Sunday, November 14, 2010

Exclusive Interview: Jasmine Star + YWD Magazine Steal Images, Plagiarism, Real Owner Speaks Out

In our ongoing investigation into the "A Girl In A Chair Workshop" money making scheme, organized by Jasmine Star & YWD Magazine, the PZN staff tracked down the original creator of the images that were used to promote the workshop. Our sexy chief Photogzilla interviewed the owner of the editorial images, who we identified in our earlier report as Norma Lopez Molina.

The images used by the organizers mislead people into believing that Jasmine Star either took the photos or would be able to teach how to take similar ones; neither is true. The organizers of the workshop were fully aware of these facts. The organizers even hid their use of Ms. Molina's images from her. People were led to believe they would be learning about editorial photography, similar to the technical style demonstrated in the unauthorized images.

Important Editor's Note: We want to remind our readers that this is a real interview. All questions and answers are real. We just took the liberty of not revealing the real faces and real voices of both Ms. Molina and super-sexy-even-in-a-dress Photogzilla.

So grab your morning coffee or hard drink, sit back, and enjoy. We know Jasmine & YWD will be sitting up straight for this one:

Photography by Norma Lopez Molina.
Photography NOT by Jasmine (Fake Last Name: Star)

Fast Food For Thought
Are you blinded by a popular branded name?
How would you react if it was a name you never heard of?
Does being perky excuse you from being unethical & irresponsible?
What if it was your work used by another photographer giving a workshop?
Do you justify reckless unprofessional behavior for the sake of capitalism/free market?
How furious would you be if your work was used to make thousands of dollars in profit?
Would Jasmine Star let you use a bunch of her images for free to promote your workshop??

Keep Stalking Photogzilla on Twitter

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gangbang with Jasmine Star & YWD Magazine for $1,000 - A Girl In A Chair Workshop

One of our PZN staff members snuck into what was advertised as an editorial workshop, where there would be constructive learning and sharing of valuable ideas worth someone shelling out $1,000+. 

Sadly, it wasn't that at all.

Turns out, it was just another gangbang.

Poor ripped off photographers aimlessly shooting around a model as clueless as the instructor who's concerned mostly about getting her shot for her blog & one more event purely for branding purposes. 

This is just one example of the many things that should not happen at any workshop --- gangbang compositioning for...dare we say...editorial work:

Disturbing isn't it? We thought so too. This is what we meant when we said in a previous post that each student would not be able to get proper instruction and direction during this course, when everyone is hoping they get a usable shot. And good direction comes from a good instructor who actually has experience in the subject matter. Unfortunately, Jasmine does not. She does manage to wear fashionable boots. Things some people are easily impressed by. After all, looking sophisticated makes you look like you know what you're doing.

Can you help us identify the 27 people who spent $1,000+ EACH to attend this 7 hour lunch?

Why? Well, we want to let them know they were taken for a ride by wasting $1,000 for a workshop that doesn't deliver in education or information worth the admission cost.

1st Row from Left - 1 Thea, 2, 3, etc
2nd Row from Left - 1 Cathryn, 2, 3, etc
3rd Row, front and center - #1 Jasmine de la Torre (maybe)

Help us help photographers. Leave us a comment if you know anyone. Or don't. Photogzilla has his ways. Connect the la la...connect the la la...

And don't worry. PZN is working on a more detailed review of this ripoff scheme. More to come.

For now, we'd like to leave you with an idea on how the question and answer goes at one of these so-called workshops. Because giving your settings is what they paid $1,000 for:

Keeping Stalking Your Rockstar...Photogzilla!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bargain: Jessica Claire Overpay for BullSh*t Workshop, $1500 for 3 Hours (Shoot for Sh*t)

One of our staffers in the office has been getting a lot of scam emails from Nigeria. He even tried to go through one hoping he would make $15 million dollars for helping a dying old man move some money from an off shore account. Sadly, after losing $3,000 via Western Union to some guy in Nigeria, our staffer learned the hard way. So to avoid making the same naive mistake, we helped him install a superduperfly scam-spam email filtering software. This software is 100% accurate and does a wonderful job of making sure our naive staffer doesn't get duped again by sending all scam-spam mail to the junk folder. There is only one issue; emails from his mom somehow get marked as spam because she emails him every morning to make sure he got into work okay and brought lunch. So the staffer has to go through the folder each day to make sure he didn't miss anything from his dear mother.

Earlier today, as our newbie staffer was cleaning out his Junk Mail folder, he came across this very important spam mail from Jessica Claire. It appears she is also holding workshops in the off season to supplement her Shootsac habit. The desperation in her tone seems to indicate she may be in dire straits.

We at PZN want to help Jessica out with her efforts to make a quick BIG buck off of naive photographers out there willing to fork over upwards of $1500 that may be lying around your house or saved up for a rainy day. Don't be selfish; if you can give more, we encourage you to also purchase two or three of her amazing 3-can cooler bags, the Shitsac. And don't you dare complain these are over priced sewn neoprene bags at $179.

Please see below the spam mail she sent out earlier this week, in what we believe is the original unedited version forwarded to us after our editor Photogzilla went through to remove parts where Jessica spoke about herself in third person.

Happy Whatever The F*ck Day It Is!

As wedding season winds to a close and we head into booking season and the new year, it's time for me to focus on making insane amounts of money from naive moms with cameras so that I can make enough to keep Shoosac afloat through next year! I am so excited to announce that from now until the end of the year, I will be accepting SHOOT FOR BULLSH*T (aka PAY FOR BULLSH*T) private consulting sessions! These sessions will be offered for as long as I can get away with it and will be scheduled one after the other if I'm lucky and you're stupid enough!

What's the Scam?

Between now until newbie photographers wise up, I have three types of sessions available (all sessions take place in Orange County, where all high ballers live):

SKYPE THE BULLSH*T:  ONLY one hour Skype consulting session:  $400

SHARE THE BULLSH*T:  ONLY one hour, in person consulting session over lunch (at Jack In The Box and on me):  $500

SHOOT THE BULLSH*T:  3 hours, one hour of consulting over lunch, a one hour shoot (you can model if ur not fat or ugly so I can actually blog about you, or I will have to get a good looking model, couple or family), and one hour of processing where I just run some Photoshop RAD actions:  $1500

OK, I Want To Be Suckered.  Now What?

