Studio 5 Graphics Year in Review 2015

Bre Projector NSFW
Bre Projector NSFW

Studio 5 Graphics Year in Review 2015

 

I know I have not posted since April of 2015, but it has been interesting even if I don’t write amazing things every day about taking pictures. These year end reviews are important to me to help me bench mark where I am and what I have done over the year. One of the hallmarks of 2015 was the reduction in picture taking because of you know life and things like that. 2014 I took somewhere on the order of 28,000 pictures, 2015 saw about 18,000 pictures taken, but the pictures that are coming out are cleaner, brighter, and jacked up, I’m finding my signature now, and you can tell a S5G picture just by looking at it.

 

It is funny where my pictures end up, that will not stop I think.

 

The biggest changes that came this year was watermarking, with the sheer amount of appropriation and borrowing I decided in August to start watermarking everything and pushing up the low res images rather than the full high end images online. This caused no decrease in traffic, but a wad of name recognition that would do a porn star proud. It is just a simple watermark, easily removed by those who chose to do it, but with the amount of meta data in the images now a person has to be really dedicated to remove all the watermarks as they are embedded throughout the image and metadata now.

 

Now to the numbers, we know that was what you are reading this for; image views are how I am measuring success in getting my name out there. Sales are how I am measuring success in turning this into a full time gig.

 

Flickr, starting number 30,631,971, ending number today 53,726,372 comes out to 23,094,401 million picture views this year. Good times on that one seriously. I did not post to Flickr as much as I could have, and keeping somewhat steady with last years 20,408,331 million picture views is a small gain of an 11.64% increase in picture views with some 10,000 pictures uploaded. I also saw a sharp increase in followers, almost doubling going from 700 to 1,587 followers now. Flickr continues to be the top performing site I post at, with a great group of followers the community is strong on this one. We have won awards on Flickr this year, which was new and exciting to experience. As always we really honestly wish that we had a way to sell pictures on Flickr.

 

Smugmug, total for the year comes out to 11,092,337 million picture views, which is just a tad lower than last year’s 13,500,000 million picture views. A 17% decrease in picture views. This year we did not have the great Smugmug boudoir hack, but because of that hack, we have a small and loyal following going on for our work. We also had some sales on Smugmug this year that was nice to have. We posted almost everything into Smugmug this year and used it as a drop site warehouse as we have done almost since inception.

 

Deviant Art – meh, it’s dead, we still have it, but not really using it, we posted maybe a 100 pictures this year and got 17,520 picture views. Time to shut this sucker down. It’s not really an art site anymore, it’s a site where children post their crappily drawn My Little Pony Friendship is magic shit that would be better on their parents refrigerator. Seriously if you are 13 DA is probably awesome and edgy, but it simply is not a place for anything else at this point.

 

Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook – we really tried to use them this year and are seeing a little fame, just a few hundred followers and some likes. Most of what we do is not safe for work, so Tumblr really has been a key for us as we really do not want to spend time in limbo while having our Instagram and Facebook accounts shut down. We would dearly love to have a space that we could post our stuff without having to worry about the morality patrol. You know it is just skin folks. You are all naked under your clothes.

 

This years total, 34,204,258 picture views, with book sales going strong over the year and being a primary source of income. Not many new titles this year, it’s been one of those times where I wanted to cut back and try other things, but 2016 promises to be even more interesting as I have my ideas back and have some amazing photo shoots set up in my head. 2016 is going to be an interesting year.

 

 

Using Liquid Latex in a photo shoot

Liquid Latex Using Liquid Latex in a photo shoot

 

A dear photographer friend of mine this weekend taught me how to use Liquid Latex as part of a photo shoot in a way I never thought of before. All the credits go to JohnMStudios (Facebook link) for showing me how to do this, and a big prop out to Porcelain and Bri for actually allowing this stuff on their bodies and doing the work.

 

The liquid latex to use for this is Ammonia Free liquid latex body paint, it is kind of pricey, but a JohnMStudios used a 4-ounce bottle per model to do this. It covered about ½ of the body for the purposes of the photo shoot over the weekend. It was basically smeared on, and then allowed to get tacky on the models before he did anything.

