Category Archives: Featured

Gallery Show

After moving from Houston to Abilene I started looking for a way to connect with other photographers in the area and ended up joining the West Texas Photographic Society. This group has been around for decades and has monthly meetings that alternate between instruction and photography contests.

They also have an annual show at the Abilene Center for Contemporary Arts. This year that show started on October 11 and will hang until the end of November. I was lucky enough to join just in time to be part of this show. Any member’s work can be part of the show. Many of the photographer members didn’t think they had work worthy of it. Of those who did, it was their best work. Each member can display up to 6 images in the show.

It was an amazing experience to see my work hanging on the walls of a museum*.

I’m going to write a couple of posts on different ways to look at your work, but picking the 6 images you want to hang in an art show is an experience that really helps you think about your work.

For one thing, I didn’t put my six best images. Instead I tried to pick a theme for my images and selected my best work in that theme. Which meant some of the images I consider my best I didn’t use because they didn’t fit the theme.

I actually couldn’t pick six images in one theme and of sufficient quality. Instead I picked two sets of 3 in two different themes: “Girls with Guns” and “Fantasy”.

You give the gallery the images and they hang them. So you aren’t guaranteed to have them grouped like you expect. In my case they seem to have done it more by shape – grouping the verticals and the horizontals – than by content. Something to think about if you are in this situation.

I also learned how to stack my framed images so the hangers don’t scratch the frames, but not before I’d already done it. Good thing I picked black frames so I could fill in the scratches with a sharpie.

This just goes to show, when you get into photography you never know where you will end up.

* Is the ACCA a museum or art gallery? I’m not sure. I’ve always thought of it as a museum, but google maps says it is an art gallery, and if good says it is must be true right?

116 Photog Paul Manoian

(16:20) Michigan photographer Paul Manoian started out in portraits and moved into model photography. Listen to him talk about that change and how working with models is different. He also give tips on getting into secret places.

In the banter we talk about movies we’ve walked out on.

Paul’s Website

Listener Questions



The Libertine
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
The Saddest Music in the World
Austin Powers

Carly Francavilla’s website
Carly Francavilla’s MM
Jacqueline Craig’s MM
Dan Lippitt

115 Mike Roberts Portfolio Review

(21:17) We created a video of Shawna and I critiquing Mike Robert’s Model Mayhem portfolio. Something a little different. We tried to be nice, but Shawna had to do a voice imitation. You want to check this out.

Listener Questions



Mike Robert’s Portfolio
The forum post that started it all.

White Balance Trick: Tungsten and Natural Light

Thursday I had a comercial shoot during the day at the studio and needed to be somewhere downtown in the evening so I decided I’d just hang out at the studio while one of my partners shot. Bob Warren was shooting traveling model Hollis Ireland that evening and invited me to come along. He planned to go to a number of places around the studio and shoot just using natural light. Hollis is super hot redhead so it didn’t take much arm twisting to get me to come along.

The sun was fast dropping and the Texas wild fires where doing interesting things to the golden hour light. When we got to our last location the sun was almost down. We were shooting under an overpass, using the tungsten lights as our light source. I asked Bob what he was doing for white balance and he said he was using tungsten, but that the natural light would have an interesting blue cast. Ok, whatever. I switched over.

Then I was blown away by what happen.

Where the overhead lights hit the model she was a warm gold color like you’d expect from tungsten – though I’m not sure why changing my WB didn’t make that white. But where the natural light hit anything, it turned a rich blue color.

As the sun went down, the blue got darker as you’d expect. (The less exposed/more underexposed something is, the darker the color.)

This is my favorite image from the shoot and shows the dramatic difference in color temperatures. There was no color work in post production at all.

The only negative to these images was my ISO was cranked up to 1000 and the images where still underexposed giving me a lot of noise. I used Lightroom’s noise correction to fix some of it, but now I feel the skin is too smooth.

Next time you are out shooting at sun down, look for some tungsten light and try this out for yourself.

PS: Don’t worry Shawna and I are planning our return to podcasting, and there will be an expansion of what we’re doing here at P&M to build up the community.

How-To Build a Cyclorama Photo Studio

I’ve always called a cyclorama an infinity wall. It is a white background that curves as the bottom so you can’t see where the floor ends and the wall begins. There is no line there.

Here’s a great video on how to build one. This is no simple project. They really build not only the curve, but also the floor.

