Jimmy Stephans Stories - Photographer Tales

What The Fuck Was I Thinking?

Posted: 2018-09-01

There are times when I think I have a great, amazing and even fantastic idea bouncing around in my head... that later turns out to be total shit.

I'm talking about the kind of shit that any reasonable person should know is coming. The kind of shit that can be smelled from a mile away when the wind is blowing away from you.

You all know what I mean... the kind of dumb shit that makes you look in the mirror and ask yourself "what the fuck were you thinking dingbat" just before you shave your head and start growing a beard while praying nobody realizes the person doing that silly shit was you.

I've had many of those events over my 59 years. Some creatively designed and set in motion all by myself, others with a series of known or unknown, willing or more likely unwilling, accomplices along the way.

I could be speaking about that time in 1973, when I was just 13, my brother and I thought it was totally cool to take mom's Pontiac station wagon without permission, lay my Yamaha Mini-Enduro, in the back and zoom off 950 miles to southern California for the World Mini Grand Prix mini-cycle races (old story here). The car was white with fake wood paneling down the sides, and had signs on the doors proudly promoting "The Poodle Shop", which was one of my mother's dog grooming / pet shops. The big ass poodle icon surely caused great fear in the other competitors as we pulled into the track that weekend so many years ago!

Considering the shit storm caused by the stolen car report and runaway kid silliness, it likely wasn't the smartest move we could have made. But, hey, we got to see future moto-cross superstars Jeff Ward and Brian Myerscough in their early days, and I finished 17 out of 24 in my class (likely because the others broke down, but I refuse to confirm that today). That might well have been worth it, even in light of all the drama we caused back home and faced when we arrived there in the poodle wagon, which now had a few oil and gas stains in the back from that badass Yamaha 60cc racer laying on it's side.

Clearly, what seemed like an absolutely brilliant idea at the time really was a shitty idea, but at least it laid the foundation for many more to come.

Premium shit move number two came just a few years later when I was 17 and had transitioned from trying to be a moto-cross rider to trying to be a race car driver. At that time in Colorado there was 3 paved oval tracks of about one quarter mile to one third mile is size. One of the race divisions visiting those tracks was called "mini-stocks", which was smaller cars with less powerful 1600cc engines, running shorter races designed to give younger guys a bit of a stepping stone on the way to full size, high powered, race cars. The VW bug, Ford Cortina, Datsun 510 and Mercury Capri were popular body styles.

The racers were based on those cars, with a roll cage added for safety reasons, and the suspension beefed up to improve handling in turns. To build a car for myself the first step was to find an older Datsun 510 to buy. Once we had it in the shop we would then remove the interior, suspension and engine to begin the modifications. I found one for sale in a local car junk yard but to get it home I needed to borrow a trailer from another racer. Upon returning that trailer later that evening my friend and I notice a garage open a few lots down the alley. As we drive by the dark open space we see some automotive tools near the door. My friend jumps out and grabs a large floor jack and a few other tools. The value at that time came to just above $300, and within hours I was arrested and facing my first felony level criminal charge.

That, my friends, is a clear example of not thinking, coming up with an idea that seemed cool, but was actually a bad idea, and that idea being total, unadulterated, shit. That resulted in 2 years of probation and fines.

Move ahead another few years into 1982 with me at age 23. By this time I was still trying the auto racing game but hadn't struck it out great as a driver. I was, however, running a small shop and using my tools and equipment to build small trailers, roll bars or cages, and suspension parts for others. I was also a part-time race tire and race fuel dealer. On race weekends my helpers and I would take a big van, pulling a trailer full of race tires, and barrels of high octane fuel, to the sports car tracks to sell them and provide trackside tire service.

The business was fairly young at the time and didn't have traditional business credit with Firestone, Goodyear or Hoosier tires, or with VP Racing Fuel. The procedure was that I would place an order for whatever tire or fuel inventory I felt I could sell at the next event; the products would be shipped cash on delivery (COD) and arrive in a few days by truck. I would give a check for the total to the trucking company and they would pass it back to the shipper. Simple, easy procedure, but also one that took several days.

Labor Day weekend back in 1982 the Sports Car Club of America had a large regional event planned at a track south of Denver named Continental Divide Raceways. There wouldn't just be amateur racers there from Colorado, but from all across the Midwest region. This is where shit idea number 3 comes into play.

Knowing that there was always at least a week between the time I handed the COD payment check to the trucking company, and when they got it to the Firestone Race tire distributor in California or the VP Racing Fuel office in Texas, and then on through the banking system back in those pre-internet days, I came up with what seemed like an awesome, fantastic and amazing idea.

