General FAQs

Home Page   Oregon-Nudes   Non-Nudes   About Us   FAQs   Contact_Us   Links   Submit A Bug Report   Make A Donation   Out Takes

This is the General FAQ
Click here for a FAQ for Models


Frequently Asked Questions (General FAQ)

Page last updated November 14, 2013  

Use these jump links to find the answers to these key questions:

Everyone Should Read The Font Note!

What kind of equipment & film do you use? What's your opinion of digital vs. traditional photography?
Do you sell your pictures? Can you suggest ways to find models?
Do you use model releases? Do You Have More Advice For Photographers?
How would I get started with nude photography? How did you learn / how can I learn to be comfortable working with nude models?
What are these "Secret Galleries" that are mentioned occasionally? What's the story behind these "voluntary donations"?
What's the story with these "Out Takes"? Why do you use a form instead of an e-mail?
How do you feel about tattoos? How big is this site?
How much does a sitting cost (time & money)? Why does your production drop off in the summer? 
What defines a "good" photograph? Do you ever do outdoor nude photography?
How long have you been making (nude) photographs? Will you please photograph my girlfriend/wife?
Will you please photograph me? How do you "colorize" your images?
Why Aren't You Using PayPal Anymore? How do you negotiate modeling fees (blog entry)?
Will you critique my photographs? Do you do TFP (trade for prints or trade for CD)?


What kind of equipment & film do you use?

I use the following:

  • Bronica GS1 camera, which produces a 6x7 negative (2.25" x 2.75").
  • Good ol' Tri-X film (ASA 400), developed in Kodak D76.
  • Ilford Gallerie glossy paper, developed in Kodak Dektol.
  • Speedtron Brownline strobes (for studio pictures), with a variety of soft boxes, the largest of which is 4' x 6'.
  • Various light modifying gizmos. 

In May, 2005, I obtained a new digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 8400.  My previous digital camera, a Canon Powershot G5 (5 megapixel) camera, did not fire the strobes reliably, so I replaced it.  There are things I like about the Nikon:

  • I like being able to use the pivoting/swinging LCD screen to compose & expose images.
  • It has a supported methodology (the AS-15 accessory) for firing strobes.
  • It's 8 megapixel -- plenty for my purposes.
  • I can use it to preview lighting & to show models what we are working on. 

If it wasn't for its inconsistency in firing the strobes, I might prefer the Canon -- I think its colors are more accurately rendered, it is easier to use, and it is a bit faster.  But the Nikon works reliably, and that's very important.

I scan my film/paper images using my good ol' HP Scanjet 5 -- in fact, I keep around an old computer running Windows 98 just to run the Scanjet.  I've tried newer scanners, but don't like them as much.

I use Jasc's Paint Shop Pro 9 to process all the digital images (those scanned from film/paper & those from the digital camera.

I've recently purchased a Canon Pixma MP780 all in one printer.  I does make decent prints from good digital images, but I'm still a believer in traditional film & paper photography.

(Return to the top).


What's your opinion of digital vs. traditional photography?

I'm a traditionalist.  If my objective was solely this web site, I'd probably work in digital photography.  Digital is much more convenient, and to be honest, I don't enjoy darkroom work all that much.  But my objective is the best art that can be displayed on the wall, and for that, digital photography doesn't come close (yet).  If you compare a good digital print to a photographic print I can produce, you'd find that the photographic print is better -- the blacks are darker, the whites are whiter, and the tonal range is richer.  And while I usually print 8x10 prints, I sometimes print 11x14 or even 16x20 -- a digital image would have to be huge to produce a decent print of that size.  I read once that in order to record the information in a 35mm negative, a digital image would have to have 200 megapixels.  My 6x7 negatives are maybe four times bigger than a 35mm negative.  Today's sub-$1000 digital cameras are more in the 6-8 megapixel range.  You do the math.

Also, I produce a lot of images each year, and I find it more convenient to store my negatives (with contact sheets) in a loose leaf binder than it would be to find some way to store all that digital images.
     (Actually, I recently got a Sony combo DVD drive in my PC -- storage isn't much of a problem.)

Note (June 14, 2004):  In a recent sitting, I produced a digital image that I really, really liked.  I still believe that the objective is to put the best quality image on the wall, and for that, digital still doesn't come close to film/paper.  But I really haven't produced a framed print in a long time, so perhaps I will produce more digital images (and invest in a color printer).  So, perhaps for future sittings, I'll rely on more digital images.  How do you guys feel about that?

(Return to the top).


Do You Sell Your Pictures?

