Thomas E. Schmuki Photography

Phone: (954)439-1999 Email:

I photograph events like runway and fashion shows to create ART

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As most all local photographers, models, fashion designers and event organizers know, most if not ALL participants attend unpaid, free of charge, gratis, etc. This may come as a surprise to some of my followers not involved in the business of fashion and runway photography.  I cannot answer the question for the other participants why they continue to participate in these events for the love of the game.  I can try to attempt this from my own perspective.

When I am asked to come photograph one of these events I am sure the assumption is if I say yes, I am coming with the intent of “covering” the event. 

What does covering the event mean in a fashion show in its entirety?  

  1. Arrive early and take photographs of the models arriving and prepping for the show.  Take photographs of the models, makeup artists, hair specialists, and fashion designers as they do their thing to get ready.
  2. Take photographs of every model in every outfit from every fashion designer.  These photos should include different perspectives from full length, walking the runway, pausing, turning, posing, and returning back from the runway, and of course the last turn around right before they exit the stage
  3. Take photographs of each group of fashion as the runway models and fashion designer walk the stage clapping to the designer(s) for their fantastic work
  4. Photograph the crowd and any special guests attending
  5. Photograph the end of the show, guests and models leaving the show
  6. After event photographs of participants who want pictures with their friends, family, favorite designers, etc.

That is MY definition of covering a fashion show or event.  This normally entails about 800-1500 clicks of my camera.

Let me make this clear and this may be difficult for many to agree with, or even comprehend.  Even though I attempt to photograph the EVENT as described in items 1-6 above, I have NO intent of producing and making available a series of photos with all items 1-6. 

What is my intent?  Plain and simple, if I am not paid to shoot the event, my intent is to create a FEW beautiful works of ART.  If I edit one of your photos I want you to feel like you won the lottery.  This is entirely different than most of my photography peers for whatever reason.  What their intent is regarding covering an event must be answered by them.  

So what are the common requests I get from event attendees, which always results in a somewhat awkward conversation.

  • I want all my pictures, NOW, I need to post them immediately to get the maximum social networking clout.  They usually lead this request with first calling me their friend…
  • Can you send me every picture you took of my design, a specific model, etc.
  • I want every picture that has a model wearing my jewelry
  • etc.

After shooting many, many events and mostly fashion shows over the past number of years I know given my work flow what my commitment is when I say yes to this FREE non paid event.  On average it is about 60 hours of work per event.  I may call it a labor of love versus work.  I painstakingly cull the photos to my chosen few edits, then give a photo all my attention.  The average edit per photo is about 15 minutes and some photos may actually take hours.  I actually portrait retouch nearly 95% of all photos, painting lights and shadows on the face for dramatic and beautiful effects.  I look at the photo with an end result work of art in mind.  How do I get there? What is my vision?  

Have I succeeded and how do I measure my success or failure?  When I notice my participants use my photos for their cover photos or profile photos for weeks and months and many times go back and use it over and over.  That tells me my photo stood out and has VALUE to them.  That makes me very happy!  From an economic perspective I measure my success in these events as an utter failure.  Even after the fact few if none of the participants are willing to pay for edits or beautiful enlargements.  This is perplexing to me but it does smack me in my face that the real value of my work to the participants specifically is $0.  If I ever stop shooting these events, this will be the reason why.

Are you surprised my fellow Colorado friends that 90% of my work or nearly 100% of the work you see me post on social networks is NON paid work.  Luckily I do a LOT of work that I never post including weddings, bar and bot mitzvahs, head shots, group shots, infants, parties, etc.  

As I get closer and closer to my retirement from my daily work as a software developer, I ask you all to help support me in more ways than just a like or heart on my photos.  I will be retiring as early as September 12th (my birthday) or as late as the end of this year.  I will then be a full time photographer and only be doing photography soon.  I ask for your support and believe I have shown the world my dedication to my craft I love so much.

Thomas Schmuki


Tom SchmukiComment

I am reminded by a model who just recently asked me to give her a photo I took over a year ago which I have provided to her previously in 1 or two different forms.

Why is the following process so important to me as a photographer and why should you incorporate your own assurance of saving those photos that are oh so important to you?

