Tuesday, December 27, 2011


The last blog I wrote was in October and I deeply apologize for dropping the ball on that one. I am in the process of having a new website designed by the Ashay Media Group (http://www.ashay.com/) and they are going to incorporate everything I do into a single centralized location (my photography, blog, workshops, e-commerce, etc.). So this, my dear readers, may be the last blog I write on Blogger.  Hopefully, I will be launching the new site in January. It’s been a good run here and I am happy that because of readers like you, I was able to flourish and grow as a photographer and writer as well.

As the year comes to an end, I always take a moment to reflect on the past year and I begin to make plans for future endeavors. I am still on my course and as I venture forward, each and every task that I perform moves me one step closer to the ultimate goal:  becoming a better photographer.

This past year was a busy one.  I shot for a lot of hair salons in the New York tri-state area.  I shot no less than three clothing campaigns.  In the month of October alone I had editorials in three magazines (Essence, Bleu and Hollywood Weekly, respectively) and recently completed the Fall collection of Adha Zelma jewelry (affectionately named "Solstice") (http://www.adhazelma.com), as well as their upcoming Spring 2012 campaign.  I have now joined the ranks of the "big dawgs" and acquired a Hasselblad H2 along with a Phase One digital back.  So now equipped to shoot like the big dawgs my one true love is still, and always will be, film photography. There is a magic that I cannot explain and unless you shoot film, you won’t understand it either.

There are a multitude of people instrumental in this endeavor and I wish to thank them one by one (in no particular order). Without these wonderful and influential people in my life, I would not be the photographer I am today. I normally write this blog on my anniversary (in April), but it seemed so befitting to do it now.

Mother Logan – Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and every time I think of giving up, I hear your voice in my head and my heart telling me: “it is not an option.” You are sorely missed.

Butch Johnson (http://www.styledbybutch.com/) – To the brother that I never had and glad I do now. Without you in my corner, my work would’ve suffered immensely. Thank you.

Sidnie Johnson – For being with me from day one. Without you in my life, I would’ve never known that I could do this. ‘

Jordan Brown (http://www.fullcirclecounseling.net/) – To my soulmate. You make me a better person every day. I thank you for being in my corner and for being who you are. I love you.

Michael Maddox (http://www.dearmichaelmaddox.com/, http://www.michaelmaddoxrunway.com/, http://www.michaelmaddoxblog.com/ and all the Cali boys) – The true spirit of the definition of “twin”. Not a day goes by that I am not saying your name. You have elevated me to heights that I never would’ve dreamed possible. You taught me to win by using grace over conceit, love over hate and humility over brawn. You and all the “West Coast Posse” have made it possible for me to be a major influence from coast to coast. (Much love to B.J. Williams, Justin Shaw, Michael Calloway, Robert Dowdy, Brandon Rice, Broderick Hunter, Brandon Lucas, Billy Payne, Marcus Hill, Christopher "Kobe" Gray, Marlon Yates, Vince Allen, Nathaniel Hamilton, Norman, Quay Fields, Tarrance Gardner, Keith Carlos, Steph Jones, Terrance Gant, Anthony Gallo, Antonio Richmond, Kevin Calloway, Chris McCain, Zion Babbs, Melvin Diggs, Daimion Henry, Davon Brown, AnDre Washington, Mamadou Sall, Nathaniael Wade, Nathaniel Lamar, Stephen Cole - I know there are countless others, these are the only ones I could think of off the top of my head!).

Goldin Martinez (http://www.getfocusedfitness.org/, http://www.youngnationinc.com/) – To the “Little Gemini That Could”. I am a force to be reckoned with because you taught me all about perception. I may not be a million dollar photographer yet, but you made sure that I shot like one. I thank you for your friendship, your love, your support and most of all, your loyalty.

Yusuf Myers (http://www.getfocusedfitness.org/, http://www.yusufmyers.com/) – Thank you for letting me know that I am better than I am. For never allowing me to doubt myself and for pushing me like I push you. Together, we will make history.

Shae Fontaine (http://www.shaefontaine.com/) – From stalker to friend to sister. I thank you for letting me know that I need to quit playing and making me realize that yes, I can play right alongside the “big dawgs”. Thank you for getting my book in front of the right people and for never letting me slack. Thank you for understanding my true Aries spirit.

Shawn Yon – Another person from another time and space. Thank you for revamping my eye every time I am in your presence. Thank you for opening up my eyes and my mind. And lastly, thank you for calling me out on every thing I SAY I am going to do and forcing me to actually DO it.

Jimi Sweet (http://www.jimisweet.com/, http://www.bigcitybaby.com/) – To one of the most under rated photographers I have ever met. Your talent humbles me, your wit floors me and your sarcasm keeps me on my toes. I look at your work and always say to myself: “really? REALLY?” Thank you for keeping me on the cutting edge of technology and not filling my mind with useless gadget chatter.

Greg Konop (http://www.gregjkonop.com/) – To one of my biggest supporters. You force me to become better with every photo shoot I do. Mud ducks included.

Marcus Gary (http://www.legendmanagementgroup.com/) – I thank you sir simply for just you being you and trying to make it a better place for models outside of New York and allowing me to help you mold them.

Kamran Khan (http://www.kamphotography.info/)  -  I thank you and all your talents, wisdom and patience for molding me into a better photographer and not allowing me to rest on any misconceived laurels I thought I MAY have had.  Thank you for the introduction to Marco Grob and thank you for never letting me settle for anything I do. 

Zenith Pimentel – To one of the most diligent and hardworking people out there. Thank you for being my homie, lover, friend! Thank you for pushing me when it was needed and thank you for being in my corner. Sometimes I don’t know what I would do without you.

Vaughn Jereaux (http://www.vaughnjereaux.com/) – When talent, craftsmanship and loyalty comes together, there is no other. I thank you for allow me into your sick and twisted world and allowing me to showcase your talent when so many others were trying to take you away.

Tim Johnson (http://www.timjohnsoninternational.com/) – With the talent and ability to shoot with ANY photographer around the world, you STILL decide to let me into your microcosmos. Thank you for training my eye as it pertains to hair. Allowing me to actually SEE hair as a character all unto itself. Thank you for ruining other hair stylists for me.

Steve Reganato (http://www.stevereganato.com/) – If nothing else, you will ALWAYS be my foray into the digital back world. It was YOU who allowed me to enter the realm of the big boys and allowed me to play with “big boy toys”. Without you, I would still be sitting in the corner playing with 35mms.

Sean Toussaint – No matter what ANYONE says, my life would never be what it is today without the famous words of “I cannot teach you photography” From every image I take, to every person I mentor, we ALL owe thanks to you. Without your artistic hand and no nonsense approach you molded me into the artist I am today. I thank you my friend, mentor and teacher. Thank you for making me LOVE film and TOLERATE digital.

Maya Guez (http://www.mayaguezart.com/) – Every artist’s obligation is to mold other artists (either deliberately or subliminally) and I thank you for that. You were (and still are) instrumental in my growth as an artist and photographer. I thank you for letting me into your world and allowing me to say: “Yes, I know Maya, and she is BAD ASS!” There is no one like you in the game and that’s the kind of status I want.

Rick Day (http://www.rickdaynyc.com/) – Thank you for producing the images that you produce, so I can go home and study what it is I need to study. There is nothing more thrilling to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as yours. You force me to stay on my toes and learn to develop myself as an artist and business man.

Stephen Eastwood (http://www.photographersportfolio.com/, http://www.stepheneastwood.com/) – My ultimate goal is to become a Master Of Light. Every blog, every workshop, every lecture, you are the go to man. You taught me how not to hoard information. You taught me how to share what I know. You taught me the true meaning of Light Is Light and without that, I would still be in the dark. Thank you.

Third Ward (http://www.3rdward.com/) – I thank you for allowing me to have a home away from home. I wish I could list everyone’s name individually, but each image I photograph, I love with people say “you shot this HERE?!!!” Oh yeah…

Luqman (http://www.luqmanfotography.com/) – From the very first day I met you, you have been quietly pushing me towards the realm of “that’s where I want to be”. Though you may not know it, you were one of the quiet influentials that have helped me grow as an artist. I thank you Luqman. I thank you very much.