No.  It takes me a good amount of time to produce a top quality print -- I may be able to crank out a handful per day, assuming that I was motivated.  Because of the effort & that materials I use, I would have to sell each 8x10 print for more than $300, just to break even.  Given that many photographers sell their (digital) prints for quite a lot less, I'm not sure the occasional sale would be worth the effort.  (For a while, I donated prints to an on-air art auction at a San Jose public television station -- usually great fun.  There, my prints were auctioned off for prices in the $500 range.)

Besides, I'm concerned about the effect of earning money through my photography.  Right now, I make the images I want to make.  If I want to photograph a nude model twirling a hula hoop or if I want to pour chocolate over a model, I'll do it.  If I started earning income through my photography, I am concerned that I'd start trying to make images that would sell.  I don't want to do that -- I don't have the energy to produce commercially successful images and still have energy to follow my own muse.

Note:  The reality is that I've been laid off, and I've had to sextuple the bandwidth of this site to keep it up & running.  I am considering offering (probably digital) prints for sale from this web site.  What is your opinion?

(Return to the top).


Can You Suggest Ways To Find Models?

This is a popular question.  I'll share some thoughts.

First of all, I consider the finding, selecting, and negotiating with models to be part of the artistic process.  Your resulting images are dependent on the model and your ability to communicate with her/him.  Choose carefully.

Secondly, lots of photographers, especially beginners, don't want to pay models.  That's fine if you can find models who want to do you a favor & pose for free or for prints, but most models I know will pose for free only for experienced & talented photographers, so beginning photographers may have problems finding free modeling.  All photographers should take a moment and think about their photo sittings from the model's point of view -- why would a model want to pose for you for no compensation?  Think about it.

My advice:  

  • Put yourself in the model's shoes.  Why would someone (possibly a stranger) want to take off their clothes for you & your camera?  What is their motivation?  
  • For the most part, it is a very good idea to compensate every model in some way.  What do you have to offer?  If you don't compensate your models, then the ownership of the resulting images is questionable, even with a model release.
  • Be as clear as possible about what you want.  You won't be successful if a model stops by thinking that she's posing for clothed portraits and you ask her to remove her clothing.  
  • Have some images to show her.  Best would be to show her images you've done, but if you are a beginner, it might be a good idea to show her someone else's pictures if you intend to try to emulate.
  • If you are just starting out, 
    • Don't neglect to ask friends.  If you can't ask your friends to pose, how do you expect to be able to ask strangers?  Besides, friends are more likely to be comfortable with you and to pose for you for free.
    • Check out local colleges & art schools for nude photography workshops.  I used to see lots of these offered, but lately, such workshops are scarce.  I guess that's an indication that the social climate has been drifting to the conservative.
  • Additional ideas:
    • I've found that local photographers are often happy to recommend models if they feel that their models will be safe with you.  I respect my model's privacy, but if asked by a serious photographer, I'm usually happy to contact the model myself & give her the photographer's contact information.
    • There are tons of modeling web sites on the web, many that will allow you to search based on location.  For the most part, models you find this way will expect to be paid, although some might work TFP ("trade for prints"), and you'll find that rates vary widely, usually based on experience, whether the model earns her living modeling, what her expenses are (e.g. traveling), etc.  Here are some sites:

      Here's a link to my OMP profile:

  • Don't be offended if a model asks to be compensated or if a model asks for what you consider to be "too much".  Just because a model is worth "$X" (or thinks she's worth "$X"), that doesn't mean you can afford "$X".  Just say no.  
  • As an exercise, find out what other local photographers are paying their models.  How do you do that?  Well, ask local photographers and/or models!
  • Check out my FAQ for Models for more hints.

I've seen some photographers who feel that a model should be honored to be asked to pose for them, and that should be enough compensation (or at least that should justify low modeling rates).  I'd like to think that I'm too humble for that.

(Return to the top).


Do You Use Model Releases?

Yes.  I suggest that you do a search on the Internet for model releases, because I'm no lawyer, and you should definitely NOT take any legal advice from me.

The problem with most of the model releases I've found is that they are very scary.  Many say things like giving the photographer permission to use the images in a way that may be embarrassing.  Heck, if I was a model, I wouldn't sign many of the releases I've seen.  So, I've created a very simple release (click here for a MS Word version) -- it's a bit more friendly, and it probably doesn't protect me 100%, but since I don't sell my images nor do I charge for viewing them on this site, I'm hoping that I'm okay.  Besides, the best thing that protects me is my relationships with the models -- we might not produce wonderful images, but I hope that all models leave the sitting after having fun & feeling respected.

For models -- read those releases carefully.  When you sign, you give the photographer the right to use the images of you in any way the photographer wishes, without further compensation.  If you want to restrict those usages, talk to the photographer.

Note:  I've had people ask to be hired to pose for me, but they don't want to sign a model release.  I figure that if I can't get a signed model release, then I shouldn't be hiring the model.  Perhaps the model wishes to hire me?  

