My Time as a Client.

I wanted to write this while it was still fresh in my mind so I can recount every moment from this transaction. Let me start off by saying that when I work with clients I am very empathetic to how they feel and what they go through because I am indeed a client at times as well. Let’s begin, I met this young lady about a year ago when she was doing visual work on her own project. At the time I was photographing a model and she had attended the shoot so that she can get B Roll for her series. She was amazing when I met her, very determined and she had goals and aspirations and I’m always looking to connect with like minded individuals. About 6 months ago her and I reconnected she let me know she was revamping her brand and that she was looking to develop content so that she can grab potential clients. At the time I had just spoke to my wife in regards to needing a videographer to do behind the scenes work because I couldn’t do two things at once. The video work was with a friend and client who owns a well known thriving skin care company.  

 

Fast forward too a few months later and we had built enough rapport for me to hire her on an existing project. I’ll admit it wasn’t a super expensive gig for either one of us however it was a great way to continue building upon our budding working relationship. By that time we’ve shared mutual ideas, she’d been to my residence and I’d say we were developing a friendship. While working together on the wedding red flags appeared in the form of character flaws that I dismissed as being a long day but they never left my kind. There were times she could be a little short and borderline disrespectful which I saw during the preplanning process. To her defense i was a little vague with the details, despite it all we had a successful gig and we moved forward. She expressed to me that she was looking to get more content and experience shooting weddings and had asked myself and soon to be wife would it be ok if she shot the video for our wedding day for free. With all the craziness going on financially with the wedding this came across as a gift from heaven. My wife and I discussed it and we agreed that it would be a good move to have her shoot the wedding.

Throughout the process there were some hiccups here and there but nothing worth mentioning. On the day of the wedding she arrived to my wife first and then to me later on in the morning and also met with us at the wedding party photograph site. That day was such a blur I don’t remember much of what happened but it was an amazing day and my wife and I enjoyed every minute of it. Following the brief honeymoon is when things started to get a little hairy. I received a text message from her stating that her emails had been acting a little strange and she wanted to know whether I’d received her email a week prior, I hadn’t so she filled me in on the time table for delivery.  She gave us a 4-8 week time frame for the finality and delivery of the video, for the fact I was receiving it at no cost i didn’t put up much of an argument I thanked her for the update and let her know I’d relay the information to my wife. A few weeks later she contacted me explaining to me that the audio wasn’t good because we were mic’d with lavliers and the officiant used a microphone as well, she let me know that she’d have to do a montage instead. In addition she asked me about my wife and I’s musical selection for the video, we told her a Brian McKnight song she said ok and that was that. About a week or so later she contacted me again stating that the music didn’t work and that she is starting to work with a producer and that for $200 we could get a custom wedding song. I quickly declined we were still paying on wedding bills and adding the additional $200 wasn’t in the budget. At that point she expressed she didn’t know if she could make it work but she’d try I offered to take the footage and put it together on my own but she declined. My wife and I discussed it afterwards and agreed that we just wanted a wedding video to show the family members that couldn’t make it.

 

Today we were updated again but the welcome wasn’t as warm and friendly, below you will find the correspondence between myself and her. My responses were based on the rapport that I thought we had built so far but was sadly mistaken.

 

 

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We weren’t expecting a day like today, however I do understand that things like this happen and I don’t wish it on any client. A strong word of advice to my creatives who are willing to do on spec work (free) please understand that despite the fact you are not getting paid your brand is still in position. Over the years I used to get frustrated when i wasnt getting paid for what I was doing, it wasn’t until I begin making money that I began to understand how important it is to do on spec work to expand not only your market but your network. For the young lady, I wish you well this post was not to tear you down but to help you understand that standing in your own way won’t get you far. 

Point and Shoot: My IP7 Plus

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Carrying around my camera can be super tedious and when trying to capture images on the go, people tend to not be natural when that camera comes out. I picked up a IP7 Plus through T-Mobile they were having a bogo so I got a free IPhone SE for my son. I kept hearing amazing things about this phone but in my eyes originally it was just an IPhone, the same as it has been for the last few years. Boy was I wrong, this phone has been my point and shoot since I've taken my first image. Every chance I get I whip my phone out and use portrait mode but then I found out that the regular camera mode is easily as crisp and I absolutely love it! Don't get me started on the 4K video capabilities, I've been practicing my videos on a local fashion stylist/blogger here in Baltimore.   I previously had a Samsung S7 edge which had an amazing camera as well built in but I'm thinking it's the aesthetic that makes me choose Apple over Samsung in terms of selecting a point and shoot companion. I currently use a Sony A7R2 now by no means am I saying that the IP7+ is a replacement but in terms of companionship and even quick BTS photography this is definitely a great choice. Now in regards to low light shooting the IPhone isn't the greatest, however I do like the dynamic range of the camera. All in all I would definitely suggest this phone in any photographers arsenal in regards to gear.

