I created this group in June 2018. I wanted to offer opportunities for photographers of all skill levels to participate in various periodic portfolio enhancing portrait photo shoots and exchange concept, modeling, posing, make-up and hair styling, fashion, composition, lighting, editing/processing, printing, and other photographic training, education, or experience. I hope to help build portfolios, network, and to gain knowledge from others while working in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. I've enjoyed meeting and shooting with the photographers, models, and MUAs so far. I warmly welcome all newcomers and hope to meet you. I will be putting on basic classes of 10 soon for basic camera, lightroom, gear, etc.
Within six months we had nine shoots that would have to ultimately go down as good successes, so we're moving into 2019 with steadfast confidence. But, I'm one of those "know thyself... and seek self-improvement" types - always learning and trying to improve. We had a few hiccups in 2018, but hey - this was my first go at this. So, I will continue to fine-tune the experiences here starting with the following basic rules, points, or observations:
1. We're not going to specialize, per-se, in glamour/boudoir - it's just not going to happen. There are already several others specializing in that; they are light years ahead of me; I can't compete and specialize in such and I really wouldn't want to. We will likely have one or two solid glamour/boudoir sessions in 2019 though, and a planned body paint concept could technically be considered "implied nude". The focus of this group is on lifestyle, fashion, beauty, portraits, sports/fitness, with occasional glamour photography. Everything will be classy and tastefully done. Please do not broach the topic of lingerie, nude, or "figure studies" shoots during our shoots. Feel free to exchange contact information with others and pursue those types of shoot discussions off-site.
1A. Please be kind, positive, and professional and attempt to avoid ego and pretentiousness.
1B. I will comprehensively conceptualize each shoot with a mood board with date, time, location, model name, MUA name, concept, pose ideas, color palette, lighting diagram (with camera settings), weather forecast, drink and snack menu, etc. If you have concepts you would like to pass by me, please feel free, but please avoid trying to incorporate it on the fly during a session as we likely won't have time. Get with me beforehand and we may plan around your whole concept for a future shoot.
2. We had approx 50% no-show from photographers who intended to join shoots in 2018. We had zero no-shows from models. And I hear from photogs all the time how "flaky" models can be. My vetting of the models alone was a success, the models deserve better, and it made overall organizing efforts more difficult. Thus, all meetups in 2019 will be payment up front. There is no refund for photographer no-shows and I can't be held liable for reminding signed up attendees. If the weather outside is frightful, the entire shoot will be indoors. There is no refund if you show up but forgot a camera or other required gear and no one has the item(s) for you to borrow. There will be FULL REFUND FOR MODEL NO-SHOWS, or complete failure or cancellation of the shoot for whatever reasons.
3. All shoots will be both indoor and outdoor usually with 3 sets/looks. To standardize, simplify, streamline the process, I want to make things to where everyone knows what the flow is every time. * Again, if the weather does not permit, the entire shoot will be indoors.
3A. There will be a MUA almost every time. Sessions with MUAs will start at $75.
3B. Groups will always be limited to eight shooters max. One primary shooter for 1:30 - 2 minute minute rounds for most regular sets.
3C. Shoots will almost always be at or near Hall Office Park in Frisco - I have just too many options in that vicinity - almost everything you can imagine except mountains and desert is there. City-scape, parks, streams, small waterfalls, bridges, walls, walkways, tree tunnels, ponds, fountains, etc.
3D. The first hour will be indoor/studio; first set beauty headshots; second set seated, reclined, standing, or otherwise 1/2, 3/4 to full poses; the strobes will be set roughly the same every time unless the concept calls for low-key or high-key or requires special lighting considerations - see 3E below.
3E. My camera settings for studio with strobe will almost always be f8-11, 1/125-160-200, ISO 100-200. In your three minutes turn, you get a few seconds to snap a few images and tweak your settings in your camera the way you want. I'll prevent deviation from strobe settings - I will control and set the strobe power, diffusion technique, range, angle, reflectors, flagging, etc. I also appreciate it if members do not attempt to adjust flash output in-camera during their turn. If you are a complete beginner and need help in manual mode, please be prepared to accept mentoring by myself and others.
3F. A brief segue set will be voted on during the shoot - inside or outside? Change outfits or stay with what they have on? This session will usually be short and shoot-out style (everyone shooting at once - the model will look in a variety of directions and briefly at each photographer.)
3G. The third portion/set will be outdoors, weather permitting. This will be ambient or with usually minimal modification of a single light or reflector. There will only be one outdoor location per shoot, and that can be voted on on site. This two-set portion will be 1:30 - 2 minute minute timed rounds. This flow will efficiently get each photographer two sets and looks, inside studio and outside. The locations we will shoot at have plenty of room for everyone and even some guests; there's plenty of time; plenty of space; plenty of opportunity. If you're a beginner and need help with the outdoor or window lit ambient in aperture priority or manual or with bracketing, I will assist.
