There are many types of photography. In this article I would like to discuss working with models (specifically female models). The following are things you should keep in mind when working on a shoot with a female model.
Choosing the right model:
Although this might sound obvious, choosing the right model for the type of shoot you’re doing is vital. Certain factors such as weight, hair color, body shape, previous experience, skin shade, age etc. all impact greatly on the end result, so it’s important that the model you choose fits with your vision.To help choose your model, ask to see their portfolio or if potentially working with an amateur model, peruse their social media photos which have the added benefit of showing you their raw look which hasn’t been muddied with any post-production work so you can really see what you’re getting. Conducting a test shoot is also a valuable tool to avoid disappointment at the actual shoot.
Ensure you know the model’s availability will work with your schedule. Also discuss the locations and general themes and confirm that she will have no cultural or religious limitations in working with you or executing your ideas. Inform her of other team members who will be present on the day such as stylists and make-up artists. All of these steps make for a comfortable model and a smooth photo-shoot.
Judging wisely at all times:
Once the model has been through hair, make-up and styling but before you begin the shoot, make sure that you are happy with the result of each process and therefore the overall look. It’s a lot more time efficient, as well as productive for everyone involved to make all changes prior to starting as opposed to continually making adjustments throughout the shoot.
Try not to dissect the model from top to bottom as this will only make her uncomfortable. Keep criticisms impersonal; “That hair style doesn’t suit her face” is obviously preferable to “That hairstyle makes her face look fat”. Frame criticisms as suggestions wherever possible. If a model has an unflattering angle don’t point this out, rather tell her that another angle really works well for her. If you are a male photographer, it’s often helpful to have a female stylist or assistant as it can be quite off-putting or seemingly inappropriate to be making intimate adjustments to hair and clothes.
Another simple yet effective idea is to “diagnose” a test shot together with the model. Here you can point out the things you like and the things you would prefer the model to avoid. This can also be done at the actual photo-shoot; between wardrobe changes show the model a few shots that have been great and point out the things that she has done right so she can continue to do them. Don’t be afraid to give direction during the shoot either. The model can’t see what you can through the lens, so as long as you deliver the suggestions the right way, she’ll be happy for the help.
Attitude is so important:
Working with models requires discipline and training. You cannot be nervous and stressed when things are not going well. A polite and professional attitude at all times is a must, particularly with inexperienced, amateur models. If the model isn’t nailing a particular pose even with constructive criticism, don’t flog a dead horse. Move on and find something else she can excel at.
Never lose your temper or control with or around a model. Your reputation is of immeasurable value and nothing is worth damaging it. Models, stylists, hair and make-up artists and other industry insiders all talk to each other. Make sure the things they have to say about you are always positive.You should always keep the model’s comfort in mind. Your guidance should always be kind and gentle. This will build her trust in you and make working with her a lot easier.
How do you think your model would feel if they arrived to the shoot to find you in hot pants and a mesh tank top? Most would say “not very comfortable”. Whilst it’s not expected nor even appropriate to be in a suit and tie, it is important that you are professional, clean, neat and tidy. You should wear clothes that make you comfortable enough to get great shots, but make it obvious that you are doing a job.So before even considering what your model will be wearing, consider what you will be wearing. Looking the part means you gain the respect you deserve.
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