 

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Mental Overload

 Have you ever been to creative point where you are overloaded and you need to CTRL + ALT + DELETE everything. That's where I am now, I absolutely love fashion photography but in reality I absolutely love photography. Lately I've been feeling like I've been boxing myself into this corner. Trying to find my niche by being inspired but so much going on around me, it can be overwhelming to be completely honest. I love taking photos of people and places and just pretty much everything. I love natural emotions because that's when the soul shines the brightest in images. Emotion doesn't necessarily have to be a smile for me but genuine expressions that tell a person's story nothing that feels forced. Whether it's a woman donning a beautiful turtleneck and slacks to a CEO showing people exactly why they're in their position I just want it to translate to the public. I've been taking a breather to sit back and think and reposition exactly how I capture images, how do you tell someone to just be themselves and let me capture that? That's what  I am learning... to capture the experience to capture the real them.

 

 

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Did you get my voicemail?

Am I the only ones who still leave potential clients and current clients voicemails? I feel like leaving voicemails as of late has been a little counter productive, I promised myself that I would leave more and text less. As of late when I have the urge to text message a discussion I turn around look at myself in the reflection of my S7 Edge and go straight to my contacts for a phone call. I have found that a higher percentage of clients especially the new clients prefer a phone call to an email. I have also found out that it is way more productive to make a phone call as opposed to a text or an email. The voicemail is what get's me though, despite receiving a notification that a voicemail is in your inbox most opt to ignore and return the phone call without listening to the voicemail. So it's strange, are voicemails important or irrelevant? The interesting thing is that this does not stop me from leaving voicemails I feel as though to a point I'm conditioning my clients to know if I cannot get ahold of them that I will definitely leave a voicemail. What do you think? 

I Think I Fell in Love With Product Photography

So, recently i have been doing more and more product photography and I have been learning to love it. I don't know what exactly it is about it but to bring an inanimate object to life on screen is something i didn't foresee coming. I want to get more into styling product photography for bigger campaigns, what i never really thought about if you think about fashion photography it kind of intertwines with product photography. I mean think about it the model becomes the product from what she is wearing or the story she is telling she's just organic. I definitely will keep you guys updated on my product photography as i go enjoy the images below!!!

 

 

FLU:Elegant Magazine January 2017

So December I collaborated with NYC based model Tabitha Wolf makeup artist Giselle Melrose and Hairstylist Jessica Crudup for the shoot FLU. The significance of the term FLU is literally as I shot this beauty editorial I was coming down with the flu, yet somehow the images kept getting better and better as i got sicker. In the end we sent it over to Elegant Magazine for publication and they selected it for their January Issue, i'll take that antibiotic anyday!

Jordan

Giselle Melrose has decided to expand into doing wardrobe styling, so she assisted me with the shoot I did with aspiring actress Jordan. This was a rainy day but still turned out really cool, there was no complaints from her no matter the cold rainy day she gave 110%. Below you will find some images from the shoot. Enjoy!

Glitch

I shot with a fresh model a few days ago collaborating with Giselle Melrose and after I edited the final images i wasn't satisfied. Sitting and binge watching Through The Lens on Adorama TV i just want to find my voice and feel great about the images I shoot. I love my photography im ready to fall in love again.

 

Model: Sangria Makeup by Giselle Melrose Photography by Me

Model: Sangria Makeup by Giselle Melrose Photography by Me

Test Shoot: Brooklyn based Fashion/Portrait Photographer John Ellis

 

 

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John Ellis is a full time fashion/editorial photographer based out of Brooklyn, NY. He has been shooting for roughly 6 years with 3 of them focused on fashion and editorial. How did I meet John Ellis? Contrary to what most people think social media is sociable.... lol. I met John on Facebook close to a year ago i thought he was a white guy from France, if you don't believe me ask him. The reason I found out he was black is because he dropped the N-Bomb and I had to search his profile photos to figure if i should be offended before reacting. From that point we kept constant contact and he was super hospitable when i traveled to Brooklyn, NYC he is very informative and someone I am proud to call my friend. 

 

Syranno: There are so many areas in photography, why fashion photography?

John Ellis: I have always loved fashion ads well before I ever picked up a camera, I can remember seeing ad campaigns growing up and even into my adult years that just captivated me. So naturally once I picked up a camera it only made sense that I attempt to shoot fashion.  

 

S: If you weren't doing fashion is there another area of photography that you feel just as strong about? 

JE: That's a tough one, I would have to say portraits will always hold a special place in my heart and in my body of work. I started off shooting portraits and it is something that I don't see myself not ever doing. There is something really magical about meeting someone, forming this unique connection and showing them a different side of themselves. All within the span of a few hours.

S: You came from Richmond, Virginia to Brooklyn, New York what made this decision to uproot your life? 

