The main focus of Ero Light Photography is now fitness photography. I’m still interested in doing other creative work but that will probably be a seperate venture and not really tied to Ero Light Photography. I’ll try to start updating the blog more regularly as things progress. Take care and enjoy this recent shot.
With the end of 2018 coming quickly, we have been reminiscing on all of the amazing shoots we accomplished this year. Many great models worked with me to create gorgeous editorial style images. We had a blast and are excited for next year!
For 2019, I’ll be redirecting my energy towards offering more studio sessions for individuals and businesses. I work with multiple studios in The Woodlands, Spring, and Houston area. In-home and outdoor sessions will be available as well by request.
Looking forward to a great holiday season and new year!
I take great pride in the effort I put into making sure that models are always shown the upmost respect. I've fallen short of this. Which sucks. And sometimes I do outstanding. Through all of these levels, you've have to be able to show yourself compassion and try to do better in the future. I'm working to do right by Cheney and would love for you to see some of the images we got while working together. Also, I've been working on my video work. Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions :-) Take care, and best wishes.
But, Tim... How did you fall short? What happened?
This week has been slow. One shoot with Priscilla (Check her out!) Where I got to meet her adorable dog *heart eyes* We shot at her apartment in Houston. Laid back, relaxed shoot. A/C was off though. That sucks.
I feel happier all the time knowing the direction I've choosen for photography is the right one for me. When going through traditional paths towards making a living as a photographer, it's easy to have your day filled with things you don't want to do. Working with clients that don't excite you. Working with people who don't value you. For me, these are sacrifices I won't make.
My second shoot for Patreon goes live soon. I'm excited to create, share, and stay authentic to myself. On the one side, I've not met my deadline to release it when I planned to. On the other side, I allowed myself grace to do the work as I feel ready so that I don't have to feel like I just shoved the shoot out the door. I would rather think of Patreon as a gift I'm proud of than as a hurried obligation. Ideally, a gift that's on time ;-)
Also, there is a giveaway currently going on for people who are subscribed to my newsletter. The winner will be drawn next week :-)
The play by play of one of my Friday mornings. #planbetter #dobetter
Wake up 4:50AM. Go to first shoot with Kerry at City Center. Kerry can't find parking. Go find Kerry, she lost. Walk to location. Start shooting the first outfit. So cute. So fire. Make magic. Get stopped by security. Keep shooting because he said it was cool. Walk around more. Change outfits. Shoot some more. So fire. So magic. Get stopped by security again. He says it's not cool. Go up to the management office. Open cool sliding glass door. Place is empty. Wait. Lady walks in "How did you get in here?" Me, "The door." Find out media permits cost $50. Forget that.
Start trying to tell the next 2 models where the next shoot will be. 105 Sabine, bet. Get to 105 Sabine. Tired. Lil stressed. New model Brittany! Forget to do video livestream. Shoot the first outfit. So cute. So fire. Change outfits. More tired. Shot the second outfit. So magic. Have Brittany fill out model release form (because sometimes I don't forget). Wait for Olivia. Olivia shows up. She is Fire+Awkward. She needs to skip it out of her system. Realize Kerry and Olivia are giant children. Love them anyways. Go to brunch. Go home. Learn from mistakes.
I think one of my favorite things about meeting people and doing photo shoots has always been the layers to people. You learn more about people unlike yourself, you learn more about different communities, you learn to counter your own expectations. Such was the case with Abbey. Not Abigail. Two names which bring together entirely different images of people. Neither of which does Abbey justice. From look at her Instagram, I knew she was into fitness. I knew she was a competitor. To sum her up though as that, would be to do her a disservice. She is gracious, nice, authentic, entrepreneur, fitness coach, and competitor. And that's just her side stuff.
Abbey met me in The Woodlands, Texas by the waterway. We shot approximately 3 outfits from the selection she had of different fashionable items. We only planned 2. She was a great sport about the long walk down the waterway as I scouted for more interesting locations for us to shoot. I honestly think the best location ended up being open shade under a bridge. It made for some excellent lighting that right brought definition to her abs.
