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(slow music)
- Hi, I'm Rob Grimm with RGG EDU
and today we're sitting down
with Michael Woloszynowicz,

which is the hardest name
I've ever had to say.

- You nailed, no you
nailed it Rob.
- Alright, that's good.

That's a difficult name.
- It's tough one.
- Anyway, we're just
wrapping up three days

of shooting with Michael.
We've been working on his tutorial
and it's truly been a pleasure to watch.
I gotta tell you, working
with you has been terrific.

You're setting a high bar for all other
instructors to come with our tutorials.
First of all, let's talk
about your background.

- Sure.
- I think that's one

of the things that people
really like to know is,

how you got started.
Cause a lot of people are struggling
and wanting to get into the business.
So kind of walk us through
your history of photography,

when you started, when it
really clicked for you.

- Yeah.
So it was probably
I was maybe like 10 or 12
when I first picked up a camera.
Just shooting mostly landscapes.
I mean, you know just
kinda going out with my dad

we were out in the Rockys
you know, shooting stuff.

And so did that for about a year or two.
But every time I got the photos back--
- [Rob] This is back in the film days.
- This is back in the film days, yeah.
- [Rob] What kind of camera?
- It was an EOS 1, Canon
EOS 1 actually, yeah.

So--
- Still have it somewhere?

- I do, it's actually
still sitting at home.

Still works.
- My first one

is sitting up there on the shelf.
- Nice.
- It's cool.
- Yeah so I mean

I did that for about two years,
just you know kinda
shooting some landscapes.

But every time I kinda send
them off for development,

I got 'em back I just
was kind of underwhelmed

with what I got and I don't know.
I just somehow never got
into the dark room thing,

so just kind of gave it
up I think after a while.

- [Rob] You never pursued the dark room?
- No.
- So you were sending off images--
- Yeah.
- Being processed,

getting them back.
Were the results flat,
just not interesting?

- Just, well I mean I
think for me too it's...

I don't know, what I love
about digital is that

kind of gives me some guidance as far as
like how I'm gonna build my
vision around that photo.

Where as there, I don't know.
It was, I think and
partially I wasn't really,

I didn't have enough understanding
too about photography

to really you know, make sure to get
a great image out of camera.
So I don't think I really
just dedicated myself

enough at that point.
It wasn't just, you know, the development.
- Right.
- But you know

I was young and so it
was something I enjoyed

tinkering with and then
I decided you know what,

this maybe isn't for me.
But then many years later, I think it was
probably about three years ago,
I picked up my dad's Nikon D300--
- Okay.
- And...

For no real reason actually.
I think I was just like browsing through.
He gave me like the 500PX app on his iPad.
- Is your dad a photographer?
Sounds like he's always had a camera.
- Yeah he's, I mean he's not like
a professional photographer
or anything like that,

he's a structural engineer.
But he again, he enjoys the process of
you know, photography so--
- Mathematical mind.
- Yeah.

- Photography is a very mathematical
business actually.
- It is, yeah.

And I'm like my computer science
background as well, right.

So again you know, a lot of math
and things like that.
- Right.

- It's a very analytical.
But yeah, so you know picked that up
and I was just browsing through 500PX
and I was just amazed at like you know,
what you could do these days.
It kind of just never really dawned on me
on how great you know, the
image are looking these days.

I was always thought that you know
digital, it's not gonna look that great.
So I started playing
around with this camera.

Just you know, shooting some portraits
with like speed lights
and just took it out

you know, streets of (mumbles)
always just shooting some stuff there.
And gradually I just
noticed the images becoming

more and more interesting.
And then I realized essentially
that if I want them to look really great
I have to become good at Photoshop, so.
- The images became more interesting.
Is that because you started to see
that your eye was developing
and you were getting a
better sense of composition

or--
- Yeah, I think so.

I think it was kind of
lots of things all at once.

I think, you know, I started to understand
the possibilities with digital as well.
Before that, like it was just kind of
like point and shoot type stuff.
You know I had like a small Canon I was.
You know nonchalantly photograph things
while I was on vacation or whatever.
But never really gave
it much thought right.

So.
- Right.

- Once I started seeing these images,
I'm like wow, I'd really love
to produce stuff like that.

So then I started getting
more interested in it

and you know reading up on it
and actually just going
out purely to shoot

for no other reason or
traveling just to shoot and...

