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Join us in this week’s interview with Nino Batista, a model photographer whose work has been published in lifestyle and men’s publications all over the world. In this video, he introduces his frequency plugin which gives portraits more texture. His advice for retouching photos is to know when to stop and to not get stuck in details.
He suggests that if you are starting your photography business, you should pay models to work with you because it is a good investment and offers good training for you. He suggests that photographers should attend conferences in order to get out of their shell and talk to like-minded individuals.
You can get a 15% discount to his plugins through The High Rollers Club. The link is here.
For more information you can visit his website at http://www.ninobatista.com
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About Jenn Bruno Smith:
After leaving a successful career as a speech pathologist and clinical liaison, Jenn moved into pursuing her business full time. She has been shooting boudoir exclusively for 4 years and teaching marketing and business to the photography industry for the last two.
You can catch up with Jenn in her group The High Rollers Club- IPS, Business and Marketing for Boudoir photographers.
About Nino Batista:
Ron “Nino” Batista is a model photographer in the United States. His work is seen in lifestyle and men’s publications the world over, including many international editions of Playboy and FHM. He is regarded as one of the premier model photography and retouching educators in the U.S.
You can learn more about Nino through his website http://www.ninobatista.com
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:00:03] Hey, guys, Jen Bruno Smith from the High Rollers Club. I’m here with Nino Battista. It’s so good to see you. How are you? I’m doing good. Good to see you again. Thank you for having me. Thanks for coming. I know you’re really busy, so I appreciate that you took the time to talk with us. And you know, we have a lot of photographers that listen to this podcast, but there’s a lot of people once you that, you know, aren’t necessarily in the boudoir world or maybe new to photography. So tell me a little bit about yourself. Like what you two just like. I would love to that just kind of introduce yourself to our audience a little bit.
Nino Batista: [00:00:37] Absolutely. Well, most of the time when I get asked this question, the question is, how long have you been shooting? I’ll start with that. It’s a weird answer because I grew up with photography with my dad. So I’ve had it since I was a little kid. However, you see, photography for me was what what dad did you know? So I was a graphic designer and a musician for many years. A lot of Photoshop or thought the 90s, again, graphic design and musician. So finally, two thousand eight or nine, I got into photography and my dad was like, oh, finally. I mean, I was, you know, 33, 34 years old. And I finally decided to let me see what this is all about, gas equipment. And so I’ve been shooting in earnest for about ten or eleven years, but I grew up with it because of my dad. However, when I shoot, getting into glamour, getting into boudoir and all that that came from my now ex wife, but or we’re married, she wanted me to shoot her, so I shot her. And the rest is history. That’s why I went that direction. It seems really obvious. Oh, of course you went to shoot pretty women because that’s what men like. It seems so token, but really there’s like a genuine interest in there for me. So that’s the the really, really brief story. But I’ve been to photography all my life that 10 years focused and and because of my graphics background, I’m really, really obsessed with retouching. I love doing it. I didn’t know how to retouch photos before I started this, but being a Photoshop user for so long, it was very natural. So I’m a retouching nerd and you’re so good.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:02:06] So how we met met back in 2016 at the AVP retreat in AVP. For those of you that haven’t heard of it, it’s a sensation of international. But why photographers? And it’s this great little circle of very talented photographers. And every year they have a conference and you were speaking there and speaking about retouching. And so we know it. I’ve known you for, you know, quite a few. You probably didn’t like really, actually, Bobby, late last year. This year. I remember I moved to New York every year that I just remember you had this amazing frequency, separation action and I still use it.
Nino Batista: [00:02:44] And yet I’m glad things have changed a little bit since then, because in 17, the ending of 17, I started getting a development team together and we start actually developing Photoshop plugins. So we’ve really advanced the world of frequency separation with our own proprietary plugin, if I may mention that real quick. So I’ve been doing that since like twenty seventeen is called and BP retouch tools, but he’s the photo and BP real creator. Right. But we started when we started with the frequency separation plug in, which kind of makes everything in that world more flexible and more powerful. And it’s really a bulb that’s that’s been our flagship plug in anymore that’s been overtaken by another one. But it’s to me like our main one, the impetus like how can we reinvent this? And we did. So yeah, we have that one. I hopefully get you a copy.
Nino Batista: [00:03:33] If I haven’t already, I’ll be awesome or something. Why should I use that target versus like the old action, you know, like old dog new tricks that comes right using my little like Photoshop action. I know how to use it. It’s very fast. Why should they switch to the plug in?