Brian Mann Nance (http://www.mannatwork.net/) – ARIES ARIES ARIES ARIES. Thank you for being an ARIES. Thank you for the phrase “mud duck” Thank you for teaching me the difference between salon hair and shoot hair. Thank you for coining the phrase “illegal cable” and lastly thank you for never abandoning me when you are surrounded by some of the greatest talent in the world.

Damion Gerardo – My heart swells every time you post an image. Regardless if you painted a face, curled a wig, or photographed an image. The growth in your artistry is staggering and it makes my day when I get the text from you: “when are we going to shoot again?” It let’s me know that I am still a viable force in the industry.

Marcus Turner (http://www.marcusturnerphotography.com/) – Oh young Skywalker. You force me to take a hard look at myself and realize my true talent as a teacher, an artist and a technician. You counter everything I say with a “why” and it forces me to learn to say everything I say clearly and concisely. Though your ego is big, your heart is bigger and thank you for making me a better teacher with each passing day.

Stacy Etienne (http://www.stacybephotography.com/) – I see myself in you. I see my eye in you. I see my passion in you. I see my artistry in you. Above all, I see my Love of Photography in you. You teach me as well as show me grace in the arts. You show me where I’ve come from and realized that it doesn’t get EASIER, it gets HARDER, because WE become harder on ourselves. Never change who you are, because you are destined for greatness.

Angel Colon (http://www.steadyhandphotos.com/) – To my soldier boy with disposable income. If nothing else, I thank you for your support and I thank you because every image you take, you become more and more like a beast and you let me know one thing: “yeah, I am a pretty decent teacher.” Light Is Light.

Ivan Hicks (http://www.ivanhicksphotos.com/) – To one of the biggest supports of Light Is Light. I thank you for believing in me when no one else in Philadelphia would. They will see the light one day.

Lamonte Gwynn (http://www.lamontegphotography/) – I thank you for being a supporter of Light Is Light. The constant growth in your work lets me know that I am doing the right thing.

George Favios (http://www.georgefavios.com/) – Thank you to the man that has ALWAYS been in my corner even though he is half way around the world. You let me know that I am better than I am and to keep striving to become even better.

Isaiah Richardson – Of all the models I have ever shot, you have been THE MOST supportive in my career. I thank you. Every job you get, every shoot you do, every movie you make let’s me know that if you just keep grinding, you will be there.

Bruce Weber (http://www.bruceweber.com/) – Thank you for recognizing my talents. That means the world to me.

Lesley Pedraza (http://www.lesleypedraza.com/) – Thank you for just being such a fan and thank you for allowing me to be your friend.

Alva Page – From the runway to the studio, I want you to know that I love you and thank you for helping me mold models.

Rick Crank – To my NC connection. I want to thank you for your support. You’ve been there for me when I needed you the most.

Amy Dresser (http://www.amydresser.com/) – Your retouching skills astound the world. Thank you for allowing me into your vortex and making me a better retoucher.

Jill Greenberg (http://www.jillgreenberg.com/) – With you ramming lighting down my throat, how could I NOT give you a shout out. Thank you, Jill.

Joel Grimes (http://www.joelgrimes.com/) – Though we haven’t met face to face yet, I feel a connection that goes beyond lighting, beyond photography, beyond art. Thank you, Joel. You are an amazing talent.

Adha Zelma (http://www.adhazelma.com/) – Cherise/Sheanon thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to grow with you. You force me to grow and change every single time you walk into my studio. Each time becoming more magnificent than the time before. Rock on, girls.

Thank you to all the endless agencies, models, stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists, designers, bloggers and fans… Without you, there would be no me.

This list will be constantly updated and I am sorry for anyone I have left out. I want you to know I will do my damnedest in the upcoming year to make all of you proud.

Until then, shoot beautifully… Or go home…

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


 Babygrand in Film

Art can inspire. It can make you think. It can make you angry. It can make you transcend. From the early years of the Neanderthal man beating on trees to producers making beats using digital instruments, art will always be here to stay.

This blog is an accumulation of things both past and present and being an artist, sometimes it’s about going back to the basics in order to truly understand why I love what I love. I shoot beautiful models, beautiful clothing, beautiful scenes. I use high-end $20,000+ cameras and equally expensive lights. I teach others to go into themselves in order to bring the best out of them. But guess what makes me the most happy? Taking out a dusty old Mamiya medium format film camera and walking the streets capturing a moment in time and when a someone says: “thank you for showing me the way.”

Because of the digital era (be it music, photography, movies), we are constantly (and sometimes violently) moving forward at such an incredible pace for instant gratification that we take the learning curve and toss it aside.  We take the craft and theory and throw it out the window and we let our friends tell us just how wonderful we are and we sit on a cushion of self importance thinking “yeah, I’m the shit.”

I remember when I decided to take the professional plunge. I was snapping my photographs with the confidence of Peter Lindbergh, the eye of Helmut Newton and the savvy of Richard Avedon. My friends and family would praise my work and tell me just how wonderful my work was and in my little artistic vortex I believed them. But then I would show the same images to my teachers/mentors and with each photograph, they would chip away at my superego just to let me know that “Dallas, you AIN’T the shit” and after being knocked down a notch or two, I would go back to the drawing board in order to make it better the next go around. This practice continues even today (well not with the friends and family so much, they love me and now are even harder on me) but with my esteemed colleagues and professional peers, because I learned something recently:  you will always be better than those who can’t do what you do.  It’s when you enter an arena with like-minded equally talented individuals where you realize if your artistry and craft can really stand on its own.

I preach the gospel of “this is YOUR art and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” however, there is another side of that coin: “you can always make your art better.” Be it taking a class (or taking a beating), because it forces you to sit back and evaluate who you really are, what you are and why you are the way you are. It doesn’t matter if you are a painter, a singer, a model or a brick layer. It should always be your destiny to be the best you can possibly be, because a better you will make a better me (you may not get that right now, but one day you will).

I don’t know a lot about life, I just know enough to where it made me the person I am today, and because of that, I am able to help the next person become the better person they are today. It may be as simple as listening.  It may be as simple as showing.  It may be as simple as knowing all the answers and being smart enough to shut up and let them figure it out for themselves (and offering that helping hand when needed).

My quest for today isn’t about being better than you. It’s about being better than me.

Think about it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Couple in Brooklyn

Second blog in the month of September and the month isn’t even at the half way mark. This is pretty good for me. Fashion Week is about to wind down in a couple of days, so that means shortly thereafter, I will be back into full-swing again. Nice vacation (if you want to call it that).

The reason for this blog (which is another one geared totally to photographers) is about what we do as it pertains to the industry. When it comes to working (be it a bus driver, a pastry chef, a teacher or a judge), we do one of two things. We either provide a service, or we provide goods. In some instances, we provide both.

And photographers, that is we do, we provide a service (photography) and lastly goods (photographs).

So what separates you from the next photographer? What makes a client decide to shoot with you instead of going to a competitor, and lastly, what makes that client become a repeat customer? The bottom line is: YOU.

My friend and world renowned runway coach Michael Maddox said something to me one time that he tells models all the time and it’s stuck with me: “get it right the first time and they will come back.”

If you provide shoddy service, and a substandard product, trust me, they will not come back. It’s the simple difference of going to a restaurant and in Restaurant A you have to always ask for water, and in Restaurant B, your glass is never empty. Guess which restaurant will get the repeat patronage? It’s the little things and attention to detail that will keep the client coming back.

I had a client come to me a few years ago for a photoshoot. She never had a photoshoot before, and it was a treat to herself. I provided hair, makeup, styling and of course photography. All she had to do was come through, relax and have a good time.

