space in front of you can be captured.
Example: A 15-30mm lens is considered a wide angle lens and will be able to capture more of what's in front of you. Great for tight spaces like indoor photography. On the flip side a 85-100mm + lens will capture far less of whats in front of you and far better for outdoor shooting.
A prime lens has a fixed focal length, such as 30mm, 50mm, or 85mm. This is different from a zoom lens, which can move between different focal lengths such as a 50-200mm. A prime lens will always be more expensive but that's because in most cases a prime lens will produce a sharper image than a zoom lens.
12. Flash Sync
Flash sync is used to synchronize your flash and the shutter release to illuminate the subject at a specific time. Usually, the flash fires at the beginning of the photo but with flash sync, you can manipulate that and adjust it to whenever you want the flash to fire.
13. Hot Shoe
A hot-shoe, or an accessory shoe, is simply a metal bracket on the top of your DSLR where you can connect external devices, such as off-camera flash units, a mic, or a bigger screen . A hot shoe is only found on advanced compact digital cameras and Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras.
Using ISO, International Organization for Standardization, you can adjust the brightness and darkness of your images. The higher your ISO, the brighter your pictures will be. That said, if you increase the ISO, it will have some other consequences on your image—too high ISO can result in a grainy image. Therefore, I advise you only to use ISO to brighten your images when you cannot do so using shutter speed or aperture.
15. Long Exposure
Long exposure photography leverages the low shutter speeds to capture unique-looking images. When the shutter speed is decreased, the moving elements in the image are artistically blurred to create a fascinating picture. The path that the moving elements take becomes visible in long exposure photography— Anything producing light will leave a trail, and waterfalls appear magically smoother like the image below.
In the “auto” mode, your camera adjusts all the settings, and all you have to do is press the button to capture the image. But in manual mode, you get full control of all the settings on your camera— for example you can modify the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Don't be intimidated by this. Learning how to shoot in manual mode from the get go will set you up for success and give you a leg up on your competition.
17. Full-frame / crop sensor
There are two types of cameras: full-frame and crop sensor. The sensor of a full-frame camera is equivalent to a 35mm film camera. A simple way to determine whether a DSLR camera is full-frame is by using the same 50mm lens on both a film camera and on the DSLR. Look through the viewfinder: does the focal length appear the same through both cameras? If so, the DSLR is full-frame. Best camera for beginners on a budget.
A crop sensor is smaller than a full-frame, which means that the sensor is actually cropping the edges of the frame. The same 50mm lens on a crop sensor will show a more zoomed in version of the same scene. This means that wide-angle lenses will be slightly less wide when used on a crop sensor camera as opposed to a full-frame.
Because full-frame cameras have larger sensors, they often perform better in low-light conditions. On the other hand, crop sensor cameras are often less bulky and less expensive than their larger counterparts.
Contrary to what a commoner would think, noise refers to a veil of grains in the photograph that obscures the details in a picture. It is similar to the noise or a “hiss” sound in audio recordings even when there is no background noise in the empty room. Though there is some noise in every image, pictures with higher ISO speeds have a considerable amount of noise or grain. To much noise or grain can destroy a photo but try adding a little bit in post for a more grungy look.
RAW is a digital image file that you store either on your camera or memory card. It is the file type that is entirely unprocessed and uncompressed. RAW images have a higher quality which makes them ideal for editing. But RAW files are very large, require special software to open, and take up a lot of space on your hard drive. As I said above, I always shoot in RAW because it gives me far more control editing the shadows and highlights in post.
20. Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the amount of time the camera’s shutter opens and exposes light onto its sensor. So, when your shutter speed is slow, your camera is spending more time taking the picture, which results in the motion blur effect as I pictured above. Alternatively, if you increase the shutter speed, you can freeze motion as pictured below. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second—¼ would mean a quarter of a second.
21. Shutter Release
The shutter release is simply the button of the camera that you press to take a picture. When the button is pressed, the camera’s shutter opens to capture the image and then closes.
A mirrorless camera is a type of camera that works without a reflex mirror. Unlike traditional cameras Light passes through the lens directly to the digital sensor, which then displays your image on the camera’s LCD screen, allowing you to adjust settings and preview your image before its shot. Benefits of going mirrorless include: More compact and lightweight, Electronic viewfinder (EVF), Image stabilization, Silent, and a Higher shooting speed.
23. Time Lapse
Time-lapse photography refers to a sequence of photos captured over some time. The images are later compressed into a video and allow us to see the beautiful changing of the scene faster. For best results, the camera is mounted on a tripod so that it can remain undisturbed for a longer period.
24. Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
When the light passes through the lens of a mirrorless camera, it appears directly onto the image sensor, offering a live view which then displays on the rear LCD screen. This image preview allows you to adjust settings like exposure, brightness, saturation, and contrast before snapping your photo.
25. White Balance
White balance is used to balance the color temperature in the image so that it does not appear unrealistic. In the process, an opposite color is added to the image to make it look natural. With the correct white balance, the white areas of your image will appear white rather than looking blue or orange. I however prefer a warm tone to my images so I adjust my white balance to be warmer in camera with that in mind. As shown in the image below. How you want your tones is totally up to you.
Once you have thoroughly learned these terms, you will not feel lost when someone uses them and as soon as you put them into practice you will be well on your way to becoming a professional photographer!
Preparing for a Photoshoot 101
As much as photo shoots can be exhilarating and fun, they also require preparations in advance for the perfect outcome. I don't suggest nonchalantly heading to a studio or location with your photographer you paid good money for, to have your pictures taken, and expect them to be perfect, as there is only so much that can be done in post-production. When you hire a personal branding photographer, having these tips on preparation in your back pocket will help assure you feel ready to go and fabulous on the day of your shoot. All these tips apply to the men also!
Have a healthy skincare routine
You’re beautiful. You’re perfect. You’re fabulous. Don’t feel pressured to stray too far (or at all) from your typical beauty/grooming routine. A gentle exfoliation for your face and lips the night before your shoot, followed by your favorite moisturizer will go a long way in helping your skin look it’s best.
Check that your hair, skin, brows, and nails are all clean, tidy, and groomed to your liking, and Voilá! You’re photo shoot ready!
Book ALL the Things (with a buffer)
Giving yourself that buffer allows your skin time to normalize and recuperate. It also provides a ‘woopsie’ window in case one of said services doesn’t quite turn out how you expected. More on this HERE
Don’t forget your teeth
If you have teeth staining do not worry, it's perfectly normal. Most people do. I suggest using white strips to
whiten teeth in a week. This will give them that little boost just before the shoot but if you can't afford them all is not lost. Any professional photographer can whiten your teeth in post per your request :)
Pay special attention to your hair
Don't neglect those beautiful locks. Preparing your hair for a photoshoot is just as important as your skin. Plan your next haircut for the week leading up to the shoot, even if just a trim to keep your hair looking fresh and on point. Opting for hair colouring is also a great idea if you have roots showing. Talk to your hairdresser about what hair style will best suit your face for your upcoming photoshoot.
I always recommend the week before your photo shoot use a nourishing, deep conditioning treatment on your hair. This will ensure it is healthy, strong and fabulous for your shoot.
If a hair stylist was booked with your photo shoot make sure to arrive with clean, dry hair. If a stylist is provided, simply ensure your hair is clean and dry when you arrive and they will style it for you upon arrival.
Take care of your hands and legs
Remember, photoshoots are not only about faces. Go for a manicure and a pedicure a day before your shoot, so that you can flaunt your legs and hands in your sleeveless/side slit dress. And if you wear a wedding ring, make sure to clean it to enhance the beauty of your hands.
Most of my clients like to show up with a fresh tan, if you want to get a spray tan rather than use a tanning bed before your photo shoot, I recommended you do this 2-3 days beforehand. This will allow time for the spray tan to settle and look natural on camera.
A spray tan or gradual self-tanner is certainly not necessary, but I find my clients love that warm and glowy skin tone in photos. But again you don’t need to do this – I totally advocate and encourage you to rock the skin you are in! If you do choose to tan, just be super careful that it is even – otherwise it can look underwhelming on camera.
Lastly, if you choose to, you can also go the waxing route for a cleaner smoother look but only if you've waxed before. If you haven't there is always a chance you could breakout and no one wants that right before a shoot.
Plan what to wear, bring options
Clothes are another essential element to pay heed to. Strategically putting complementary
pieces of clothes together will enhance your looks, resulting in a good looking photo. It's also a good idea to bring along 5-6 outfits that you love. You can even select those dresses which you might not wear because of their impracticality. More on what to wear HERE
Just relax and seize your day
Most importantly remember to stay hydrated and get a good night’s sleep to look fresh in your pictures. A photo shoot should be like a reward for yourself so go all out and pamper yourself the whole week leading up to the shoot. Not required but you deserve it. Finally, take on as little stress as you can the week leading up to the shoot. That means a week long news and media detox. Acknowledge everything in your life that brings you stress and negative feelings and avoid them at all cost. I always want my clients showing up to our shoot feeling fabulous, strong and sexy. Have fun!