Nino Batista: [00:03:49] So the plug in is going to be it’s you can get a good result with action. Make no mistake, there’s a million copies of the actions and variations of all kinds. Right. But ours is, first of all, the it’s getting a little technical for a second. But the algorithms that produce the frequency separation effect, which is gonna be everything from the texture effect of the high and low layer frequency separation, that subtraction process is all really technical. Ours are proprietary. We’re not using the filters in Photoshop. Those are what they call an external processor. And the upshot of all that is that we preserve more texture, really proud of our archive. So if you use it, you get a little bit more texture preservation and then you get free viewing and more finite control, different type algorithms, different radiuses. You can use you can preview to see how it’s looking. It’s kind of like if you’re brand new to frequency separation, the plug in and an action will make a difference.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:04:39] So the standard for the people that are, you know, a little newer to photography and maybe then, you know, new to Photoshop, what is frequency separation? We’re talking about this term, Sooni, you and I, if we use it all the time. But for someone who has no idea what we’re talking about, how are they not?
Nino Batista: [00:04:57] So on the surface, when you first describe it, somebody, it sounds like it’s too good to be true. It is. But that means the basics is that it allows you to set up your image in such a way that the texture like fine.I texture on skin is separated from the color, which is more of a blurry, softer trend, the color transitions of the image. The upshot is that you can paint skin tone underneath texture, which sounds like again, too good to be true, right? But it’s the kind of tool that can be used and abused the wrong way. But in a proper workflow, it is paradoxically extremely powerful. Yeah, for lots of things. So using in and of itself is not a master solution, especially of the abuse it.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:05:34] But that’s what it is, is that you can paint underneath texture. So so basically what you’re saying is, you know, because whenever you think of like percha or something like that, you you can use it a little bit too heavy and then your skin just kind of looks like thick almost with it. The Buting of frequency preparation is that you keep that texture so it doesn’t look like like a Barbie so much as like real skin, just perfect skin.
Nino Batista: [00:06:00] That’s exactly right. Yeah, that’s that’s the upshot of it. And because it’s not and I’m not knocking portraiture, but it’s not an automatic process. It’s trying to find eyes and face. And for head and nose is an honor. It’s a tool that you can use exactly how you want to use it. And I love control.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:06:14] So, yeah, right. You know, whenever you are using the plugin, you paint it on like a mask or is it like you push it and then like you have control over like you pin it on or how does that work?
Nino Batista: [00:06:28] It’s literally just painting on. I mean, for those who do know frequency separation, they might do process that modifies the highlighter directly modifies the low layer directly duplicating cloning them, different blending mode, somebody from variations. But my method is pretty straightforward. I literally paint on a bike layer between high and low and I paint in the skin that I want to correct and the texture gets preserved. This is after I’ve done appropriate dodge and Burn, which is a main tool for what I like on skin clean up but frequent separations of perfect final polish.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:06:59] So it takes me about that. Like talk to me about the dargin burn. Why is that your preferred tool over a frequency separation?
Nino Batista: [00:07:06] Well, you know, being able to dodge and burn or brighten and darken in specific areas in a smart way, using the curves, layers and things like that, which is a million, you know, tutorials on that new. But utilizing the correct ways, again, more control, I can brighten the dark area. And when I do it, I preserve the texture, which we put it. Researchers are obsessed on texture. So we preserve the texture by fixing these dark and light areas with Dijon burn. And it takes a lot more time, obviously. But again, it’s it’s a control thing. And that’s what it’s about. Anything. It’s automated like fix the face, click. You’re probably not going to have a good result.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:07:45] When you’re doing tagine burn, how do you know what areas to lighten and what areas to darken?
Nino Batista: [00:07:52] So without sounding like a like somebody the old college professor, would I tell my students is practice. And I know it sounds kind of dismissive, but with practice it’ll become obvious because it is not a linear process like solving a piece of wood in half. It’s an artistic process and you have to get better at it. So you got to have thousands of hours of really shitty dodge and burn to get the idea. I can’t tell you where because every shot’s different.
Nino Batista: [00:08:16] It has to go with practice right now. Whenever. So now, since you’re super experienced and do this all the time, how long do you think it takes you to retouch an image from the very beginning to finish? How long would you say so?
Nino Batista: [00:08:31] As you count in my work and capture one, which is what I use my raw processing, I don’t use Lightroom if you can’t capture one roughly. Unfortunately, my range is a while. I can knock out an image in 15 minutes. I can not have an image in two hours. It just depends on what the shot needs and what I want. So it’s a huge range, but I’m actually fairly efficient. All things considered, when I do my my really like hard sunlight, hard light, black and white, where I want the skin to be perfect head to toe. Those are my two outer ones because I spend extra care getting the texture just right. But softer boudoir ish type images shot it off to fifteen twenty five minutes.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:09:07] Right. And so for a newbie that’s just starting out because I remember when I first started retouching. And now I use Judy, who is my retoucher and I would die without her. But but literally if I had stood there, I would probably sit there and like retouch for an hour or two hours. And every image I would drive myself absolutely insane. And I think that that’s maybe a problem that most photographers. How did they don’t know when to stop? So what is it? What’s some good advice you have for people who might be late learning retouching in the beginning? How do you know when to stop?