Oh and the video itself is really well made and fits how we do things at my studio. Though photographer and model does not endorse the use of power tools while only wearing lingerie for safety reasons.

Hat tip to Chase Jarvis for pointing out the video.

Exploring a Theme

Sometimes one shoot isn’t enough to really get what you wanted. You come up with a cool idea and then do it, but you know it could be better, or you could do something a little different.

The obvious solution is to shoot it again. In one sense that seems like you are shooting the same thing over and over, but every shoot is a little different. You may change the lights a little, or shoot from a different angle. You might use a different model and hence get different personality and physicality.

I’ve recently realized I’ve been shooting some themes. Three to be exact. One is based on content, one is based on set up and one is based on concept.

Girls With Guns

I’m a firearm enthusiast and like beautiful women with guns. So I’ve often shot models with firearms. Been doing it for awhile now and there is a infinite variety of things you can do with that theme.

If I get a new gun, or access to a new gun, I’ve got a new thing to shoot.

Every model is different, some know firearms, some have never held a gun. Every one gets a lecture in firearm safety and training in how to to hold the gun. Some remember to keep their finger off the trigger, others don’t.

Dark Shower

I had this idea about shooting models under a shower. I shot some in the studio’s actual shower, but I wanted something more artistic than that. My partners figured out how to set up a shower at the top of our car ramp. Then I got to figure out how to light it.

My style includes a lot of shadow and dark backgrounds, so I lit it so only the model had light to start with and then added lights to bring out the water spray. Recently I’ve added color to the background/water light.

I’ve also shot the theme in jeans, a bikini, nude and in a dress. It is an on going project – one models are approaching me to shoot.


My newest theme is called Pull – the first one to have a name. It is a fine art series where I have a model pull on a rope. I think there is a lot of possibility and look forward to exploring it.

Since the lighting is almost exactly the same, I’m getting most of my variation via the models themselves. Don’t really know where it is going to go yet, but it is fun to explore.

Since Pull is so model centric I actually wrote a Pull Shoot Specification for it. It is hard to explain simply but in depth.

Crossing the Themes

And of course you can then cross the themes. Like the image of Shawna holding my rifle under the shower from last Friday. I’m also thinking of doing pull under the shower.

Have you ever done a theme? What was it and how’d it work for you?

How To Not Seem Creepy When Communicating With Models

ashleyWNotCreepedOutWe talked previously about how to approach “models” in the real world and now I wanted to talk about how not to seem creepy.

This isn’t an easy to write about because what creeps a woman out varies from woman to woman and model to model. I think the models who are most successful are the ones that get creeped out the least.

It is Different When Talking to Models.

When you approach a model on a modeling site or at a live event they understand you are probably not hitting on them when you ask them to shoot.

When you are talking to a pretty woman in the real world you are probably going to have to explain things more. Matter of fact, I’d start talking about something related to being a photographer and then make it personal to them. If you start with “Hey, baby want to shoot?” or some variation they are going to just think you are hitting on them.

Talk About The Photography

The other night Shawna and I were at dinner discussing where the podcast is going in the future and we got to talking about crazy stuff in photographers profile text. One thing she mentioned was how explaining your life story and how you are happily married and going on and on about it is just weird to her. You are there to do photography, focus on that.

You don’t have to defend yourself before you ever talk to them. Don’t start making counter arguments to bad things you believe she is thinking about you. If you stay on topic that is good enough. Make it obvious you are passionate about photography and she’ll never think you are interested in hitting on her.

Stay Impersonal

Don’t start off messages and discussions with personal topics. “Hey, how you doing?”, “What’d you do today?”, “How about them Cowboys?” are not good first questions when talking to a model. They are off topic and boring.

Talk about the photography and modeling first. You may not know you want to shoot with a model the first time you talk to her. In the case of models on modeling sites, you probably aren’t sending them a message for any other reason, but if you a meeting at a networking event you may not be sure she’s someone you want to shoot with. In this case start out talking about modeling. Asking things like…

“How long have you been modeling?”
“What kind of model are you?”
“What is your favorite stuff to shoot?”
“What haven’t you shot that you want to shoot?”

Talk to The Model

I know a lot of us are shy, but you need to open up and talk to the model. As I said in my post on One Thing That Makes You Look Creepy. If you stare at a model and say nothing you are going to seem creepy.

