Tim Boothby is the Red Zone Photographer


Tim in his pithy helmet

Tim in his pithy helmet.

If you follow Red Zone Fandom on facebook you know that I’m asked a lot of questions. They pop up everywhere, usually scattered through the galleries on individual pictures. Most questions don’t actually apply to the picture in question so I copy them out and answer them on facebook. So, here is where people can ask questions (even anonymously,) where I can answer them. I’ll still share them anonymously on facebook.

So, here is where we talk about photography, gear, costumes, cosplay, models and whatever else that comes to mind along these lines. I do caution everyone that I am wearing my pithy helmet, meaning I’m not shy about calling out nonsense. Pithy means a language or style that is concise and forcefully expressive. I can be quite verbose in explanations, but if someone leaves anything that is rude or mean, I’m liable to don the pithy helmet to reply.

So, what will we talk about? 🙂

27 Responses to Questions

  1. Cootie says:

    I talked to a friend that is a photographer and he says that the ability of a photographer to make good nude pictures is the mark of a real photographer. So do you not take them because you don’t think your good enough to take those pictures?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      Actually, the mark of a good photographer is taking pictures that the models like, regardless of what they are or aren’t wearing. Choosing not to take certain types of shots is a decision photographer makes. I do find it odd that some folks seem to be obsessed that I don’t shoot nudes but they don’t care a whit that I also don’t do landscapes or architectural shots or any number of different styles that don’t interest me. Did the internet run out of naked pictures? Google tells me no, so perhaps you need to enhance your google fu.

  2. Mark says:

    I don’t see how you can work with the costume crowd. I tried it and never saw so many unprofessional people in my life. Always late, half of them show up still gluing and pinning there wardrobe togehter and they don’t know what to do in front of a camera. Why put yourself through that?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      Ok, to clear something up before we look at the rest of your observation. The ‘costume crowd” is properly called cosplayers. Before you try and work with a community, find out something about that community. Point the second, they aren’t professional models, I have a feeling you realized this when you didn’t pay them. Point the third, if you know what you’re doing behind the camera, you have some idea of how to direct the people in front of the camera. So, moving on from those points. Welcome to cosplay time. It’s sort of like normie time but with a bit of a Doctor Who aspect to it: “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.” I’ll work with a little late, especially if they call me and explain why. They don’t show up after I’ve waited a bit and I wander off to find coffee and something else to do. With group shoots I just start with who makes it on time and if people show up before I’m done, we get shots of them too. I’ve never actually had anyone that was that late for a shoot complain that I didn’t wait when they missed it all. Learn something about those that you’re planning to work with and you’ll spare yourself a lot of trouble and frustration.

  3. Reba says:

    (copied and pasted from email) My photography instructor says that to be a professional photographer I need to be like Cortez and burn my ships and go all in. Sucess comes to those that have that level of commitment. What do you think?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      I think that you’ll be hard-pressed to find advice more likely to leave you broke and discouraged. For one thing, Cortez came as a conqueror, not to set up a business, you need to attract customers not beat them over the head and demand their wealth. That means a lot of time networking, getting yourself known and building a reputation. This is time that you won’t see much coming in, and that means burning your ships leaves you watching your means of paying rent, buying food go up in smoke (and I’m going to guess that you’ll need to pay off the student loan that led to this advice too.) Don’t give up your day job is an expression for a reason 😉

  4. Tim Boothby says:

    (Transcribed from an email from Scooby-Doobie-Don’t, which I assume is an alias)

    Do you work with kids and if you do then OMFG HOW?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      Kids aren’t quite that horrifying, as with everyone ever kid is different, but this might simplify things. Bear in mind that as you read this, I like kids and am a professional Grandpa. Your mileage may vary.

      Don’t make kids wait, when they get there give them a minute or two to get used to you and then start taking pictures.

      Make sure they aren’t hungry or thirsty before they get there and a potty break is often wise, remind the parents but they should already know.

      No prolonged sessions, get your shots and get them out the door. When kids do something for too long it is no longer fun, a kid not having fun is not going to be fun to photograph.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t you doing AO this year? 🙁

    • Tim Boothby says:

      They waited too late to book me, 3-day weekends get booked early and people were asking me about the Memorial Day Weekend back in October. As much as I want to support local conventions, I have to look at business opportunities as well, especially when people are looking to make down payments to reserve dates.

  6. Anon says:

    Do you shoot boudoir, if so how hard is it to do?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      How difficult a boudoir shoot actually is to do depends on how comfortable the model is. Do I do them? I have, but with a lot of preplanning for things like wardrobe and location, and my rules on wardrobe still apply.

