Thanks to everyone who either commented or sent me emails to vote on the blog topics!
This is a post for people who are new to working with models or people and are looking for some tips. I’ll admit it, the first time I worked with a model I wish I knew the tricks I know now but I wouldn’t know these tricks if it wasn’t for the experience I have with models. You have probably heard it before, “Photography is a people business.” You NEED to be a people person. You need to be able to connect with people and make them feel comfortable if you want to succeed. This goes for clients and models. Nobody is going to book you for a job if they hang up the phone with you and leave feeling awkward. You NEED to be confident with yourself as an artist if you want the people you are working for and with comfortable. This means knowing what to do in certain situations. If a model is stiff and it is affecting the images, What do you do? What tricks do you have in your bag?
Ok, so you are at a shoot for some sort of clothing company that needs some fun and playful lifestyle shots of people in their clothes for the catalog. How do you make this happen? How do you make people loosen up and joke around with each other.
MUSIC I have said it before and I’ll say it again and again. Music does wonders at a shoot. Buy some decent Ipod speakers. Download some fun music and bring it with you. Before the shoot make a playlist. Put some songs in there that everyone knows. You know, some of those songs that you can’t help but sing when they come on. Something like “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations. This makes people loosen up, laugh and most of the time people will end up dancing. Perfect.
PROPS These aren’t yearbook portraits. Bring props. Props take away the feeling of stiff portraits and turn the images into something that looks candid and like a snapshot of real life. Not to mention, it gives the models something to do. When people have something to do besides smiling at a camera they tend to be more likely to smile at a camera. Crazy right? Its true. In my idea journal I have a few different lists. Ideas for shoots, awesome locations I have come across and PROP IDEAS. First of all, if you don’t have a journal yet, get one. Use it. Make a page for prop ideas. Think big and think small. Squirt guns, skateboards, etc. Does this mean you have to buy stuff? Sometime, yes. Look into rentals too. Scooters, cars, anything. Not only will it give your models something to do but it will add some depth to your shoot.
DIRECT My girlfriend (below) (awesome) always tells me this. I tell her I don’t give her direction because she is being perfect already.
Models need direction. Tell them the concept behind the shoot. Tell them what you want the final images to convey. Show the images that represent a the style you are going for. At the shoot, give them a concept.
EXAMPLE: in the image below I told Melissa to act like her boyfriend was taking the picture and she was trying to block the lens or take the camera away.
A, E, I, O, U This is an awesome trick I learned to get some different expressions from a model. If you just tell your model to smile or laugh, chances are you will get tons of photos of the same expression. Instead, Tell her to smile or laugh while saying the vowels out loud. (Go ahead. do it in the mirror and see what I mean.) Not only does this get different expressions but it allows for photos where it looks like the model is smilling and talking to someone. Below is an example of somewhere between “E” and “I”…
ACTION Tell your models to move. Tell them to exaggerate their movements. If someone is running and you take a picture of them, chances are it won’t look very dynamic. Try it again telling them to swing their arms harder. Tell them to take longer strides. Now look at the image. If you want some random action. Tell them. Below is an image taken after telling Julia to spin and run around. Sounds silly but it worked.
I hoped that helped you guys. Be on the look out for more posts soon!