As an average white male in his 20s I never really had any interest in fashion but as a photographer I have learned over the years not only how powerful and thought provoking fashion can be but how much impact it can have on a photo. As a photographer my model and I decide what look we want to convey before a shoot and choose wardrobe accordingly. Whether you're going for sexy, playful, vintage, gothic, fierce, professional, or regal, there's a fashion designer out there for everyone. We all know the big names in fashion design like Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Coco Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, Valentino Garavani, and of course Donatella Versace, but in this article I'd like to feature 15 fashion designers you may not know. I would categorize each of these designers as gothic Couture, dark, and regal.
Squirrel Vs Coyote & Squirrel Vs Coyote Jewelry are by an amazing designer out of Seattle Washington. Think Gorgeous Armor with a twist of Couture. It's unlike anything else you'll see on the market. I also love how high quality and durable her designs are. Most elaborate designs like theses are so delicate you're afraid to touch them but I've found from experience Squirrel Vs Coyotes designs are just as durable as they are beautiful. Check her website to see what's new.
Royal Black Couture & Corsetry is a brilliant Corset & Costume Designer out of Vienna / Austria. Barbara is known for her gorgeous tops and corset vests made in her signature style. If you love couture, costumes, corsetry and the craftsmanship behind it, chances are you already have seen some of her creations floating around Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Look for Royal Black on Patreon for more!
Lory Sun is a self taught artist out of Romania who is best known for her Avant Garde headpieces and corsets. Her luxury styled pieces have been featured on numerous A-list celebrities & in numerous magazines including Vogue and Elle. She has been interviewed by Cosmopolitan, Vice, and Cabinet Art Magazine, and also mentioned by Narcity in the article "30 Women With Badass Jobs In Boston". Her signature metal gloves are internationally adored and published by multiple magazines and fashion blogs such as Brilistyle, Actitud, Nuus, Doniso Punk, De Ulima, Biba and many more. Checkout her website to see what's available now.
Feral Decay is a Headdress Designer out of Seattle. Nicole specializes in horns, crowns, tiara's, fascinators, jewelry, and accessories. She's an amazing designer and even better friend. I'm honored to add her to this list. Don't miss her Etsy shop for more.
Alisa Perova is the Designer behind the Dark Couture Gothic Brand: Alice Corsets out of Kiev, Ukraine. She specializes in: Couture corsets, Alternative wedding gowns, Gothic, Wiccan, & Pagan wedding dresses, Dark Fairytale fashion, Haute Gothic, High Fashion Goth & Costumes for WGT, Masquerade Balls and Vampire Balls, etc. Her Gothic Victorian bustle dresses are epic. Don't miss her website for more.
Chris Serrano is the brilliant designer behind @christinaserranodesigns. She specializes in Handmade edgy designs and one of a kind accessories. Don't miss her Etsy Shop for more.
Memoria Obscura based out of Basel, Switzerland Specializes in Macabre & Fantasy Luxury Couture. This extremely talented designer has a big penchant for dark art. Memoria is not only a photographer, but a model, designer, metal head, & mother of cats. Don't miss her website and Etsy for more :)
Jolien Rosanne is the Uber Talented Designer behind Fairytas. Jolien takes international commissions for complete costumes, individual accessories and bridal. She does not replicate existing designs by other artists or costumes from shows/anime/etc. but she will create a unique Fairytas design inspired by a character or costume of your choice! Her work is some of the best you'll find.
Nigel Crow is a very gifted Crown, Headdress, & Wearable Art Designer out of Vegas. His work can be found in multiple large publications and on numerous A-list celebrities. Nigel is amazing and we've been talking about doing a Queen of the Damned concept with his designs but I still need to get him to Portland.
Linda Friesen is the legendary designer behind @lindafriesen.couture out of the Netherlands. She specializes in creating stunning custom designed gowns and dresses for private clients. If you'd like to have your fairytale gown brought to life contact her on her website.
Audrey Le Guyader is the remarkable Gothic Fashion Designer behind Wonderlandmc out of Paris France. I have used her designs on multiple shoots and will continue to use her crowns and jewelry in the future. Her work is dark yet elegant. I love it. If you're looking for afordable handmade goth Jewlery look no further than her very popular Etsy shop.
Hysteria Machine is an amazing Gothic Designer out of the UK.
Videnoir Couture just might be the hottest handmade Vampire Couture and Gothic Lingerie you will find in Italy, or perhaps the world. This Husband and Wife team of fashion designers creates the coolest Gothic Lingerie Iv'e ever seen. Check out their website for more.
IVY-Design is the brilliant work of design student Janina from Germany. In 2011 she founded the label, which is known worldwide for its special creations. As a professionally trained seamstress, she loves to design entire costumes, in particular she loves to make claws and headpieces from filigree metal parts.
