Monday, December 29, 2008

So Much Snow

Yeah, I'm getting tired of all these snow posts, too, but come on! We got hammered. This is a picture from the Saturday after Christmas. At that point we had - no joke - 14 inches of snow in our back yard. Sunday was the first day in over a week that we were able to use our cars to get out. Before then we would just walk to the store.

Of course, if you were to go two blocks away, onto a main street, it was actually rather clear. But there was no way, even with chains, that we could get there. Two lousy blocks.

But we made it through. The only casualties were the missed days of work and a nasty cold. I'm really hoping that there is no more heavy snow this year. I've got cabin fever enough to last all year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

It's supposed to be a rare occurrence here in Seattle. But this past year - actually for the past two to three years - snow has become a part of our winter experiences.

Ugh. I hate snow.

But here are some pictures from the past couple of days. Our dog bounding in the white stuff. Suzette and I on our way to the store. And some poor schmuck who tried to make it up our hill and...well, obviously they didn't make it.

Stay warm!

Happy Hollidays!

It's been an amazing 2008. From assisting on incredible shoots across the state, to finally seeing my own images in print, it's been a time of dreams fulfilled, and new dreams taking over.

So many of you have made this year possible - both personal and professional - I can't begin to thank each of you. Just know that my wife and I think the world of you, and wish you and your families all the best in the coming year.

Happy Holidays!

- Zech, Suzette and Bailey (Franken-dog) Johnson

Five Tips for New Models

One of the joys of being a photographer is the opportunity to work with a number of aspiring models. Because they're new, many models simply don't know how to act before and during a shoot. Here are a few tips that can make the difference between a successful shoot,and never hearing from the photographer again.

1 – Be on time. I can't stress this enough. In many projects the photograph is just one small part of a huge marketing effort. If you're late, and the photographer is standing around twiddling his thumbs while simultaneously trying to convince the art director that everything is under control, you're not just hurting your own image, you could very well be costing companies thousands of dollars. Even if you don't care about your reputation, you've got to care about the bottom line.

2 – Read your model release. Sure, it's written in legalese, but that doesn't mean you should take a few minutes and read it. A good photographer will be happy to explain any part of the release you don't understand, and be willing to work with you if you don't like a section. Remember, if you cross something out, both parties (that means you and the photographer) have to initial the change, or it doesn't count.

3 – Listen to your photographer. This isn't just about standing in a certain way, or lifting your chin to catch a better angle, this is about everything. If the photographer makes a point to tell you that it's going to be a cold and you should bring a coat, don't show up wearing a thin, fleece wrap. Bring a warm coat. If they tell you not to go to a certain area of the location, you'd better not be found after lunch poking around that back bedroom with the police tape across the door. (True story.)

4 – Stay on your mark. There is nothing – and I mean nothing – more frustrating than telling your model not to move while you adjust a light, and when you get back to the camera, the model isn't even in frame any more. Modeling is hard work. Standing in the awkward positions you have to be in to look right on film is physically and mentally demanding. But that's the model's job. When someone says, “I've almost got it. Don't move,” for crying out loud, don't move!

5 – Enjoy yourself. The more you relax, the more fun you project to everybody around you, the better the the pictures will be. Nothing contributes more to the artistic success of a shoot than the attitude of the people involved. Honestly, there are about a million worse jobs in the world than modeling, so have some fun with it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Catching Up

Winter has firmly set her grip upon the Pacific Northwest, and with the onset of eight-hour days of sunlight (if we're lucky), endless gray skies and bone-chilling rain, I figured I had better take a little time to catch up.

It's been WAY too long since my last post, and good things are happening all around. Magazine work is coming in, and what's more interesting is the amount of jewelry work I'm getting. Not that you'll hear me complaining. I love shooting jewelry. There's something about the time and care it takes to really make a piece (or pieces) shine in their best light that appeals to the puzzle-hound in me.

Here are some recent pictures to let you know what I've been up to.

This first image is from jewelry designer Camilla Rich (aka. Reba Bennett). She's a fantastic designer from Seattle who recently had a sold-out show at Clutch, Seattle's premier high-end handbag store. (Yup, high-end handbags. With all the drooling my wife was doing, I should have brought a mop.) Congrats Reba, and I'm looking forward to our next shoot.

We move from the beautiful to the tragic, as here I am, celebrating my - gulp - 36th birthday. Man, I am SO old! It was a great evening. Thanks to all my friends who came out and partied it up into the wee hours. Especially huge thanks go to my friends Jef and Molly. Molly was about 8 1/2 months pregnant and looked like she was going to have the baby at any moment. (Happy news! She had her second daughter just over a week ago, and everybody is doing wonderfully.)

I had my share (and several other people's shares) of the grain and the grape, which just reminded me - again! - that I am not 21 anymore.

Finally, here's a shot from a recent shoot I did with a couple of friends. Rosalie and Pixie Z are two really fun women who wanted to do a series based on different styles of burlesque. We started in the 20's in Germany, and are going on from there. They were huge troopers. Working in my very cold garage-studio and only complaining a little bit. Can't wait to see what happens next!

There have been lots of other stuff going on. I'm amazed at the number of meetings I have in the next few weeks, meetings with art directors, big-name catalog retailers, models, a dominatrix (for photo purposes only, I can assure you), and a few others tossed in for the fun of it.

This time I won't wait two months to post about it. I promise.