Nino Batista: [00:09:46] I think that the way to throttle yourself is going to be, like I said, pick those battles as it is just an artistic vision for a project. And you want the image perfect. You don’t care what it costs, what you know, take twelve hours to edit it. That’s fine. But when you’re. Trying to deliver albums when you have clients, deadlines and things like that, you have to discuss how horrible. But for the most part, you had to scale back your standards a little bit, knowing that the difference between what the client’s going to love and what you consider perfect is almost barely indistinguishable. So you have to check yourself and go, I need to get this done so I can make money because I’m spending two hours on a shot, an album for 40 people for 40 images. Excuse me. I’m not making any money. So it’s not an issue of sacrificing per say. It’s that show being realistic. I say this because that’s one of the critch to myself. I’m horrible, but spending way too much time on a project and then I’m like, I’ve made any money on this. I spent 14 hours editing why I do this. It’s throttling yourself for the project. I tend to put more time into my personal work, for example. It’s terrible clients. If you’re listening, that’s not trying to say that. I have to ask you. I won’t redo something and redo it and retest it. I’ll just go. You know what? That is good enough next.
Nino Batista: [00:11:00] Yeah. So that’s what’s important. I think that we get bogged down in details as creative as our president. That’s why outsource my retouching was so helpful to me, because otherwise I would I would sit there for hours and hours and just mess with things.
Nino Batista: [00:11:16] It’s no longer really taboo to to outsource. Let’s say about five, 10 years ago, there was a lot of oh, you guys that your images of those, a lot of that. You don’t see that anymore. And, of course, is super, super high end commercial photographers outsource all the hardcore utility cleanup anyway. So it’s really common. It’s not uncommon at all.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:11:34] Right. Absolutely. So the new photographer is starting out. You know, I think there’s that learning curve for everyone starts but Lightroom and the like oversaturate and do like white vignettes and things like that. So what’s your advice to, like, new photographers just starting out? Do you have any advice to them in terms of retouching?
Nino Batista: [00:11:56] First of all, don’t be scared of Photoshop. That’s a lot of people. Do they think that Lightroom is then the basics and then you step up to Photoshop? I think that’s actually lying to yourself. Lightroom is not a basic Photoshop. They’re completely different programs was completely different purposes. Photoshop can be very straightforward and very simple, but it can’t be when people have the idea that on basic issues like room, no, get right into Photoshop. But I think what we have to and I have some videos on my YouTube channel about this. You have to learn the tools first. You can’t just be like, okay, I want to make this image perfect. You don’t know what a layer is. You need to get you on that. And it’s not that you’re not capable is that you have to suck it up first. So the tools find the utilities out there to teach you the basics of Photoshop, not how to make an image perfect for a portrait. Perfect. You don’t know how to do that. Yeah. Yeah, I learned tools because I’ve taught many, many students who have been editing photos for two years. And then I say adjustment layer mask and they go, what’s that? How have you been functioning for two years? And I’m not here to make fun of people. I’m just saying the basics right now.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:13:00] I think that that’s great. You have to have the foundation before you can build a house. Right. That’s it. So what do you feel like are the most foundational tools of Photoshop that people should start with?
Nino Batista: [00:13:13] Well, in portrait retouching, you’ve got to live and die in the layers palette. That’s what I tell people in my videos. I sell to people. My classes have a brand new. Understand the layers pile. Embrace it. Blank. Blank. Kelleher’s adjustment layers and masks. That is 75 percent of what you need to be doing in the rest of your workflow. So layers is like there was one thing to say live and learn the layers palette because you’re going to live there when you’re editing.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:13:36] Yeah. That’s great. That’s better now. I’ve been so, so out of that world for so long. They shoot such high volume that I can do it when I have to. But I prefer not to. Yes. So you shoot a lot and you charbel a lot. How do you when you’re traveling and shooting clients in these other locations? How do you book these clients letter? What is. Is it just, you know, word of mouth or. How are you getting your name out there? I mean, now, obviously, everyone is yeara. But you know, how how do you do that? Where do you even start?
