[ ISSUE two 2017 ]
Cover shot by Lisa-Marie Photography
welcome to PHOTO live ISSUE 2
This issue is packed full of brilliant talent!
We were fortunate to catch up with some amazing artists who specialise
in people photography. So this issue is one for those readers who love
fashion, models and a touch of glam thanks to our special interview with
Haute Shots’ Stacey Frazier.
We also caught up with Marco Larousse, Japanese photographer, Noriyuki
and Rita Law from Hong Kong who talk to us about street photography.
Roxanne and Brian from This Week In Photo Glam talk to us about hosting
a podcast as well as their photography and modelling, while French model
Morgane fills us in on being a model in France.
We want to hear from you... if you’re a photographer or model, head over to
our Facebook or Instagram page and drop us a message - tell us if you’re a
photographer, model or involved in photography and why we should feature
you. We love meeting new people and love sharing their art in our magazine.
Lisa-Marie is a Scottish-born Freelance Photographer
based in Alberta, Canada who
specializes in Fashion, beauty and conceptual
Lisa-Marie has been published in a variety
of magazines that include Papercut Magazine,
Ellements Magazine, Hacid Magazine
and Dark Beauty Magazine to name a few.
She has also had the cover of several magazine
such as Model Life Magazine’s launch
issue, children’s magazine Petite Magnifique,
The Alchemist Magazine’s Beauty
Issue and Lash Inc. She is featured on the
Editor’s Choice page of 500px. A few of her
images have been shown in New York City.
She recently won Vistek’s “Show Us Your
Best Contest” and had a 6 page spread interview
for Practical Photography Magazine’s
Pro Showcase for the July 2016 issue.
Lisa-Marie is also an Elinchrom and Canon
Lisa-Marie welcome to Photo Live, who
inspired you to make photography
Thanks so much for having me be a part
of Photo Live! Photography was never
really on my radar for a career or even
a hobby until my grade 10 year of high
school. I had to choose an option class
for credits to graduate and I was between
photography, computers and art.
I was already taking a computers course
and didn’t want to have two of the same
class. I also can’t draw so it was a simple
choice of the photography class. I remember
thinking that “Oh this will be so
easy!” and boy was I wrong! Very early
on I became enamoured with photography
and wanted to learn as much as I
could. I’ve never looked back.
Let’s back up and talk about your first
few photo shoots - were they fashion
Not at all! Fashion photography never really
came into play for me until my second
year of university. During our first
few “photoshoots” I had friends from
high school help me with portrait work
as we were learning side lighting, butterfly
lighting and Rembrandt lighting etc.
Even during university I wanted to be a
food photographer so I was focusing on
still life photography.
What sort of gear did you use?
I’ve always been a Canon girl. Canon was
what I learned on and my first professional
camera was the Canon 40D. I had
a simple 18-55mm lens and then “upgraded”
to a 50mm when I started doing
fashion work. I used the strobes we had
in the studio and I have had Elinchrom
lighting for years.
You graduated from Grant MacEwan
University studying Design and Photography
- tell us about that part of
your life… the study, what was it like
studying photography formally?
During high school, I learned the basics
but I wanted to learn more. I wanted to
broaden my knowledge of the technology
of photography. Photography was the
minor with a major in design. Although
the program was great, it didn’t focus on
photography as much as I would have
hoped. I found myself putting everything
into the photography classes and less
into the design. I had three wonderful
photography teachers who I learned a
lot from. If it wasn’t for one of my professors,
I wouldn’t have found fashion
Do you feel that the study helped you
with the direction you chose?
The program helped me realize that this
WAS my passion and what I wanted to
do for the rest of my life. Finding fashion
photography was more of an accident.
We had a class where we were studying
portraiture. We had to do the basic lighting
that I had done in high school but I
wanted to go a little bit further and try
some different editing. I remember being
so proud of those images. During our critique,
my professor looked at my work
then looked at me. Without missing a
beat he said “People aren’t your thing.”
When he walked away, my heart just
dropped. I’m a perfectionist, especially
with photography and I was so devastated.
I wanted to prove him wrong. I
spent all summer doing fashion shoots
with my friends around our city, trying
different things and coming up with different
concepts. At our year end portfolio
showing, my entire portfolio was
fashion and beauty photography. The
professor who had said those words to
me the year prior came up to my table.
I said to him, “Remember when you said
I couldn’t photograph people?” He just
looked at me and winked. I realized then
he had said what he said to me because
he knew my personality. He knew I would
work hard to prove him wrong. Without
him saying those words to me, I wouldn’t
have found the love and passion I have
for fashion photography.
You graduated, and you seem to have
hit the ground running, tell us about
the first time you were published in a
I still remember that feeling. I was on
cloud 9. I had done an editorial with a
local model at a children’s playground
right at sunrise. She brought tons of
clothes and accessories. I was incredibly
nervous as she is a very popular model
in our city and someone once told me, if
you get to shoot with her then you have
made it here in Edmonton. After I sent
her the finished edits, she convinced
me to send them to a magazine in British
Columbia. The dream was always to
get published but I never thought that
it would happen so quickly. Getting that
accepted email was such an amazing
feeling. Even to this day, I still get the
feeling of accomplishment and pride of
And recently you were featured in
Practical Photography (one of my favourite
titles) what are you doing for
I love Practical Photography Magazine!
I was absolutely honoured when they
asked to feature me in their Pro Showcase
in their July 2016 issue. Not long
after that issue hit shelves, they asked
me to be their columnist for the November
2016-Novemember 2017 year. I cried
when I opened up that email. I have
never felt so proud and honoured to be
asked to be a part of one of my favourite
magazines. It has been an amazing year
writing for them!
One thing people often ask is how does
someone become a sponsored photographer?
You’re a Canon Ambassador,
what does that mean?
I am a Canon and Elinchrom Ambassador.
This happened just last year. I
had entered a photography contest for
one of our local photography stores in
town. I never enter contests but this one
popped up on social media and I thought
why not? I ended up winning that contest
and it opened up so many doors for
me. I was asked what equipment I used
and one of the workers at the Toronto
headquarters showed my work to people
at Elinchrom first. I was asked to speak
at the Toronto ProFusion Photography
Tradeshow for Elinchrom and demonstrate
how I use their lighting systems
to create a ‘Lisa-Marie McGinn’ style of
photography. Not long after that, I was
asked to host two workshops in Edmonton
and Calgary sponsored by Vistek,
Canon and Elinchrom. I will never forget
that feeling! Having people come and
watch me do my thing and create my
art meant the world to me! With every
image I share on social media now, I tag
Elinchrom and Canon. I share my lighting
and what camera and lenses I use.
On to your photos, how do you start
planning out an idea? Do you collaborate
Yes I love collaborating. Usually my ideas
come to me late at night, right before I
go to sleep I lay in bed thinking what kind
of image I want to create next. I always
want to try something different, sometimes
it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
I’m lucky to know a lot of talented individuals
in my town who are always open
and willing to create my vision.
Book I and Book II are full of amazing
photos, did you spend a lot of time editing
through your portfolio to choose
what images were featured?
Thank you so much! I find myself culling
my images more frequently now than
when I first started. I always have 1 or
2 images from a shoot that are my favourite
and I add those to my portfolio.
My portfolio has changed quite a bit over
the last 5 years and even now with my
style leaning towards beauty photography,
I find it changing again. I used to
love photographing creative, fairytale
style imagery and while I still love capturing
those images, beauty work has
been my go-to for the last year.
You also do Portrait and Wedding packages,
does your fashion photography
cross over into families and weddings?
Yes, definitely. In regards to angles and
trying to be creative, I find myself trying
different things than just the standard
portraits and weddings. It works sometimes
but I always love to try new things
and I’m not afraid too keep trying.
Let’s touch on post processing, do you
do your own and how do you approach
an image? What I mean is when you’re
planning a fashion shoot, do you have
an outcome in mind where you know
you’ll need to add some post or is it an
organic process that evolves as you
Yes, I love retouching! Photoshop has always
been a passion for me. When I’m
photographing an editorial, I typically
know how I am going to edit just by the
lighting and mood I’m trying to accomplish.
Sometimes I go in completely blind
and just experiment. I typically do that
after editing a portrait session or a wedding.
I love grabbing an image that I haven’t
touched and just editing until I am
happy with the final image.
Can a photographer make a living
from fashion alone?
I believe they can, yes. I was laid off from
my full time job three years ago. I had
no idea what I was going to do next. My
boyfriend (now my husband) told me to
try photography. What did I have to lose?
The first 4 months were hard. I needed
to get my name out there more and
get those clients. Three years later, I’m
shooting constantly whether its fashion,
beauty, portraits or weddings and get to
travel to different cities and provinces
demonstrating my style of photography.
Ok some fun questions - where do you
see yourself if 5 years?
Professionally? Shooting for Vogue! The
ultimate dream for a fashion photographer.
I would love to be travelling the
world doing workshops and working for
clients like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan
etc. Personally? I just recently
got married and my husband and I
would love to have a family. And another
What gear do you lust after if any?
Phase One or Hasselblad! Thats the
dream! I used a Hasselblad in University
and it was the most amazing experience.
The quality was outstanding. Although I
will never part with my Canon cameras
(I have a collection now).
You’re going on holiday - what camera
would you take for playing the tourist?
Travelling with me is always an adventure.
I carry EVERYTHING I have camera
wise. I have my Canon 5D Mark III, my
Canon 7D (just incase) and all of my lenses.
You never know when an amazing
photographic opportunity will come up
so I always like to be prepared!
Finally where can readers go to see
more of your work?
They can go to my website at
www.lisamariemcginn.com or my instagram
handle is @lisamariephotog. Also,
check out my facebook at Lisa-Marie
Photography. You can also pick up past
copies of Practical Photography Magazine
(November 2016-November 2017)
and read about how I create my images!
Hi Marc and welcome to Photo Live,
how would you describe yourself as a
photographer? What do you specialise
Hi! Thanks for having me :) I tend to favour
portraiture and fashion for personal
work, and there is a strong beauty
theme to my image-making. Im doing a
lot more lifestyle work these days, and
I really enjoy documentary-style work,
I think every photographer has a story
about how they got started, what’s
Well, I actually went to art school and
painted at school. I always had a passion
for art, but I painted up until university,
and thats where I started using Apple
Macs. I didn’t touch a camera until many
years later, and it was actually the iPhone
that got me into photography. Photography
was a real luxury hobby and
career before digital photography and
the internet really took off, but I knew Id
always love image-taking….I just knew.
I was working for Apple’s ad agency for
a few years and realised I wasn’t being
creative, so I decided to change careers!
Looking at your photography, eyes
are important to you aren’t they? But
when you capture them, they seem to
pierce you as the viewer…
Yeah, I can’t get away from eyes. For
lifestyle, they aren’t the focus, but for
beauty, I love them. I see a lot of stuff
on social media, and its just naked girls.
Don’t get me wrong, the female body is
wonderful, but bum shots are kinda….
boring. Everyone has a butt. And many
look the same haha. Eyes, though….theyare
unique, and they say everything. I
also want people to appreciate the image,
not just the flesh.
