Thursday, December 31, 2009

Being 2010!

If I ever shoot your wedding, I warn you...I may walk out if you play MC Hammer (joke)...but he was have to be legit...2 legit.

So if you're an up & comer in the photography business, here's a little help making you legit.
Now I preface this article warning you that I'm not the expert in this field...but after much investigation and plenty of calls with the "tax people", this is what was suggested to me. Oh...this is for Florida folks...and more specifically, Jacksonville area up & comers...if you're reading this from a different state...different states have different laws...

I don't have a particular order of doing this...I'm sure there can be one...but I did it as I became informed.

Now with that said, you should probably do this first - register your fictitious name. That is register that sweet and sappy photography business name...(I don't recommend this from a business stand point...I say use the Mary Kay and Louis Vuitton approach...brand yourself with your own name!). But if you must use a fictitious name, it cost around $50 dollars...and it's a must. Technically, you must at least advertise once a year in a newspaper or something trade with someone...I suggest. If you don't register your fictitious name, you could receive a misdemeanor! If you are using your first and last name, then you don't have to register your fictitious name because it's not fictitious...and because it's not fictitious, you can save some money! In any case, here's where you register your Fictitious Name.

Now that you have done that, you need to get an Occupational License...which just recently changed it's title to Business Tax Receipt. Now to do this one, you need to put gas in your car and go to 231 E. Forsyth St. Rm 130 Jacksonville,'s in downtown.
When you go there, bring your Fictitious Name Registration, a picture ID, and your SS#. This one will cost between $40-$50...if I remember correctly. If you don't start your business until after April...or something like that, they pro-rate it...or cut the price in half. Double check on this money info...but I do know for sure that you need this Business Tax Receipt!

So you took care of go fill out the application to collect you can pay your taxes. In my case, my taxes are paid quarterly...they use some kind of method to determine your pay might have to do with the type of business you're running...or how much you'll be making...shoot, I'm not sure...but they will let you know when you have to pay. This is one I'm 95% certain that it is FREE! Go here. Fill out this form...make sure to follow the directions. The tax form I have to use 4 times a year is the DR-15. Note: What I have been told by the "tax people"...and what I have read on these official websites, is that us photographers cannot charge taxes on our services. But you can charge taxes on products like discs, albums, prints, etc...and I highly suggest that you do charge those taxes or else it's coming out of your pocket...which I say by experience...urgghhh...

This is also neat guide.

Lastly, get camera insurance. There's plenty of companies out there...but have fun finding them...really...I had the hardest time. But here's who I use - Safeco. It cost about $500 dollars a that's based on the cost of my equipment. They break the payments down it's $40 and some per month. It covers all of my stuff in just about any tragic event, minus my if you're camera tossing...and you happen to catch a bad case of butter fingers, that's on you! Hence, don't camera toss...I won't say it's worth it! This insurance also covers me in case I overheat my flash and burn down the venue where you're getting married (which I think might be impossible?). It covers me in case someone trips over my lightstand and breaks their insurance will cover a few $100,000 for their medical. It covers my stuff in an event of a fire in my house...or some ass breaks into my house and steals my stuff. Now with that said, it doesn't cover your stuff when that ass breaks into your car and steals your stuff...unless, you tell you car insurance that you are using your vehicle for business purposes...and then they will most likely increase your my case they didn't...Geico...hint, hint...

Now rewinding to all the tax stuff...I file my taxes as a Sole every few months I have to pay my sales taxes...and then in April, I file my taxes just like everyone else.

Now, this isn't the only way to do this...there's LLC and S-Corp...and perhaps others. S-Corp is rather complicated...and I think you need board members...but don't quote me on that. LLC is cool...but it cost a couple hundred dollars or so. But the cool thing with LLC is that if you get sued, they can only go after your business assets. In my case, because I'm Sole Proprietor, they could go after everything I have...but I'm not overly concerned with someone suing me...knock on wood!

I hope this helps...because when I got started, I really had no one to guide me with this took a course of a few months to put all the puzzle pieces together...but for you, I offer this blog post...

Note: I'm no expert on this tax/business stuff...the information above was given with good intent...and if I accidentally have given the wrong info or am missing something, it's bad on you for not double checking...but it's also bad on the persons who gave me this information...who get paid to give this information! So double check everything I said ask other photographers.

