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.
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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!
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.
Comic Con is a great place to see and take photos of some of your favorite super heroes and villains. It's chalk full of great photo opportunities. Search Comic Con on google and you will find thousands of photos of the most amazing costumes you've ever seen. You will also find thousands of very poorly executed photos. My goal with this article is to make sure you don't fall into that category. Elevate your game at the next Con with these 8 tips. If you like the photos below make sure and check out more of my work on Instagram HERE
Tip 1. Always Ask for Permission
This is the biggest mistake photographers make at conventions. If you’re shooting at a convention or any other event where there are cosplayers, it’s always best to ask for the cosplayers permission before taking pictures of them. Your shots are guaranteed to be better if your model is fully aware of your camera pointed at them. They’ll be much more willing to strike different poses and maybe even allow you to direct the shot so you can have more control over the final image. The cosplayers I know hate it when someone gets a candid photo of them when they weren't ready. They don't want photos on the internet shoving food in their face while on a break half dressed and not in character. So do them and yourself a favor and ask for permission before you take their photo.
Tip 2. Cosplay is Not Consent
Okay this tip wont really help you take better photos but it needs to be said. Let's face it many costumes for female leads in Hollywood are revealing so you are bound to see many ladies of all ages in revealing outfits. This in no way gives you permission to touch them. Maybe just assume every cosplayer you meet doesn't want to be touched in any shape or form. That goes for males and females. If you need to touch the cosplayer to help with posing always ask first but usually this can be done verbally or visually. Having your photo taken with a cosplayer still isn't an excuse to touch them. Odds are you don't know this person so just go the Keanu Reeves route and hover a hand behind them or to the side.
Tip 3. Allow them to Get Ready before you take the photo.
Look, I get it, Comic Con is very exciting. As a photographer you want to take as many photos of your favorite characters as you can. However, just like photography in general, it helps to take the time to compose your shot and wait until your subject is ready before taking the photo. Allow them a few seconds to put on their masks, take off their hoodie, fix their costumes, touch up their makeup, and get into character for your shot. This also shows respect for the craft and for their hard work in putting their costumes together. They will appreciate it.
Tip 4. Create a Scene for the Character.
When you can, choose a background that complements your character. You probably wont have much time or freedom to move your subject around, but there are always better options than capturing them exactly where and how you found them. Unless you're really good at composites try to avoid shooting in the convention center at all costs. Your best option will always be to give the cosplayer your card and plan a shoot at a future date at a studio or on location.
If that's not an option familiarize yourself with your subject, and then quickly think of how you can make them connect with the available space. You should have done your research before hand and should know the area around the convention center well before you go. For example, if you’re shooting a Spider-Man cosplayer as seen above, you can simply ask them to pose like they are climbing the nearest wall out side or pose like they just landed from a high vantage point. In this case we used a dumpster in the alley behind the convention center. I dig the industrial urban feel of this photo.
Tip 5. Use Natural Lighting when you can.
For the love of god Avoid using your camera’s pop-up flash at all costs and stick to natural lighting. If shooting inside during the day shoot near doorways or windows that allow sunlight in to make your subjects look as natural as possible. For the Joker photo above we went outside the Convention center at sunset and shot in the alley. As you can see the natural light from above and the light from the building lit the subject perfectly. If it was dark I would have him stand in the door way and just use the available light from the building above the door for a more dramatic photo. Your subject doesn't always need to be lit perfectly. There is no need to bring anything more than one camera and lens to get banger photos at Con.
Tip 6. Shoot from Different Angles
Always experiment with different orientations and angles. I hate it when photographers only shoot straight on. Don’t be afraid to shoot up from below, especially for villains and other mysterious characters. This type of shot will work well for a character like the Darth Maul, as this perspective can highlight the makeup and the distorted angle will give viewers an unsettling feeling that matches his presence on screen. Shoot straight on, shoot downward, shoot from below, shoot close up, shoot from far away. Change it up and see what works.
Tip 7. Communication is key.
Don’t just snap away. Take time to communicate with your model and ask them about how they want their photos to be interpreted and shot. Depending on your skills and experience, this can open you up to more options that you previously may not have thought of. You can also help the cosplayer achieve their goals and attract their target viewers. Communication goes a long way. If you think a pose could be better with a minor adjustment make sure to speak up. The model can't see themselves.
