You are shooting your videos the wrong way.

Almost everyone shoots videos with their phones today.  But they are holding their phones the wrong way.  Take a look at TV screens, computer screens, movie theater screens – they are ALL horizontal.  Not one of them is vertical.  Yet, almost everyone shoots their phone videos in a vertical format.

If your videos look like this:
then you are holding your phone incorrectly.

Why create videos with 1/3 of the space blank?  It is distracting and it shows less to your viewers.  Think about the people that are watching your videos.  Unless they happen to be on a phone they aren’t going to look right.  Especially on sites like Facebook.

Now – take a look at this image:

Doesn’t this look better?  It fits the format of your computer screen.  It offers up a lot more information that the first image does.  And, there are no annoying black bars at the sides of the video.

Video should be shot with the viewer in mind.  If you don’t have viewers, then why make the videos.


Maybe it is just me – but I am really tired of looking at photos of the backs of peoples phones. I really don’t mind selfies and behind-the-scenes images, but all of the images of the backs of peoples phones along with the words on their shirts (and the backgrounds) being reversed just frustrates me.

Just because you CAN do a thing doesn’t mean that you SHOULD do a thing.

If you want to take self-portraits (selfies) that is fine. But learn how to use your equipment so that the camera (phone) isn’t in the image. This detracts from the main point of your image, which is you, and focuses the viewers eyes onto your phone. And NOBODY cares about looking at the back of your phone.

Motorcycle Ride

On March 18, 2010 the forecast was for a nice sunny day with a high of around 60 degrees so a few of my friends and I decided to go for a ride.  We decided to meet in Osage Beach, MO at Lake of the Ozarks at 9am.

When I was leaving the house that morning it was a bit foggy.


By the time I got to Jefferson City the sun was fully up and the fog was burned off.


I knew this was about a 90 minute ride for me to get there so I left a bit early.  There really wasn’t much traffic out so I made good time.  I arrived at Osage Beach with some time to kill so I stop for some coffee.


I finished my coffee and headed over to where everyone was supposed to be meeting.  The parking lot at


After we all met up and talked for a bit about where we were going to ride to and stop for lunch we headed out.


One of the riders was cold and wanted to put on additional gloves so we pulled off onto an exit.  At this point it had only warmed up to about 45 degrees.


After everyone was ready we headed out.  We rode for about 2 hours before stopping for lunch.  We stop at a small general store that also made sandwiches and served ice cream for lunch.  It was a nice little place with friendly people and lots of interesting stuff to look at and buy.


By the time we finished lunch it had warmed up a bit and was in the mid 50s.  Several people went outside and just sat and relaxed while enjoying the sunshine.


We then rode for a couple more hours and ended up back where we started in Osage Beach.  At that point everyone parted ways and headed back home on their own.  However, a couple of us did make one more stop  before leaving the area.


Overall it was a really nice day.  Got to hang out with some friends.  Had a nice lunch at a fun little market.  And, got to ride for a few hours and think ahead to the spring/summer riding season.

Shooting on train tracks

There have been images that I have liked that were shot on train tracks. I can also see the appeal with the leading lines, the all outdoor locations, and the ‘danger’ that is implied.

However, personally I can’t get past the fact that train tracks are Private Property and it is illegal to be on them. And the railroads do not want you there. Maybe this is part of the appeal to photographers.

And this doesn’t take into account the inherent danger of being on the tracks.

Under Construction

One of the worst things that you can do with your website is to put up a page saying “Under Construction” unless your goal is to upset your prospects and clients.  Especially the front page of your site that the URL directly links to.  And even if you feel it is necessary to put up that page:

Do Not Promote, Advertise, or link to that page / site!

Look at it from the clients point of view.  For discussions sake let’s say you are driving down the road, you are hungry and looking for something to eat and you see a billboard promoting a steak house.  You drive to the steak house, pull into the lot, and in front of the building you see a sign sayingunderconst

How happy are you going to be with that steak house?  What is the possibility that you will ever return there?  Probably none!  You are going to go somewhere else to eat and never return here.

As with most things in life and business, you only have one chance to make a great first impression.  And, if that first impression is that you took the time to create a link to a page that is Under Construction and offers nothing to the client while not answering their questions or solving the problem that they came there for, why should they trust you or want to do any business with you?

Make a page that has a logo or image on it, plus your name, business name, address, and contact information.  At least provide the prospect with something they can use.  Not just a sign saying that you sent them there but aren’t ready for their arrival.

My Favorite Camera.

Of all the cameras that I have owned over the years there is one that stands out.  It was and still is my favorite camera of all time.

Canon AE1-P


This camera body fits my hand perfectly.  All of the controls were within easy one-handed reach which left my left hand free for support or other uses.  And, I knew every setting possible with this camera (the options were a lot less than what is available today).  I also had a Canon AE1 (my first SLR) that I used as a backup.

6 of my top 10 favorite images that I have created in my life were shot on film, with a Canon AE1P.

For films that I ran through this camera I used Fuji 100 for color negatives, Ilford Delta 100 for B&W, and Kodak Kodachrome or Ektrachrome for slides.  I also played with Seattle Film Works film (Polaroid movie stock in 25mm spools) from time to time as it gave me both negatives and slides at the same time.  The Fuji and the Ilford films were my main go tos for the majority of my shooting.

I really miss the double-exposure feature on this camera.  I used it a lot in the studio and loved the work that came out of that.

TF* Shoots for Photographers

TF stands for Trade For…   These shoots can allow Photographers to get images for their portfolios that they wouldn’t have otherwise. TF means that you trade something with your Model for her time, posing, etc.  It may be just that you give her prints or digital files, she may have a Wish List on Amazon where you can buy her something she wants or needs to trade, you may purchase an outfit or jewelry for her to use in the images and let her keep them afterwords.  This would all be something that you would need to discuss and agree upon in advance of the shoot.