Talk to us about your editorial work.
Are you doing fashion magazines and,
I’ve been told, that that type of shoot
can be more for the love and exposure
as they pay minimal rates…?
I test a lot, because I enjoy it, and working
with stylists is great. But Im not
submitting anymore. If a quality fashion
mag commissions me, 100% I’m there,
because Im an artist, and I love to create.
If you’re doing Wonderland, Love,
or Vogue….those kind of mags, then the
exposure is good. Its definitely a labour
You also do Commissions, can you tell
us about that?
Sure! I do a fair amount of corporate
work, and fashion commissions are
great. Being a full time freelancer really
is full time. Im terrible at stopping, but
I have a family, so I want to make time
for them. My social life is pretty much
non-existent, but its the path I chose. I
want to create, and I want to support
my family….commissions help me do
that. I have done cool lookbooks for a variety
of brands, and Im always looking to
You’re recent personal work is powerful,
what’s inspired that look?
Just me. And that is really important. I
remember starting out and panicking
about having a style. Id look a other artists
and worry. But the moment I stopped
worrying, and just did what came naturally,
thats when my work came into its
own. Obviously I take in outside influence
all the time, but the way I frame, the
poses, etc….thats just what I like.
Who inspires you?
I like fine art. I know more about fine art
than I do photography, so Id say Cubism,
Pop Art, music, graphic art. Basquiat,
Picasso, Haring, Mondrian - these guys
What do you see for photography in
the next 5 years, as in the tech and
perhaps the way we appreciate the
Great question, and I do wonder how the
availability of kit will affect the quality
of the work, in both positive and negative
ways. But, at the end of the day,
you can’t buy artistic talent, so Im not
phased by that. Its like when music production
was suddenly available to every
bedroom producer….there is just more
noise. The quality always shines through.
Marc - thanks for being in Photo Live
Issue 2, where can readers go to find
out more about you?
Thanks for having me! My instagram
@_marchayden and my website
marchayden.co.uk are great places to
keep up with my work. Im also on twitter
@_marchayden, and on Facebook (marchaydenphoto).
If your readers have
any questions they can also drop me an
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to Live Alex, where are you
living and how did you get started as
I live in Lyon, I´ve always love photography
but I did not have a professional
camera. So 2 years ago I decided to start
and began to collaborate with different
You have some amazing maternity
photography, what inspired you to
photograph women in this style?
Even though it is not my favorite photography
style, it´s something I love to
do as it remains in my ground, witch is
the studio photography.
What mainly inspires me is to immortalize
this precious moment which is the
pregnancy. In this period of a woman life
you can see how radiant they are, totally
glowing. I try to enhance this moment
throught the studio lights control.
What photography do you love most?
I love doing portraits and nudes. I´m always
searching for deep expressions
and intense looks.
Regarding nudes photography, I try to
show only the indispensable, so as to
bring to mind sensuality.
Tell us about life for a photographer in
France… do you do this as a full time
For the moment I am not doing this full
time but I am working for it :). It will be
great to work from my passion. In Lyon
there is a lot of photographers but I cannot
complain as I have got enough photography
Do you travel much with your photography?
Where have you been?
I love to travel but as I work a lot, sometimes
it is hard to plan. I have been to
Morocco, England, South of France,
Spain is my motherland. And I am going
to Thailand in November. Can´t wait!
What’s been the most challenging
photo shoot you’ve done?
For me, each picture is a challenge, there
is always things that happen during
the shooting that you did not have predicted,
but if I have to choose one, I will
definitly say the social pictures, I mean
wedding pictures, event pictures, as you
cannot control the models and the light
as in a studio.
Who inspires you as a photographer?
Peter Coulson, I really love how he masterizes
the black and white pictures. I
also like very much Michael Woloszynowicz.
What do you have planned for next
My goal is to manage to open my own
studio so as to developp my art to the
Where can our readers go to see more
of your work?
Chris, welcome to Photo Live, why are
your photos so damn good? Ok that’s
probably too confronting as an opening,
let’s start with, when did you
know you’d found your “look” or style?
Haha thanks for having me! I’d say finding
a “look” took me about 6 or 7 years.
I spent a long time treading water, not
really doing one thing in particular. It
wasn’t until I did a lot of soul searching
to really decide what I wanted to focus
on that it started coming together.
Let’s back up a bit more, how did you
get started as a photographer?
I picked it up as a hobby after graduating
college. I had always messed around
with it before then, but once I really dug
in, I was hooked. I’d shoot whatever I
could locally and after some time, decided
to give it a real go.
When I look at your art, I keep thinking
of the words - Drama, Passion, Power…
am I on track?
I like those words - I also like to throw
in “Theatrical.” I love the idea of visual
theater and all the ingredients of melodrama
that go with it.
The photo, Cela New York, tell us about
This was shot for a handbag desire, Cela
New York, and we were very much inspired
by a Helmut Newton shot for this
image in particular. It was shot in Prospect
Park in Brooklyn.
You’ve photographed some amazing
people, who’d been a lot of fun to
I’ve been very fortunate to shoot a wide
variety of people will all different kinds
of personalities. That dance between
theirs and mine is one of my favorite
parts about portraiture. One of my favorite
subjects has been my lady, the
very talented Lindsay Adler.
I love the tones and feel of your Personal
Work, talk us through the red-
something that evolved over time?
You use light dramatically, is that
headed woman sitting on the desk
with the two men… it’s got a detective
feel from the movies.
That image was definitely inspired by old
film noir movies - one of my favorite genres
of film. It was actually shot in Beijing,
China as part of an event for Profoto
China. Lindsay Adler and I were there to
present and shoot and this was a concept
we created for them - and two entirely
different versions of it. My version
was the set-based, cinematic version. I
designed the set at home and they built
it. We sourced a few local models and
shot that image with over almost 200
people standing my shoulder. It was lots
of fun and a great challenge.
And the images featuring people with
arrows, can you share what you’re
communicating and why…?
These were for a project called “St. Sebastian.”
I love the story, the visuals and
the narrative that comes with it. This
was shot here in New York. I wanted to
create a classic version and modern version
side-by-side to see how the viewer
responds uniquely to each. It’s one of my
favorite projects I’ve ever done.
It definitely has. I spent years shooting
swimwear and lifestyle in Miami with
clean, bright, colorful images. Dramatic
lighting was a journey, but I’m happier
Who inspired you as a growing artist
and has that changed as you’ve grown
as a photographer?
I’m definitely heavily inspired by classical
painting. I love Rembrandt, Caravaggio,
Vermeer - the Baroque painters really do
it for me. Photographically I love Irving
Penn, Richard Avedon, Eugenio Recuenco,
Erwin Olaf, Gregory Crewdson, Annie
Leibovitz. Tastes definitely change and
evolve. I didn’t get into painting until
much later, but I think one of the best
things visual artists can do is study mediums
that are not your own.
We’d like to send readers to see more
of your photography - where can they
Andrea Joki tells us
about her photographic
My father was a hobbyist photographer
– mostly taking pictures of trains and
his children (the two of us). I inherited
his camera equipment but didn’t do
much with it until the birth of EBAY in
the 1990s. I was buying and selling antique
apparel (1860s-1920s) and needed
photographs to match the provenance I
had researched for each item. So I put
aside my father’s Minolta and bought a
Canon Rebel with digital features (this
was pre-digital sensor but the selling
point of the Rebel was that it had digital
exposure readings – no exposure meter
needed!). I still have that camera – nicknamed
“Fred” - and he saw a lot of use
up until around 2005 – and the rise of
the digital sensor.
I was curious about digital sensor cameras
but feared the loss of quality in dynamic
range and clarity. I researched
how CCD and CMOS sensors worked and
eventually settled on the Nikon D50. The
color was beautiful even if the CMOS rendered
skin tones so much nicer (and less
DEVELOPING MY STYLE
In early 2000, I think many people got
into family portraiture for their children
and the love of kids. So they were ace at
getting great expressions and moments
from their subjects but often had terrible
comps and color. For me, I loved the
design challenge – the story of an image
and how all the pieces come together to
tell us about the subject. Unfortunately,
I had the opposite issue of my nascent
photographer colleagues: while I would
have an image with a beautiful juxtaposition
of wild countryside and perfectly
positioned person, I wouldn’t notice that
they were dead in the eyes and lifeless.
I was too busy putting together the big
picture rather than seeing the small details
of connection and emotion.
At that point, I was very ambivalent – I
enjoyed images of people NOT looking at
the camera and instead interacting with
the environment but I needed to be able
to take and sell ‘smiling faces’ as well
if I wanted a business. It’s something I
worked on for several years; learning to
get that comfortable rapport with any
subject of any age. That skill didn’t come
over night and I really had to upgrade
my interpersonal skills to do so. E.g.,
what works on a small kid can be very
irritating to a teen.
At the same time, taking image after image
helped me to develop my personal
vision – my style. It’s something that I’ve
come to realize has to grow organically
from taking a lot of pictures. It can’t be
forced and it is something that evolves
over time; you find that you naturally begin
to gravitate toward photographing
and processing images in a certain way
that YOU find pleasing. The best example
I can give of this is that in 2006 I was
good friends with some amazing pho-
tographers. Our way of photographing
was very similar; in fact, we all shot with
deep rich color / very good clarity and
our images were fairly similar. But within
four years, we had branched out and
come into our own as photographers in
very different ways. Our current work
looks so dissimilar as to be striking that
we were ever photographing similarly.
My style soon translated into surreality
– I wanted a bit of magical realism in
my images and to create something we
could not ordinarily see beyond life’s distractions.
To complement that, I always
want every image to tell a story about
the person in it. For that reason, I never
photograph in public parks – they all look
the same whether you are in Melbourne
or Prague, Denver or Chicago. The same
manicured lawns and the same hardy
trees. Instead, I try to find places that
are representative of the person and
that time in their life- nature preserves
or places with the native architecture or
flora. That way, when the person grows
up or moves, they will have everything in
the image to remind them of that time
and place. A park or random location
just can’t do that.
The other foundation of my style that I
am very proud of is color harmony. It’s
about creating moods or ensuring that
the subject harmonizes with or stands
out from the environment. E.g., if photographing
in a forest I will dress subjects
in jewel tones, often in contrasting
colors that help them pop from the busy
background so they don’t get lost. At
beaches or fields, I will dress subjects
in bleached and softer colors that work
with the environment so the harmonize
with it instead of standing out like a
sore thumb. That’s one of the reasons
you won’t find subjects in black or dark
clothes on a beaches if I can help it – I
work with my clients in advance with
suggestions on what to wear based on
the chosen location.