Nino Batista: [00:14:13] Well, you know, to start, it’s hard because the short answer, really. I live on social media. Like a teenager. And not just for funny means, but the baby Yoda means. But for for work, because that’s where I get most of my work from. And so I post you know that right now. I’ll post it. I’m going to Hawaii like on Sunday and get increased from there. It’s not like I get 80. I mean, sometimes these cities are harder than they sound. But when you first get started for me anyway, I when you think back on it, when I start traveling because I first of all like to travel. So that was my business model. I just brazenly would say I’m I’m in Houston. So I’d be like, I’m going to Dallas now booking very brazenly ’cause I didn’t have a name for myself. I didn’t go there before. I just kept doing that stubbornly. I went to a lot of cities losing money. And I’d come back. But what happened was that in this traveling business model, over time and sacrifice and just pushing it out there blindly. When you do travel exclusively for your work, you created perhaps false, but still a sense of urgency because people are like, oh, you’re here Friday through Monday. That’s it. And I don’t want to travel to you. This is my window. And that does create clients to respond because they’re like, I will work in the sky and wanting to. Six months, six years, whatever. He’s going to be here. So how do I make this happen in that urgency? There’s people to book.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:15:35] To be honest with. Right. So how many would you do you normally try to book? Whenever you’re honest, they’re patient and you only shoot one a day or do you shoot multiple?
Nino Batista: [00:15:45] I try for one day, but it depends. I mean, I hate to sound so wishy washy on this response, but it depends on what I’m doing. If I’m booked by an organization to be like a feature photographer at an event. I may not have time period. So there’s no bookings there. That’s done that shoot. But that’s my job is to be there for that. Other times I will book freely, openly. But I do try for just one a day, as bold as that sounds. Because I may not shoot one three hours, but I’d like to get up, get ready, gets a location scout plan. I’m kind of spoiled in that regard. I’m not trying to do four sessions in a day.
Nino Batista: [00:16:16] Right now I would be so braindead if I when I first started, I would end up like doing like some. I would travel on location, I would go in, I would book like four in a day out for sure. I literally wanted to die. I was. My brain was so tired, I just couldn’t handle it. So how far in advance you create your travel schedule like, you know, in the beginning of the year where you’re going to head to or just kind of the bigger trips?
Nino Batista: [00:16:43] I always planned further out because there’s more to lose. Is there like Thailand and Thailand for November? And that’s a long time, because getting there and getting back is expensive just in and of itself. So things like that. So the the the further away trips, more exotic trips. I planned months in advance. But what the other ones of the regional ones here in the states, there’s a window. If I booked six months out early market. Because no one’s gonna book six months out in my genre in my world. The gravy kind of a Goldilocks zone is about one month. So about one month before I’m going to be somewhere start pushing hard. Before that, people go get you, you know? So I push hard about a month out from from regional city. But yeah, I booked far in advance. Things happen and I have to improvise. But right now, I have something once or twice a month until then. Great. Thailand. It’s going to be so cool. Yeah. I kind of quit crazy this year on accepting invitations and making things happen because I’m being selfish and I want to travel. So I’ve got a lot of cool locations this year where that’s where I’ll see you going.
Nino Batista: [00:17:47] I live by deviously.
Nino Batista: [00:17:49] Probably have to open this to remind myself, as terrible as that is. Let’s see. I’m going to Hawaii next week. April, Puerto Rico. September, Aruba. September, Jamaica. Huntington Beach, California. Chicago. Salt Lake City believes Bali. And Panama City Beach, Florida. That’s later. That’s also in April. And Las Vegas two weeks from now.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:18:14] Currently on the docket. I’ll see you. And I guess I’ll be there. WPRO. So that’s an amazing year. Yeah. Trying to keep it busy. Yeah, that sounds good. Lot of bucket list items. That’s amazing. So I also think, you know, when I think of your work, I think a lot of like working with models, like glamour, like high fashion, things like that. So how do you find models to work with that, you know, match your body or that are easy to work with? You. Any advice for a photographer and when you’re working with models?
Nino Batista: [00:18:50] Well, you mean like getting started on that or just doing it?
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:18:53] General, let’s do both. Let’s say you’re maybe like getting started. And then my fellow said you like, you know, just in general. Like what advice you have.
Nino Batista: [00:19:01] Sure. So if you’re if you’re depending on where you’re coming from, if you’ve never worked in models before, but you’ve also never worked with subjects, portrait subjects in general, it’s there’s gonna be a work. You have to build your way up and there’s nothing. It’s like, well, they wouldn’t say it was a call. Ockham’s Razor, the simplest explanation for something that has a lot of explanations is usually the one. That’s right. So if your work is good enough, your work is good enough, models will be interested in working with you. And I say their work is not good enough. Then you may need to book some models. I’ll tell you what I mean. That I mean, pay them pay. Paying some full time models when you want to get your portfolio changed. To go in that direction is some of the best investment in the world. It really, really is. It doesn’t take to too much. You don’t need to pay thousand dollars an hour or anything crazy, but you’re going to get that result and you’re almost paying for training of yourself because you’re new to working with models. The pro model will teach you by default. They’re not going to give you lessons, but you’re going to learn from them why you shoot them. So you’re like, wow, this is completely different than it would work because, you know, we do our clients never do this before or not often. Very, very different personal dynamic. Whereas a pro model. So if you’re new to shooting models. Tiresome, you can have a better standard, you can accelerate quicker. Now, I spent years booking every local or regional either model or wannabe model for years just trying to get collaborations in. Over time, I realized that when I’m working with someone who’s way less experienced than me, this collaboration is not worth it. But if I paid pro models. I’m saying so the investment in yourself is not just for you, but it’s also for yourself and you learn a lot.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:20:37] Yeah, absolutely. So how much would you expect to pay? Like what is a reasonable rate to pay a model?