(Return to the top)


How Can I Get Started With Nude Photography?

You should first understand that I got started with nude photography because of the challenge -- despite its popularity & prevalence, nude photography is very difficult.  The challenge is being able to visualize worthwhile images, finding models, getting models to agree to pose for you, and of course the technical challenges of producing worthwhile images.  Welcome to the brotherhood!

There are related questions here in this FAQ -- read this FAQ thoroughly.  Some additional ideas:

  • Identifying models & getting them to agree to pose for you is part of the artistic process.  Select wisely.
  • See the question "How Do I Find Models" here on this FAQ page.
  • Also, when you are done with this question, look at the "Do You Have More Advice For Photographers" question on this FAQ page.
  • I know it's a burden, but you'll have to look at lots of nude photographs (there are several hundred here on this site, for a start, plus tons of links to other nude photography web sites on the links page).  Analyze the pictures you see: 
    • For the pictures you like, what about it appeals to you?
    • How do you think the picture was made?  What did the photographer & model discuss before the picture was made?  What was going on immediately before & immediately after the exposure?
    • For the pictures you don't like, why don't you like them?
    • What would you do differently?
    • How was the image lit?
  • At all times, consider the model's feelings.  When you ask a model to do something or to pose in some way, how would they feel about that?
  • At all times, treat your models with respect!!!  No touching.  Don't invade their "space" without asking permission.  Don't ask them to go beyond their limits.  
  • Start simple -- work outdoors with natural light, but if you do, select a private location.
  • Discuss concepts with the model beforehand, and in general, don't stray too far from previously agreed upon concepts.  It's a good idea to show the model images you'd like to try.  This not only sets expectations & avoids surprises during the sitting, it improves your ability to talk about your photography, which is essential to making improvements.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

(Return to the top).


Do You Have More Advice For Photographers?

Well, yes, I guess I can share some of my experiences:

  • Get yourself a web site.  Or put together a portfolio of your images & carry that around.  It's a great help if you can show potential models examples of your work, and it's usually encouraging to get feedback from people.  Your web site doesn't have to be fancy (this one isn't), but it should show a variety of images & photographic styles, and you should keep it up to date.
  • View & analyze images.  I am mostly self-taught, and the single most helpful habit of mine is that when I see a photograph I like, I analyze it.  How was it lit?  How was it produced?  Could I produce a similar image?  What would I do differently?  And so forth.  And it's not a bad idea to show some of these images to potential models to let them know what you are trying to achieve.  Verbalize this analysis -- it'll help you to become more articulate about photography.
  • Seek out local photographers & start a network.  You'll find that local photographers will share tips, models, locations, equipment, etc. with people they know & trust.
  • Be prepared to offer models references.  
  • Have a clear idea about what you want to accomplish during each photography sitting.
  • Most workshops are often valuable, especially for beginners.
  • Learn to use the "manual" settings on your automatic cameras.  Get a light meter & learn how to use it.  Learn how to select an appropriate exposure for an image.  Focus the camera yourself.  These things will slow you down a bit, and more importantly, force you to think a bit before making your exposure.  And the more you think about your image, the better the image will be.
  • Don't do the same thing over & over.  Figure out significant or subtle improvements or totally new ideas.  The goal isn't the final print -- the whole objective is the experience, and you learn practically nothing if you just go over old ideas. 
  • Put up a bulletin board somewhere, and pin up your latest photographs & other photographs that you like.  The bulletin board needs to be somewhere in your eyesight on a daily basis.  If you live with your photographs, you'll think about them more.

(Return to the top).


What Are These "Secret Galleries" That Are Mentioned Occasionally?

I started making nude photographs because of the challenge -- how do you find models willing to pose nude, how do you make the sitting comfortable for all involved, how do you produce worthwhile images, etc.  Nowadays, I'm more skilled at nude photography, including finding wonderful models.  Don't get me wrong -- each sitting is a real thrill for me.  But sometimes, I want more of a challenge, and sometimes, I come across a model who is interested in posing for pictures that are more erotic or extreme than the typical "fine art" image.  So, if conditions are right (e.g. I am comfortable with the model, the model is comfortable with me, and the model is comfortable and/or interested in such poses), I occasionally create more extreme images.  A couple of notes:  1)  90% of the time, I try to produce "fine art" images, and 2) I consider the fetish work that I've done to be more erotic than "fine art".  Anyway, there are a few "secret" pages containing these images.  The secret galleries aren't extensive, but there are a half dozen pages or so.

The challenge to this kind of photography (for me, at least) is how do you use such subject matter & create artful pictures.  Pretty much any time you dabble in these themes, you are likely to create sleazy or shocking pictures.