It was a pleasure getting to talk to Abbey about self conciousness, body image, NPC Competition, personality types (She is type-A) and her plans for the future. The only unfortunate thing is her moving to Dallas. I'll have to make plans to incorporate more travel into my schedule so I can continue to keep cool people like Abbey around.
Be sure to check out her coffee brand Coffee Over Cardio
And if you would like to see more of Abby, it will be available on June 1st on my Patreon.
On family vacation, I couldn't stop myself from reaching out to Pensacola models to shoot on the white sand and clear waters of luxurious Orange Beach. I was able to meet up with Savanah and Helena, two models local to the area. Please go to their Instagrams and show them some love! Helena and Savanah
Savanah was on the first day. It was at this point I realized that I hate walking in sand and am horrible at it. I was brave(foolish) and only took my kit lens on the trip. So, using that and natural light with no reflector, I was out to shoot Savanah. There were no clouds in the sky and it was excessively bright. I was able to use the beach adjacent to my hotel. Hotel on the beach is, in my opinion, the ideal distance to be from the beach on vacation. Savanah was a gorgeous model and came with one of the best assortments of clothing to pick from. It made the whole shoots easy. She was even a good sport about finding "creative" ways to change on location.
Helena is french but looks like she was made for the Florida beach life. The pinnacle of the shapely cover model blonde, my first direction to her was to drop that, be more casual, be more candid. I wanted to show her having fun at the beach and enjoying herself. I think we ended up meeting somewhere in the middle with her bombshell looks still coming through.
Notably, Helena had a boyfriend(Wayne) who is a model. I was happy to oblige him with a few photos. It wasn't long before Helena started being the "hype man" for him. Very distracting. :-p
Hopefully, I'll get back out that way to work with more people in the pensicola region. Helena and Savanah were both wonderful.
Hindsight is def 20/20. I can see how I began as a photographer much clearer now that I've made it over the hump learning photography, getting experience, getting published, etc. Some things I thought when I started photography have remained true. Some of the things that I've learned, I still don't apply all the time. But, I move closer to a strong work flow.
1. Don't over consume youtube
For having watched over a thousand hours of youtube tutorials, workshops, and courses; my time could have been much better spent as a learning photographer. I fell into the trap a lot of people far into. I was always clicking the next video hoping it was the secret to great photography. I now realize the truth is that there are very good workshops and tutorials out there but when you try to piece together your own education online, it's difficult to know when you've finished "learning photography" (ignoring the debate as to if you can ever finish)
2. Gear matters way less than you think
I don't have gear acquisition syndrome. I don't obsess over new cameras. But, I still often thought I needed a different lens, I needed more speedlights, I needed strobes, I needed bigger modifiers, I needed TTL, etc. Not a single one of these things made a substantial impact on my photography, how I felt about it, the quality of my results, or my earnings potential.
3. Prioritize models who value your time and show gratitude
I wanted models to have the right look, have lots of followers, and be willing to do skimpy outfits. This was quick method for me to find unfulfilling work with models who were fly by night. The most rewarding work I've done as a photographer involves people who exhibit gratitude and preperation.
4. Use social media as a tool
As many hours as I spent learning photography, I probably spent more on Instagram. If this time had been in efficiently growing a community and monetizing it to get more models according to whatever the algorithm of the week was, that could be been beneficial. But, the key here is that being efficient on Instagram takes the fun out of it. It makes it more like work. So, the majority of my time on Instagram was liking random photos, messaging potential models, and looking for outfit inspo. Time is a limited resource and social media, if not used purposefully, can suck time away from things you truly enjoy.
5. For God sake, get a work flow.
When I started photography, I would look at these photographers work flows and be like "That seems like way too many steps" "I don't need to do all that" Workflows and processes are life savers. It makes a huge difference to have a clear method of how you go from the shoot planning process to image delivery. Otherwise, things get caught up, missed, poorly shuffled around, left half done, etc. A solid workflow means that when the work is done, it's done. It helps you turn that list of things you "should be doing" to things that you just naturally do whenever you do a shoot.