These shoots are usually done by new, beginner and hobby Photographers working with new or beginner Models to build up their portfolios without having to lay out huge amounts of cash to professional Models to get them.

Full-time or working Photographers can and do use TF shoots to fill gaps in their portfolios or as an opportunity to work with a Model, Make-up Artist or Designer whose work they admire.  However this is usually a rarity as a working Photographers time is usually taken up shooting for their clients and doesn’t allow a lot of room for personal work.

As a hobby, or advanced amateur photographer you will find that as your photography improves and you grow as a Photographer that you will want to start doing more.  Shooting things that you haven’t shot before, like working with Models.  Right at first you may shoot friends and family, but eventually you will want to do more (or your family will just get tired of being asked).  This is when you need to start getting more creative with what you are offering to the Models or start paying them.


TF shoots can be beneficial to all parties involved but it isn’t a good business model for someone trying to be a full-time working Photographer.  Yes, you can use TF shoots to build your initial portfolio but once you have worked with a few Models and have some decent images in your portfolio you really shouldn’t expect Models to work for you for trade.

Also, make sure that you consider the Models point of view.  Once she has her initial portfolio built you need to offer something to her besides just images.  She already has those.  You need to offer her something that she doesn’t yet and that she wants or needs.  You also need to understand that there is a very good chance that she is going to say No, and she has that right and you should not take it personally or get offended or mad.  It is just part of working in this industry.

TF* Shoots for Models.

TF stands for Trade For…   These shoots can allow Models to get images for their portfolios that they wouldn’t have otherwise.  These shoots allow new, beginner and Models doing this for fun or as a hobby to build up portfolios without having to pay Photographers to get them.   It also provides them with images that they can share with friends and family, or use on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram.

Full-time or working Models can and do use TF shoots to fill gaps in their portfolios or as an opportunity to work with a Photographer or Designer whose work they admire.  Sometimes TF shoots will also allow them to get into publications or have their images placed somewhere that they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.


TF shoots can be beneficial to all parties involved but it isn’t a good business model for someone trying to be a full-time working Model.  Yes, you can use TF shoots to build your initial portfolio but once you have worked with a dozen or so Photographers and have a portfolio of your best 10-12 images (one from each Photographer) you really shouldn’t need to be doing TF shoots on a regular basis.

But – don’t totally rule out TF shoots altogether.  There may be a Photographer offering you something unique and special that can add a whole new dimension to your portfolio that you don’t have.

Whenever a TF shoot is offered to you, take a look at the Photographers work, consider what is being offered, and seriously weigh the options of whether this shoot could benefit you or your portfolio.  There is nothing wrong turning down any offer, whether paid or TF.

Clarifying TF* Shoots

TF stands for Trade For…   Trade shoots can be very beneficial to both Photographers and Models.  These shoots can allow them to get or create images that they otherwise wouldn’t have in their portfolios.  These new looks and styles can be beneficial to each of them.

Models –

TF shoots are a great way for a new or hobbyist Model to build up their portfolio.  These shoots allow them to get images that they can share with friends and family, or use on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram.  Full-time or working Models can also use TF shoots to fill gaps in their portfolios or as an opportunity to work with a Photographer whose work they admire.

Photographers –

Most of the time TF shoots will be with new, beginner, or hobby Photographers.  Most full-time or professional Photographers do not have the time or the need to do TF shoots but they will occasionally use TF shoots to fill holes in their portfolios or to a particular look that they didn’t have before.

Payment(s) –

There are many ways that TF shoots can be negotiated.  The most common form is TFP – Time For Prints / Images.  In these shoots neither the Photographer or the Model pays with anything except their time.  Afterwords they both share the images.

Models may have Wish Lists on sites like and Photographers can purchase items from those lists and shoot the models in them are just give them to the Models as payment for their modeling time instead of giving them images.  Allowing Models to keep outfits after shooting them is another similar form of TF payment.

There are also times where groups get together for a particular and they all provide their own unique parts to the shoot.  Example: A Model, Photographer. Make-up Artist and a clothing designer may get together and do a shoot featuring the clothing and/or the Make-up.  The final images are use by all four participants and nobody ‘pays’ any of the others.

Should Photographers provide images or prints to Models?

The quick answer to this is: Depends.

If the Photographer pays the model for the shoot –

Then all of the images belong to the Photographer.  The Model was paid for her modeling time.  She has no claim to the images.  If she should decide that she wants images for her portfolio, website, or other use, she can pay for the images just like anyone other client.

  • However, one thing that I personally do for Models I work with is If I end up with Tear Sheets from our shoot then I will usually give her a copy as a courtesy.  I am not obligated to do so though unless that is specifically spelled out in the original shoot agreement. 

If the Model pays the Photographer for the shoot –

Then the images are hers.  The Photographer still owns the Copyright but the Model has a full right to use any of the images from the shoot as spelled out in the Shooting Contract.

  • I personally do not require or need Tear Sheets or credit attached to the images.  I also do not watermark these images in any way.

** Editing these images: Unless our original Shooting Contract specifically spells out details about editing the images, they are the Models to do with as she sees fit.  Since my name (and reputation) is not being attached to these images I don’t have a concern about their editing.

Details –

When working with Models all shoots should be planned in advance and all of the details spelled out in some form of Contract or document and agreed upon by all parties involved, (not JUST a Model Release).  Who pays, or who doesn’t pay, TF*, $$, clothing (wish list) trades, or other options, all need to be spelled out and agreed upon in advance.  Contracts should also cover Copyrights, Watermarks, distribution and usage rights.  Also, delivery times for the images (if necessary) should be spelled out. 

These should all be spelled out and agreed upon in advance of the shoot.