IVY-Design tells fairytale stories through every creation and its creator Janina never ceases to dream of future pieces. Mostly inspired by nature and Chinese Hanfu crowns, the headpieces are reminiscent of spring-like walks in the forest, blooming meadows or enchanted castles. In addition to the creations that you can buy on her shop, Janina is always open to custom-made items. If you are looking for a very special piece, please do not hesitate to contact her on her website.
Miss G Designs is one of my favorite headdress companies based in California. Caley is the sole designer and maker of her one-of-a-kind creations. Miss G Designs came to life in San Francisco in 2010. Caley fell in love with the process of creating headdresses, excited by the idea that anyone could wear her designs no matter their age, sex, body type or style. She draws inspiration from nature, history, art, festival culture, fairytales and the creative humans in her life.
Her headdresses reflect the beauty and diversity of humanity, covering a huge range of styles to ensure there is something for everyone! Headdresses by Miss G Designs have been featured in numerous publications, music videos, short films, art galleries and museum exhibits.
Hope you enjoyed 15 of my favoite fashion designers on Instagram. If you like this article you might enoy my 8 Horror Photographers to Follow on Instagram or 10 of the Best Makeup Artists on Instagram. Have a Designer I need to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.
As a photographer, makeup plays an absolutely crucial role in how a photo turns out. Makeup can make or break a good photo. Luckily for me I work with some of the best makeup artists in the world. I work with MUA's who specialize in glamour, beauty, lifestyle, fashion, theater, and film but the focus of today's article will be on special effects makeup. Below are 10 of the best special effects makeup artists on Instagram you need to follow for mind blowing inspiration.
@taelorfx is my go to SFX makeup artist here in Portland for all my horror and heavy prosthetic concepts. Taelor should be doing makeup for Hollywood movies but currently does makeup for me, the local Portland haunted houses, random gigs and her killer TikTok feed under @taelorfxx. Follow her to see behind the scenes and watch her journey to Hollywood because I guarantee that's where she will end up.
@artbybmazz does amazing work. Not only is she an amazing makeup artist but she does it all on herself and takes her own photos. She creates something new and exciting almost every day like and it's always creative, fun, and beautiful. She does a great job at recreating a lot of well known characters you will be sure to love. Don't miss her amazing before and after transitions.
@phonyghost is not only an amazing makeup artist but an amazing model. I've worked with her here in Portland numerous times and she always blows my mind with not only her makeup ability but the costumes she makes from scratch. She is as talented and creative as they come.
@kosmickatie does beautiful, vibrant, colorful work. I love her use of neon colors. Most of her work is more body paint and less prosthetic but stunning none the less. She's also a stunning model and does all of her looks on herself. Check her out.
@ry_fx is an extremely talented self taught SFX makeup artist and Body Painter. Not to mention one of the best makeup accounts on Instagram. Nothing but raw talent and creativity. If you're looking for badass makeup inspiration look no further.
@khaleesiisaa is a magician with a makeup brush. Her work is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Her SFX work is some of the best I've seen on Instagram and TikTok. I literally can't get enough.
At only 21 @fx_freak is already one of the best special effects makeup artists you'll find on Instagram. She's one badass Monster Creator, Face/Body Painter, and Halloween enthusiast. She has a perfect blend of scary and pretty concepts on her page.
@ellie35x out of Scotland has over 356K followers on Instagram and you can see why. I mean her talent is undeniable. Notice the difference just a crown and jewels make in addition to the makeup. I love how she uses backdrops and jewelry to match her looks. All these elements combined make a beautiful piece of art. You will not find better makeup inspiration than this.
@zorinblitzz does some of the coolest makeup you will find on Instagram out of the UK. It's Gothic, it's beautiful, it's dark, it's twisted, it's inspiring, and it's down right kickass! Don't skip over this page if you're looking for inspiration.
@shaulrivas is a legendary makeup artist outside of the US. This page is a MUST follow for all your makeup inspiration needs.
I hope you enjoyed these amazingly talented artists and find the inspiration you're looking for. Make sure to check them all out on Instagram and connect with me there as well. @kickassdesigns
And checkout 8 Horror Photographers you need to follow.
What exactly is Horror photography? I view it as a sub genre of fantasy photography and surreal photography. It's art you want to see, but at the same time, wish you didn't. We have all experienced nightmares that feel real enough to leave us in a cold sweat. That's what a good horror photo should do. Most horror photography I've seen looks amateur, cheesy, and over the top gory but these artists I've listed below are as talented and creative as they come. Besides film, these artists are my biggest inspiration when it comes to horror & cosplay photography. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you like these don't miss The 10 best SFX makeup artists on Instagram.