First lets talk about what happens in real life

  1. You just cant find that photo amidst all your other photos.  You know you had it.... BUT where did it go?
  2. The most common problem of all is HUMAN error.  You inadvertently deleted your individual picture files, your folder, your hard drive, etc.
  3. System crashes.  Computers fail - almost ALWAYS.  You must assume this WILL happen.  Your hard drive WILL crash and you will NOT be able to retrieve anything off it.
  4. Natural disasters: Fires, floods, hurricanes, etc
  5. Theft: your computer and storage are stolen
  6. etc.

If you are a photographer either professoinal or amateur, take these words seriously.  I have been in technology for over 30 years.  I have SEEN it all.  Be prepared, disaster WILL happen.  

If you are like most people who use their phone for EVERYTHING and all photos are mysteriously saved on your phone.  You better have a backup plan,  Items 1-5 above can happen to you and most likely will.

What do I do with your photos after I take your pictures?

  1.  I copy the photos from my camera’s memory card to an external hard drive.  I reserve this card and do not use it for at least 2 weeks after the shoot.  JUST IN CASE.
  2.  I make sure all the photos I took are there. I look closely at the starting and ending photos
  3.  I rename the photos sequentially to something more meaningful.  My camera might save the file as: DSC500-10045, I may rename that to MSwim2018-1
  4.  I copy the entire folder of renamed photos to a separate hard drive (just in case)
  5.  I then load the photos into Lightroom which is what I use to catalogue my photos.  When I load the photos I load them with keywords like: Fashion, Runway, Models, DAMA, etc.  I can use keywords later to find photos
  6.  I do a quick pass and delete all BAD photos.  Photos of my feet, dramatically under or over exposed photos, out of focus, sticking your tongue out photos, etc.
  7. While editing the photos, I add keywords to specific photos including models names, etc.  I may also put the models name in the Title or Caption metadata
  8.  I automate local backups of all my local hard drives to a local hard drive using Apples “Time Machine”
  9.  I automate a second backup to the cloud – I use a cloud storage provider called Backblaze.  Highly recommend them.
  10. When I edit the photos I then export the edited version to DROPBOX

In Summary, how many copies do I have of your photos?

  • Cameras memory card (2 weeks)
  • External Hard drive (RAW Files) – Never modified
  • Backup of RAW to local external drive – Never modified
  • Backup of all files to local external drive – Time Machine
  • Backup to the Cloud – Backblaze (, just in case there is a local disaster or THEFT
  • Backup of edited pictures to DROPBOX
    • I recommend storing at least 2 versions of your edits to DROPBOX (WEB, and HIGH RESOLUTION), if your are ANAL: a version for Facebook, Instagram, Web, High Resolution (for printing)

The number: 6 copies, 5 after 2 weeks

This may not be best practice but this is my work flow.

Bored yet?  You may wish you had incorporated this or other strategies to store your precious photos.

All this work and technology is not only time consuming but expensive.  Another reason your photographer should be paid for his work.

-- Tom


The moment of Truth - a health update and photography tip at the end

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 Beautiful model Laura Garrido

Beautiful model Laura Garrido

Another personal blog where you can learn “hidden secrets” about me, my life and my photography.  At the end of this blog I will give ONE photography tip to those photographers on how I assure proper skin tone exposures on things like fashion shows without using a light meter.

I have written two previous blogs about my latest health drama which started over 6 weeks ago.

One Breath Away

I hope to see Clearly again:

For those few who actually read my blog, thank you.  To me it means you care and are interested in my life and my work. For the most part I believe the blog is not really read by anyone, not even my wife lol.  For those select few who do…. THANK YOU.

Here is my health update.

After multiple visits to the following doctors: optometrist, ophthalmologist, neurologist, hematologist, cardiologist.  My neurologist basically said I need everything extensively checked from the “heart up”.  Guess my privates don’t matter …

I have had a Brain Stem Scan, throat scan, EKG, 24 hour heart monitor, echo cardiogram, multiple blood tests, bla, bla, bla.  Oh my. 

My personal prognosis:

My urologist determined my testosterone levels (T Levels) were far too low …. about 175 and at my age should be approximately 700-1000.  We discussed alternatives to fix my problem.  I was convinced even though I had initiated a conversation about the risks that I should go on a regimented supervised testosterone shot treatment plan.  Every other Friday, I have been shot in the arm with that stuff.  After my first blood test, they found my T Levels were great, in the mid 700’s but my blood showed signs of “thickening” and should initiate a plan of purging some of my old blood with new blood.  That is when I went and gave blood. 