JE: Like any good story, it started with a girl. One of my close friends and now stylist was living with me in a Richmond. We both knew that in order for us to make anything of our careers we had to leave. So she came to me one afternoon said that we were both moving to NYC and there was nothing I could say to change it. I asked for 90 days to get some stuff in order and she said I had 60. April 1st, 2015 we moved to Bushwick Brooklyn with a couple thousand bucks in our pockets and a dream. Quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, but I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

S: How has this decision molded your perception of the fashion industry? Fashion photography? 

JE: It's much more savage of an industry than I could have ever imagined. Almost reminds me of corporate America, with an artsy twist; this has changed everything on the photography front. Just being able to work with better talent changed my work, now I'm developing my personal style. So I guess this question can't really be answered right now, I'm still learning and growing with every shoot.

S: Alot of people ask about the differences in markets but they're blatant, the question is what can the markets who are looking to build fashion on a major scale adopt from markets like NYC?

JE: They could adopt the drive, determination, and work ethic that so many people have in larger markets. I feel like the above mentioned qualities are due to the sheer amount of competition in NYC.

S: Let's direct our attention to Richmond, Virginia what was unique about starting here? What was the misconception about life outside of VA that you built while still living there?

JE: I guess it's not really unique but more of a challenge, I had to make my work look like it belonged in larger markets but without all the resources. Honestly, I had spent so much time over the years outside of Va that I really had no misconceptions about life outside of Va. 

S: Your style has a foundation of traditional fashion photography but is not traditional fashion photography explain where your inspiration comes from.

JE: I think my style is a mash up of so many different things. I used to look heavily at the west coast and how a lot of the popular guys were shooting out there. These days one of my favorites is Txemayeste. I love the strange and off beat more and more these days.

S: What was the first camera you owned? Why did you buy it?

JE: Canon rebel t2i, I bought it because I had always wanted a slr and the price was right from a friend.

S: Models, Models, Models whats the difference in the work ethic and industry knowledge in comparison to your previous market?

JE: The south is a pretty laid back place, the pace is totally different, it's just not fair to compare the two. Not to say there aren't some who are out there grinding, they just aren't the norm.

S: Its obvious that models in slower markets should relocate and experience their career in the faster pace fashion driven markets. What should models know before uprooting their entire life to live what they think as opposed to what it is?

JE: It's not all glitter and gold, and just be prepared and ready to work harder than you ever have.

S: What can emerging photographers expect when "merging into the fast lane"? 

JE: They can expect to be pushed to their limits on all fronts. 

S: Have you ever thought about positioning yourself to be an educator? Why or why not?

JE: Yes, I sure have. I feel like it's something that I was supposed to do. It almost comes natural and I always have people asking me a lot of questions, so naturally it only makes sense to pass along what I know. It just took me a little over 6 years to get to a point where I feel like I have something to offer.

S: Where can people contact you to commission you?

 JE: www.johnellisnyc.com

  Instagram - @john___ellis

Are you messing up the Real Estate?

In 2016 I spoke a lot to aspiring models and now i want to speak to my fellow photographers, to kick off the new year I want to start with a super important topic: Are you messing up the Real Estate? This talks about whether or not you are pricing yourself accordingly and what under cutting your value does to not only your brand but the brands around you.

I was told by a mentor of mine that "the value you see in yourself never equates to the value that others see in you" what I took from this is that you can never really price for everyone but only those who see the true value in your work.  The issue that i think many new photographers have is that they are afraid to ask for money, I was there I would price low but attract clients I absolutely did not want.  We all know that you have to crawl before you walk, meaning it's ok to increase your prices as your talents grow. A huge tool that new photographers are missing in their kit is a business plan outlining exactly how they want their business to run. From my perspective a lot of new photographers create a name, make an instagram and voila! They are now a photographer but it's so much more than that necessary to run a successful photography business. I am not going to go into the ends and outs of the foundation of a successful photography business in this particular post but it's coming. Just know that if the acronym LLC is not familiar to you you are already off on the wrong foot.

How are you pricing yourself? Are you researching the talent around you? Are you just pulling prices out of a hat? or Are you fear pricing? These questions are the ones you really need to think about because you may not know that you are not only undercutting yourself but you are devaluing the art-form in your area. Consumers don't know the stringent process that goes into our day to day as a photographer unless you educate them not only through your pricing but your work and the education you have to offer them as the professional in your field. If you don't feel that your talent is at a level where you should be asking for money, do some pro bono work to build your portfolio. In addition, a huge thing i did was assist a photographer that has been in the business professionally for a number of years. It will get you great on the job training and on the set experience, also you will be able to sit and learn valuable knowledge from the photographer as well.

I urge you as a new photographer before starting your business, build your business and research, research, research! 

I want to interact with you, so definitely comment below on your experiences ask any questions and I will be sure to interact back.

 

Bahi Cosmetics: A Little Fruit with your Facial?