Nino Batista: [00:20:45] Well, if you’re not if you’re not flying them in and they’re not agency based, then you can probably. It’s going to vary wildly. But I would say someone on the order of $50 an hour is about what you can expect. Some will be 150 or 250. But that’s different. But if you know, if a model wants to come out for $50 for the entire day, they really, really like your work or something’s up.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:21:07] Right. Right. So do you. I guess, like, can you of say a model, you want to work with someone and now like a hundred fifty dollars an hour. You like not barter with them, but like try and like not talk them down, but get to a rate that might be more reasonable for you and you can negotiate freely.
Nino Batista: [00:21:29] Remember these models, especially the ones that command hundred fifty dollars now are our businesses. You have to remember that. And so they’re wondering apart from money. What’s my benefit? So if your work is really, really good, if you have a big social media following. If there’s an opportunity, they don’t normally get co-location or something like that wardrobe designer on board. These are things that are going to motivate them to negotiate with you. They’re thinking they’re thinking business as well. So they’re like, well, why do you want me to reduce my rate for what would work? So it’s just about this all it is. It’s just like any artistic thing. I used to be a pro musician. If I could do a gig. You got gonna pay me in beer. I don’t care about that. Yeah, big venue for free. I’m actually might be cool. I know I’ll get sensitive about working for exposure and all. We all have to make that decision at some point multiple times. So yeah, give give the model something more. Not just hey, I have a camera.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:22:20] So so do you and everyone else that you know, whenever you work with a model and you’re paying them. Do you just get them the images that you shared after they re-attach?
Nino Batista: [00:22:33] Yeah. To to a degree I will give if I’m paying a model. Usually when I pay models for a workshop, I’ll pay her because I need her for my workshop and also shooter. That’s at least these days. And if I do, I’m the best. Again, this is the arrangement is there. They get money. So I know my agreement up front is that you may not get an image or you might get just two or something like that. But I know that they’re being compensated. So, yeah, I will. But I’m not going to be like deliver a 15/16. Edit I’m paying them now because not just on principle. They’ll get me wrong, but on time. Now if something ends up amazing and I want to submit it to a magazine, that’s a whole different story. It’s just you have to be flexible this hard and fast. I never do collabs. I don’t buy into that.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:23:17] Yeah. So what was the one that you just said? Just you just shot some girl. I was in the desert and I was like it was at her store in front. It was a products. It was so cool. What in the world was that? Was it like an actual Provest in the middle of the desert or is it.
Nino Batista: [00:23:35] Yes. Some people know about it. Some people don’t. But it’s a product art installation by these two artists, I believe. They’re your peer and they do a lot of installations like this. And it is literally on a desolate, straight road in west rural Texas in the middle of nowhere. It’s completely sealed. The items on the site are real product. But it’s an art installation, lights up at night. And it’s been kind of I love to shoot in the southwest, in the desert. I put together a book about that kind of stuff, one of Libya in summer. So part of Marfa was a bucket list item. And on the way to El Paso recently with a buddy of mine and a model that I worked with a lot, we said, should we detour a little bit and go see Prada, Marfa? So we did. And there was a lot of fun. It was cold. She was a trooper because all her outfits were not conducive to cold weather. Ended up being picked up by SAHM USA and they published that set. And it was again a bucket list item for me. And it caused a lot of question to some people know what it is. Prada, Marfa is the art installation. Other people are like like you. Is that an actual store? And if you saw where it was, it is in the middle of nowhere.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:24:38] It’s amazing. These guys are there at the AVP retreat this year. And then I was like, I know you think somewhere close. So where I knew where I was and I was, you know, on the Riverwalk.
Nino Batista: [00:24:48] We were, you know, all naked on the river. What I think there is know he rather Prada door in the middle third. Of course he did. Right. Of course.
Nino Batista: [00:25:00] It’s been out there for a while. It was all those things that I think it came out in 0 5 0 6 and it got vandalized a lot. But eventually people left it alone. So pretty cool.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:25:09] It was really cool. So you speak in a lot of conferences. You brought a lot of conferences saying you have w PBI coming up and then you know, what’s after that. Tell me more about like your workshop schedule, your conference schedule, things like that.