Recently, I've decided to make access to these secret pages available to selected visitors.  I've decided that only those people who have made a voluntary donation (of any amount) will get access to these pages.  Here's how you can get access:

  • Make a donation using the "Voluntary Donations" link.  This will allow you to make a donation.
  • Within a couple of days, I'll send you a "Thank You" note, which will include a link to a form & instructions on how to apply for access to the secret galleries, if you are so interested.  The purpose of this form is for you to indicate that you are of legal age and that your community, computer, and computer owner supports the viewing of erotic/adult material.  With this form, you can select your own user name & password.  Your user name & password is case sensitive.
  • I'll send you confirmation when the user name & password have been implemented; I'll include the link to the secret galleries.
  • And then you are set.

I reiterate:  the secret galleries are not extensive; I should add that I'm not very good at these themes.  If you are considering making a voluntary donation (and thank you for that!), I'd prefer that you think of your donation as a contribution for the support of the extensive public galleries & not as a purchase for access to the secret galleries.

If you do get a username & password, please do not share these with anyone else.

Note:  Your user name & password will be valid only until January 1st of the following year.  After that, you'll have to reapply (i.e make another donation).  Donations made in December will be good through the following year.

Note:  Don't confuse the Out Takes Galleries with the Secret Galleries.  Starting in 2005, I've decided to limit the number of images I post for each sitting; I do this in order to conserve bandwidth -- the Out Takes are more of the same kind of images I post publicly.  The secret galleries are more extreme or erotic or explicit.  People who make a voluntary donation will automatically receive a shared username & password for the Out Takes -- they have to apply explicitly in order to receive a different username & password for accessing the secret galleries.

See the next question for more details.

(Return to the top)



What's the story behind these "voluntary donations"?

In October, 2002, I was laid off from HP (after working there for 23 years -- feels like I was discarded like a used tissue), and I haven't replaced that job.  While I had planned for a very early retirement, and while I've been able to pick up money here and there, I am now a bit sensitive to expenses.  This site has only grown -- it currently has over 6500 image files from dozens of sittings.  Meanwhile, this site's popularity has grown -- my home page is getting over 400 hits a day, and I'm averaging over  2 Gb of bandwidth each day.  Despite over sextupling the bandwidth limit during 2004, we still often run out of bandwidth!!!  This still is a significant expense for me.  Additionally, photography can be an expensive hobby:  not only do I have to pay for web hosting, I also pay for modeling fees, film, paper, lighting equipment, camera equipment, darkroom equipment, props, etc.  Each sitting costs a few hundred dollars.  

So, I asked my visitors for suggestions, and the one I liked the best is this:  asking for voluntary donations.  This site will remain free for all to enjoy, and I don't intend to charge anyone for access to the main site.  I also do not intend to place ads or banners on this site, and I won't get sponsors for this site.  So, voluntary donations seems like a good way to go.  Here's how it works:

  • Enjoy the site.  You'll find that it is extensive & robust.
  • If you are so inclined, I would appreciate a donation of any amount (over $5.00).
  • In order to make a donation, follow this link, and on that page, you'll find a link that will allow you to submit donations to this site.  That should be safe & easy for everyone.
  • I'll send you a thank-you e-mail when I receive notice of your donation.
  • I offer three extra incentives to people who make a donation:
    • I've put together an e-mail distribution list, which I'll use for sharing news & update notices.  I will not sell or share this list with anyone.  By default, I'll put the addresses of the donators onto this distribution list, but if you'd prefer to be left off this list, just let me know after I send you your thank-you note.
    • In order to conserve bandwidth, I've decided to limit the number of images I post from each sitting -- I will post additional images from each sitting in the Out Takes Galleries, and access to these out takes will be available only to those who have made a donation.
    • I've decided to grant access to the "secret pages" only to people who have made a donation (of any amount).  By default, I will not grant access to the secret pages -- you have to ask explicitly.  See this question for more details.

Note:  Both the Out Takes access and the Secret Galleries access are good only for the calendar year in which the donation is made (donations made in December will remain good for the following calendar year).

Please do not share your passwords with others.  Thanks.

Why no ads, sponsors, or banners?  First of all, I find them annoying & distracting when I come across them.  Secondly, this is my hobby, and I'm making the images that appeal to me -- if I sell my images or sell sponsorships or place ads, I may shift my thinking to producing images that are more popular or financially successful, and that's not what this site is all about. 

You can use your credit card to make your donation.  Your transaction is secured by VeriSign -- I don't see your credit card number.   

One final note:  if you are considering a donation (and thank you for that), please do so with the mindset that you are contributing to the support of this extensive web site (which contains well over 3000 images) -- the secret galleries are not extensive (but there are a lot of images from recent sittings in the Out Takes galleries).

Thank you very much for your support.

(Return to the top).



What's the story with these "Out Takes"?

