Sunday, November 17, 2013

Perspective: I Like To Move It, Move It!
Catch Them In Action!


(Photo Subject: AC - Male dancer at Mojo's in Tulsa, OK)
   If they're exotic male dancers, then I want to capture them when they are dancing. I am known for taking many shots over a night. I do this because I want more options. And when a dancer is moving, a photographer wants to capture him when he is telling a story, or sending a message. It's a non-verbal message and he uses his body to say it. It may take several shots to capture it at the right moment.

(Photo Subject: Achilles - Male dancer for Males In Motion)
   I will let each person interpret the message on their own. That's part of the fantasy. The exotic male dancer fan can interpret the movements as he wishes. That makes for a more interesting and erotic event. And that type of response doesn't come from a pic of a dancer who is merely standing and smiling at the camera. There are exceptions but those would need to include an amply full pouch in the underwear, ripped torso, amazing face or eyes. And these must be out of the ordinary. For all others, catching them while in movement is always best.

(Photo Subject: Zion - Male dancer for Men Of Skin)
   Look for the message. Is it in their body language? Is it in their eyes? Is it in the turn of their head? Is it in the way they are working the costume they are wearing? Find the message, capture it and pass it on to the viewer.

(Photo Subject: Baron - Male dancer for Men Of Skin)
   I've given a name to a type of photo that I sometimes see on Facebook. I call it the Yearbook Club photo. This is where a group of people stand shoulder to shoulder as a group and smile at the camera. I sometimes see photos like this from bars or nightclubs who are announcing the dancers for the night. Yes, if the guys are extremely hot, most fans are not going to care how they are grouped for the photo. However, I find it much more interesting to see a collage or grouping of photos of each of these guys during their dance rotation, moving their bodies like they have practiced and trained. To me, those photos are much more appealing, enticing and will do more to encourage me to attend the event.

(Photo Subject: Blaze - Male dancer at Mojo's in Tulsa, OK)
   Try to catch the personality of the dancer in your photo. What sets this dancer apart from others? What is their calling card, their signature? For promotion, the photographer is trying to show why this dancer is preferred to watch over the others.

(Photo Subject: Carson - Male dancer for Men Of Skin)

(Photo Subject: Flex - Male dancer at Boxers N Briefs in St. Louis, MO)
   When the urge strikes you to take another pic, whether phone camera or more elaborate, try to capture the message in the movement of your subject. Refuse to settle for a yearbook club pose. Catch your subject at that moment when the message is being displayed. You'll know it when you see it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Easy Backgrounds With Netting

   Adding a small amount of color into the background for an image can be created by fabric netting. It is inexpensive, and can be purchased at any fabric store. I pull the netting tight across the black background and depending on how it has been folded, crushed, or 'wadded up', a different background can be created. Look closely at the background in the pic of Conrad above and you can see a faint blue shimmer behind him. There were two layers of blue netting stretched across the background to create this look. The layer underneath was tight and the one on top was looser allowing it to flow more like a drape. To me I was combining the midnight blue of the background with the silver of the costume he is wearing. This is one of a series of pics taken for a New Year's Eve party celebration theme.
   I prefer a basic black background for most of my photo shoots. I find that any enhancements that I want to make through software can be accomplished easier. Plus, most of the work that I do is related to the night club environment. Black lends itself to creating the mood of the night in the photos. In some situations, even with proper back lighting, darker items like hair, hats, shoes, clothing, etc., can disappear into the blackground. In the pic of Donovan above, the background is composed of black paper with black netting stretched across it. The netting catches just enough light to help Donovan stand out from the background.
   In the pic of entertainer Buck Stone above, the netting had been crushed or wadded into a small box several days before the photo shoot. This gives it the texture captured by the light. The black paper underneath is given a whole new look by a simple piece of netting stretched in front of it.
   In the pic above, one layer of white netting was stretched across the background. As you can see, mixed with the black paper underneath, the background appears to be a dirty gray color. The netting had been folded into a square like you might fold a flat bed sheet. It was placed in a box and left for a few days before the photo shoot. The resulting texture hints at a block wall behind Conrad. This photo was based on a basketball theme and the block wall suggests an outdoor court. The dark blue shirt he has pulled up when able to see it, has the word "ballin' 24/7' on it. And in several shots he was holding a basketball.
   When planning the photo shoot with Adrian Keriocus, I asked that the female impersonator bring one costume change that was over-the-top or unexpected. The resulting mix of blond hair, feathers, jewelry and bright colors inspired me to use netting to add to the visual color impact of the photo. Using colors of netting that matched the costume, I continued the excitement of the costume in the background.
   The sexy pull-down shirt pose is one that has been popular for the past few years. Although nothing 'naughty' is seen, it suggests that maybe Conrad isn't wearing anything underneath. I hung two layers of red netting behind Conrad to first, help "pull out" the red Superman design on his shirt. Second, the color red is associated with passion and often will evoke similar emotional responses from the viewer.
   As you can see, I like using fabric netting as a tool to help achieve the type of themed image I want in a photo. I hope the information will inspire you to create your own themes and images. One last note, fabric netting will not always appear the same color in photos as it does in your hand. Do test shots before any important photos are actually taken.

