Hittwerk Photography

Written on August 9, 2015 Categories: Photographer showcase and Interviews

Hittwerk Photography, an interview with John

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Today is the first time in the 8 year history of Oni Studio that I have finally been able to interview another boudoir photographer and showcase their work on my blog. All the photos you see in this entry are Hittwerk Photography’s, not Oni Studio. I hope you enjoy the interview with John of Hittwerk Photography!

Q. How did you get interested in photography?   

A. I needed an Art101 class in college back in 1973.  Mary Brandon was the beautiful young teacher so Photography was a natural choice!

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Q. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name of your studio, “Hittwerk Photography”?

A. Kraftwerk was a very popular band back when I was in college, therefore HITT and WERK tied together my German heritage and one of my eventual businesses

Q. What was the first camera you owned?

A. I bought a Minolta SRT101…and still have it!

Q. What kind of camera do you shoot with now?

A. I use three different ones for specific types of work. I use the Olympus E3, E5 and most recently, the Olympus OM-D E-M1

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Q. What advice would you give a person just starting out shooting boudoir photography?

A. Be absolutely sure you are doing this for artistic reasons, only. I say this being a man, working with young attractive women.  If you have a different agenda, get out of the business before you ruin the rest of our reputations.

Q. You create a very sexy atmosphere when you shoot, or so it appears that way, have you ever had a client come on to you?


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Q. What types of music do you play when you shoot?

A. I allow the models / client to choose their own music. I don’t allow dreadfully depressing country music.  Most often they want me the pick some music and so far they all love the newest Pink Floyd album and David Gilmore’s  Live at Gdansk.

Q. What is the least favorite aspect of your shoots?

A. Wow… I’d say it’s the fact that all good things must come to an end.  Once my clients really become comfortable with themselves and me and my team, the images and emotions just keep getting better and better.

Q. What bothers you most about your clients?

A. I’m very selective with whom I work with, so I never have any issues with my clients.

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Q. If someone gave you $357,000 but you could only buy photo related equipment, what would you buy?

A. Since I’m blessed to have pretty much have everything I need, I’d likely visit my alma mater, the University of Alabama, and we would go shopping together!

Q. If you could shoot with anyone in the world, from any time period, who would you choose. By the way, you can’t choose Marilyn Monroe!

A. Wow… that’s tough. As I look at my bucket list of models I’ve planned to work with, there is still one elusive model still there, Rubia Stri, from Belgium..   I think she is stunning and I know we could get some amazing images together!   I never give up…   it will happen someday!  She and I chat every morning discussing our creative work and brainstorming for new ideas.

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Q. Who are some other photographers that inspire you?

A. Clarence John Laughlin, now deceased, was a huge influence on me in college. I own some of his original images and have photos of him signing my images in his New Orlean’s home.   I do a lot of ballet work and Gene Schiavone is my dance mentor.   I also invested in some of his work.  Jim Bauer in Dallas is by far to most talented glamour photographer I’ve ever known.  Jen Rozenbaum is my boudoir mentor.  She and my wife were my biggest influences to try out boudoir work.

Q. What type of lighting equipment do you use?

A. I prefer natural light and a reflector for my boudoir work, but I often use a fluorescent, color balanced ring light and Buff Einsteins fitted with various modifiers as necessary. I recently added some of Edward Tang’s Cheetah strobes and modifiers for my on location work.  They are amazing!

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Q.  Do you think social media helps with acquiring clients?

A. Certainly!  I never pay for advertising.  I don’t need it.

Q.  What’s your approach to SEO?

A. I’ve been around a long time and have significant name recognition in the field.  I don’t worry about Search Engine Optimization.  I turn away more business than I accept.

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Q. What’s your wildest/sexiest photography story?

A. A few years ago I had a return client book a shoot at a home in north Dallas. It started out with her just being playfully flirtatious.  Very soon it was obvious to the whole crew that she was dead serious and very assertive!  She was 20 years old and I was almost 60!  Haha!!!   We stopped the shoot right then and talked privately.   We ended up getting a great shoot in the books and she called a few days ago to book another shoot!

Q. Are you married? If so, what does your spouse think about your career?

  A. I’ve been married to the same creative, tolerant women for over 40 years!   She is the one who encouraged me to take my work to an edgier level and it took off like a rocket!

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Q. What is (in your opinion) the best shot you have ever taken?

A. I can’t answer that… I love too many of them!!

Q. When you are shooting outdoors what mode do you shoot in and why? (Aperture priority, shutter priority, etc.)

A. I rarely venture outside since I’m located in west Texas, a very harsh, unforgiving environment. When I do go outside, I’m almost always using Aperture priority.

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Q. What type of editing software do you recommend?

A. I’m old school… I recently switched from Photoshop CS5 to CC.

Q. If you answered photoshop, what type of plug-ins do you recommend?

A. I use Nik and Topaz plug-ins quite a bit.

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Q. What type of computer do you recommend for the type of work you do?