You know like I said, at the same time
I was developing my skills in Photoshop,
tryna see what I can do with these images.
How I can push them and
you know how I can blend

multiple exposures together
to create something

that's a little bit more interesting.
So I think my start was probably
more in like architecture

and city scapes and stuff like that.
But somehow I really
enjoyed lighting subjects.

I really enjoyed kind of
playing around with lighting

and seeing you know what it can do.
So again, I had really
basic gear at that time.

It was like you know a speed light
and a little lastolite box.
So the results weren't great,
but I could just kind of see things
getting gradually better and better.
And that just kind of
kicked things off for me.

- It sounds like Photoshop
was almost hand in hand,

if not slightly in the lead,
for you in the development of your
photography skills.
- Yeah.

- Like you started to
get some nice results

but then needed to push them in Photoshop.
- Right, yeah I think it was.
I mean it really, part of the reason why
I was photographing too
was to have something

that I can edit off of, right.
So the two are kind of pushing
each other a little bit.

But I think, I really enjoyed the process
of retouching images.
I mean...
You know again, I never really
gave Photoshop much thought.

I kind of opened it up a couple times,
seemed way too complicated.
And I'm just like forget this you know.
So I just I left it alone
but I finally realized you know
I gotta get good at this.
So I was just again, watching--
- [Rob] So how did you get good?
- You know just kind of watching
the odd thing on the internet.
Just kind of tryna piece together
what's going on in there
and then a lot of it

was just experimentation as well.
I mean ultimately, once
you kind of figure out

where things are, as with
most things with computers

you just click on a bunch of stuff
and see what happens.
- [Rob] Photoshop is a beast.
- It is.
- And it's a beast

not because...
It's a beast because it's so damn powerful
and there are 200 ways
to do the same thing.

- [Michael] That's just it, yeah.
- Right?
- Exactly.

- [Rob] So having computer
sciences background

must've really helped you.
Did you work in the
computer sciences field?

Like what did you do?
- Yeah I did.

I was a software developer, so--
- Oh you were?
- Yeah.
- Okay.

- You know, writing web
applications and things like that.

So I think it does help,
cause then you kind of--

- It's a language.
- Yeah, and you don't
just understand kind of...

You're not thinking about the
tool of what the result is

but you're also thinking about
how is it actually working.

Cause like I took like image
processing and stuff like that

you know as courses back in college so.
- Okay.
- You know,

I kind of have an idea of what's
going on behind the scenes.

So I think it does help.
You know, just generally always
been good with computers so.

Just always felt--
- So, all your Photoshop

skills are effectively
self taught on the web.
You went out on the web--
- Yeah.

- You were looking at other
instructors and--
- Pretty much, yeah.

- Picking up little YouTube videos
on how to do this and how that.
Was there anybody that
really stood out in your mind

as an instructor that you're like,
that guy's got the goods?
Or was it a combination of
so many different people

that you really kind of
developed yourself?
- Yeah you know there's

combination of little pieces I think.
Like back when, like even three years ago
I think photography education
wasn't that great, you know.
I don't know, like it
always seemed to be like

you see the images that
the instructor's producing

and you're like, I don't know
if that's really something

that I like, you know.
Or you'd watch a tutorial and you're like,
that's kind of weird what
they're doing with the skin.

So I would you know take
those tutorials at face value

and just kind of look at them
and see what they're doing
and then just try and apply

my own spin to it and just
kind of gradually refine.

- There are two touchstones
that you really just hit upon
in the last couple of sentences.
And one is, you know...
Retouching is a very difficult thing
and people don't always do it well.
They can get some interesting
kind of like eye candy results.
- Yeah.
- But they're not

necessarily good results.
And going back to the cameras,
I think one of the frustrations
that you were feeling is

you're working with a camera
and it's taking pretty good pictures.
But until you really learn
to harness the power...

- Yeah.
- That's inside of the.

I mean the cameras today are incredibly
powerful.
- Right, exactly.

- But they are, like
Photoshop, they are a tool.

And unless you know how to use that tool--
- Yeah.
- You're not gonna get

great results.
And that's one of the things
that's really interesting

about video tutorials now.
We now have the ability
to really teach people

how to harness the power of those tools
and go out and make great images,
but spend some time with it.
- Yeah, and you know the challenge too
is usually it's like little
fragments here and there, right.