For more: Michael Hill Digital Website

Monday, June 24, 2013

Photographing The Boys Of Males In Motion

   This is the 10th Anniversary year of Males In Motion, an online resource for exotic male dancers, their fans and related businesses. To celebrate the 10th year I have been hiring male models/dancers for photo shoots. The pics from the photo shoots I am using in online and other promotions throughout the year. So far, I have had three photo shoots with three different local male models. The guys have been exceptional to work with. All of them are confident in themselves and what they can bring to the project in physical appearance, attitude, etc.
   I selected Conrad for several reasons. His obvious good looks of course. But mainly I wanted to photograph him because of his infectious smile. This was his first photo shoot and the whole process was a lot of fun. Conrad is a good natured guy who can have fun any where he happens to be. The pic above is used to thank new facebook friends for adding me. Feel free to pull it down and use it yourself if you would like.
   Jacob was the second model featured for Males In Motion. He has proven to be quite popular online. I selected Jacob because of his muscle tone. He has a great body. He made any underwear or costume that he wore look just as amazing. Jacob is a little more on the serious side so I selected costume options and promotion options that his personality would fit. The pic above is of course used to say 'Happy Birthday!' to a facebook friend, in an email, etc. Feel free to pull it down and use it yourself and wish a friend a very sexy happy birthday.
   Donovan was the first model that I selected. He is serious about staying fit, and excited about modeling. We actually finished the Males In Motion portion of the photo shoot and then went on to a second shoot for his personal modeling use. Donovan's energy is so upbeat and he brought this to each costume and pose. He was such a pleasure to work with. Donovan has also proven to be very popular online. His well defined muscle tone is still providing the background images for several promotional ads. It is Donovan's body that provided the image for the Males In Motion 10th Anniversary logo.
   The pic above is one of my favorite of Donovan from the photo shoot. He looks great in the military themed costumes. I have been able to use these images for promotions on special days like Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, etc. I am looking foward to his Christmas themed photos for this year's holiday season.
   At 6' 3" Tye is the tallest male model I have photographed. His height and body type lends itself to the cowboy icon. Tye was a pleasure to work with. He is easy going and enjoyed stepping out of his normal persona. The pic above was used for Halloween online promotions. The image portrays part New Orleans voodoo priest, part masquerade ball, and gypsy all rolled into one.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Discreet Photographic Services

   Everyone likes to feel sexy! And why not? With the explosion of social media during this decade everyone is looking for pics to post online, or to send by text or email to friends. But there is also another reason for wanting pics. Let's just put it out there loud and clear... people want to hook up with other people. And guys in particular are interested in having photos that they can send to potential partners, etc.
   Over the past few years I have received inquiries as to whether I took nude photos. At the time I hadn't taken many. I had no problem with it. The projects that I was working on at the time did not require nude photography. At the request of these potential clients, I now provide a private and discreet service for gentlemen who would like to have nude photographs but have never known who to ask. I make no judgements about body types, age, looks, etc. I simply work to make the client look their best and accentuate their strongest features. I have worked with clients from the ages of 20 to almost 70. With all I have found strong features to focus around in the photo shoot.
   For those who are concerned about those photos 'leaking' out to online sources, etc., I provide the following countermeasures to ensure your privacy. If you do not mind receiving your photos in the raw form (no pun intended), you can furnish a sim card for me to use in my camera. When the photo shoot is completed, I simply pull out the sim card and hand it to you. You take it with you and also take the only copy of the pics that exists. If you would like your photos to be cropped and filtered through an enhancement software, I will do that and once finished allow you to watch as I delete all copies of the pics. On the other hand, I do have clients who know me and know they can trust me who request that I keep a copy of the photos in an archive in case they want copies at a later time. It is simply up to the wishes of the client.
   The standard photo shoot lasts for one hour. During that hour the content/subject matter of the pics is at the discretion of the client. As long as it is legal, I will assist to make the best images possible. Once the photo shoot is completed, if desired by the client, I crop and provide a finished product for them to take with them. Depending on the client, I have also kept them for a few days for creative purposes to enhance, filter and/or create dramatic effects.
    Below is a price list for the one hour photo shoot as described above:
  • One Hour Sitting Fee: $75
  • Each additional hour: $25
  • If client comes to my location, no travel charge.
  • Travel costs: $15 if within 30 minutes of my location
  • Travel costs outside my location: Determined based on distance
  • Photo Shop and software enhancement: $15 per hour
  • Cropping for One Hour Sitting Fee: No charge
  • Client provides a thumb drive for pics.
  • I will provide a thumb drive at exact cost to me if requested.
  • NOTE: "My location" is where I have set up my studio within a given city.
   I travel to various cities around the country and will set up a mobile studio within that city for photo shoots. My home base is in Fayetteville, Arkansas at this time. If you are interested in setting up a photo shoot in your area, please contact me and let me know your city. I travel a lot during the year and may be near you soon. Also, if I have enough requests in a specific area, I will schedule a trip to that city. If you would like to set up a photo shoot contact me through one of the methods below. All will make it to me wherever I am.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Photo Striptease
Creating That Sexy Image For Promotions!