When we photograph, we photograph
for interest – we want people to really
explore the image. It’s a tough task: how
to make the image speak and to ensure
everything in the four corners is precisely
placed to create accord or surprising
chaos. Suggestions such as rule of third,
golden mean, and juxtaposition make
sense when you see the big picture and
how everything works together to put a
focus on or describe the subject. E.g., if
you take a photograph on a lawn with
random cars in the background and a
tree growing out of the subject’s head,
it doesn’t enhance the subject or tell
his/her story. But if you place them in
the bottom right corner of the image
with their house beautifully framed in
the background in the left top corner,
then you’ve told a story. Similarly, if I
am photographing in Finland, I’ll include
blueberry bushes and aspens framing
the subject. If I am in Oregon, I will get
windswept driftwood on meandering
beaches or old growth moss covering
aspen forests, in Prague I want to photograph
the Old Town or an abandoned
soviet military base, and in Gold Coast
of Australia, I want to photograph the
spits that jut out with high rises in the
background. It’s all about contrasting
the timelessness of a location with the
very dated (never to be that way again)
person in the image.
THOUGHTS FOR FELLOW
I’m asked often about what advice to
give photographers and the most important
thing for me is to encourage people
to a) analyze everything you do and b)
get (honest!) feedback as often as you
can. Also, experiment without the worry
about failing. Even now, with so many
years behind me, I try new things and
different angles/orientations every session,
knowing most won’t work. A great
shoot for me is not all decent images –
it’s about looking through the raws and
being on a rollercoaster ride of good…
good….bad….. In failing is when I learned
to really grow as a photographer.
My other recommendation is to learn to
see beyond what the camera can take.
You are not bound but the limited dynamic
range and ‘mechanical’ boringness
of what the machine captures. A
photograph is art when it translates a
scene or moment into something very
unique and distinct. Always stretch your
imagination to go beyond what your
raw is showing you – there is a fascinating
world out there that you, with
your unique history and world view, can
translate into something truly inspirational
and wholly distinct.
Finally – photographers make up the
best community of people! After several
years in the business, I looked back and
recognized that my best images were
often taken with other photographers
– working with colleagues at all levels is
amazing and they push you to new directions
you might not have otherwise
taken. Teaming up with local photogra-
phers is often the best thing you can do
for yourself and your business – regular
get togethers create the most amazing
images and opportunities for growth.
I think that’s why I began teaching in
2008. I have made amazing friendships
around the world and have photography
to thank for bringing the world to me
here In this little country of Finland. Although
I don’t do workshops any more
due to the heavy travel, I am forever
grateful for the memories I’ve made and
the truly inspirational people I’ve met as
a result. We have some of the most creative
and giving people in the industry
and too often don’t even know it.
Of course, pictures speak louder than
words. Here are images with context/
info, which I always find helpful. In several,
I gave behind the scenes or raws to
give an idea of the starting point to give
an idea of how not to be bound by the
My website: www.jokiphotography.com
Facebook and Flickr that have my most
Behind the scenes Facebook page –
where you can see pullbacks/behind the
Interview with photographer Stacie Frazier...
Welcome Stacie! You’ve done so much
for women, what I mean is that you’ve
taken your art and helped people see
real beauty, how did it all start?
I really feel like my entire life eventually
led me to boudoir photography. But, it
specifically began after I had been laid
off from my job as a graphic designer.
Part of my job responsibilities as a designer
had been light photography details.
I had begun shooting friends as a
hobby during lunch breaks on the roof
of the Venetian hotel-casino. That led to
them asking if I could do sexier shoots
for them on the side. Well, I had blogged
much of these experiences, and unbeknownst
to me at the time, was developing
a following. So, by the time I had lost
my job I had perfect strangers asking for
boudoir shoots. It turned into an automatic
business for me. So grateful. But,
mostly thankful that it ended up being
a business that actually empowered the
women I worked with, and not just me.
Do your clients start by saying they
don’t feel “glamorous” or beautiful?
How do you overcome that? Is it s body
image problem? Nerves? Both?
Every woman comes into their session
with nerves. Many of them have been
married for 20 years or so and “unseen”
- whether it be just by their husbands
being the only one to have seen
them intimately or sadly, being taken for
granted at that stage in their marriage.
Their bodies have changed from age,
childbirth and whatnot. But they still
want to be sexy, feel desired and viewed
with kind, loving eyes as a woman of
true beauty and worth. And I honestly
believe each woman I photograph is just
that...worthy and beautiful. So, during
a session they are being viewed by my
team and I, perfect strangers to them, of
course they will be nervous. One thing I
hear time and time again though is how
appreciative they are that we were so
nonjudgemental. That is one of the most
important traits for a boudoir photographer,
in my opinion. It builds trust. But, it
has to be genuine, obviously.
Do the women do it for themselves, for
their partner … both?
It started with most of them saying
they were doing it for their partner. But,
I could see they were really doing it for
themselves too. Now, I get a mixture of
women who say they are doing it for
themselves, their partners or both.
Tell us about the process… Someone
has rang you and wants to book -
what happens next?
We figure out what their needs are and
I help them decide which session they
should go with, location they should
shoot at, etc. They book their shoot and
fill out a questionnaire that helps me get
to know them better so that I can formulate
ideas for their shoot to tailor it
more to their personality through poses
and wardrobe advice. And then it’s
Talk to us about the challenging
shoots. What’s a difficulty you sometimes
On a very rare occasion, we might encounter
a client who is either especially
uncomfortable in her own skin which
makes her more stiff and more difficult
to pose or who has her heart set on facial
expressions that don’t translate on
camera as beautifully as she might think
they will. It can prove difficult to break
the habits of “duck lips” or “deer in the
headlights” eyes, for instance.
I’m not sure how to phrase this, so I’ll
do my best, your photos are exactly
what I’d want to see of my lovely wife,
what I mean is they are feminine but
really sexy as well. I hope that makes
I think something that I have always
aimed for was to create photos that appealed
to both women and men alike.
Usually the photos are being gifted to a
man so I needed to represent his desires
as well as the clients. For that reason,
I never really shoot overly frilly or girly
scenes. I prefer a more masculine backdrop
actually, so that the clients femininity
pops more. But, I also lean towards
a woman looking more confident and
powerful, which can be characterized as
masculine traits in our society. Against
a more neutral backdrop, this is accomplished
much easier than something
Tell us about your reality show.
Well, we almost had a reality show. Came
really close, but it ultimately didn’t end
up happening. We had been approached
by many producers trying to entice
us into trying to get out own show. I
skipped most of the requests but trusted
two of them to portray us accurately
and respectfully so we actually had two
different opportunities where the networks
were presented with the idea but
Sizzle Reel: https://youtu.be/k2OqqGHqjcs
Props and accessories - how do you decide
who suits what?
The answers on the pre-session questionnaire
that I send to them helps me
figure out if there is anything I might be
able to bring to make their shoot more
special. But, we do all of our shoots on
location so I keep that to a minimum. I
can, however, give them advice on what
types of outfits to bring based on what
I have learned about them. I do like
when clients bring meaningful props to
sessions, like a special piece of jewelry
or perhaps a framed wedding photo to
place bedside on the nightstand.
There’s lot’s of tears when people see
how amazing they look, do you feel the
experience changes people and that
the changes last?
I have always said that a boudoir photography
shoot is most definitely a life
changing experience for women. I’ve
seen the transformation with my own
eyes from the very beginning. They leave
their session standing taller, and that
feeling stays with them for months afterwards,
and they are reminded of it
every time they look at their photos. I
think this is why I see so many clients
returning for more sessions throughout
the years. It’s an addictive feeling for
Ok, what’s next for you - any plans for
the next 12 months you can share?
It’s a slight departure from my regular
work but I am continuing on with my
current fine art photo project. It’s called
Bag Ladies, which is a look at the objectification
of women, particularly where
dating and our social conditioning are
concerned. I’m concerned with where we
are heading with all of that. You can find
this photography project right here:
Full series posts:
Can you share 5 tips for people having
a boudoir shoot?
Don’t be afraid to let your personality
Trust your photographer.
Enjoy the process.
Be extra kind to yourself.
Finally where can readers find out
more about Haute Shots and Stacie
Marketing Video: youtu.be/m-sLDYWQ8d0
Welcome to Photo Live Marco, ok,
straight into it - how hard is it being a
street photographer? What I mean is
do you find it challenging to take photos
of strangers as part of your photography?
It used to be hard for me in the beginning
when I started to point my camera
at people in foreign countries. I was
very curious about their unposed daily
life routines and did not want to capture
staged and posed smiling photos.
At that time, I started doing this in the
beginning of the 90’s, I was not aware
that there was a historic genre of photography
called street photography.
Once I discovered that this was a classic
art form and understood the importance
of documenting contemporary daily life
that may become relevant for future
generations, I started to feel very confident
about what I do. I even feel that
street photography is extremely important
to society if the intentions are right
and the subjects are treated with a lot
Tell us about the beautiful black and
white. You seem to do a lot of B and W
… are you shooting jpg files and using
one of the Fuji film modes?
I shoot 95% of my images in B&W. I like
to tell the story without the distraction
of color. I only switch to color if I think
that the color adds important information
to the story. I set my camera to
shoot jpg & RAW and set the camera to
B&W +Red Filter mode with some custom
tweaking of highlight and shadow intensity.
Fuji and Olympus both have very
nice B&W jpg modes straight out of the
camera that are often already publishable.
For my large fine art prints, however,
I go to the RAW files and tweak them to
look good on paper.
Back to the beginning - when did you
pick up a camera and decide this was
what you loved?
I got my first own camera when I was
about 6 years old. It was a plastic camera
that I found in a grab bag for 50
cents. My mom bought me a cheap roll
of B&W film and I was hooked. This may
also have been where my brain was
wired into thinking that the final result
of the photographic process was a B&W
print. And I still shoot B&W and print my
work on paper to this day.
When Fuji introduced the first X100 at
Photokina 2010, I was very excited about
the concept of a camera that brought
back the features of my old analog
rangefinders into the digital world. The
camera was small, quiet, had a great IQ
and had the aperture, shutter speed and
exposure compensation as external dials
on the camera. Now that even the ISO
dial has been added to my most recent
Fuji camera, I am very happy with this
set up for now.
I just shoot differently when I shoot
analog. The whole process is a lot slower
and I’m even more selective on the shots
that I take. I also have a higher keeper
rate by shooting less. Analog also helps
me to slow down and enjoy the waiting
time before the image reward compared
to the instant gratification of digital photography.
You’re also a successful podcaster
with Scott Bourne, how did that come
I had appeared on a few photography
podcasts when Scott contacted me
about 4 years ago and asked me if I
wanted to start a podcast on Fuji cameras
with him. I was still an ambassador
for Fuji at that time (official X-Photographer)
and after we worked out our strategy
we started the show. Both of us were
surprised how quickly this show became
popular, but we were hitting different
limitations on a show that was only talking
about one brand. We then closed the
Fuji show and opened the show to all
mirrorless brands. I was producing these
shows for Photofocus at that time. And
at the beginning of this year, Scott and
I founded PPN - Photo Podcast Network
as a hub for photography and creativity
related podcasts. We currently have 4
shows per month and have been really
pleased with the great feedback from
our wonderful audience.
Will PPN be growing in the future - you
already have some excellent show’s,
We are still a young network and are
growing our audience every week. There
are a lot of opportunities out there and
we’ll make the next move when the time
is right :)
Are you teaching or doing workshops?
Can you tell us what you teach in
Yes, I am teaching workshops that generally
cover street or documentary photography.
