This week’s feature is on “Model with a Camera” celebrity photographer, Corey Reese. His story makes it clear that truly ANYTHING is possible when you allow yourself to dream beyond even your own expectations.
I view him as a well-crafted creation though his work is all about him being a creator. Corey Reese is an incredible human being whom is extremely knowledgeable, focused and dedicated to not only his many gifts professionally but also to being an awesome child of God. His commitment to both inspires me. Models, actors, photographers and cinematographers, I encourage you to enter his “Tweet Up” contest after you read this interview and absorb the knowledge pouring out from it.
– La Tasha K. Mason @Tash1216
When you were asked as a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What was your answer?
When I was younger, all I wanted to do is play football. I had it all planned out; I wanted to play college ball at FSU, and pro ball with the Buffalo Bills. I even had the Bills team ring they use to sell on TV back in the day lol.
I asked the previous question because I know football was a big thing for you and wondered if that was always your aspiration. Tell us about your time spent on the football field and how you ended up evolving into modeling.
My passion for football led me to Catawba College on a full scholarship where I came in and started as a true freshman. Everything was great but by the time I finished my 4 years, I didn’t have a NFL contract on the table but a Business Degree with a Concentration in Computer Information Systems. One of my best friends and I use to joke that if we didn’t make it to the NFL you would see us on the billboards and in magazines so after graduating I did just that.
Tell us about your modeling success such as being on a billboard in Times Square and landing an interview with Regis Feldman. Tell us about the experiences you had, who you were able to work with and how you made it happen.
My modeling career took off quickly, being chosen as one of Cosmopolitan Magazine 50 sexist Bachelor’s, which led to a 2-time appearance on Regis and Kelly and The Today Show. I have been featured on Billboards in Times Square for Black Singles, as well as numerous print magazines and print ads. I was able to make it happen by having strong images that connected me to the people picking the talent. I suggest anyone looking to get started to find your lane and create imagery that reflects the type of work or ads you see yourself in. It’s not an easy road, and you will get plenty no’s, but the yes makes it worth it.
You made all of this happen without an agent. What advice would you give aspiring male models on the grind like that trying to get on the modeling scene?
The best advice I can give aspiring models would be make sure you research the industry. Find out the different types of modeling and see where you fit best. Knowing that fact will eliminate wasted time and money. For example, if your goal is to book more commercial advertising jobs, then you need to develop a portfolio that shows nice lifestyle, fun smiling, very warm photo’s that show you can sell a product.
When you see commercial models, they look like they’re having fun and enjoying what they’re selling. In turn, that creates interest for the consumer. Knowing information like that will allow you to effectively market yourself. Once you know your market, put together a portfolio that shows you in that category.
Also, beware of scams, another reason it’s so important to research. People will tell you anything, but if you have information locked in your mind, information given to you that doesn’t sound right you will recognize it quickly.
At some point during your modeling career, you began to set your eye on photography. Tell me about your thought process and the vision you had in mind when you decided to make the transition from being in front of the camera to behind the camera.
The funny thing about life is that sometimes you don’t know what you’re good at until you try. One day, I bought a camera and that started another turning point in my life. I didn’t buy the camera thinking to become a photographer it just worked out that way. I began shooting my girlfriend at the time, and people I knew and the photo bug bit me. I realized photography was something I enjoyed starting ahead of the curve coming from the model background. People were very familiar with my success as a model; that helped me market myself as a photographer. I coined the phrase “Model with a Camera” because when I first started I didn’t want people to call me photographer, just a model that enjoyed expressing my creative side with photography.
So, how did you become a “celebrity” photographer? How did you convince the industry that this model turned photographer was worthy of your images having placement in prestigious magazines?
As a photographer, once you start photographing celebrities, you are then named a celebrity photographer. Photographers are hired based on their body of work and ability to create a look and repeat it time and time again. The industry is not so much concerned with how you got here, just the ability to wow the consumer with strong art work.
What magazines, corporations, and celebrities have you worked with on the photography level? Please tell us about the experiences and how your creative mind works during these shoots. How do you get the shot that you need when working with someone without modeling experience?