Even prior to shooting, I gave her the information of my crew so they can get her prepped for whatever items she may need, so when time came for her photo shoot, she walked into the studio as if it were a party and she was the guest of honor. In all, she received “The Dallas Experience.” To this very day she says “I’ve never had a photoshoot like that in my entire life. When you are served filet mignon, how the hell can you go back to baloney?” When people ask her my rate, they balk, and she replies every single time: “you get what you pay for.”

And it made me think.  That is what I have that separates me from the next photographer and that is what separates the good photographers from the great photographers and ultimately, that is what keeps them coming back.

It doesn’t matter if you produce stellar images, but the experience was awful. By the end of the day, the only thing the client will remember is the bad experience. If you produce a stellar product AND give them an experience that they can remember, they will do two things:

1. Become a repeat customer; and
2. Tell others about their experience with you

And in the end, that is what you want.

It doesn’t matter if I shoot a model, a family portrait or a corporate executive. They come to me to have their photograph taken, they leave me having had an experience.

That is ultimately what you provide as a photographer: an experience.

Always make it a good one.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Model:  Kate Moss
Photographer:  Mario Testino

My first blog for September, my dear readers. The air is getting that nice little crisp feel. School is about to start and before you know it, we will have little children running along the streets screaming “trick or treat.” I love the fall. It’s the start of the new fashion season. I have my September issue of Vogue and admiring the work Anna Wintour has put together for the upcoming fashion year (by the way, Kate Moss must’ve made a pact with the devil, she looks AMAZING on the cover), and in a few days, New York’s Fashion Week will be upon us. I can’t wait.

When Fashion Week comes around it is honestly a rest period for me. I am not one of the photographers that frequent the events. I am certainly not a runway photographer. I like to sit at home, tune in to the Fashion Network from the privacy of my home (in between bouts of retouching) and recap the day’s events.

Today’s blog, however, isn’t about Fashion or New York’s Fashion Week. It is about the rights and wrongs of a model’s portfolio.

In previous blogs, I’ve discussed the importance of choosing the right photographer, the importance of not being a photowhore, and lastly understanding yourself as it pertains to branding. Today we will discuss the importance of your hardbook portfolio and why.

When people actually see my book for the first time, they marvel at the fact that I don’t have a lot of men in my book. What I mean by that is this: if you Google me, or look at my photography on Facebook, lots of times it is inundated with scantily clad men, in various states of undress, most often wet, most often in various forms of sexual arousal. So upon meeting me, they open my book and are amazed that none of those images are in my hardbook portfolio. Then they asked why.

“I am a primarily a beauty and fashion photographer, shooting these guys do not benefit my book.”

I will repeat that. Shooting these guys do not benefit my book (however, it does benefit THEIRS).  If you learn nothing else today, being a model, when you decide to shoot with a photographer, how does that benefit YOU?

As I stated before, there should be a handful of reasons why you should shoot with any photographer during your modeling career.

A. Portfolio building

B. Magazine submission

C. Work related (commercial usage, campaigns, etc.)

D. Payment

E. Development

There are lots of times I have come across models’ portfolios and I see beautiful artistic work, where the model is not featured, their face is hidden, or the model just isn’t showcased properly. The first question I always ask is this: “What was this shot for?” If your answer is “I shot it for my book.” Then you need some serious evaluation.

Your portfolio is a representation of you. It should always show you in the best possible light. Your book should be photograph after photograph after photograph of photographic wonder based on you. A lot of models have this undying need to want to do couples shoots. Why? Does it benefit your book? Unless it’s going to be used for something, it is honestly useless to you. What if the other model is better looking than you? What if the other model is more dynamic than you? What if other the model is awful? All of these factors play in the aspect of bringing down your modeling stock. Therefore, is it honestly worth it?

There will be times when a photographer may want to do some “over the top work” with you. Outrageous costumes, dramatic lighting, “avant-garde” makeup. The photos are fabulous – but for the photographer. This won’t benefit your book, unless, of course, it is going to be used for something, so when the question comes up “what was this shot for?” you can proudly give the answer. So can you see where this is going?

There will be times when you will have shoots, and your agent will not use at all. You may like them, they may be hot, but they may not be a good photographic representation of you, or it may not be a “look” in which the agent wants to market you. So therefore, these photos will not benefit you.

If you were to look at a photographer’s portfolio, every single image in that book should be there to showcase THEIR work, THEIR lighting, THEIR concepts, THEIR angles, THEIR photographic prowess, because the bottom line is, they are trying to get booked. So the next time you see me and get a chance to look at my portfolio, now you will know the reason why my book is not filled with a bunch of naked male models.

Because it didn’t benefit my book. Think about it.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Rivers of Re:Quest Model Management

Can you believe I am writing yet ANOTHER blog? I know, I know. But I do have one thing to say. Do NOT get used to it. It is a paranormal activity that should be passing very soon, but enjoy the ride now while you can. Now on to the blog.

A lot of us want to be famous. A lot of us want to be rich. A lot of us want to be recognized for our talents, looks and gifts and a lot of us want it NOW. I remember when I first picked up my camera and realized this is what I wanted to do, I was ready to grace the covers of Vogue and wanted to see my images on billboards that littered the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, France. I would look at my images and imagine to myself, “yes, these images are JUST as good as Ritts, Weber and Meisel!” (God was I a lofty one!)  But as I matured in my craft and artistry, I looked back on those images, and they compared to Bruce Weber like a child’s coloring book rendition compared to a Picasso.

But I digress. Right now with more than 5 years in the professional game, I am JUST starting to make some noise. I am JUST starting to see the fruits of my labor and I am JUST starting to make a name for myself. It took five years. FIVE LONG YEARS and even though I have influential art buyers looking at my work and making major decisions based on the images I place before them, I am STILL a ways off from shooting Kate Moss for the cover of Vogue or Jon Kortajarena for a billboard for Tom Ford and you know why? It has nothing to do with talent, skill set or know how. It just isn’t my time yet, hence the title of this blog.

Show business is a tricky industry (yes, fashion photography falls under show business). The race is paced differently for each and every individual. Just because you’re a vocalist that sounds like Mariah Carey with the looks of Eva Mendez and the talent of Missy Elliott doesn’t mean that you should pop on the scene the moment you laid a vocal track. It doesn’t work that way.

The same holds true for models. Just because you’ve done one test shoot, got signed to an agency, you think you’re ready for the big times. It doesn’t happen like that. If it did, everyone would be a supermodel and there would be nothing “special” about you and since you didn’t put any sweat equity into your career, you won’t appreciate the rewards.

The reason for this blog was recently I had a couple of conversations with a couple of models. Model A at the moment appears to be on a meteoric rise. His face is getting known, he is getting snatched up by agencies from coast to coast. He is making a little bit of noise, HOWEVER, he isn’t a superstar yet. He hasn’t done any major work, and he hasn’t walked his first fashion show. Could he be an international star? Maybe. Only time will tell. He hasn’t paid his “karmic” dues yet, and the only thing he suffers from now is the agony when he gets dropped from a job. Sometimes I am glad he gets dropped. It humbles him a little bit and it tells him something. It is not his time yet.

But Model B has a completely different story. Beautiful man, uprooted his life and made his way to a metropolitan city from a small town in the South. He thought he was going to step off the plane, walk into a modeling agency and then step onto the billboard with the ranks of Tyson Beckford. Never mind that he was new face in a new city. Never mind that he didn’t have a secure place to live or a steady income. Never mind that his book needed to be worked on and built so he can compete with the likes of Model A or better. He just thought that he was going to come take the world by storm and why hasn’t it happened? I can tell you why. It is not his time yet.

I wrote a blog called “It Takes A Success Team to Build A Successful Model” (http://dallasjlogan.blogspot.com/2010/09/it-takes-successful-team-to-build.html). The reason for the blog was, by the time you’ve seen these models (or actors, or singers, or writers, or photographers or, etc. etc. etc.) reach the level of fame that they have achieved, there is a lot of behind the scenes negotiations that are taking place. You don’t just take a photograph and appear on a billboard. There are castings, meetings, focus groups, lawyers negotiations, agents negotiations, manager negotiations, photographer selections, the list is endless. There are late night phone calls, clandestine meetings, sometime even arguments and strong discussions of persuasions, because every model is not for every body. Just because I took a beautiful photograph of you doesn’t mean that the powers that be are going to think you are beautiful, too (please read “Who the Fuck are You?”  http://dallasjlogan.blogspot.com/2010/03/who-fuck-are-you.html).