In order to schedule a session, all you have to do is send an email to with the following information:  Your name, your blog or site, the type of session you are interested in wasting your money on, and the approximate time frame you'd like.

The Skinny for the Scam To Work:

You are responsible for the information you receive during your session because I'm only there to collect my money and give you canned answers!  Please come prepared with questions, topic, work, or anything else you'd like to discuss in order to get the most out of my time because I have to go shopping with your hard earned money asap. The more prepared you are with questions and the things you'd like to discuss, the faster I can stop wasting my time with you!  No topic is off-limits, and I will answer any question you have to the best of my recollection from everything I picked up over the years from more skilled photographers on the DWF forum.

You must book and schedule your session between now and the end of the year (the session must take place within that time as well).

Full payment will be due at booking for SKYPE & SHARE sessions. For SHOOT sessions, half is due at booking, and half is due the day of the session. I'm very sorry, but no refunds are available once you realize all the answers you got from me were nothing special and won't help you further your photography nor your business, except my own.  If you need to reschedule your session for any reason, you may reschedule one time for another date in 2010 subject to when I'm not Twittering from my dog's account.

The Smoke & Mirrors Hookup:

If you book ANY session between now and the end of the year that will take place before the end of the year, I'm going to make it look like your getting a bargain by taking off a measly 10% off the price!  You may ALSO bring one other gullible and naive person with you to any of these sessions so you both can split the cost, but still be able to bitch together on how I ripped you BOTH off.

Thanks so much everyone, and I look forward to taking your money soon!

xoxo (do I sound cool, like Gossip Girl??)
jessica claire

Did you or someone you know take a workshop from Jessica Claire? We want to hear from you. PZN asks you share your experience in the comment section below so others can make an informed decision.

Read recent related workshop scams: Jasmine Star & YWD Magazine "A Girl In A Chair" Workshop Review

Keep Stalking The Real Rockstar...Photogzilla!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Girl In A Chair Workshop Review: Jasmine Star Is Some Girl In The Hot Seat With Your Wedding Day Magazine

Do you know who Jasmine Juarez is? Or maybe Jasmine de la Torre. Or could it even be Jasmine Tower?

Oh wait. You may be more familiar with Jasmine STAR. Sorry. We forgot. This is the alleged alias that's used most of the time. Or is it her real name? What is her real name? Why would someone use a fake name anyway? Especially if we are "keepin it real," as she often likes to say.

Let's put on on our explorer hats kids and put down your pitch forks. We're taking a field trip. Not going on a crusade. We just report the facts. You decide what you don't want to believe.

Most of the PZN staff likes Jasmine Juarez the same as we like every other human being on this planet...wait, we meant...Jasmine de la Torre...shit...Jasmine Star. Sorry. We're not used to calling people by a 'pretend' name unless they're a famous celebrity or movie star (oh, that word again! it's almost like...psychological marketing via a PR strategy of some sort).

Take for instance Alicia Cook, who's a very real person. She's this really talented musician who plays the piano and an even better singer. Say Photogzilla is her new PR rep. She asks him how can I market myself? Photogzilla, being the rockstar he is, tells her people need to remember you are a cool piano player and always sing in key. Hmm. He jumps out of his seat and exclaims, "I've got it...Alicia Keys!"

Now, let's hold hands for the next part cause it tends to get sooo complicated with some people...Let's hypothetically say a young woman walks in to a public relations office and asks how to market herself. PR rep asks her what talents or skills she has. She responds, "Well, I was at this photographer's workshop in my wedding dress for a shoot. I was promised I would get some free photos, so my husband and I went to play model. Plus, our wedding photos majorly sucked because this guy we flew out to Hawaii was such a flake. So we figured we'd get some new ones from like 14 different people."

The PR asks, "Yes, that's fine. But what can you do as far as skills or talent that I can help you with?"

She says,"Well, when I was there, I overheard the teacher guy Mike saying something about making $25,000 each wedding he shoots and my eyes just glazed over with dollar signs! I looked over to my husband and whispered, 'I need to quit school and do this!' And after that, I decided I want to be a wedding photographer."

PR rep thinks. "Okay, so how long have you been shooting?"

Her, "Shooting?? I don't hunt. That's cruelty to animals! I own a dog. And if you must know, we buy our meats from the grocery store."

PR, "I meant taking photographs."

Her, "Oh. Never. We just bought a 20D from the store yesterday and I blogged about it today."

PR, "Oh...(long pause)...I guess that's not a problem. I'm sure you picked up some stuff at this workshop you were modeling for."

Her, "Oh yes! I picked up all I need to know. During the workshop, I heard Mike tell someone he was shooting us in something called A.V. mode...which I think stands for Audio Visual mode. Anyway, once I heard that little tid bit, I realized I could shoot a real wedding now that I knew what mode to put the camera in. Look at first time picking up a professional camera at the workshop..."

She pulls out a photo to show Mr. PR:

PR, "That's wonderful. I don't know anything about photography, but how do you know if this Audio Visual mode is the way to shoot the entire wedding?"

Her, "Oh, that's easy silly! I was in a wedding dress when he was shooting me, so I put the two together, and voila! Now, I want to be famous just like him and that's why I'm here. What can you do for me?"

PR, "Well, let's start with you telling me your full name."

Her, "Jasmine Juarez but I want to change it."

PR, "Why would you want to change it?? What's wrong with your name? You're going to be a wedding photographer...not a movie actor."

Her, "It sounds too ethnic, regular, unfamous, and it doesn't have a subliminal affect on other people. And I want to be really famous one day. Like a rockstar!"

PR, "Ok, so you want people to hear your name and think you're a rockstar? Fine. [sarcastically] Why don't you just change your name to Jasmine Star??"