A. I’ve always used Dell’s and have never had any issues. Every 5 years of so I’ll work with Dell and my IT guru and we decide on a custom set up.  A week later I’m grinning from ear to ear.

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Q. What type of photography were you doing when you first started out?

A.  At Alabama, my professor was also a sculpture professor. The University of Alabama and the surrounded areas are ripe with important and exciting Indian and Civil War history.  Most of my work captured the historical sites and landmarks in a very abstract, non-objective image.

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Q. How did you get interested burlesque/boudoir photography?

A. As for burlesque, I had an awesome young assistant who was studying to be an actress. Joni asked to try a burlesque shoot one day and soon she and her mom came to the studio and Joni and I had a blast.  Her mom was so encouraging!   Now as for boudoir, I got contacted via FB by a little shy college kid who was attending a very strict religion backed university.  Her fiancé had joined the Marines and had just shipped off to boot camp.  She had a part time job at Victoria’s Secret and got the nerve to buy a few sexy pieces for herself.  My wife and I got her into the studio and gently urged her to accept her body and who she was and soon she was having a blast, savoring every moment.   She came back again for more shoots and her fiancé loved the pics she would surprise him with.  Alyssa eventually joined my team and was a huge asset in bringing in new talent!

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Q. What types of lenses do you recommend?

A. Keep I mind that Olympus is a 4/3 system so the lens sized are virtually doubled.  For example, a 25mm lens on an Olympus acts like a 50mm.  I love my 25mm f1.4 Leica for natural light boudoir.  I also use an Oly 50mm 2.0, an Oly 14 – 54mm 1:2.8 – 3.5 Zoom and my trusty Oly 35-100mm 1:2.0.

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Q. What type of training or education would you recommend for an amateur photographer?

A. READ, READ, READ!!   Look up anything Jen Rozenbaum does and learn from it. 

Q. Anything further to add?  

A. I tell all young photographers in training to learn another trade!  Haha!!   I see too many young photographers starve to death and finally give up because they can’t make enough money with their camera.   With another trade, they can still eat and pay their bills and hopefully have a little money left over to invest in themselves and still pursue their photography.   It is much easier to do shoots when your rent doesn’t depend on it.   Do the photography as a side job and learn from every shoot. You’ll learn a very little practical skills in a college classroom.

I meet so many jealous new guys with cameras who can’t seem to find many models, yet they see us “old” guys with all the girls.   I assure them that at one time I was in the same predicament.  I’ve treated all my clients and models like princesses and have always gone out of my way to maintain a great reputation and maintain a strong public presence.  I do a lot of charity work and have done so for decades.  I’ve served for years for booster organizations.  I’ve been on the board of directors for various non-profits.   Over the years I’ve enjoyed meeting people, getting to know their families and their lives.  Later I watched their kids grow up and we were all friends.  As a result, now the kids are older, attending universities, planning weddings and are wanting me to work with them, be it portraiture, weddings and of course, boudoir.  Boudoir Books are in big demand and we have so much fun letting them feel sexy and free, even if it’s just for a few hours.  I’ve never had a bad review and have an approximate 90% return rate.  Normally the only ones who haven’t returned were the ones who moved away.   I have a 19 year old coming in tomorrow.  She booked me months ago and has been saving her money.   We will likely just do a cute glamour session for her.  I worked with her a few months ago in a mild pin-up shoot and her dad, a pro photographer, was there.  She decided, with his approval, that she would work with me to expand her portfolio to a sexier, but professional level.   Day after tomorrow I have a professional Russian model flying here for a return shoot (boudoir) before she flies home to Moscow the next morning.  My life is a blessing and I try to be a blessing to others.

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That’s all for this week! Become a fan on the Oni Studio boudoir facebook page. Follow Oni Studio on 500PX, Pinterest, and Model Mayhem!

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    Safari Park San Diego

    Written on August 3, 2015 Categories: Events and Travel

    Safari Park San Diego

    Safari Park San Diego Tiger exotic birds

    Have you ever heard of the San Diego Zoo? Of course you have. For some reason it’s one of the more famous attractions in the area.

    Safari Park San Diego Birds tigers elephants

    However, less well known is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. From the San Diego area its about a thirty minute drive north to the Escondido area. A standard day pass for adults as of this writing is around $48.00. Children 3-11 days passes are $38.00. If you are one of the many military members you get in free and your immediate family receives 10% percent off. Pretty sweet deal! Before anyone gets concerned about ticket prices, let me assure you this is a great deal. We were at the park for around five hours and still didn’t get to see all of it! That means you’ll have to wade through a part II when we get the chance to go back.

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    When you visit the website for the park you’ll notice a myriad of different Safaris available for purchase. However we just got a day pass and were content with hoofing it. My fitbit freaks out on me when I dont make my 10,000 steps a day and I definitely made goal! When we went it was one of the hottest days of the year. Having such a high number of visitors the park had water misters which were an amazing way to keep the heat at bay.