Tip 8. Posing, Use Pinterest.
Now most of the time the cosplayer will know the popular poses of the character they are portraying but if they don't you should have the pinterest App. on your phone ready to go. Just type in the characters name and Boom! Tons of great ideas for posing. I can't stress this one enough.
and Don't forget!!
7 Tips for a viral Cosplay photo.
I wanted to put together a short list of what I find to be the most important elements in making a viral photo. This might surprise you but it's not an expensive camera, nor is it bulky expensive lighting equipment. Do you need access to a studio or years of experience with Photoshop? Nope. The 7 elements below are all you need for a viral photo. However going viral is never guaranteed, but if you hit all these points and a little bit of luck your odds will go WAY up. As seen below I've had multiple photo shoots go viral and my work has been featured on both local and international news outlets more than once. If you like what you see below find more of my work on Instagram HERE
I'm a huge advocate of shooting on location rather than doing composites. (cutting out the background and replacing it with something else in Photoshop) The more you can get in camera the less work you have to do in post. Just my personal preference. This will require location scouting. My favorite tool for this is hashtags on Instagram or searching by location. Choosing a location that fits the theme is crucial. As an example above I knew I'd be shooting a fairy theme so I knew a forest made more traditional sense than urban. So when location scouting for the perfect forest scene I found a park close by that had a huge mushroom big enough to walk inside. I knew this would save me a ton of Photoshop and with the right perspective would make my model seem smaller which is what you want for a fairy theme. Model: @Lexylovestruck
Obviously when shooting Cosplay the outfit will be the biggest factor in making a banger photo. When searching for cosplayers to collaborate with I always look for screen accurate costumes. You probably don't have the money to go buy an outfit for thousands of dollars for the right model to wear. So search Instagram & local cosplay groups on Facebook to find the perfect cosplayers in your area that already have the outfits. They put in a lot of money and time to make beautiful costumes for Comic-con. They just need YOU to help bring that costume to life. Model: @hoptownspidey
When it comes to cosplay, especially horror cosplay nothing can ruin a good photo faster than bad makeup. If you don't use a professional makeup artist especially when using prosthetics a terrifying horror cosplay can turn cheesy as hell real quick. The difference between Hollywood quality horror and a family friendly haunted house is the makeup so choose a cosplayer who is a skilled MUA or find a local SFX MUA to team up with. My MUA for the photo above is the very talented @taelorfx Model: @starbar_1
Props are a key element to any great cosplay. Usually the cosplayer will have props they've made to go with their costume but in the case they haven't you can search Instagram for a prop maker and have one made. That's what I did for the axe and helmet seen above. I was lucky enough to find a very talented local prop maker @dragonbornjedi and as you can see above if you took away the axe and helmet the photo wouldn't be as compelling. Makeup by @taelorfx Model: @ThePDXViking
If you want a photo to go viral cosplay or not there needs to be a compelling story. The story doesn't need to be obvious but there needs to be enough emotion and information in the photo for the viewer to make up their own story. In the photo above I have a beautiful mermaid who's conveying so much emotion in her face, that alone makes the viewer ask why. Why is she so sad? Now add some wind, rain, sparks, and a pirate ship in the distance and you've got a story. What's the story? That's up to the viewer. Whether it's sadness, happiness, or straight up horror make sure your viewer feels something. Model: @LittyLeRouge
6. Most importantly: Casting!
This is the most underrated key to a successful cosplay photo. If I'm searching for a model for a particular character I put out a casting call on social media and try to find a person that looks most like the character. When I wanted to recreate the Pulp Fiction movie poster I knew I wanted someone with the same build and facial structure as Uma Thurman. So look for certain characteristics in the character you'd like to shoot and find someone who matches for the best success. Model: @1wonderbug
7. Engage with your Audience
No matter how good the photo is you can't just post it and hope for the best. You need to actively engage with your audience. It's as simple as thanking everyone who comments and or shares your post. Not only does this show appreciation to your fans but also keeps your post at the top of the feed. I see photographers with smaller followings fail miserably at this and they wonder why they don't see engagement or growth. Not engaging with your fans shows them you only care about yourself. TAKE THE TIME to show them you appreciate them!
