« Archives in March, 2011

Tips on studio shoots

Following on from our last post on pre-shoot communication with photographers, we will now cover the actual shoot itself. One thing that I often see is lack of preparation. Some models come with not enough outfits, no make up and their hair in a mess. Its then down to the photographer to heavily edit the images, which can take several hours. In the end neither of you are happy with the shots.

There are some shoots that the model will turn up at and my initial thought is “you are kidding me!”. You wouldn’t go for a job interview in your pyjamas so don’t turn up at a shoot unprepared.

During the pre-shoot communication, outfits. make up and hair should be discussed. You are not going to be lucky enough to have a hair and make up artist on each shoot you do so there is going to have to be some work from you on these areas. We will discuss post shoot editing and airbrushing by the photographer later on a future post. Ensure that you bring more outfits than you need and don’t forget matching shoes!

If you are shooting lingerie and supplying your own, bring a matching set!

So, you turn up prepared with your outfits and hair and make up in a decent state. The next step is for both to look at the outfits and ensure that you are both happy and discuss a plan. This can be done pre-shoot, but you can overload yourself with lots of thoughts, which in turn may kill the creativity of the shoot.

Once you have a plan then the shoot can begin.

Posing guide:

Make sure that you practice on posing naturally. There is nothing worse for either of you to struggle with posing and the shoot becomes very mechanical. I shot a model recently who was discussing last night’s TV whilst hitting different poses while I was firing at a shot per second. Ideal, but that does come with experience. 

Don’t pre-plan posing in the pre-shoot communication. This is a waste of time; you are better off posing naturally and creating ideas between you and the photographer during the shoot. Most of the time the spur of the moment posing looks better.

Before I work with a model I spend quite a bit of time looking through their existing shots. Most models fall into bad habits, generally one comfort pose like a pout, or always angling the face in certain direction. You can’t help this and you won’t really notice yourself, but a good photographer can help with breaking you out of any habits that you are getting into.

In future posts we will discuss areas such as:

  1. Making the most of your good and bad features.
  2. Understanding photography lighting and using it to your advantage, even with photographers who don’t understand it themselves!
  3. Outdoor and location shoots.
  4. High key and low key photography

How long should you take in the studio?

You need an hour per outfit change really. You may want to use a couple of different sets with the same outfit or different props. For a quality shoot you will need 3 hours minimum and possibly 4 hours. Of course, there will be photographers that read this and think its rubbish! I am talking about great quality shots that you would be proud of in your portfolio, not just snaps.

Jessica Hope Hill - Model and MODA Hair Stylist

Lot’s more advice on the way and MODA hair stylist, Jessica Hope Hill, will be offering hair tips over the next couple of weeks. We are hoping to officially welcome a make up artist too to MODA and of course she will be blogging too offering advice in this area.

If you have enjoyed the first 2 posts, please tell your model friends and anyone interested in starting. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and the main website to view our work is here. We are about to shoot some more hair and make up projects and updates will come through via Facebook and Twitter so make sure you are following! ;-)

Feel free to add a comment on the link at the beginning of the post, or any other tips that you may have regarding this subject.

Thanks for reading

Dean – MODA photographer


Pre-shoot communication with photographers

As a photographer I get to see a lot of pre-shoot communication. This is generally quite poor; and in fact only around 5% of models know exactly or roughly what they want from the shoot. A typical exchange of communication would be something like:

Photographer – “yes I’m happy to shoot with you, what subjects would you like to shoot? Do you have a particular genre or style you prefer?

Model – “no, not really, I’m just happy to go with what you want to do”

I’m so tempted at this point to make a point by asking the model to stand on one leg on top of a donkey with a lampshade on the head. It sounds ridiculous, but seriously, as a model you need to be to control your own destiny. Photographers need you as much as you need them, so it’s a partnership.

Before you do that you need to figure out what you want out of modelling, and we are about to release some courses to help models with this pre-shoot, during shoot and post-shoot communication.

First of all, be clear on what you want to do in your modelling career. You may only want to do for fun, which is fine, or you might be more serious and want to become a glamour or a fashion model. As soon as you know this it will help you control the whole experience of working with photographers much easier.

If you choose a certain style, then look for photographers who are good at that style. Just because they are a photographer doesn’t mean that they are a good photographer, and a good photographer can make an image looks so much better. A beautiful model can look poor with a poor photographer. On the flip-side, an average model can look beautiful with a great photographer.  

There are model forums out there where photographers and models join and get together. I would say around 80% of the photographers on most of these forums are not of the required standard, and subsequently your portfolio starts to become a weak one whether it’s a fun or a career. Don’t think that because you are a young, inexperienced, or not that confident that you should be grateful for anybody taking your photograph. Use it as a negotiation between you and the photographer to get what you want and what the photographer wants from the shoot.

My key advice:

  • Join somewhere like your Purestorm.com for free as a model
  • Look for photographers you want to work with
  • Set your sights high
  • A good way to start communication is by telling them how much you like their work, even photographers need their egos massaged!
  • Ask them their availability for shoots.
  • In the same e-mail tell them what you would like to do and asked them what they would like to do. An example would be, “hi John, I really like your work especially shot number seven on your portfolio. I am looking for a photographer to shoot with but don’t really have an experience, but I do appreciate I want to work with a top photographer, hence my e-mail! I would really love to shoot fashion, mainly High Street, and maybe some lingerie too. Would you consider shooting with me? I would also be happy to look at anything that you would want to shoot for your portfolio.”
  • If the response comes back negative, then ask for feedback on your potential as a model.

Once you get more confident, and get a couple of good shoots and your belt, you can start being a little bit more pushy without being rude. For example, you can ask to do specific themes with hair and make up artists.

The better quality your portfolio, the better quality photographers you will attract and eventually they will start coming to you rather than you going to them. That’s a very good feeling. I have around 10 requests per week from models to shoot them, I had to beg when I first started. I make sure that my photos are the best they can be. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time so have to turn many down, but I do try and give feedback on their portfolio and any bad habits that they may be getting into.

In the next post, I will discuss what to expect during the shoot, how to maximise your time and how to create a team with the photographer in the studio or location.

Please feel free to post any questions regarding this or any other subject.