And printing often plays an
important role, too. I see my workshops
rather as retreats. I don’t want to lecture
theory the whole time. I find it equally
important to talk about motivation,
goals, and mind-set. My goal is that the
participants have a good time and feel
that they are spending a few days with
friends. They should see and learn new
things and leave the workshop/retreat
Where can our readers go to see more
of your photography?
They can go to MarcoLarousse.com
to see my work and read my blog
or tune in at PPN - Photo Podcast
to listen to our photography podcast
episodes on inspiration, mirrorless,
Q&A, or gear. And they can always
get in touch with me on Twitter
Thank you so much for featuring my
Hi Rita, thanks for talking to us at Photo
Live, where are you based?
I am based in Hong Kong - a dense urban
jungle, chaotic yet blissfully exciting.
You take a lot of amazing city photos,
capturing the businesses... or should I
say, chaos of Hong Kong, how did you
get into photography?
I was given a Practica LTL3 from my dad
when I was 13 and it becomes my first
camera (I still use it sometimes when I
The one thing that really brought me into
photography was the film photography
course I attended in university. I used to
worry too much if I would waste a film
every time I shoot. One of the “Sunny 16”
excises was to shoot a series of street
photos using a fully manual SLR and
no light metering was allowed, the end
result images weren’t that great at all
but it made me realised trial-and-error
is the best way to learn from my own
Hong Kong looks a mix of old and new
- what’s it like to walk around the city
Hong Kong itself is like a concrete jungle.
The urban design back in late 19th is
pretty compelling I have to say. You can
easily find all sort of neon signage hanging
right above a busy street in Kowloon
and some parts of Hong Kong Island. The
street scene in Hong Kong always looks
dense and full of energy. It is very easy
to spot interesting happenings on street.
In short, it is a paradise for street photography
Tell us how you go out and shoot?
What’s your process? Do you plan or is
I found observing people and all the random
happenings on street particularly
fascinating. I shoot when I spot an interesting
scene, moment or people. This
must have something to do with my previous
job as a location scout.
What are you using for your photography?
At work, I use Nikon D5 and the 24-70mm
f/2.8 E ED VR for general event coverage
and sometimes carry with me the 80-
400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR if it is a sporting
event. I have a Panasonic GF7 with its kit
lens for streets and of course a smartphone,
recently upgraded to iPhone8, to
snap at any moment.
Talking of gear, you worked for Digital
Rev for a while, what was that like?
It was fun and absolutely rewarding. The
DRTV production team was a relatively
small one, 4 in total, but definitely the
best team I have ever worked with, plus
It is always a pleasure to be given the
latest cameras and gears to try on!
And now you work for yourself?
No, I work for an agency as a content
producer right now, my work is more
into content marketing than purely production,
which is a definitely challenging
but interesting to me, since I came from
a Graphic Design background.
Have you done much traveling and
where have you gone?
Yes! I consider myself as a travelholic. I
travelled 4-5 times each year. I made
trips to Cuba, Canada, UK, Georgia and
Russia so far in 2017 and will be visiting
Lebanon next month!
What’s been a favourite place to visit?
Oh… This is hard to choose from! If I really
have to pick a favourite place, then it
would have to be Moscow. It is the destination
of my very first solo trip when I
was 19. I fell in love with this city at first
sight. I visited Moscow 6 times already -
never get bored with it!
Back to your photos, do you process
images before sharing?
For the images on my Instagram, I mainly
use the built-in filters from app and
sometimes Photoshop CC if I have access
to computer and got plenty of spare
Tell us 3 things about Rita Law we don’t
know (maybe a favourite book, movie,
food, what you love about HK or hate)
I love neon signages.
I love sans-serif.
I hate foods with orange pigment like
pumpkin and carrot.
Can you give us a 5 tips on shooting
photos in the city?
* Choose the camera you are most comfortable
to carry around, take it with you
* Use aperture-priority mode or even full
auto mode for run-and-gun type of urban
photography and street snap
* Look for the geometry, leading lines or
pattern in the scene
* Get lost in the city and don’t be afraid
* (Not really a tip though…) Shooting
with a DSLR with huge tele zoom lens in
city may make you look like a creep or
paparazzi, get ready for weird look in
Finally where can our readers go to see
more of your photos?
I am pretty active on Instagram
(@RitaTheTravelholic) but can also be
found on Twitter (@ritalaw), Youtube:
Welcome to Live Nori, tell us about
yourself and where you live, how you
got into photography….
I’m a middle-aged Japanese journalist
live in Tokyo. My speciality is art, cultu
re, and so on. I’ve just quit my newspaper
company this spring and now I’m a
free and traveling alone.
My first step job in photography was
for work in my twenties. At first, I used
a film camera and did the development
myself. Soon I got into and enjoyed taking
many photos as a hobby. In the beginning
I liked art and wanted to be an
artist in my youth, so that taking photos
tickled my artist’s mind. In addition, my
photos were sometimes used with my
articles in the newspaper.
What sort of photography do you do?
Is it street or a mix of different styles?
Many are street photos. I’m free to go
to favorite places and take landscapes,
flowers, photos of old temples, and cats.
If possible, I would like to take portraits
What is life like in Japan for you? Do
you work full time or is photography
your full time job?
I no longer work full time and now I‘m
putting my dreams into practice enjoying
my free time. Travelling with a
camera is one of those dreams. I want to
continue this life like a cloud as long as
time and money permits.
How often are you out shooting?
Basically I always take my camera everyday
and use it whenever I find an interesting
Why did you choose to use Fuji?
I’ve used several makers for many years.
Nikon or Canon for films, Ricoh or Sony
for digitals. For journalism, it was necessary
to capture exactlly and closely.
But I came to prefer the more warm
and soft photos. Fuji suits my demands.
Occasionary I knew that old lenses can
be used with mirrorless and last year I
bought Helios. It was very exciting to use
it by manual mode and then I began to
buy many vintage lenses. I discovered
the summilux 50mm or 35mm of Leitz
that was produced about 50 or 60 years
before.They are wonderful because of
the beautiful and soft bokeh. Now I use
a Leica M8 too.
Are you involved in any clubs or photo
No. I prefer being alone. Fortunately
many followers see my photos in Instagram.
We love how you photograph the culture
of your country, what do you
think about when you’re out doing
your photography? Are you just walking
and finding things or do you have a
plan and look for certain subjects?
I love this country and culture, but for
me, taking photo is more private, indiviual,
thing. I see old temples and flowers,
equally in my mind. Delight of creation is
What would you tell a new photographer
who is starting out, how would
you advise them to do some street
Don’t use zoomlens with auto focus. Only
when you stop this, your world of photography
will be wide open.
Finally where can our readers go to see
Someday I want to publish a photo essay
or books with my photos in near future.
For now you can find me on instagram
Were’ guessing being a model in
France is competitive, after all
Paris, Milan and New York are
seen as the fashion capitals of
the world. We asked French model
Morgane, how she got started
as a model and just how difficult
it is there…
Morgane, welcome to Photo Live, tell
us about yourself.
Well I am Morgane, I am French and I
live in Lyon. I got into modelling a year
ago, when one of my friend asked me if i
wanted to try to do a photoshoot. First I
wasn’t sure I could do it but after thinking
more about it I felt like why not, I like
his work, I know him, let’s give it a try. I
always dreamed of doing a photoshoot
so I tried it out.
Is modelling for full time?
Its not a full time job for me, I would love
it to be. It’s a passion that I have to create
some projects with photographers.
Are you registered with an agency
and what does an agency do for you
(a question for the many models that
contact me about starting out).
I dont have any agency beaucause I dont
have an agency profile because of my
(Editor: According to The Balance, a
female model in Paris needs to be five
feet nine inches to six feet tall, and figure
measurements are 34-23-33)
Still you’ve done so many amazing
photo shoots, how does that process
work? Does the photographer contact
you or is it booked through an agency?
Usually the photographer contacts me
via a social network. We discuss the project
and try to make it happen if we think
we can work together.
Tell us about your first modelling
shoot, were you nervous?
I was pretty nervous, I had never done
that before, I was scared to look stupid
or to make bad pictures. But I trust my
friend and he made me feel confident.
You can see my first photoshoot on instagram
and my progress with my friend
with who I’ve done many other awesome
How do you prepare for a photo shoot?
Well I talk a lot about the direction we
want to take with the photographer.
We talk about the look, the makeup, the
place where we are going to shoot the
photos. I find some inspirational images
online for the photoshoot.
Are you doing catwalk too … what is
the main type of modelling you do?
I only do photoshoots for now, however
I’ve been asked me to appear in a music
What’s the modelling scene like in
France? Is it difficult to get noticed?
Well there is a lot of girls that dream to
become a model so it’s not an easy thing
You’ve build a great Instagram following
- can you share some tips for our
readers who may be just starting out
It’s important to practice. Don’t say yes
to just anything. Trust yourself and do
what you love.
What’s been your favourite shoot?
My favorite shoot is one of my last
shoot. It’s not on Instagram yet but it
will pretty soon. It was in a studio with
two photographers that are friends of
mine. We played with glitter and it was
so much fun, a bit sexy, colourful and a
lot of work.
Ok a fun question - what would you
take with you on a desert island?
Tough question, i need so many things
lol. I guess my phone, i am nothing without
my phone, if it works of course or
chocolate, chocolate is life.
Morgane thanks for letting us talk to
you, where can our readers go to see
more of your amazing work?
All my work is on instagram so I can
share my work and communicate with
everyone, you can see it at:
all photographs supplied by Morgane
Last issue we touched on some podcasts
we enjoy, and another brilliant
show is TWIP Glam hosted by Brian
Fischer and Roxanne Cali - welcome to
Brian: Thanks for having us!
So to get started how did you both
come to know each other?
Brian: Like most models and photographers,
we met at a photo shoot. At this
point I had been on the hunt for a podcast
partner for over a year. As we shot
together I was immediately taken with
Roxanne’s quick banter and the acoustics
of her voice. I asked her on the spot
if she would be interested in hosting a
podcast and we have been on this journey
together ever cents.
Roxanne: Brian first reached out to me
on Model Mayhem, I was new to the industry
and his photos were amazing! I
was quite nervous the first time we shot,
thankfully he made it so easy for me and
we hit it off right away!
You’ve shot together a few times -
how often and what’s been a favourite
Brian: We try to shoot together three or
four times a year, but our busy schedules
make that sporadic. Because I find
the process of working with Roxanne
so enjoyable, it’s hard to pick, one of my
favorites would have to be an experimental
body paint shoot we did gluing
thousands of pink aquarium rocks to
Roxanne. The shoot went off without a
hitch but we had a ton of confused spectators
and and amazing mess to clean
Roxanne: We have shot together countless
times, between Brian’s portfolio jams
and our individual and group shoots, we
have a lot of photos. I also fondly remember
the pink aquarium rock shoot,
it’s up there for sure, but the LED bikini
was such a fun project, that might be
my favorite. Brian made the suits and I
tucked the battery pack right between
my cheeks. Good thing he wasn’t taking
photos from the back!
