01. Casting: The most important part of all photographs. Beauty plus attitude. I would rather shoot a beautiful girl ten times then to spend my energy and creativity on a skank. I am always casting, right up to the moment I start shooting. You will be part of actual process as we travel the world in search of beauty.
02. Attitude: You must have a happy positive attitude or you will turn your model off. As a fashion photographer for most of my life, I have learned how to control me and the environment in which I am shooting. Failure is not an option. If you attitude is that "because we are human we make mistakes" then don't bother to take this course in winning. If a surgeon or airline pilot had this defeatist attitude, then I would not trust my life to him/her.
03. Getting the most from your model: Understand Mother Nature is to understand women and you win. This is about women and how to get from them what you need. Getting them to willingly give it up. Not telling them or forcing them. Because if you try the normal macho attitude with them, they will find a way to make you fail.
04. Clothing: Girls must feel beautiful or you will get nothing. It is your job to make them feel beautiful no matter how awful they are. We spend days finding clothes that young girl all over the world love. You think clothes do not matter? Think again. Even though we are going to remove it she feels that you want her to look beautiful and if she loves the clothes it will show in her eyes.
05. Hair and Makeup: Next to the model, these are your most important assets. Gay guys always make the best makeup and hair people. I have found this to be true for 50 years.
06. Studios and locations: In my house I can get 15 photo sets in one day. This makes me efficient. So I can afford to pay the girls more than anyone else does. Conserve your energy for the photos. Almost all the photos on this site were done in my house with NO assistants and one light. It is the combination of a Metz flash (I just bought another one, and letting the daylight in my house that combines to make beautiful photos. I can also set up the lighting in my house in 10 minutes. These girls are not professional fashion models who understand what it takes to get great photos. So if you let them linger, they loose all interest. I infuse them with the potential of getting great photos and show them what we are doing all along the way. I make them part of the process and show them each set we shoot before we go to the next set.
07. Equipment: Your least important asset. Canon 20D (I just bought a Canon 5D), Metz strobe. Amateur photographers fondle their cameras and talk tech talk all the time. Professional photographers spend their time on the things that matter and it is not about the best camera.
08. Choosing the right photos: Shooting fast so the model does not get bored, then you can spend a day or two choosing, each set. I am considered by the main stream media to be one of the world's experts on beauty. I have personally appeared on: Time Magazine, Newsweek, US News and World Report, USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, EXTRA, Inside Edition, Paris Match, Gear Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Good Morning America, Today, CBS This Morning, 20/20, 48 Hours, Associated Press, Nippon Television, BBC documentary. Over 420 articles and 51 television stations worldwide have featured Ron Harris.
09. PhotoShop: 10,000 hours and I am just getting good.
10. Retouching: An art within itself and a Wacom Tablet. I have spent as much as 60 minutes on one photo. In the advertising world in NYC a photo retoucher can spend days on one photo. There is not one photo in any advertisement that has not had hours of retouching. The art of retouching is to make it look like it has not been retouched.
11. Art is not art because you call it art. You are not a photographer just because you are able to make images with a camera any more that a person who owns a knife and can cut steak can call himself or herself a surgeon. I have spent 50 years honing my skills as an artist. And I am still learning and experimenting. True art always has a new way of looking at the world we live in. So rule one is it must be unique and show us the world in a way that helps us understand the human condition. When it comes to the beauty of women and mother nature, it can truly enlighten you about how society works. If you know how society works then you can be successful, because you then have the power of knowledge that can bring you a life worth living.
12. Integrity: If you don't have it, GET IT! I have watched dozens of huge porn sites fail because they got greedy and skimmed from their affiliates. When they were finally found out, it was all over. I have had erotic sites on the web for the last 12 years. I have seen hundreds of huge sites fail. Every week I hear of a new site pulling the same old tricks that caused the other sites to fail. Lying, cheating and stealing are mostly the reasons for their failure.
13. Designing a web site: I design all my sites. Much faster and I get what I want, when I want it. In the time it takes to explain it in an email. I can probably do it in the same amount of time.