 

Thing to note, when liquid latex dries it does generate heat so make sure your model knows this otherwise it might be a surprise. And make sure that they have no latex allergies by applying some to a test patch and make sure that there are no adverse reactions being noted on the models skin. Apply the liquid latex to a place not easily noticed in a picture, like the underside of the wrist so that it does not show up in pictures if there is an adverse reaction. Few models ever show the underside of their wrist in pictures.

 

The smudge marks on the naughty bits are done by me so I don’t get shut down by my ISP in case you are wondering. It is not a liquid latex feature or problem, just trying to do my part to keep the Internet PG-13.

 

Once you have the liquid latex tacky, press the models together and have them slowly push apart. The liquid latex will stick to itself more than it will stick to skin, and give you that awesome skin pulling effect that you see in so many horror movies. The good part is that you can get the liquid latex at amazon here (non affiliate link – I don’t get anything if you follow the link), and it comes in a variety of colors, including day glow black light colors so you can do pretty much so anything you want to do here.

 

I personally recommend that you do the skin prep formula as well for the models, but this effect requires you don’t do the skin prep. You want it to pull away in chunks rather than in one solid sheet. Try it out, it is a pretty neat effect, and show JohnMStudios some love by following him on Facebook here.

 

 

Even for a TFP shoot why model releases matter

Miss Katie Mae Liquid Light ShowEven for a TFP shoot why model releases matter

 

Some of this is a total trigger for me, and one of the reasons I really detest doing group shoots. I generally just want someone to sign the model release, and then lets go take pictures. But sometimes you run into people who want to negotiate a separate release than the one the photographer usually uses. Most of us use a Getty Images release or an ASCP release, some of us use a 2257 release, and there are a ton of variations on the theme.

 

A model release expressly grants and limits what can be done with the images the photographer creates. This is important, it grants in general the photographer full rights to the images that are created while the model gets nothing, other than the right to use the pictures to promote themselves.

 

In a TFP shoot, it is generally agreed that some of the pictures will be used to promote the model’s own career, and most photographers will be fine with that.

 

Sometimes models will want a variation on that release for full rights or equal rights as the photographer who takes the picture.

 

I have done this in the past, and it was a horrible experience for me. At times models have so re-imaged the picture in Photoshop that I wanted my name taken off it. Generally photographers will go in with an idea of what they want, and when the image is re-imaged or redone in Photoshop it can be a process of cognitive dissonance with the photographer and the model. Sometimes it is a horrible experience.

 

Another issue comes in when money gets involved. The model is inherently going to have a bigger following than the photographer, and it is super important that the model keeps the watermark on the picture. Full rights allow the model to remove the watermark. In this age of the Internet it is so easy to crop out a watermark, it happens every day everywhere, that it is very easy for the photographer to never be credited for the picture by the model, or the models fans, and not boost their career. Honestly if I was busy shooting super models, I would want my watermark all over that image because I want to leverage my fan base for the model, and I would want the models fan base to check out my other work. I would totally sell an unwater marked image to a magazine, but I need my watermarks intact.

 

Granting a model full right to the images allows the model to sell the picture to their fan base without anything back to the photographer. Photographers can also sell that picture with no money back to the model for their time or effort. So in that respect it is fair, people can use the picture to make money, but nowhere in there does it state the money will be shared equally. This can be a huge problem as the photographer has expenses that the model does not have. Models don’t pay for the studio or location, the gear, often the costume, and otherwise, even for a TFP shoot. The photographer has costs, the model might have costs, and it is very important that money be shared or we stick to the standard release.

 

I won’t even mention the auditing overhead for making sure everyone plays this honest. People do weird things when money is involved.

 

Full rights also grants the right to take down the picture, if they can do everything that the photographer can do, they can say that the picture isn’t flattering, or legally take down the whole gallery. If the picture set is popular (and some of my sets reach into the quarter million picture views), having the model request a take down because they have full rights can be problematic. Suddenly the photographer has to deal with the issue of very popular against the models rights that the photographer gave them.