You’ve only recently become part of
TWIP - how did that happen?
Brian: Our road to podcasting has had
some interesting twists and turns. The
first iteration of our show,”Model Photography
Showcase”, was a similar for-
mat but primarily audio with an attached
slideshow. That show was designed to
be a 26 episode run over the space of
one year. At the end of the series Frederick
Van Johnson announced the TWiP
network. After a bit of soul-searching we
had a meeting with Frederick and decided
to launch a modernized iteration of
the show on his network.
What’s happening with the TWIP network
- we haven’t seen the original
show for a while…?
Brian: This Week in Photo (TWiP) went
on hiatus earlier this year to allow for
some much-needed renovation. During
the hiatus the entire infrastructure that
drives the network has been reengineered
and updated. The good news is
that the main show we’ll be returning to
the airwaves this November.
Back to your show - how do you find so
many talented people to talk to?
Brian: We spend a surprising amount of
time surfing through social media looking
for profiles. We don’t just look for the
biggest names we can get on board. We
try to look for the spark of creativity regardless
of level of experience. We also
rely on a bit of crowd sourcing, when invite
people to send in suggestions with
Roxanne: Brian is the master of finding
talent. He can typically tell from just one
image if they should be on the show, I
greatly admire his knack for that.
Who comes up with the questions,
what’s the process to making the interview
Brian: Our show is surprisingly organic.
We script the first 15 seconds and the
last 20 seconds of the show and have
a rough format, but everything else is
made up on the spot. To Roxanne’s credit,
I regularly do not share the images I
have picked in advance. Her reactions
are 100% genuine and on the spot!
Roxanne: What makes the interview
interesting is the stories behind the
concepts, the bloopers, and the stylistic
elements. It’s all there, we just put it
together! I enjoy the free-flowing ideas
rather than a strict script.
You both have a fun banter, there’s no
awkward pauses, what’s the secret?
Brian: Editing! Lots and lots of editing!, but
that’s only a partial truth. Roxanne was
the 35th person I considered to podcast
with. She is amazingly quickwitted and agile.
Over the years I have thrown out some
of the most off-the-wall comments and
jokes, and she is right on top of it. I think
some of this comes from having worked
and traveled together for years but most
of it is just good chemistry.
Outside of the podcast, are you both
doing teaching… particularly together?
Brian: In the past I have done a fair
amount of workshop hosting and taught
workflow to professional photographers.
Unfortunately, the podcast has eaten
into my teaching. Each episode takes a
tremendous amount of time to produce.
Roxanne: I don’t consider myself a teacher
per say, but I’ve been involved in many
photo workshops and training seminars
as the model. I would love to help Brian
in the future as we incorporate some
teaching into our podcast.
What’s next for the show…?
Brian: That’s a great question, we are
just about to complete season one. Season
two will begin just after New Year’s.
In addition to our staple of interviewing
photographers, we would like to add episodes
involving more models, make up
artists, Fashion designers and so on. I
would also like to do more destination
shows. We may also co-host some workshops
in the coming year.
Roxanne: We are very excited to incorporate
more variety into the show, this
has been a labor of love and we want to
keep things interesting, so trying some
new things will be a fun adventure for
us. I thoroughly enjoyed our recent episode
where we shot at the castle in
Northern California and set-up a small
demo of how it all works. Hopefully those
types of shows will be more prevalent in
the coming season.
How do you deal with the nudity restrictions
on iTunes and YouTube?
Brian: Regretfully, the iTunes and primary
YouTube feeds have modesty boxes
over nudity. The good news is that we
publish an on edited version to the blog
posts at ThisWeekinPhoto.com
And finally how can readers subscribe
and listen? What can we do to spread
the word about TWIP Glam?
Brian: The easiest way to subscribe
is through iTunes, Not an iTunes user,
ThisWeekinPhoto.com has links to the
RSS feed that will let you subscribe with
any podcast application.
Fis ch er
Brian welcome to Photo Live. You’re a
busy man, running a photo podcast,
blog and a photographer… what else
do you do?
Although I started out as a full-time professional
photographer, I quickly realized
that I needed stability and benefits. In
my 20’s I went back to school and now
work in the medical field. In my personal
life I restore old trucks(Very slowly). At
the moment I am working on hey 1969
International Harvester cab-over semi.
I also dabble in drones, 3-D printing, antique
photography, and the list goes on.
Tell us about your photography, how
did you get into taking photos of
I like to say that I didn’t get into photography,
photography got into me. I
have my older brother to blame, one
day I walked into the bathroom to find
him conducting mad science! There was
chemicals in trays, Machines shooting
lights on magical paper and this amazing
red light. I was hooked!
Through high school and college photography,
my work with human subjects
was limited to portraits. As I grew little
older, had more resources and had students
interested in the subject, I drifted
into shooting glamour. I had a powerful
experience handing over the results of
one of my early glamour shoots to it’s
subject. The model was amateur with
relatively low self-esteem. Upon seeing
her images, she burst into tears of happiness.
There was no turning back, the
majority of my work has been glamour
from that point on.
One thing I’ve picked up watching TWIP
Glam is you really pay attention to the
details, is that something you’re a natural
at or something you’ve learned
Without doubt it’s a combination. I am
by nature detail oriented. I come from a
long line of engineers and schoolteachers,
and it shows. This may also be a
product of spending years in front of a
lightbox examining my own work. Digital
photography is great for instant feedback,
but nothing will slow you down
and make you pay attention like shooting
with the film. This is why I regularly
shoot with film to this day.
What’s been a favourite shoot you’ve
This is a hard one to answer, every shoot
is different and so many stand out and
not just because they produced the best
images. Sometimes it’s just making an
amazing connection with your model.
My podcast partner Roxanne is a perfect
example. It started with a great photo
shoot and has turned into and amazing
If I had to pick a tremendously fun photo
shoot I would have to go back to 2008
when I shot the Canadian model Ella
Modella. I was doing a series of “Prosthetic
swimwear” shoots and Ella came
to California to be involved. We had
amazing chemistry from the outset,
the weather was perfect and we had
tremendous fun. More than following
directions Ella has a wonderful sense of
her surroundings. We were coming to
the end of the shoot and Ella spotted a
spectacular sunset happening behind
me. We immediately ran past each other
in a sprint to capture the last moments
of light, turning into one of my favorite
Other side- what’s been not so much
I have a few to choose from. Being a
beach photographer I have drowned a
number of cameras and had a few scary
instances. In 2011 I was shooting a model
on top of a huge flat rock at Panther
Beach California. A huge rogue wave
came up one side of the rocks and down
my side. I was drug about 20 feet towards
a significant drop into the ocean
fortunately I came to a stop before going
into the drink. bloodied and camera destroyed,
the shoot was over.
How often are you doing collaborations
and who’s involved?
Over the last 10 years I have worked to
boil my photo shoots down to the minimum.
Ideally I shoot with myself, the
model, occasional assistance and one
lens. I like the restriction of working with
and around the environment. I think it
forces you to be more creative.
Who comes up with the ideas - is it a
team thing or does it fall to you?
It’s just me! (...and an Internet of friends).
I take time every day to look at great
photography. Whether that is model
mayhem, 500px or National Geographic.
I think that everybody has great inspirations
as we look at the world around
us. The trick is to grab that idea before it
fades and write it down.
How do you choose the model for the
In the case of a shoot for a client I take
great care in determining their personal
preferences. Even if I feel a model is
not quite ideal for a shoot, it’s important
to lean in the direction of the customers
preferences. For my personal work, I always
start with faces. If a model’s face
speaks the message I’m trying to put
forth, everything else will take care of
Can you share 5 quick tips for people
wanting to shoot models?
1. Workshops - Group shoots and workshops
are fantastic way to introduce
your self to shooting models.
2. Start with a professional - Hire a local,
experienced model for your first two or
three photo shoots. Most models are
more than happy to work with new photographers.
3. Starts simple - keep your first photo
shoot sample. Natural light with a single
reflector and one assistant.
4. Communicate - make sure to communicate
your vision to your model and
invite her to set the boundaries of the
5. Community - after starting your portfolio,
join the online community of photographers
and models. Websites like
‘Model Mayhem” and ‘One Model Place’
can be tremendous resources.
Bonus: 6. Model release - have your model
sign a simple release explaining the
boundaries of the photo shoot and what
the images will be used for. This is an essential
step for setting a models expectations
for a shoot.
Apart from Roxanne (hehe) who else
has been a favourite to shoot?
I’ve had so many positive experiences
over the years it’s hard to choose. One of
my many favorites is model Gracie Kay.
With a wonderful combination of Beauty,
Personality, Intelligence and Professionalism,
she is more than a great model,
she is one of my favorite people.
Finally where can we go to see more of
With my personal website in dire need of
an update I suggest people check out my
profile on Model Mayhem.
MODEL & PODCAST HOST
Hi Roxanne (Ava Cali), why do you model?
I know it’s straight to the point but
hey let’s dig a bit deeper…
Modeling allows me to create art with
my body as well as motivation to stay
healthy and fit. At any moment I could
get a great gig that needs me ready next
week...so it’s a great motivator! I guess
if I’m completely honest, modeling gives
me confidence in my everyday life that
allows me to succeed in many other avenues.
How did you start modelling and tell
us a bit about your first shoots, were
they awkward, fun, difficult?
I was working in the office of a venue
that randomly hosted a photography
workshop for beginners one day. I
met the model and we started talking
about her nude portfolio and she asked
if I would want to shoot with her right
then. I was feeling spontaneous...so we
headed to a good backdrop and off came
our clothes! That first photo with her is
still in my portfolio on Model Mayhem. It
was definitely awkward and very fun. I
couldn’t believe what I had done after it
was over, but I didn’t regret it either! She
got me in contact with the photography
school and I did my fist studio shoot
about a week later. That photographer
was very patient with me as I was quite
nervous, we did silhouettes and got
some very neat shots! I remember dancing
around the backdrop and him just
going with it rather than instructing me
into forced poses. It was a great learning
experience. That started my portfolio on
Model Mayhem and the rest is history.
I often get asked about modelling and
one thing the girls who I photograph
talk to me about is that they are “not
the right look”… they are either not
tall enough or not skinny enough, can
you talk to us about modelling where
you are, what sort of of modelling can
someone do if they are not tall enough
or thin enough or…
Every shoot requires different body
types. I don’t like to think about it in
terms of not being skinny or tall enough,
it’s more about the style of photos your
body best lends itself to. If you are
healthy and happy, that is what matters.
It’s about taking what you have,
making it the best it can be, then finding
photographers who appreciate your
look. Modeling is empowering, it’s a tool
and an art form.
I find that living on the Central Coast, I
mostly get jobs with swimwear at the
beach, or boudoir shoots in hotel rooms
to help boost a photographers portfolio
to get more paid clients. The weather
here is so mild that I also often do nudes
in nature- that’s one of my favorites as
it’s a new challenge each time! For curvier
girls, pinup is a great look, but lifestyle
and swim can also be great options. Just
getting out there and experimenting
with what you like and what fits your
style best is important. You don’t know
if you will love it until you try. I will say
though that if you are basing your income
on modeling, being tall and skinny
will likely get you the most jobs. It’s
just the industry. Look outside the box
though and put yourself out there.