I am a tad new to the styling of product photography but I do like it a lot! Like A lot! It can be tedious once you hit that 3rd or 4th hour but if you have it all mapped out it works oh so perfectly. I have the beautiful opportunity to have a close friend who is a cosmetics company owner, so she allows me to practice on her and it helps a lot especially when building both of our brands. What we decided to do was to bring together fruit that was native to her country as well as a touch of sophistication. Below you will find those images of what we put together and also we put together a quick commercial for her 1st quarter Bahi Cosmetics branded Bahi Box which includes some amazing products! After taking a peek at a few of the images we took head on over to www.BahiCosmetics.com and put your order in!

 

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Rolling into 2017

I know i write a lot of blog posts directed at helping individuals especially creative individuals. I vary rarely delve into whats going on with me as a photographer or a person for that matter. Rolling into 2017 I have a slew of goals that I look to accomplish this year. as a quick back story contrary to what people may think I just recently went full time in September. I have 8 plus years of experience but never saw the opportunity to jump out there and take that leap to being a full time photographer. After a miscommunication on a job advancement opportunity and support from my loving fiancee, I took that leap and am officially building my brand full time. It's not hard, just hard work because you no longer have that cushion of a 9 to 5 to balance out your thoughts. I encourage people to do this when they know that it's time because you will definitely feel it in your spirit its unshakable.

My 2016 Personal favorite featuring model Kayana Howard with makeup by Emma Bahi

My 2016 Personal favorite featuring model Kayana Howard with makeup by Emma Bahi

My goals for this year is to succumb to the fantasy of fashion which is a major goal, for years I took a more realistic approach to fashion. Although the realistic approach is equally amazing i think fantasy is thought provoking and downright mind controlling. Think about majority of the fashion ads that you've come across over the last few years minus the straight forward fashion like the My Calvins ads, they all have a touch of surrealism. With a lot of haute couture gracing fashion pages in luxurious and sometimes beautifully destroyed or desolate locations it's hard not to embrace. As a photographer that fantasy beckons me to shoot and create stories out of it, to embrace that world and tell it's stories through my perspective. Models are going to be a huge part of my growth for the 2017 year, being strict on exactly what i need to not only create but attract is super important to the next stage in my evolution. Agencies will be a big part of my life this year i love the security of modeling agencies meaning if a model falls short then they will send another one in her place. I only want to work with the best in their field those who think about their craft every waking minute but are equally open to possibility to expand that craft as well. 

My visual work is such a small portion of the changes already in place to make my brand a lot stronger for the 2017-2018 year, it's so much that goes into building a successful photography business. There are revenue avenues that i never even thought of and are currently exploring to help fund future shoots. In addition, my social media has to do a complete 360, it's not bad but it definitely can be prepared better, so with this post you will notice that my instagram has been cleared of 2016's images. I want to hear from my readers, what is it that you are changing about your business this year that you feel will have a huge impact on your businesses progression in the next 6 months?

 

 

I'd love to shoot but your all the way in New York, are you coming here soon?

The best opening line I can think of is GET OFF YOUR ASS!!!! Do you know that most of your favorite models travel more times out of the year then they are actually home. Most likely whoever you just asked this question whether you are a model or photographer they are not coming to your city soon. From experience I can tell you traveling to somewhere excites the hell out of potential clientele and scares a few. For example there was a fashion brand in Philadelphia looking for a photographer a few months back and they needed one on a consistent basis. Of course you know I reached out, well after speaking with them they loved me and my work but didn't push forward because I was in baltimore. I was bummed and still don't understand why that's a factor, people will say travel I say it's a two hour bus ride. As a model or photographer it's our job to problem solve if you immediately give up then you've failed at your job. Example I mapped a shoot with a stylist for magazine submission, she pulled clothes from different designers to bring it together. On the day of I cancelled due too weather, in my eyes I'm doing the right thing because I'm thinking about the client and the equipment WRONG! I should have came up with a solution to the problem instead of cancelling it. As a result the stylist and I will never work together because I dropped the ball, I can chalk that up to learning. 

You only get a few you can chalk to learning before you will be learning a new profession. Travel tends to scare creatives but there are a many inexpensive alternatives, and it's so worth it. 

INEXPENSIVE TRAVEL/LODGE

  • AIRBNB
  • HOTEL TONIGHT (LAST MINUTE NEEDS) 
  • SPIRIT AIRLINES
  • WOW AIRLINES
  • WANDERU (Greyhound,PeterPan,Megabus,Amtrak)
  • BOLT BUS
  • SOUTHWEST  (IF YOU BOOK EARLY ENOUGH) 
  • NETWORKING

 

Don't be afraid of travel because believe me there is so much more than your city.  If you look at your city as the end all be all you are doing yourself a great injustice! Photographers especially understand that there are different markets out there that will expand thought and intensify creativity with your craft. One of my favorite quotes are:

 

"to be who you've never been you must go where you have never gone and do what you've never done" 

- unknown 

I will close this the same way I opened it GET OF YOUR ASS!!!! it's time to go explore. 

But wait... Where are my pictures?

