Model Warning and Lesson to be learned

I love working with models and I work hard to earn their trust by acting in a
professional manner. After every shoot I let them look through the images. One, it
let’s them pic their favorites so I don’t spend hours on an image they don’t even
like and two, it lets them know I haven’t been zoomed in on certain body parts or
trying to shoot at revealing angles. And I respect their space and never touch them
or say anything that makes them feel Uncomfortable.

If you think buying a camera is a way to meet women, it’s not. They are
professional and expect you to be the same. If you’re a model, PLEASE research the
photographer. Google their name, look at their images and talk to people that have
shot with them before and always bring an escort to a first shoot until you are
comfortable (if ever.)

The reason I bring this up is the message I recieved earlier today from an awesome
model I’ve worked with, asking my advice about a recent shoot with a scumbag that
enjoys coercing women into revealing clothing and then trying to pull their dresses
up himself. Read message below:

“Awhile back, I was introduced to a photographer and I joined his group, on
Facebook. We talked about shooting several times and yesterday we finally did, prior
to shooting, on Facebook messages I told him I had no problem with being sexy but
there is a limit, and he said no problem don’t want you to do anything your
uncomfortable with, I got my outfits together and he came over to approve them
before the shoot and then said I have tons of lingerie for you to look at and I went
and looked and none of it I was comfortable with, but he kept pressuring me and
pressuring me about them, I finally chose 2 dresses and those I weren’t even
comfortable with and we shot photos in those.

While shooting he constantly was trying to pull the dresses up to show more skin and
I would try and pull them down when he turned around, he then asked me to sign a
model release, which I was very skeptical about and I made him put in the release I
will review the photos before publication but I’m pretty sure the way he worded it
means nothing, and will not protect me and on top of that he tricked me into signing
a second release with that statement not on there.. I feel so violated.

Is there anything I can do?”

Modeling is a business and as a model you are the company. Protect yourself and
never do anything you are not comfortable with no matter what the person with the
camera says. If you’re too nervous or scared to say anything, that’s what an escort
is for. Pictures on the web can be around forever and a model release form not
properly read can be even more trouble. Nobody cares how many photographers you
shoot with, only that the images in your port are awesome, so don’t take chances and
shoot with people that you trust and are comfortable with. No exceptions. This
shoot she is talking about happened in a safe place, imagine if it was in the woods
or some other place.

I’ve become friends with a lot of the models I shoot with and I hate reading stuff
like this. Be smart and be safe.

Posted in Model Advice, Photo Shoots

Using copyright images in compositions

Model warning. If the people that Photoshop your images are just stealing images from the web and placing your pic over the top of it, there could be copyright problems or even lawsuits in your future. Wouldn’t be good to finally get published in a magazine and then have a lawsuit over copyright infringement thrown at you.

I’ve seen quite a few pics lately where the model was shot at a convention and then the picture just placed on a full image grabbed from the web. This is the designer or photographers fault, whether they don’t know enough Photoshop or are just in a hurry and not thinking. Then the model starts selling prints of these images placing themselves in a legal bind if ever discovered.

Photoshop users, if you are grabbing pics from the web, at least combine pieces and use Photoshop to distort or manipulate these images into something original. Or start building your own stock library of images you take when you are out and about. These people spend a lot of time and money on their costumes and deserve more than stolen images slapped in the background. And nobody wants legal problems for selling a copyrighted image.

Take the time to learn composition tools and view the hundreds of video tutorials out there. If you are charging cosplayers and doing this it is really wrong. They trust that you will deliver original images, not hack jobs. Regardless of talent or reason, nobody wants legal problems. If you insist on doing this with your images, at least let the model know so they will understand the possible problems they could face by selling or promoting these pics.

Once you start selling images and services, it’s no longer an innocent hobby, it’s a business surrounded by laws. Be careful.

Posted in Design, Model Advice, Photo Shoots, Photography, Photoshop

Advice and Tips

Been getting a lot of request for help or tutorials lately but to tell you the truth, I’m not the best teacher.  We learn from our mistakes has never been a more true statement.  I’ve been doing this 13 years and only learned from frustration and years of determination to get the looks I wanted.  And still you never know if others will agree with your vision.

I was a musician in my early years and I played by ear so now I play by eye.  I can spend up to 12 hours on a single image and I don’t stop until I see what I want to see.  Hard to teach that, anymore than a mechanic could give one tip on how to fix every car.

The problem I see with a lot of compositions is people taking an image without any thought on what they plan to do in Photoshop (CS6 not that rental crap.)  You can’t fix bad lighting after the picture has been taken.  You can adjust it but it will never have the same natural look.

Also people say you don’t have to have the best camera but if you plan on doing composite work, is a lie.  The more detail in the image, the easier it is to cut someone out of an image.  Being able to maximize the image and not try and work in blurred, pixelated horror really helps with detail.  A good lens makes a difference as you’ll get more depth which brings me to a “How to tell when a composite is bad.”

  1. If you didn’t properly cut out the hair and it looks like a blurred Darth Vadar helmet or has left over color around the strands.
  2. You paste any image for a background at any size.  I design thinking of poster size so backgrounds have to match camera quality.  I never use a whole other image as a background (see copyright infringement).  My backgrounds are made up of sometimes hundreds of different pieces of images.  When I’m not shooting models I am out taking stock photos and images to use as textures.
  3. Background is in focus even though it’s miles away.  In Photography we love that bokeh effect and matching that effect in Photoshop really brings out the depth in an image.  (Sometimes it’s a life saver if you’re not happy with something in the background it will be blurred anyway.)
  4. Different hues and lighting.  If your subject looks like they were shot on the beach and you put them in a night image, wouldn’t they be moonlit?  Lighting is everything and if you’re planning to have a sun on the left in the background, your subject should be lit on the same side.  Otherwise dead giveaway.

The secret is that everyone knows it’s Photoshop work (nobody has magic smoke coming from their eyes)  but they can’t tell why if you get everything right.  The see through it and just enjoy the image as a whole.

Not a lot of tips here right.  Knowing what is wrong is step one.  Design is problem solving.  It doesn’t matter which tool you use in Photoshop or any other program.   I used to read tons of tutorials and it seemed none of them were trying to do what I wanted.  I hated my Photoshop work until I got better at lighting and better at Photography.

All of the images you see on this site (or Facebook) were created over the last two years.  I sit at my desk all day and night working on images.  No play time.  I do graphic design 8 hours a day and Photography and composition 8 hours a night.  Determination is key and don’t lose heart if people don’t like your work.  On the other side, don’t stop improving because all you family and friends like your image.  They have to.   I put my favorite images on 500px because I don’t know anyone on there.  If they like an image of mine it’s because they really like it and most of the people on there are photographers so you get an honest response.

Hope that helps.

David Love


Posted in Design, Photo Shoots, Photography, Photoshop