I would triple my order of tires and fuel to be ready for the giant three day event. The total would be more than I could afford, but what the fuck - the products would arrive Wednesday and Thursday, I'd write those (bad) checks knowing they would be at least a week away from hitting my bank, while Friday, Saturday and Sunday I'd be selling that inventory at a profit trackside in the middle of a large event. The next business day I'd have that cash deposited in the bank before the check made it through transit and the banking system. All would be wonderful.

My 23 year old, poor ass businessman, weak ass mind truly thought that was an awesome idea.

And then it rained, and rained, and rained. Eventually the entire event was called off with my crew and me returning to the shop having sold just a few t-shirts.

I tried this and that, sold this and that, borrowed here and there, skipped other payments trying to make things right, but by Thanksgiving I was in the jail charged with multiple felonies for bad checks totally $13, 886 and I'd been booted from the race shop for failing to pay the rent.

Sidebar - Before I continue I must add a funny side story. The very next week, after bailing out of jail, I tagged along to a photoshoot with a friend that did make-up on models. Watching the girls in swimwear next to the cool cars, and thinking the photographer was a rude jerk in the way he talked with the girls, I decided to research becoming a photographer myself. Exactly, to the day, one year after the arrest for bad checks I was sitting in an apartment we had converted to an office and the original Group Five Photosports LTD was formed as a limited partnership with four other aspiring photographers. If it hadn't been for that huge storm screwing up my trackside race tire sales in 1982 I very likely wouldn't have been in attendance at that photoshoot with my friend, or have ever tried photography.

Racing back to our story (see what I did there?). That series of charges, known then as case 82-CR-1448 (yes, I still remember it), eventually lead to years of probation, that I violated many times, that was then extended, that was violated again, that ended eventually leading to 11 months in a western Colorado prison camp working in the forest cutting hiking paths with other non-violent offenders.

I could go on and on with a few more classic "Jimmy thought he was brilliant" ideas that turned into raw shit between 1982 and the present day but I'll spare you the pain and skip ahead a bit.

Those that have followed along since the opening of TrueTeenBabes in 2001 know that I did dream up and try a few things along the way that failed.

The original NNPortal forum became such a mess full of spam and rudeness it took too much time away from the main sites to be continued.

The NNwebmasters site trying to get all teen model webmasters to work together to grow the overall business model failed quickly.

The JambaTeens and JambaBabes domains that ran for a while as forums had originally been planned as part of a series of sites like TrueTeenBabes and TrueBabes, but featuring the work of outside photographers. Many, many guys over the years had asked about doing work for us or with us, but when I finally put a program together, nobody put forth the money or real effort to participate, and the entire plan failed.

It is that term "outside photographers" that inspired this blog today and is the meat of the story so to speak.

Before I ramble on allow me just a minute or two of your time to lay out some basic foundation and clarify a few terms you are about to read.

Fall 2013 I'm shutting down and running off to the Virgin Islands to retire, but that failed (here). I rush back to Colorado, but for all practical purposes don't have a place to live. That problem is solved on a temporary basis by some lawyer friends when I'm invited to live in (watch over) a large house that was tied up in a probate issue. In this story, and on a link or two to follow, that house is called "the shoot house".

You'll also see in this story, and on a link or two to follow, references to a photo studio. As I type this in 2018 there is not a building I could drive to, unlock and start taking glamour model photos in. That said, there is a building (owned in partnership with two others), that has been my Colorado "studio" twice in the past, meaning 2003 to 2005 and again from early 2010 to mid-2015. It is now divided into three sections and rented out to three small business people in the area. In this story, and on a link or two to follow, that building is called "the studio" because that's what is was at the time.

The current tenants do not have current leases and with a 90 day notice it could be, or sections of it could be, turned back into production space. I still consider myself as having a "studio", but the physical space isn't being used as a "studio" at this time.

Now you know what I mean by the terms "shoot house" and "studio" as I explain yet another Jimmy idea that seemed brilliant and awesome, but turned to loose smelly shit very quickly, so let us move on.

In 2014, after failing at retirement for a variety of stupid reasons (here) I'm back in Colorado and getting a tiny bit bored or anxious. I do some silly cheap ass porn shoots in the house, but then decide it would be a good time to reopen TrueBabes. Within weeks Jaclynn was also reversing her decision about how she wanted to be photographed after hitting 18, so we start talking about a solo-model website for her.

Here I was, less than one year after my so-called retirement, planning to jump back in the game. I created an outline for myself. I would not work all day every day. I wouldn't get a new office, but rather with just one or two smaller sites, I could manage them from home without help, or only remote helpers. I didn't need dozens of pairs of shoes or hundreds of outfits in inventory. There would be no expensive travel to remote locations. Overall the plan was to be simple and easy.