Her, "Fo'real?? That's a great idea. You are awesome. I'm so stoked. I can't wait. That's going to appeal more to the white demographic of brides that get published in magazines across the country more so than any women of color. On top of that, this will align me up to be the envy of other photographers who will start to think I'm actually a star! [rubs both palms]"

Now how important is image to Jasmine? Very. She needs people to view her as successful, as that's the only real reason we can think she changed her name to Star. For instance, what does carrying around a Louis Vuitton bag do for your image? We obviously do it for our ego. We want people to think we're successful and can afford the finer things in life. We want other women to come to us and to compliment us with their envious eyes (Side note: contrary to popular dreams sold at workshops/seminars, wedding photography will not make you rich).

With that said, some people like to make sure their Louis Vuitton is shown off even though no one else is standing front and center trying to show it off, say, like a would be 'star.' While no one else keeps their purse in hand, we've got Jasmine making sure it's always by her side.

So much for keepin it real. I guess we'll write this off as 'consistent branding.' Sure. Why not? But what do we know...Even Photogzilla owns Louis Vuitton luggage. But this isn't about Louis. We're just trying to figure out why someone would feel it's so important to become a star. Last name and all.

This is not saying we think it's wrong to change your name. Do whatever makes you happy. However, this should give you an idea on the premeditated thoughts of grandeur that apparently is begging to come out in some people. Fame. Fortune. Envy. Things Jesus Would Do, eh?

Around the office here, we think we like Jasmine as a person and blogger. Comes off as a sweet girl with some spunk in her trunk. Yeah. About that trunk. We saw CreativeLive cameras focusing on her trunk too. Can't blame them. She made sure her assets were visible, professionally speaking of course. Hey, it's being broadcast for a thousand people to see online. And we believe in marketing sex in any form possible. Our chief does it all the time. Work what yo'mama gave ya. Plain and simple. Sell it girrrrl.

Especially with girl spunk empowering attitude and phrases which play a good distraction from the insecurities of lacking fundamental knowledge, but sound great with lots of "Ums..." as precursors to best guess answers like "I honestly don't know." Good thing you're being 'honest.' Imagine if you spoke like that as a lawyer in court. How convincing would you be to the jury? Well, good thing we're not talking about someone who went through law school for such a profession.

Gorge. Just gorge indeed.

Now, PZN has kept our readers informed about how the kooky nuts sell fluff and try to capitalize on the hard earned money of newbie photographers. In many cases, hard earned money a person or couple sacrifices because one wants to pursue the dream and allure of photography. If we covered every single workshop giving nut out there, we couldn't do what our chief loves to do...which is actually shoot. So we have to be somewhat selective and actually have a mathematical formula to determine who we call out. It involves a game of beer pong if you must know.

We thought Photogzilla had shaken up our beloved industry by making examples of some morons in our field. Opportunists that had managed to become successful marketers of their name (or false name in this case) more so than because of their work ironically enough. Our sexy chief always likes to say this about all the commotion some claim he ignited, "We didn't start the fire. It was always burning. As the world was turning." How original chief. Damn you're sexy, sir, with your original quotes.

Moving on. A couple of weeks ago, our unpaid Starbucks runner intern who likes to read Jasmine del Monte...we mean, Jasmine STAR's blog, saw a post about her teaching a new type of workshop. We were all ears after that. We went to the link and were stunned to see our chipmunk of a blogger involved in a workshop con with a twist. A few days later we had hordes of emails and direct messages about the same thing being sent to God's gift to women, our chief editor Photogzilla. So we had to investigate.

The newest con involves a magazine with a very small reader base trying to exploit the work of photographers without even paying for dinner before screwing them well and good. Instead of paying a photographer to do an editorial shoot, we seem to be living in the days of giving away free unlicensed work in exchange for the so called free publicity. Sign of the times and we rolled our eyes and said fine; that's a whole other discussion. But how bad can THIS be?

Well, the producers of this grand opportunity want to make sure they let you know they want you to call them "daddy." They apparently want naive photographers to pay them $30,000 to show how to assume the bitch position. The cherry on top will be our co conspirator blogger extraordinaire Jasmine Somethingoranother. This is after all billed as a "Photography Workshop." When our romance novel cover model chief Photogzilla saw their ad, his response was, "STOKE me in a closet and call me DJ!"

Let's break it down shall we?

First blatant act of buffoonizm: being a 'photography' workshop taught by Jasmine, we would think they would use HER photos to promote the workshop. Not a chance. The images being used is by a photographer named Norma Lopez Molina. Do we see a credit? Nope. How fucked up is that? Wait. We found it. It's way at the bottom. Where no one looks. And not even a link back. Double fucked up. Teach a workshop and use another person's hard work. We can only hope Norma licensed her images to be used in a commercial endeavor where the organizers are all profiting. We would think anyone claiming to teach all about "model release forms" and editorial know-how would know better than being this stupid. We can just hope Norma gets a nice cut. Perhaps, these workshop people actually don't know much else besides how to take advantage of an opportunity to fleece naive photographers.

{{{ EDUCATION LINK BREAK - Want to learn more about licensing your image so no one takes advantage of you? Start here if you don't want your hard work used for free: Licensing Guide }}}

The ironic part about this is that Norma's images have been used before by this tiny operation called Your Wedding Day magazine. See the original post for yourself here or below:

This immediately begs the question; why not ask Norma to teach what your advertising? Hmm. Her work appears to qualify her much more than Jasmine [insert any last name you like at this point]. Or perhaps its because Norma kept her real last name and didn't have enough PR sense to change it to something more marketable like STAR. Who knows? Whatever. So basically, Norma may have gotten screwed before the other 30 attendees. Nice.

It gets even funnier. Here we have YWD partnering up with Jasmine, but we couldn't find a single image of Jasmine's that YWD ever used online. Here's what we got when looked into their blog:

So nothing about 'Jasmine Star' on the blog...Hmm. Okay. Let's try the YWD website:

Oh, how ironic: "Total 1 results found." The "renowned photographer" partnering up with YWD to teach this workshop is nowhere to be found on the YWD website or blog. Not a Just one search result for this sad workshop; the advertisement post?? Unfortunately, someone forgot to extend the YWD social media arm to her; the very person teaching this conshop.