Nino Batista: [00:25:21] So I stepped away from conferences for a couple of years. I completely walked away from shutter fest. I did it for five years. It just wasn’t me anymore. And so I walked away. Fish out of. Cleanly and then I’ve got to push my click on Chicago, the new one came up last summer and they’re doing this summer, WPI stepped away for a couple of years. Having the last conversation I would love three years ago was only this last second thing they want to put together, but didn’t happen anyway. Long story short, this year and going into twenty twenty one. I’m back on the conference focus. So I’m back on the teaching circuit. I told WPP I PPE that I’m gonna be setting some class ideas and applying and I think they’re gonna want to use me next year. The photography show in London or near London on February 2 is twenty twenty one. I’m doing that, so I’m try to get back on the conference circuit fully began a couple of breaks after I was burned out and now I’m excited about it again. So I am going to WPP and a couple of weeks, but I’m not speaking at WPP. I’m sure there are other things I just happen to be there during mean because it’s Vegas, right?
Nino Batista: [00:26:25] It’s like the best part of our job. We can be like, oh, I’m going to hang out Vegas fairly just just to work on that. But I mean, where I’m truly going for where I live working. Absolutely focus on work.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:26:40] So for some of our listeners that maybe like a different side of, you know, kind of going into business for a while and once you start speaking at conferences, this is something you’re really good at. You’ve done it a lot. You’ve spoken to a lot of conferences, even teaching for a while. What kind of advice you have for those photographers that are on that end of the spectrum that once you really get into teaching more, especially in speaking at conferences? Alarming.
Nino Batista: [00:27:05] It really is. I think that’s the key, though, right there. What you just said is that which goes to my point is that when you want to be into teaching in any genre in the arts, simple, you got to want to. In other words, don’t chase it, thinking it’s some quick money. If you hate doing it, don’t chase it. If you think I can make a couple of quick bucks off my fellow photographers because you’re going to hate it and yourself because doing it once or twice. One of the most things I hear from photographers who give their first workshops is, oh man, I did it. But that was that kill me. I don’t think I can ever do that again. Know this is a zoo at 200 times like I have that requires a genuine interest. I like it. I like people. I like talking. Can you tell? So for me. For me, I enjoy it. Yeah. You know, you have some train wrecks. It’s business. You have some times where, you know, you faceplate plate. That’s fine, but enjoy it like it wanted. That’s the first thing ’cause everything else comes natural. You’re going to. People are going to speak good about you. They’re going to get excited. They’re going to talk about you. Conferences will reach out. If you’re good at what you do, if you just try to stand in front of a crowd for three hours and babble about yourself because you hate being there. Why do it enjoy it? And I think everything else comes natural after that because people need to learn something. Your work can be great, but you may not be worth a day at teaching. So if you really love it, I think everything comes naturally. And I love it. Yeah.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:28:23] That’s so true. We see like so many educators out there and whenever we talk to people my mouth about my master, I’m quite shall we say, like that’s one of the things that sets me apart is because I used to be a speech pathologist. I actually know how to teach. And I like teaching. And, you know, I think that that’s something that, you know, when you see a lot of educators, friends, you can tell like a they just don’t like it and they don’t know they’re going through the motions. Yeah, yeah.
Nino Batista: [00:28:50] Like I said, I wasn’t even kidding when I said talk about yourself for three hours on the most common things I hear from photographers when they’re complimenting my workshop, which I’m happy about. But, you know, they take a shot at a previous one. I won’t say any names. And they’re like, I literally pay fifteen hurt others to go listen to her talk about herself for three hours. They sent us home. I hear that repeated so often. And I’m like, well, that sucks.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:29:13] It’s kind of like, you know, because, I mean, I have a masters of science and I’ve been doing a lot of college courses and that first class. You always have to sit there and listen to the professor talk about the syllabus for like an hour and a half and you’re like, dude, I wouldn’t have gotten into a master’s program if I couldn’t read like I read, you know? So I totally agree. Like when people are coming, like, let’s eat, the last thing they want to hear you talk about is your.
Nino Batista: [00:29:39] Is all right. Everything that I’ve accomplished. That’s why they’re there. They know what you’ve accomplished. What are they coming from? You know, you can’t win everyone. But if you have a good 90, 95 percent success rate, people will talk about you. That’ll keep going from there. But like I said, if you don’t genuinely want to do it, you won’t last. And people will respond negatively and you’re going to fail. This is too hard. No, you just don’t like it.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:30:01] It’s OK if you don’t like it. Not for everyone. All right. So, you know, we’re talking about WPI. Talking about conferences. And there’s probably people listening that maybe I’ve never been to a conference or maybe want to go to a conference. What are some of your maybe what’s some good pieces of advice for people that have never been to a conference but maybe want to go?