In spring 2014 I start running ads for new TrueBabes style models. Age 18-20, no tattoos, full nudity.

Within days some local photographers contact me and a strange problem comes up. They are replying to model ads and wanting one of two things: To shoot our models (for fun or money) or rather than refer girls they know to us, they want to shoot the girl for us and just give us the photos.

Boom, just like that, things get to be a pain. I'm stuck telling some guys that their photography isn't good enough and trying to get them to simply refer the girl so Danielle and I can do our thing. Or, with some guys I have to explain that the model they are pushing isn't as cute as they think, in light of how competitive the market is, while trying not to sour the communication with him because he may have other girls I hope to get access to.

It is incredible how many guys with a camera suddenly think they are Arny Freytag, Steve Wayda or Mark Daughn as soon as some girl poses in a bikini or opens her shirt in a photoshoot.

Actual photo number 1 submitted by a photographer believing his work and the model fit TrueBabes.

Actual photo number 2 submitted by a photographer believing his work and the model fit TrueBabes.

As you can see... some guys don't possess the style of photography or models that fit well with a website that charges a monthly subscription price in a very competitive market, and some other guys do show potential in their photo style and selection of photo subjects.

In conversations with a couple of the guys responding to ads, and others in Facebook groups, it became a bit of a stalemate. Guys that knew cute girls wanted to be the photographer and not just refer the girl to me. Some actually saw themselves as "agents" or "managers", while others sort of thought of the girls as a possession.

Some guys had good skills, and a cute girl or two, but only did still photos, while I also needed HD video along with photo sets.

Some guys had good skills, and a cute girl or two, but could only work in parks or other outdoor locations because they didn't have any lighting gear.

Around this same time I had reached out to a few photographers I know in Texas, California and Florida that may contribute so I wasn't doing all the shoots myself. These guys had been around a while and had gear, but happen to be using the same girls seen on other websites after finding them on ModelMayhem.

The best solution for me would have been for the Colorado area photographers to just refer the girls and let me do the work my way, rather than sort of hold the girls ransom.

Then I lost my mind yet again.

Out of nowhere I came up with one of my amazing, fantastic and revolutionary ideas like those described above.

The idea was to clean up the studio building and let these other photographers that had some skills and a few cute girls, but lacked a private place to shoot, lighting equipment or video gear to use the studio space to shoot girls for TrueBabes. I would pay them $2000 for the photos and videos, and they would pay the model as much as they wanted out of that money.

I gave it the stunningly cool name of "The Bring Your Own Model Program" (BYOM), and created a page on TrueBabes explaining it all as best I could, so I could start referring some of these photographers there.

Below I quote the text from the original page that had been on TrueBabes.


The Who

TrueBabes is a 10 year old pretty girl website managed by Group Five Photosports of Littleton, Colorado, USA. We maintain offices and production studios in Littleton and we currently manage 3 pay to view websites with others in the planning stages.

We try to promote a sexy college girl, healthy, clean look and feel to both the TrueBabes website and the models. We don't use models that are extra tall and look like magazine super models, but at the same time we don't use models that look like desperate, drug addicts covered in homemade tattoos. We don't want to look like a full blown porn site with fake sex scenes and fake boobs.

As we expand the site over the next few months, and begin working with new photographers, we have two firm rules: No tattoos and no fake boobs.

The pretty girl fans that follow our company, and our now semi-retired photographer, are "in to" that younger, clean, fresh and 100% natural look in the models they follow and admire. They don't subscribe to popular tattoo sites such as Suicide Girls, but do to sites such as X-Art that feature, slim, trim, 18-19 year old models without tattoos or breast enhancements.

All models that pose to appear on TrueBabes from this point forward will be 18-20 years old, free of tattoos, and paid for their time and talent. In this program the photographers decide how much.

The What

The TrueBabes "Bring Your Own Model" program (BYOM) is a summer 2014 test to solve a problem we often run into as we search for new photographers and models. That problem is a combination of ego and insecurity among photographers - mostly younger, lesser experienced, photographers.

We started buying photos and HD videos (content) from outside photographers in 2011. Often a photographer would approach us with a cute model, and we would want her on our site, but for various reasons he wasn't able to do the shoots himself. Maybe he didn't yet have good lighting gear, or the better HD camcorders, or a location to shoot nudes at that would be suitable, or sexy outfits to pose the model in.

We would ask that he refer the girl to another photographer and offer to pay him a "finder's fee" of $250.00. Not once, in 25-30 Colorado. Arizona or Nevada area discussions over the past 3 years, has the photographer selected to accept our offer and pass his new model to a more experienced or prepared photographer.