1. Rick Jones @horrifymeuk
Rick Jones is not only an award winning horror makeup and portrait photographer based in the UK but also my biggest inspiration in horror photography. This dude is a legend in this niche. If it's fear, shock, disgust, or simply sheer bloody delight you're after look no further. Also don't miss his amazing Horrify Me Art Book. It will take your breath away.
2. Lance Reis @kickassDesigns
Oh he it's me :) I couldn't not put myself on this list, I mean it is my blog after all. But seriously, if you love horror photography I would love to connect with you on Instagram. Only about half my work is horror, the rest is Fashion, lifestyle, boudoir, and cosplay. I am blessed to work with some of the best special effects makeup artists in the US. My work isn't quite as gory as Ricks work so if you're looking for something slightly more PG13 My work might be for you.
3. jannike @jannikeviveka
What I love about Jannike is she takes her own photos, styles her own photos, and edits her own photos. I love her dark Gothic style. Check her out on Instagram and don't miss her gorgeous prints on Etsy.
4. Joshua Hoffine @joshuahoffine
Joshua Hoffine is one of my favorite horror photographers just from a creative standpoint. He's also one of the most recognized photographers in the world. He is a pioneer in Horror photography niche. Joshua stages his photo-shoots like small movies, with sets, costumes, elaborate props, fog machines, and SPFX make-up. Everything is acted out live in front of the camera. Beyond his amazing skills behind the camera I appreciate the time and effort that goes into his elaborate sets and costumes. Don't miss his best work on his website.
5. Ashley Nicole @ashleyvonhelsing
Ashley Nicole is a Director, Photographer, & Designer out of Los Angeles. Most of her work is less horror and more dark & Gothic but deserves to be on this list all the same. Her Photoshop work is inspiring. Check her out on Instagram and find even more on her website. You wont be sorry.
6. Jeff @seventh.voyage
Jeff is more of a Digital artist than a photographer but does both. He's a Photoshop and Blender wizard. He just might be my favorite digital artist and not all of his work is horror. A lot of his work is beautiful with brilliant use of famous Hollywood characters we know and love. Don't miss his Prints & Photoshop Course on his website.
7. Stefan Koidl @stefankoidl
Okay so what if Stefan isn't a photographer and this is a list for photography. He's an amazing artist in the horror space out of AT, Salzburg and a lot of his work actually looks like photos. Most importantly though he's a huge inspiration to myself and other horror photographers. His work is terrifying without being creepy. Don't miss out on his beautiful Prints.
eyesoflamia is another one of my favorite digital artists that's both horrifying and beautiful.
Any photographer you might work with will have an Instagram account and there is a lot you can learn just from their page. Look at this like a background check for potential photographers or really anyone you'll be meeting in person for the first time. These 5 tips are even more important if you were contacted randomly by a local photographer on Instagram. This happens all the time and isn't necessarily a bad thing unless the photographer is unprofessional. It's crucial to identify their motive. Below I will address 5 questions you should ask yourself when using Instagram to identify a predator.
1. Is their page new?
If a local photographer slides into your DM it's a huge red flag if their account is new. Not a deal breaker but something to look into. It’s common for predators to use fake accounts just long enough to take advantage of someone and then delete that account and start a new one under a new name as to not get caught. So make sure to check the dates on their posts to see how long they've had an account.
2. Whats their engagement like?
If the account is new, poor engagement is to be expected but if the account has been around for a while and they have a larger following you can expect to see higher engagement. An account with a large following but very little engagement (likes & comments) is a huge red flag.
One of the most common tricks predators like to use to deceive an aspiring model is purchasing followers so they appear to be popular. It’s cheaper than you might think. Luckily it’s easy to spot. If the account has 20k, 30k, 60k, or even 100k with Little engagement that means their followers were purchased. Remember purchased followers do not engage. They are fake accounts. That being said likes and comments can also be purchased from fake accounts so it’s best to take a look at the accounts those comments are coming from and make your best judgment.
3. Do they tag their models?
Every professional photographer who uses Instagram knows it’s correct etiquette to tag your model. If you notice there aren’t any models tagged in the photos that’s a huge red flag. It’s common for predators to use other photographers photos so they appear like a real photographer obviously in this case they won’t be tagging the model as to not get caught.
4. What's their content like?
This one should be obvious but what is their content like? Is it classy? Does it look professional or amateur? Is it high-quality or subpar? Are they all nudes? If so are they artistic or grotesque? Are they in good taste or explicit? More often than not if an account is full of amateur low quality nudes you can assume it’s a GWC - Guy with a camera. The GWC has no interest in becoming a real photographer, all they are interested in is acquiring as many nudes as they can. They are easy to spot.