  7. Asher says:

    What is implied nudity?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      Implied nudity is positioning a model to hint that they aren’t wearing clothes without actually showing any naughty bits, in fact the model normally has those parts covered.

  8. Donna Marie says:

    Do you do time for print shoots?

  9. Anon says:

    How does a photographer get a reputation of being safe?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      By actually being safe. Don’t touch models, don’t hit on them, don’t try to date them, don’t try to sleep with them, don’t make explicit compliments, don’t try and push them to do things they aren’t comfortable with, don’t make rude, crude or demeaning comments, don’t try to sneak upskirts or down blouses, don’t ban chaperones, stop shooting when the wardrobe malfunctions, have a female assistant present to help with costume problems, and DON’T SAY OR DO ANYTHING WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT FIRST are good starting points. it’s really not all that hard and it really does boil down to: If you want a reputation as a safe photographer, be a safe photographer. In my case, being older and very happily married doesn’t hurt either, especially since my wife works with me 🙂

  10. Querulous says:

    Do you work with plus size models and if you do what are the clothes retrictions? Do you charge more for plus?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      I work with everyone, I don’t care about shapes or sizes or age or gender or color or religion or sexuality, I do take exception to working with douches but that’s pretty much it as far as who I don’t care to work with. My clothes restrictions are the same for everyone, I don’t care if you’re an infant, child, size XS or XXXXXXXXXXXXXXL (which is either a vary large size or -90 in Roman Numerals,) you have to cover everything that a bathing suit will, or my lens cap stays on. As to charging more based on model size, certainly not, not only no but hell no! How jacked up would that be?

  11. Curious says:

    Why aren’t you listed on Model Mayhem?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      I’ve talked to several people about Model Mayhem and it seems that the noise to signal ratio is pretty low, and the more services you attach yourself to then the greater the amount of time needed to keep everything up-to-date. The few models contacting that list MM as their portfolio were mostly looking for time for print or CD requests (TFP or PFT to some photographers, TFCD for a CD, obviously.) Anyway. if they want camera time I offer 6 free shoots a year and they are more than welcome to join in, none have yet. That and you have to fight through the guys with cameras (GWC, yes they have an acronym for everything) to tray and find anything, and my area isn’t a hotbed for MM models anyway.

  12. Not Telling! says:

    Why don’t you just show pictures of the smallest amount of coverage you’ll take photos of?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      In part it is because I think that telling people that they have to cover as much as they would at a public swimming pool is pretty self explanatory.

      To make such a visual aid I’d actually have to make a visual aid and to do that I’d have to take pictures of someone in this minimal gear because its hard to find good public domain shots and those seem cheesy on a photography site anyway, people would be sure to ask: “Aren’t you photographer enough to take swimsuit pictures yourself?” (Note: Yes, I have taken swimsuit pictures, no they aren’t available for public viewing because the models haven’t given permission and don’t plan to.)

      I could just see the casting call for that: “Hey, I need volunteers to model the smallest swimsuits that you can wear into a public pool so people have to know how much to cover up for photo shoots.”

      Finally, (yes I’m long-winded) I work on a case-by-case basis, it’s just easier to talk wardrobe as part of the model interview.

  13. Curious says:

    Two part this time

    1. When is a picture up a skirt an upskirt?

    2. Have you seen a lot of costumes slips/malfunctions?

    • Tim Boothby says:

      1. When is a picture up a skirt an upskirt?

      Answer: From Wikipedia: “Upskirt refers to the practice of making unauthorized photographs under a woman’s skirt, capturing an image of her crotch area and underwear. The term “upskirt” can also refer to a photograph, video, or illustration which incorporates an upskirt image. The term is also sometimes used to refer generically to any voyeur photography – that is, catching an image of somebody unaware in a private moment.”

      The terms upskirt and downblouse are pretty self-explanatory, it is sneaking a picture of somebody’s underwear or naughty bits without their expressed permission, and it is wrong. Do not do it. Ever.

      If a model poses in a way that exposes undergarments, make sure they are aware of the fact and that they are okay with you taking the picture. Then, show it to them and give them the opportunity to ask you to delete it if they don’t approve.

    • Tim Boothby says:

      2. Have you seen a lot of costumes slips/malfunctions?

      Answer: It happens but not often, cosplayers are clever folk and take steps to insure that things are covered, literally and figuratively. Spanks and pasties are good safety precautions and they are pretty widely used. If you think you have a costume malfunction, stop and warn the model so they can fix it, if you’ve taken a shot let the model see it and decide what to do about it, if you’re shooting tethered shoot a picture of the ground to get it off of the monitor.

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