Nino Batista: [00:30:22] I think that the key thing is, you know, the conference is always going to advertise. They have to keep themselves alive. So they’re gonna advertise the marketing, the sponsors, the floor, the expo, the products, the media. Yeah, find go look at it. Go and all the new gear. Enjoy it. Cool. But the networking because you can go to wbb. I run into somebody who’s gonna be a catalyst for something else that’s going to lead to something else. These opportunities to network are far more important than anything they’re selling on the expo floor. Way more important in those offsite meetings, shoots, projects. Get out there and rub some elbows. Yeah, I know some people are terminally shy. I’m not one of those people, but I know some people are like that. Like, if you’re good at your work and you do well, you’re wondering why kick in opportunities, go to conferences, talk to people, because you never know what opportunities you may find if you sit in your house all day and stare at your screen looking at the latest product announcements. So that’s to me. What conferences as fourth where you get these like minded individuals together and you can capitalize on the network. That to me is the number one.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:31:19] That’s really good advice. And I think so many of us like spread out. We’re used to working by ourselves. And so when we get to a conference, really? Oh, my gosh, so many people there’s well, everywhere. And like, you know, you once, like, dry and it’s good to push yourself out of your shell a little bit and like do a little bit more. And. On the topic of conferences, what about competitions? What do you think about those like the competitions and things like that? Cause that’s what that is super overwhelming, like even in this game for a long time. And I I am overwhelmed by competitions myself.
Nino Batista: [00:31:54] Well, I mean, having I never I’ve not done one in my photography area, but growing up with my dad, as I said, the beginning of all this, he I saw him do many. He even ran a photography club in the 80s and they had little small competitions, not major conference. And I experienced that. And. Can I say something controversial? Absolutely. I’m against the competitions. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think that people get too far wrapped up in it. They put too much importance on the meaning behind it. And they put too much focus on winning and or losing. We’re already artists. We wear a heart in our sleeve. So to have others judge us determine our worth. On second place ribbon or third place ribbon or no placing at all. I’ve seen people get completely crushed. And so I’m not saying the competitions are doing anything wrong. I’m saying people take them the wrong way or take them too seriously. Throw an image or two and see what happens. But don’t worry about people or sweat and freak out about it. And I think that’s very unhealthy. As an artist to do that.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:32:54] I love that. I’ve actually never done a competition because I’ve been too busy to figure it out. And also, I’m a little bit more focused on what my clients think of my work. And that’s it. And that’s I think. I think there’s like the two sides to our industry. Right. The business side of people and then the creative side of people. And I’m definitely more on the business side. Less than creative. But because of that reason, I always think our financial one has come true. I would get killed because I know. You know, I’m not super technically strong and things like that. So, yeah, that’s really interesting. And I I think that I tend to agree with that viewpoint. So I don’t know exactly how controversial it’ll be because I think it makes a lot of sense.
Nino Batista: [00:33:42] Yeah, I think it’s mean, like I said, I don’t want to blame the competition’s themselves. I think people’s perception of the competition. But I will say this, that at least in the commercial world and I’m not fully into the commercial world, but in the commercial world. Your commercial clients are 0 impressed by your Instagram account saying award winning photographer. Yeah, lens award winning. Right. They want to see your portfolio. They want to see that you can get stuff done. They want to see your publishable on a regular and they want to see that you work in general is solid award winning photographer. No one cares. So the after that title, I think you might have the wrong focus. You need to focus on making your work satisfied to you, of course. But industry caliber in general?
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:34:22] Yeah, that’s some creative eye. So, you know, going back to what you said, that that when the shoot or that that was picked up by Athey Chan. Yes. So how does that happen? Do you submit them? What’s that process like?
Nino Batista: [00:34:36] It’s a different kind of world in publications these days, at least in my job. I can’t speak for high-fashion specifically. I do mostly glamour and its aura of glamour. And I also can’t speak for any other genre of photography. Landscaper Yeah, but it has changed quite a bit. So the reason why quote unquote SAHM picked it up is because I’ve worked with them before. I submitted work to them before. And the the the the publishing company, the parent company that owns them and others, I work with them as well. And different international Playboy editions. So I have a relationship. It wasn’t a cold call, but the building those relationships is is the challenge. And that’s what everybody always asks. None of this guaranteed. But that goes back to what our segment before that. The simple answer, if your work is good enough, people will talk. People will notice and get to those conferences and network because at one person, my very first Playboy cover about five years ago, now almost 6, the model had been scheduled and booked for the cover. She’d been slated for it and she needed a photographer.