It was that day…. Read my blog on  “One Breath Away”, that I believed I had a small minor stroke.  Frankly I thought I was going to die lying on the floor.  I think it may be called a TIA.  I exhibited at least 4 of the major signs of a TIA.

I am still feeling weak, but a little stronger every day.  I still see double (no improvement) without my prism glasses.  I am convinced after talking with people who have gone through this that I will get better and my vision will improve.  Can take 2-6 months.

My fear to be honest.  I read 1/3 of all patients who had a TIA have a stroke within 12 months.  Guess its time to ….. get in shape, fix my cholesterol issues, and most importantly enjoy my life and get that last great photo out there.  I will NEVER stop!

Photography Tip - Proper skin tone exposure

Photographers here is your tip: I look carefully at my histogram.  I zoom in on the skin tones and make sure the histogram is reading just past the middle and even as much as ¾.  Lets face it, if the skin is not exposed properly, what is the use?????

Thomas Schmuki


Fashion Show Runway Models – Pro’s OWN the stage

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After shooting fashion show runways now for years I have noticed a distinct difference between the experienced and first timers strutting their stuff on the runway.  Confidence and excitement exude from the pros.  A pro literally takes over the stage, they own it so to speak.  They take their time and their whole countenance glows.  Each pose has clearly been practiced over and over, and the models give the photographers time to “get their shot”.  The next pose just “flows” from the previous one.  Almost like a choreographed dance. 

I have included a picture of a model that clearly owned the stage.  She was full of confidence, poise and fun.  She loved being the center of attention.

Conversely the “first timers” or nearly first timers are very much the opposite. You get the feeling that they can’t wait to get off the stage, even to the point of literally not striking one single pose.  Perhaps they think that strutting across the stage is enough. 

Runway models, if you want great shots from the photographers then take your time, enjoy the moment, interact with the crowd and the photographers, pause just a little longer at the end of your pose, change your facial expressions along with your different poses.  When you have traversed back to the beginning of the runway, turnaround, pose again, I am waiting for that last great shot!  Pause, smile, enjoy the moment.  You worked very hard to get here.

My hats of to the DAMA organization for mentoring and tutoring these wonderful young models.  Their runway training alone stands out in every show!  What the young models get from DAMA is much more than that including poise, respect and many others. My highest recommendation to attend their schools!

What do I know, I am just the photographer …

Thomas Schmuki Photography


Miami Swim Week from a photographers perspective

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First of all let me say it is an honor and privilege to be invited to photograph a fashion show at the events I have participated in both this year and last year at Miami Swim Week.

This BLOG certainly only represents my perspective and no one else.  In fact, many of my photography peers may disagree entirely.  Let them BLOG on their opinion which I totally respect.

Photographing any fashion show is a unique experience for me.  Many shows have 10-20+ photographers and videographers attending and shooting the event.  This is a problem right out of the gate for me.  Why?  Let me explain.  

The photographers are elbow to elbow during the show, sometimes packed in like sardines.  We all try to respect each others space to allow the other photographers to get the shot.  The problem is there is not enough space to get the shot.  I mentioned to my peers before the show, “we all have the same goal, get beautiful pictures of the models, the fashion and the event, and to not have other photographers preventing you from making the happen."  During the show on Friday night, 3 times a tripod from a photographer behind me fell on me right during my shot.  He was appologetic, but come on!!!!

Lights, lights, give me more lights…. Many photographers including myself prefer to photograph these events with big beautiful lights to provide a pleasing beautiful result.  Picture this for a moment…  The model is going through her/his poses, pausing for each one. At that moment of pause the 20+ photographers all take a picture and fire their flashes.  I am really good and calculating the proper light to light up almost any situation. I am NOT good at either timing the shot when no other photographer is shooting or calculating 2-20 flashes hitting the model at the same time.  Result: OVEREXPOSED, BLOWN OUT pictures pose after pose.  There are only 3 solutions I can see to this problem.  One, no flashes allowed, which would be a shame, or two: limiting the number of photographers to a number that works.  I say 3-6 or so depending on the size of the event.  Solution #3 is to light up the venue appropriately so flash photography is not needed to create beautiful results.

After the previous shows I spoke to some of the models.  Even though I was within 15 feet of them when they were posing they could not see me whatsoever.  All they see is a bunch of bright flashing lights.  They can hardly find their way with all the lights going.  Heaven forbid if they were actually asked to perform a fancy dance routine or acrobatics.