A few may know that Jasmine gives repeated lectures about online Social Media. The one where you're told blog twice a week, talk about your pet's life, have a Twitter account, open a Facebook page, and link back everyone/everything you mention (just like we did in the last sentence). And, yes, that's the entire Social Media lecture right there in one sentence. Oh wait. We forgot. One last thing. Make sure you fail at something you love and don't bother succeeding at something you hate, blah, blah, blah...If you're wondering, that's the butchered version of the quote from Cameron Diaz in the movie What Happens In Vegas where her character turns down a promotion. Jasmine says this phrase at probably every single speech and gives credit to JD for saying it (hubby and under the table unofficial employee of Showit sites no less). Note the link backs again...We're the mother of SOCIAL MEDIA. Worrrrd (and there's some more cool sounding spunky lingo for ya).

On a serious side note, you could learn MUCH more about Social Media than Jasmine's lectures that people pay good money to sit through only to see this very same site thrown up on her powerpoint presentation. She even showed her source at this small tiny little BIG ass failure you may have heard of called Escalate Live (<---Note who's the daddy of Social Media with the FIRST link you see right therrrr). Want to see Jasmine's source material? Here you go: LINKY.

Want more irony? Norma's name can be found on YWD's website/blog 12 times.

Our favorite part is Norma uses her real name. Seems you can use your real name and still get published on YWD's blog based on your work. Yes kids. You heard right. We used the word work. Also known as merit. Not manipulative marketing, like say, if your last name was Superstar, Amazing, etc.

Wait a minute. We thought this workshop was about getting published and so on. Something does not compute Captain! Let us get this straight. You're teaching a workshop on how to get published, you partner up with someone who's images you've used only ONCE, and then promote the entire thing with another photographer's images? This gets classier by the minute.

Dare we bother with the rest of scam? There's so much, we can't put it all in paragraphs, so we'll give you some bullet points. Bullets are also easier to read for the people we write about, cause they do have such fabulous lives and can't manage stay away from the real Rockstar, Photogzilla (Hi Becker, Dane, DJ, Jasmine, etc...etc).

  • "you will be on set shooting high-fashion editorial-worthy models...amazing content to add to your portfolio" - So after we finish conning you, you can go con REAL would be brides that think that you know what you're doing and can expect the same type of shots, cause y'know, you set the shot up and all. And real brides on your website? No, no silly goose. These are all MODELS setup in a controlled environment with no time constraints, say like a real wedding, by the organizers of this sham. It's sooo ethical to use workshop images on your website. We're screwing you, so go on, screw clients expecting the same stuff. On a side note, we would like to know if Jasmine has EVER been hired to do an actual HIGH FASHION EDITORIAL shoot. You know. Where money actually exchanges hands and not necessarily ballz.

  • "...working intimately with Jasmine Star on how to capture images that fit your brand." - Do you actually expect 30 people in attendance to get 'intimate' learning and analysis of their 'brand' within 3-4 hours of shooting? Highly unlikely. Ask any professional photographer who's been in business for longer than 3 years. With the amount of "ums" between question and answers going on, you can cut down an hour right there. Sounds like a naive person wrote up this entire workshop ad, and worse, naive organizers (with all due respect).
  • This timeline is a really bad joke. Seriously. 10 - 12pm the speakers talk about themselves and throw out some inspiration speeches and speed through the topics they want to cover. This is constructive learning? Then 3 hours of shooting where we're going to become PRO photographers? We can only hope there's a chip implant during this time to gain the necessary knowledge/experience to show a return on investment. Speaking of investments.....
  • If you were really naive and fell for the sense of urgency created for this so-called "exclusive" workshop, you signed up early and flushed down $795 of your kids college savings fund. In which case, we have a certain bridge for sale in a prime New York location we would like to offer for your consideration. "Only 30 spaces available." Who are you kidding? These marketing tactics quite frankly sicken us professionals who have been around long enough. It's really no different than falling for the Home Shopping Network or an As Seen On TV ad where the announcer pushes your buttons by telling you only 100 of these beautiful cubic zarconia necklaces are left...Get yours now! Meanwhile, 5,000 pieces of this Made In China costume jewelry sits in a large warehouse out in Idaho. 
  • Did...someone...just...say....FILM? We almost fell out of our chairs. If it's not obvious already, who at this workshop is even qualified to talk about this medium? Is Jose Villa a surprise speaker? Dare we even bring up the 3 hours that will fly by of small talk and ego stroking between shots?
Let's get one thing very straight. No professional photographer who knows what they're doing will be going to this workshop. They know the cost benefit of having a few hours to rub up against someone who may mention them in their blog with a 'thanks for giving me a few thousand dollars to give you an inspirational talk' link back. No short term or long term return at all.

The people that are falling for this workshop and others like it are the newbie photographer that is naive enough to trust too easily. This person has no experience and is looking for guidance. It's only after working for 2-3 years will they see how little they learned by throwing their money away at obvious scams like this.

The last thing we want to leave with you are the topics to be covered at this moneyshop. We're going to help you get started because we want you to save your $995. If you find it useful, just remember to buy a Photogzilla t-shirt when they come out. We promise it'll be cheaper than this conshop.

