Monday, January 25, 2010

What to do with a n00b model?

I got a question from a flickr fan asking how to work with newer (read: inexperienced) models.

The truth is, I don't know.

That's the disclosure that I'm obliged to provide before going off on my long spiel about what to do. But as I'm writing this, I'm still drawing a blank.

So I posed this question to Anneliese during our shoot today and she replied that one photographer (I'm assuming that she shot with) said he'd put the model on a chair instead of having her stand in order to limit movement.

To further go reveal how little I know about this topic, I have 3 fashion photography books, one of which is specific to posing techniques (it's actually called
Positing Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios)

A good photographer will "extract" the most out of a new/inexperienced model. For my purposes, I don't have time to work with inexperienced models. I just get frustrated and bored.

But assuming I did have to work with another new model, these are the things I would try.

-Give them a list of emotions: Happy, sad, upset, frustrated, etc. It helps the model break out of their "same face" range.

-Give them something to interact with. A feather. A scarf. Jewelry. It gives them focus and provides substance to an otherwise dull and monotonous shoot.

-Give them examples. I always try and have 3 "canned" poses that I can show the model. Otherwise, I'll show them the actual picture I want them to mimic. I haven't had to do this lately, but I'm sure this will come in handy with the newer models.

-Give them music. Turn on the tunes, tell them to relax, and get their groove on. Sometimes their limited range is an issue with their comfort level and confidence in their posing techniques. Sometimes music allows the model to relax and just "go with it".

-Give them alcohol. If all else fails and they can't relax. I've got a couple of bottles of scotch whiskey that I keep just for this purpose :) All jokes aside, I actually think this would work. Fortunately I have never had to resort to this technique. But seriously, I could see this happening... LOL :)

A newer model is not a "problem" but rather a challenge. If you look at it in this perspective, then you won't get frustrated. Everyone starts somewhere and the key is to get the best/most out of every model that you work with. It's easy when the model has years of experience like Brandy, Rebekah, and Anneliese (to name a few... that happen to be the last 3 models I've worked with). But there's a great shoot to be had with every model, even those that are just starting out. You just need the right perspective and help them give you their best!

Remember, keep it fun! :)

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