Posted by: David Arnspiger on April 27th, 2017

Recently I have been running into walls with models. I think part of the problem is that they don't know me, nor I them, and they step back from shoots because of it.

I recently read an article on deciding whether to shoot with someone, and it lead me to create this article.

Let's start with an introduction. My name is Dave Arnspiger, and my "company" is Traumantic Studios.

I started focusing on photography in the mid-1990s after people started commenting on my images. Over the next 10 years I continued to improve and gathered better gear and started to shoot for fun.

I launched Traumantic Studios in January of 2006 focused on photography and videography.

My primary focus is portraits, pinup and creative projects. However, I also shoot events, products, wildlife and other general items.

My company name came about when my son was 5. He was watching the opening scene of Star Wars when Princess Leia's ship is being chased by the giant Star Destroyer. Afterwards, he rushed out to the living room to tell my wife and I about it.

In his excitement to describe what he saw as either 'tremendous' or 'gigantic', those words were squashed together and the word 'traumantic' popped out. I think it is pretty cool to have your company name be inspired by Star Wars.

The first thing people probably think when they see my company name is that I might be expensive. I'm not. For non-commercial projects, mine or yours, I shoot everything TRADE FOR PHOTOS (TFP). If images are to be used for any commercial purpose, then separate agreements will be made to ensure both parties benefit.

I don't really do this for profit, I do this because I love doing it and I hope people like the results I provide for them.

I shoot my studio projects in my basement home studio in Fort Collins, CO. It's a constantly evolving space that is very fuctional for me to work in.

I allow a guest in the studio. We have air hockey, television, video games and other diversions available if they get bored watching us work.

I have heard it said that a photographer's portfolio should only include their latest and best work. If you are doing this for profit, that may be good advice.

Since I don't do this for money, I have a lot of my older images in my portfolio. One, because I like them, and two, because I feel like they show progress.

You can look at those, and my extensive blog posts on my web site and make your decisions.

As mentioned above, I shoot a variety of subjects. Don't let the variety in my portfolios and blog throw you off. If you said I could shoot Disneyland all day or a portrait, I would probably choose the portrait.

If you like my style and think we can make some great pictures together, let's shoot, if you don't, thanks for looking.

I have read that one should consider whether a shoot concept will benefit your portfolio or not. Truer words were never spoken.

I am a planner. I like to work with other planners. I don't have a huge team to work with, so at least having the model working on the plan with me seems to be a good step.

Participation is the key. If you are not invested, I am probably going to lose interest as well.

If you have an idea, but you are concerned because it doesn't look like something I have shot before, talk to me anyway. Let me show you how I think about putting projects together and prove that I have no fear about trying something new and pulling it off.

I want our shoots to be a team effort that we will both be proud of.

If I ask you to shoot, and I get no response, I will take that as a NO. I won't ask again.

If we get a shoot started, and I ask questions but get no response, I might touch base one time to keep things moving, but if lack of communication continues, I will simply drop the shoot and move on. If you are wondering why you aren't hearing from me, you might want to check your messages to see where the ball got dropped.

There simply isn't enough time to deal with uninterested parties. I am not being mean, I just want to work with people who are excited to work with me. Simple as that.

If you re-establish communication, I might pick up the shoot again, but don't count on it.

Pick ANY picture in my portfolio and I will do my best to put you in touch with that model to talk about our shoot and give you input on me.

Take a look at the recommendations at the bottom of the front page of my web site. Talk to any of those people.

I think you will find that people like to work with me.

Will I try to get you to take your clothes off when you come to shoot with me? Do I want to touch you? Will I get frisky during the shoot. NO!

If you are going to be naked in a photograph I take it will be because we discussed a nude concept far in advance of the shoot that is planned and not a surprise.

I am a happily married man, so photography for me is not a way to meet women. I keep my hands to myself and I am very respectful of your personal space and privacy. There are NO surprises in my studio, EVER.

Mine vary, but I try to keep them to less than 2 hours, usually less than one. If we are having fun, and nobody is on a tight timeframe, they can go longer if we both want to. This does not include travel time if we are doing something on location. We will create a gameplan prior to our shoot so each party knows what is expected.

I work quickly. Often I edit and deliver one image the same day of the shoot.

I create a web page of the unedited images immediately after the shoot and usually have that uploaded for viewing the same day.

The page has instructions on how to make choices, send them to me and get edited images back.

I am often finished with our images within two weeks, depending on how quickly I get your choices.

Usually, I provide from 10 to 20 final images. Half are my picks, and half are yours. If my schedule allows, I might do more.

I provide those images electronically. The model release you sign with me is provided as well and it contains a print release in it.


I am not sure if this helps to answer all questions you may have about shooting with me, but hopefully it tells you enough to take a shoot to the next level with me.

I live to make great images, and I want to make some with you. Let's talk!