Photographers Get No Credit

I have been thinking on this subject a lot recently. Partly because I had an interesting experience with this, but the reality is Photographers get no credit for the images and work we create. I’m not really sure why, to be honest, because so many other creative artists get credit for their work, why not photographers?

Let me explain a little about what happened to be recently, and I want to be clear, some of this is my fault, and I know and recognize that.

A few months ago my wife got a gig working as a Special Effects Makeup Artist on the set of a small independent movie. She was very excited because the film was being produced specifically for an upcoming film festival. A few days before the film was to start shooting a call went out from those in charge of the film asking if anyone knew a photographer who could shoot behind the scenes shots. Of course Leslie suggested me and showed the producers my work, which they were delighted by and asked her to speak to me about being on set. I of course agreed, but was surprised that I was never contacted directly. Like ever.

The first day of filming arrived and I had still not heard a word from anyone on set. I had no idea what the producers, director, or anyone else for that matter was looking for. So I shot an email to the director asking a series of questions.

  • What kind of photographs did he want?
  • What is the turn around time?
  • How many images did he expect?

When he got back to me his answers were all very vague, but the bottom line was he wanted BTS shots, movie poster shots, group photos, etc.

Now this is the part that is my fault. I agreed to what he was asking for and did not have him sign any kind of agreement.

  • Lesson Learned – Folks if you are doing work as a photographer always and I mean ALWAYS have your client sign an agreement!

This is why they say experience is the best teacher, but more on that later.

So I showed up, had full and complete access to the set and took some pretty amazing shots including BTS, a very cool movie poster image, and a lot of great images of the cast and crew.

Now one thing I forgot to mention. The film festival that this movie was being shot for had one single requirement, everyone who worked on set could not get paid. So everyone from the Director down to the actors were doing this for free. Which, to be honest, I thought was a very cool challenge.

Making films takes a lot of people with a lot of skills. Skills that are usually expensive. So for a producer and director to convince all these people to come together and offer their services free of charge was a monumental feat in and of itself.

Now, fast forward a few days after filming had wrapped. I had taken over 6000 images on set and had a lot of photos to work though, but despite all of that I had managed to find 20 images that I had pulled and edited right away. One of them was the Movie poster image…

These are some of the images without all the movie information included, because I am not trashing on the movie, its actors, director, or producers. To be honest working with this cast was a pleasure and I would do it again in a heart beat. This is just a personal rant about how little credit Photographers seem to get.

What surprised me, and what I personally have been struggling with since is this…A few days later someone from the film was attending a conference where they were a guest. As a guest they were selling headshots and posters, and I noticed that one of the images from above was included.

Now this is where not having a contract comes in, and why experience is the best teacher. I had never said the cast and crew couldn’t use the image. I had no contract requiring the cast and crew to purchase the image and/or rights to the image. But it has bothered me ever since that someone used an image that I created and designed, to make money and profit, without my consent or permission.

But the truth of the matter is this happens all the time! Photographers, who put a great deal of effort into creating, designing, editing, and printing their images get almost no recognition for their work. Think of your favorite movie poster…who took the picture or pictures to make that image? Think of your favorite picture…do you know the photographers name that took it?

What I can’t figure out is this, do photographers get little credit because we created this reality? Every year I see photographers offering discounts, package deals, holiday specials, and very very cheap photo sessions. Did we the photographers create a market where our skills and services are just not seen as valuable? And if we did how do we reclaim our worth and change public perception?

I don’t really have any answers for that, but it is certainly a question to consider. If you have any thoughts leave a comment down below. Also if you would like VIP access to some of my photography, prints, and thoughts don’t forget that I have a Patreon you can sign up for. However, if Patreon is not your favorite feel free to follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

Creative Photography

Creative photography

Have you noticed that Photographers have lost their creativity on Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter? Creative photography used to be all about artistic expression, now it’s just about copying everyone else.

So it has been a hot second since I have created any Tiktoks. Considering just over a year ago I ran a very successful Tiktok channel, had thousands of followers, and that following eventually led to me starting a YouTube channel with over 10k subscribers, you would think I would still be making Tiktoks right?

Not so much.

Why? Well, the biggest reason was that Tiktok didn’t want me. My first account went from 0 followers to over 500k followers in only a few months, and then I got my first Tiktok ban. So I started a second account, grew that one to 250k followers in less than a month, and got a second ban. Now I am on my third account, but by this point, I was tired and wanted to focus on other things, like my photography.

