Category Archives: My Story

“What kind of photographer are you?”

I’m in a love hate relationship with this question. It’s kind of like “What Do You Photograph?”

I don’t shoot weddings. Well not often and only for friends or family.

I don’t shoot portraits, though occasionally I’ll shoot a portrait of a friend. I do shoot lots of headshots, which are really a kind of portraits.

What do I shoot? I shoot creative images of models.

My most common answer is “Mostly pretty girls.”

Which conveys the truth in the best possible way.*

If I say, “I shoot glamour and fashion,” some people get the wrong idea. Glamour means everything from Playboy to Glamour Shots in the mall. Fashion implies I make big money shooting extremly skinny models in New York.

Sometimes I say, “Mostly model portfolios.” I think the common person doesn’t really understand what that is, but they think they do.

Plus I do stuff that just doesn’t fit. I shot a Goth Swimsuit Calendar for God’s sake. That sure doesn’t fit anywhere. By design.

That’s the point. The kind of photography I do, and the kind of stuff I teach here at Glamour Apprentice defies categorization. The common denominator is it normally involves a model, which is a beautiful woman.

I can live with that. And it impresses the crap out of most guys. Though they don’t understand either.

* Though if they know the connotation of “pretty girl pics” from the porn world, it doesn’t convey what I do. But the only reason I know that meaning is because of a forum buddy’s blog, Pretty Girl Shooter NSFW. If you don’t want to see pictures of naked women, a Pretty Girl picture are the ones taken for the box covers of porn movies.

How I Became a Glamour Photographer: The Foundation

I’m going to tell you the story of how I ended up shooting lots of very beautiful women on a regular basis. I’m telling the story not to toot my own horn, but to show you what is possible. I know there are a lot of photographers out there who will be able to relate to where I was and want to know how I got here.

Its going to be a little involved. My photographic journey really started in high school 25+ years ago, but the most relevant parts happen over the last six years.

Wannabe Filmmaker

There were two things I loved in High School. John Hughes movies and Apple computers.

If anyone asked what I wanted to do when I grew up I told them I wanted to make movies like John Hughes. Yes, I idolized movies like The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles.

But I didn’t go to film school. Instead I pursued both my passions in college. I majored in Mass Communication Radio/TV.

Then I majored in Computer Science.

Then Mass Comm again.

My parents were getting tired of this.

In Mass Comm I took my first photography class, learned to develop film and owned my first SLR, a Nikon 4004s.

Mass Comm won the major race and I got a degree in Mass Comm Radio/TV from Abilene Christian University in 1988. I also me my wife and got married. We moved to West Lafayette, Indiana so she could finish her PhD at Purdue.

I Become A Profession Photographer

I needed a job. I’d done an internship in radio, but when we moved to West Lafayette there weren’t many radio jobs. So I got what I could. I worked in a One Hour Photo/Portrait Studio/Pawn Shop. Yes, all in one.

They had a little studio connected to the one hour place and people would come in and get their pictures taken. My extensive education in photography got me the job.

I learned a lot about photography during those years, but didn’t know it.

I learned studio lighting. While the studio was tiny, it used studio lights and I was taught how to set them for various portraits. And we could play around with them in our spare time.

I learned about developing film. Everything in a 1 hour photo place is pretty automated. But back then you still had to look at the negative and input an exposure compensation to the printer. You get really good at knowing what you are going to get from a negative after a few thousand frames.

Then life changed. We moved from West Layfayette. I went back to school and finished that Computer Science degree and became a Mac Programmer.

I put down the camera and didn’t pick it up for over a decade.