Las Vegas based Wes VanDinter is a Stock Photographer and Teacher of a Digital Photography Class at College of Southern Nevada from, who has been shooting photos for just over 10 years now, mainly for the love of it.
Love … especially in the case of his nudes.
“The photo with the power lines and ‘IT’ girl may be the singularly most thought-out photograph of my entire, comparatively short, shooting life.
I’m usually a shoot-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of photographer, only having a vague notion of where and what I’d like to shoot, and letting the ideas, composition, light, everything really, come to me as I’m shooting.
I haven’t been shooting all that long; I bought my first digital camera (a small point-n-shoot) back in 1999.
A few cameras and quite a few years later, I bought my first semi-serious camera (a Fuji S9000) in 2005.
This camera is what really got me interested in taking more than just snapshots.
Those first 6 years with a digital camera were formative, and I had habituated to shooting what was there, when I was there.
This habit has stuck with me ever since.
I have always been interested in shooting power pylons (as are many photographers); the lines and easy access make for great subjects.
I’ve had a lot of practice, having taken photographs of power pylons from the very start.
Models, on the other hand, have been a new shooting experience for me.
My first real model shooting experience was in December 2007, and my first nudes in September 2008.
That usual shoot-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style I mentioned is how this image (and just about every other model photograph I’ve taken) came about
‘Brianne’ was my only ModelMayhem Picture of the Day winner.
A photographer friend of mine and I were taking turns photographing the model, Brianne, in various areas of an empty house.
I would ask Brianne to find a spot she liked, I would position my portable flashes, I would frame the shot and then press the shutter release.
In this shot, I only asked her to move her hand slightly and lean her head back a bit more, so her beautiful, long hair would reach down lower on her back.
That was the entire “planning” of the shot.
However, the power pylon shot idea was conceived, the whole shot, top to bottom, while driving down the road one day.
I did a test shot and liked the results.
I contacted one of my favorite models, who I had worked with a number of times, and we arranged a very short shoot.
She arrived at the designated meeting place, we drove to the power pylon I had picked for this shot. I set up the camera and lights; and, 10 minutes later she was back in her car, headed off to a “hot date.”
We got lucky, there were clouds in the sky, but otherwise, the shot was exactly as I had envisioned it.
All of the images in my portfolio have been TF.
While I have been known to sell the occasional stock image, I don’t sell the nudes. Those are purely for the pleasure of photography.
I have also taken the occasional paying job to photograph a model; but I enjoy the total lack of pressure that comes with TF much more. If I screw up an entire shoot, it’s unfortunate, but, hopefully, everyone had a good time at the shoot.
I haven’t yet screwed up a shoot …
I’ve taken terrible shots, to be sure; but, every shoot has given the models (and me) at least a couple of photographs that they (and I) could be proud of.
I can only hope that continues.
When viewing my photos, there are a couple of questions that I’m regularly asked. The first is: “Did you Photoshop that?”
When people ask this, they’re not asking if I used Photoshop to do minor touch-ups; they don’t understand how such an image could be “made in camera”and think that I must have used some type of “digital magic” to create the image on the computer.
My answer to this question is almost always “no.”
My goal is to capture the image in camera, and to use Photoshop for only the most basic editing, such as removing blemishes, or the unfortunately placed and distracting electrical outlet next to a pillar.
There is the occasional composite shot, which is not created “in camera”; but, those are often obvious, as it is usually the same model 4 or more times in the same photo.
But, my style is much more “get it right in camera, and use that.”
I’m a big fan of manipulated scenes, photos that, for the most part, are created in Photoshop…when those images are done well.
Of course, that is also true of images created in-camera.
The second question I’m usually asked is: “What camera system do you use?”
I almost never answer that question directly.
From a point-n-shoot to the most expensive large-format camera money can buy, every digital camera system is a compromise, and every system has its advantages and disadvantages.
What camera, or what system I use shouldn’t be important.
The only important thing is the result.
If someone can get great images out of a $99 point-n-shoot, it’s a great image.
I’ve seen/met/heard countless photographers talk about “XXXXX” system being better than “YYYYY” system, and that images from “XXXXX” are superior to anything else on the market.
Often times these photographers have cameras and lenses that cost many times more than anything I can afford.
Sometimes those same photographers produce great images, … many times they do not.
Whatever it takes to get the image, that’s what counts, and that’s the only thing that counts.”
Thanks Wes for sharing.
Images © Wes VanDinter