On the surface we don't blame him. It's usually a young ambitious guy that is out on the circuit and in the clubs scouting the cutest girls around. He has cultivated the relationship with her, spent hours practicing with her, and is now hoping to capitalize on those efforts. But, realistically, he is simply doing the girl a disservice by treating her like a possession and keeping her away from a paying gig.

The BYOM program is our version of a compromise that we'll extend to a very limited number of Colorado photographers that have great skills, and hot college age models looking to do our style of work, but are lacking in shoot space, lighting gear, props, outfits or other details that make true glamour style photography work.

It's simple - if we like and trust the photographer and his skills, and want to have "his model" on our site, we'll let him do the work in our building, with our gear and supplies, and even our outfits. And, we'll even pay him for it, and he can decide how much to pay her.

We offer new photographers $2000 for production work that can be done in a well organized day. That work includes 5 still photo sets of the model in different outfits and settings with 60 images in each set and 5 HD videos of the model in the same outfits and settings with each video being in the 8-10 minute range (unedited).

More specific details about shoot requirements are provided to photographers we are interested in after reviewing the information they submit. We leave it to him or her as to how much out of that $2000 he pays the model. His production expenses are very low in this program because we provide everything except his time, his helpers (if any) and his model.

The Where

Our production studio is located in Littleton, in the general area of South Santa Fe Drive and West Belleview Avenue. We no longer openly publish the exact address due to a 2012 burglary and a couple of drunk rude boyfriends wanting to control shoots.

The building includes over 4000 square feet of production space, plus prop storage, dressing rooms, garment room, break room/kitchen, offices and reception areas. Total is just under 6000 square feet. The production area has 16 foot ceiling clearance for lighting, plenty of high amperage outlets, and lots of room to work.

There is a 36 foot wide cyc wall (a.k.a. infinity wall) with 40 foot pull back, and catwalks up one side and across the back for lighting. There is a 2-wall 800 square foot area carpeted that can be set up as a fake bedroom or living room with catwalks up one side and across the back for lighting. There is a 3-wall 900 square foot area with wooden floor that can be set up as a fake bedroom or living room. We also have enough privacy on weekends to do some outdoor shooting.

While most photographers / videographers would use their own cameras we do have some gear available. For still photography Canon 1Ds MK-III and 5D MK-III bodies, along with Canon L series and Sigma DG series lenses. For 4K video we have a rigged Sony FDR-AX1 and a rigged FDR-AX33, along with a couple of Azden WMS-PRO kits.

Our normal post-production workflow for still images features Canon RAW formats. We prefer shooters that are working with Canon 1Ds or 5D series bodies. For UHD (4K) video most any format produced by prosumer or pro camcorders is acceptable.

For still photography we stock 22 AlienBee B1600 heads, and multiple copies of every adapter, ring, grid or beauty dish made by AlienBee/Paul C Buff. We also have dozens of Manfrotto stands, and 6 each of every umbrella or softbox PhotoFlex offers, along with dozens of PocketWizards for wireless flash sync, and Sekonic 358 flashmeters.

For videography we stock 4 Photoflex Constellation3 CFL/Tungsten units, 6 Flashpoint Cool Light 4 (CFL), 6 Interfit Matinee LED 1000, 6 Linco/Flora CFL heads, along with all the softboxes, stands and other accessories to go with them.

And, of course every type of basic studio gear you would ever need - cords, foam core, stands, clamps, backgrounds, more cords, more clamps, sandbags, dollies, cases, crates and more.

Working with female models is where this building and our inventory excel. The studio has a large dressing room with modern make-up station. At any one time we stock 100+ pairs of shoes / heels and well over 200 lingerie, swimwear or other types of daring outfits in sizes from XS to M - never large because we never work with "large" girls.

For the BYOM program the studio will be available at least two weekends in each of the months of July and August.

Additionally, we have a large private home in Littleton available 3 consecutive weekends in late July and early August. It features warm colors, easy to pose on furniture and high enough ceilings to accomplish glamour style lighting set-ups.

Overall, we feel this is a good opportunity for talented young photographers that want to bring their own models and get paid for shooting them in our well-equipped space for TrueBabes.

The When

The BYOM program is an experiment. We hope to try it over the summer months of 2014 and extend it if successful. When the first Colorado area photographer takes advantage of the offer is entirely up to him or her. It all starts by using the form below to submit his or her information, then proposing a model to us, getting approved and booking a date from what we have available.

We are not looking to open our building and equipment to anybody that wants to swing by and take pictures of some girl he met at the mall. This is not an offer for part time guys with cameras (GWCs) to use our building for his latest TFCD day with some girl he met on ModelMayhem. This is not meant to be an open house, come one come all, situation.

This program is for high quality shooters that are working with girls that have that certain TrueBabes style and look we need to expand our site.