Nino Batista: [00:35:34] Well, she happened to like my work when referral led to another. She contacted me cold and said, Can you come to Austin and do this? I said, No, I’m in Dallas because I was in Dallas that week and she came to Dallas. My work and my networking is why she reached out to me. I didn’t make that opportunity happen. She did, but I was out there rubbing elbows. Still balls from there. So again, going back to that networking thing and conferences there, one great way to do it. Yeah, I love that. Unless, of course, like I said, if you’re if your focus is to be the best Kingson yet a photographer in Houston, I happen to know one who does really well here. He doesn’t need to go anywhere. He gets all his work in surrounding area. Houston makes way into six figures a year on one of the best in the city. That’s his business model, minus commercial work and travelling. That’s my business model. So I can’t say there’s only one way.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:36:22] You know, I do think there’s lots of different ways. And I love that you keeps bringing up networking. I think that’s so important. And I think it’s something that in this digital era that we live in, people forget about the face to face marketing. And I think that people are often intimidated by it because we’re so used to like looking at a screen. And so, you know. Do you have any advice for people that, you know, we all know we need to it, but how do you rate kind of price yourself out of that box then? You know, kind of get yourself out there.
Nino Batista: [00:36:54] And I think but I think that, you know, a little bit of old school doesn’t hurt. And what I mean by that is that face time. And I don’t mean Apple face time. I mean like talking to people. Networking is important. Five minutes talking to somebody can tell them everything they need to know about your personality and you got the job. Whereas 15 e-mails back and forth for a month may not do it. So, yeah, I’m not the kind of guy who loves phone calls. If you cold call me, I’m probably gonna ask you to text me first. Yes, but at the same time, let’s go at it.
Nino Batista: [00:37:25] I said exactly.
Nino Batista: [00:37:26] You know, if I don’t know who you are to have an answer, that’s that’s the new way of doing things as much as suicidal. That sounds in business. But I think that that again, that that that face time, that real talking with somebody, if you can meet someone for five minutes, ten minutes, even digital like we’re doing now, that kind of conversation, because they realize, you know, I’ve got a good feeling about this guy, especially in my genre of glamour, glamour, photographers, a terrible relation of reputation. So, you know, oh, it’s one of those guys who shoots bikini models. I know what he’s like. Well, give me 10 minutes. I guarantee you’ll find someone else that you think you know you will. I’m not the same guy you think I am. So and that can lead to work. Interpersonal face time, shake hands. And yes, I know some people are horribly shy and I get it. My daughters, one of them. She’s about to be 16. She doesn’t like talking to anybody. I’m not that guy. So I have that benefit. But if you can try. Makos.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:38:18] You know that and that’s my dad was a photographer, he was a wedding photographer back in the 80s, too. My parents were divorced and so I would go along on his weekends, I would go to weddings with him and he would actually mean about me with like the shutter release. And I would like the shutter. Yeah, but I remember he’d have cards like he put his pictures on the family on cards, and he would just hand them out to everyone and just talk to people. And and, you know, now that I’m in the same industry, I look back and I’m like, wow. Like, how did you. It’s crazy to me thinking like you booked. You worked full time, you know, doing this job. And Facebook ads wasn’t you know, that wasn’t a thing. And right. All these like tools that we use now in the industry, like they weren’t a thing then. So. Exactly.
Nino Batista: [00:39:07] And I like social media because to me, marketing locally and marketing nationally, almost the same on social media. So I thought I take advantage of that because I’m not gonna be sitting here shooting commercial glamour in Houston for a living. That’s a good work. So I enjoy the fact that I can say I’m going to Omaha, Seattle. And it’s almost the same as the Old-School ways of marketing locally. I could imagine trying to travel nationally in 1990 doing this, right?
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:39:36] Yeah. I would’ve been nearly impossible like there is now. You’d have to get in the white pages. There is something so different, so great. Thank you so much for your time. So if people wanted to find you or following your work, you know, see some of your work where they work. They see you at work. They find you.
Nino Batista: [00:39:55] Luckily, I have a unique name. So Nina TS to type into Google and everything shows up. But if you want to go to Nina butthese or dot com, that’s a good start. I don’t do tons of different social media as I do Facebook and Instagram. So but again, have a unique name. So go to Google, type it in. You can’t miss it.
Nino Batista: [00:40:12] And then on Instagram, what’s your Instagram? No, it’s just Nina Battista. She’s great. There’s so many Jennifer Smith out there. And that’s a pretty generic name. I hate to say goodbye. Jen Bruno small. Say, can I call you six out? I mean, that’s a quarter of my maiden name. Bruno was my maiden name. So I just kind of kept it in there. I don’t know why I’m looking at that. He wishes he had me right.
Nino Batista: [00:40:39] I’m lucky in that regard. A middle name and Nina, which he says is very unique. If I were Joe Brown. I might have some Google issues.
Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:40:47] This it’s been so great. Thank you so much, Bridgespan. It’s been so helpful. Hopefully, our listeners have really learned a lot from this. And I will see you in Vegas in a few weeks for WPP. That’s right. I’ll be there 20, 20 onthem. Thanks, everyone, for listening. If you have any questions, you can find me on the High Rollers Club. You can buy, you know, at Nina, but she’s dead dot com. Right. Got it. Thank you so much, guys. Have a great day. Thank you.