You don't see that process start to finish
so you kind of get a little window
into what's going on.
And a lot of the tutorials
too, they're not like...

You'll very rarely find
retouching tutorial that'll start
at the beginning of the image
and take you all the way through the end.
It's just like, how do we work on this
or how do we work on that, right.
So you kind of have to put
all these piece together

into some sort of workflow
that works for you.

And you know that I think
is a really difficult thing

because everybody has their
own way of doing things.

Everybody has their own style.
And you know it's really
in the nuances, I think,

in retouching that makes
that big difference.

- So you're working in the
computer sciences field.

Your photography skills
are getting better.

When do you cut the chord and say,
I'm done, I'm gonna go out and
I'm gonna be a photographer?

At what point did you reach that?
- It was honestly like
two months ago, maybe.

- Really?
- Yeah.

- Oh very recently.
- Yes.
- Alright.

- So, no I was doing it to
you know as much as I could.

And you kind of get to the point where
you realize you can't
really do one or the other

as well as you should.
And then, you know, I
kind of had to pick so.

- [Rob] Were you scared?
- Yeah, yeah.
I was a little bit nervous, but...
I'm you know, so far glad I did it.
- It's a big thing to do.
- It is.
- Without question.

And you know back in
the day when I did it,

you apprenticed for somebody
for like three years, or four years.
You're working in a photo studio
and then you finally had
to make the decision.

I am not going to assist anymore.
I've gotta do this.
And it's a very difficult transition
and I would imagine going
from one career to another

is even more frightening.
- It is, yeah.
Cause you just kind of,
well, not to mention

like you've got a steady paycheck
and then you're kind of
venturing out into the unknown.

(Rob laughs)
Yeah--
- [Rob] I don't think it
was that unknown for you

because one of the things
that's kind of interesting

about you is you've got,
really you have three different avenues.
You're a photographer, right?
- Yep.
- You're an instructor,

but you're also a professional re-toucher.
- [Michael] Right.
- So you're kind of working
three ends of the market

all simultaneously.
- Yeah.

- And it's all kind of
blended into this one package.

- Yeah.
- Talk about how

you balance that and how
you've develop those.

- It's tough to balance
it actually at times.

- Is it?
- Because you know,

you always try and...
With photography, it's not like you know
what's gonna happen next week, right.
You get an email and you got something
you gotta shoot or whatever so.
Everything has kind of an
opportunity cost as well, right.

Do I wanna take on this
retouching job or not?

You know, it's gonna take me a long time.
Is something else gonna come along?
So I think it's just a balancing act
between, you know, establishing rates
that make it worth your while
so that if you're doing
one, you don't feel bad

about giving up another.
And that's really all there is to it.
It's about finding a balance
but it just takes time, right.

At the beginning, you just
kind of hope for the best.

You know, anything that
comes along you take it.

And then I think you
become a little bit more

selective as you go.
- Well I've told people for years
when they've asked me about
getting in the business.

One of the things I've always said,
become really secure with insecurity.
Meaning on Monday, you don't often know
what you're going to be doing
on Friday.
- Yeah.

- Things change and
sometimes you can, you know,

land a gig and something else wants
to shoot right on top of it.
- Right.

- And you can't do both.
- Exactly.
- It's like wait a minute

I need to do both.
- Yeah.
- But you can't so.

- That's right.
You don't wanna over
promise to anybody either.

- No, no and that's something
that is really dangerous, right.
And have you run into those issues?
Have you thought, you know,
okay I'm gonna deliver
this to these people,

man I don't know if I really can?
- Yeah, I mean I've, you know,
there's periods where I just find that
you have too much work and
you just feel burnt out

by the end so.
- Yeah.
- It's probably something

I'm trying to avoid at this point
because then I just feel
like I'm just not delivering

the results I'd wanna be delivering.
So yeah, I'm a little bit more careful
to try and not to get in that
situation now.
- Well I'ma tell you

something that I think is going to
make you very successful
that you already have.

And I hope if you're out there
looking at Michael's tutorial,
you really pay attention to this.
You're extremely relaxed.
Extremely relaxed, particularly for--
- Even though in my mind,
it's you know going...

- Well you know, if you're pooping bricks,
nobody knows it.
You've done a really good job of
you know, containing
that and keeping it calm.

