Tampa modeling photography shootout
issues and scams
Tampa Bay Photography Society
The Tampa Photography War 2003-2004
“model coach” and his May 2011 shootout
invited and intentions. How lying = scam
pretending to be professional
the “agent”, composition, and posing
with a loaded gun
amateurs and the backlash against them
- TAMPA BAY MODELING - NEXT
A. Passinault, Director of Tampa Bay Modeling
BAY PHOTOGRAPHY SOCIETY PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY ASSOCIATION
My professional photography
association, the Tampa
Bay Photography Society, will become the best association
in the Tampa Bay market for professional photographers. This market certainly
needs it, especially when I keep catching photographers who are
members of another photography association stealing content from my sites
and using it in an attempt to compete with me (So much for professional
integrity and accountability. I’m flattered that you acknowledge
that I am better than you are in this business because you feel that you
have to learn from me and steal from me, but really, how can you compete
with me if you aren’t as good?). I have the same issues with graduates
of a so-called photography school in the Tampa Bay area which floods the
market with digital photography courses where you can supposedly earn
a degree in digital photography in mere months (really, what did they
learn from that school if they have to steal from me to run a photography
business? Certainly not ethics. Also, if you only have months of training,
it will show in your work; that’s not enough. Additionally, who
in the hell wants to pay money to a bunch of instructors who are failures
in their own photography careers and have to resort to teaching? What,
you are going to learn their mistakes and mistake those as skill? It’s
better to learn either on your own, developing your own style, or at least
from working professionals.)!
So, this market needs a genuine professional photography association which
will set the standard, and help maintain true integrity. The other
photography associations are run a lot like a high school; their photographer
members have described their meetings and the politics to me, and I’m
like “Where in the hell is this going on? Why do you tolerate
it?”. Well, it’s obvious people will settle for flaws
if that is all that it available.
The Tampa Bay Photography Society will be very important for the professional
integrity of photography in this market. We will be a network of professional
photographers who will set the standard for the market.
The Tampa Bay Photography society began as the Round Table Photography
Association in 2004, and consisted of myself (C. A. Passinault / Aurora
PhotoArts Tampa Bay Photography and Design), Craig Huey, and Andy Meng.
The roots go back even further, however; there was a need for it, and
nothing good enough available at the time. The Round Table Photography
Association was born out of controversy, and out of a fight with a shady
photographer and his pawns. It was born as a result of the unethical activities
of a Tampa Bay photographer who was, and still is, the worst con artist
in the history of this market. To date, I’m the only professional
photographer who has crossed paths with him and who has avoided being
scammed by him, who has stood up to him, and has defeated him (compared
to this guy, the current shady photographers whom I am dealing with today
are nothing special). As a matter of fact, some of the most advanced scam
fighting tools and technologies available today on my modeling and talent
resource sites are a result of studying the schemes of this dirtbag, and
countering them; allow me to elaborate on this a bit.
In 2003, a photographer posted a modeling job offer on Florida Models
for teen models, where underage models would pose in provocative, and
age-inappropriate, attire. Not wanting to see teen models exploited, I
posted a warning about teen modeling scams on Independent Modeling, which
was then two years old at that time, and was just beginning to find its
stride. I looked up the photographer, noticing that he was a typical GWC
(Guy With Camera) aspiring photographer who only did TFP/ TFCD (Time For
Print/ Time For CD), and had yet to make any kind of business out of it
(which is similar to what is going on now, eight years later, with another
photographer, but I’ll get to that later). The “photographer”,
if that’s what you could call him, did some very poor work; you
can read more about this story, in greater detail, in my Tampa
Photographer Blog post “Do I Hate Tampa Photographers?”
(NOTE 07/28/13 - My dedicated domain blog no
longer exists, so I removed the link. It will be republished on a new,
advanced upcoming Tampa Bay Photography resource site in 2014. I will
re link to it, then. In May 2012, I had some major web site issues, so
many of my web sites were discarded and replaced with new ones, and several
of my properties were re branded, which is why I am updating this
article today. It took me well over a year to fix what was wrong.
Read more about this in the August 2013 issue of Frontier
At any rate, I looked at his work, and saw that he had recently worked
with a model whom I had recently done a shoot with in downtown Tampa.
So, I called the model up and asked some questions about him.
That would have been fine, except that the photographer was already well
aware of Independent Modeling, had seen my warning post, and the model
went back to him and told him that I was asking about him. That first
part was a given, but what she had done was inexcusable. Here I was, trying
to protect models, and a model proved to me that she could not be trusted.
So, because she was an idiot, she set up a chain reaction of events which
would lead to a major Tampa photography industry war a year later, and
cause a lot of headaches.