I hope to see clearly again

Tom Schmuki2 Comments

Every photo I take, every photo I edit I deem as my possible last.  That may sound morbid but it is the actual truth.  I treat it that way, I focus on perfection that way.  I want my last photo to be my best if it is my next one or one 200,000 clicks away.

Fraud – if it sounds almost too good to be true

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This blog is about my personal experiences with FRAUD as it relates to my photography business.  You will find one common theme with my 3 case stories.  If you are a photographer, a fashion designer, a studio owner, you may want to read on.  This may save you THOUSANDS of dollars.

Case #1:

Request from out of town to photograph a wedding on the east coast of Florida.  I cannot remember the proposed $ amount but it was an appropriate amount and in line with normal wedding photographic work.  Warning signs:

  1. Client would only communicate via email and texts, and his English was awful.  I even think he said he was deaf and could not speak on the phone. 
  2. I could not confirm how the client vetted me as the photographer of choice
  3.  Here is the big one: client proposed sending me a larger check than the negotiated amount and I would pay the difference to his florist or other vendors. 

Case #2:

Request from out of town client to do a beach shoot. Warning signs:

  1. Wanted to pay me more than the negotiated amount and have me pay the difference to her taxi cab driver.

Case #3:

Proposal from a very large commercial photography company for me to photograph a 4 day shoot with 15 models and 3 photographers.  The proposal was for their supposed client ADIDAS.  All paperwork seemed incredibly professional and on the up and up.  Warning signs:

  1. I could not determine how the client vetted me as the photographer of choice to do this shoot.  I thought: of course I am qualified and worthy of this kind of a gig, and certainly my portfolio shows that qualification
  2. The client would not divulge the name of the models, the studio, nor the fashion designers even up to 1 day before the shoot.  Said that the lawyers have not officially released that information
  3. Here we go again…. Client wanted to send me a check for MORE than my contracted amount.  The balance to be paid to fashion designers and vendors for the shoot.

Is there a common theme here?  YES.  DO not engage in these SCAMS.  As soon as the client proposes you do some “OUT” banking instead of just “IN” banking, you know it is a SCAM.  There is no reason a client CANNOT pay for expenses like a florist, a taxi cab driver, a fashion designer or vendor directly. 

What is the SCAM?

They send you a check, you deposit it in your bank.  They then ask you to issue funds to an external third party.  Within 3-10 business days the original check from the client is rejected from your bank as a bad check.  You will be out the entire amount issued to 3rd parties and also have divulged information including banking information to the scammers to use against you and or sell to other scammers.

I confirmed this with my bank. They told me to NEVER issue checks to a 3rd party.  You will always be giving good money for BAD money received.

I used NO checks or funds to any of these scammers.  Good thing!

One breath away

Tom Schmuki3 Comments
FatCity05--643-Edit-Edit-Edit (1).jpg

This blog is not about photography, but for those interested in me personally you may want to read on.  You may sense how important it is for me to create something special before I go.

My doctor recommended I donate blood every month for 3 months to “help replace good new blood with older not as good blood…”  On Saturday while it was pouring outside I decided to follow my doctors’ orders and donate blood.  Got to love all those questions on the pre-screening.  Good thing I have lived a clean life!  I saw 2 people before me denied from giving blood, one because of her blood pressure and the other because of improper iron levels.  I thought surely, I am going to fail, both my predecessors looked healthier than me.

The process went smoothly and quickly.  They offered me a apple juice after the “
giant sucking” process and I drank it all gone.  They then said, you can leave now.  On the way out they offered me a MacDonald’s Hamburger.  I thought, hum, that was nice, but no.  Why would they offer me a hamburger?

I drove home, sent my wife off shopping and took a nap.  When I woke up from the nap I made a groggy jaunt to the bathroom.  I felt a little dizzy, but thought it was moderately normal because I often feel slightly dizzy when going vertical.  On my way out of the bathroom my dizziness got worse.  I soon realized I was in trouble.  I passed out and fell to the floor.  Not sure how long I was on the floor. When I woke up, I was profusely sweating and started to vomit.  I was laying on the tile floor heaving like never before in my life.  I then called loudly upstairs for my son Ryan... “Ryan, I am in trouble, please help!!!”  I repeated this about 3 times with no response.  I then thought I was alone in the house and surely, I was going to die right there on the floor.  Finally, Ryan came downstairs and I tried to explain to him my problem.  He didn’t understand.  I told him, "please be ready to call 911, I may die right here on the floor." Again, I think he thought I was kidding.  NOT.