There have been so many photographers
that I've known that really
kind of run with their emotion

and let everybody feel their tension.
And they get angry and they throw stuff
and the whole shoot
goes to crap when people

feel that tension.
You know to be a
professional photographer,

you have to master your skills.
You've gotta be confident
in what you're doing

and you've gotta really be relaxed.
You've gotta kind of run
the show and be relaxed.

Is this something that's
just natural for you?

Are you always a pretty calm person?
Are you hyper in your personal life
somewhere else or--
- Yeah I'm pretty hyper.

I mean my wife always
tells me that I'm all

over the place, so.
- Yeah.

- You know I think...
You slowly come to the realization that
like nobody gets it
perfect out of the gate,

it's a process that
you have to go through.

Nobody expects it to be
perfect out of the gate.

So like don't feel bad if the image
doesn't look good right away.
And just believe in yourself
that you're gonna get there.

You just kind of have
to try and think through

what do I need to do and just play around
and get there so.
- Yeah, that's really the key.
You know what, nobody is
perfect and you make mistakes.

And there are things, I've
been doing this for 25 years

and I still, I'll think alright
I'm gonna try it this
way, and it doesn't work.

- Yeah.
- I'm not gonna feel

bad about that, I'm gonna
learn from it and adjust and--

- Yeah.
- You know, if you

freak out and you're emotional about it
everybody gets tense.
But if you're like
alright, that didn't work.

Let's move on to the
next thing.
- Yeah.

- Good workflow, and you've
got that I think it's

really gonna serve you very well
over the course of your career.
So, you've been doing this
for about three years.

Where do you pull your inspiration from?
When you're thinking okay, my next shoot
is gonna be a beauty shoot,
where do you start to
look for inspiration?

- I think it's usually a combination.
I mean I usually look through magazines
or you know just look around the internet
and see what looks interesting.
And usually it is a collaborative process
between myself and a make up artist.
Usually I have like two
or three make up artists

that I work with on a
fairly regular basis.

You build that trust, you
build that kind of rapport

that you know that this person
kind of sees things the same way--
- Right.
- That you do.

And that's something we kind of talk about
with the interview with our
make-up artists here too

is that you know everybody
has their own style

and everybody, you know, has
a look that they're going for.

So when you find people
that you kind of gel with,

I think that helps a lot, so.
That's usually how it goes.
You know I'll have kind of an idea
or I'll get a model
that's been sent to me.

The agency will say you know,
"This girl's in town, would
you like to photograph her?"

And so, I'll kind of say, yeah you know
she looks interesting.
And I'll try and build a look around that.
And we go back and forth
with the make up artist.

You know Pintrest is
actually a pretty good

resource for that kind of stuff.
There's a lot of new
stuff coming in there.

If you look at sites like 500PX
I find it's a little bit hard to define
what you're looking for.
It's just a lot of different
things mixed together.

Primarily landscapes and
things of that nature.

So Pinterest, I find, is
good for just a wide variety

of content just using the search options
and just following
lots of boards.
- It's good to hear you

say print too, that you
actually do look at magazines.

- Oh yeah.
- Cause that's really

kind of falling off the
radar for some people.

Do you have a couple of
go-to magazines that you like

or some things that you would recommend
to people that are watching
if they wanna look you know

for beauty or fashion?
- Yeah, I mean I'd look at

there's one really good
magazine that I like.

It's actually a Canadian magazine.
It's called Zinc, yeah can you believe it?
- No.
- They're printing good stuff.

- I can believe it.
- Yeah, so it's called Zinc.
It's actually, it's a fashion magazine
but it's primarily
centered around editorials.

So it's like, you know,
there's not that much written content.
Like there's some interviews
and things like that

but for the most part, it's
just fashion editorials

and those are pretty interesting.
It's just nice to see
kind of what's current

and you know, what's trendy.
You always have to be careful
because what's showing there

is essentially what's
already been photographed

so you have to kind of you
know, find a middle ground.

But really for me, I just
try and pull some sort of

I guess, style references
or maybe some ideas.

And then you kind of
build on that or take it

in a different direction.
So it's just nice to flood your eyes
with lots of visual content
just to see, you know, what you like
and what direction you
wanna take things and so--

- I still do a lot of tears.
I go through magazines and tear stuff out
but not only do I tear out things I like,
I tear out things I hate.
And one of the reasons I do that is one,
probably I'm gonna go after that client
and try to improve what they do.
But I think it's really important to see
what's you know out
there that you don't like

and then kind of figure out why you
don't like it.
- Yeah.