Patience, faith and loyalty are a far more paramount equity in this business than a beautiful face, abs and a great smile. It takes time to rise up the industry ladder. It takes times to develop those relationships in order to make the good things happen. And while you are sitting there wondering why it appears that Model A is getting all the play, and you’re not, I can answer it in one simple sentence. It is not your time… yet.

Think about it.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Tiana Young for Emerald Essence Makeup

There is a lot of malice in the world today. Most of it is intentional. People hating on you for whatever reason. Spreading lies, gossip and ill-will. Unfortunately you cannot control all the bad publicity that may come your way, when a person hates on you it let’s you know one thing. You MUST be doing something right. So guess what? Continue doing it.

But there is that second type of malice that comes under the radar that if you don’t pay attention you just might miss it and sometimes that malice may even come innocently enough from yourself, and that is the reason for this blog.

Today’s world is built on a phrase known as “branding”. And for the neophytes, a lot of people misconstrue branding as just the “image” of themselves. As long as a good photo is floating around out there about them, then you would seem to guess that that is the only thing you need to worry about, right?


In my previous blog “Stop It!” (http://dallasjlogan.blogspot.com/2011/08/stop-it.html) I discussed the importance of not being a Photo Whore and producing the best possible images with the best possible photographers. If you go through my blogs you will see a history of me discussing doing the best possible image of you that can possibly be done. But in this blog I am going to discuss the “whys”.

True Stories

Story One: A friend of mine came to my studio for a fun shoot. We were just killing time and she got in front of my lens and we took harmless photographs. She was playing in a tee-shirt, big smiles, great images. She posted them somewhere on the internet (this was 4 years ago). Fast forward, she applied for a job in Finance. They ran an internet search on her and these images came up. Needless to say she didn’t get the job. Why? They felt that “she was not a good person to suit the representation of their company.”

Story Two: A model is applying for a television show. She got in contact with all the photographers that she worked with because the network wanted to use her images. During the time of shooting her, I was featured on a retouching blog which showcased her image. This time she did an Internet Search which brought that blog to light. She begged me to have it removed. Fortunately there was enough time and we got the blog changed. She did make it to the television show, but things could’ve went a completely different way if I didn’t have that blog pulled. We will never know.

Story Three: A male model was trying make some extra money before he decided that he wanted to become an actual legit model. He was featured in some underground pornographic videos. It didn’t take long for them to surface. The major modeling agency he was signed to had to drop him immediately. A major company is not going to have you represent them and you are tied to activities that can sully the name.

All three instances above ALL have to do with branding. The public’s perception of who you are. It didn’t matter that the girl in the first story was doing something on her own time, in a time of her life that she wasn’t thinking of even joining a finance company, but her “brand” was viewed in a negative light. The second story the girl simply had poor skin at the time of the shoot, the third was a simple case of “you do what you have to do to eat.” I get it. I don’t hold judgment, however, the major populace does.  Even with me, there are times I have to step away from projects, because they may be viewed in a negative light (no pun intended). 

Branding covers everything that is publicly known about you and it only takes a single indiscretion about you that can put you in an unfavorable light. So when you are being cavalier with the attitude of "I don't care" realize that it may come back one day. You must be aware of yourself and your image and how you are portrayed at all times. In the world of instant information, anyone can do a simple search on the internet and find anything they want about you, without your control, or your knowledge.  So when information/photos/stories/interviews/blogs are released about you, you should know at all times what is going on if you have control over it. There is an old saying “you are only as good as your last __________________” [I will allow you to fill in the blanks].

So when I come along and tell you about shooting with bad photographers there is a reason why. If I tell you not to associate yourself with a project, there is a reason why. If I tell you not to release something about you, there is a reason why.

There is also a reason why Google exists. Use it and use it often.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Marisa of Fenton Moon

Hey Blog followers. It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I have to apologize for that (yeah, I know. You don’t want to hear it). For real, though. It’s hard for me to just right a random blog.  My blogs have to be inspired (or I should say triggered from something that I occurred in my life) and it affects me so much that I am compelled to write about it.

This blog may come across conceited and that is sooooooo not the case, but lately (well honestly it’s been a while). I’ve been noticing a really poor trend. Photo whores.

Photo whores? What’s that you asked? Well a photo whore is a model (or “model”) that likes to amass lots of photographs of themselves for no apparent reason. They are constantly shooting and “building their book” when there is no need to do so. They stalk photographers in hopes to get shot so they can get bragging rights, or if nothing else “hot” photographs (please see previous blog: “Don’t Shoot With Me” http://dallasjlogan.blogspot.com/2011/04/dont-shoot-with-me.html) I never really understood the mind of the photo whore, but I guess it’s no different than the GWC (Guy With Camera) trying to get as many “models” in front of their camera for no apparent reason (except I guess to get them naked - that's ANOTHER blog for another time).

Well there are two types of Photo Whores. Those that amass quality photos from quality photographers. They want to build their book with the best possible images that they can. They are constantly testing upward and constantly looking for better photographs and constantly trying to keep their look “fresh” in the public’s eye and then there is the “model” that just doesn’t give a damn. And guess what “model”? This blog is just for you.

When you are running around and jumping in front of every Tom, Dick and Harry’s camera without the understanding of how it is going to benefit you, you produce poor photographs. Because of the poor photographs, you develop a reputation which tells professional photographers to steer clear of you, because you are not considered serious. It also lets quality photographers know that you have no idea what you are doing and you don’t know quality, so why should we waste our time with you.

I am constantly approached by “models” wanting to shoot with me, and I look at their track record of photography. When I see their photographic line up and it is full of poor photographs, bad retouching, awful, unattractive angles, inexperienced lighting, etc., I then ask “why do you want to shoot with me.” The usual retort is “because you will give me quality images (aka “hotness.”) I always wonder to myself: “then why did you shoot with all these bad photographers?” At this point I honestly do not wish to shoot with you, because you wouldn’t know “hotness” if it landed on you in a RangeRover SUV.

True Story:

There was a beautiful female model that I shot for a hair campaign. I always wanted to work with her. She was new to New York and I was one of the first photographers to work with her (this time I am bragging). We produced beautiful photographs and she proudly displayed me in her book.

Whenever she want to castings, my photo was usually the opening image shortly followed by a series of photos that could not compete. She never got called back. Why? “Her photos are inconsistent. She looked great in one set of photos, but the rest turned out to be garbage” This is the words from the Casting Director’s own lips. “We can see that she is beautiful, but we cannot tell if she can PHOTOGRAPH beautifully, because she was only photographed well one time. The rest of her book is garbage.” So in essence, my photos of her, though good, was killing her career, because the other images could not compete. This is not a bragging right situation. This is a wake up situation. CHOOSE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS WISELY.

Good photographers like to be in the company of good photographers. It tells us that you value our work, and the work of our peers and that you wish to produce the best possible photos for your portfolio. Like I said in the previous blog: If our photos are not doing their jobs, then we as the photographer are not doing OUR job.

Again, “models,” this is YOUR career. If you don’t want to take it seriously and want to shoot with inept photographers keep doing so. I guess working at Hollister is all you'll ever want to do.

Think about it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011



I am FINALLY going to write a blog geared strictly to photographers. It’s not about how to deal with models. It is not about the perils we go through in a photoshoot. It is not about discussing anything about bootcamp (finally a blog without bootcamp). I am discussing some serious issues that photographers face with regards to this business known as photography.

Photography can be a very sexy and exciting occupation. You are surrounded by beautiful people, exotic locations and ending up with magnificent billboards, magazine covers and big ad campaigns. It is there for the taking. But something a lot of photographers fail to realize, those jobs are really hard to come by and secondly, you don’t get them overnight.