  • 1. How to shoot and take successful photos in different lighting and atmosphere: Take a real photography course, read plenty of free books at your library, read free photography forums, practice shooting, and practice, practice, practice some more. THIS can never be learned at ANY one day workshop. 
  • 2. Top ten things a photographer must always have at every job: Silly topic trying to convince you there are 10 secret things you don't know but they do. The answer to this is in topic #1. When you know how to shoot, have learned all about your equipment, and defined your unique style, YOU will know what 'top' things to bring to every job.
  • 3. Deadly mistakes every photographer should avoid: Are we still trying to scare people into attending this workshop? Back up your CF cards right away in 3 different places. Bring back up equipment to every job. Have liability insurance.
  • 4. Taking GREAT pictures, working on overall composition and shooting: See #1, where you will learn about the rule of thirds and composition, etc, etc.
  • 5. What kind of images magazine editors looks for: Pick up any wedding magazine and study the images. Most want to see the details and decorations the brides spent thousands of dollars on. Keep them clean and simple. Minimize the artsy fartsy stuff. Think product shots. Like we said. Pick up a few copies of the latest wedding mags and flip thru them. When you've done topic #1, you'll begin to see how the photographer achieved the shot, while at the same time which pics the editors picked.
  • 6. Find out how to submit your wedding the right way so it gets picked up: Ask! Simple as that. Every magazine and online website has contact information. Send them a friendly email asking how THEY prefer you submit work for features. No two magazines work the same. They have detailed requirements like image size and number of images they consider, etc. THIS sham of a workshop will tell you to submit images to Two Bright Lights (eyes rolling). Unless you're a sucker, avoid this. PZN isn't crazy about this latest fad and we're not convinced how this even benefits any photographer.
  • 7. How to cast and work with models: Dare we remind you this workshop is being taught by Jasmine, who is a wedding photographer. If you want to learn about editorial work, THIS IS NOT THE WORKSHOP to learn about editorial shooting. This is a whole different beast of an industry and there are legit workshops that can teach you about this topic. As most of the attendees at this workshop will be wedding photogs, here is our answer to this topic: NEVER use models for your portfolio. Always use real brides from real weddings on your website. If you've never shot a wedding and don't have anything to show, go work for another established photographer as a second or third shooter. Build up your portfolio from real weddings. ANY workshop that promises you photo opportunity to build your portfolio is misguiding you into misguiding real clients.
  • 8. Casting for the right project, model release forms and other forms you must have on set: Again, Jasmine is not an editorial photographer. See topic #7. Also, google is your friend. You'll find plenty of model release forms online. These are very straightforward. Don't be lazy. Do your homework. Plus, learn your local and state laws about copyright, releases, and contracts. This ties in as well.
  • 9. Editorial styling direction - it's the details that matter: Like we said in topic #5. Also read up books on macro photography and still life. It'll do wonders for you. Practice shooting.
  • 10. Photoshop: when is it too much or not enough: We scratched our heads here because Jasmine herself doesn't know Photoshop. She has repeatedly admitted this. In fact, she doesn't even edit her own photos. She sends them to a 3rd party to clean up her photos. Just to answer this topic though, see our answer in topic #5 again. Don't go crazy with those actions that looked cool the first 30 seconds. Editors like consistent clean images that are as close to natural as possible. Don't forget to pick up the magazine that you want to submit your photos to and look at the images they used. Once you've done topic #1, you'll know what was overly photoshop'd and what wasn't.
  • 11. Being your own publicist: Simple. Change your last name to something that sounds ultra cool. Like Badass or something. Then go pimp yourself to magazine editors and vendors. Seriously though, if you need a publicist, go hire one. Photographers bitch about a bride using uncle bob instead of hiring them, why would you try to accomplish something a professional publicist would be able to do better? With that said, if you suck at design, hire a professional designer to work on your logo too. The list goes on.
  • 12. Building your vendor/community relationships: Take vendors out to lunch on your dime and @mention them on Twitter as much as possible. Pimp each other. Build a friendly on going relationship. Send them free images from every wedding you shoot with them before they even ask you. Plug their link online with the wedding you both work on. Simple.
  • 13. Social networking, media, branding, and importance of marketing yourself - the right way: Don't just follow the steps people give you. Understand how it really works. Besides the Wikipedia link Jasmine likes to use, we want you to remember there are plenty of other online resources discussing this topic to death...and for FREE. For example, try this. Again, for you newbs out there, this type of topic requires so much depth and understanding, there is NO WAY a 20 minute talk about this at Jasmine's workshop will help you attain the required understanding to implement this successfully if you have no idea what this is about. Do your homework.
  • 14. Staying current with the bride and groom's editorial requests and social media demands: Editorial requests from brides/grooms? WTF? We think they're talking about a bride wanting a certain pose from a magazine image she found. Well, if that's the case, if you know topic #1, guess what? You can execute it cause you know your shit. Otherwise, they are enjoying their wedding day and hire you for your perspective and style. They won't have any editorial requests. Only social media demands they may have is using your pro photos on Facebook. You need to give them images with your logo on them and provide strict instructions none of the images can be cropped to remove your logo.
  •  15. Any questions? There are plenty of free photography forums online with thousands of other photographers who are willing to help you grow as a photographer. They even provide constructive criticism of your work. If you take a real photography course at a school, your professor will help you as well. Leave your ego at home and go to your local photography get together and organize shoots with other photographers. Ask them any questions you have. Go work as an intern for a professional photographer and pay your dues in the battle field. All photographers like talking shop during their free time with other photographers. If you have specific questions for Photogzilla, leave it in the comment box below or email him at He'll be happy to give you a sexy answer if he isn't too drunk.
We all know Jasmine is reading Photogzilla In A Chair Workshop answers and taking notes for her presentation. Well, we're glad we could just help. "You're welcome, Jasmine...for going easy on you." :)

We also know that the organizers are going to read this PZN article and go back to the drawing boards to reevaluate their entire workshop. Excellent. We want that. We want anyone giving a workshop to realize they need to provide an experience to their attendees worth more than the entry fee. Don't provide answers that can be attained for free already. $1,000 is not chump change and you're not here to take advantage of others just because it's not illegal yet. That's an entry level Louis Vutton bag biyaatch!

If any of you experienced photographers reading this want to help your fellow man, feel free to leave additional answers to the above topics by using the appropriate number. Show your photographers some group love.

We'd like to leave you with this image to help you understand what's in a name, in case you're thinking of changing yours...Ladies & gentleman...Free to be the real you with your 'real' name...The magical veil of marketing...

To be a false star, or not to be, that is the question.

Did you or someone you know take a workshop taught by Jasmine Star? We want to hear from you. PZN asks you share your experience in the comment section below so others can make an informed decision.