The past couple of years have been significant for me, in a lot of ways:

  • I feel that the quality of my work has increased significantly.
  • I started posting larger pictures, and more pictures per sitting.
  • I got laid off from my "real job", and I'm attempting to be semi-retired (which makes expenses a more sensitive issue).
  • My web site has become "established" & has grown in popularity.
  • As the web site's popularity has grown, I started exceeding the bandwidth limit I purchased from my web host.
  • Purchasing extra bandwidth has proved to be expensive, so I started asking for "voluntary donations".
  • My productivity increased -- I posted twice as many sitting last year than I did the previous year.
  • With the increased productivity, I saw a good increase in the quality of my images.  
  • For the last two sittings completed last year, I posted over 100 images from each sitting.
  • And we continue to run out of bandwidth each month.

So, at the suggestion of a patron of the web site, I intend to restrict the number of images I publicly post from each sitting.  Additional images will be made available in the "Out Takes Galleries", which will only be available to those people who have made a voluntary donation.  Here are some notes:

  • When someone makes a voluntary donation, they will immediately receive a shared username & password for accessing the "Out Takes Galleries".
  • The out takes are similar to the images posted.  The "Secret Galleries" contain more erotic or explicit images, and patrons must request & qualify before they get a separate username & password to access these.
  • The out takes username & password will be good only for the calendar year in which the donation was made.  (Donations made in December will be good for the following calendar year).

See the "Voluntary Donations" and the "Secret Galleries" questions for more information.  Thank you for considering making a donation that will help towards the upkeep of this web site -- your support is greatly appreciated.

(Return to the top).



Why Do You Use A Form Instead Of Using a "Mailto:" e-mail link?

I use a form for facilitating visitors communications with me for a few reasons:

  • I can obfuscate (hide) my e-mail address from some applications which harvest e-mail addresses & sell them to spammers.
  • It lets me ask readers specific questions, like asking them to suggest URLs for sites I should visit.
  • It's an excuse for me to learn a bit more about HTML scripting.

(Return to the top).



How much does a sitting cost (time & money)?

This is depressing -- it costs a lot.  To be honest, I only recently tried to figure it out, but the costs have been increasing quite a bit.  Some of the major factors include the following:

  • Modeling fees:  $60 - $250 (double this amount for two-model sittings).
  • Film:  $20 - $40
  • Paper & Chemistry:  ~$80+
  • Plus, figure in pro-rated camera, equipment, water, electricity, etc.

Time-wise:  it can also be expensive:

  • It usually takes a couple of exchanges to set up a sitting with a model, during which we discuss the sitting, compensation, and dates.
  • It takes me about two hours to tear apart my living room & set up the camera & lighting equipment.
  • A typical sitting lasts about three hours, during which I expose about 10 rolls of film (100 exposures) and perhaps an equal amount of digital exposures.
  • I often put together a "quick preview" page for the model, showing her some of the digital images we made.  This takes 2 to 3 hours.
  • I have a Jobo film processing machine that can develop up to 10 rolls of film in a single batch.  It takes about 2 or so hours to develop that single batch, then an hour drying time, and a half hour to cut them down.
  • Then I print contact sheets for all 10 rolls, which takes about another couple of hours, usually on a separate day.
  • Then I select the images I wish to print.  There are 10 exposures per roll, thus there are a 100 exposures in the 10 roll sitting.  I tend to print between 30% and 50% of the images, and that takes a full day or two.
  • The printed images have to be pressed for a couple of days, otherwise they curl up too much.
  • I scan the images & make some minor digital adjustments (e.g. applying toning, correcting dust spots, etc.).  For a typical sitting, this step takes 3 to 5 hours.
  • I also process each digital image carefully for posting on the web site.  Another 2 to 3 hours.
  • Noteall that darkroom work is not necessary for digital images -- they are already "scanned" & are ready for digital manipulation.  Tempting as it is to save the expense & time associated with film processing, I am still committed to film images.  My yardstick is still the quality of images I can put on the wall, and to my mind, digital doesn't come close to the quality I can still achieve with film & paper.
  • Finally, I put together draft web pages -- depending on the sitting, that could take up to 10 or more hours.

Bottom line:  it can get to be very expensive & time consuming!  Have you seen my Voluntary Donations page?

If you do the arithmetic, you'll see why I rarely host more than one sitting per month, although in 2004, I was more prolific than that.  During 2004, I hosted two sittings in a single day, and in a separate run, I hosted three sittings in twelve days.  That keeps me busy.

(Return to the top).



How big is this site?

Gosh, I don't really know.  But it's been around for several years, and I've been adding pictures to it all along.  If you explore the site, you'll find several dozens of sittings with dozens of models, and perhaps over 6500 images.  That's pretty good for a site that is free, has no sponsors, doesn't require membership, and has no adware/spyware.  Again, I can use help to keep the site going -- if you can, please visit the Voluntary Donations page and perhaps make a contribution to help keep the site going.

