His name is Don, but most people know OMP Member #17776 by his moniker: SouthBound.
This 20-year veteran of the business never planned on making photography a career choice. Originally an engineer, Don had done photography to incorporate into his engineering work for years.
“I was criticizing some of the photography in a few of the more popular men’s magazines when a buddy of mine said, ‘Well, Don, if you’re so damn good at it, why don’t YOU shoot some models and prove it?’ I took up his challenge, not knowing whether I could or not, and since I didn’t have a portfolio, I hired some wonderful models and started a portfolio here on OMP. I learned that lighting skin is much different that lighting the insides of some electronic device and I learned that capturing real emotions is much more important than the technical aspects of photography.”
Enthusiastic response to his work kept Don busy. “As more and more people saw my work on OMP, some offers for paid work came in, then some more. Photographers began to hire me for one-on-one collaboration, then some workshop appearances, and then models began to inquire about my rates. Since then I’ve produced numerous workshops over the years. I do enjoy working with other photographers. I consider myself more of a helper or enabler than a teacher. I’ve been extremely proud of the work that has come out of my workshops. Wonderful models and very gifted photographers who elevated their game have made the OMP Showcase galleries ripe with beautiful images from those events.”
He offers some excellent advice for other photographers who plan to shoot nudes. “Focus. Prioritize. Be a grown up. Be a gentleman. Good manners do matter. Keep your motive pure. Working with a beautiful model who isn’t wearing any clothes has caused many photographers to lose twenty or thirty years. All of a sudden, they’re 16 in the back seat of their dad’s Chevy again and they act like it. On the other side of the coin, there are photographers who are awestruck by the model’s beauty, and in some cases, their fame, and they forget all about those technical things they’re required to do to capture a good shot. So I would remind them to focus.
Don also has some advice for models who want to shoot nude. “The successful nude models I’ve worked with all have a few things in common. They work hard. They communicate well in the industry. They show up on time ready to work. And even though they have to make money to stay in the business, they are motivated most by the art and beauty of the work. Safety is important of course, be professional without being negative. Talk to as many models as you can who have worked with the photographers you’re considering working with. Not just one. Many. Word gets out. People do talk.”
Check out more of SouthBound’s work on his OMP Portfolio.