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Behind the Lens…An Interview with Visions East Photography

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Having the opportunity to interview a close and personal friend was not only a pleasure, but also an honor. The images from my very first session with this photographer set my career ablaze and I am eternally grateful for his vision, his work ethic and the pride he takes in producing glamorous, quality images – every time.

Let’s take a look behind the lens and meet one of GlamModelz Magazine’s Contributing Photographers, Jeff Benham of Visions East Photography.

GlamModelz Mag Editor Jett Ray:Model - Erica Kay
You have a distinct style in your work…how did you develop it?

Jeff Benham of Visions East Photography: I photograph people, places and things. You don’t develop it, you photograph it. Every individual has a different way of looking at something. I walk in a frame all day long, always framing in my own mind just about everything I see. I have been doing this for years.

Last evening during a session a model and I were walking back to the car and she asked me what I was doing.. I was framing – the sunset, the trees across the canal, the bridge we were heading to walk across. It’s a constant…it doesn’t go away, it’s something that just happens. Some folks call it an eye for a photo, I call it a vision.. and my vision is my style.
Jett: How did you get started in Photography?

Jeff: I was 17I was not what you call your average student, to say the least. My idea of school was to walk in the front door and continue out the back to go get a coffee at Dunkin Donuts. So in my second junior year, I was asked to join this alternative program for intelligent – but lets say “preoccupied” – students. One of the classes offered was photography. I became very close friends with the teacher and in turn she took me under her wing and for me there was no looking back. I had found something I just loved to do. First it was the darkroom. Yes, I actually enjoyed working in it. Ask me to do it now…I’ll tell you to buy yourself a copy of CS3, thank you very much.

Model - Wynessa
Jett:What other genres of photography interest you? Why do you primarily shoot Glamour and Beauty?

Jeff: Personally, I think all fashion and glamour photographers need to have their heads examined. Old barns, waterfalls, covered bridges, mountains, lakes etc have yet to ask me, “are my photos ready yet?”.. When was the last time a tree told you it looked fat? I shoot Glam because of the challenge and because I love to photograph people. How many times have you heard some one say after putting down this months copy of Playboy .. “Man, I want that guys job.” My saying is, it’s a tough job yet someone has to do it. People take that as a joke, trust me it’s no joke. I have never worked harder in my life. Yet it’s a work of passion and for the love of what you do. It’s a challenging and ever-changing industry and once you think your on the top of your game your already 10 steps back.

Other genres, I shoot anything. Absolutely love landscapes and sports. Nothing better than zooming in on a 7 or 8 year old’s face after he scored his first touchdown. One of my favorite photos is of my son. They had just lost a hard fought playoff game. His coach had him in his arms and they each had a tear rolling off their cheek. I can only wish I had taken that photo but, I was the coach.

Jett: What or who inspires you as a photographer and in life?

Jeff: I’m inspired everyday by many other photographers. Were all artists in our own right. We all have different views and ways of doing things. Life is my inspiration. In life, well my Dad for sure. Treat folks the way you want to be treated. I live by that. Pretty simple and straight forward.

Jett:What would you change about fashion/glamour/beauty modeling and photography, if you could?

Jeff: Honestly why would I want to change it. This industry offers me everything I could ever want for the work that I do. I love it’s passion and it’s challenges.

Jett: What equipment/elements are essential for you as a glamour photographer, to capture your “best shot”?

Jeff: Most of us all have good solid equipment or we wouldn’t be doing what were doing and be successful at it. Camera, lenses, lighting etc. – most important to me is the model…new or experienced, does not matter. The willingness to work together to achieve that best shot, is what is most important.
Jett: Paid vs. TF* shoots – What are your views and preferences?
Jeff: Oh boy, here’s a can of worms in this industry. I do both and enjoy doing so. I’m not in this just for the money. I love what I do and the people I meet doing it. We all had to start somewhere and catch a break here and there. There’s really nothing better than helping out a new model with potential and watching her grow and develop in the industry.
I can also understand photographers that do not do TF . This is part-time for me and something I want to retire to full time. For many it’s there profession and they have mortgages to pay. I like to think that by doing the few TF’s I do, I’m helping them in the long run by putting models out there with the understanding that to make it to the next level you will have to invest in yourself now and then.
Jett: How would you best describe your personal style?
Jeff: I shoot in a very simple atmosphere most studio sessions. I love filling the viewfinder with the model. It’s me, the camera, backdrop, lighting and the model. I make the model work.Model - Jett
Posing and expression are huge to me. If it can bend, then bend it. You will never have an arm hanging at your side while shooting with me. I like passion and the model has to be able to sell the look. Without it it’s just another photo. Take me outdoors and you can just bring it on. When I lived back East, you could rarely get me in the studio. The heat of Texas has changed that a bit. But the locations the state offers are unreal, so we grin and bear it.
Jett: What are your goals for your photography?
Jeff: I want to retire to this full time. So I’m building relationships now that will help me succeed in doing so. I strive to be better at what I do everyday and will continue to do so as this is a passion, not a job.