This is a statement that I have run into alot with creative teams, where are my pictures?? Still till this day I don't understand how photographers take a longtime to tackle returning images to their creative team. I began to learn and understand that there are many factors that stop a photographer from getting images back in a timely manner. Time management is a huge factor in the delivery of images, and if the time management is bad then there won't be any photos for a while. Sometimes our input is greater than our output as photographers because either A.  We have a hard time allowing others to touch our work or B. We set an priority of what needs to get done first. My personal turn around for clients is 96 hours from the time of selection. When there are personal projects I take my time on them, I'm super meticulous when it comes to personal projects the process is not always recieved well but the end result is embraced.

I always encourage that what ever position you play on the creative team you should always ask questions from the model to the manicurist. Why? well my mom has always told me that "a closed mouth doesn't get fed" the same principle applies here. If you want to know how long before you get images back ask the photographer his turn around time on a shoot like the one your shooting. Alot of times creatives can set unrealistic expectations on exactly what the turnaround time should be either out of previous experiences with different photographers or selfishness. Sometimes it can be a sprinkle of both, remember that no two photographers are alike in terms of work flow.

Models I encourage you to ask the most questions, why? because it prepares you. You are learning the jargon and also learning how to now set expectations for yourself and your brand. Now this doesn't mean be a diva about it, it allows you to understand not only your business but the industry alot more as well. In addition to asking about turnaround time you should definitely understand the standard licensing parameters as well. This way you don't unknowingly use the images in a way other than what's expected but you have know idea of what's expected if you don't ask.

Image from Google images 

Image from Google images 

Photographers I find it easier and easier just to create a form that you use for shoots that outlines expectation. This form should cover what the licensing for the images are and the expected turnaround time for the shoot and well. I don't know about you, but I hate repeating myself not once but multiple times explaining the same thing over and over and over again. So , skip that step just draft form that can be used for each individual client and creative team and ease your mind. Once you set the expectation execute on time or early, if you need assistance you can find retouchers all over instagram just search who suits your brand. The worst thing you can do a a photographer is set an expectation and not deliver. This tarnishes your brand and credibility with future clients so stay on top of your expectations. 

Test Shoot: Eliza of Aesthetic Distance

On a regular basis I come in contact with creatives on social media. I love using social media because honestly i can sit still and interact with people around the world while simultaneously eating breakfast. I came in contact with Eliza one day going through my explore page on instagram, i saw a teen vogue esque image and instantly fell in love with the work. Now at the time i was searching for a wardrobe stylist and this is how I met Megan Larkin, and in turn was turned on to Eliza of Aesthetic Distance. I have yet to work with Megan, my fault completely it's one of those things where she's part of Eliza's team so Im on the hunt to search for my own teammate. Seems weird right? Well I feel like creatives will understand where i am coming from. Eliza chose to sit down with me in the hot seat and talk about her photography career and a little about her brand ambassadorship and charity involvement.

 

Syranno: from the outside looking in, If you were a consumer referring yourself to another consumer how would you describe yourself?

Eliza: I would describe Aesthetic Distance as a photographer/creative agency with a focus on girl power, pop culture and fashion.

 

S:  Quite often photographers go with there first and last name and photography or photos following, you chose Aesthetic Distance. Why? Whats the significance?

E: I didn't want to use my own name because I knew I wanted to do more than photography. Aesthetic Distance is about finding beauty in the mundane everyday things.


S: What was your first model experience and how did it change your perspective on your craft?

Maura McNamara of Q Models LA

Maura McNamara of Q Models LA

E: I really had to think about that one because it was a while ago! I think my first model experience was with Sarah Bean. Prior to that, I was shooting friends and family members. After working with Sarah, I realized what an ENORMOUS impact models have on your shoot and your finished photos. She already knew her angles and how to emote on camera. I still directed her the way I directed my previous subjects but she was better able to give me what I was looking for.


S: Your go to stylist is Megan Larkin how did you guys connect? How important is she to your brand aesthetic (no pun intended lol)?

E: My go-to makeup artist, Courtney McCormick, hooked me up with Megan, who is fantastic. Our first shoot together was for my blog editorial, "How to dress for music festivals without looking like a hippie raver disaster." I loved her style and vision and after speaking to her, her ethos was in-line with my brand.

S: "Ethos" Although not a new term is a coined term by youand your brand, how important is this term to you?

E: Very. I won't shoot for or with anyone whose ethos isn't in line with mine. The Aesthetic Distance ethos is all about multi-ethnicity, feminism and social justice through fashion, art and beauty.


S: What is your go to lens for your shoots? Why that lens?

Olivia Miraglia for Red Models NYC

Olivia Miraglia for Red Models NYC

E: The Canon 85 1.2. I rarely open it up to 1.2 and usually keep it around 1.8 for close-ups and 3.5 to 5.6 for full body shots. The 85 is slimming and flattering and it doesn't compress the background the way a wide-angle lens does. I like a lot of separation between my subjects and the background, especially since I do a lot of on-location shoots. That said, if I'm doing headshots or portraits in my studio, I'll use my 35 or my 24-70.
 