Ryan got Tammy on the phone and she was a long way from home. I told Ryan to tell her to get home fast I was in trouble.  Surely Tammy also didn’t believe I was in trouble.  She thought I had a flu.  About ½ hour later she arrived.  I was still on the tile floor lying next to a terrible mess I had created. After drinking a bunch of fluids and eating a banana I started to feel slightly better.

To this moment, I still feel weak.  Definitely strong enough to work, but impacted non the less by the donation of my vampire blood.

Crazy 2 things I thought when I was on the floor.  One: “I hope my last photograph was my best ever” and two: “I never told Tammy I wanted Nanette Maxfield Garrett to sing at my funeral.”

Yes I have a crazy desire to create a legacy of beautiful photographs.  Not sure why.  I guess my hope is that some day someone will recognize I had a sprinkle of artistic talent and I actually gave something positive to the world.


Photographing one of the most influential woman in golf – I am Honored

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Jan Bel Jan.png

The first question I ask myself, and asked the client…. Why did you choose me?  The answer was clear and simple…. “I love your artistic photography which has a very unique edge to it.”  Awesome, someone noticed I am artistic.

Just a brief note on my own golf history:

I played golf since I was 12 years old.  I played on the golf team in Arvada Colorado.  I never had a great swing… self taught.  My swing was never good.  I never knew this until I took golf lessons in my 30’s.  I have have been fortunate to caddy for men and women golf professionals, and was an A rated caddy.  We had a caddy shack just like the movie.  My handicap was as low as 7 and averaged between 9-12 most of my adult life.  I actually won a gaggle of local golf tournaments and club tournaments.  I threw away a couple boxes of trophies because no one cared.  My oldest son Eric was my golf prodigy.  I mentored him and taught him to be a 2-3 handicap golfer.  When I lost him first to paranoid schizophrenia at age 19 and then he died over 6 years ago, I gave up my passion to play.  We donated proceeds from his funeral to a golf program called “The First Tee”.

Enough of me….. sorry for that.  Some people want to know my history and are curious why I say I have a golf heritage in the first place.

So who did I have the honor of photographing yesterday?  Her name is Jan Bel Jan ASGCA. Her golf resume is longer than the book of Genesis in the bible. Sports Illustrated Plus: "Top Ten Most Influential Women in the Game of Golf" twice; American Society of Golf Course Architects: "Design Excellence Award" twice.  For a more complete bio visit her web site at: .

There was urgency to get the pictures done because the magazine needed them right away.  Rain or shine, we decided to chance it at her place of work, doing what she does.  She is redesigning a course in Boca Raton Florida called Boca Lago CC.  Many courses are designed with only the best courses in mind. Her objective is to create courses that are designed not only for the professional golfer (long hitter) but also for those with slower swing speeds.  She has coined the word, “Scouring Tees” to encourage all golfers to be challenged by and to enjoy a "course within a course"  So she is the architect, boss, head honcho, of the project happening at this course.  When I arrived shapers on bulldozers and other earth movers were hard at work creating her new design. 

We had a blast photographing her between two major rain storms on the John Deere tractor  against the backdrop of storm cloudsand the newly plowed earth.

I already have some incredible pictures, but will only be able to release them when I am authorized. 

PGA of America….. Here I come!

Thomas Schmuki Photography

It’s not where you shoot, it’s what you SEE - FAT City Photo Shoot

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As I progress through my career as a professional photographer, I find myself mentally creating beautiful pictures and compositions everywhere. Of course some are better than others.  The vision of a photographer or cinematographer must SEE, create, compose, click or ROLL.  I found it interesting during my last model shoot which was originally planned at Wynwood and then moved to FAT City in Fort Lauderdale because of the Cinco de Mayo party scheduled at the same time.  I had models refuse to do the FAT city shoot because they LIKE Wynwood so much better.  BIG mistake, ask any of the models who attended my FAT city shoot.  It was amazing. 

Lessons learned

You don’t need 100’s of beautiful walls to create fantastic pictures and backdrops for model photography.  What you do need is vision and clarity.  I need to frame a shot that obeys or purposefully disobeys the laws of composition, color and balance.  FAT City, there were shots everywhere. 