Jett: Any other personal goals?

Jeff: To be a good husband, father and friend, everything else will fall in place.

Jett:What qualities should Models/MUA’s/Stylists, etc have to work with you?

Jeff: Be dedicated to your craft, be passionate about what you do and care about the people around you that believe in the same things. An old saying is there is no “I” in team. Model - Michelle
Whether it is just the model and photographer or you have makeup, stylists and wardrobe folks on hand, you accomplish great results together, not as individuals.

Jett:Tell us about your biggest accomplishment to date or what makes you most proud.

Jeff: As far as photography goes it was and always will be when I was published as an 18 year old for the very first time. Man…there was no better feeling in the world at that point in life for me. That passion has driven me ever since.
What am I most proud of personally? Family for sure. My wife, who tolerates me on a daily basis, and my two sons as they are what I live for. I’m a very lucky man.

Jett: What advice do you have for new or amateur photographers who want to shoot glamour?

Jeff: Ask questions and be honest. There are very knowledgeable people out there who are willing to share and help you. Just be honest and straight with them and they will be with you. Invest in yourself, take a few evening classes and read a few books. There’s a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips if you want to invest the time to learn. Most important, learn how to take a good quality photo first, then learn PhotoShop.

Jett:You have helped many aspiring models see and reach for their potential – what advice would you give those reading today about the industry in general?

Jeff: Believe in your dream and in yourself. You’re the only one that will hold you back. Be dedicated and be professional. This isn’t a Cinderella story, it’s happens to one in a million. You will have to work your way to the top.

Model - Renee

Surround yourself with quality and do not settle for less. Remember photos last forever, so never compromise your own values and beliefs.

Jett: In addition to photography, do you have other skills/interests/talents in which you excel?
Jeff: I love the outdoors. Take me away on my 4×4 and I’m in my glory. Pitch a tent and break out a fishing pole and I’m in. Honestly between working a full time 40 hour a week job, then shooting in the evening and on weekends and editing to 2pm in the morning most nights, there’s not a lot of time to do other things. When I do it is spent with friends and family.

Jett:What is your favorite quote or mission statement?

Jeff: “Imagination is endless”

Jett:Where can we see more of your work?

Jeff: Model mayhem , Model Brigade , and My Space. I’m in the process of developing a personal website which should be up sometime in December.

Jeff’s Gallery

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xoxo Behind the Lens…An Interview with Visions East Photography

***** Welcome to GlamModelz Magazine, "The Most Glamorous Site on the Internet" ***** Jett Ray is the Managing Editor of GlamModelz Magazine. She has been a post-secondary instructor at local colleges in the Dallas area for over 10 years. Her background in writing comes from a corporate perspective in which had responsibility for composing articles regarding career development and personal-enrichment techniques. Jett is seasoned seminar speaker, event-planner and hostess, in addition to being an experienced model and makeup artist. She has obtained credentials as a Registered Medical Assistant and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences Degree from Dallas Baptist University, with concentration in Psychology and Healthcare Management. Jett is currently a graduate student enrolled in the Master of Arts in Counseling Program at DBU, with the goal of obtaining a Ph.D and establishing a practice in the near future. ****Her love for art, design, colors and beauty began at a very young age and she has been in love ever since! ****Jett is actively involved in Dallas' Glamour, Fashion, Music and Social Scene and can be found networking at various events around the Metroplex. Jett has published 54, articles with GlamModelz Magazine.

Connect with her on:

GlamModelz Magazine Staff photographer; Jeff, Visions East Photography, of Dallas, Texas. Jeff is an experienced commercial, Glamour, Fashion photographer, with a unique twist and eye for beauty and grace. Jeff has the experience in the industry to know what is hot and in style. Jeff, feels that extra little edge is what is needed to succeed in the modeling industry today. Jeff, is available for modeling portfolio development and maintenance as well as commercial projects. Jeff, travels extensively through Texas and can usually schedule photoshoots in most major Texas cities. To learn more about Jeff, Visions East Photography please visit his GlamModelz Interview or directly by email at: Visions East has published 37, articles with GlamModelz Magazine.

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