Keep Stalking The Real Rockstar...Photogzilla!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Top 20 Reasons You're Probably A Rockstar's Asshole and Not A Rockstar Photographer

You've seen them. They pollute the Twitter air with their trash, their friend's trash, and anything else they can pile on to stink up your social network time online. We're talking about people that you wish you could say something to, but were too afraid to say something and come off rude. The problem is, these people are quite self serving, and not trying to genuinely connect with you. And you know it.

The PZN staff is hanging out in Newport Beach, California doing very little shooting (surprised? no one really does around here), so we had some time to compile this list of top 20 asshole behaviors of photographers on Twitter. Why asshole? Well, this word seems to be thrown around a lot these days. You may recall some photographers from California are actually using this word a lot these days. So we thought, why not?

Without further ado, here we go.

You're a Rockstar's asshole if:
  1. You tweet about the last 2 seats left at your workshop while all seats are still available.
  2. You retweet about someone else's workshop with only 2 seats left.
  3. You use "my friend" when @mentioning someone you're only an acquaintance with, if that.
  4. You @mention D-class celebrities that you were the 5th shooter for. (Even then, its a D-list!
  5. You tweet about your email inbox in hopes people believe you're in demand.
  6. You have automated tweets of quotes by other people set to repeat every few hours.
  7. You're fighting with people on Twitter between your automated tweets.
  8. You tweet every positive press you get, even though you know your clients won't see it on Twitter, but only photographers.
  9. You retweet every other asshole's positive press, secretly believing the person you're retweeting might like you.
  10. You tweet #FF lists you've saved of people every Friday to cradle ballz, in hopes they return the favor.
  11. You don't use your real last name because it cheapens your brand value.
  12. You use 'The' in front of your last name.
  13. You endorse people on Twitter because you are butt buddies, not because your objective.
  14. You mix religion with your place of business, Twitter bio, Twitter feed, etc, that you actually believe won't polarize people of other faiths because they're going to hell anyway.
  15. You actually have the word 'Speaker' in your Twitter bio.
  16. You actually have the word 'Leader' in your Twitter bio.
  17. You block people on Twitter for questioning your self regarded greatness.
  18. You actually believe in your head that blocking people on Twitter is like a restraining order.
  19. You use Twitter as a marketing platform for your photography business for clients, but 99% of your followers are photographers.
  20. You actually believe you're a Rockstar photographer, but the guy at Taco Bell only asks for your order and not your autograph.
We started with top 10 but couldn't help but cap it at 20. We know there are plenty more.

EDIT (the ones we forgot):
21. You say "Goodtimes" after every tweet. (Thx @maloman)
22. You also say "Goodtimes" because you saw another asshole tweet it.
23. You announce you booked a destination wedding, but don't share that you're losing money on it.
24. The 150+ emails you just announced were mostly Facebook status updates from friends (Thx @analogepilot)
25. Your tweet includes the word "stoked."
26. You announce on Twitter you just booked a wedding.
27. You tweet a link to your latest blog post review on equipment you borrowed/rented.
28. You say things like "I love love!" or "I love Weddings" or "...for Fabulous People" in the profile (Thx @blifestyles)
29. You post blogs about internet courage wondering what all the fuss is all about (see Doug Boutwell).
30. You post a video on your blog about how you support the internet courage post and try to deflect by calling others 'retarded' and 'assholes' (see The Becker video and image above). (Editor's Note: The PZN staff has received numerous emails from our readers indicating they were offended with the word 'retards' Chris Becker used in the video he posted, along with his sad attempt to downplay and discredit anyone saying anything critical, which can be viewed here.)

If you're not picking up the theme here, it's quite obvious so many people really dislike the fakeness, a.k.a 'asshole behavior.'

Have one you wanna share? Which one is your favorite?

Go on with your bad self and tell us in the comments.

Keep Stalking Photogzilla!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Internet's Courageous Photogzilla Ballz: Doug Boutwell & Friends Want Some

PZN was mailed this blog draft copy that Doug Boutwell (pronounced butt'well we think) reportedly wrote, but never published. We couldn't figure out why after comparing what he actually posted on his blog, because we really agreed with this version below. We also have to warn you that both Doug Boutwell and his friends, like the Becker, use profane language like its their job. Please make sure your kids are illiterate so they can't read this:

"The other day I became so bothered enough about a trend in the photo community to sit down and write some thoughts about it. Plus, my Ridiculous Asinine Dipshit (RAD) Actions aren't selling so well since people are actually figuring out how to brighten & over saturate their own photos, and also that my west coast friends aren't plugging me enough. So I'm writing this blog post to get some much needed attention and buzz. I know that by even getting two sentences into this article, I’ve already let the terrorist-Photogzilla-Rockstar win, but like the old lady from the Burger King commercial said: “Where's the beef?”

Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere have their own special breed of ball cradlers and narcissistic morons, and I'm no exception. Personas that exist solely for the purpose of intimidating, ridiculing, and generally tearing down anybody who dares to question self proclaimed leaders who's only intention is to be in the spotlight. I privately fancy myself and my friends as some sort of innocent angels of charity, guiding the inured newb sheep away from the eye opening anonymous voices that expose the elite-wannabe opportunists. I see the Photogzillas of the world as Twitter terrorists that are out to destroy the stage my friends built with fancy business cards. I am just like the self-styled close friends of mine, defending them because we have business relationships where money is constantly changing hands and ridiculous plugging of my products (Remember: 'A' is for asinine) all over and spend our time taking pot-shots from behind online blogs, sparing no opportunity to cross-defending friends who are disillusional enough to call themselves industry leaders.

Sure, secretly, I admit that the pointed barbs of truth and cynical jabs are GTFOH (Editor Note: Get The Fuck Out Hilarious), and definitely on point. We all could use a bit of reality when we aren't shooting much, so we resort to selling fluff workshops, actions, books, and anything that a naive newb will buy. Anyone that knows me, like my close friend Becker, Jessica Claire, and anyone else I hang with in the OC, knows that I only rant and bitch about the world in acronyms because I'm too big of a pussy to spell out GTFO (Editor Note: Get The Fuck Out). But at a certain point, the truth begins to represent the kind of worldview that makes me and my friends, literally, a loser. If all you Photogzillas are pointing out the problems, and all our self-proclaimed heroes who include starting words in their Twitter profile as "Leader," "Speaker," and then maybe include "photographer," are your villains, it has a tendency to drag our platform of easy money making down.  Devoting an entire website or Twitter account to burning our shit down isn’t just depressing, it points how dysfunctional we are at our photography business. It's true; time we spend blocking and ignoring all of you instead of confronting the reasons behind the lashing, we're NOT spending doing something productive, like actually taking photos.