I have had the honor of working with the original dream girl Jennifer Holliday, Actress Robin Givens, Artist Canton Jones, Artist Piles, Artist Wale, Actress Terri Vaughan and Actor Lamman Rucker just to name a few. People see all the final work but a lot goes into making it awesome. Each shoot starts with an idea, pulling the team together, finding and deciding location, then executing the shoot. Most times the talent has taken photos before so that helps, but in the event they have never had professional photos taken, I’m able to show them and talk them through the concept. Often times, once they see themselves looking good on the back of the camera, it gives them new confidence for the rest of the session.
I’ve heard that it is often easier to work with clients that don’t have modeling experience because sometimes those that have modeled get set in their ways and don’t necessarily take direction well. Is that true?
Not really true in my experience. Most of the talent come open minded, ready to create, and excited to work together.
You did a series of Photography Webinars on Youtube which you’re now going to be stepping up a notch and releasing as DVD’s. Tell us about these endeavors.
I have my own web series, Corey Reese Photography Training Sessions, that I created to answer questions I receive asking about photography, the gear I use, etc. The feedback has been awesome, after 3 days of posting the videos, Youtube emailed me about revenue sharing which was a big deal for me. I’m in the process of creating an entire DVD that will be available 1st quarter 2012.
You, not so long ago, evolved yet again and dabbled with cinematography. Now you’ve become just as successful with that. What CAN’T you do? LOL…seriously, did the fact that you have also done some acting aid in that decision? Tell us about your acting career then lead us through to you becoming a cinematographer.
I think every gift God has blessed me with compliments each other. From my modeling career, people started reaching out to me about acting. After acting, I started shooting as a photographer. After photography, I started shooting as a director of photography with film. My experience as an actor helps me direct other actors; my experience as a photographer helps me create beautiful shots as I’m filming and framing with lighting. I’m loving it and will not limit what I can do.
”This is My Versatile”
I have served as Cinematographer for films “Manifested”, “Double Sided”, “Listen, A Young Soul Cry for Help”, “Make Me Over”, commercials for “Athleader Training”, “Allure Hair”, and music videos for Gospel Star, Canton Jones, just to name a few.
”Allure Hair” Commercial
I have really transitioned to more behind the camera and have not experienced any problems with my appearance. Funny story, I went in to meet with an ad agency as a photographer, when they called me back it was about a model job for BMW. I was happy but at the same time like ok too funny. Have I been booked as a photographer because of how I look? I’m sure, but I keep a very professional environment, and people know I’m about business. I keep it very lite and business orientated.
Let’s get personal. Who are you when you’re not modeling, acting, filming or taking photos? What are your personal interests and past times?
When I’m not doing any of the industry stuff, I’m a homebody that loves spending time with my family, researching new technology online, just a cool techie. I love to travel, and always enjoy a nice get away.
What about love? Have you found it? What are the characteristics, etc., that “the one” should or does possess?
Love…Wow that’s a big one. I’m still seeking Mrs. Reese. As I continue to grow as a person, I understand more and more the type of woman I desire. Mrs. Reese will be God Fearing, a woman that’s strong and independent yet balanced with her home life. She will be a true Copilot, very loving, trustworthy, selfless, a great mom and wife.
Regis and Kelly
I am co-founder of Abstinence Equals Freedom, a foundation that promotes purity of lifestyle. For me, that meant abstaining from sexual activity. I remember going to church week after week but no true understanding. It was just a routine, I would take the bible to church (if I took it), and then the bible would sit on the table until it was time for the next Sunday. The moment I started reading with Understanding, “understanding” being the key word, participating in activities outside of God’s Will convicts you to the point where you will change your ways for the better. God has always kept me, and I realized how important it was for me to live my life right. Verse that sticks out in my head, James 1:23-25 23. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24. and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
You’re also a very spiritually grounded individual. Do you feel that and your connection with God is what obtained and sustains your success in all aspects of your life? Why do you feel it does or doesn’t?
God is my everything, and He is the reason for my success today. I understand that everyone is not called to the pulpit or other conventional ways, but I also understand God has placed me in position to connect with people that would never really go to church through encouraging words I may post on my facebook page, to scriptures speaking life. God has a funny way of connecting and speaking even when you’re running. I understand it’s not about me; God gets all the glory.
BET’S “Welcome to Dreamland”
We hope you thoroughly enjoyed this interview with Corey & @Tash1216.
Now give us a shout below…. Let Corey Reese know what you think about his incredible work and those abs… LOL (ta-he-he) Signing off…. GumBumpingLady~ Hollerrr gumbumpers….
***Tweet Up — Contest***