"I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn."
I am a professional photographer, specializing in Fashion, Glamour and Beauty photography.
I was born in Russia in the 60's. By the age of 6, when my grandfather passed away, I inherited his old Russian Leica knock-off camera. From that point forward, I do not remember myself without a camera in my hand.
I came to the United States at the age of 13. What would a new immigrant 13 year old kid do here in the states? I got a job, and I started saving money. My first purchase in this country was darkroom equipment.
Although a full time career in photography was not in the cards for me, I continued to take pictures. I managed to travel to many different countries, and established a large collection of stock photographs.
When I switched to digital photography in 2003, and I no longer had to deal with photo labs, I saw my photography heading in an entirely new direction. I got interested in studio work. I found it exhilarating to be able to control light only the way you can in the studio. What interested me most was taking pictures of people, and trying to bring out the beauty in all of them.
This brings me to today. I am a professional photographer, specializing in Glamour, Fashion and Beauty photography. Although I only work as a photographer on a part time basis, for me photography is not only an art but also a business. I have to cover the rent on my studio space, my equipment expenses, and make a reasonable profit. I do paid private Glamour work, commercial projects and paid portfolio shoots. My prices are not cheap, but reasonable, so feel free to contact me.
People have been asking me what equipment I am using to produce my images. This brings to mind an old story:
A photographer and a writer get together to discuss their work. The writer looks at the photographers portfolio and exclaims: Such wonderful work you got here, you must have one hell of a camera. After which, the photographer reads the writer's manuscript, and states: Great work you got here, you must have one hell of a typewriter.
The moral of the story is that it's not the equipment, but how you use it that makes for wonderful images. Although you do need the right tool for the right job. My tools are:
Hasselblad H4D-40 Camera
Hasselblad 80mm f/2.8 lens
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III camera
Canon EOS 5d Mark III camera
Canon 85mm f/1.2 L lens
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens
Canon 24-105mm f/4 L lens
BlackMagic Design Production Cinema Camera 4K
Hensel Tria 1500w/s SPEED pack
Hensel Tria 3000w/s AS pack
3 Hensel EH Pro 3000w/s heads
Softboxes, beautydishes, and other modifiers by: Larson, Chimera, Hensel, Photoflex, etc...
A couple of Alien Bees for accent lighting only.
Portfolios / Private Shoots:
1/2 Day (4 hours) - $1,000 - 15 Edited images on CD
Full Day (8 hours) - $1,750 - 30 Edited images on CD
Shooting your concepts, whatever you want, at the studio. Hair / Makeup / Studio Fee included. Clock starts when you go in to make-up and stops when the last shot is taken. You will also be required to sign a limited release, allowing me to use your images for self promotion only (on-line and printed portfolio). If you want to keep your shoot private, you may request a non-release shoot for 2x the price. I retain the copyright of all images, and they may not be used commercially with out an additional license.
Day Rate - $4,000+++
I retain the copyright. Full commercial license provided to client.
I will do paid test shoots for agency talent only, with a limited model release at the rate of $300 for 1 hour/ 1 look studio or location, agency choice. Concept / type of shoot is agency choice. Proofs are provided to agency on-line. Agency picks 5 images which are provided on CD to the agency. Your agent know what's best for you... Commercial usage license extra. Hair and makeup extra.
For all of my commercial projects, I rent the MILK studio in New York City, and shoot on location in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania if the client requires. For personal projects I use several studios in NJ, NY, and PA.
Sure, why not, however keep this in mind: I get bombarded with requests for free shoots all the time, but I only shoot with models who meet my specific criteria. Please don't be offended if I do not agree to shoot you. I will only shoot my concepts / ideas, and you should be wiling to do whatever it takes to get the shots done. Also, keep in mind that all my TF* shots get submitted to my stock agency, and WILL get sold as either stock, or art prints. You will have to sign a full commercial release allowing me to sell your pictures. This is how I get compensated for working with you. Very limited TF* shoots at this time. My calendar is very full.
Before contacting me for a TF* shoot, please read my complete writeup on how I do TFCD.
On Paying Models:
Recently I have been contacted by several "Professional Models" here on Mayhem offering me to hire them for paid shoots. I wanted to make it clear that I do not hire models for personal projects or stock shoots, and instead use vast array of talent that is available to me on TF* basis, and I will only do TF* shoots if I think there is commercial value to the images. If you just want images for your portfolio, you will have to hire me. Once again, my rates are not cheap, but reasonable.