Our overall goal is to add quality photos and videos to our site. That can be done through the program - but only if we limit it to quality photographers, that have quality models, and that want to develop an ongoing relationship with our company.

Employee scheduling, and our own travel plans, mean that we will likely limit this to 2-3 Colorado photographers. One of our employees will be on site any time the studio is being used, but not to supervise or teach, simply to be up in the offices if something is needed and to insure it's all locked up tight when done.

Studio time, or shoot dates, will be selected once other details have been agreed upon. In general the open shoot days are weekends.

The Why

Why we want to try a program like this is easy to explain. We want to expand our site and grow our customer base. To do so we want new photographers to contribute and new models be featured.

Helping two or three Colorado area photographers that happen to have the talent and skill, but not the space or gear, seems a logical way to meet that goal.

The How

This program is not intended for guys with cameras (GWCs) that are trying to learn with a girl they met on Facebook. We are looking for glamour photographers - and there is a lot more to being one than just owning a camera. Three, four and five strobe set-ups are common. If you haven't been around a studio environment, with the types of gear listed above, as a shooter, assistant, helper, gofer (gopher) or student this might not be the best option for you.

This is a production program not a learning program. We do not intend to have staff there to teach anything other than where equipment is stored.

The first step is to complete the form below after reviewing the entire page carefully. If we are interested after reviewing the links you submit we'll reply with an informative Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file containing all the details on the content packages we purchase.

If you can produce what we need, but don't have the gear or location to do the work at, we'll invite you out to Littleton to discuss using our resources.

Please do not call or visit the studio without first going through the steps just outlined and being invited to do so to prevent wasting each other's time. We work odd hours and stay busy. We take studio visitors by appointment only.

Final Thoughts

The studio is not available for rentals, parties, workshops, amateur TFCD shoots, or any other purpose outside of producing content for TrueBabes as outlined above. This includes shooting portfolio work or ModelMayhem picture contest work being done on the same day.

This can be a good opportunity for Colorado photographers to get paid shooting in a very well equipped studio but we must be selective. Our website income depends on it. Our goal is quality content for our website and not just opening our doors to amateur photographers, guys with cameras (GWCs), or students.

If Interested

Please complete the form below. The Name, City, State and Phone fields are required.

Use the "Misc. Link" line to send a link to a website that is currently displaying your work if possible.

Use the comments area for information related to your experience, schooling, how you plan to locate models, models you already know, etc.

Use the photo upload option if you wish to show us your latest work or models you wish us to consider hiring you to shoot.

Please type carefully. We will reply by email or phone if we are interested.

If you have other questions that we haven't answered on this page please email them to [email protected] and we will get the answers back to you as soon as possible.

SIDEBAR - There is also a few exaggerations in there as I was trying to make this as inviting as possible. For clarity let me cover those real quick.

Notice how I say an employee will be there? I didn't actually have any official studio type employees in the summer of 2014, just Alex working from home helping with TeenGlamourGirls and the TrueTeenBabes archives. It would be me there or nobody there.

One of the 4K camcorders listed, as well as some of the video lights, actually belonged to a friend that produced real estate tour videos and executive interviews. He was to let me use his gear in exchange for having access to the building for some of his work.

While it is true that the building is about 6000 square feet of space, in my description I leave out that 2000 square feet of it was sub-divided out to an unrelated tenant. Only around 4000 SQ FT would actually be available. That leaves a huge amount of space and is the size of the Florida studio I used from 2004 through 2010.

I was trying to accomplish certain things with that page and the way I formatted the information. In my mind I was trying to offer a great opportunity for guys serious about shooting quality materials, while simultaneously trying to keep away the dingbat with an iPhone 4s as his "camera" that claims to be a "photographer" just to see a college age girl naked.

It seemed like such a good plan as long as I was careful about whom I selected to participate. In ways I had both public and private goals for the program and I had to always keep them in mind.

The main public goal was to get good quality content for TrueBabes, including both photo and video. A closely related goal was to line myself up with a photographer or two that could make the reopening of TrueBabes easy on me. Maybe, over time it would turn into a situation where I'm shooting one weekend each month, and one or two other guys are shooting one weekend each month, and between us we are filling the site with enough good content and new models that it starts to grow and become profitable.

The first of the non-public goals would be to establish communication with the models themselves. Recall that the entire idea came about because I had adult males contacting me as photographers with models that didn't want to refer the girl directly to TrueBabes.

That's all fine and dandy, but if the girl becomes popular I may want to include her in events without him. Webcam chats, shoots with other models and projects outside the studio or even out of town come to mind. And, of course, maybe she is awesome but his work isn't great and I think I can do a better job. This is a serious concern for the guys that have never done video work.

