It seems nowadays anybody with a camera is calling themselves a photographer. As models we have to be wary who we shoot with or as business owners or even simply consumers, who we work with. I’ve had the privilege of working with some great photographers, Ryan Kerns, Jt Gray, Marlowe Holt, Bob Coello, Paul Kusaba, Jayson Tanega, John Garcia and Vince Cavataio. And there are some great photographers I’m dying to work with like Harold Julian, Nimai Wong, Russell Tanoue, Tim Orden and Brandon Ching. And in between, sorting out the professionals from the amateurs can be exhausting. Working with new names can be scary. Time is money and wasting time and money is what we are trying to avoid.
On my way, I have had the unfortunate experiences of working with un-reputable “GWC’s” that ultimately ended up wasting my time. James Thompson from JZL visions is one of them. He is a young photographer from California, whom I met from a mutual friend. I don’t necessarily do TFP per say, but I will to build new relationships with people I have met and possibly that could build into a business relationship. I did him a favor and shot with him. I had my first shoot with James on a windy day at Lanikai. I had paid for makeup and hair out of my own pocket which laid flat immediately from the humidity. Beginning the shoot, the lighting was off, I had to tell him it was wrong. I mean, I’m just a model, not a photographer. Shouldn’t he have known that? So finally, he got the lighting right. But all he wanted to do was shoot bikini pictures and repeatedly asked me to take my top off. I didn’t want to take my top off as I am picky who I do implied nudity photos with. Any dumb ass can take a picture of a beautiful naked girl and make it look beautiful, but what I’m worried about is looking bad. That is exactly what James did, make me look bad. There were 3 photos in the shoot that were OK but nothing useable. On top of that, I was suppose to do some fitness photos for my website and flier, and he rushed through that in less than 10 minutes and we got no photos. I thought it was super rude and unprofessional because when it came to the lingerie part he wanted to shoot forever, but I refused and ended the shoot because he asked me to get in the water in my $200 Victoria Secret Collection lingerie. He wanted me to walk in the sand in my $1200 Manolos. I refused. When I told him I would if he paid for it, he declined. Of course, he did, he works at Senor Frogs or some bs like that for minimum wage.
He asked to shoot for my event on Sunday, and I obliged. I told him that we could use his photos for the event, and that I will logo him and promote him as we build a relationship. Brand recognition is not built over night. It’s built over time and through loyalty and continuing to promote. So if he was expecting 5 girls to call him to pay to shoot, when they saw my crap photos, he is tripping. So it’s 4 days before the event and I call him to confirm and drop off flyers, and he tells me he can’t do it because he is moving in two weeks and doesn’t care about brand recognition. He isn’t making money so it’s a loss for him. WTF! When I chewed him out, he had the audacity to say I was difficult to work with. Any photographer who has worked with me knows I am a professional model, I get the job done, but I am fun and adventurous. I just don’t take my clothes off for amateur photographers or ruin $200 lingerie and $1200 Manolo Blahniks. Why haven’t I sent you work? Because you suck. You’re unprofessional. And this is our first business venture together, and you flaked and screwed me over. Not because you had something important to do. Because you committed and talked up a big game, and decided not to deliver.
I do admit, some of his stuff can be unique, but a lot of it inconsistent and amateur. I would not pay $200 to shoot with him. I wouldn’t pay $1. For $200 I can shoot with Russell Tanoue with hair and makeup included. He doesn’t take time to set up the picture or see a vision. He is mostly just clicking and shooting.
Heres some of his photos
The photoshopping is really cool on this pic but it’s a horrible photo. Bad lighting. And what is between her legs?
Anybody can take a picture of a beautiful girl in a bikini. Bad lighting. Epic fail!