There are 2 situations where I do pay models:
1. I am attending an educational photography workshop/seminar. Since the models do need to be compensated for their work, and I am not providing the models with images as compensation for their time, I gladly pay the models.
2. When I am doing commercial work, where a client is picking up the tab, including the model's bill. But in those situations I will hire agency talent anyway.
On "Professional Models":
Is getting naked for a complete stranger in a cheap hotel room for $50 bucks really considered modeling?
On Selling Yourself Short:
I have a friend, who is a model. She is beautiful, tall, skinny, with incredible facial features. She can pose, work the runway, takes great direction, and will run around naked in time square, just to get the shot. And to boot, she is responsible, well organized, and has an incredible sense of humor.
Perfect, you may say. Well, not really. She has a problem, that many of the girls I met here on MM have: She has no self confidence what so ever. She always thinks that she will look terrible in the pictures, that she needs major photoshop work just to look half way decent, that no one will ever want to hire her. So instead of taking her incredible portfolio, and going to every major agency here in NYC, she settles for small jobs from local businesses, modeling hair, clothing, and helping to sell cars. (No, there are no pictures of her in my MM portfolio, and no, she does not have an MM account. I refuse to help her dig her own grave.)
This brings me back to MM: how may of the models out there feel the same way as my friend? How many of you are stuck picking up small gigs, and are afraid to actually try to be great? Well, what do you have to loose? Just get out there, and do it! You dont need anyone's help. You can do it all on your own. Just pick up your book, print out a list of all the agencies in your area, and knock on doors. The worst thing that can happen is you will be rejected. But you will at least know that you tried.
As a wise ad executive once said: Just do it!
I am a strong proponent of escorts. I think that there are many weirdos and freaks out on the Internet, and they will pose as photographers, 12 year old boys / girls, agents, your best friend, etc... just to get their hands on a pretty young girl. The first thought on a girl's mind should be her safety. Always bring someone with you when you are shooting with a photographer for the 1st / 2nd time (until you get to know them). No pictures are worth getting hurt.
You guys give photographers a bad name. I am a happily married 50 year old man who is totally professional in everything I do, especially photography. My wife comes to many of my shoots, and is one of the best art directors I have ever worked with. I come to shoot, not to try to pick up pretty girls, not to stare and drool over barely dressed (or nude) women.
The "Guys with Cameras" who are on this site to hook up with Models drive me nuts. If you want to meet girls, try a dating site. This site is for professionals and aspiring professionals in the modeling / photographic communities, not a hook up joint. Get over it, and move on. You give photographers a bad name.
On Cell Phone Pictures and Snapshots in Portfolios:
This is a modeling site. How can you consider yourself a model if you haven't modeled? Posing in front of a cell phone camera does not make you a model. Please, do yourself a favor and get some real pictures done by a real photographer. This site is littered by pros (and some real good amateurs) who will gladly shoot you for free. Reach out to some photographers, NETWORK, ask them to get some pictures done. Believe me, if you really want to book some modeling work, no one will hire you if you have cell phone pictures in your port. You just calling yourself a model, does not make you a model. Modeling is hard work. Try it, you may not like it.
You may say, why should I waste my time and energy, I get plenty of comments on my cell phone pictures from photographers who tell me things like: you are sexy, nice look, love your (insert body part here), etc... Trust me, the only people who do that are GWCs trying to hook up with you. But if you ARE here to date, and just act the part of a model, I will tell you the same thing I tell GWCs: Go away! Go to myspace, and date internet freaks there.
On flaky models (no show, dog died, etc...):
I will not list the names and MM#s of the flakes, but you know who you are. Now F@@K off.
Why is it that people schedule a shoot, and not show up / cancel at the last moment / come up with lame excuses? I pay for studio time. I pay my assistant's salary. I take time out of my busy life to come and work with you. Why is it so hard to just show up? If you really want to work as a model, how far do you think you are going to get in this business when you don't show up for gigs? This is not High School. This is real life, and you are dealing with people who have real responsibilities and make commitments to be there when they promise.
You may agree or disagree, but I would love to hear your opinion either way.
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