   Many of the photography projects that I become involved in are related to the exotic male dancer entertainment industry. I enjoy capturing images of male dancers performing at a bar, club or event. And any photo shoot involving an exotic male dancer or male model can be seductive and exciting. But sometimes it is not. So, how do you get the sexy image you are wanting for promotions? I've listed a few suggestions that have helped me to obtain successful images.
 
   When photographing male models or exotic male dancers for sexually charged promotional images, I first tell them, this photo shoot is about the tease. We are not creating a pornographic image, we are trying to tease the viewer. We want to create an image that suggests a lot, without really showing a lot. For example, it is often much sexier to suggest the outline of 'the boyz' in the briefs instead of letting it all hang out. When the goods are covered our imagination fills in the gaps and most times, enhances the image for our pleasure. Our goal is to create an image that causes the viewer to want to see more. We tease them and they are motivated to find out more. This is the purpose of an image used for promoting an event. As the photographer it is my goal to create an image that will encourage the viewer to attend the event.
 
   Second, focus on the subject's strengths. If the male model has great eyes guide them into poses and use lighting where the eyes are emphasized. If they have a great ass, then have them pose in a side or three-quarter view that enhances that strength. Remember we want to tease, so a glimpse of the curve of the butt is a stronger image for us than a blatant shot of the naked behind. If they have amazing six pack abs, then have them move and turn and set the lighting so the ridges of the abs are emphasized with light and shadow, making them 'pop' within the image. If the model has been blessed with an ample package, then select a pose that takes full advantage of this strength.

   Third, the opposite of the second point is to de-emphasize their weaknesses. A simple turning of the body angle in the shot will sometimes hide a blemish or scar. Yes, you can use a photo editing software to remove blemishes and scars but I find that if I hide these features through poses, then it is not necessary to involve myself in time consuming software painting or covering.

   If a more ample pouch will enhance the required image but mother nature did not bless our model in this area, guide the model into poses that provide a different angle and enhance the pouch. Yes, there are those who use the tube sock in the crotch method of gaining size. But, unless you remain aware of the sock, it may move during the photo shoot and your subject begins to look like he has a deformity. That has happened to me. A client chose to insert said sock into his briefs to appear larger. I forgot to keep an eye on said sock to make sure it stayed in place. After the photo shoot, many of the pics were unusable because he appeared to have a deformity between his legs, rather than the appropriate looking anatomy. Lesson learned. There are cod pieces and other items that are often used in underwear photography for catalogs, etc., but in our situation as mentioned before, we want to see the outline of 'the boyz'.

   Fourth, hands can be extremely sexy so use them to create suggestion. For example, one hand barely slid into the waistband of a pair of underwear suggest our subject might be experiencing some type of arousal. He's not holding on to anything. He's not engaged in any kind of hand movement, just a simple slip of the fingers inside the waistband. If you then have the other hand placed on the chest as though he is rubbing across his body, the suggestion is complete. However, if you then have him close his eyes, you have just moved to a stronger suggestive image. Closing the eyes suggests that he is involved in some type of erotic daydream. To produce an even stronger suggestive image, have him tilt his head back slightly. This suggestion was created merely through posing and use of the hands and eyes. On some conscious or subconscious level the viewer is wondering exactly what, or who the model is thinking about that would cause him to place his hands this way.
 
   Finally, guide the model into flirting with his face and eyes. This can be tricky, it is more an action of the photographer catching this look than it is the model actually making this look. I can sometimes catch this look when I tell the model to relax a minute. I then make some sexy comment about his body. In response, many times a model will give a sly smile and say thanks, or have a quick flush of embarrassment. It is in that moment that you can often capture some of the sexiest facial expressions. The model is unguarded and not expecting you to snap a pic. Be ready to capture it.