I hope some of this was helpful.
No one owns the beach. It's a public beach. The senior photographer who told me to move can get a private beach if she can't Photoshop me out.
I had two courses in photography and had worked on a film crew before starting to photograph models. I had done landscape photography, developed in a dark room, and had spent hundreds of hours in photoshop as a professional graphic designer. Even with all of that, my first photo shoots sucked. Not only that, after a year of photography, I still did photo shoots that suck. I still operate at a deficit in photography. My shoots, overall, cost me more than they make for me.
In many ways, I'm a failure.
But how far have I come? Magazine publishing, awards, making thousands of dollars, working with agency models, working with fashion brands, learning frequency separation, learning dodge and burning, learning advanced color grading, learning off camera flash, making lots of friends, growing a social media following, learning marketing, building my skill set and confidence.
All of this without setting any specific goals. I didn't make a learning plan, I didn't set objectives.
A lot of this goes counter to entrepreneurial advice. I don't hustle 24/7. I'm not following vlogging trends. I don't like photography/model meet ups. I did over 250 free photo shoots. I messaged thousands of people looking for models. I've been stood up more times than I can count. I spent 10 hour days outside shooting the Texas summer without getting paid only to be stood up and canceled on and threatened by models. I've watched hundreds of hours of tutorials, workshops, and lessons.
This blog post, like my photography had to start somewhere. My knowledge about blog structure, opening lines, post titles, including offers, get link backs, etc. I'm not ready to implement all that yet. I'm not there. Just like, for the first 2 years I didn't daily post on IG and now this year I've been making a new post every day and the post fit my aesthetic. Early work, to some degree, will most likely have a cringe factor. It's tempting to want to be perfect out of the gate. To make a post that stays on topic. To make a post without sentence fragments. To make sure aesthetic fittings images are placed at appropriate intervals throughout the post.
When I took drawing, I was taught to not erase my lines so I could see where I had gone wrong before so the next line I drew would be able to benefit from the last. If I erase the first line I made, I'm likely to keep drawing that same line. Much like ideas. When we let ideas live in our heads, they ruminate and don't build. When we write them down, open them to criticism, and quit treading the same ground, we make progress.
If you want to know where I get a lot of these concepts...
Brene Brown - Daring Greatly
Kristin Neff - Self Compassion
"Document, don't create"
It was my pleasure to photograph the Alantude SS 2018 collection. I appreciate Alan and his work and look forward to capturing the event. This is how it happened.
How many photographers will be there? What light modifier should I use? Will my speed lights be enough? Bring the 18-200 or the 500mm? Where will parking be? Can I afford parking?
I found parking. I paid for it. I came into MATCH, a cool venue, and met Alan. Alan was busy and excited for the event trying to move all the pieces to get everything coordinated. It looked exhausting. I arrived at 5pm and the show started around 8pm. I ended up meeting some of the other photographers there, to my delight, they were all cool, chill people. One photographer had 2 strobes, a speedlight, and a second shooter(his wife), another had brought new speedlight triggers that suffered a battery acid leak. Then there was me.
Why are lighting test so hard?
The venue had lots of great natural light. I was also told the DJ was going to have a spotlight on the models (sort of true) That's not good when the show will not have natural light because it's after sunset. So, doing lighting test was difficult/not practical. I tried to do the lighting test before hand but my settings and set up were not adequate once the show started. So, during the show I kept having to fix and change my settings and light set up to figure out what would be best. This problem was magnified by the action taking place in many areas of the runway, not just the end of the runway where I had planned on photographing the models.
I did make an attempt to go TTL but it was not giving predictable results and the flash was misfiring frequently to the point of making me miss a lot of shots. That's how I finally decided to go manual on camera bounce flash with fixed settings. Note: When looking at the images on the back of the camera the floor looked bright and distracting so even when I was at the event, I thought the images were far from as good as I wanted but once I got back to the editing, the floor wasn't noticeable or distracting.
