So next I start enjoying all the pretty girls I'm seeing who are models. I get my cat up on a stool and shoot him. Then I shoot my friends. Then I ran out of people to shoot. Then I discovered this group on Flickr called "100 Strangers". This was a game changer. I began by getting used to working with people I didn't know and doing ambient light portraits. I knew I wanted to incorporate lights into the game. I discovered strobism and found a local guy with similar interests. He was into minimalist gear so I picked up some Speedlites and we took over this bridge in town that had a lot of traffic. We'd arrive when the shadows were long, set our gear up and get strangers to stop so we could take their picture. I became rather well known and people started to look for me. This started getting old too so I went with a bigger kit. One or two Alien Bees with a Vagabond Mini and usually a beauty dish. Hey, it's cheaper than renting a studio right? This allowed me to turn day into night and do almost studio quality work without the real-estate. I submitted some of my work to Model Mayhem but was rejected. I was a "GWC" they thought. Well I am! But I'm trying hard to be a photographer. I realized there must be other sites out there like MM and found Model Insider. I like Model Insider. I think I'll stay :-)
Do you consider yourself: Pro, Semi Pro, Hobbyist, Amateur, Something Else?
I retired when I was 47 due to health reasons and picked up photography to fill in the time. I've thought about going pro but that would ruin a nice hobby. Besides it's increasingly competitive out there now that digital has become dominant. Who needs the pressure anyway? I guess since I only do TF shoots I'm a hobbyist.
How did you find Model Insider and what do you like best about it?
Darn! I answered that one in question #1. I should have saved it :-)
What gear do you use?
I've upgraded a lot since I got started. I shoot a 5D2 with my trusty XSi as a backup. I have a 70 - 300, 24 - 105, 17 - 40, nifty fifty and a 100 macro. My lights include a 430EX II, two 580EX II's, four B400's, a B800 and a B1600. Lots of light mods from China too.
What is your usual genre? Favorite genre?
I like shooting on black but I don't fit in any particular niche. I really need to settle into a style. B&W Noir is a favorite of mine but right now I'm enjoying emotive photography. Plastic smiles belong on mannequins. I go out of my way to capture "in the moment" portraits where the expression is genuine. Faces you can read - that sort of thing. I'd really like to shoot actors. People that can emote happiness, sadness, joy, fear etc. and be believable.
How do you find models to work with?
Lately they've been finding me :-)
Do you do provide styling and makeup? Do you work with a preferred MUA?
Nah, I haven't got the budget or the confidence yet. I'm still a newbie.
Where do you see yourself going in the next year, artistically and business wise?
My buddies are pushing me to go pro and do weddings and such but I didn't retire to go back to work. Artistically who knows. I could get a telescope and start shooting Martians :-) Ask me next year.
Do you shoot both in studio and on location and do you have a preference?
Studio work is nice in the winter way up here in Canada. I've made room to hang a backdrop in my house but it's a house - not a studio. I like both options but if I had the room I'd probably do more of the indoor thing.
Do you have your own studio? If not, do you find this a limitation?
Darn! I did it again. I should have read ahead a question. Yes it is a limitation. I have a few people who like to be my PA when I'm on location so that makes carting and setting up gear more enjoyable. My home/studio has low ceilings and that is a real limitation.
Do you travel?
I get around on a 125 Vino scooter (think Vespa) but it can carry almost as much as a car if you pack it right. It sucks in the rain though. I can cart my "Lighten Up and Shoot" gear locally by myself or I can slip my PA a few bucks and use his car.
Anything else you'd like to tell Model Insiders about yourself?
I'd love to find a local muse. Someone who can bring ideas to a shoot that I can collaborate with whenever and on short notice. Here are a few links to my blogs if anyone is interested: http://bbcmodels.blogspot.com/ http://1st100strangers.blogspot.com/