 

Suddenly a model has regrets and wants the gallery down. With full rights, they can do that, with a standard release they can’t and you can keep your popular gallery going.

 

I am not against sharing, I am against full rights or equal rights for any kind of shoot for a model. And nothing personal, I do have costs like the studio, makeup artists, gear, clothing, and other things that brings the average cost of a TFP shoot to somewhere around $200.00 per shoot. It might be free for the photographer to have the model there, but there are other costs associated with the shoot that the model does not see.

 

This doesn’t even include processing and rendering time.

 

What are your thoughts on this, should models get full rights to the images that the photographer creates, or are we opening a can of worms here that will be the end times of photography?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

Flickr Camera Roll BetaFlickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

 

It is not every day that a photo dumpsite comes up with something interesting, let alone helpful for the photographers. But the new camera roll beta from Flickr actually helps solve some of the problems that photographers might have with understanding how their pictures are consumed or viewed.

 

Before camera roll, finding out how people were consuming pictures was to say the least painful. Camera Roll solves this problem for me in an elegant and beautiful way to determine what pictures are popular, how many times they have been viewed (because I am much more interested in specific picture views than full gallery views for weeding purposes) and which ones are the most popular in a given set.

 

This is a great way of seeing how many picture views each individual picture gets. The tabular format is pretty sweet for seeing how many people like a specific picture that you have and then working backwards from there to work out which pictures are the most popular in a gallery. With the one terabyte limit, this makes weeding out pictures so much easier, you simply drop the ones that have the fewest picture views.

 

The ones with the most picture views stay, the ones with the least get deleted off the system in favor of the better ones, or the ones with the most picture views.

 

I am also finding out that with camera roll some of my experiments of “less is more” or “more is more” in terms of driving picture views, this makes the data pulls much more intuitive than digging through the pictures bit by bit, piece by piece.

 

I am really digging on the new camera roll, and I really hope that the Flickr product management group keeps this feature as part of Flickr.

 

The only other feature that I would really love to see come out of Flickr is a shopping cart so that people can purchase pictures from me directly and I get to use their site to make money. It would totally turn Flickr from a dump site into a portfolio site if they were to do that.

 

If you have not had a chance to take a look at the Camera Roll Beta, and start incorporating it into your statistical view of how your pictures are consumed. Now all that remains is a shopping cart, I really want to see people have the ability to purchase pictures from me there. My stuff is not the kind of stuff that is going to show up in a Getty image search, but it is the kind of stuff that someone might purchase.

 

Latex Model Justine

Justine Latex ModelLatex Model Justine

 

I had a great opportunity to work with Justine one last time before she headed off to the big city to boost her career. There is always something wonderful about shiny latex, and taking latex pictures can be a challenge.

 

Latex is great under flash photography, under continuous lighting the shiny sometimes does not work out the way that it needs to work out with the light reflecting off the model so you get the super shiny highlights.

 

One of the interesting challenges of lighting this is to ensure the backdrop stays white, and that the colors pop all the way through the outfit. In the end I used two barn door spots on the background, and then two 30-inch soft boxes for the model to make sure I got something shiny. I do tend to use a four light setup, one set of lights for the background and one set of lights for the model.

 

To make sure I got the shiny on the latex I used a latex polisher and silicone based lubricating gel. The latex polisher was an excellent touch to make sure I got the shiny look and feel while the lubricating gel was all about getting into and out of the latex while giving it that wonderful wet look that is essential to taking good latex pictures. The stark white background was used for the shoot so that I could get the colors to pop off the outfit and give additional texture and vibrancy to the colors.

 

I am still learning how to do amazing latex pictures, but what I find the most interesting about shooting latex is the phenomenal costs associated with purchasing the outfits. Latex models are also a breed apart when it comes to working with the materials. Some of the best suggestions I got on the care and feeding of latex was from the models I work with. In all this is a fun project to work on, and while I wish I could show you much more, I am still plagued by people trolling through Smugmug looking for naughty pictures, so much of what I do has been locked off and is no longer publicly accessible.

