Category Archives: Instruction

Every Photographer Should Be Using This Tool

Few pieces of technology make me giddy anymore, and it is extremely rare a software tool does it.

But Animoto makes me giddy.

Saying Animoto is a slideshow is such an understatement I refuse to do it. It is a very simple tool for creating professional, high quality music videos from your images.

It takes about 5 minutes to create a video and most of that time is image and music selection. If you have your images on Flickr, or Facebook, or other online photo sites you can just tell Animoto to go get them. I created all the videos you are going to see this week from images already on Flickr.

After all the images are loaded onto Animoto you can rearrange them, add text frames, and spot light particular images.

Then you pick your music. All the music I used was from their royalty free library, but you can upload your own music if you want.

Then you click the finalize button and wait while it creates the video. They even have some distractions, movie trailers and videos, you can watch while you wait. Or you can just leave the site and they will email you when your video is ready.

When the video is ready you can view it and if you don’t like it you can generate another one. Either with changes or just by clicking the one click remix button. I did that with one video because I didn’t like a background image and got a totally new mix.

But wait there is more greatness.

It will upload your video to YouTube for you.

You can embed it in your website, and lots of social media sites easily.

You can download the video as an H.264 MP4 file for your iPod or iPhone.

You can even order a DVD made and sent to you.


Nothing is perfect. Here are somethings I wish were different.

The free videos can only be 30 seconds long. I don’t mind this because to get unlimited length videos you don’t have to pay very much at all. $3 a video, or – and the obvious choice- $30/year for all the videos you want.

Quality isn’t as high as I would like. The videos look good, but they are small. I guess this is a trade off. If they went with a bigger size, then rendering would take longer and serving it would be more bandwidth for them.

They do offer higher quality. You can get DVD quality videos, but you have to pay on a per video basis.

No HD YouTube. I’m impressed with YouTube’s new HD option not just because of the higher quality video – though that is very impressive – but the higher audio you get as well. Alas Animoto doesn’t send your stuff to YouTube this way.

Animoto Gets The Final Frame. I like my videos to end with my url as the last frame. Animoto videos end with Animoto’s logo as the final frame. You can fix this if you are willing to do a little video editing by downloading the video and editing it but that is a pain.

No Action At the End Another great thing would be to have a button or link at the end of the video that would send people to your website. Animoto knows this because when you embed a video they get two buttons at the end of the video that send you to their site. (I actually wouldn’t mind this as much if I could make these videos use affiliate links. At least then I’d make some money if someone signed up.)

Enter Animoto for Photographers

Some of these problems are solved for you if you are willing to spend a little and upgrade to the Animoto for Photographers.

You get the final frame and you get a button on it to get them to go somewhere else.

You get unlimited DVD quality downloads, which you could use to make DVDs or to upload at a higher quality to the video sites yourself.

You get speed control, letting you slow down or speed up the time an image in on the screen. Normally it is totally controlled by music.

How Can Glamour Apprentices Use Animoto?

I’m going to write a whole new lesson for the mini-course on using Animoto in model photography. It should be added to the course and automatically sent to you if you sign up.

The obvious thing is to create a WOW with models. You give them one of these videos of the images from a shoot – with your URL prominent in it – and they will post it everywhere. Some models have thousands of followers on MySpace and all of them will see your work.

Since I’m giddy about Animoto, I’m posting a video of a shoot everyday this week instead of just one image. The first one will be this afternoon.

Carol Alt On Photographers

A buddy listened to the interview with Valerie Whitaker and was reminded of an article he read in Playboy (Dec 2008) with supermodel Carol Alt. He brought in the magazine so I could read the article. I mean that’s all we men get Playboy for right?

A big point of the article was eating raw food, and that was shown off by Carol’s 48 year old body that looks better than most 20 year olds. Maybe nothing but raw isn’t such a bad idea.

While a nude model is a good reason for me to blog, I’m not violating Playboy’s copyrights by posting a picture, and raw food isn’t the focus of this blog. Instead, I wanted to give you a few quotes from the article related to being a photographer of models.

Alt has worked with the greatest photographers of her era, but she doesn’t really have a favorite. “It’s easy to say that Horst was fabulous or that Irving Penn was amazing or that being in Patrick Demarchelier’s studio was wonderful. But what I like is a photographer who loves what he does. When that kind of person gets behind the camera, he is completely transformed because he loves his work. And it’s the same with any man. If he loves what he’s doing, the average joe becomes gorgeous. that’s how you get those situations when you see a beautiful woman and an average guy and you ask, ‘How did he get her?'”

Having a passion for what you do is very important. I touched on it when I told the story of how I got started with glamour and model photography in the aptly named “An Art I Can Do”.