Now, many months later I decided I wanted to start making Tiktoks that focus on photography, and today I decided to hop onto Tiktok and scan around some videos to see what other photographers were posting. After only 10-15 minutes of scrolling, I was utterly disappointed. Going onto Tiktok I was literally able to find hundreds of photographers, but every single one of them was doing different variations of the same video.

  1. Complaining about clients asking for RAW files – Not creative photography
  2. Complaining about shooting weddings – Not creative photography
  3. Complaining about clients – Not creative photography
  4. The “I am a photographer and I took this picture” trend – Sort of Creative Photography
  5. Complaining about “having” to always take pictures at family events – Not creative photography
  6. Complaining about Instagram and having to make Tiktoks or Reels now – Not creative photography
  7. Complaining about not getting likes and/or comments – Not creative photography

Now there is A LOT to unpack here, but here are a few of my thoughts upfront.

  1. Why are we complaining about our industry and job? Many photographers went freelance/full-time to escape working the 9-5. To be our own boss, and to have both financial and personal freedom. So maybe we should stop complaining about all the things that bring us the very things we wanted before we became photographers.
  2. Why are we just copying what others are doing? As photographers we are artists. Each one of us has our own style and creative expressions, and we SHOULD bring those talents and skills to our videos. Stop copying everyone else and let’s find a way to tell our own personal stories through video.
  3. As photographers we want our pictures to mean something. We want our clients to like what we create, and more importantly, we ourselves should like the art we produce. Basing your self-worth on how many likes you get is akin to being in grade school and being upset because you didn’t get enough valentines. The internet is fickle and the opinions of the internet en mass should never matter to you. As long as both you and your client like what you’ve created you should be grateful.
  4. I will admit I do get a little irritated when family members assume you will do the photographs for a family event, but also I love being able to take photos of my family and create a piece of art that will make my whole family smile. For example, the photo below is of a recent beach trip with my WHOLE family. The photo was a quick accident, but I loved it, and edited it because it captured what and who my family really is. I see everyone’s personalities and senses of humor in it. When I see that photo I do not see a staged fake photo of my family…I see the real family that I grew up with. That is worth a lot to me.
  5. Finally, there are a lot of complaints about Instagram changing its algorithm. There is one constant in this world…Change. The world is very different today than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, or 30. Every time the world changes people will complain. But, the people who can adapt, improvise, and overcome will be the ones who are successful in this world. So instead of spending energy complaining, figure out how to succeed in this new world where video matters.
creative photography
My family

Thoughts on Freelance Photography Resources

I always thought if I ever became a published Author this Self Portrait should be my authors photo

I decided this month that I was tired of working for other people, and to pursue freelancing photography. This is/was a very scary decision as it means I will not have a “stable” income stream at the beginning of this new adventure. But I simply can not continue working for people who make bad choices, see their employees as slaves, and feel trapped in a job for the sake of a paycheck.

So here I am, once again trying something new and different. Something that honestly scares the living shit out of me, but something that, I hope, in the end, will be worth it.

Now, like probably so many others before me, as I pondered the idea of going freelance I did a lot of Google searches looking for articles, resources, and guidance on how to be a good freelance photographer, where to find work, and how to keep good clients. You would think in today’s world and with the vastness of the internet I would be able to find some good solid resources…but alas, I could not.

That is not to say that I did not find a plethora of articles and blog posts, because I did, but I could not find any that were of use or help to me.

Why? Well because they all said the same things just using different words. Every single article, blog post, online magazine article, etc all said the same things that freelance photographers needed to do. Here let me summarize them for you.

How to be a Freelance Photographer

  1. Buy a camera – Really? No shit Sherlock. Are there really people out there who don’t own a camera who wake up one day and think…”I want to be a Freelance Photographer” and then need to be TOLD to “buy a camera”?
  2. Set up a website – Again this seems like a no-brainer right? If you are going to become a Freelance anything you are basically starting a business population 1, and that business will need a website so clients can find you.
  3. Build a Portfolio – OK so I will be honest I was surprised at how many photographers try to “become photographers” without any kind of a Portfolio. TBH I was even more surprised at how many people don’t even know what a portfolio is or how to use a portfolio. So rest assured this is a topic I will be covering in a future post. Bottom line my advice to anyone is to get 10 good portfolio pieces BEFORE you go into photography as a business.
  4. Get your first client – Wow really?!? I need a client?!!? I NEVER would have thought of that! There were SO MANY sites that had this on their articles, but when you drilled into the HOW you find clients the material was surprisingly lacking.
  5. Create a schedule – This was often an advertisement for some sort of calendar app that was sponsoring the post.
  6. Edit your photos – OK but who is giving clients unedited RAW photos?! Anyone? Bueller, Bueller, Bueller? Again these kinds of articles usually advertised software like Adobe Lightroom in these posts, but I am often surprised how few photographers talk about the importance of editing. Taking the shot is honestly only part of the work. Editing is just as important as taking a good picture.