S: What was the first camera you picked up and the first thing you ever photographed?

E: My mom taught me to shoot with film on a 35mm Olympus back when I was in elementary school. She taught me about different kinds of film stock depending on the look I wanted. She was quite the shutterbug and I learned about lighting and composition from her. I also had a Polaroid camera as a kid and would take snapshots of my family and our dog with it. I found a box of photos I took back in the day and discovered a ton of photos of myself. I guess I was always into selfies, even as a kid!

 

Felicia Flaherty of CIMA Talent

Felicia Flaherty of CIMA Talent

S: I see you've worked with brands such as Asos, Express, Nasty Gal and Brightside Boutique. How do you come to get commissioned by these brands to create campaigns and for emerging artists what's a piece of advice you'd give when approaching both larger and smaller brands to work with them?

E: Social media is the new resume! I shop at Nasty Gal, Brightside Boutique and Asos a lot and when I first started doing personal outfit posts and styled shoots, I would pull from my own closet and tag the brands on Instagram. As my profile started to grow, the brands started to take notice and since they liked my vibe, they reached out. With Express, I shot for them because they were collaborating with another blogger I know. So it was actually her that got me that particular gig.

S: From what I get from just your bio alone is that you uplift women through your art and you advocate for children through constant support of "We Need Diverse Books" How did the relationship with WNDB come to pass and how deeply does the support go?

E: I have three kids of my own and seeing themselves represented in the books they read is extremely important to me. I found WNDB on Facebook and loved that there was an organization dedicated to teaching children the importance of reading and showing children, especially children in marginalized communities that they are represented. it's something that I didn't have growing up. Every book I read featured white protagonists and it became normal for me to feel excluded. That's not right and I didn't want it for my kids.

 For every paid shoot that I do, I donate a portion of the money to their organization. I've applied to volunteer but they weren't/aren't accepting new people. 


S: You and I had a brief conversation via Instagram about Galore Girl and your position as brand ambassador. I want to ask what direction do you feel Galore Girl can take your brand?

E: We can only wait and see. I'm really excited to see where it goes!


S: Where can people find you to commission you for future work?

E: Everywhere. You can go to my website and email me or you can reach out on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Tumblr, Snapchat (aesthdistance), Pinterest and YouTube.

Delaney Coyle for Red Models NYC

Delaney Coyle for Red Models NYC

Test Shoot: Fashion/Beauty Photographer Dametreus Ward

Test shoot is a new interview series that im working on when i sit and have conversations with industry professionals. This gives me a chance to ask them questions about not only their views on the industry but how they operate individually. I look forward to bringing this to you to help further create a platform that teaches you about the industry you're looking to start/continue you're career in. Let's Begin!

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Dametreus "Meech" Ward is a Fashion/Beauty Photographer originally from Milwaukee, WI currently residing and based in Dallas, Texas.  He is the Artist and CEO of Meech213 on a mission to deliver Fashion & Beauty artistically within his portraits. It's equally important for him to provide excellent personal attention while offering a unique experience with each and every client.

I met Meech via facebook just randomly commented on an image i saw of his that i liked, we created a dialouge and i quickly found out he was a great person with a great sense of humor. He absolutely loves what he does and as creatives thats what helps us vibe together. I reached out to ask him about an interview and he happily obliged andthis is what i asked him.

 

Syranno: What is the relationship between you and fashion photography? What keeps it thriving and spicy? 

Meech: Well for me the relationship is very tight, this has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now. I’ve taken a lot of time to actually study the craft and i'm still learning everyday. For me it's the traveling that helps keep it thriving and spicy. My creativeness opens up more because I’m exposed to more that I’ve never seen and, it challenges me as well to be more creative in my work. Fashion and beauty can be done in so many ways and I think that’s the beauty of it because everyone is different in their individual art form.

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S: Was there ever a moment where you and fashion photography weren't seeing eye to eye?

M: When I first began photography I would say shooting fashion and not understanding made me rethink if this was for me. Granted, I wasn’t working with stylists or anything but the fact that the final outcome wasn’t what I had imagined made me rethink whether or not this was the right direction.

 

S:  Revisiting your past work what is the most significant change that you have seen?

M: When I look back at my work I think having a team would be the most significant change. I’ve noticed how important it is to have a great team when working on projects. A good makeup artist, stylist, hairstylist, model, photographer can really set the tonal difference in what the outcome will be.

 

S: Lets change gears a bit, what is the most common misconception that models have when dealing with photographers?

M: Haha, I’d say that the idea that every photographers wants to have sex with them.

 

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S: Lol!! With that perception, what can us as photographers do to help turn that around?

M: I think personally if more photographers were more professional in the industry this wouldn’t be an issue. Actually, be a photographer for the art and not just to get women, that would make a huge difference.