5. What do their models have to say about them?
As I said above, any professional photographer will tag their models which makes it really easy for you to DM the model and ask about their experience. Of all five tips this one is the best and most important way to vet a photographer as there are no reviews on Instagram. Just to be safe I suggest reaching out to multiple models they have worked with.
Along with these tips keep in mind that a Predator can still be a legit, popular, & talented photographer so use your best judgement and always trust your gut. I have more tips on model safety HERE. If you have any tips to add to this list please leave them in the comments below and connect with me on Instagram HERE
Whether you're a seasoned model or you're interested in your very first photo shoot I've put together these 6 tips that you need to know to keep you safe. It's no secret, photography is a saturated market. No matter where you live there are probably countless photographers in your area to choose from and although this diversity is great it makes it easy for a few bad apples to blend right in. In this article you will find all the red flags you should look out for when choosing a photographer.
1. Vet them with Instagram.
Any photographer you might work with will have an Instagram account and there is a lot you can learn just from their page. Look at this like a background check for potential photographers or really anyone you'll be meeting in person for the first time. This tip is the most important and lesser known of the group, so to keep this article short and sweet I address 5 questions you should ask yourself when using Instagram to identify a potential predator in another article - Vetting with Instagram.
2. Bring an escort.
Whether you’re a man, woman, boy, or girl, if you feel more comfortable bringing an escort to a shoot the answer should ALWAYS be yes. If the photographer gives you an excuse why you need to come alone that is a huge red flag. Other photographers will argue with me all day about this but there is no excuse. If you feel uneasy don’t hesitate to bring someone with you, just make sure it’s not someone who will distract you.
3. Google them.
Any professional photographer will not only have Instagram but a website. You won’t find reviews on Instagram but you will find reviews on Google or yelp if they are legit. If you can't find any reviews by googling them that's a huge red flag.
4. Ask for references.
As I mentioned above I suggest contacting models they have worked with on Instagram but if they don’t have an Instagram ask them for references, people they’ve worked with that you can contact. Preferably multiple.
5. Know what's to be expected.
What you both expect should always be discussed before the photo shoot that way there is no surprises in the moment. If shooting nudes or in your underwear was never discussed before the shoot it is extremely unprofessional for the photographer to try to persuade you to do so.
If your photographer is pushing you to do some thing you don’t want to do and you feel uncomfortable you have every right to leave immediately. And if you didn’t drive you can always pretend you’re texting your Dad but really hail a Lyft and then pretend you need to take an important call from your Dad and walk out. Say some thing loudly like “Dad hold on I have to get somewhere quiet what’s going on!?” and wait for your driver to show up.
6. Check the local black list.
Most big cities like Portland will have a list of photographers who’ve been blacklisted for being inappropriate with their models. The photographers on these lists have had multiple complaints and should be avoided. These can usually be found in your local modeling safety group on facebook.
7. Drive separately.
Many photo shoot’s will require a drive, sometimes over an hour each way so unless you know and trust the photographer drive separately and if they persistently insist that you drive together this is a huge red flag. A predator will always suggest you drive with them.
8. Tell someone where you're going.
Always tell someone where you’re going and who you're shooting with. Send the address and time frame to a friend or family member so they know where you’re going what you’re doing and when. In a future post I'll discuss how you can send your current GPS to anyone. It's not a bad idea to send them the year, make, and model of the photographers car either.
9. Notice their Demeanor
What's their demeanor like? Do they communicate in a professional manner? Notice how they communicate with you. Are they rude? Are they Pushy? How many times have they complimented your looks? Have they asked you to send them risqué photos for any reason? It's common for predators to ask for photos "so they know what they are working with".
10. Don't* fly to meet a photographer
I hesitate to say “don’t” because I am sure there are rare occasions where models are flown out to other cities legitimately for photo shoots but more often than not those are signed models and the flight is setup through their agency. If a photographer not working with an agency offers to fly you somewhere he is expecting more than photos. so if someone throws out this offer ask what company they work for and verify everything with that company and use the tips mentioned above to vet the company as well. And for the love of God don’t travel alone.
I hope this article helped, if you have anything to add to this list please comment below. I don't mean to scare you, as a whole I love the Portland photography community and we look out for each other but like with most things there is a dark side. Always use your best judgment and go with your gut.
Bring Protection: It's never a bad idea to bring some kind of protection. Taser, pepper spray, knife, etc.
Be aware of Fraudulent Modeling Agencies with these Tips
I get asked constantly what camera and lens I recommend for beginners so I thought now would be the perfect time to write an article answering that very question. My first camera was a NikonD90. I shot on that for about a year. It worked fine but I never liked that camera very much. Finally I bought a Sony Alpha A6000 and a 30MM lens from a friend and I've been a Sony fan ever sense. Whenever a new photographer asks me for a recommendation on a starter camera and lens for portrait photography under $700 I always recommend the Sony Alpha A6000 and here's why:
Best camera for Beginners on a Budget
1. The Size
One of my and so many other photographers favorite things about mirrorless cameras and Sony specifically is the size and more specifically how small and compact they are. These babies are so light you can go out and shoot for hours and barely notice its weight around your neck.