Pretty basic stuff to be honest, and if you ask me these kinds of articles lack the fundamentals of running a business, which is what Freelance is. Thankfully I have run my own company before when I ran my own gym called Geek and Gamer Fitness, plus I have worked in business, sales, and marketing for over a decade. So I plan to write a bit about the real fundamentals that I think are important about being a Freelance Photographer. Some of these topics will include…

  1. Basic & Advanced Sales Techniques
  2. What is a CRM and how/when/should you use it
  3. Cold call techniques
  4. Where to really search for clients
  5. How to set your rates, and how to find clients that won’t make you discount yourself
  6. The care and feeding of editing photos

So stay tuned to this blog for future articles. Also don’t forget to check out my Instagram, Twitter and my Patreon for all my updates, thoughts, photos, BTS, and more.

Some promotional photos were taken at Paddywagon Irish Pub Lake Buena Vista

Playalinda Beach

This Friday I have a booked family photography session on the beach. So, like any good photographer I headed out to the beach to play around with some “test shots” on the beach. My wife and I decided to go to Playalinda Beach here in FL, and let me tell you…Playalinda Beach is now our favorite east coast beach in Florida.

For those of you like us who do not like packed and over crowded beaches Playalinda Beach is the beach for you. We parked at parking lot 11 and had 400 yards of beach in either direction pretty much to ourselves.

Now it is worth mentioning that at and around parking lot 13 nude sunbathing is allowed. This probably is why there are so few people and specifically children around this beach. Now while we did not venture down to lot 13 we did see 2 nude male sunbathers and 1 female. To be honest it was what it was and it really did not detract from our experience.

Playalinda Beach is also known to be the best beach to watch rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center, and from our vantage point at lot 11 we could see the launch tower, and plan to go back for a launch in the future.

The waves were awesome, the water…warm, and overall was an absolute delight to visit. 10 out of 10 recommend.

Stretching for both Models & Photographers

This past weekend I had the opportunity to organize a TFP (Trade-For-Photo) photo-shoot in Kissimmee FL. I organized the event to allow my wife Leslie, who is a special effects makeup artist, the chance to get some new portfolio pieces under a controlled environment. Controlled being the key word in that sentence, because when you are applying makeup on the set of a movie or TV show there is often not enough time to stop and get a photo.

The event produced some amazing portfolio pieces, and 9 models, 3 SFX artists, and 2 photographers (including myself) participated. Despite the event being a success, and us achieving the goal of the event, everyone involved in the event was exhausted by the end of the weekend. Contrary to popular belief photography and modeling work is hard WORK! Both photographer and model are required to endure some very physical challenges including, but not limited to, being on your feet for hours at a time, working under hot lights, holding a variety of poses for long periods of time, and so much more.

So I guess it should not have come as any surprise that one of my models looked me up and saw that I used to own and operate Geek and Gamer Fitness, and Olympia WA based gym that catered to the geeky side of fitness. When she saw this she reached out to me and asked if I had any suggestions on good stretches models could do to help with their flexibility and endurance. It was and still is a great question, and I asked her if I could have a few days to ponder her question so I could answer it properly.

So without further delay here are my Best Fitness and Flexibility Tips for Models and Photographers.

Drink Water
Honestly this may seem like a simple tip, but believe me when I tell you how few of us drink enough water. Photography shoots are often early in the morning, and I have been on more then enough shoots where both models and photographers are running on coffee and canned caffeine. Your body needs water to function and drinking plenty of water will have tremendous benefits to any shoot you are doing, both in front of and behind the lens.