Thank you to my wonderful models and parents for taking part in such a fun and fulfilling event.  I would recommend these young models to anyone!


Melissa Lugo, Katherine Puertas, Leyda Mujica, Catherine Guiterrez, Jennifer Garcia and Laura Finley



Is it FREE, or What's the cost?

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 Self Portrait taken in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Self Portrait taken in Gatlinburg Tennessee

What is YOUR opportunity cost, here is a stab at mine.

Why am I writing this article anyway?  One of the first questions I get from a photo shoot potential participant is what is the cost, or is it FREE?  These are the things that go through my mind every time that question is posed to me.

Here I go again writing a controversial article.  My college degree was in finance with a dual minor in accounting and economics.  My first economics class was a huge discussion on... "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch".  This lesson should be learned early in life and not as a freshman in college.  However, my discussion  of free will relate only to photography shoots which are done with models on a TFP basis (Time for Print).  Historically this term has evolved over the years and frankly has a different meaning to every photographer and model.  I do a LOT of TFP work, as many as 2-3 per month.  Let me digress to discuss the true costs of a photography shoot that I do, not to compare with any other photographer.  My opportunity cost of time spent can only be compared with my other occupation as a software professional and developer with over 30 year's experience.  Contracting rates range from $75-$225 per hour in my field.  I will use $100 in my opportunity cost calculation. 

Actual Hours Calculation

  • Shoot preparation, planning and preparation: 2 hours
  • Pack up appropriate gear for shoot: 1 hour
  • Drive time 2 and from shoot: 2 hours
  • Actual shoot time: 3 hours
  • Break down and put away equipment: 1 hour
  • Culling, Editing and posting images: 12 hours
  • Communication with participants before and after shoot: emails, IM's shot sheets, etc: 2 hours 

Total Hours: 23 hours @ $100/hour = $2,300

That is the number I think of when I decide on doing a shoot TFP.  It is a real commitment, and when I am committed, I do all I can do to execute EVERY time.  There is no question my opportunity cost in high school, college and at the beginning of my career is was much less than it is today.

So let's make more sense out of that $2,300 commitment to a TFP collaboration shoot. 

What is MY return on Investment (ROI)

  1.  Marketing of REAL paid business in the future. Value unknown but is REAL
  2.  I become a better photographer, better at my craft, better at everything
  3.  Participants return to me with PAID business
  4. Participants refer PAID business … wedding and event photography, head shots, model and fashion shoots, etc. 
  5. And most importantly, the FUN factor.  What is my opportunity cost of the real FUN and satisfaction I get out of these shoots. 
  6. The real internal value of a JOB well done, the value of a pat on the back or an accolade from a respected peer. 

If the intrinsic or real value I receive from items 1-6 does not come close to $2,300, my opportunity cost, then I need to re-evaluate the whole concept of TFP.

Not included in this COST calculation is sunk costs like thousands of dollars of photography equipment brought to a shoot and put at risk.  A lifetime of study, preparation and a gift from GOD to visualize, see, create and execute my craft.

This gets to my REAL point of TFP.  I would like to get rid of the term TFP.  I would rather use the term collaboration.  A true collaboration means disparate parties get together to create something they could NEVER have created alone, no matter how great their individual talents and skills are.  A true collaboration means each participant will receive compensation or benefits commensurate with their contribution. 

Models and Fashion Participants, I ask YOU to calculate your own true opportunity cost of doing a TFP shoot.

So, next time I am asked if the shoot is FREE, you know what is going through my mind. 




Wynwood Walls Model Photo Shoot #1

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I am pleased to announce my first of hopefully a series of shoots at Wynwood Walls went fantastic.  Not without a hitch however.  We did have 1 model out of 6 who could never find us.  I had over a dozen models male and female asking me to participate in the shoot.  I had originally planned on shooting 1-3 models feeling each model deserves all the attention I can muster up.  I guess I couldn’t say no to the final models asking to get in on it. I knew it would be very difficult to coordinate 5-6 models with 3 different themes: PUNK, SWIMSUIT and GLAMOUR.  Parents and siblings attended the shoot and I think there may have been a dozen or more people hovering around each and every move.  Pressure!!!  I loved it.  I tried my hardest to give each model ample photography opportunity and also took group photos for each theme.  At the end of the day I took about 80+ photographs of each model and at least 50 or so group or combination shots.