The photographer was angry, and contacted me. He emailed Independent Modeling
and wanted me to call him. So, I did. The photographer was nice to me,
and insisted that the teen modeling project was not his, and that it was
the project of a web master associate of his. We talked some more, and
eventually he told me that he was setting up a photography association
for photographers, and he invited me to get involved.
trust your gut instinct, because it is usually correct.
Against my better judgement,
I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and give him a chance.
I decided to see what he was doing with the photography association, although
I went in being very cautious. The precautions proved to be a wise course
The photographer gathered a group of other Tampa photographers together,
and gave our photography association a name that was very similar to a
nationally known one. I had issues with him trying to ride on the branding
of another photography association, and I wasn’t the only one who
This wasn’t the only issue.
Out of the group of eight of us, I was the only one who had been able
to make a business out of modeling portfolio and talent headshot photography.
The organizer knew it, and this niche market is one that he wanted to
specialize in, too. Upon finding out what my rates were, he flew off of
the handle, saying that my rates were wrong (said the amateur to the professional....
Seriously, consider the source when it comes to any opinion. Him telling
me that my rates were wrong amused me, as I knew that he didn’t
know what he was talking about, from experience or otherwise; he was an
amateur who was misrepresenting his experience, pretending to be a player).
I figured that he thought that my rates were too much. I was shocked when
he told me that my rates were too low. He stated that “we”
should be charging $1,200.00 for a modeling portfolio shoot, and that,
as photographers, we should not even pull out our camera for less than
$1,000.00 a shoot. I couldn’t believe it, and told him that those
were commercial day rates, and that $1,200.00 was way too high for a modeling
portfolio photography shoot. I told him that I wasn’t worth those
rates, that he wasn’t, and that no one else in the Tampa Bay market
could command those rates. It became obvious to me that he didn’t
know what he was doing, and that he saw himself as some sort of rock star
photographer and wanted to be able to charge those rates. I later found
out from other photographers that he knew that he could not compete with
my work, especially with the fair rates that my work was marketed at,
and that he was saying that I would ruin the market by charging rates
which were too low.
Except that my rates were appropriate, and they still are, as I know what
I’m doing. It’s ironic that, all of these years later,
that his rates for modeling portfolio photography are roughly in the same
ballpark as mine are, if not less, and despite some work which is actually
decent, he still isn’t booking! Imagine that. His work
is now professional level (although how he got to where he is was completely
unethical), and even with good work and agency referrals, he found out
the hard way that he couldn’t sell portfolio photography services
at commercial rates. He couldn’t do it. Right now, at the time of
this writing, he is charging a “half day” at $350.00, and
a “full day” at $500.00, which, if I worked by the hour, is
less than what my rates are, and even though he is represented by multiple
agencies, I still book more than he does (I sure hope that his commercial
rates are not that low, though). It’s far less than what he originally
wanted to charge, so I guess that reality hit him in the head. I suppose
that his current rates are fair, well, that is if the model wants over-processed
images that all look the same and are inappropriate for a modeling
portfolio, and if they want some hyper photographer who looks
like Fester sexually harassing them and making lewd comments the entire
shoot. That’s now, though, and in the past, you got all
of that unprofessional behavior and amateur-quality pictures! Then
and now, he was never, and isn’t currently, any threat to my business.
He knew it then, and knows it now, too.
Which is probably why he called me so much back then. He wanted lessons
in business from the master, I gather from his actions.
It went on like that. He’d call me every day, asking me questions
about the business, and for advice. He asked for lots and lots of advice.
I gave him my opinions, as well as opinions that he didn’t want
to hear. I told him that it was a bad idea to call our photography
association a name that could be confused with another one, although
the idea for a photography association was a good one, and that there
was a need for a photography association in the market. He wanted to open
up a studio location for our association, too, which we were all for.
So, the day came when we went into Ybor to look at our studio space. We
were going to share it with the office space of a local magazine (There
is an awesome story there, too, but I'll tell it later. Let's just say
that, much later, the magazine owner emailed a bunch of people making
the allegation that the photographer had stolen information out of this
computer!). It’s there that, outside of the office, that the issue
of modeling portfolio photography rates came up again, and we got into
an argument about it in front of everyone. I told him that models would
not accept, or allow, rates as high as he wanted, and that they would
vote with their feet and not buy anything (history, and his current rates,
proved that right, too). He lost it, and started ranting “F... models!
We’re photographers, they do what we say, bla bla bla!”. Well,
I had heard enough. Some of my best friends were models, and it was obvious
to him that I was not only a photographer who was successful in doing
what he wanted to do, but that I was looking out for models and their
interests. I decided to walk away, as I realized that this guy was unethical,
unprofessional, that he was a con artist, and that he was bad news. I
didn’t want to be associated with him. I don't regret walking away,
either, because I was right.
- TAMPA BAY MODELING - NEXT
- 08/01/11 - 07/28/13/0817
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