Are magazines that feature the typical
thin, tall model changing do you think?
I see often on TV ads that more regular
shaped people are being featured and
we applaud that, but is it something
you feel is going to stay with us…?
I do think there are more average everyday
bodies being featured in ads. They
are beautiful and I hope it does stick! I
think it’s great for girls going through
puberty especially to see body-type variety
in ads. It’s tough at that age.
Have you had any experiences with
being discounted because of your
physical look? Too tall, too short to anything?
I have been fortunate enough to work
with very kind and professional photographers.
I have never had a photographer
discount any of my attributes.
I think if this had happened early on it
would’ve have pursued modeling, so I’m
very thankful that it hasn’t. Sometimes
I’ve looked at my images and realized
that there were things I wanted to work
on physically, but photographers hire
me based on my portfolio so they know
what I look like before I show up. If they
were looking for a different height or
shape, they wouldn’t have reached out
Ok, on to some fun, what is your favourite
modelling genre for you?
I think I mentioned this earlier too...
Nudes in nature, specifically implied
nudes in nature are my favorite. They
challenge me because they are always
new situations to integrate myself into.
It’s avoiding sharp objects and trying to
look natural while in very uncomfortable
poses. I just like the challenge and the
Can you tell us of any fun situations
that you’ve had, any “oops” moments?
Brian will tell you about one he caught
on camera, I was with 2 other models on
the beach facing away from the waves
when a freakishly large wave came out
of nowhere and soaked all 3 of us! It was
quite funny and very cold.
Talk to us about props, clothing etc, do
you buy them or does the photographer
or a stylist provide them for a
I bring lots of Goodwill items to themed
shoots, sometimes they work, sometimes
they don’t. For group shoots I always
bring my own wardrobe. I’ve been
on shoots where a stylist has pre-selected
everything I am wearing and it’s
great! It’s important to have up to date
measurements on your port for that reason.
I’m constantly picking up fun items
to bring to shoots. I have boxes of props
and funny outfits. It makes dressing up
for Halloween extra fun too!
You’re also a podcast host, can you tell
us how that got started and how it’s
Brian and I met when he contacted me
to shoot years ago, we became quick
friends. He’s had this podcast dream
for quite some time and asked me to be
his cohost. When I agreed I had no idea
where it was going. Our first podcast
was audio only (with photos from the
photographers we were interviewing)
and it morphed into a full-blown production!
They other day I was talking at a
school about photography and one
thing we discussed was the changes …
it seems that very few people are “just
photographers” these days. Often
they are content creators with stories,
video and much more across a bunch
of social media, do you think that’s
happening with modeling?
Modeling is a relatively short-term gig
for most of us. Beauty fades. There’s not
as much time for models to decide that
they want to broaden their interests in
modeling outside of trying different genres.
Photographers typically have a lifelong
passion lending itself to broadening
horizons when they hit a certain point in
their advancement. Models hit that time
and are usually at the end of their careers.
They could pick up a camera or get
into other aspects, but broadly speaking
there isn’t a lot of time for them to be
more than “just models”.
Ok a fun question - what would you
take on a desert island:
- DVD … movie or TV show (yes you have
electricity and a player)
- favourite clothing
- favourite food
- anything else?
I would definitely bring a survival book,
I love to read, but can’t imagine reading
one book over and over. If I’ve read
a book once, that’s usually enough. Just
like movies, if I know what’s going to
happen it’s just not as fun anymore. I
read and watch movies mostly for entertainment
value though. A survival book
would help enrich the rest of my life, so I
think I’d go practical. lol
I’d bring Princess Bride as my movie, it’s
one movie I can’t get enough of! It’s so
quotable and I love all of the characters!
Even though I know this is theoretical
and I wouldn’t need to worry about climate
and shade, all of those things come
to mind. I honestly prefer to be naked, so
if that was an option and the weather
was just right I’d choose that for sure.
My favorite clothes are sundresses, they
make me feel pretty and carefree...and I
Favorite food has to be a tie...alfredo pesto
pasta with chicken or very spicy Thai
red curry. I couldn’t live without both!
Other: I am an absolute wine lover to the
core. It wouldn’t be home without plenty
of good wine! Mostly red, but white has
its’ place as well.
My portfolio is on model mayhem at
hear our podcast at:
Finally Roxanne, where can our readers
go to see more of your amazing
modelling and hear your on the
This issue we again visited Tom at Camera House in Adelaide on Grenfell Street and
talked classic cameras. Tom had some beauties to share...
The Nikon F2 Photomic
Manufactured in Japan from 1971
to 1980 this camera used a horizontal-travel
focal plane shutter and titanium
shutter curtains. It’s a 35mm
camera and uses the Nikon F-mount
for lenses. The interesting thing about
this camera, Tom pointed out, is the
F2 had an interchangeable viewfinder
(heads) that had pro’s enthusiastic
about using it. It was the D800 of its
time. It’s a solid camera, and came in
all black or black and silver top version.
The film locking mechanism is
brilliant as the rotating latch prevents
the film cassette dropping out of the
bottom until you open it completely.
It also featured 1/2000 shutter top
Higher flash sync of 1/80
Slow shutter speeds from 2 - 10 seconds
with integrated self-timer.
If you want one you need to look out
for fatigue cracks on the titanium foil
and the only way to replace that is
buying a second body for parts without
cracks. Also check for high levels
of wear or corrosion on the film guides
and the pressure plate.
Ensure the shutter works on all
speeds. Slower speeds can be inaccurate
so check them. However these issues
can be looked at by a technician
who can do a clean and lubricate and
If you’re keen on film this is a good
camera to grab. It’s solid, reliable and
brilliant to use.
It’s beautiful. The stunning rangefinder
built from 1981 to 1986 and made
by Leitz Canada. It was finished in
black chrome and some hard to get
silver-chrome units can be found,
maybe. The M4-P featured 28mm and
75mm framelines so it could be used
with the newer lenses of the time -
the M lenses. It was a 35mm featuring
manual focus, manual exposure and
weighed 545g. Holding it in your hand
makes you want to load up some film
and hit the streets.
Image from Wikipedia.
Zeiss Ikon Contina
Also a 35mm camera, this one made
by Zeiss Ikon and first introduced in
the mid 1950s. Zeiss Ikon is a company
formed in the mid 1920s in Germany, it
came in a viewfinder and a rangefinder.
It featured a 1 second to 1/250 or
1/300 with the X and M Sync and Self
Timer. Excellent lenses and solid build,
it’s a smaller camera in the hand then
the Nikon but still heavy compared to
some of today’s mirrorless units. It’s
sturdy and feels good in your hands…
"PBX has become my most valuable resource.
When I'm in a rut and just can't think of what's next for improving my business, I can scroll
through the ever growing library of interviews and just pick one. Sure enough there's
something in that random interview that I hadn't thought about or even knew was something I
Plus there's an amazing community of photographers in the Facebook group that are so giving
with their knowledge. I only wish I had found this sooner. -Justin Berrington
Interview with BlackForest Bags founder - Rashi
There’s one item photographers love
almost as much as their cameras.
It’s something we faun over, desire to
have the next best thing, touch lovingly
and probably, if you’re like me, have
way too many. I’m talking about camera
bags. It seems I can’t ever find just
the right one. I’ve come to the conclusion
you can’t have just one. So here’s
my set up.
A backpack for overseas travel, it olds
two mirrorless bodies, a few lenses
and personal items. I take this on the
plane so I know my gear is safe. I also
have a messenger bag that’s light but
sturdy that I use for walking around
streets and shooting touristy stuff.
But still I struggle, the back pack isn’t
right for weddings or street cause
I’m having to take it off to get a lens
out - smart that the zip is against my
back so I can’t be robbed though. The
messenger bag is good but sometimes
I’d like something a bit .. more stylish.
Something that my wife isn’t going to
roll her eyes and … my hope is she likes
it so much she is also happy to put it
on her shoulder. Especially when she’s
doing all the shopping and I”m carrying
everything she buys, plus my gear.
So I went searching on the web, and I
came across a bag I’d never seen before.
Checking their website I discovered
they actually are great looking
bags, roomy and the company seems
to really be into photography.
I reached out to Blackforest bags and
the founder herself came back to me
and we had a talk about bags… welcome
to Photo Live RashI!
Thank you very much for the
You’re based in India, where abouts?
We are based in Surat, Gujarat.
Now there’s a lot of photographers
here probably looking to start their
own business - not in bag production
but in other areas, how did you go
about starting your business?
I am actually a dentist by profession. I
am also a triathlete and a mother.
I had stopped working during my pregnancy
and had to take a long maternity
leave which gave me a lot of time to
start working on my own passion which
has now become a full time job.
I have always been fascinated with
photography and my husband is a photography
enthusiast. He makes some really
amazing pictures. We always carry
our SLR camera everywhere we travel,
be it family holidays or our solo trips. We
have tried a lot of bags existing in the
market to give us the right feel while on
the move. With time like everyone else
we have gathered a collection of cameras
and lenses, lights, a tripod and couple
of other essentials.
Whatever bag we tried over time, backpacks
and messengers had either a
very typical camera bag look or if they
looked slightly better, they couldn’t perform
well. We often used to discuss what
an ideal bag should be like and my sole
search for one made me create one.
The thing that got me interested apart
from the look of the bags is that you
state one of the problems is that it’s
been a problem carrying not only our
camera but all the other things at the
same time. Tell us how you tackled
Its really important to have a well organised
camera bag which can keep the
camera body and lenses separated with
padded dividers, offer all round protection
and also provide additional pockets
for travel documents and personal
items. Creating just enough space for
all these gives freedom to any user to
use the pockets or slots as they would
prefer. It also makes it easy for one to
access anything they need instantly because
you know where you have placed
To ensure long term use and comfort, we
have chosen the best, most natural materials,
designed well and ensured that
the artisans who handcraft our bags
follow the stitching instructions well to
avoid any tears and the bags must stay
The bags shouldn’t weigh down the user
so they have to be made light without
compromising on the quality of leather
, cotton canvas, the foam padding, and
I remember another bag manufacturer
doing a video on making their bags
and I confess I’m geeky enough to
have watched and enjoyed it, how did
you test your prototype bags to make
sure they were going to be right for
We have been working on this project
for almost an year before we launched
in August 2016. There were a 3 prototypes
and some initial samples made
and studied by a few photographers and
friends before we finalised the design of
our first series RIMO I. Field tests were
done by loading the bags with various
sets of equipment and lugged around.
In fact we travelled a lot with our own
samples and prototypes. They were sent
out to wedding photographers, fashion
photographers and also to various
reviewers like Steve Huff, Dave Cryer,
Chris Gampat, Brittany Smith. Over time
we have improved anything we thought
needed betterment and kept on moving
in that direction.
The study of materials and hardware
never stops even now because we are
yet expanding our product line due to be
launched in near future.
We welcome any feedback most happily
and work on those points yet adhering
to our design philosophy and ideas.