 

 

 

Projektor Ebook Available

Projektor Ebook Available

 

I have been able to finish up a lot of the interior space for Projektor, the new studio art book using humans as a canvas for projected art. Personally I think this is one of the best art books I have done to date and I am really excited about seeing the finished PDF’s on the interior design.

 

The sample blurb for the book is:

 

“Welcome to Projektor, an art book using projected images upon human canvases. The idea of projected images goes back to the early days of photography, but saw a lot of use in the early 1900’s. Bauhaus images used projections, polarization, montage, collage, and other techniques to develop unique works of photographic art. Since then the use of this has gone somewhat out of favor, but is still an important aspect of early photographic techniques. This book recreates some of the techniques but using modern digital equipment as part of the process. “ Projektor Self Blurb

 

Personally I am very excited about this book, it has been long in development, and long in hiring the right people to do help with the project. As I tend to go more for project style art work, very organized photo shoots with a limited number of participants it is always fun when you hit the nail on the head right out of the gate. The link to the ebpub at 4.99 is right here. 

 

I hope you love this book as much as I loved doing it, and enclosed are some sample not safe for work pictures by the way so if you decide to go any further in the entry be aware that someone somewhere is going to get offended, and while we can’t stop that, this isn’t Facebook either. You can hit up my ISP, but my ISP and me have already talked about hosting this kind of content on the site.

 

I would really love to get your feedback on the book, and while the cost of production on this one was more expensive than I thought, you can order the hard cover book here (and sorry hard cover self publishing prices as well) for 24.95. Click on the Lulu link below to capture it and purchase it for your own fine art nude collection of books.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

We are thinking about putting the print editions up on ebay as well, see what we can do with this, we do so few print editions of anything anymore preferring to do kindle editions that it might just be worth taking the more popular kindle editions and doing a physical book of them as well. We will have to see.

 

Lillias Right – Projektor

 

Projektor Lillias Right
Projektor Lillias Right

 

Lady Aera – Projektor

 

Projektor - Lady Aera
Projektor – Lady Aera

 

Justine – Projektor

 

Projektor - Justine
Projektor – Justine

 

I hope you enjoyed the preview images, if you go get the book remember to do a review for us, that is super important to get your feedback either on Amazon or on Lulu, or in the comments below. We will listen and use it to improve our products over time. If you look at our first books and what we are producing now, there is a huge difference, and that is due to user feedback.

 

 

Bring Something Sexy the Movie

Bring Something Sexy the MovieBring Something Sexy the Movie

 

So in case you didn’t know we are part of a Freelance Modeling movie by Rebel and Dark Angel Productions. You can see the teaser trailer right here down below if you are interested in seeing the life of a freelance model.

 

Kristy/Rebel has been one of those folks who inspired me to be a better photographer and take on some of the move interesting art projects like Liquid Light, Projektor and the upcoming idea of “Dark Beauty” although I desperately need to change the name to suit more of what I am going for with the 1920’s 1930’s jazz age photography styles.

 

The teaser trailer is right here:

 

The uncut footage from the liquid light shoot I did with Kristy is right here:

 

In all I am super excited about being in a movie for and about freelance modeling, because this is an important aspect of the industry. I hire only freelance models; I don’t want to work with agency models because all the money does not go to the model. I would much rather the model gets all the cash and calls it good.

 

I also work with freelance models because I enjoy them; they are often freer in emotion and expression than what is coming out of the agency. Plus I get to work with new models, models that I continually seem to rehire depending on the project, and models that are taking an active interest in what I am doing as an art project. I tend to do more art projects than simple fashion or event photography. I have found many agency models to be a bit stiff in how they work, and that seems to be part of the agency system. I need art models, not fashion models and this drives the process.

 

Go check out the movie, check out the web site bring something sexy, and I hope you watch the movie when it comes out, it is going to be a great flick. It was a lot of fun to participate in, and hey it’s our first movie where we are not taking it. That is worth the blog entry and then some.

 

Art, Dreams, Design, Reality