Have a regular fitness routine
There is no right or wrong way to exercise and workout. As long as you are moving your body in a safe way you will reap the benefits. Some people like walking/running, others, like myself, enjoy weight lifting, some people like yoga. How you exercise is not as important as actually exercising. I often suggest to models Yoga with Adriene. She literally has hundreds of free guided yoga videos that have all sorts of challenge and skill levels. Leslie and I often find ourselves doing one of her videos when we can’t make it to the gym.

Stretch before and after the shoot
Stretching does not have to be complicated, or long. Further there is no end of free guided videos on YouTube. In fact doing a quick search on YouTube just now gave me this.
Now these three tips may seem overly simplistic, and you may even be inclined to ignore this because of how simple these tips are. In our society we have been led to believe simple things have little value, and complicated things have more value. This isn’t true. In fact, it is often the simple things in life that bear the most fruit and yield the greatest results.

So try these things and I promise that they will help you during your next photo shoot.

In the meantime if you would like to follow me on my other socials I encourage you to do so. Check the links here.

Best Instagrammable Spots in Cleveland

Last week I had the opportunity to fly out to Cleveland Ohio for a trade conference. To be honest I was not really looking forward to Cleveland because, I thought to myself, what’s in Cleveland? However, I was pleasantly surprised by how many amazing photo locations were all around the city. Further, I was even more thrilled to discover that this city is a great spot to just go on a photo walk-about and practice some good old-fashioned street photography.

On my first night there I visited The Fountain of Eternal Life located at 120 Public Square.

The Fountain of Eternal Life, Cleveland Ohio

The Fountain of Eternal Life, also known as the War Memorial Fountain and Peace Arising from the Flames of War, is a statue and fountain in downtown Cleveland, Ohio designed by Cleveland Institute of Art graduate Marshall Fredericks and dedicated on May 30, 1964.

I was lucky that this beautiful work of art was located right outside my hotel.

On my second day in Cleveland, I decided to go on a bit of a walkabout and ended up at The Old Arcade Located at 401 Euclid Ave. I honestly was not prepared for the beauty of this place. I could have honestly spent hours inside taking photos, and I was lucky to arrive at 7 after the shops inside had closed, so I had the entire place to myself.

When I walked in I started cursing myself for not packing a tripod on this trip but was lucky enough that a very nice security guard was willing to take a few photos of me. She got a little nervous when I handed her my Sony A7iii after I got the setting right, but she did a great job!

The Old Arcade, Cleveland Ohio

The Arcade in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, is a Victorian-era structure of two nine-story buildings, joined by a five-story arcade with a glass skylight spanning over 300 feet, along with the four balconies.

On my last day in Cleveland, I decided to do another walkabout, only this time at night. As I stated before the city is beautiful and filled with interesting people, stunning works of art, and old architecture. So if you are ever in the Cleveland area make sure to bring your camera. It’s well worth it!

If you are interested in seeing more of my photography make sure to check out my Instagram & Patreon.

I Will Never Understand Christianity

Having a piece of content you created go viral is always a surreal experience. It’s usually unexpected, and the reaction from the audience is never what you think it will be. Over the years I have had 1 or two things go viral, and overall I can’t say I have ever really enjoyed the experience. When it happens you are filled with an intense sense of vulnerability as hundreds of eyes are watching you, and deep down you know you are being looked at by predators.

That is all the internet really is these days, a hunting ground for predators.

So I was not really surprised when one of my latest Instagram posts started attracting the attention of the right-wing, conservative, religious zealots. Desperate to save our Hell-bound souls through Jesus Christ and his forgiving love.

I will never understand how Christians can talk about God’s love and devotion to the human race, and in the very next breath belittle and name-call those who behave or believe differently than they do. I don’t recall ever reading any stories in scripture about Jesus doing such things. In fact, I seem to recall Jesus asking God to forgive the very men who crucified him. So where did Christianity adopt intolerance? When did Christians choose to behave as cruel people hell-bent on condemnation and punishment?

I don’t understand it, and I am not sure I ever will.

Planned Parenthood – Bans Off Our Bodies Rally/March – Orlando Florida

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend, support, and photograph the Planned Parenthood – Bans Off Our Bodies Rally/March here in Orlando, Florida.

This is the first protest I have ever attended in my life and I was fortunate enough to attend with my wife Leslie and our friend Carrie.