(Return to the top).



How did you learn / how can I learn to be comfortable with nude models?

To be honest, I started making nude photographs because I thought they would be challenging, and this specific aspect, learning to be comfortable with nude models, is the single most significant part of the challenge.  It is difficult.  Some suggestions:

  • There is a lot of information on these FAQs.  Read them!
  • See if you can find a local workshop. When I lived in California, some local art schools would offer nude photography workshops, in which there would be one or two instructors, a few models, and maybe a dozen student photographers. You can learn a lot at these, not only by working with the models but also by watching the other students & talking with the instructors.  (To be honest, you can learn a lot about what not to do by watching other photographers & how the models react to them).
  • If you can't find a workshop, perhaps you can try contacting some experienced local photographers & picking their brains. Perhaps once they get to know you, they may consent to allowing you to observe one of their sittings, but that's unlikely. Anyhow, you can do a search for photographers by location in web sites like One Model Place.  
  • You can share a model with a more experienced photographer/friend.
  • Start with an experienced model -- let her know about your concerns & comfort, and ask her to help you through. Good models will be very helpful.
  • Or start with someone you know, someone with whom you are already comfortable. I don't know why beginners don't work with friends more often.
  • Remember, identifying, selecting, & negotiating with models is part of the artistic process.
  • Always, always, always consider the feelings of the model!  I find that if I focus on making the model comfortable, my own comfort comes along as a bonus.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

I'm still not totally comfortable working with nude models, but I'm working on it!  But I've got a ways to go to improve, especially where it comes to moving close to the model and where it comes to working with new models.  But sometimes that "discomfort" adds to the overall thrill.  I suspect that if/when I get totally comfortable with nude photography, I'll probably get bored & will probably slow down or stop.

(Return to the top).



Why does your production drop off in the summer?

For a few reasons, none of which would be "good" reasons:

  • For studio sittings, I convert my living room into a studio, and in the seasons when the days are shorter, it's easier to block out light coming in from the windows (for evening sittings, which I prefer).
  • It's really hard to drag myself into the darkroom when the weather is nice outside.  I feel like I'm missing out on the good weather.  (And I'll admit here that I don't really enjoy all that darkroom work.)
  • I hate tan lines.
  • I like to take a break to "recharge" my creative batteries.  If I just push through all year round, doing sittings constantly, I find that I get into a rut & all the images I produce start to look alike.

On the other hand, several models are also students, and they are more readily available during the summer when schools are closed.  Additionally, it seems that more models travel during the summer.  So, I suppose that if the opportunity presents itself, I will do a summer photo session.

(Return to the top)



What Defines A "Good" Photograph?

To me, there are two key aspects to examine when viewing photographs:  the aesthetic & the technical.  Both must be present for a photograph to be considered (at least by me) "good".  

Technical Considerations:  It's all about tonality.  Think about really old television sets, with manual adjustments for brightness & contrast -- has the photographer adjusted those knobs correctly?  Is there deep rich dark tones?  Are there details in the shadows?  Are the highlights bright without being blown out?  Are there appropriate details in the highlights?  Oh, yes -- is the image appropriately focused?  Does the image have the appropriate depth of field?

Aesthetic Considerations:  Of these two, the aesthetic quality of the image are the most important by far.  And of the two, the aesthetic quality is the most difficult to quantify.  Some things to think about:

  • Does the image work overall?
  • Do all the elements of the image contribute to the overall impact of the image?
  • Is the image well composed?
  • Was the light well crafted (for artificial lighting) or well selected (for natural lighting)?
  • Is the concept original?  Was it well executed?
  • Does the image evoke an emotional response?

Stuff like that.

(Return to the top)




Do You Ever Do Outdoor Nude Photography?

I used to.  I really like well done outdoor nude photography, and when the weather turns nice, I try to resolve to do some during the warm weather season, but admittedly, I rarely do, for a variety of reasons:

  • Nowadays, to get the quality I expect from my photography, I need to carry a lot of equipment, including a medium format camera, a sturdy tripod, multiple lenses, film, reflectors, filters, light meter, and various gadgets.  It all adds up to a few dozen pounds of stuff to carry.
  • In general, I'm paying models on an hourly rate, and for outdoor photography, I feel obligated to pay the model for the commute time to the site.
  • I don't know too many private sites that are appealing in the area.
  • The weather in this area is unpredictable.
  • The best times to do outdoor photography is very early in the morning (e.g. dawn) or very late in the day (dusk), and these times can be logistically difficult.  For example, in order to catch the best light of the day (dawn), I'd have to get up at maybe 4:00am.  Not too many models can do that.