    Japanese Bonsai trees

    So besides the hotness the park was easy to navigate. It was kinda like following the yellow brick road. Around every bend you would see some very nifty stuff. For example, get a load of the awesome bonsai trees!

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    If you go here during the summer make to take plenty of water and snacks.

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    So my final opinion on the safari park? Definitely worth the price of admission. So if you are looking for something to do in the San Diego area take a chance and come on out!

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    That’s all for this week! Become a fan on the Oni Studio boudoir facebook page. Follow Oni Studio on 500PX, Pinterest, and Model Mayhem!

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      10 Ways to Die at Comic Con

      Written on July 27, 2015 Categories: Events and Travel

      10 Ways to Die at Comic Con

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      The vessel had just left Peru. The wizard stood on the roof looking at the open ocean. He was worried he wouldn’t make it in time. He wouldn’t miss it again this year.

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      After many weeks the ship finally pulled into port in San Diego. The wizard floated off slowly and landed on the ground. This was still strange to him, especially considering his former life as a neurosurgeon.

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      His mission was complicated. The gauntlet had almost been reassembled, and once it was not even Living Tribunal would be able to help them.

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      He found his companion and used the Uber app on his phone for a Spanish driver. No sense in stirring up the crowd. He arrived 15 minutes later. He knew it was too late. Heroes from other universes had already made an appearance. Someone was using the reality gem.

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      Darth Vader’s storm troopers walked down the street. They were talking about getting cheeseburgers. The sexiest rocket raccoon with vampire teeth stood looking at a map. This was going to be a mess.

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      The worst thing though? It was hot. Desert hot. Who in the hell had decided to have this in a place like San Diego? The people seemed not to mind the heat and obnoxiously blue sky. Maybe it was just him. He had traveled to the bottom of the world to a place called Kadath in the cold waste, and decided when this was all over he would have to return. This place was not for him.

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      The lady clown stopped him. She called herself Scarlett Checkers and claimed to be from Philadelphia. He told her that California was going to melt her face make up. She gave him a bowl of bite size Snickers and told him she was late for a Cannibal Corpse concert.

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      The first way to die. Lack of water. Almost no one had any, and so many people with powers. This place was a powder keg waiting to go off.

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      The main event was being guarded by the watchers. No matter how strong the wizards magic he could not get inside.

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      Hot, tired and discouraged, the wizard gave up. He would have to wait until next year to try and get inside the mysterious building.

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      That’s all for this week! Become a fan on the Oni Studio boudoir facebook page. Follow Oni Studio on 500PX, Pinterest, and Model Mayhem!

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        Voodoo Glamour Girl

        Written on June 16, 2015 Categories: San Diego Boudoir

        Voodoo Glamour Girl

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        This shoot showcases a technique I had not tried in a long while. Its called “high key” . I had not attempted this technique in quite sometime as I didn’t have the required equipment. This type of shoot requires a lot of light, and an all white background. After ordering the background and getting in my giant softbox from Paul C. Buff I decided to try it out. The first thing I did was go on Pinterest, which is my go to spot these days for photographic inspiration. After awhile I happened on a photo that would serve as a spring board for this shoot. The photo below is NOT my photograph, but the photo I found on Pinterest.


        This photo is gorgeous right?!  It was taken by a Russian photographer Vladimir Sagadeev. I thought I would be able to recreate this photo almost exactly. I promptly put out a notice on Facebook looking for a model. Once I got her in the studio and started to experiment with this photo concept I started to run into challenges I hadn’t anticipated. The photo below with the model Desi Diver was the first attempt.

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        I loved the photo the way it came out, but as you can see its a bit different than what I set out to do. My biggest complaint was on the quality of the fabric, and that it was a bit wrinkled, something I didn’t notice until after I was in the edit process.

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        The entire studio portion was a basic three light set up. The key light was a large Paul C. Buff soft box, with two other alienbee strobes pointed directly at the background.

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         The model for this evening is Desi Diver. She’s a simple girl. Prone to being a stage kitten at burlesque dancing events and bouts of cannibalism.

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        Unlike some of the models I’ve met here in San Diego, Desi was down to earth, funny, and had not an ounce of annoying divaness.

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        Desi also brought along her poor man to torture while on the shoot.

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        Beyond the fact that Desi loves hairless sphinx cats, she was a sadly, a mystery.

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        Just when you thought it was all serious, Desi takes it to another level.

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        Desi in her own words:

        Her skin is white cloth
        And she’s all sewn apart
        And she has many colored pins
        Sticking out of her heart.She has a beautiful set
        Of hypno-disk eyes,
        The ones that she uses
        To hypnotize guys.
        She has many different zombies
        Who are deeply in her trance.
        She even has a zombie
        Who was originally from France.
        But she knows she has a curse on her,
        A curse she cannot win.
        For if someone gets Too close to her, The pins stick farther in.
        Voodoo kiss

        That’s all for this week! Become a fan on the Oni Studio boudoir facebook page. Follow Oni Studio on 500PX, Pinterest, and Model Mayhem!

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