- Cause sometimes it's
hard when you're going.

You know the thing about photography
it's a quick read so we
wind up going very quickly.

- Yeah.
- But sometimes

you're not exactly sure
why you like something--

- Yeah.
- And why you don't.

Which is part of the power of photography.
It's that quick, that
instant, it just kind of

grabs you.
- Right.

- And I think it's really
important to slow down

and in that sense I think
the printed materials

are really nice cause
it makes you slow down

a little bit, look at it and think about
what you like and what you don't like.
- [Michael] Yeah.
- Are there fashion
photographers that you follow?

Are there people out there you think,
man that guy's really got the goods.
He's solid, or she's solid.
- Yeah.

One of my favorite is Gavin O'Neal.
He does really nice work.
I mean it's more, it's like
a commercial fashion kind of

set of images, but it's really nice.
I mean he's got a mix of beauty,
he's got like fashion studio images.
He's got a lot of like swimsuit
and that kind of stuff.

But I always find that his
retouching's always flawless.

I don't think he does his
own, I think he probably

hires somebody to do it.
But you know it's always
very consistent, very nice.

And just the look of
his images draws me in.

He's got a lot of sort of
the things that I'm drawn to.

So I like his work and although
it's not fashion related,

I like Eric Almas.
I think it's just his work
is fantastic.
- Eric's amazing.

Absolutely.
- So every time I see it

it's just always inspires
me you know cause

he has that great blend of the landscape
and you know, the people and
he always tells a great story.

So you know for me it's a lot of images
a lot of the things I guess that I like
that I'm drawn to in his work.
And it's just the light
quality that he has.

You know that kind of early morning light
or the sunset just always
just feels perfect.

- [Rob] Eric's got some
great things going, color.

- Yeah.
- Composition.

- Yeah.
- Without question

and concept.
- Yeah.
- His concepts are

really solid.
So you know, you're looking
around for inspiration,

how do you come about your concepts?
Or is it the same thing
as simply, you know,

looking through a magazine
and getting an idea?

Or are you thinking
about things that you see

in everyday life, in movies?
Where are you drawing
from in order to say,

I gotta convert that into an image?
- You know it depends again
what I'm trying to get at.

I mean if it's an editorial
for fashion, generally,

it's gonna be kind of a mix of okay,
this is the model we have and
this the kind of things that

she could pull off.
And then you know I try and throw in
some sort of guidance,
whether it's a color

or whether it's a particular theme.
And then, kind of go back
and forth with the stylist

cause really you know, I don't
know that much about fashion.

You know I try and kind of keep up
with what's current but ultimately,
as far as what's available I kind of
rely on stylists for that, so--
- So do you spend some
time talking with them?

And saying okay, bring me up to speed.
Cause there's a whole language
that stylist have as well.

- Yeah and I mean it's just interesting.
You'll even see from the interview
we did here with the stylist.
You know you'll kind of get an idea
of how they actually get the clothes
cause it varies by market and you know
I wasn't aware of actually
how they got them either.

So it was kind of interesting to see.
Like I mean I had an idea before this
but I think a lot of
people are just confused

by you know, where do
they get this stuff, so--

- [Rob] It's a little bit
of searching, begging--

- It is.
- Borrowing and stealing

and usually using it with
photographer's credit cards.
- Yeah, yeah.

- Make sure you have good credit.
(Rob laughs)
Funny.
So you're talking about editorial,
you know doing editorial spreads.
How have you gone about
getting your self in front of

magazines to get that work in Toronto?
- Well basically the best way to do it
is to start just by, you
know, shooting editorially

more than anything else.
I mean if you have a good
model, just try and build

an editorial because you're
already there shooting.

I think a lot of people
when they start out,

they just say, "Okay I'm
just gonna shoot 10 looks.

"Have them completely
different, so it looks like

"I've shot 10 different things."
And you know--
- It doesn't work

when it's the same model
10 different times.
- Well no, not really.

But like sometimes like when you start out
you'll also try and get like three
or four models in a day as well
and just try and take
advantage of the day,

shoot as much as you
can, make it look like

you shot lots of different stuff.
Once you kind of get going,
you just slow down and
decide you know what,

rather than quantity,
let's just go for quality.

And just build that
story and just submit it.