Again, I hope this is helpful and points you in the right direction so that you can be legit in 2010! Happy New Years...and here's a picture to make a long post even longer!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Latino Project #5: Mabel Nunez - Realtor

Participant #5 = Mabel Nunez. She works for Exit Realty. We shot this session in Springfield. The house is an historical house...very BIG...nice kitchen...has an awesome porch...and if you like living near downtown, you could probably walk there from this house! Anyway, this project is not about the house, but if you like it, contact Mabel...the link is above.

Today this project is about Mabel. Mabel is Cuban...born in Cuba. In 1980, her family fled Cuba during the Mariel Boat Lift . They moved to Lake Worth, FL. Mabel now lives here in Jacksonville...helping you find your dream home!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Segue from my last post...

Mentioned in my last post was a segment about mistakes...that we all make them...and we just have to figure a way to fix them...

Here's a video of Chase Jarvis''s 2000 frames...over 5 days...a few personal projects of his. He intentionally created this video so we can all see that not all of his shots are perfect...he has to work...manipulate...and be persistent to get the right shot...

He says only 6-10 of these images are worthy of!

Check out this one too!

Note: I'm not too crazy with the theme of the first shoot in this video...I wouldn't watch it around my has guns in it...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tips...encouragement for photographers...

I borrowed the below content from Nick Onken's blog who apparently borrowed it from Leslie Burns' blog who is the author of what is written below...and by the way, I highly recommend visiting these two blogs on a regular basis. This information is quite old (in the blog world) - it's from July 2008...but the info stands the test of time. With that said, I think this is good stuff for us photographers to keep in mind...and if you're not a photographer, I am certain you can apply this in your life in some way!


"1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. You are going to forget a battery or mess up a setting or forget to double-dog confirm that one stylist or something. None of this is terminal. You’re a creative problem-solver–you’ll find a way through it.
2. You are not your images. If you show your book to someone and they don’t like it, don’t take it personally. Art is subjective. Just because your work isn’t right for them doesn’t mean you suck.
3. No matter how much you know, someone else will always know more. Always be learning and be willing to learn. Take classes. Listen to clients. Be open to other ideas.
4. Don’t get stuck on the final. You may know exactly what image you want to make, but if you stop there or hyper-focus on making only that image, you may miss out on an even better image. Play.
5. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience. Bob Smith, corporate “suit” client, may offer up the lamest idea in the universe on a shoot. Be kind to him–he is trying. Be kind to your assistants and other crew too while you are at it. You are not a god (read #1 again) but another human being like those around you (you just have talent in an area they don’t). Don’t be an egotistical jerk.
6. The only constant in the world is change. ”While we’re here, can we just shoot…” and (on-set) “I just found out we need the model to be blonde” and the like are opportunities, not difficulties–if you choose to look at them that way. Same for market changes and technology changes. Be open to change.
7. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position. You can’t force a client to respect you, but you can earn that respect by demonstrating your professionalism compassionately and openly at every opportunity.
8. Advocate for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat. They client may say they want your look, but sometimes the boss of the client’s boss’ boss wants is how s/he wants it and that is just that. Pitch your ideas, advocate for them passionately, then let go when it won’t change a thing and cash the check in peace.
9. Reach out. You can’t expect people to know about you and your work just because you have a website and even if you send promos. You need to get out there and meet people. The more you put yourself out there to the world, the greater the chance you’ll connect with someone.
10. It’s art–not a tumor. If your work is serious work, like drudgery, then you might want to think about another career. You need to love what it is you are doing–making images needs to be a joy, a release, a passion–it needs to be the fun part. If you don’t absolutely love it, you need to try to re-find that fun/passion/joy. Otherwise, you might as well do something that has a regular paycheck and health insurance."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Giety, Tim, & baby Shireen!

Greetings everyone! Meet Giety, Tim, and Shireen! Once again, Anna Marie (Jacksonville Magazine) got a gift...this time it was for her other son, Tim...and his family! If you scroll down a couple of posts, you can view Tim's brother's shoot (Kelly & Chris).

Giety & Tim are very laid back...perhaps down to earth is a better description...they're aren't so laid back that you'd wonder if they had a heart beat...but they are so laid back that a sense of peace emanates from their family...
I met them at Anna Marie's house (which is super cool...I love the wood floors...and her father's photos). We hung-out...and waited patiently to capture some sweet moments.

I'm going to try something new, because I realize a few photogs visit my I want to offer more than just fotos.
So here's a little info:
I shot primarily with my 50mm & a 35mm lens that Michelle loaned to me ...thank you! All the shots here, except for the one where the family is laying down and Giety is resting with Shireen, are shot with the 50mm. I borrowed the 35mm b/c I knew I'd have some tight spaces...I chose the 35mm over my 17-50mm because I don't like the distortion from the 17-50mm...and because it's widest aperture is only 2.8...the 35mm opens up to 1.8...hence, I get more light...more ambient light...less artificial light needed. But with that said, only one of these pictures was shot with natural light, exclusively. Can you figure out which one?