The second of the non-public goals was to locate additional new models through the girls other photographers might bring around. Girls in the 18-20 age range tend to run in packs with similar interests. One cute, tattoo free, girl interested in posing for TrueBabes likely has a friend or two that would also be interested. For the reasons listed as my first of the non-public goals, I prefer to meet and work with those girls outside of the constraints of a third party. I placed business cards and small flyers in the dressing room and rest room. I also created some full size color flyers and placed them in frames, hanging in a few areas around the building.

It seemed like a master plan that would accomplish multiple goals. To get it started I planned it out in three steps.

Step one would be to get photographers to the website so they could review the information and submit their information. This wasn't hard because at that time, through Craigslist ads and Facebook photographer groups, I was already getting several guys reaching out to TrueBabes. Some seemed to be good photographers and others not so good. Some knew and had been working with cute TrueBabes style girls, and some others had models that didn't fit the theme.

Curiously there was also a sort of middle ground. A few photographers with great talent contacted me but wanted to get paid to do work outside of what I was looking for. The most common request or suggestion was to let the models pose only in swimwear because the girls they knew or wanted to shoot didn't want to pose nude. It was a task trying to explain to them the website marketplace and how in 2014 a 19 year old girl in a bikini wasn't going to get a lot of fans to use their payment cards for a website subscription.

I'll never forget the guy from up in Boulder, Colorado telling me something like "you need to get a different quality of member" when I explained it to him. He was never able to point me to a pay to view website that was swimwear only and was making enough money to pay outside photographers and maintain a studio building.

Additional common requests from potential photographers included allowing them to use models in the age 21-35 age range that I would publish as age 18 or 19 or to let them do still photos, but not video, with models that had tattoos that I would then be expected to Photoshop away. Or, for me to pay them and open the studio so they could shoot models already on TrueBabes.

Let me take a quick detour here to talk about website membership numbers. When it had some crossover fans and models from TrueTeenBabes from 2004 to about 2012, TrueBabes only averaged about 850 monthly subscribers,. If we narrow that down to the three years of 2009-2012 after nude tube sites became popular, that average is cut almost exactly in half. A site with new models being only in a bikini wouldn't draw enough paying customers to allow me to pay the photographer $2000 per shoot day. Yes, there are a few bikini style membership sites out there, but from the guys I talk with, they are just hobbyists with a few members or donations monthly. The guys doing it just for fun and are not paying others for content.

Clearly, based on my years of experience, paying guys $2000 for bikini photo sets wouldn't have been a viable option. It is super hard to get paying subscribers these days in the 18+ market due to free content, piracy and the desire for imagery more sexual than featured on TrueBabes. Bikini model shots, or a website lacking HD video, just isn't going to be popular.

Back to the main story...

Step two would be to narrow down which guys that had reviewed the BYOM page, submitted their information, and appeared to have both talent and potential TrueBabes models. This meant emails back and forth, reviewing photos they had done and photos of the models (even if not taken by that particular guy). This process quickly eliminated a bunch of guys. Many sent photos they hadn't taken, or of models that others also claimed to represent, or girls not even close to fitting the TrueBabes style. This step helped me sort out a group of guys that seemed to talk good but I couldn't see coming through in the end. Telling me they have access to "lots of girls", but not being able to send any photos of the girls that they had actually taken themselves, was a clue that they likely couldn't do what TrueBabes needed.

Step three was to meet the guy in person for a quick lunch. This wasn't to see his photos or meet models he knew. It was to get a feel for the guy and if I could trust him in the building. Last thing I wanted was for some guy to go in and take a bunch of my stuff. That had happened in the past when I let others use studios I'd set-up over the years. I was trying to be careful.

By mid-July 2014 I had a couple of guys lined up and spent several days moving things around in the studio building, setting up a few things here and there, and getting the air conditioning repaired. From the time I first posted the "Bring You Own Models Program", and the time I finally had these two guys selected, the situation with the large private home I was watching over changed, making July the last month I had access. Neither of these guys was ready quick enough to take advantage of that so both shoots days were scheduled for the studio building.

The first guy was named Rob (Robert) and seemed exactly like the kind of guy I would hang out with at the local bar. He worked in partnership with his brother installing fancy home theater and sound systems, and did photography weekends or when they didn't have a installation scheduled. The photo work he showed me was good.

Rob used the studio on August 9th, 2014. I drove by a couple of times that day and there were three cars outside and nothing seemed out of place or suspicious. He left the place in fine shape, but I did notice that he had removed all the business cards and other materials I had left around. There was also a weird remnant of something sticky, like tape residue, on a front window. It looked as if maybe he had taped up a sign or note over the window sign that normally shows there.