NOTE: Special thanks to woodz-wear.com for providing most of the underwear featured in the pics above.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I don't know what to wear!

   One of the most frequent questions I get from clients is "What should I wear for the photo shoot?" In this case, I am referring to a private photo shoot that the client has requested for their own personal reasons. There is a wide range of responses to clothing for photo shoots. I have clients who are simply lost and have difficulty deciding what they should wear. Then I have clients who know exactly what they want and lay out their different options for changing. They sometimes will tell me when they should change as well. For those who are not so prepared, I have a few suggestions that I hope will help.
   Most of the photo shoots that I do last around 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It is my opinion that over 2 hours is too long except in special situations. Most clients will begin to tire and it becomes more difficult to obtain the best results. Within that two hour period, I requests that the client bring a minimum of five different clothing options to wear. A clothes changing break should take place every 15-20 minutes. Even though the photo shoots are fun, they are also hard work. Allowing the client to take a break from posing, smiling, not smiling, etc., will help keep the client focused and excited.

   For the five clothing options I recommend the following. First, wear something that you feel very comfortable in. The first 5-10 minutes of a photo shoot are what I call the "throw away" shots. The client is usually nervous and I am trying to learn their personalities and determine what techniques to use to obtain the best results from them. Although they are called the "throw away" shots, there are often some really good pics that occur during this time.

   Second, wear something that represents the image you are wanting to convey. Are you wanting to appear professional, sports minded, fashion forward, intelligent, fun, etc.? Select clothing that makes you feel like the image you are wanting to convey.

   Third, select a color. Have you ever been told that you look good in a certain color? Select clothing options in a color that you think you look good in. I recommend that you ask your partner, spouse or a close friend that you know will be honest about the color they think you look best wearing. I also recommend that you do some online research about the psychology of color. People perceive a person wearing specific colors in certain ways. I have read that wearing blue for example, suggests trust and credibility.

   Fourth, select something outside your comfort zone. I am not recommending that you select something strange or bizarre unless of course, that is the purpose of the photo shoot. I am suggesting that you try a new style of clothing, a new color or exotic print, wear a hat, wear attention catching jewelry, or find another option that is something you wouldn't normally do. This allows you to experiment a little and have fun. Try something dramatic, or over-the-top. You are already going to have pics wearing something 'normal', so try something that doesn't fit your normal. You may be surprised at how well it turns out.

   Fifh, wear something sexy. This option is totally up to you. You determine what to wear, or what not to wear. You determine how much to wear, or how little to wear. If you are not comfortable with wearing little clothing, wear something that emphasizes your best features. If you have great eyes, wear something in a color that will make those eyes pop, and do a few close ups to emphasize the eyes. If you have a great body...well, you know where I am going there. It's all up to you and your comfort level. And of course, the comfort level of the photographer as well. I have done nude photo shoots. I work with the client to obtain nude pics that are tasteful, professional, and emphasize the best features of the client.
    In summary, the five clothing suggestions are:
  • (1) Something you feel comfortable wearing
  • (2) Something that represents an image you want to project
  • (3) Something in a color you feel you look good wearing
  • (4) Something outside your comfort zone
  • (5) Something sexy

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Keep It Current


   What is happening right now? That is what people want to know. When I travel I search online in the city where I will be staying for something fun to do. And I want to find out about something that is happening the day that I will be in town. So often when I've searched, I've found the information to be outdated. And even if it is only from last weekend, that doesn't help me any in my search for an event, club, etc., or something fun to attend tonight! I cannot stress the importance of keeping information AND IMAGES current.

 


   We live in a society that is accustomed to instant gratification. What they want, they want it now. And in most cases, they can obtain what they want immediately...fast food, online shopping and pick up at a store, twitter/text message questions and replies, etc. It is important for anyone that promotes themselves to remain current. Keep your images and information up-to-date. Your 'glory days' are great for the archives but last week's pageant win is old news. Now you need to look forward to how you'll reign this coming year and what images you want to promote.

 

   If you want to remain in the public eye and thereby promote yourself for future bookings, financial opportunities, etc., you must keep your image before the public. And you cannot continue to keep posting the same old pics, looks, and events. It is important to keep the buzz going. Create a new look. Create a new image. Take photos in a location you haven't used before. Look ahead and plan your promotion for upcoming appearances. What pics will best promote your appearance at that club or event? Yes, this may mean that you'll be taking a lot of pics. But as you know, success requires hard work. You're working hard behind the scenes to reach your goals. Keep your promotions current so you can stay on track and bring your fans along for the ride. Plus, to increase the demand for YOU, you've got to be continually adding new fans. Reach out with new pics and promotions to capture the attention of those who aren't already a part of your loyal following.