What I learned today?
With all sessions with babies or kids...I learned to be wait...if the baby cries, take a break...don't try to force anything. We have to accept, as photographers, that we aren't always in charge of our a matter of fact, the more space and less direction I give, the better the results!

Give me feedback on my info...let me know if it helps any...


Belated Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, & Solstice!

Hopefully I covered them all...oh, Festivus too! I tried to stay away from twitter, facebook, and my blog the last couple of days...hence, why the belated Happy Holiday message!
I hope everyone had a good time with family and friends...and that you ate to your heart's content!

Here's a little video I found on Chase Jarvis' blog!
I thought everyone would enjoy's a lot fun! This video is pretty, because it was done by high school students while in school! Nice to know some schools are keeping this really important art form in the curriculum! Two, it's a "one take" music video...which means this was shot continuously off of one camera...without stopping. There were no other cameras to cut to...they didn't stop the recording to catch a different angle. Instead, it was done in one take! This takes a lot of coordinating...and probably multiple failed attempts...I know...I tried one of these...but failed miserably...hopefully the professor has burned that video!

Enjoy...and Happy Holidays again!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kelly & Chris!

Meet Kelly & Chris! Enough said...look at them! These two are SUPER awesome to "work" with! Kelly & Chris live in the Dallas area...they came down for a bit to visit with his mother - Anna Marie...(she works with Jacksonville Magazine)! This was her gift to them...super cool!

Thank you Kelly & Chris...I had a blast...and thank you Anna Marie...see you this weekend!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Helping out...

Last weekend I had the opportunity to help out Corinna Hoffman with Mindy & Josh's wedding. The wedding took place in Rodeheaver Boys' Ranch...the reception was at the Woman's Club of Palatka. The weather was near perfect, despite everywhere else in NE Florida was a experiencing a minor monsoon!

It's really cool to help out with weddings...I stated this before...but it's nice going into a wedding knowing that all the pressure is on someone else (Corinna!)...this really let's you just focus on shooting...capturing really good moments...and not worrying about timelines or those certain must get shots...I need to approach my weddings this way...I wonder who I can put all the pressure on...Jerome, you out there!

Here's a few shots from Mindy's & Josh's awesome wedding...note the formal shot...I think this is the 1st time I posted a formal's just proof for you all out there that I do them...and that I can do them pretty well...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


This past weekend I was unable to participate in the Help Portrait movement due to reasons that were out of my I had to make up for this missed opportunity to give back...and Skyler was my lucky victim...

If you follow me on twitter or if you're my friend on Facebook, then you might know that I occasionally play basketball with a particular 19 year old...and yes, I tweet about my victories...well, this is that particular 19 year old - Skyler!

Skyler is my neighbor...I've known him since 6th grade or so...but now he's a man! He loves today's shoot revolved around sports...Skyler occasionally hits the weights with me as well!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Things I am Thankful For...

While I was growing-up, birthdays and Christmas weren't these big Present parents never bought me anything super big or extravagant. In fact, I never got Transformers...instead I got the remember - Gobots!!! Ahhhh...nooo....

I remember once they got me a rubber Buccaneers junior football.....hmmm....when the Bucs were wearing the Creamsicle Uniforms! And by the time I had a regular Nintendo, I think the N64 came out...I was the last person on earth to beat Super Mario 3...honest.

Regardless, I am thankful that my parents got me more important gifts. For Thanksgiving we went to Mexico...we visited Chichen Itza...I later learned that a great grandfather on my bio-father's side help establish those pyramids as a "educational-tourist" attraction. We visited Puerto Rico a few times...I got to follow a stream up the mountains...I felt we were explorers...little did I know "Christopher Columbus" was waiting for that water to come down so he could wash his new Toyota Celica...literally!

Let's see...and then for Christmas and New Year's, we went to my Step-Father's country...Ecuador...that was incredible! We drove through the Andes...better yet, we climbed the Andes...I played basketball 9,000 feet above sea level...and won...and then got really sick! We climbed to the base of Cotopaxi...which is 16,000 feet above sea level...the volcano reaches nearly 20,000 feet!

We also visited Costa Rica...where I got to witness an active volcano - Arenal...and then I swam on the most beautiful beach I have ever seen...super crystal clear water...palms trees everywhere...including iguanas! I also saw monkeys in the wild...and a sloth!