S:. What does the term "industry standard" mean to you?

M: Industry standard for me means just the general requirements or what’s accepted in the industry.

S:. How important is "industry standard" to your current body of work?

M: For me it’s somewhat important. My reasoning Is because I like to work with different talent and for the industry that talent may not be what is desired or "in". When I have an idea I like to use whoever to execute my projects its about aesthetics and feeling.

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S: You recently were in New York City on a short residency, what is the most significant difference between your market in Texas and the market in New York City?

M: The biggest difference is that New York has more of a diverse commercial and fashion market whereas Texas is mainly commercial. New York allows me to do my fashion editorials with relaitive ease whereas Texas I’m limited.

 

S: Whats one non standard or non traditional piece of advice that you would give emerging creatives when making a decision to get into the fashion industry?

M: I would say don’t always listen to what people say when it comes to their experiences. A lot of times seasoned individuals that have been in the industry scare emerging creatives based on their personal experiences. I feel that if you’re dedicated and consistent anything can happen for you. Many will tell you that you won't make it or try to compare you to others, and that can bring certain feelings when wanting to pursue your dreams. Don’t let someone else’s failures stop you from going towards what you want.

 

S: Curveball question: If there was one thing you could create to make your workflow more efficient what would it be?

M: I would say building a solid team that takes care of scheduling and finding work. Although editing takes time I enjoy the process.

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S: How can people get in contact with you for commissioned projects?

M: Im on Instagram @Meech213 and also my website www.meech213.com.

 

 

 

 

What do you think about her? She has a unique look but she was late, so Next...

Lateness, Tardiness, Irresponsibility i beleive that these all go hand and hand. Modeling is a career so lets think of it from the perspective of a 9 to 5, if you have a hiccup in transportation do you reset your entire work schedule? Probably not unless it is a dire emergency but often times you have preplanned to get somewhere. If you are able to have plan A,B, and C to make sure you are able to enjoy entertainment or visit friends your career deserves the same efforts. Its understandable that life gets in the way, yet the sure fire way to make a lasting impression is to be late to a casting, shoot, or fitting. Understand, that in this industry word of mouth travels at supersonic speeds, and studio sessions have their fair share of stories. The last thing you want to hear your name in is:

 

 " She has an amazing look, i just can't trust her to be on time, so we can look for someone else"

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Secured from Google Images

 

 If for one moment you think these conversations aren't happening, they're happening! For me it is a little different because i like to have my own experiences with people. Yet, a vast majority of others will take a colleagues word for it and move on to the next person. If you don't see how detrimental to your career tardiness can be then you may want to rethink your chosen path for something a tad bit more flexible. 

 

" To be early is to be on time, and to be on time is to be late" 

 

The quote above is a quote that i live by, i truly frown upon lateness and it plays a huge part in my decisions for future paid assignents. Communication is a huuuuuge part that creatives in this social media controlled society are missing. If you cannot make your agreed upon time for any reason pick up the phone and call, if you have the number. If you look at the signatures on most creatives emails there is a contact number for them listed . Text messages are completley imformal and should be avoided and emails although practical should be secondary to a phone call. If at all possible do not be afraid to leave a voicemail, because in the event the call is not answered it's documented in more than just the call logs. If you're serious about your career make a way, these are all learned behaviors believe me when i say i've learned the hard way on my end plenty of times and still do. 

 

 

 

We love your look!!! But what are you doing in this instagram post?

   So you've followed all the steps properly on the website for the agency you've been eyeing for sometime now. You patiently wait for confirmation on your submission and weeks have gone by. Your sitting at your table impatiently tapping away in angst but nothing. So you make a call to speak to someone at the agency and they let you know someone will return your call within a specified timeframe. You call a friend who has a little experience in the industry and ask them what would be the primary reasons that the agency wouldnt be interested. They list off the normal things such as look, size specifications and then they mention social media. Yikes!!! is all you can think about as you hustle through your instagram page sifting through all the late nights and early mornings on your time line.

It may not seem super important to you at the moment but your social media is super important when looking to book with these agencies. Understand that you are not just looking to be a model but you are looking to be a brand as well. What the agency is doing is investing their time and resources to assist you in building your brand while simultaneously continuing to build their own. So when structuring your social media that is meant for the public you must be mindful of what you are posting because you are not only representing your brand but your agencies brand as well. I am not at all saying you are to be a saint, nor am i encouraging you to be a sinner. What i am encouraging is that you remain tasteful as it pertains to your life on social media. Let people know what your doing and even snap a few flicks of you having fun doing what you love, just dont go overboard. 

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 Why is your page private? Is always a question that i have for models who are looking to work with me. It doesnt make sense for me to have to request to follow you to decide whether or not you fit what im looking for. This goes double if you are looking to be booked by an agency or for any assignments, no one wants to go the extra mile when they can move on and scroll through. Treat everything with time sensitivity because in this business you dont want to be easily pushed to the side and forgotten. So to sum it all up if you'd like a private page by all means keep that personal, but if your serious about what you want in a career create a public profile. Maintain that public profile with common sense and certainty most likely if you have to question what you put up you probably shouldnt post it.