Curiously, he hadn't taken the portable USB hard drive I had left for him.

The plan was for Rob to meet me for lunch again the next Tuesday and give me the hard drive with the materials and to get payment from me. He cancelled, rescheduled, cancelled again, and eventually stopped replying to emails. I never heard from him again. At the time I had two theories. The first was that the shoot simply had not turned out as well as both he and I hoped. The second was that he never actually did a TrueBabes style shoot in the building that day and maybe had never planned to do so.

More on Rob, his shoot and his model(s) would come up in a few days.

The next shoot was set a week later. The guy was named Sean. Like Rob, his work looked good, he had decent comments on ModelMayhem and in a Facebook group, and the model he showed was super cute. He requested that I open the building late afternoon and allow him to shoot into the night because the model was a server at some club and would be working too late the evening before to start earlier in the day.

I opened up at 4:00pm and headed off to my favorite pizza place for an early dinner. About 90 minutes later I drove back past the building and noticed cars outside. All seemed fine.

By 10:00pm all hell has broken loose. The neighboring police department is calling the studio number, but it's ringing at my place because when I tried to retire I had changed to a home office situation. Seems because the building sits right on the line between Littleton and Englewood, and backs up against a residential area, a neighbor calling police to complain about noise was passed to one jurisdiction, when the building was technically about 25 feet within the other jurisdiction.

By the time I get in my car and drive two miles from home to the building there are four police cars in the street, two from each city. What a fucking mess.

It turns out that Sean wasn't there to just shoot for TrueBabes, but was having a bit of a "Photoshoot Party".

He had a few girls there, none of them the girl he had told me he was shooting for the site. He also had a few amateur photographer guys there that had paid him to come shoot topless girls. The total number of people was around 14-16.

There was a custom old car in the lot. It is that car that was the issue. Apparently it had a super sound system in it and blasting that system is what caught the attention of the neighbors. It must have been very loud because the car was in front of the twenty foot tall building, and the complaining neighbors were behind it about 50 yards, through tall trees.

All the girls are drinking and two of them are under age 21.

There was a guy there from a stripper company (private bachelor party type) that had brought along one of the girls he employs. She was about 26, skinny like a druggie, and had all sorts of tats, but he somehow had the impression that she was to be paid $1000 to be a featured model on TrueBabes and expected me to pay her, even after I started asking everybody to leave.

The police didn't write any tickets. They, very kindly, simple told us to keep the damn sound system turned down, and not let anybody drive if they had been drinking much. I was happy for how the police handled things, but was looking for a baseball bat to chase that fucking Sean guy off my property.

The asshole tried to explain that these people "just heard" on Facebook about him planning a studio shoot but the model not arriving, so they just "showed up". I didn't believe any of that bullshit. It was a damn Saturday night. Those people, in particular the girls, would have been out in the clubs or other places, not just sitting at home until they happen to read on Facebook he was at a studio without a model.

And, of course, his story didn't jive with the story I heard from the stripper booking agent guy or the story told to the police, with me standing nearby, that the guys had paid to do photos of the topless models.

Needless to say I got absolutely zero content out of Sean and his party night at the studio, like I got nothing out of Rob the week previous.

The next day, a Sunday, I'm back at the studio trying to clean up the place and take a bit of an inventory to see if anything was missing. While I'm there a guy and girl showed up and are looking for the "owner". I explain that I am the owner, but the girl wants to argue about that and the guy keeps telling me to stop covering for the owner. We go back and forth a bit until I showed them some photos on the wall of me doing photos shoots and a city building code document.

From that discussion I gather that she was one of two girls that had been in the building with Rob 8 days previous. He had told them he was the owner of TrueBabes and it was his studio. He had done some nude shots with them, and then had them making out with each other in "girl-girl" action for a new site he claimed, as the (fake) owner of TrueBabes, that he was building. She had been coming back daily since Monday the 11th to get her "cash modeling fee".

The guy threatened to call the police. He was now saying since I was the owner of the new girl-girl website Rob was building for me I was the one that owed her the cash. I told him to go ahead and a few minutes later a patrol car arrives. It took me about 45 seconds to explain that back on the 9th I had let a guy use the building and it was that guy that lied to her and didn't pay her. The officer said it was a "civil matter", told them not to trespass and drove away.

Clearly, like so many other ideas I thought of as great when I dreamed them up over the years, Jimmy's "Bring Your Own Model Program" for TrueBabes turned right to shit in a big, big way. I should have seen it coming. It was set-up as a good idea but any reasonable person should have known what was coming - the kind of shit that can be smelled from a mile away when the wind is blowing the opposite direction.

Just what the fuck was I thinking?

But wait - the story isn't over yet.