3H. Again, one primary shooter using a transmitter for strobes, 1:30 - 2 minute rounds for most regular sets.
3I. Non-primary shooters can adjust camera settings for ambient/window light or do BTS video. The window light in some indoor locations is usually very good for aperture priority mode. This applies for the outdoor set(s) as well.
3J. I've done the research and will be using Yongnuo triggers except for occasional HSS sets. Previous issues have risen not because of the trigger but because of too many shooters or too rapid or extended of shooting, overheating the strobe. Multiple sites I've researched have concluded for me that Yongnous are consistently more reliable than (most) Pocket Wizards. The main strobes are Paul C Buff B1600, and 2 B800s, and I have an Indra 500 (500ws for techies out there) and multiple Honey Badger (250ws) and Flashpoint Streaklights (360ws) strobes. I've shot with a number of meetup group organizers, and while more than half use pocket wizard, I've shot with a number of other triggers and never had an issue to gripe about. (03/18/2019 update - we've had approx 15 shoots now and we've never had an issue with Yongnuos.)
3K. Sessions will be carefully planned for flow and all sets will be managed. In other words, you get what you get within the flow and settings. The flow and settings should allow some buffer time to capture a few additional shots. One photographer may get a few more shots than another, but it shouldn't ever come to an issue of contention. You are responsible for getting the poses you like - don't blame it on time or the model. So, if your turn is up and you see the next photographer getting shots of another pose and you then want it - hey, learn to research your posing techniques because we may not have all day to get every single shot you might develop longing for. If most other photographers get 20 shots per set but you only get 5 because you take all day trying to pose the model in a super particular way, I don't want to hear it. You will receive a complete mood board prior to the shoot (something I haven't seen any other group do), so I won't entertain frivolous complaints. Also, please don't expect a MUA or model to extend past the scheduled time frame. If we extend, it's a bonus, not a scheduled outcome. Consider it additional mana from heaven.
4. Releases. I've crafted a North Dallas Fashion, Lifestyle, and Portrait Photography release that will have the models image and specifics on it. I've researched that it is in line with local legally approved industry standards. The models email is listed as well which enables meeting attending photographers to more quickly and easily send some images to the model, which is encouraged. Please see 5 and 5B below.
5. Image sharing. Photographers who complete 3 meetings without offering model and MUA a single free photograph will be banned. This is such a problem among photographers that I've seen other groups demand to DL your card onto a community laptop prior to the photographer's departure. Again, it's the photogs calling the models flaky. I highly encourage you to find at least one best shot of the shoot and get it to the model within about two weeks.
5B. The images obtained are for portfolio, promotional, social media sharing per release. Photographers wanting to arrange private shoots with models for other commercial potentialities are free to do so. But, using photos from these shoots for commercial efforts such as on a Patreon page or otherwise will get the photog or model banned. This could cause civil/legal issues or disputes and probable discord. If you're a pro photog and rely on the income, please feel free to communicate with the model about getting together at another time for commercial efforts. Please do it in a way that does not distract from our flow.
6. All the above sufficiently covered, this is obviously a photography group for beginner to intermediate+. I feel compelled to caveat here because of disputes I've seen online and in other groups. If you're a super pro and want to attend a meeting, please feel free. Note - I'll attend one of your meetings or lessons if I want to learn from you or your techniques. I humbly and kindly ask you to consider being professional and to not poach and please don't attend my meeting as an opportunity to school me or other attendees, or promote your meetup, product, lesson or whatever.
6A. I had a photog/artist communicate to me that he is part of a kind of "secret" society or club of photogs out there looking out for the safety and reputation of models and MUAs. I like the guy as a person, I respect the guy's work, but the guy indicated he didn't have business/tax paperwork, wasn't in PPA, etc. "Secrecy" lacks transparency for a reputable, credible, legitimate operation. If you're looking for an "Illuminati" gorilla photo club, this isn't it.
6B. Unless a photographer asks for CC please don't offer, at the actual shoot or online. Also, I do not seek CC regarding how the group or any meeting is going. I've shot with approx 12 other Meetup group organizers in the DFW and Houston areas, and I've assessed with confidence this group's shoots have gone as good if not better than 60% of them - the bang for your buck here is good. I can see where there is room for improvements or make on-the-fly corrections. It's not a competition, I'm not here for likes, followers on IG, money, etc. This meetup group is not part of my "business plan" or attempt at "branding myself".
This group, so far as I know, has yet to have an image published. This group is to get everyone opportunities for portrait photography experience or portfolio enhancing images - publishable images may be possible but are not guaranteed. I sincerely hope to keep the goal in focus - photography meetup for portfolio building/maintenance, and networking. I hope to keep pretentiousness and ego (especially any perceived to be mine) checked, and let's have fun in a congenial relaxed atmosphere!