14. Marketing: This is a book within itself. The better the photos, the easier it is. If you can develop a style that identifies you to the public then you will succeed. If your photos look like everyone else's then you are in trouble. All successful professions have a few at the top who are renowned for their abilities, talent and skills. It's 2% talent and 98% hard work.
15. Credit Card Processing: CCBill will be the last one standing. They pay affiliates directly. And have the lowest charge back ratio of any processor 0.4 My sites are 0.3. As the first big customer of CCBill in 1998. In that year I had several merchant accounts and the customer service and fines from Visa for chargebacks, almost drove me insane. I bet that the guys who started CCBill had integrity and would become one the worlds biggest credit card processors. I was right. I have seen dozens of other credit card processors come and go with your money.
16. Running a business: Especially a business that has so many sleazy people in it. One bad apple in the room will bring every one down to his/her level in a minute. If you are in this business to get girls and or steal, you will probably fail. Run your business ethically and honestly and with the money and respect you will get all the girls you can handle. The girls will come to you. This is my (12) tenth year on the internet and my reputation is impeccable. My site grosses more revenue each year.
17. This is not just about Erotic internet sites, but the art of photography in many fields. Having been the highest paid photographer for over 25 years in NYC. I know what it takes to be a great advertising/fashion photographer. There are thousands of photographers in NYC and they cannot get arrested. Because they are lying to themselves about their talent and expertise. Ellen Von Unwerth who shoots the Vanity Fair covers every month. She gets paid $100,000 per day for a photo session. What is it that she and maybe 100 other successful photographers in NYC know that the other photographers do not?
18. The world is changing more rapidly then you could possibly imagine and as an example in India 30% of their entire population has a college degree or better. That totals 300 million people who are better educated and trained then we are. Its time for us to wakeup and get to work.
Canon 5D Mark II: Since I got my new Canon, I have been running tests to make sure i can achieve the color balance and sharpness of my Canon 5D, which is the main camera I have been using for the last three years.
The 5D is without a doubt the best digital camera on the market. It must be razor sharp, but even more importantly is the quality of the skin tones, since most of my photographs are nude. If the skin tone is off I must spend hours trying to make a girl look good in Photoshop. Canon is the number one digital camera in the world. A full frame sensor is the most important element, the lens is important, but a small sensor will make a great lens look bad.
Probably one of my best photos for sharpness and skin tone is: http://ronharrisdotcom/kara_duhe_15_white_flower.html You will have to join the site to see the life size 4300 px photo.
I have spent at least forty hours testing the new 5D Mark II and I have not been happy with the results. Since the new 5D has many more options than the original 5D I have had to try them all, which means at least fifty separate tests. One of the reasons for a full frame sensor is the low noise you can get at hight iso's. Since I have a particular way of shooting that makes the girls look great and makes my photos stand out from all the rest. I need a high iso to accomplish this. On the old 5D I usually shoot at 400 iso at 200 sec @ f18. with my Canon lens 28mm to 300mm L ISO.
I like photos that have a large depth of field, rather than blurring out the background with a telephoto and a large lens opening. I usually shoot with a 50mm setting at f18, this lets you see where the photo is being taken. Which to my way of thinking, gives the most realistic feel to the photos. Where as a blurred out background is unrealistic since we don't see that way, unless we have bad eyesight.
One of the first shootings with the new 5D Mark II is here: http://ronharrisdotcom/Danni_Cole_blue.html . The full size 5600 px is in the members area.
I have found that the 5D Mark II is not as sharp as the original 5D. I will be shooting a new girl tomorrow and using the picture setting of STANDARD with the sharpness at +6. The default is +3. I will put up a link to these phtos as soon as they are done. I had hoped that the noise level would be less on the new 5D, so that I could raise my iso to 800. But I have not found this to be so. So I have started to use a third party noise reduction filter from: http://www.imagenomic.com/index.aspx I also use there portrait filter so help with the blemishes.
I have also found that the contrast is too high, but then it is always too high for me when I cannot see detail in a girls dark hair. So I always use FILL in Bridge and RECOVER, to bring the high lights back, so that I can see all the detail in whites.