I was able to recover a lot of photos where the flash misfired and get a good range of photos from the event regardless of conditions and frustrations. I'm proud of people doing fashion in Houston and supporting our culture. I think it is a myth that fashion needs to be centralized in certain metropolitan cities.
Houston musician Carly Jones contacted me when she linked up with Fate Crew. I checked out their brand and wanted to plan a shoot for them immediately. Unfortunately, our schedules didn't link up for a while but when they did. We met up at Spots Park in Houston. The day was overcast AF which gave the moody vibe. I went with black and white on the edits because it emphasized the patterns of branches and textures of image more. Check out the images and let me know what you think. I'm exceptionally proud to be apart of this collaboration.
Best photography videos of the week, including: Add depth to portraits in Lightroom, learn from the stories of successful photographers, and the one video to instantly improve your photography!
- Instagram Skin Glow Retouching in Lightroom! [Tony and Chelsea Northrup]
- Profile of award winning portrait photographer Lane Dorsey! [Adorama]
- How much better is that expensive gear? Find out in this comparison! [SLR Lounge]
- Photographer profile of Texas Photographer Keith Carter! A true master., [The Art of Photography]
- Significantly improve your photography with one video! Must watch! [B and H]
As always, be well. You've got this.
Best photography videos of the week, including: How to fix amateur looking speedlight photos, Overcoming fear in street photography, the secret to posing models (Hint: Don't) , and more.
- How to overcome the fear and intimidation of street photography! [The Photography Academy]
- Video marketing for photography. The ultimate tip for getting noticed! [Adorama]
- Why a good portfolio isn't enough and what you need to do. [The Futur]
- Directing models instead of posing them! Excellent video! [Weeklyimogen]
- How to make your speedlights look more natural! Deep dive into getting the most from speedlights. [B and H]
As always, be well. You've got this.
Best photography videos of the week, including: National Geographic Lighting, Becoming a freelance photographer, the essential Photoshop shortcuts you need, and more.
- Bob Holmes shares some of his best tips for finding good natural light in portraits and photography. [Advancing Your Photography]
- A profile of Lourdes Grobet and her work with with Lucha Libre wrestlers. [The Art Of Photography]
- The best photoshop keyboard shortcuts to speed up your retouching workflow. [Fstoppers]
- Lindsey Adler teaches expert techniques in making timeless elegant portraits to set yourself apart. [B and H]
- A vulnerable look at digital presence for photographers and introverts. Stay authentic. [Sean Tucker]
- Jeff Rojas techniques on professional one light photography. One of my favorite techniques! [Adorama]
- Jeff Rojas shares his steps to becoming a full time freelance photographer. [Jeff Rojas]
As always, be well. You've got this.
A lot of people ask me how big of a difference skin retouching makes. Here is one example showing the effects of skin retouching. This is only possible with Photoshop retouching and just because a photographer knows Photoshop doesn't mean they know the techniques.
Lightroom Presets aren't the end game, they're a tool. That being said, I'm pleased to offer a free preset to portrait and fashion photographers. It's a desaturated look with a bright glow. I hope you enjoy it. If you use it on one of your images, please feel free to share it with me. I would love to see what people make and add it to this post. Download Here!
How To Install a Lightroom Preset
- Download a Preset.
- Open Lightroom CC and select the develop tab.
- Right click on the preset module and select Import from the drop down menu.
- Find the preset you downloaded and click Import.
- Click the preset to apply it to your photo.
- Adjust your exposure up or down depending on desired effect.
When inspired, seize the opportunity. I couldn't think of a better example than Steffany Velasquez. I first met Steffany in early 2016 and had a short session where I learned how well she performs under pressure and can convey emotion with confidence! Not to mention her exquisite taste in style. Shout out to Cedar Coffee Supply for helping me start the day in Marfa and drive home.