I mean there's so many
publications out there

that you know, go online
and you submit the work

and see what happens.
And then obviously, the more
times they accept your work

eventually you can kind of
get to, you know, commission

to actually do submissions as well.
And that helps too when you're
actually requesting models

or stylists or make-up
artists cause that guarantee

publication makes a big difference.
- It's patience, you gotta get
in front of them a few times.

- Yeah, yeah.
And then you know--
- Let it build.

- After a while too I mean ultimately
they'll reach out to you
as well cause you know,

they'll see the work.
They're out there looking
at things and you know

when the stylists are posting it.
I mean social media's
actually pretty good for that.

You know when the agencies
start posting the work

and things of that nature.
I mean all of these magazines
are following the agencies

or the stylists so.
- Right.

- You know it's good
to get that work scene.

- One of the things I noticed about you,
every time a model walked in the door
you immediately knew what was gonna work
and what wasn't gonna work with her.
So I would love to get
some expansion from you

on what you're seeing when these models
walk in the door for other people--
- Yeah.
- You know to really

learn from, like what is
it that you're looking for?

Cause I think one of the
strengths of a good photographer

is having the ability to
size or you know honestly

objectify people very quickly.
- Yeah.

- You know, what features are good,
what features aren't so good
and how to play off that.

So what are you looking for?
What do you see?
- Yeah I think,

you can call it shallow
I guess, I don't know.

I mean that's unfortunately
kind of the industry we're in.

But, you know it's nothing personal
it's just that generally the people
that are looking at your work
expect the same kind of thing.

So it's not that I've
made up, it's just kind of

what's expected in the industry.
So for me I find that
you know the best models

are usually the ones that
have a good personality

to begin with, even though
it may not seem like it

cause really, we're just
photographing somebody--

- Yeah but it's relationship between
you and the model.
- But it is, yeah.

- For even a short period of time.
And if they're not friendly
and they're not stiff--
- Yeah.
- You guys are never gonna

develop that--
- It's hard to build

that rapport and you know
have the model trust you

and know that you're gonna,
you know, take a good photo.

And I think that's one of
the most important things,

I found that the best
results are from the models

that you're able to kinda
get into a nice rapport with

and you know regardless,
I try not to judge it

right off the bat.
You know if I'm like, this
person's a little bit quiet.

You know, you give them
the benefit of the doubt.

You try and kind of
engage with them but...

You know if happens,
occasionally that you know,

you can't break through to a person.
And that you know, it becomes difficult
because ultimately, I
think that really makes

the big difference between
like a pretty good shoot

and a great shoot is when
you get that something extra

out of the model.
And I think that comes with trust.
That's kind of below the surface I guess.
You know superficially, it really depends
what you're shooting too.
So if you're shooting beauty,
I mean you're really focused
on interesting facial features.

So you're looking at you know,
really long neck or defined
cheek bones or jaw line.

And sometimes it's actually
like something weird

about that model that's interesting, so.
You know models, I find that the best ones
are typically ones that
just have something

that some would consider a
flaw but it's not necessarily.

So and I think that
just adds character, so.

- Yeah I think it's actually
something that in a way

you almost have to exploit.
- [Michael] Yeah.
- I use that term in saying
that you need to kind of highlight.
Like if they do have a long neck.
- [Michael] Right.
- Is a feature about
them that's interesting

or somewhat kind of
chiseled in a certain way.

You wanna light that an accentuate it
because it makes them unique.
- [Michael] Yeah.
- It's part of what makes people beautiful
is their unique qualities,
right?
- Yeah.

- Yeah it's pretty
interesting.
- Yeah.

I think you know when it comes to fashion
it's really just kind of
seeing how people move,

cause I find that just...
It's kind of reflected in the way
they're gonna be posing
as well.
- Yeah.

- So you know, it's a
lot of different things.

I think that just again,
comes with just working

with a bunch of different models.
And you kind of, you reflect
on what worked really well

in the past and what that person was like.
And so I think just in
the back of your mind

you instantly kind of read people.
And I think that goes all the way back
to when I was doing interviews
you know at software development.
I could kind of read
people when they walk in

and just say, is this person
really gonna work or not?

You know, you really
know a lot about a person

within the first couple of minutes.
- Right.
Yeah there's no question.
That's something that's very
true about this business.

When you're working with
people that you don't know.