Now I am not one who usually speaks up about politics. I have found that most political conversations don’t usually involve people being willing to listen and/or understand. They have their point of view, often a continuation of how they were raised, or they are regurgitating their religious point of view, and they are unwilling to see the other side, or reason that they could be wrong. This kind of thought process often leads to intense feelings of anger and hate, with each side vehemently defending their side and point of view, neither side being willing to listen and/or budge, and often ending in name-calling, threats, and sometimes violence.

It is a symptom of the indoctrination we impose upon our children. I believe the phrase goes something like “When I was born I was given a name, political party, and religion, and I spent the rest of my life trying to escape.” What is even worse is within the indoctrination we impose on children we also imprint upon them a fear that anyone who thinks, behaves, acts, or does differently than us is inherently dangerous, and therefore must be crushed into submission.

This is what our political system has become. Two sides feel the other side is wrong, and so each side takes up arms against the other, trying to force each side to live and act in accordance with their beliefs.

Now I am not a political scientist, nor am I a politician or lawyer, so I am no expert when it comes to speaking on matters of law. However much has been written about the subject of Roe v Wade by people much smarter and much more informed than I, and I encourage you to read all you can.

What I can say is this. Yesterday’s rally/march was a community of people standing up for what they believed. They did so without violence, and walked side by side, together, in solidarity. As I watched my wife take a stand and walk for what she knew was right I was incredibly proud of her.

The issue of Roe v Wade is an important issue to be sure, and I encourage all of you to listen to those more knowledgeable than I and be willing to see things from their point of view. Forcing people to act, behave, or live as you have never in the history of the world gone well for anyone, and I hope that we do not try to do such things to the women of our country in the future.

Casting Call – Orlando Models

Over the last several months I have had a great deal of interested people asking me to put some photoshoots together. The locations and areas vary, but include Orlando FL, Atlanta GA, Charlotte NC, and San Francisco CA.

So I have decided to start putting together photoshoots in these areas, starting with Orlando.


  • Date – TBD
  • Time – TBD
  • Where – We are renting THIS AirBnB
  • Who – Male and Female models are welcome. The type of shoot will be discussed between the model and me the photographer. However I am open to doing portrait, boudoir, sensual, and candid.
  • What – I will have two makeup artists on site who specialize in both beauty and SFX makeup. So makeup will be available to all models.
  • Cost – We ask all models tip their makeup artists and donate what they can to the cost of the AirBnB. I am aware everyone has different financial abilities so I honestly do not care if you donate $1 or $100 just so long as you contribute.

If you are interested in participating please shoot me an email at

Museum of Art

When I was younger I must confess I didn’t understand art very well. The passion, complexity, and heart that many artists pour into their work were lost on me.

I remember once when I was around 14 years old, my family took a trip to Washington D.C.. I was very excited about the trip because we planned to go to the Air and Space Museum, and the Natural History Museum. What could be better for a young 14-year-old boy than fighter jets and Dinosaures? The museums were wonderful, and I even walked away with my own set of dog tags that I wore well into my 20s if you can believe that.

As our time in Washington came to a close conclusion my Father offered for us to go see either the Modern Art Museum or the Classical Art Museum. Knowing next to nothing about art I remember our family deciding to go to the Modern Art Museum.

We walked around looking at the various sculptures and paintings, but I didn’t really understand what I was looking at. To me, they were just pictures and statues. I actually remember my father and me poking fun at a particular painting which was a large white canvas with a single black stroke of paint down the middle. To us, it was just a canvas for a single brush stroke. Something so simple that a child could do it. Why all the fuss? Why was it on display? More important why was it sold for several thousands of dollars? We didn’t get it.

As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate art more and more. Perhaps it is my own efforts to create art, or maybe it is just the wisdom of age and the collection of a lifetime of different experiences. Regardless, now when I see a work of art, be it a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, etc. I see the artist behind the work. Their life and experiences shape their creative mind and push them to express themselves. What is even more impressive, to me, is when an artist chooses to display their work for the world to see.

Many artists, myself included, use art as a way to express the pain and hardships that they carry within themselves. The artistic craft they choose to practice offers a path to a stiller and more quiet mind. A mind that is often very loud and filled with doubt. Yet, despite their demons screaming at them that they are no good, these brave artists choose to not only create art but share it. If that isn’t an example of bravery then I don’t know what is.

So the next time you are looking at someone’s art, don’t just see the thing itself but look deeper. See the artist, see the passion, see the struggle, and applaud the bravery.

Just a reminder that if you would like to see more of my photography you can support me on PATREON or follow me on Instagram.