So what does one do when they are sitting there waiting for GQ to contact them? You have to build a consistent form of revenue if you wish to stay alive in this business and now it is time to discuss the unsexy business aspects of this business, hence the title of this blog.

To a lot of people photography is just photography. If you own a camera, you can shoot a wedding. If you own a camera you can shoot an event. If you own a camera you can shoot a magazine spread, and we (photographers at least) know that this is soooooooo not the case.

I’ve been the conssumate professional in this arena for about 10 years now, and it is JUST now that I am finally turning a profit and making sustainable income. Could I have done it faster? Quite possibly, but then I didn’t have anyone schooling me along the way in the business aspect and a lot of work came through hit and miss.

I try to tell upcoming photographers that you do not make a lot of money testing for modeling agencies. The market is flooded with photographers that are probably a lot better than you that will shoot beautiful models for free, so it would behoove a modeling agency to go with the photographer that is free than to actually pay you to shoot their models. Models don’t have a lot of money, so if you are lucky, you MIGHT make $300.00 on a test shoot. If it is a female, you will have to pay someone for hair and makeup. You may have to pay someone for styling, so in the end, you end up LOSING money shooting for an agency. How does one counter that? Shoot 4-5 models in a single day. Discuss a flat rate with the crew and everyone will walk away with something for their books and a little something in their pockets. If you can book 4-5 models in a single shot you stand to make $1,200.00 – $1,500.00 for the day. Which is why a lot of photographers will shoot males. A lot less overhead and a lot more money in their pocket. If you are lucky enough to book this three times in a single week, that can make anywhere from $3,600.00 – $4,500.00 for the week. Not bad for a week's worth of work. But when you get down to the nitty-gritty of this, that turns out to be 20 – 25 models you will shoot in a single week. That is A LOT of work. So in the end you will EARN that $4,500.00. When you do test shoots, it is not about the bells and whistles. It is about getting the models in there and getting them out. New York photographer Rick Day (http://www.rickdaynyc.com/) does a complete 3-5 look shoot in a matter of 45 minutes to an hour. You can’t devote a 4-5 hour session to a test shoot. It turns out not to be cost effective.

So how do you make an agency send you 4-5 models at a single time? Who says it has to all come from a single agency? If you pull a single model from 5 agencies, you got five models. You develop a formula and shoot them all the same way (or in a similar style), so you're not playing with lights and trying to get all artsy (save that when you shoot YOUR work). Right now it is about a business, and this is why you see some photographers work and it appears to be the same thing over and over again. They don’t have the time to sit up there and changing lighting set ups, building sets and doing crazy styling. Look at the work of New York photographer Shameer Khan (http://shameerkhan.blogspot.com/), he has all the major agencies practically eating out the palm of his hand with very little overhead (if any). When you are testing for an agency, all they need are clear concise images of their models so they can be booked for paying gigs. That is the job of a testing photographer.

Not all money will come from agencies and you have to develop an income that will sustain you over the course of a year. I shoot corporate headshots for many of the law firms in New York City. Is it glamourous? Hell no, but guess what? A single headshot from any given photographer can run from $150.00 – $300.00 depending on the deals you work out. If you are lucky they will keep you on “staff” and when they get new hires (which usually happens after the summer), you will be called in to shoot their headshots. So at $300.00 a pop a session of 10 lawyers that is $3,000.00 just for headshots. Nothing changes, they sit, you click, you’re done. Something to think about.

I do work for various clothing manufacturers for their websites. They will contact me to shoot clothing for their websites. INCREDIBLY unglamourous. But for a quick $3,500.00, you go in, you shoot clothing on mannequins, you are out. My last shoot was shooting Christmas sweaters. They had a complete staff. All I had to was shoot front, side and rear of each sweater. It was boring as hell, but it got the job done. So you see where this is going.

There are multitudes of ways of making money as a photographer where in some instances a model isn’t even part of the equation:

School portrait
Still life

Art galleries need to have their artwork photograph for catalogue and insurance purposes. Insurance companies need work photograph for insurance purposes. Schools need to have their students photographs taken. College campuses need photographs taken for their brochures. Law firms need exhibit photographs for court cases. Real estate companies need photographs for their listings. The list is endless and there is NOTHING sexy about it. The only thing that is holding you back is that you are sitting by the phone waiting for that phone call from Vogue.

Think about it.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Model: Sandley Jonathas
Model:  Sandley Jonathas
This blog was originally going to be titled: “Sabotage Yourself, Not Me!” and as I thought about it, I realized that it may seem like a regurgitation of my previous blog (Self Sabotage - What Models Do Best http://dallasjlogan.blogspot.com/2010/07/self-sabotage-what-models-do-best.html), and in some ways it is, but now it’s coming from a different point of view.

I don’t like to do a lot of testing of models. Firstly, it doesn’t make me any true money, most often it usually isn’t anything I am going to use in my book and lastly, when doing test, as a photographer you don’t have complete control over the shoot.

Let me repeat that again. As a photographer, you don’t have complete control over the shoot.

An agency would hit me up and they will tell me what they need for a model. I comply. If I am inspired by the model, sometimes I may push their limitations and boundaries, because you see, if this is a business you REALLY want to get into, just how bad do you really want it? Most often if I can get the model to come out of themselves and push them out of their comfort zone, the agency is ultimately pleased.

When you live in a fashion capital like New York, or Paris, or London, or Japan and you are a model from some rural part of the world, you have to realize that when you come to these places it is a different ballgame when it comes to modeling. Things you may have done in let’s say Memphis or Michigan or even Philadelphia may be considered “hot” in those locations won’t hold a candle to what is happening in the real world of modeling.

A lot of would be hopefuls make the trip to the Big Apple in hopes of becoming a star and quickly realize that the thing that may have made them “hot” in their hometown means nothing to us in the big cities. There isn’t too much we haven’t seen, done or experience, so when you bring your closed minded, hillbilly ways to us to try to mold you, you allow your upbrining and beliefs to hold you back.

Let me repeat that again. You allow your upbringing and beliefs to hold you back.

So you go into a photoshoot and the well known, well established photographer says get naked, you, the model panic and reluctantly get undress. The well known, well established photographer tries to photograph you, you come across stiff, scared, nervous (for whatever preconceived reasons you may have). If you are lucky, you produce some stellar images (again, IF you are lucky). They are beautiful, they are tasteful, they blow away anything you ever shot before, and guess what you do with them? Nothing. Because you are afraid of the backlash of friends, families and loved ones (please read: Who Are You Modeling For? http://dallasjlogan.blogspot.com/2010/09/who-are-you-modeling-for.html).

So we the photographer know our job and knows what it takes to get you where you need to go, but now we can’t. Why? Because YOU are afraid to go there. Well here is a dose of reality: the next model WILL go there. The next model WILL take the necessary steps to do what needs to be done. The next model could care less what their friends, families and loved one thinks. The next model WILL book the campaign but guess what you will get?

A bus ride back to Bubblefuck USA.

Think about it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Naoumie Ekiko of Q Models

A beautiful aspiring model said to me last night “Well I am going to give this modeling thing a chance...” I had to stop him immediately. No matter what you do in life, in order to be successful, you have to give it 150% or nothing at all. It is just that simple. I don’t care if you are a model, a surgeon, or a Navy SEAL. No one can take your passion away from you and no one can make it more important than you. Remember that.

For those people who are not in the arts (be it dance, music, painting, etc.), they don’t truly understand what it is to have a driving artistic passion. They look at what we do as hobbies, or something to do to pass the time, or better yet… A phase.

It is usually met with the question of “How is that [FILL IN THE BLANK] thing coming along?” I have to give pause to such a question, because if you actually THINK about it, it really is an insult. Do you go to a doctor and say “how is that medical thing coming along?” Do you go to a lawyer and say “how is that lawyer thing coming along?” Do you go to a married person and say “how is that marriage thing coming along?” Of course not.  So why do you belittle what we do and reduce it to a “thing”? Is it the monetary aspect? If I made the salary of Bruce Weber or Steven Meisel and had billboards at the Crossroads of the World, would that make me more legit?