Those are a few suggestions. Do you have any tips on not sounding creepy? I know there are models who listen to the podcast and read the blog. Feel free to chime in here and give us your tips on what photographers do that is creepy.

Comment below.

My Favorite Images 2009

At the end of every year I go back through all of my images and pick the 10 I liked the best. I’m going to be posting those images over the next 10 days or so.

It is an interesting exercise. Kind of like preparing a print portfolio.

You get a real feel for exactly what you shot this year. This is easier for me because I start a new Lightroom catalog every year.

Gives a feel for time as well. Images dim in your memory are better that those fresh because they were newly shot.

Another interesting aspect is these are my favorites, not my best. They are what I like, not necessarily what everyone else likes the best. In 2007 my favorite was an Alice in Wonderland image, but most people didn’t think it was worthy of being #1. This year will probably be the same. Seems people judge as much on content as anything else. My best image is my hotest model. But for me my favorite image is the the one I’m most proud of. The one that tells a cool story or has a cool story behind it.

Here is 2007’s #1 image.

Alice In Wonderlan

So over the next few days I’ll be releasing my favorites and talking a little about each image.

If any of you are doing this, post a link below and I’ll go look at them. I think it is a fun thing to do.

Model Photography: What is It?

Model Photography is the focus of everything we do at Photographer and Model, so I thought I should write a little about what it is. At the most basic level, model photography is about creating images of models. There are lots of kinds of photography and we generally define them by what the subjects of the photography are. For instance, landscape photography is creating images of natural scenery. Portrait photography is creating images of people, but specific kinds of images of people, generally focused on expressing the person’s character, often just using their face.

Well model photography is defined the same way, taking pictures of models.

What is the Difference Between Model Photography and General People Photography?

The biggest difference is that the subject naturally has or develops skills to work with the photographer to create the best image possible. If a photographer decides take a portrait of a person the subject depends on the photographer to tell them what to do exactly. They have to tell the subject where to look, how to hold their limbs, and what expression to have.

With a good model, they know what to do to make a good image. The quality of these skills are what differentiates “good” model from a “bad” one. Much, much more than their looks.

When a model photographer is working with a good, experienced model, he can focus on the aspects of the photography task and not tell the model exactly what to do. They tell the model what they are trying to accomplish and she uses her skills to accomplish that. The two of them work together to create beautiful images.

Photographing Models Isn’t Easy

When you work with regular people most of the time, you think it will be easier when you work with a professional model because you won’t have to do all the tedious directing. That is true, but it is also harder because now you have to actually have a good idea and the photographic skills to accomplish it.

It would be like being a good high school football player and suddenly getting to work with a pro football team. You think your job would be easier because your team mates would be less likely to let you down. What you quickly discover is you need to go to a whole other level of quality because now you’re in a different league and the other players are better than you. You have to rise to meet their skill level.

What Make A Good Model Photographer?

In our photographer interviews and model interviews we ask “What makes a good Photographer?”. Everyone assumes technical expertise and the adds things like communication, knowing what you want to do, making models comfortable and being fun to work with.

Model photography assumes the same kind of skills other photography needs. Namely understanding light. A model photographer can specialize in one kind of lighting, but they need to understand it well. You may only shoot using natural light, or never leave the studio, but you need to understand how your light works and how it is going to effect your final image.

By specializing in model photography you get to focus on how light interacts with the human form. Just like a landscape photographer knows how morning light effects the view of a mountain range, you know what golden hour does to a model’s skin tone.

Model Photographers Need A Whole Other Skillset

Photographing humans requires people skills. I doubt most landscape photographers choose mountains and trees as subjects because they don’t know how to talk to a pretty woman, but my bet is some do. Plus you are dealing with a subject that moves. Luckily in the case of models, you can tell them how to move.

I could compare model photography to each other genre of photography, but that’s too big a task for today. I think you get the point that model photographers need people skills in a way photographers of inanimate objects don’t.

One piece of good news is you can learn these skills just like you can learn lighting. Hopefully Photographer and Model helps you with every Photographer Interview in the podcast and seeking the other side in every Model Interview is a learning experience as well.

What is your biggest question when taking up the mantel of Model Photography? Write it below and I’ll answer you question either in the comments, in a future blog post, or maybe in the up coming Photographer and Model Academy.