 

Transparency is key! Good Taste is the lock!

So how do you want me to pose?

The dreaded question i've heard on soooo many occasions when i was first starting out, before i knew how to guide my model.

"I don't, I absolutely do not want you to pose. I want you to move as naturally as possible and allow me to capture the essence of who you are."

 This is and will forever be my answer, i will help guide you as you transition though out your femininity/masculinity in front of the camera. From a photographers position it sounds so easy to tell a model that.. WRONG!!!! We know that embracing your individuality within modeling is difficult when you are shown from several different outlets to look a certain way. What if I told you that how you think you have to pose is not exactly how YOU need to pose? Of course like any thing worth learning their are fundamentals that highlight best practices, there are literally foundation guidelines that help you but are not law. Understand that although they aren't law you must know the rules to bend or break them to suit your individual image. 

 

Avoid the distractions!! I learned a few years back to pay attention to particular body poses that can be distracting. Biggest distraction I've always seen is the tendency to point the elbows towards the camera, I garuntee your elbows will be the focal point over your face. Think of your body as play doh and you can turn it into any shape you want, the only catch is it needs to be pleasing to the eye. Now before you retreat to your go to poses this is a perfect chance to experiment to see what is actually pleasing. Newer models spend the latter part of their sessions thinking more than actually doing, most times they are trying to remember that pose they saw in Elle, Vogue or Dazed and Confused.

Don't worry it's not that deep, depending  on the mood of the shoot you will almost always nail it if you put yourself in the mindframe for that particular emotion. Let's use happiness as an example, if you are happy it shows on more than just your face it shows in your movements all through out your body. As photographers most times that's what we are asking you to translate is individual emotions that cant be replicated by anyone other than you. Pose your butt off and practice in the mirror, Always bring YOU to the shoot and not what you think we want you to be.

The dreaded can you change your face is something I know I am guilty of saying. Models I know you hate hearing this because it down right confuses you. So let's tell you what we mean, often times I get the "deer caught in headlights" face which is the face that most new models think is "the face", it's NOT. That expressionless face is the furthest from what we want from you, your have facial features and expressions for a reason use them. The most important statement I tell my clients is:

"don't be afraid to try anything that comes to you or feels natural, if it doesn't work we can just delete it." 

All of my models tend to find a unique comfort in this statement, i tend to use "we" alot in our conversations because even if it's just you and I, we are a team. Practice is not just for home but also when test shooting is a great moment to "test" a new expression you've been practicing in the mirror. We will definitely tell you "yay or nay" while we are shooting with you. So all in all can you change your face is more of your chance to run through different emotions or facial expressions you've been working on or looking to try.

So in closing pose your butt off and practice in the mirror, always bring YOU to the shoot and not what you think we want you to be.

Let's Shoot!! Wait a budget?

The art of communication, this is such a soft spot for me because I have crushed alot of dreams inadvertently. Often times new and aspiring models reach out to me looking to test shoot with me. The conversation usually goes like this:

Model: I absolutely love your work and would love to shoot with you! 

Syranno: Amazing what did you have in mind in regards to your vision? 

Model: I was looking to get some beauty headshots and also 1 or 2 fashion looks to help build my portfolio.

Syranno: OK amazing that is definitely attainable, did you have a budget in place? 

Model: A budget? I thought that we can do TFP?  Title shoot means no charge right?

This is such an important conversation and you have no clue how often I have it. Test shooting comes in both unpaid and paid format, as photographers often times for unpaid test we reach out to whom we wish to test with. When approaching photographers looking to do unpaid test shoots it's all in verbage. It will work better for both parties and eliminate the aawkwardness when either your asked of your budget or the follow up email is a price quote. A great start would be:

 

Good (Time of Day)

     My name is (insert name here) I am an aspiring model from (insert location), I am looking to have my images taken professionally for portfolio use. I currently  don't have a budget and wanted to inquire on whether you had any upcoming projects and are in need of a model or if your available for an unpaid test shoot. I don't have a solid portfolio available but I have attached some cellphone headshots I've taken myself. I have additional images on my social media at (insert social media here), I appreciate your time and look forward to speaking with you.

Thank You,

(Insert name here) 

 

Positioning your email in this fashion or even if you decide to direct message let's the photographer know that you value their time and craft.  I know that as aspiring models you don't have tons of money to dump into your career in the beginning but courtesy and respect are also a valued currency in this industry. I know it can be hard asking for free services but understand its all in how you position what your looking for. It'' no garuntee that you will get a "yes" everytime but you definitely will get a more positive response. To go back to a previous post, prepare yourself for an agency photographers contact them all the time looking for new models in development to test with. 

As always if you have any questions feel free to comment below and follow me on instagram @photosbysyranno