When I first embarked SERIOUSLY into photography, I got that question a lot and at first it didn’t bother me. I guess in their eyes, what I was doing was a hobby or side hustle. But as I proceeded to bust my ass with sleepless nights and endless hours of technical study. Learning to understand focal planes, memorizing mathematical equations that resulted in Fstops or understanding the science of light, I realized very quickly that this was not a “thing” that I was doing. It was a serious, unadulterated craft that I was partaking in and I won’t let anyone take that away from me.

I remember something that my mother said when I was a teenager. “Be the best that you can possibly be, and never be ashamed.” I walk with that quote in my heart and little did she know, she planted a seed of personal excellence in my heart. Anything I decided to do in my life I did it to its fullest. When I sang, I practiced a minimum of 4 hours a day. Due to that intense training, I received a full scholarship for college and traveled the world. When I decided to become a personal trainer (yes, believe it or not), I took it to the level of Master Trainer, when I decided to pick up the camera, I decided to be the best that I could possibly be (and I am still on that journey).

If you know anyone in the arts (be it your child, loved one or friend), encourage their gifts. Never doubt their talents or ability. It can make the difference between a John Doe and a Michael Jordan.

If you’re a model, pose like Kate Moss and walk like Naomi Campbell. 
If you’re a singer, be sure to make God cry and the angels weep.
If you're an actor, deliver your lines like Lawrence Olivier and light up the screen like Elizabeth Taylor. 
If you're a dancer, glide like Gene Kelly and moonwalk like Michael Jackson. 
If you’re an artist, paint like DaVinci, and sculpt like Michaelangelo
If you’re a photographer, shoot like Avedon, and light like the sun.

But above all else. Never let ANYONE reduce your passion to a “thing.”

Think about it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The Special Greeting That Went out on Facebook

Hey everyone.  It took me a moment to gather my thoughts when it came to writing this blog, so forgive me if you find it long or boring or long overdue. 

A wise person once said, “if you want to know someone, meet their friends.” It has been a mantra that I’ve stuck by my entire adult life.

I know a lot of people. When I say a lot, I mean hundreds (possibly thousands), however, I have very very few true friends. In my cultivation of friends and loved ones, I have been blessed by God to have amazing and wonderful people in my inner group and because of them, I feel complete. Because of my completion through these people, I never desired material things to bring me happiness. An iPad would be nice, don’t get me wrong, but a call from a friend to say “I love you” is far more valuable.

The reason for this blog is simple.  I want to thank the people in my life that made my 45th (ugh) birthday the most amazing one I have ever had. To give you a little background on me, I have never really REALLY been fond of my birthday. When my family moved to New York in 1980, my father passed away the day before my 14th birthday due to the over consumption of alcohol. It was a VERY devastating time for me. We were new to New York, I had little to no friends and no one to turn to. In a time where entering my teenage years, a male (especially one of color) needs a positive male role model in their life was suddenly gone and I was then had to grow up and become a man. My father was my best friend, confidant, rock and shoulder. When he was removed from my life, I was never the same (for years). He gave me my first life’s lesson: we all will die one day. And because of that lesson, I no longer fear death. It is beyond our control.

Therefore, my birthday was never a truly joyous occasion for me. In my twenties I had my first surprise birthday party and I met that with reluctance (much apologies to the people involved with that [Kare Alford and Daryl Goodwin]) and throughout the years, my friends have learned that when it was Dallas’ birthday, don’t make a big deal. It is just another Tuesday or Wednesday, or whatever day it may have fallen on in a particular year. Because they loved me, they honored it. And because of their love, I never thought the need or want for anything. I was complete.

I have always been the solid foundation in all my friends’ lives. If anything was ever needed, they know that they can always call on me, and if I couldn’t do whatever was needed, I made it a point to make sure I can find someone, somewhere to get it done. However, when the roles were reversed, I often shunned the offers. I always took the stance of I can do this myself.

One day a friend of mine wanted to do something for me, I turned him down, he replied with tears in his eyes (and I will never forget): “you are the only person I know that can make someone feel bad when they want to do something nice for you.” It hurt me to my heart, and from that point onward, I never did that again.

So now that you have an understanding of my sick and twisted pysche, let’s fast forward to my actual birthday, which fell on a Wednesday in the year of 2011. It was the first time that I actually told myself I was not going to work. So I moved away from the camera, the Wacom tablet and from the computer and just decided to enjoy the day. It was a gorgeous day for April in New York (which was the birthday gift from Mother Nature).

As I am relishing in my day off feeling naughty, I hear a song linger through the apartment I share with my best friend, Butch Johnson.

“Thank you for being a friend,
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you're a pal and a confidant
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say,
Thank you for being a friend.” (For those of you who don't know, it's the theme song to "Golden Girls")

The Results of That Special Greeting

As Butch entered into my room, in his arm was a wicker basket overflowing with birthday cards from around the globe. My good friend and business partner, Michael Maddox (with his magical team of supermodel helpers) commandeered Facebook and made my birthday one that I will never forget.

I received cards from as far as France and Japan, well wishes from everyone and anyone on Facebook as well as birthday video greetings. The moment was so overwhelming that I had to take a moment and thank God for the people in my life and I actually took another moment to cry.

I am not a person who likes a lot of fanfare and I personally will never know HOW they pulled it off (now as I write this blog, I NOW know why I didn’t get any mail two weeks prior to my birthday). Cards came for almost two weeks after, which is why it took me so long to write this blog (I wanted to make sure I said thank you to EVERYONE).

I want to thank:

Michael Maddox (for everything!)
Ursula M. Alberto
Cristian Alexander
Vince Allen
Sanba-Naudin Babacar (all the way from France)
Zion Babb
Jayce Baron
Brian Baskins
Adi Batista
Charlotte Berry (thank you for a great lunch!)
Tonya Blowe
Mark Bower
Chris Bowie
John Brathwaite
Catherine Brown
Ella Brown
Jeff Brown
Jeremy Brown
Jordan Brown
Noah Brown
Donna Buch
Michael J. Butler
Kevin Calloway
Michael Calloway
Brendon Campbell
White Cedar (all the way from the west coast of Canada)
Kaila Charice
Kelleen Lim Chea
Pearl Chin (there is nothing like You and Haru!!!)
Iris Colburn
Stephen Cole
Lloyd Cook
DeAngelo Davis
Tina Davis
Rick Day
Cassie Dee
Sheree Devereaux
Destinee Dickerson
Melvin Diggs
Robert Dowdy
Isaisah Duckson
Lauren Dundee
Brown Family
Barbie Flores
Shae Fontaine
Terrel Fraser
FaceBook Friends
Philip Gadsden
Leo Gallo
Mother Gallo
Armond D. Goodin
“Hercules” Lamar Gordon
Rick Gore
Courtney Grant
Chris Gray (Kobe!!!!)
Cottrell Guidry (to my fellow James Baldwin fan, thank you!)
Amber Guzman
Joseph Hall
Nick Hamilton
Rich Hardt
Petra Hayek
Gretchen Hemmi (for the delicious hand delivered carrot cake)
Lendl Henderson
Justin Ceasar Hingleton (beautiful basket!)
JoAnne Hoffman
Remy Hou
Broderick Hunter (please, don't sing... just model)
Stephanie Morris Hunter
Cuffy Johnson
Butch Johnson (for suffering through it)
Tim Johnson
Willie Johnson III
Ebony Jointer (from Tokyo, Japan)
Sherian Jones
Steph Jones (loved the video!  You have a great voice!)
Claudia Jordan
Greg Konop
Russel Krus
Shelby Lackey
Jae Lamar
Nathanial Lamar
Seth London
Brandon Lucas
Manderson (of Austin Texas)
Maretini Manumalo
Goldin Martinez
Autumn McCauley
Dwight McMillian
Erica Mitte (and company)
Caroline Monteverdi
Michael Moore
Ne’Kandra Muhammed
Yusuf Myers (what a way to end the night MOJITOS!)
Eric Nagle
Megan Newberry
Morris Nuamah
Alva Page
Billy Payne
Spencer Phillips
Zenith Pimental
Esquire Quarterman
Ajaya Ram
Max Reed (the first card delivered!!!!)
Arlene Rewti
Brandon Rice
Tim Ricks
Dennis Robinson
Daniel Rogers
Mamadou Sall
Sergio Sanders
Kristine Scott
Justin Shaw
Ursula Sumler
Jimi Sweet
Dushawn Tapper
Brandon Thomas (A shout out to the most hilarious video!!!)
Nicole Thompson
Jaimes Timas
Retta Timmons (AKA NextLevel)
Cherise Trahan
Marcus Turner (I LOVE my cereal!!!!)
Carlene & Tyone (Thai)
Agu Ukaogo
Alexis Upton
Carla Walker
Andre Washington (God, if I could sing like you)
Elijah Wells (you better SING!)
Sharon White
Maria Whitjett
Ryan Wills
B.J. Williams
Ronald Williams
D’Angelo Wilson
Zack Yanni
Marlon Yates
Jennifer (of Medford Oregon)
Residents of 819 Hoffman Avenue