But that being said, I am still interested in outdoor photography.  Perhaps someday I'll get it together.  Some models (especially Jennifer) have expressed interest in working outdoors.

(Return to the top).



How Long Have You Been Makng (Nude) Photographs?

When I was about 14, I attended a summer art school, planning to study film.  My films weren't anything special, but the images were encouragingly good.  At the last week, I borrowed a Pentax Spotmatic, and I ran around photographing my friends for keepsakes.  Those photographs were interesting.

The next school year, a friend's father was packing up a lot of old photography equipment to give away, and I volunteered to take it off his hands.  The loot included an old Nikon rangefinder 35mm camera (that was older than I was), filters, a basic light meter, and a full set of darkroom equipment (I'm still using those original trays & tongs).  That was the beginning of my hobby.

I graduated high school early.  By this time, the camera was ensconced in an old army surplus gas mask bag that was constantly slung over my shoulder.  The camera followed me everywhere -- in fact, I felt naked without it.  The camera followed me to college (Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont) where I continued to use it to do people photography.  While I may have done the occasional nude photograph in college, I was mostly focused on landscape photography (Vermont was beautiful!) and people photography.  In fact, I have somewhere some images of a very young David Mamet (a visiting artist at Goddard) and William H. Macy (a dorm mate).  During college, I strove to expose two 36-exposure rolls a week.

After graduation, I continued making pictures, but work ate up free time a lot.  After a few years in "the real world", I went to graduate school at the University of North Carolina.  Photography slowed down a bit, but I still kept at it.  After graduation, work really absorbed my time, and my production dropped significantly.  For a while, though, I was the "staff" photographer for a local theater, photographing the plays & actors for the lobby.  I also did the dance photographs at this time.

But I found that doing less photography meant that I was less happy overall.  I committed myself to doing more photography in the early 90's, and I chose to focus on nude photography as a challenge.  So, some of these images you see here are maybe 10 years old.  I gradually ramped up doing nude photography, participating in nude photography workshops in Northern California primarily.  Eventually, in the late 90's, I felt comfortable enough to host my own private sittings.

The rest, you can see here on this site.

(Return to the top).


Will You Please Photograph My Girlfriend/Wife?

I get this question fairly often, to which my immediate reply is, "well, does your wife/girlfriend want to be photographed?"  I find it best that if someone wants to be photographed, they themselves should contact me.  That saves a lot of time for all of us.  Then, look at this next question, below.

(Return to the top)


Would You Please Photograph Me?

Maybe.  Before we get too serious about setting up a sitting, consider the following:

  • I often get this request from people who are nowhere near me, and I don't travel much nowadays.  I live in downtown Portland, Oregon -- are you going to be in town for this proposed sitting?
  • I do this for fun, and currently my goal is to place the photographs I make on this web site.  Are you willing to have nude photos of yourself be on display here?  Are you willing to sign a model release?
  • Do you have tattoos?  I ask because I hate photographing tattoos (see my tattoo rant).  If I can't avoid your tattoos, I probably won't photograph you.  Sorry.
  • Please understand that each & every sitting represents a sizable commitment of my energy, time, and finances.  I simply can't host a sitting at a moment's notice, and there is a small finite number of sittings I can do each year.  If I can't display the photos of you on this web site, I'll have to think hard about doing the sitting (and will probably decline the opportunity).
  • What kind of pictures would you want to do?  Is there a specific target audience?  The more specific you can be, the easier it'll be.
  • Will you be bringing someone with you to the sitting.
  • Have you thought through how your friends / family / significant other will feel about you posing for me? 
  • How accurate is your own self-image?  Will you be disappointed if/when the resulting images look like you and not like how you want to look?  
  • Can you send me pictures of yourself?     

So, the initial key question:  are you working for me or am I working for you?  If you are working for me, I will compensate you & will expect to put the resulting pictures on the web.  If I am working for you, then you would be paying me & you would retain the rights to the resulting photographs.  There is no scenario where I would compensate you & allow you to retain the rights to the photographs.  I'm not a lawyer, but the person who pays the other person typically winds up with the rights to the photographs.

Okay, I've been candid.  But I like to think that I can help inexperienced models.  I'm fairly easy-going & quiet; I am certainly respectful, so I can be a good photographer for amateurs.

So, the answer is maybe.  Some things that would help:

  • I tear up my house to set up a "studio" for a sitting.  Perhaps it'll be best if we can arrange for your sitting to take place a day before or a day after I've scheduled one of my regular sittings.
  • Working in film produces superior quality images, but it also requires much more time (2-3 extra days); thus, I'd probably be more agreeable to a digital-only sitting.
  • Finally, be sure to read the FAQ for Models.