Sony offers plenty of smaller prime lenses that keep your kit small and compact without sacrificing image quality, my go to lens for portraits is the Sony 50mm f/1.8 - $348 or the Sony 85mm f/1.8 - $598
Pro tip: When looking for a lens, the lower F stop you can get the more narrow focus you can achieve and more importantly the more light you can bring in to your camera allowing you to shoot portraits in darker situations. The lower the Fstop the higher the price but totally worth it in my opinion.
2. View Finder
My favorite thing about my Sony mirrorless camera is the adjustable electronic viewfinder. Having the ability to preview your images on a larger screen before you take it will not only make your work more consistent but reviewing images with your clients on the spot has never been easier. Probably the biggest perk you get with an electronic viewfinder is getting a realtime preview of what your exposure will be. However there's a caveat, cameras with electric view finders (EVF) typically have significantly shorter battery life compared to cameras with optical viewfinders. So always have extra batteries on hand.
3. Image Quality
When it comes to image quality you will be pressed to find anything this good for this price. Coming from a NikonD90, I can say without a doubt that the Sony sensor trumps the Nikon sensor when it comes to dynamic range and shadow recovery without question.
The SonyA6000 offers unreal resolution at 24.3 mega pixels, dynamic range, and sharpness like you wouldn't believe, especially when coupled with the Sony 50mm f/1.8 - $348 or the Sony 85mm f/1.8 - $598
4. Eye Auto focus
Blurry portraits are a thing of the past thanks to Sony's continuous eye auto focus feature that allows you to get tack-sharp focus on your subjects eye at the push of a button. In good light the SonyA6000 is very accurate and consistent. In low light however it doesn’t work as well and has been known to revert back to facial recognition.
I love this feature because I don't have to focus and recompose my shot or keep adjusting my focus point. You know when it's working because It places a little box around your subjects eye and it will continuously track it as they pose and move around. As someone who likes to shoot at F1.8 this is a must-have feature.
5. Full Manual Control
As someone who shoots in full manual mode 100% of the time I've never understood cameras that only offer partial manual control. The SonyA6000 allows you to be in total control of your ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture so you can get the best results. Of course, if you feel more comfortable shooting in program modes, this camera has those too.
6. The Price
Right now you can get a Sony Alpha a6000 24.3MP Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm OSS Lens, 64GB SD Card, 40.5mm 3-Piece UV, CPL, FLD Filter Kit, 12-inch Spider Tripod, Two Batteries and a Dual Charger Pack, Digital SLR Camera Bag Bundle, and HDMI to Micro HDMI Cable all for just $698!! You wont find a better camera and lens for that price. It's the perfect starter kit and on top of that you could still purchase the Sony 85mm f/1.8 as an extra lens all for around $1,000!! Can't beat that!
1. Low Light Auto Focus
Now that I own a SonyA7iii, I have become accustomed to having great low-light autofocus. When I began using my Sony camera (the A6000) I couldn’t believe how inconsistent it was focusing in low light but I just figured that's what all Sony's were like. But that's not to say you cant still get a great photo in low light, you just have to be patient, take extra photos to be safe and be very still. More on shooting in low light HERE
2. Grain in Low Light with High ISO
Once again now that I own a SonyA7iii, I have become accustomed to having great low-light high ISO with little grain.
I noticed with my SonyA600 I was getting alot of noise in low light situations with my ISO above 500 that I no longer get with my SonyA7iii. I can crank that baby up past 1,200 and still have no grain :)
3. Battery Life
The one thing I will give Sony cameras a lot of shit for are their offensive battery life especially when compared to a DSLR.
Owning over 6 batteries has allowed me to never run out of juice while shooting a wedding or photoshoot, but having to always be aware of the battery life can be annoying. Charging the batteries every night can also become a nuisance, so make sure you own multiple battery chargers as well. For more Free Resources click HERE and make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
A majority of my female clients hire me for my outdoor boudoir photography so I thought I would give you guys some tips on shooting nude in nature without a flash or reflector. These tips will mainly be focused on photography but I plan on writing another article on how to prepare for an outdoor boudoir photo shoot for clients & models. In this article I'll discuss 6 outdoor boudoir photography tips on using natural light, choosing a location, evaluating the location, timing, making your clients comfortable, and what to bring.