For anyone I could’ve possibly left out, please accept my apologies. It’s been a little overwhelming. Thank you for making my birthday a very special one.

Until next time…

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Happy Anniversary to me. 

Yes, I am now embarking on year five of my career. Who would believe it? My anniversary always creeps up on me and how I remember is when I am about to do my taxes (yeah, I am one of those always rushing to the post office on the 15th trying to make the deadline). That’s how artists are.

But some other things have come to my attention as well over the past five years:
  • I haven’t been in a serious relationship in the past five years
  • I’ve let my body go to pot in the past five years (believe it or not, I used to look a lot like the models I shoot).
  • I’ve been financially struggling for the past five years (every dime I have ever made went back into my artistry in forms of studio rent, insurance, lights, cameras, retouching tablets, lenses, portfolios, prints, frames, modifiers, lunch dates, retouching lessons, computers, rams and the list goes on)
  • I haven’t had a real vacation in the past five years
And guess what? I don’t regret any of it.

But some amazing things have happened as well:
  • My lighting seminar “Light Is Light” is making some noise (I am being asked to take the show on the road)
  • My first lighting book is complete and in the works for creating a DVD tutorial
  • About to appear on some major television shows.
  • Shot more campaigns (in hair, beauty and fashion)
  • My name and photography are now recognizable from coast to coast and in Europe
So, yeah, I have to admit making some major sacrifices in my life for my art has gotten me where I am today. Am I appearing on billboards at the Crossroads of the World? Not yet, but I feel deep down inside that yes, one day it will. Just wait and see.

But the most important thing that has occurred in this journey that has struck a nerve is this: my ability to transform lives. I’ve shown models their true beauty even when they didn’t see it. I’ve inspired photographers to better their crafts. I’ve even help launch careers in some of the unlikeliest of people. You never know who you touch with your artistry and when I get an email from some unknown person saying: “Your work has inspired me, one day I want to be like you.” That makes me feel good inside. That I can take a photograph that will move someone so much that they want to be just like me, like I want to be just like Herb Ritts, or Bruce Weber, or Richard Avedon.

All the long, laborious nights of staying up late studying photographs. All the trips to the museums to see how the Renaissance masters painted with light. All the times I would walk the streets of New York and wonder just how God’s light affected my vision. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

Today my passion for this art is as strong as it was since I began this mission.

I want to thank you all of you who believe in me. I vow to never let you down.

I want to thank the models that seek me out.

I want to thank the designers that allow me to bring their creations to life.

I want to thank the art buyers that push to use me.

I want to thank the art directors that marvel at my light.

I want to thank the creative directors that push me out of my comfort zone.

I want to thank my core group, because without you, there is no me.

I want to thank the haters, because you let me know just how well I am doing.

Let’s see what we can do in the next five years.

Remember... Light Is Light

P.S.  Happy Birthday Shae Fontaine (http://www.shaefontaine.com/)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Yasmine Lewis

There I said it. And yeah, I mean it. Don’t shoot with me (or any other photographer for that matter). If you hire a photographer there should a reason. We are in the customer service business. It is our job to produce a photographic product for you. If we don’t do our job (or can’t do our job), don’t shoot with us.

In my history of dealing with models, I am seeing an alarming trend. Models shooting indiscriminately with just anyone and everyone, for no apparent reason, just to gather photos and bragging rights. Why? Just so you can say, “I shot with Dallas.” And then what?


Then there is a problem. Being a model, there is really only one reason you should be shooting with a photographer. Because it needs to get you somewhere. Because it needs to get you into a door that was previously closed to you. Because it needs to assist you in booking a job that wasn’t available before. Because it needs to get you in the public’s eye in a way the public has never seen you.

But what do YOU do? Take "hot ass" photos that you post on FaceBook to get accolades or use it to get dates. Or better yet, you shoot with substandard photographers that produce garbage images. Or even better still, you shoot with a photographer that shows you no love. If you approach a photographer and they aren’t excited about shooting with you, LEAVE THEM ALONE. Because they have no interest in working with you, it will show in the work. You WANT a photographer to be excited about shooting you, just as much as you are excited about shooting with them. It shouldn’t always be about the money, there should also be some sort of love involved. But you shoot anyway, and if you’re lucky, you get some hot photos, but did the photo do its job? No? Then guess what? The photographer didn’t do their job.

When models approach me about work, my first question is always: “how did you find out about me?” The usual answer is: “I’ve seen your work/I’ve been following you for years/You shot a friend of mine.”

The second question is always more telling. “Why do you want to shoot with me?” The answer to this question is paramount, because it will immediately determine if we are going to work together. If you come to me and say: “because I think your work is hot!” Most likely we won’t be working together. Thank you for the compliment, but no. Why? Because you are taking an opportunity to advance your career and you are approaching it in a very cavalier fashion. You are hiring me for a job. That means I have to produce something that is going to work for you. I approach your photo shoot just like I would approach any other paying job. We map out a course of action in order to give you what you need. You need beauty shots in your book, let’s do beauty. You need editorial fashion in your book, let’s do fashion. You need body photos, let’s do body. These are the reasons why photographers ask you what is your book lacking (or better yet, we ask to see your book). We want to give you what you need. Anyone can take a hot photo (New York is filled with some of the greatest photographers in the world). But if we take that hot ass photo, and it doesn’t do its job, it’s really not a hot ass photo. Do you see where this is going?

Understand the business for what it is worth and understand YOUR worth as it pertains to the business. We can shoot all day long everyday, and I can continue to take your money. I can continue to give you photographs, but they have to do their job.

Remember… They have to do their job.

Think about it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Fenton Moon Media

Hello, dear readers. Here I am in the month of March, writing yet another blog. I was feeling kind of bad when I realized that I didn’t write a blog until we were in the third month of the new year, however, when I went back over the previous year, it was the same thing. I didn’t start gaining speed until March. I guess because I’ve been so busy with work (again, thank God), but also if you’ve been following the winter in New York, it’s been absolutely horrible.

The reason for this blog is I’ve been coming across a lot of models (both male and female) who have been asking me for advice with regards to their careers, and even though I am flattered, I have to let you people know something: I am not a modeling agency. I am a professional photographer with a career of my own to manage, therefore, I really don’t have the time to follow you and your career. When I DO decide to help a model, it is usually one reason why. They listen. It’s just that simple – hence the title of this blog.

When I decide to work with a model, it is because I see potential in them. I see beauty in them. I see grace in them. I refuse to work with stuck up models, arrogant models, untalented models or wannabe models. The model that is the absolute WORSE to work with is the model that does not listen. When I (or anyone in the profession that are able to help you, are wise, or can get you  - as you like to say “put on”) you should take that valuable advice and run with it. I have two colleagues that come to mind when it comes to getting a wealth of information regarding the modeling business. That’s Karen Lee (http://www.karenleegroup.com/) (formerly the director of scouting for Elite Models) and Michael Maddox (http://www.dearmichaelmaddox.com/ and http://www.michaelmaddoxseminars.com/). Right there before you is a wealth of information. Most times when models approach me, I refer them to their websites. The owners of these sites have been in the modeling industry for well over 20 years. They knows the ins and outs of the industry, the whys the wherefores, what to do, and what NOT to do. If Michael Maddox was to say “stand in the middle of Times Square at 12 noon and spin three times” you better to do it and don’t ask why.

