When you don’t have a fancy studio or a large body of work with tons of tearsheets in your portfolio, it can be intimidating to approach people to model for you but certainly not impossible.
Over the years, I’ve made a habit of keeping my eye out for interesting faces everywhere I go. Some really good-looking people don’t think of themselves as attractive. But, whether it’s a modeling portfolio or a profile pic on Facebook, we all want to look our best in photos.
People respond best when you’re confident without being pushy and when you’re easy-going and fun to be around. Be prepared for rejection.
A great social networking site for new and experienced models as well as stylists makeup artists and photographers to meet and potentially collaborate is Model Mayhem. It’s free to join (basic membership) and posting your photographs there could help to showcase your work to the right people. After a few successful collaborations not you will you add a lot of value to your portfolio and make some valuable connections but you’ll also build your skill set, and your boost your credibility as a professional.
I’m happy to turn any occasion into a photo shoot.
Not having a studio isn’t necessarily a liability. A white wall, black muslin can easy transform a small space into a workable area for portraits. Working with younger models allows you to experiment with new ideas without the pressure of having to deliver top quality work for publication. While a younger, less experienced model may need more direction, they will also be more patient with you as you try new things. In addition, many young models are happy to work “time-for-print.” This simply means that the model works in exchange for your photos.
If your model has no experience whatsoever, you may want to direct them to posing guides such as Jeffrey Brian’s “How To Pose Like A Male Model” or Frank Luger’s “Posing Tips for a Male Model.” Have a few examples of poses you like nearby ready to show your model and jump-start your shoot.
Once you move outdoors the possibilities are endless. In the museum district of Houston, where I live, there are several stunning wall murals on public buildings. There’s also a nearby lovely sculpture garden that’s part of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Spend some time looking around your own surroundings for unique and interesting places for photo shoots. Pay attention to where the sun is at a given time of day and take notes. You want to be as prepared as possible when the model is in front of you.
Ask yourself, what are other editorial/fashion photographers shooting? Is there a particular style you admire that you’d like to emulate?
Take your fashion sense to the streets. I love using urban spaces, especially murals and graffiti walls. I love to throw light from different, unexpected angles, in short I’m always looking for the unexpected. The great thing about murals is that a slight change of angle or direction and you have a whole new backdrop.
Be sure to ask the model for a signed release. One helpful app I recently came across from the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) makes it easy to save and email signed release forms with your iPad.
Here are a couple of tips:
1) NEVER touch your model. That means don’t try to fix their hair or garments. Explain what you’d like to change and either have the model make the adjustment or a stylist if you have one. It’s crucial to remember this. If you can’t explain in words what you want, then you’ve got a problem. Figure it out, but hands off!
2) Be. PROFESSIONAL. That means being punctual. Be sure to communicate with your model if you’re running late and certainly well in advance of a cancellation.
3) Have realistic expectations. If your shots don’t come out looking like they should be on the cover of Vogue, it’s not necessarily your model that’s the problem. Recognize your current skill level and be honest about what you hope to achieve.
4) Be PREPARED. Some time spent pre-conceiving your shot and sketching a few drawings to help your model understand your concept is time well spent.
Young models should bring a great deal of enthusiasm, creativity and energy to a shoot. Remember that a model that is relaxed, comfortable and confident is what you need for a great shoot need necessarily be the best looking person in the room.
- 10 Tips For Working With Models (pixiq.com)
- A Catch Up Post (takeitfrommyhands.wordpress.com)
- Model Monday: When your FREE isn’t worth paying for…(ldacostaphotography.wordpress.com)