As someone who’s photographed a
bunch of weddings over the years, one
thing that can be tricky is - getting to
your lens to swap quickly and quietly
- velcro is my enemy… was that something
you had to think about?
Yes velcro is a necessary evil. You just
can’t do without it at least as of now
there hasn’t been any breakthrough.
However there is one major change we
have established in our products which
you will notice when you receive our
bag. We have totally avoided using the
brushed nylon lining used by 90 percent
companies out there. This brushed nylon
lining seen in almost every camera bag
out there sticks to the velcro dividers
once they are inserted in the bag. We
have to struggle a little bit to place them
in the right position as best suited for
our gear. After discussing this with a lot
of photographers, we understood that
with many years of use, this brushed nylon
lining starts wearing off until a time
that velcro no longer sticks to it rendering
the bag useless. Everyone tries to
continue using the bag by changing the
position of the divider a bit but life of the
bag shortens as this lining wears out.
Also it is very noisy to pull off a velcro
This may not be a concern for many of
us who do photography just as a hobby
and don’t end up using the bags everyday.
The lesser the bag is used, the lesser
the dividers are pulled out and placed
back, the more the life of the bag.
In our bags however the lining has been
changed to premium cotton twill which
looks classy. Offers smaller area for
velcro attachment and stays intact for
years to come. It is barely any noise to
be pulled out comparatively.
How many people work at Blackforest?
We are a team of six people within the
Rashi Chaudhary, Founder. I design the
bags, source materials from various vendors,
write content for our website. I am
also head marketing and customer care.
This is because we need to stay involved
at all these fronts to ensure we connect
well with our customers and create more
than just a camera bags company.
Paresh Chaudhary, Co Founder ,my husband
is the Director at his own textile
firm, Nobletex industries. I work from
home mostly because we have a 3 year
old baby girl to look after. Therefore all
inventory maintenance, shipping from
the warehouse and all legal formalities,
documents and accounts is under his
wing. Website developer and technical
Incharge: This person helps us time to
time to instate any changes at our website.
He has been with us from our website
designing phase much before we
We have one accountant and one Warehouse
Helper who maintains the inventory,
packs all to be shipped bags and
dispatches them. He also maintains the
raw materials procured at the warehouse.
And one Assistant who can carry
on with some work I delegate time to
We outsource manufacturing of bags at
a state of the art unit in India which does
work for a lot of top brands worldwide.
One thing we photographers sometimes
struggle with is getting our
name out there - seems everyone is a
photographer today. How did you get
your name out there in a pretty competitive
market with some quality bag
makers already established?
We believe people will notice us for our
designs, quality and durability. Once you
receive our bag, you will be able to see
how well they have been made and I am
very hopeful you will love to carry it out.
They look so great. The designs are not
made just for men. Women would love to
have one of their own.
Over this past year, we have been very
responsive to our customers for all their
requests and that makes a lot of difference.
You need to be there for them. A
lot of website visitors are recommended
by our customers. So the word of mouth
We have gained only genuine reviews in
our journey and will always stay true to
Our price point is a very great factor.
Once you receive our bag, you will definitely
agree our bags are value for
One thing I love about your website
and blog is you actually have lot’s of
great content about photography,
Travel, fashion and lot’s of photo articles
- how did you decided to take that
We are photography enthusiasts and
love travelling the world. We love making
new friends and our BLOG is very reflective
of our personal journey. We love
to share great content from all over the
world and I feel it is a very relevant platform.
Through our website, we intend
to do a lot more than just business. As
a photographer yourself, you would understand
how we artists are, there is an
urge to explore and bring beauty forward
to the world.
Now to be upfront you’re not paying
anything for us to talk to you but we
are going to get a bag and put it to
the test… what I’m planning is having
3 different photographers use the bag
over a weekend and give us feedback.
Before I do that are the bags for DSLR
cameras or better for mirrorless ?
The bag which you are receiving, the VIN-
SON can carry:
1. SLR camera body or 2 mirrorless cameras
2. 2-3 lenses
3. Laptop – 13’3 in
You can chose your own kit depending
on your use.
We’re looking forward to testing the
bag out - where can our readers go to
see your bags and your great content
They can be referred to this page. It all
begins here and then the website will direct
you to the associated pages.
Its been a pleasure.
When the Vinson (Sand Tan) bag arrived from Black
Forest the plan was to put it to a series of user
tests. I was... going to share it with a few of the
photographers in our group, but then I started using
it and well, that’s not going to happen. This bag
is beautiful and practical. I decided to take it on a
shoot in the city when I met up with local model
Amy Caldwell (you’ll see her with the bag in my pictures).
Planning my day, I decided on taking my Fuji
XT20, 3 lenses, a small container holding SD cards,
spare batteries, my wallet, keys, cleaning cloth and
a few other bits and pieces. I put my iPhone 6s Plus
in the spot where you’d normally place an iPad and
off I went.
Things I loved were the shoulder strap has a swivel
so it’s never tangled or wrong way round ( a pet
peeve ).Also it stays on the shoulder when walking
around but if you’re moving quickly put it diagonally
across your chest and it sits comfortably.
The bag has a handle on top so you can pick it up
by the handle... you’d be suprised how handy this
is. The pockets are strong and snug, so to where
the iPad sits.
It’s a combination of waxed cotton and full grain
leather and looks high quality. It feels nice to the
touch and if you’re using one body and a lens or a
mirrorless and a couple of lenses it’s perfect. And
the price is very good too for a high quality bag. The
bag flap closes with brass catches so at weddings
there’s no velcro tear noise.
On the streeet the bag is a joy to use, it’s easy to
access, looks quality and holds enough gear and
personal items for a days shooting.
THE $1 BILLION
INSTAGRAM FOR THE FAMOUS
I was browsing Harper’s Bazaar
online the other day (hey I do model
photography!) and came across
a very interesting statistic... apparently
industry experts, in around
2015, estimated that brands spend
more then $1 billion per year on
sponsored Instagram posts. That’s
a lot of money that use to be spent
on traditional media! Social media
sponsorship is a whole new world
of marketing and it’s opened the
doors to just about anyone who’s
willing to put in the hard work, has
talent and drive to make either a
part time or full time income from
their passion. But first a short history
lesson on advertising...
If you were to jump back into some
sort of time machine, and set the
date for around 1970 through to
the 80s or 90s, there wasn’t too
many ways to get known locally,
let alone be world famous. You
had to be a star ( or rising star ) of
stage, screen, music, art ... maybe
politics, medicine, science, humanities...
On the darker side of life,
some have committed crimes for
John Hinckley Jr - He attempted
to assassinate President Ronald
Reagan so that he could use the
‘fame’ to get the attention of actress
Jodie Foster who he was in
Tonya Harding - The figure skater
so badly wanted to be the most famous
that she conspired to have
her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan,
attacked. The result was Kerrigan
recovered and placed higher then
Harding, who sunk to the lows of
the celebrity world doing a sex
tape and celebrity boxing.
In contrast we have millions of talented
people who made art, music
films and other forms of entertainment
or knowledge that gained
fame as a by product of their endeavours.
Albert Einstein for example
is a Nobel laureate in physics,
Nelson Mandela, Nobel laureate for
peace suffered years of imprisonment
for his beliefs. Musicians, artists,
creators, scientists, doctors
and leaders of nations have become
famous as a result of their
hard work and dedication.
In video games we have people
like Hideo Kojima who developed
Metal Gear Solid, Sid Meier of Civilisation
fame and Carol Shaw who
is noted as the first woman game
designer who, whilst working for
Atari worked on 3-D Tic Tac Toe
and world on Super Breakout.
These people became famous,
not because they sought fame but
because of their talent. Today that
line has blurred. Some people are
famous for simply, being famous.
Today, the whole game has
Traditional media doesn’t have the
same power it once had. Magazines
and newspapers have been
closing in the hundreds each year.
The internet and particularly social
media has fragmented how
we consume entertainment. No
longer do we sit down on Sunday
night at 8.30 for the “Sunday
Night Movie” we have Netflix, Stan,
HBO, iTunes,YouTube and Amazon
among others to watch what we
want when we want. Social media
sites like Instagram allow anyone
with a talent to gather faithful followers
and engage with them by
sharing content. Then, if you’re
good at creating interesting content
and good at gaining followers,
suddenly you’re the “media” ... you
have the numbers to be a valuable
commodity for advertisers to
With that in mind, let’s take a look
at one option for gaining followers
and maybe becoming ... famous.
Instagram: becoming an
Instagram is one of the key online
and social media choices for gaining
popularity. Instagram’s research
shows that it has 2.8x higher then
average ad recall then other social
media networks. It also found that
consumers are a whopping 58x
more likely to engage with branded
content on Instagram then Facebook,
and 120x more likely compared
Instagram visitors stay on site
for an average of 192 seconds
longer then any other social media
So Instagram offers those who
build an audience popularity, but
it’s not just popularity that is the
motivation. Income, career and an
adventurous life itself can be the
rewards when you work the system.
You see advertisers pay for
eyeballs - the eyes of people who
are potential customers for their
products. If you’re a photographer
using say ... Nikon equipment and
you have 30,000 followers that are
actively engaged with you on Instagram,
then you might be an attractive
proposition for a brand like
Nikon to work with you - I’m using
Nikon as a hypothetical, but you
get the point. That is ...
1. You need a large following
2. Your following needs to be engaged
with your content
Why engaged? Because anyone
can go and buy followers, and
while there’s nothing wrong with
promoting and advertising your
media (your page/site) ... that’s
how marketing works, ideally you
need followers to be involved with
you, to want to see your posts. In
the 80s if you were selling a product
you made an ad and ran it on
TV or radio or in print.
Today you are the product - people
are “buying” you so to speak. If you
have created something of value,
for example good photo content
and story’s, then chances are you
can build an audience. Back in the
90s and prior, you first needed a
product or service, then you needed
to spend money with the media
to promote or sell that product. Today
you can bypass that expense,
no longer do you need to book a TV
campaign or an ad in a magazine
to get people’s attention. Social
media sites like Instagram gives
everyone the same opportunity.
The key factor though is you need
your audience to be engaged, that
is connected to your content, enjoying,
likening and commenting on
It’s no good having 100,000 followers
and getting 10 likes on a post.
Advertisers want people to see
and engage with their brand.
If followers (fans) are the starting
point for sponsorship, it’s the engaged
fans that are the true currency
in this new world of media.
We did some quick calculations on
some of the biggest Instagram accounts
from celebrities and found
engagement rates varied. Some
were around 1% while others were
2.5% and more. However when
you have 100 million followers and
1% of your followers are engaged
that’s still a massive number! One
percent of 100 million works out
to 1 million fans engaged and if
you’re a brand that is 1 million potential
customers seeing someone
like Kim Kardashian use a product.
So a brand not only gets engaged
fans seeing their product but the
endorsement of a celebrity is the
cream on the marketing cake.