But you know what I get when I tell models to go check it out. They go to these websites, but it gets to a point that you have to actually sign on and join (for a small fee). That means you have to pay. Guess what? They don’t want to. They expect the information to be handed to them on a silver platter. In the age of instant information and instant gratification, they feel they shouldn’t have to pay. These are the same models that think they shouldn’t have to pay for a photoshoot as well. But think about it: for the price of a decent lunch, you can have a wealth of information placed before and even ability to speak to the them personally.  Isn’t that worth its weight in gold? To think that if they could bestow a few pearls of wisdom upon you, that you can possibly get into an agency, possibly get to the next level and possibly get put on? Why won’t you do it?

Because you don’t want to listen. Therefore, since you don’t want to listen why should they waste their time with a model that doesn’t heed the advice given to them.

The reason why there's a Marcus Hill, Marlon Yates, Steph Jones, BJ Williams, Brandon Thomas, Anthony Gallo, and Mehcad Brooks, because they listen. Michael Maddox started these boys along with numerous others, and together they’ve created an undeniable team of success. Thinking that you know everything when you really don’t gives you a losing result every single time. I always likend Michael Maddox to Anna Wintour (the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine). She shakes and bakes Vogue. People may not like her that much, but she gets the results of success. Personally, I would rather listen to someone who knows the business rather than pay exorbitant amounts of money running all over the place and listening to people who can’t do anything for me, in all honesty you're not getting anywhere or gaining anything. Then what happens? You get angry with the world because YOU didn’t listen, or YOU didn’t follow the path to guaranteed success. There is an old saying that goes “the grass is always greener on the other side”.  Be careful of the other side. The roots of that grass may be weak. Listening, patience and persistence will give you a win-win outcome every single time.

So if I tell you to lose weight, then lose it. If I tell you to cut your hair because it will make you more marketable, then cut it. If I tell you that you are NOT a “high-fashion” model that you will be better as a “commercial” model, take heed.  If I tell you that a particular photographer is not suitable for your book, I am not hating on that photographer, I am telling you what you need to do to advance your career.

I gain NOTHING by telling you the truth. I gain NOTHING out of bestowing knowledge on you. I gain NOTHING out of giving you my industry “hook ups”. That’s all for you and to help you launch your career.

I have a proven track record for the work that I’ve produced for models (ask any one of the many models I helped get signed). If you let me do my job, you will get signed. If you do your job, you will get signed. If you listen, guess what? You will get signed.

The rest is up to you. So if you’re serious… REALLY REALLY serious… Then LISTEN.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Billy Payne

Credit:  Photographer Daniel Serrette via hodginsphotography

Wow. Look at the date (March 2, 2011). This is my first official blog of 2011. Sooooooooooooo Happy New Year, Happy Valentine's Day, Happy President's Day and Happy Ground Hog's Day.  I can’t even BEGIN to explain why I haven’t been writing. I apologize for not writing sooner (yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve heard THAT before). I’ve been busy with shooting (thank, God), building my brand (finally realizing what I need to do to make that happen), upgrading equipment (new studio lights are on their way) and promoting my lighting seminar (http://www.lightislight.com/). So dear readers, I want you to know that even though I haven’t been writing, I’ve been busy plugging away making things happen for me (and others) behind the scenes.

I will do a re-cap of what’s been going on in the past few months and when time allows address each one of these topics in their own blog.

Let’s see. I FINALLY met the wonderful and illustrious Michael Maddox face to face and we had a modeling seminar (that will definitely be a blog).  He was so much fun.

I was introduced to a new and talented designer by the name of Vaughn Jereaux Adams (http://www.vaughnjereaux.com/) and did some shooting of his women’s line.

The shoot for Adha Zelma called “Autumn” (http://www.adhazelma.com/) was met with rave reviews.

I was featured in article in Style-ology Magazine and finally my long awaited and much anticipated editorial with the wonderful and talented designer/stylist Robert Durant for Bleu Magazine finally on the shelves at various bookstores and newsstands (http://www.robertdurant.com/).

I was approached by the African-American painting phenom Kihende Wiley (http://www.kihendewiley.com/) to be his lighting technician and photographer for some upcoming art projects. (Let's see what our agents have to say). 

And lastly, what I am known to do, I shot a few models and changed their lives.

But back to the topic at hand. When I write a blog, it usually pertains to the fashion and modeling industry as a whole, however, anything that is discussed here can be used in any walk of life. Just change the occupations and some of the anecdotes to suit your particular lifestyle and voilá, you have your own life altering epiphany right before your very eyes.

The reason for this blog was a person asked me most recently “do you consider yourself a talented photographer or a skillful photographer?” I didn’t have to give it much thought. My answer immediately was “skillful.” That prompted the next question: "How so?"

There are a lot of talented photographers out here. With the advent of digital photography, the learning curve has dropped into the toilet and almost anyone can pick up a camera kit at your local Wal-Mart and start snapping away. If a person takes 10,000 photographs, its inevitable they will eventually take a nice picture. I will venture to say they may even take a good one. They may go on to take several good pictures. It does take a certain amount of talent to produce a good image every now and then and most photographers when starting out (if they know what they are doing) have some sort of talent, passion and drive, hence the reason for this blog.

So where does the skill part come in? The hours upon hours upon hours of perfecting my craft, the endless sleepless nights of understanding just where to put a particular strobe to achieve an effect that I want. To understand the precise moment of the sun rise or sun set and how it glints in a subject’s eye. To figure out and master the most exact ratio where the blending of flash and ambient light comes together to produce a stellar and dramatic image. To understand that if I stand just right at a particular point in the room, I can look at a model and see just how the light is going to flicker in his or her eye to create an image the will make the viewer heart skip a beat. That all takes a level of skill. You will only get so far on your talent. You need consistency and wherewithal to get the job done time after time and that can only be done with skill. And lastly, knowing enough to never have to talk about just how good you are, because honestly, your work should speak for itself.

As I said earlier in this blog a lot of people are buying cameras, lighting equipment, building a website and setting up shop. They are charging unsuspected and gullible models fees at a time when they should really be learning their craft. The unsuspecting models think that they are getting quality images from a skillful photographer, because they don’t know any better. But when you hear from someone (usually the horse’s mouth) about how FABULOUS they are, you tend to buy into the hype.

It’s bothersome and even hurtful for those of us who have made this an actual livelihood of producing consistent, quality images. We put in the time, the effort, the love, the passion, the hours and the money. When we set a particular rate it is because we have proven track records. If a model comes to me and says “I need photographic images that will help me get signed.” I know what to produce for them time and time again. If a client comes to me and says “I want to shoot like a Revlon campaign” they need not say more, I know what to give them. When a person says “I need actor’s headshots not model’s headshots” I know EXACTLY

It took me almost three years of studying and learning my craft before I even thought I was worthy enough to start charging for my services. It takes a lot more than just pointing your camera at a model and clicking away before you could (or should) call yourself a professional photographer. I’ve seen countless “newbies” come on to the scene and say “Yes, I am just as good as Dallas and I don’t charge as much.” Oh yeah? I have YET to say I can shoot like any of my peers or contemporaries (which I am constantly compared to other photographers – I get that), but I am not going to brag I am just as good or better than the next guy. You came to me for a product, either you’re going to like me or you’re not. You’re going to pay my rate or you won’t, but I will not have to brag about my work. I am at a point of my career, I don’t have to.

So to all you so-called photographers: Learn your craft. Master your artistry. Stop bragging. Get to a place where you are producing quality images (time and time and time again). Stop taking money from unsuspecting models and producing substandard work.

So, shut the fuck up and let your work speak for itself.