Note:  The last person who asked me to do this for her backed out at the last minute.  While I respect her decision to decline to pose nude, it is annoying for me to put in the time & effort to do someone a favor, only to have it fall apart in the eleventh hour.  Thus, I am somewhat reluctant to undertake this kind of thing.

So, think about it a little more.  If you are still interested, please provide send me a picture of yourself.  (Contact me via the link at the top of the page & I'll send you an e-mail address).  I will not consider photographing anyone who I haven't yet seen.


(Return to the top)



How Do You "Colorize" Your Images?

Although I've been inconsistent, lately when I colorize a digital image, I put a "sepsat" at the end of the file name.  For film images, lately I've been colorizing all the images anyhow, so I don't bother with the "sepsat" in the file name.

I use JASC's Paint Shop Pro 9 to edit both the digital & the scanned film & paper images.  To "colorize" them, 

  1. I use the "Colorize" command, with Hue = 23 & Saturation = 75.
  2. Usually, I then have to adjust the brightness & contrast.  Typically, I use the "Histogram Adjustment" dialog to do this.
  3. Finally, I use the "Automatic Saturation Enhancement" dialog, with Bias = "More Colorful", Strength = "Normal" or "Strong" (whichever looks best), and with the "Flesh Tones Present" box checked.


  • Okay, I know that if I used a greater saturation with the initial "Colorize" command, I could perhaps skip Step #3, above.  But if it works, don't fix it.  Someday I'll experiment.
  • I don't use any of the "sepia" filters or effects -- these tend to make adjustments to the contrast along with a colorization step, and I don't like these side effects.
  • If you go to my links page, you'll find an entry for the "Virtual Photographer" on the right hand column.  Virtual Photographer is a free plug-in with tones of automatic enhancements to digital images.  To see examples of what this plug-in can do, go to this Digital Variations page.

(Return to the top).



Why Aren't You Using Pay Pal Anymore?

No More PayPal!In May, I was the victim of a touch of identity theft -- someone hacked my Pay Pal account and made about a dozen purchases (mostly video games).  I caught it within hours of its occurrence.  To their credit, both Pay Pal & my bank responded quickly, and all charges were reversed promptly.  But I had to freeze my account, change my checking & credit card accounts, and update all the various institutions that knew of my account numbers.  Of course, I was refinancing my home at the time -- good timing, huh?

While this was going on, Pay Pal decided that my site violated their Mature Audience Policy of their Acceptable Use Policy.  Ironic, huh?  Especially since Pay Pal is owned by E-Bay, and you know about all sorts of things available for sale on E-Bay.  Pay Pal & I went through this once before, in December.  At that time, they froze my account before I had a chance to withdraw the funds that were accumulated in there -- they intended to keep the hundreds of dollars that was there.  At that time, I appealed their decision, and they unfroze my account.  This time, for undisclosed reasons, they denied my appeal & permanently closed my account (but at least I was able to get the funds out before this happened).

I often got feedback from visitors saying that they don't trust Pay Pal, and given their capricious & inconsistent censorship (plus horror stories like these), I don't blame people for wanting an alternative to Pay Pal.

Well, so be it.  I don't need them; they don't need me.  I'm just tired of all these right-wing conservatives passing judgment on my art.

You do what you want, but I'll never use Pay Pal again.

(Return to the top).



Will You Critique My Photographs?

Maybe.  Send me a URL.  But be prepared -- I am brutally honest & I have high standards.  I'll try to be encouraging -- after all, I appreciate all the encouragement I can get.  But if there are aspects that I don't like, I will tell you in no uncertain terms.

Here's a list of things that bug me -- if your photos have problems like this, you'll hear about it from me:

  • Single light source images.  I want to see a tonal separation between the subject & the background.
  • Black or white backgrounds -- boring.
  • Bored models.
  • Models who stare out into the distance, including but not limited to models staring out of windows.
  • Whole collections with the same lighting.
  • Show me some shadows!
  • Limbs pointing at the camera lens, making said limb appear short & stumpy.
  • Models exclusively photographed at eye level.

(Return to the top).



Do You Do TFP (Trade For Prints or Trade For CD)?

Short answer:  No.  I understand that a lot of photographers would prefer "free" models -- perhaps they can't afford to hire models or perhaps they are just frugal.  Regardless, I have a limited amount of time to devote to photography, and each sitting represents a sizable commitment of time & expenses on my part.  I am therefore selective when choosing which sittings to host, and I'm selective about which models I work with.  I do prefer experienced models, and such models also make a commitment of their time to pose for me.  They deserve to be compensated for their time, and I like the fact that when they leave at the end of the sitting, our business transaction is completed.  Also, since the transaction is completed, there is no dispute about ownership of the resulting photographs.

A different question would be "Can I get some prints or a CD from our sitting?".  See these FAQs from the FAQ For Models:

(Return to the top).









Hit Counter