Engagement rates, getting
paid and becoming an Instagram
The Huff Post reports that some
brands pay between $5 and $10
per thousand followers. Some pay
more for bigger names, up to $100
per thousand followers. When
you’re getting started and you’ve
got a reasonable following that’s
growing, you may start out by
getting free product. As we said
though, it’s not just about the numbers,
you need to build engagement...
getting your followers engaged
(enjoying, commenting and
liking) your content. So how do you
work out what your engagement
rate is? Let’s take a look:
Here’s how you work out engagement
rates for your page:
Engagement Rate on Instagram:
(Number of likes & comments) /
(Number of followers).
Let’s say an account has 50,000
followers and on average gets
1500 comments/likes - that gives
them an engagement rate of 3%.
Is that any good? Well let’s do a
quick comparison. But first ... a
trip back in time. In the old days
of 60s, 70s and 80s advertisers
would measure the success by
the number of sales an ad generated.
Some smart marketers like
Readers Digest would run coupon
campaigns, constantly testing and
refining the message to improve
the response of the message. Today
people don’t run coupon campaigns
so much, at least not like
they use to. But comparing Instagram
to email marketing gives us a
On average (according to Smart
Insights) the open rate on an email
in the area of Entertainment is
21%, but the click through rate -
the number of people who opened
your email then clicked to see the
content was around 2.3% ... so not
too much different to Instagram.
But there are key differences. With
email you have a bit more time and
space to tell your story (sell product)
but on Instagram you have
the benefit of endorsement. That
means if you are a travel blogger
and use Instagram and have a
strong following - people are likely
to trust you and that trust is gold in
the bank. That is because your followers
believe you, they trust you
and if you say visiting a resort was
great, then they believe you and
might also put that resort on their
list of places to visit.
So Instagram gives a sponsor/advertiser
both reach and credibility
We looked at the average engagement
rates on social media and
found Instagram to be top of the
We’ll take a look at Facebook and
Youtube in another issue, but for
now let’s dig a bit deeper into Instagram.
We’ve asked a few of our friends
who’ve built solid followings for
some Instagram tips.
“Instagram’s research shows that
it has 2.8x higher then average
ad recall then other social media
networks. It also found that
consumers are a whopping 58x
more likely to engage with branded
content on Instagram then
Facebook, and 120x more likely
compared to Twitter.”
The World Loves Melbourne
Dave Hagger who started the blog
has a great Instagram following of
almost 38,000. His blog is for foodies
who want the best Melbourne
has to offer and also has a sister
site, The World Loves Sydney.
Dave is a Food blogger and I can
vouch he knows the best places
for a meal! Here’s Dave’s take on
Facebook is tough but if you pay to
play Facebook can be great. Instagram
is also moving towards more
pay to play!
5 tips for Instagram would be:
3. Post regularly. Build a following
by posting every day if possible.
However avoid posting too many
times a day because that diminishes
4. Effective use of hashtags. Use
local as well as broadly appealing
hashtags. Try to mix them up.
Avoid being shadow banned for
using spammy hashtags.
5. Style and curate your images!
Creative use of backgrounds. Use
props like Italian tiles, diff textures
like wooden boards, vintage props,
linen etc. Flatlays are still king - fill
the frame with interest. Short video
clips have good engagement
and are the way of the future!
1. Make it visually excellent! Use a
decent SLR camera and a decent
smartphone - as well as apps like
Snapseed (my favourite) to enhance
your already great photos.
Play around with effects and filters
so that the photo sings!
2. Make it bright and vibrant! The
trend is away from dark to vibrant
pics. Some filters help brighten,
even use a whiteness feel for effect.
Tiffany Dean Cosplay
Tiff is onoe of our cosplay editors
and has worked hard building a following
across multiple social media
sites. Her Facebook sits at around
10,000 and has been her main social
media platform for some time,
but with changes to the algorithm
she’s now begun building her Instagram
following with 2,500 so far.
1. I place my IG in the same place
as my FB re marketing. They’re unfortunately
all I have and as IG is
now owned by FB, neither are great
for marketing. IG can be easier to
gain a following, however followers
are removed faster than you get
them. I’m aiming to become active
on YouTube and have IG as a secondary
thing. IG however is a great
booster during things like Conventions
(for cosplayers) as people
are generally looking for people
they may have taken a photo of.
2. The most effective ways to
grow IG are to try and keep posts
relevant to what your main focus
is. For example, as a cosplayer I
gain more followers if I post a cosplay
of something that is current
as it’s what is ‘trending.’ Hashtags
are imperative to grow your IG as
they are what people search for -
it’s how people can find you. Also
networking with others is helpful.
Some Instagram pages focus on
sharing others work - if you can
be shared on a page with a good
following it’s a great way for your
follower number to increase.
3. The first 500 I actually found
easier than the rest, namely as at
that time, Instagram didn’t go and
boot followers. The first 500 tend
to include a lot of friends and family
too which helps you reach that
4. Re hashtags I just realized that
the best way to go is to make them
relevant. For example if I post a
photo of me in cosplay, I’m not going
to go and hashtag something
like gourmet meal (unless it’s relevant
lol). I also try and do a few
hashtags but not have 30 of them.
It’s a fine line between too little and
too many. It’s also random and IG
works much like FB now in that you
could hashtag the same things for
different photos and get 300 likes
on one photo and 30 on another.
It’s important to just see hashtags
as a way to tag relevant search
words so people can find your
5. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve
not had too many negatives on my
own page. I’ve been called fat and
all sorts of things on pages with
so called ‘fans’ of certain things.
In those cases I tend to ignore it,
but in this case I kindly made them
aware that people may have gone
through a difficult time and that
the focus should be on the costume,
not a persons weight. I also
thought it important to speak up
for the sake of young people who
might develop eating disorders if
slim people are being called fat.
In most cases I either ignore or
just delete. I only respond if I can
correct someone respectfully and
kindly. If it all goes to pot I just delete
or block lol.
Sara Moni Cosplay
We’ve been big fans of Sara’s over
the years and she’s built huge following
Facebook - 60,700
Instagram - 29,800 plus followers
We asked Sara for a few quick tips
on how she got going on Instagram:
It wasn’t really difficult to build my
Instagram. It’s difficult to maintain
and keep content flowing more
1. Don’t be concerned with numbers,
be concerned with engagement,
the type of audience that
you attract and if it’s the attention
you really want.
2. Don’t be afraid of taking weeks
in planning and researching costume,
3. Never compare yourself to
someone else in an unhealthy way.
Fun competition can be motivating,
but never get down on yourself
Instagram marketing company, Dash Hudson, CEO Thomas Rankin suggests you need at least 5,000 followers although
10,000 is the number that will more likely get the attention of brands... but they need to be real and engaged. Harper’s
Bazaar magazine reported that fashion blogger, Daniella Bernstein of @weworewhat charges between $5000 and
$15,000 for a single branded Instagram post.
Charlotte is an Adelaide based
1. Know your demographic! Knowing
your audience is vital to Instagram.
Understanding your audience
helps with how you post,
when you post and what you post.
2. Interact with other Instagram
accounts that also post to a similar
audience demographic. Getting
your posts into their feeds can
be a case of interacting with their
posts. This can be done by liking
posts, following, commenting or direct
messaging them. Interact with
your followers. Take the time to
thank followers for comments. Interaction
means that your content
has a better chance of reaching
their Instagram feed. Pay attention
to accounts that regularly like your
posts, they are still seeing your
posts and it’s because the algorithm
has noted they like your content.
3. #... Learn how to hashtag. Research
hashtags that are popular
in your genre of content. For example:
brands, location, style and
Instagram allows up to 30 #’s per
post that need to be in your original
post to count. Hashtags are
a way to get your content to new
accounts. Using the right hashtag
can throw your content into the
feed of new followers who may be
interested in your content based
on what they are interested in, who
they follow, and what hashtags
they have used recently.
4. Use the stories feed to bring
your content directly to the attention
of your followers. When any of
us open up Instagram the stories
feed is the first content we see.
This is an opportunity to direct your
followers to your content.
5. Post consistently. Post quality
content at regular times over the
week. Don’t be that person that
posts 10 posts in one evening and
then doesn’t post again for a few
days. Insights information will help
you determine what time of day
and what content works for your
THE INSTAGRAM AUDIENCE
OR HOW WE SCREWED UP OUR EDITOR’S FEED...
him a few
and a donut
down a bit.”
We decided as part of this story
to experiment on Instagram using
sites that promise large “real”
followers for payment. We didn’t
want to damage the Gametraders
account so we volunteered our editors
photography account. After
much persuasion (promise of a 6
pack of Red Bull) we got started on
To begin he (foolishly) closed his
old account and created a new
one - you can see it here:
Next he started posting some photos
as he is a photographer that
does a lot of portrait and model
photography sprinkled with occasional
Over a few weeks of terrible hash
tagging skills he’d managed only
130 followers. We reminded him
how useless he was and that he
wasn’t allowed to do anymore
hash tagging. He didn’t take the
criticism to well but feeding him a
few Red Bulls and a donut calmed
him down a bit.
Now it was now time for the experiment.
First up we researched a
bunch of sites that offer to sell or
gain you followers for around $20
- $30 U.S. We bought 1000 followers
that flooded in pretty quickly.
The engagement, however stayed
the same, in fact it went down! At
this point the Editor started to really
freak out, worrying about getting
banned or something.
Next we tried another seller and
got another 1500 but engagement
remained poor. As an example -
see the Wonder Woman photo of
cosplayer Tiffany Dean, sure the
hashtags could have been better
and we decided to work on that as
Next we got in contact with one
of the mega follower sites with
names like Portrait of the Day or
similar - I won’t share which one,
but this generated thousands of
likes of the supplied photo (cost
$20 US) but not many followers.
We experimented by letting them
choose the photos to share - we
got two shares and we had thousands
of likes and lot’s of positive
comments on the photo. So that
worked in that we got awareness
but not a lot of rub off with regards
to followers. However, the followers
it did generate were genuine
fans of the photography style on
his page plus we notice that even
though followers were not growing
and likes were still small comparatively,
we noticed that some of the
“likes” were coming from followers
with large followings themselves.
Doing some quick calculations, our
editors’ page engagement rate is
slowly creeping up to 1% (again)
after being punished, now we use
the word punished here loosely but
maybe not. You see after we began
the experiment and saw how
bad the engagement level was we
did some digging and and came
across the term - Shadowban...
there’s a very comprehensive article
here on Shadowban -
name and press Get Tested...
When we tested, we were “safe”
so that means either our content is
not good, our hashtags are terrible
(yeah we know) and not working
or, and this is probably it, a combination
of bought users that are not
engaged plus poor hash tagging.
So in conclusion to our experiment
our editor now has thousands of
followers, a low engagement rate
but he’s seeing different types of
“likes” and he hopes to build on
that. He did threaten to delete this
account too and start again, but
after another bunch of Red Bulls, a
few donuts and some advice from
friends, he’s decided to keep it and
work on getting the engagement
It points out that there are 4 things
you can do to avoid this Shadowban
situation including avoiding
using buying apps/sites like we
used. Plus they mention banned
hashtags! With regard to Shadowban
we did some more digging
and found the respected website
- Petapixel has an article on Shadowbans
and even has a link to this
site that claims to test if you are
You can see the site here and you
simply paste in your Instagram