After I selected to try the BYOM program with Rob and Sean I still had a few other guys I had been talking with by email. One of them was named Bill and he was from the north side of the Metro-Denver area. His normal job kept him from meeting with me in July, after I had approved a girl by email, so he was never scheduled to use the building.

In spring 2015, many months after the Rob and Sean mess from the previous August, Bill offered to sell TrueBabes a couple of photo sets he had done with a girl he met on Craigslist. That would be the girl we eventually posted on TrueBabes as Jenna Rodgers.

There are two ironic parts of the Jenna Rodgers story.

Number one is that she is the same girl that Rob had submitted to me and was supposed to shoot in August 2014. Because Rob never delivered the photos or videos from his day in the studio I have no idea if she was the second girl in that so called "girl-girl" shoot Rob had done in August, but it seems likely based on the description.

Number two is that after the Rob shoot (or not), but before shooting with Bill, she had applied for TrueBabes herself directly on our website. By email I asked her about the Rob thing and she said he was a jerk and she'd tell me the story at her shoot day. She was schedule to shoot a couple of weekends later but never showed up. She later applied yet again, but when asked about her no-show the previous month, she never replied.

Another guy I had spoken to back in June and July was named Jonathan. He primarily did video work, such as small music videos and YouTube channel materials, along with freelance work for a local TV station. He was offering to do the work with a friend that would do the photograph part, while he did the video part.

He would email back and forth often but never submitted models. I guessed at the time that he did know and work with a bunch of pretty girls but those girls didn't want to do the nudity for TrueBabes. He was very aggressive and tried to convince me he should just get keys to my building so that when he did find a girl he could go shoot right then. He was the kind of guy that knew everything about everything, and talked a giant show, but never could send me a model for approval.

About two months after his last email I got a call from Jonathan but at the time I didn't realize it was the same guy, and he didn't realize I was the same guy. Here is how that unfolded.

By late September I had done my own shoots for TrueBabes and Jaclynn's, and had just reopened TrueBabes. I was posting for new models in every place I could think of. Some of those places, like Craigslist, limited how many posts or ads you could place in a single day. To get around that rule I had created accounts as TrueBabes.com, JimmyStephans.com and GroupFivePhotosports.com. Some ads said "Model for TrueBabes", while others said "Glamour Models Wanted" or "Get Naked, Get Paid" or just about anything I could think of.

When this Jonathan called in early October he didn't seem to know he was calling the same person he had been speaking to by email 2-3 months previous.

October 7th I get a call from a guy talking so fast I couldn't understand him. He was asking question after question, but never giving me time to answer. He wanted to know who I was, why I was advertising for models, could he send models for a fee or could I send him models because he was an agent or music video producer or whatever. Within about 45 seconds I knew I didn't want to deal with the guy so I just lied that I was retired again and he must have found old ads that are still online from previous years.

The guy went crazy and started making threats about coming to my house and blowing me away. He mentioned being a private detective and having a "Federal tax stamp". I had no idea what that meant, and hung up. I later learned that a tax stamp is somehow related to a Federal firearms dealer sales license.

After hanging up the phone I did some checking on the name and number that showed on the caller ID. After seeing some Facebook photos I realized it was the same rude guy (Jonathan) that had been emailing me in the summer. I got my lawyers to file for a restraining order real quick (redacted screen cap here), then write to the TV station the next week informing them that their employee was making such threats.

In some ways I have to give it to this guy. He actually called in the day time. Then again, I guess when he first dialed the office number he wasn't intending to be rude and threatening. He only became that way when I couldn't, or wouldn't, answer his 100 mile per hour interrogation to his satisfaction.

Over the TrueTeenBabes / TrueBabes years I have received hundreds of negative phone calls that all end up as rude, odd, threatening or just plain silly voicemail messages. Every single call comes in late at night when there is no chance anybody is at the office to answer. All those tough people are only tough when they know they can be anonymous late at night screaming into a voicemail system. I'll have to write about those and post a few of the voicemail recordings someday soon.

Over the 120 or so days of the "Bring Your Own Models Program" I received zero content that could be used for the website. I didn't make any connections that would lead to further new models down the road. I got threatened by a boyfriend because he perceived I was "covering for" the company owner. Got threatened by the same boyfriend for not paying his girlfriend the fee Rob promised her to be in some "girl-girl" action. I got threatened on the phone by a guy with a "tax stamp" and had to deal with law enforcement officers on three occasions.

The Bring Your Own Models Program... What the Fuck Was I Thinking?

I've typed, copied, pasted and exaggerated over 8500 words here today, yet I have no clue how to answer that question.

Jimmy Stephans
September 1st, 2018
Avon, Colorado. USA.