To be more succinct – toddlers cry and hit things when the world turns on them and exposes their stinky diapers they've been wearing around while selling moronic books and workshops, giving speeches of empty motivation and no real learning of the craft (trust me, I have OC friends).  Adults, like Photogzilla and all those 'phony' Twitter accounts, figure out how to expose the real phonies so we can fix it. They take time away from their real photography business, get up off their asses and work at making the world a better place. If all you do is bitch and moan, and call those that call you out "assholes,' you’re basically a FBAP (Editor Note: Fucking Bitch Ass Pussy), like my junk food addict pal, Chris Becker (Editor Note: aka 'The Becker,' The Pecker,' 'Principal of Dropouts A-Many B-School'). Check out his moronic rant where he basically calls anyone who follows Photogzilla an asshole:


Of course, no ANONYMOUS people spend 100% of their time calling out all of my circle of friends or others trying to profit from people's ignorance, or they wouldn’t have any real photography businesses to run. The fact is most of the friends I'm defending act as if they still are in high school. That delusion is an important social construct in their minds for them to function everyday. With being online, their true social worth is removed and they can bedazzle themselves into popular high school rockstars with some fancy blogs. Most of us are faking it, but some of our real side leaks out, and we get angry when people realize we're the ones who are actually peeing in the pool and biting off more than we can chew. We thought it was kinda cute at first, but like kids, we're still throwing fits and now owning up to how little we have to offer. After all this, it’s grating and exhausting I'm sure to listen to my friends and other phonies repeatedly just sound like motivational hot air. For me, endless stream of cynicism is long past due and I realize, well deserved.

Furthermore, the real way to build a better world is not to concentrate all your energy on tearing down the people that criticize and call out my friends and others who are only after fame.  If you’re angry at the Photogzillas, channel that anger into something positive and start by unblocking people like him. Ignoring others is equal to saying your opinion is not important. If you don’t like the way your position in the industry is questioned, take positive steps to make it better. Shine the spotlight on your criminal ways of conning people, instead of trying to hate on Photogzilla for calling your ass out.  Tell people how little you know about photography & the industry, instead of focusing on how they should buy your book or actions to help them fasttrack to pro levels of rockstardom. Champion people that challenge and question you, instead of ridiculing and ignoring what they say. That’s how true leaders act; they embrace their weaknesses along with their strengths; the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you don’t like people like Photogzilla, then don't be arrogant and ignore them. There’s no use ignoring the problem that people like my friends are perverting the industry.

Yes, dialog needs to happen. When industry leaders step out of line, anyone, anonymous or not, DOES have a responsibility to call them on it. When the emperor is naked, the Photogzillas of the world should absolutely tell them so. Someone needs to be checking the kool-aid before we all drink it, cuz we've been drinking and passing it on for far too long. But it’s a slippery slope for my narcissistic buddies because it’s too easy to turn into a negative asshole like how Becker, David Jay, and others who rant about being bullied and told we're 'naked.' Sure someone should give many of these self proclaimed leaders a time-out for taking it too far. If you've ever gone to a workshop or bought one our products, didn't get much out of it, then went out and actually learned the craft of photography and business, then realized how full of shit we were, then you probably know you what I'm talking about. And if we egomaniacs can’t be bothered to stand our cash flow disappear and be discovered like the Wizard of Oz, I can’t imagine why anyone ever gave us credibility in the first place.

So I’m officially calling out all my friends, David Jay, Dane Sanders, Becker, and other cynics on the interwebs, both in and out of the photo world. Stop behaving like children and trying to be the post popular kid in high school. If you are so passionate about photography, go and actually shoot and stop trying to make money off of naive newbs who don't know any better. Otherwise, STFU and GTFO.  And by the way, your motivational powerpoint slideshow could use a change. It's been like 5 years."

PZN Editor: Like we said, we like this version of Doug's post better than what he published. What do you think in comparison? See the original here.

Keep Stalking Photogzilla!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shootsac Wakes Up Lowers Prices, Still Not Popular

The little surfers who sacrificed their wet suits for the sake of making a quick buck on cheap bags by ripping off naive newbie photographers have apparently been given a dose of reality. After our story was published a few days ago, Shootsac made an announcement today that they would be having a Shootsac Outlet sale. Details are scarce at this time, but it appears PZN's friends at the Wine Catalogue selling a much better neoprene option for $24.95 is really getting to our good friend Jessica Claire. Especially since the wine bag is so much taller and cooler looking (yes, pun intended). However, we also have unconfirmed reports that sales of the Shitsac have been absolutely horrible and continue to decline as people continue giving bad reviews to the bag after realizing it is nothing more than a beverage cooler for three. No matter, the PZN staff is just delighted to see Jessica has stopped smoking whatever the Becker was slipping her and going in a different direction. We just hope she comes to her senses and stops ripping off naive photographers with such a silly excuse for a bag disguised under cheesy pillow cases from Target. A little bird also told us that Ms. Claire has fired Becker and wants to make an offer to our sexy chief Photogzilla to come on board as a consultant. One of our PZN interns said she couldn't afford to hire Photozilla's sexy ass anyway.

Sadly, even with this announcement, we at PZN collectively agree that we would only use a Shitsac if it was given away with free highlighters at a job convention, along with all the other junk. How much do you think Jessica should sell the Shootsac for?