Some times you're assembling a team
and a lot of that team
can be, you know, made up

of people that you've
never worked with before.

And you've got a very quickly sum them up.
- Yep.
- Or figure out

how to play your game on
their level, you know.

And it's about building
that quick rapport.

- Because it works with just you know
make up artists,
stylists, everybody right.

Everyone on the team.
- Assistants.

- Yeah.
- Everybody on the team.

It's all the same thing,
it's this kind of gelling

and it's all gotta happen.
- Yeah.

- When you're a new
photographer starting out,

you really generally don't have
the pick of the litter in terms of
working with the best models.
You're more than likely also gonna get
the newer models.
- Right.

- Which means that they're
the least experienced.

So what kinds of things
helped you overcome

that kind of newness for everybody,
overcome that barrier
and kind of break through

and build a rapport?
Is there anything that you can share
with other people on how you access people
kind of quickly and get
the new model to relax?

- Yeah I think you know
the best thing to do is

just start small.
I mean don't start by doing
an editorial fashion shoot

because then you really need
the posing to be strong.

You need everything to look really good.
So start with something
like the portrait look.

Because that one you know
you're really focused

on expression and things like that.
You're not really worried
about what's going on

you know with hands and feet
and you know, overall composition.
Really, it's just about framing the face
and then getting the
expression out of them.

So you now you start small until
you're at least comfortable with shooting
so that you're not focused on you know
shooting and posing and
everything all at once.

Because becomes a little bit overwhelming
when you have to think about
how am I gonna light this.

You know, what settings do I have to use.
You know, am I gonna
be able to make it work

and all that kind of stuff.
It's just too much to think about.
So I think you know unfortunately,
it's just the nature
of the business is that

you just have to keep practicing
until you're gradually

comfortable with different things.
- It's the nature of it.
It's not so much that it's unfortunate,
it's really the nature of it.
- Yeah.
- And I think that people

get frustrated with it
because digital is so instant.

But when you think about it,
if you start with the portrait
and you work on just
kind of minute direction.

- Yeah.
- Or you just,

you're dealing with
tight facial expressions.
- Yeah.

- And chin up, just little tiny things,
that's gonna translate in how
you direct the whole body.

And you're gonna start to
see the whole body as a form.

You know that's one of the great things
about fashion photography.
The people who do it well have mastered
how to direct the expression
of the entire body.

It's not just a facial expression.
It's a full body expression.
- [Michael] Right.
- I think those are the most successful
fashion images.
- Yeah, I mean generally

with fashion, yeah.
If you're doing a fashion editorial
it's really the pose and the clothing
that's gonna really drive things, so.
You know when you start
shooting editorially,

the stronger the model
obviously the better result

because they're gonna know more as well
as to how they can pose to
compliment the clothing.

You're not gonna be guiding them as much.
So that being said, you know
when you're starting out

you're not gonna get those models.
And it's sort of unfortunate I guess
because the people that are starting out
are the ones that need the
better models the most.

Cause it's you know it's just
one thing off your chest.

- Well the model starting out
need the better photographers too.
So it's a catch-22.
- Exactly, so you know
the good thing is though

when you get the newer models,
I mean the expectations
are lower too, right.

That's why people also have to realize
that you don't wanna
start with the best model.

You don't wanna start with
the best make up artist

because then the pressure's
really on you, right?

- Is it.
- I mean you have to deliver.

And the same thing for the agency.
You don't waste the agency's time.
They sent you a model that
they'd normally charge

$3,000 a day for.
- Right.
- For you to shoot

and then you send them garbage, so.
You don't wanna burn any bridges,
but you know if it's a brand new model
the agency often times, all they wanna do
is get her in front of a camera
and get her some experiences, right.
So if doesn't work out, I mean it's not
the end of the world, right.
- You have to practice--
- Start small.

- Start small and keep the risks low.
- Have you had some that
have not worked out?

Like have you gone you know like,
oh that shoot just should
never have happened, or not?

- No I mean there's...
When I look back at my early
work, you know if I was.

If I knew what I didn't
like about it back then

I would say that those
were disasters, right.

But you know we don't know
what we don't know, right.

So at the time, it seemed
like everything was good.

So, there are shoots that I
feel better about then others.

But generally you know I've never kind of
walked away and said, wow
that was a total disaster.

You know I think, they've
gone relatively well.

- Have you had models that had been
really difficult to work with?