Lessons learned?  It is HOT at 4:00 pm at Wynwood.  Find shade fast.  Look for contrasting colors and shadows.  Keep hydrated…. I couldn’t get enough water down.   I also learned that most venues, restaurants, bars etc. are very photographer and model friendly. Every one I asked said, sure you can shoot here.  I found a perfect place to shoot the models in their swimsuit.  It was inside a bar/restaurant.  The even said yes, then he asked are they all over 18?  Woops….  I am going back there with 18+ models.  It will be fantastic.

If you are interested in participating in one of my future model shoots at Wynwood or other venues, please DM me.  I am sure all participants will give a resounding positive recommendation.  They all had FUN, FUN, FUN, and so did I.

Thank you DAMA for recommending me to these fantastic, fun models!



Does your photographer?

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  • Study new photography techniques at least 5 hours a week?
  • Teach photography classes?
  • Scout out a venue before the event to determine best time of day to shoot, locations and lighting?
  • Invest in the finest photography equipment available and then spend the required time to optimize that gear to the best results?
  • Shoot over 20,000 pictures a year?
  • Come to location shoots with professional strobes and light modifiers?
  • Have photographic timing and composition skills? 
  • Give you an incredible photographic session experience: fun, challenging, exciting?
  • Even ask you what your best side is?
  • In the post processing editing process, does your photographer:
  • Make sure white balance and colors are on point?
  • Do face sculpting including double chin lessening?
  • Paint face with highlights, mid-tones and shadows to create the best you possible?
  • Selective adjust width of one or more eye to balance them out?
  • Selectively sharpen specific items that are important to you like: jewelry, shoes, lipstick, hair, clothing?
  • Spend time on each edited photo to make it “magazine worthy?”
  • Crop the photo to maximize composition?
  • Do portrait retouching including:Full Makeup (lipstick in a full range of colors and textures, false eyelashes, eyeshadow, blusher, mascara, eyeliner, rouge)? Skin smoothing and blemishing removal? Eye clarity, whitening and sharpening? Teeth whitening and sharpening?
  • Create beautiful artistic effects that can make your picture look interesting, dramatic, different, like a painting?
  • Does your photographer consider all shades of black and white when considering black and white?
  • Optimize exported JPEG for intended purpose including social networking sites and printing/enlargements?
  • Backup your photos to 3 separate sources including cloud storage and off-site backups?
  • Get up at 4:30 am because he/she is so excited to do another sunrise photo shoot at the beach?

    If you have found a photographer that does these things, you have found a true GEM. 

Ride for Meadow Pollack and 16 other fallen children at MSD High

Tom SchmukiComment

Ride for Meadow Pollack and 16 others who lost their lives on Valentine’s Day in Parkland Florida.

I decided to participate in this ride because my 18 year old daughter Allison brought it to my attention.  I thought I would bring along my camera just in case there were some special photography opportunities there. 

The event was organized to meet at the Palm Beach Harley Davidson, have breakfast and ride (motorcycle) to the Pollack’s house in Coral Springs for “a cold one”.  I am not sure how many people attended, but it seemed like 600+ attendees maybe 100 or so of them were Motorcycle Policeman supporting the event and helping the riders during their 50 mile trek from the dealership to the Pollack’s house.

When I pulled my camera out at the dealership, people seemed to naturally gravitate towards me and want their picture taken.  I keep mentioning that many feel very comfortable asking me to take their picture.  I love that sooooo much!  There were of course other photographers there, news crews there, newspapers and magazine coverage, you name it.  I had a blast and would like to thank the dealership for not kicking me out with my camera in hand and especially all those who supported this fantastic cause.

I am sure there were many famous people there not including the world famous photographer Thomas Schmuki ….  Some of those notables included Paul Teutul, Sr, star of the cable TV show “Orange County Choppers”, and former Miami Dolphins running back Terry Kirby and chef Ralph Pagano.

Unfortunately while riding my Harley to the Pollack's house in Coral Spring my Harley Davidson had a flat tire.  Thank goodness I did NOT loose control of my bike.  Happend right as I was getting off the Sawgrass expressway (freeway).  I therefore missed the goings on at the Pollacks house.

Included in this BLOG are a few of my photos from the event.  If you were there and your photo is not here, please reach out to me, I will attempt to get you your photo.

Tom Schmuki, photographer, motorcycle lover for 40+ years, father and husband.