Keep Stalking Photogzilla!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Subliminal Marketing for Photographers: Lesson #20-something

Holy Dunkin' Donuts Batman! It seems like its been forever, doesn't it? We got many loving emails, direct messages, threatening letters sprayed with perfume, and a couple of lovely fruit baskets asking where the hell PZN had gone off to. Well, the PZN staff was given a long needed break while our sexy chief Photogzilla was off shooting weddings and other nonsense; hot women, clubs, booze, sex, Jersey Shore. To tell you the truth, he's still out of the country on one of those fancy celebrity destination weddings. Fret not though, when he returns, he's going to blog and tweet about the whole thing, name drop whoever he sees, and even do some @mentions on Twitter pretending the celebrity is actually going to see it and really care about another 'vendor servant' at their wedding.

Enough of that. Our hotter than Brad Pitt sexpot chief Photogzilla, who is currently messing around with Jennifer Aniston, sent this in to us and told us to blog it. It's about our uber fabulously boring friend Jessica Claire, who recently realized Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are all places to actually interact with people. Yes, even she has come down from her throne to respond to comments & questions left by poor village peasants.

Well, today's lesson is directly related to the overall constant barrage of marketing & campaigning of anything you sell; your services, your products, your body, your soul, whatever. The rule is this: discuss a topic that appears to be helpful on the surface, but always plug your product in some way or form, even it is not related to the question. This is our product placement strategy. Just be sneaky about it.

For instance, say someone asks you what kind of lenses do you use? The novice simpleton would reply with a list of all of their most used lenses. However, if you know how to Jedi mind trick the flocks of sheep, you slip in a word about, say, your shitty overpriced bag of a product you want to sell. Of course, this isn't relevant to the question, but you're a real marketing sleuth.Your demographic of innocent housewives won't even smell out your cunning ways. And don't forget to put a link either.

Jessica Claire - Pretend To Be Helpful, Capture The Plug Opportunity:

Aside from the great example on how to be sneaky with your product plugs, the question on what lenses one uses is one of the funniest of our times. We would hope that anyone who purchases any lens knows why they are getting it. Not because some law school dropout said she shoots wide open with a 85 1.2, so you do the same.

Ring-Ring-Ring, it's Photogzilla on the phone:
"You would think the Stupids in our industry would have made a turn for the better over the past few months, but it just goes to show you that the Stupids like having me around. And yes, Stupids is my answer to the label of the Grumpies. Use it anytime you see my good friend Dane Sanders. Anyway, I hope my staff has helped out those of you out there that are trying to market your shitsacs to the flocks of newbies with these types of groundbreaking questions. There IS such a thing as a stupid question, but it's a great opportunity to be a plugging whore. Plug your mother if you want to."

So remember kids; it is very important to plug your product at every turn, especially if you're trying to be helpful. These moments are when people are in their most vulnerable state and ready to dip their faces into molten lava if you tell them to. Isn't subliminal marketing awesome?!?

By the way, when the PZN staff is working, our chief always brings in 3 bottles of wine from his destination weddings to help us loosen up. He carries the bottles in a beautiful black bag from our friends at Wine Enthusiast Catalog. This spacious & fashionable bag is made from, wait for it...neoprene. And yes, we did say 3 wine bottles. Fourteen inches high. Wait a minute. You're getting ahead of us here. Did you say a lens up to 70-200?? You read our minds! And if you order now, you can get it for the ultra low price of...$24.99! No, you're not going blind. You read that correctly. Huh? You got ripped off with that other diaper shitsac bag? Oh. Wow. How much? You did get ripped off. What? Cost of this? Well, since you asked so nicely; neoprene, zipper, thread, large storage pocket, tote handle...we think it probably costs around $2 fitty to make each one. Maybe less.

The $179 Shootsac - Always Laying Down On The Job Compared To Our Wine Lens Bag

Tune in next time for another exciting lesson!

Until then...Keep Stalking Photogzilla!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Escalate Live: The Secret Tape

Risking life and limb, PZN's own sexy chief Photogzilla went under cover this past Sunday to a secret meeting that was called the night before Escalate Live was to begin. After he managed to leave undetected, he was kidnapped by two assailants and driven all night to an unknown location.

After bribing his captives, he managed to escape and hitch a ride from a chicken farmer. His camera was lost amongst some hen cages, however, the farmer was kind enough to come back and returned it to Photogzilla.

Without further ado, PZN is proud to take you behind the closed doors of Escalate Live to show you everything the organizers don't want you to see:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Escalate Live: Streaming Live, Kinda Not

PZN is not responsible for the claims and constant plugs of books, workshops, and services throughtout the Escalate Live presentation.

Live TV : Ustream

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dane Sanders, The Becker, David Jay, Scarlett Lillian: A Lesson In Looking Like An Ass

Branding. You work your ass off creating one for yourself and your business. You want to have an appealing image that tells people your ass is successful, reliable, trustworthy, and just the whole kitchen caboodle of the century. All this is what makes people volunteer over their checkbooks to you...You're a freakin' rockstar and everyone wants a piece of your ass. 

Public Relations. This is the hand that wipes that hard working ass when it gets dirty or when you need someone to get you more ass. Funny enough, it also requires to kiss a lot of ass. Yes, there's certainly a lot of ass involved in public relations. Networking is also a part of this, so there's multiple asses available in one room at one time. 

Google Search Results. Your branding and public relation butt cheeks both come together to form a nice ass that can be seen by the world. You want great search results if anyone Google's your ass. You want your hard working ass to look fiiiiiine.

The Photogzilla Effect. When your egotesticle ass gets a well deserved reality check spanking and no furious, amazing SEO bullshitter, or PR can save your ass from the natural algorithms of the beast known as Google.

PZN is proud to share with our readers the result of what happens when your ego gets bigger then your ability to think logically, rationally, and most importantly, with good old common sense. We hope this lesson on The Photogzilla Effect helps save your ass in the future.

Chris "The" Becker Search Result on Page 1:

Dane Sanders Search Result on Page 1:

David Jay Search Result on Page 1: 

Scarlett Lillian Search Result on Page 1, Just For Ol' Shits & Giggles:

PZN Staff Pleading: For your own good, our entire PZN staff agrees that you just not mess with our sexy chief Photogzilla. Your ass will be grass if you step out of line. Just sayin.

Keep Stalking Photogzilla!

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