And one of my favorites was our annual summer trip to the Smokey's! first I didn't want to go...I was real young...and thought wildlife...out in the country stuff wasn't cool...I wanted to go to Chicago...but when we got to the Smokey's, it was awesome! I love the place...those mountains...the's peaceful up there...especially if you can get away from the crowds.

Unfortunately, as an adult, I haven't been given the luxury to travel as much as I did as a youth...9 years working as a Social Worker is not a good plan to get you and your family abroad...sorry life savers. Fortunately, the past 2 years, God has been nice and we've been able to do a little traveling....nothing out of the iguanas...but Oregon, Colorado, Chicago, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico are suffice. These trips reminded me of the excitement of travel. The unexpected. The surprises. The new landscape...the new scenery. I got to see my daughter's excitement when we saw snow in Oregon...yes, she did a snow angel. I witnessed my wife's amazement as we walked through the Redwoods in Northern California. And I got to touch the sky once again as we drove through the Rocky Mountains National Park. Even Chicago was a treat...3 visits in 4 months! I got to reconnect with my father's side of the family...and spend some good times with my old roommate from college! These trips were a blessing...a breath of fresh air...and I pray that God has more plans for us to travel!

Sorry for this long post, but I want to say that I am thankful that my parents decided to spend their hard earned $$$ on airplane tickets and hotels, rather than on video games, transformers, or leather footballs...they taught me more important things via our travels...they taught me real things!

Here's a few pics from our travels the past 2 years...visit here to view more...and even purchase if you so desire.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Latino Project #4: Lisseth Rosales - Mary Kay

Meet Lisseth Rosales. Lisseth is originally from El Salvador...when she was 18 years old, her parents moved to Canada...the middle of Canada! In Canada, Lisseth went to college and received a degree in Graphic Design. In 2001, she moved to Florida for a job. A little after she moved here, she met her husband, Matthew West (he attended SCAD & also has a degree in Graphic Design). In 2003, Lisseth & Matthew married...and had children. Lisseth left her full-time work to stay at home with her kids...but later decided to work for Mary Kay because as she puts it - she loves building relationships!

Here's a few fotos from our shoot...enjoy!

Oh...Lisseth also homeschools her children!

BJ & David!

Welcome everyone! I introduce BJ & David...a very FUN couple! These two had me cracking-up through-out the entire shoot...and they are two of the Most down to earth people I have met!
Here's a few fotos from our little trip to a park in Mandarin - I really don't remember the name of the park...but it's a cool place...perhaps some of you may recognize it? BJ recommended this park...good call!


Saturday, December 5, 2009


Alright...remember last week or so...I ran a little Thanksgiving Trivia contest...well...Casey won...and this is what we did!


Friday, December 4, 2009


Yesterday I met up with Tiffany & Roberto at the Jacksonville Suns Baseball Grounds...we were planning on shooting around the facility...but the photography gods were with us yesterday...I'll explain that in a bit.

Tiffany & Roberto=iNSIGHT SPORTS GROUP. They advise MLB & MiLB players (Major League Baseball & Minor League Baseball). You can learn more about their services here. Ah...and if Tiffany looks familiar to you...well, that's because I had the opportunity to work with her a few weeks ago...Tiffany helps out Maggie Jo at Maggie Jo Law...(not Mary Jo - inside joke)...

Now back to the baseball gods...well...we were walking around the facility...scoping out the lighting situation...and then Tiffany found a we didn't sneak in! It was an office door...and the personnel were nice enough to let us enter the facility - Thank you to J.D. Metrie (Stadium Operations Manager) for showing us around and letting us use the facility!!! See, the photography gods were with us...

Here's a few fotos...enjoy!

Tiffany & Roberto

J.D. & Tiffany - America's Next Top Models!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Catherine Revisited!

Catherine Revisited. Yes, I'm bring back these fotos because back when I took them I wasn't blogging...and I feel these are very blog worthy! Every once in a while I look back at old pictures...and most of the time I cringe...but these don't have that affect. I actually like these a lot...even though they're not perfect...I would have done a few things differently...but overall I like them. It is a different style compared to how I've been shooting it's neat to observe that change.

These were shot back in June 2008...Catherine is a brave soul. We snuck into an abandoned warehouse off of McDuff Ave...I had done some light painting there once - light painting is done at night...and this place was scary...but much less scary during the day...but still scary. And the brave soul, Catherine, was UP for anything...she must not have a fear of heights...or of the dark!