One of the reasons I started Glamour Apprentice was to help those photographers who like photography, but would be passionate about creating beautiful images of women. To take it from just taking pictures to creating art. When you do that you are doing what Carol is talking about.

“People can look in your eyes and see if you are telling the truth. I always wanted people to look at my pictures and know I was enjoying myself.”

Dead eyes. In the same issue of Playboy there are twins as Ms. December. And they have dead eyes. I guess when you are looking for perfect, beautiful twins, you don’t have to have experience. But I like Alt’s idea better. Find a model that shows she’s enjoying herself. Oh and you have to make sure she’s enjoying herself.

8 Things To NEVER Say To A Nude Model

If you are the kind of glamour apprentice we teach here, then you should never be telling a nude model these things.

Also remember tone and word choice can make a big difference.

1. There’s nothing wrong with porn.

Glamour or fine art nude photography is not porn. Its primary purpose isn’t to get the viewer turned on. It is to celebrate the human form. To capture and honor female beauty. Models know the difference and – unless you select for porn models – don’t want to do porn. They want class and elegance. So don’t try to convince them its OK to shoot porn.

2. Spread your legs a little wider.

See #1. Shooting genitalia isn’t part of this kind of photography. Making suggestions obviously intended to let you get a crotch shot aren’t going to play.

3. Don’t you own a razor?

It is fashionable now a days for women to shave their pubic area and even if it is your preference, you don’t get to demand it. Many fine art shooters consider a bare pubic area sexual and don’t want it in their photography. Since these guys are the one most likely to pay to shoot a profession nude model, models often keep it long. They also do this to avoid the possibility of #2.

4. I only take pictures so I can look at pussies.

If you are a glamour apprentice shooter this statement better not be true. If it is, just go to a all nude strip club.

5. My boobs are bigger than yours!

To keep a model happy and producing good work you need to avoid pointing out her flaws. Yes, you see her breast size and you may need to compensate by moving her chest closer to the camera, but you don’t need to tell her about it.

Remember what I said about tone?

6. You look better with your clothes on.

People say the meanest things to models. It’s crazy. Be nice. If she really looks better with her clothes on, then have her put her clothes on. You are shooting for a quality image.

7. My wife doesn’t understand me, but I think you would.

Making a pass at a naked model, and even the clothed ones for that matter, is not a good way to keep them happy. This statement moves your creep factor to an 20 on a 1 to 10 scale.

8. If you’d feel more comfortable I can take my clothes off too.

This actually happen to a model I know. She was shooting with a photographer who’s studio was in an office building. She’s nude, with her clothes near the shooting area. The photographer said the above line and then proceeded to do so. The second his pants hit the floor, she grabbed hers and was out the door, not stopping to get dressed until she was around the corner and down the hall.

In the internet modeling scene there is the concept of a GWC, a Guy With A Camera. These are people who #4 is their motivation and you don’t want to be one of those guys.

Art And The Marketplace

Off I found this interesting article about art and the marketplace.

One of the survey questions I got was, “Why would anyone want to photograph models when there is little to no chance they will make any money doing it?” It is interesting the struggle artists have with being able to make money from their art.

I do it because it is fun and fulfilling. Money is a secondary consideration. Most of the photographers doing this kind of photography do it as a hobby and want to make enough money to pay for their gear and studio.

The problem with art is that once you start doing it for the money you lose a lot of the joy of it. It goes from being something you want to do to something you have to do. Maintaining joy under those conditions is hard. Some do, but most don’t.

Challenges Of The Marketplace

There are people who make money doing art and still enjoy it. I think the key is to not create art for the money, but rather let money come to the art.

There are a number of challenges with this.

First, money rarely just finds you. Instead you have to sell yourself to it let it know where you are. Most artists have a hate/hate relationship with sales and marketing, so when they have to do it all the joy is sucked out of the process. Plus you feel time spent marketing is time you could be spent doing what you love, creating.

My only advice is to look on marketing as a creative endeavor. One of the things we do in art is communicate and create feelings. Those are the same thing we do in marketing. Think about it.

Second, artists don’t always want to create what the audience wants. They want to create what they want to create and hope it finds an audience. When it doesn’t we either feel we suck, or people suck. Neither is conductive to a positive mental health or making money.

You can’t hate the people who can buy your work.

Artists find a way to express themselves. To create we constantly have to be doing something new and different. When we become a commodity – like photographing a wedding – we are asked for the same thing over and over. But an artist can do that and find a new way to look at the same thing. It takes a really great artist, someone with a powerful grasp of their art, to let us see something old in a new way. I’ve seen wedding photography that made me go “Wow, if I could shoot a wedding like that, I’d shoot weddings.”

If you have to do it for the money, look for new ways to express yourself every time and in everything.