Clark County ScareGrounds was nice enough to invite me to their haunted house in Ridgefield Washington to take some promo photos of Beetlejuice & Lydia. As a huge Tim Burton fan I couldn’t resist. Trevor does the best Beetlejuice cosplay I’ve ever seen and in person his impersonation is even better. Make sure to see him live in preson every weekend in October.
Trevor is a man of many faces. I’ve photographed him as Beetlejuice, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers. All of which you can find on my Instagram.
If you enjoy this set make sure to check out my Instagram & facebook where I’m posting 31 days of Halloween Cosplay photos.
Models: Sam York & Trevor Heineman-Overton /// Shot on my SonyA7iii at the one and only Clark County ScareGrounds. The ScareGrounds is conveniently located at the Clark County Event Center, 17402 NE Delfel Rd, Ridgefield, WA 98642. Parking is FREE!
More info: Facebook | Instagram
WARNING ⚠️ Some images in this post may be distressing to some. They depict The realities of war. Viewer discretion is advised.
I became a photographer to tell stories. Some beautiful & some sad. As a story teller I want you to feel emotion when you see my photos. I want to share the beautiful side of life but that’s too easy & everyone is doing it. Fact is life is pain. We all experience tragedy & I think it’s just as important to show that side of life. Few things are as tragic as war. I wanted to do a concept in honor of fallen soldiers but I don’t sugar coat things. War is hell and I hope we conveyed that here.
I flew to Texas to shoot this with my brothers and I am extremely honored they agreed to be a part of this and I am forever grateful for their many years of service and dedication to make an impact.
If you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD call 1-800-273-8255 then press 1.
Professionally trained clinical staff can help with substance abuse treatment, marital counseling, treatment for depression and PTSD. Run by the VA. Since 2007. Over 18,000 life-saving interventions. Answered 500,000 calls.
Vets: Ryan O & Brendan D. | Midland Texas | Shot on my SonyA6000 | Smoke from my good friends at Oregon Airsoft Arena
Horror Cosplay - Nightmare on Elm Street
Huge thanks to my Models: @goblin_teeth & @alyxandriamodel for helping me bring Freddy to life. Smoke purchased from: @oregonairsoftarena by @smokegrenades All shot on my SonyA6000 in Portland Oregon. See more concepts like this one on my Instagram below.
Horror Cosplay - Halloween
Huge thanks to my Models: @andrewgcalleri & @missmerandalynn & @goblin_teeth for helping me bring this Halloween concept to life. It was a blast! And yes we did sacrifice a guitar for this concept. Also the face on the pumpkin wasn't planned but I find it hilarious :) No one was hurt in the making of this series. All shot on my SonyA6000 in Portland Oregon. See more concepts like this one on my Instagram below.
Oh boy.... Wedding photography. My style of wedding photography is more like street photography in that my focus is candid moments NOT posed moments. The thing I hate about traditional wedding photography is all the fake posing that goes into it. I mean, as much as I’d love to stand around for hours lining people up, ordering them around and taking photographs of every combination of family member & guest, I’d rather focus on all the small truly meaningful moments that seem to go unnoticed. To me those moments are what matter.
Things happen at a Wedding, things that make your wedding yours, unique to you, and if Your photographer is busy ordering people around They’re going to miss those things. Your feet will be tired from standing and your face will hurt from fake smiling so much and you’ll have missed those things too. It’d be like those things never happened and all you’ve really got to look back at are groups of people, annoyed people, with forced smiles.
Uniqueness doesn't have a template, it doesn't have a formula and it certainly can’t be pigeon holed.
If a photographer comes to your wedding with any idea about how it should be, should look or should not look, then that’s not your wedding, or at least it’s not how your wedding should be documented.
Breathtaking locations, emotion and gesture and dancing and wine and door knobs and fancy lights and funny faces and shoes should all be treated the same.
Those things are yours on your day, and it all means something to you.
I don't offer packages and there is no set amount of time that I’ll be there. I can’t tell you exactly how many photographs you’ll get, but I can tell you that you’ll get all the moments that matter. They're yours, I make them for you. If you or someone you know is looking for a non traditional wedding photographer contact me HERE
Author Lance A Reis
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