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 (

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.