6 Tips for Boudoir Photography, Outdoors.
Tip #1 Location
Okay so you know you're shooting outside but where? You will want a beautiful location to use as a backdrop. For outdoor boudoir I consider the location as the 2nd subject. It's just as important as the posing of your subject. I will admit I am spoiled living in the Pacific North West as we have the greenest most lush forests in America, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, and mountains but no mater where you're located I promise you have nature somewhere near by. Look for a location that will also be secluded. Find my tips on Location Scouting HERE
Tip #2 Evaluate the Location
Now that you've decided on a location do your best to evaluate and prepare. It's always a good idea to visit the area before meeting a client there. Be aware of any obstacles or poison Ivy. Be aware of the weather and temperature. A desert location, mountain location, or beach location will all have different weather and temps. Is your subject posing in water? How cold is the water? Could be a hot day but the water might be freezing. Prepare for that. What will the lighting be like at the time of day you're shooting? This will make a huge difference. Where will the sun be rising, where will the sun be setting. I use an app called PhotoPills to know ahead of time the direction of the sun at a specific location.
How popular is the location? Know the up and down times. Maybe you're shooting at or near a popular landmark or in a national park. For an intimate shoot like this you will want somewhere as secluded as possible. If it's a popular trail sometimes off trail is best. How long is the hike from the car to destination? You should always know this and prepare accordingly and make sure your client knows what to expect. Of course the closer to the car the better in most cases. Be aware of parking fees and road conditions. Will the parking require a parking pass?
Check out more Free Resources HERE
Is the location on private property? This is a big one I run into all the time. When it comes to trespassing I can't tell you it's a good idea. That being said I do it all the time. However my caveat is this: I would never trespass on property that is currently occupied. That's just dangerous and extremely rude. But if I come across somewhere that's clearly abandoned I'll usually take my chances. Just don't forget it is against the law and I've been caught trespassing more than once. It's never fun. Any chance you get to ask for permission you should.
Tip #3 Timing is everything
In most cases sunset wont be an option as most trails will be too busy at that time so know when sunrise is and try to be at the location and ready to shoot around an hour after sunrise if in the forest. If out in the open be there at sunrise. GPS the location from you and your client to location so everyone knows when to get up with enough time to get ready and drive to location. Sometimes a location will be an hour and 30 out so you will both have to get up by 3 or 4 AM to make it in time. Sure it sucks but it's worth it. Offer to buy your client coffee if you carpool. If shooting in the forest know how thick the canopy is. This will make a massive difference in how much lighting you'll have. If the canopy is too thick it may be too dark without a flash. More tips on shooting in low light without a flash HERE
Tip #4 Make your client comfortable
This one is the most important, you need to not only make sure your subject is comfortable temperature wise but also being completely naked or semi naked in front of the camera. If you act inappropriate or creepy your subject won’t be comfortable and it will show in your photos and more importantly it makes you an awful photographer and even worse human being. Always be professional and accommodating. Your client is putting all their trust in you, don't let them down. If a client expresses to you that bringing someone with them would make them more comfortable your answer should ALWAYS BE YES.
Tip #5 What to Bring:
Make sure you bring all your standard gear. Make sure your client brings sandals or shoes they can slip on and off with ease. Offer to bring a warm robe or blanket for your client if they don't have one. A warm robe or blanket is a must because you'll want something they can slip on and off really fast in case anyone walks by. Just because your client is okay being nude or semi nude in front of people doesn't mean passerby's want to see that. It's just best to respect everyone. Bring bug spray, if you're in nature there will be bugs without a doubt. I even carry a lighter incase my client or I get a tick.
Water and snacks are also good to have on hand. Find out if your client is wanting to shoot nude or in lingerie before the shoot. This way you can make sure they know if wearing lingerie (in the forest) it should be a bright color like white, pink, or red. This way they will stand out and you'll get alot more contrast between them and the greenery. The forest tends to be dark so dark colors can get lost in the background.
Tip #6 Know your lighting
Odds are whether you are out in the open or shooting in the forest your lighting will be all overhead lighting unless you have a flash. I don't use a flash or reflector for my outdoor photography. You'll need to direct your subject so that the light is hitting all the right places. With overhead lighting it’s easy to get unflattering harsh shadows. Use the shadows to your advantage. If the light is coming from above and you're getting harsh shadows make sure you position your subjects face and body up towards the light. I'll show you some examples of how I pose my subjects for this very occasion below. For more tips on using natural light click HERE
In closing: Just make sure your client knows what to expect beforehand so there's no surprises. Make sure your client knows anytime you're shooting in nature with little to no clothes bug bites and rashes are always a risk but you will do everything in your power to avoid them. Check out the Free Resources tab for more free photography tips and connect with me on Instagram HERE
Author Lance A Reis
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