Techniques for working with models

Techniques for working with models

by Denson Joseph – Academy Member

Working with models can be quite the challenge for new and even veteran photographers. Models come in all shapes and sizes with different levels of experience and knowledge in photography. Through out your career as a photographer, you must form the ability to connect with your models which will allow you to engage your subject in synchronization with their poses. Not all models can do this initially, especially the new entry level models. Like anything else, modeling takes a lot of practice and patience so the photographer can land that million dollar shot everyone is eagerly waiting for. Part of making the model’s job easier and essentially yours as well, is to build the confidence of the model and give them easy instructions that they can follow without much difficulty. As a photographer you don’t always have to assume the lead position for the entire project. Although your product is the biggest key in the final production, a photographer who does not allow the model, stylist, MUA and art director to feel comfortable and relaxed run the risk missing a really great shot due to simple distractions. So how do you help prevent all of this?
Well for starters, when you are working with a model for a shoot try to have some prior knowledge, inspiration or idea of what kind of shoot you are going to be taking. This allows you to paint the set up in your mind and figure out the logistics that are necessary to make this shoot a reality. If you are shooting outside of a studio setting like somewhere in the city, inside of a business, or on the beach, try to visit that location prior to your model’s arrival. Envision what you would like to do with the model at that location. Try to see what’s around the area that you can potentially use to compliment your model or the outfit and makeup that he/she is wearing. Observe the elements like wind, sun and the time of day that you will be shooting this model so you understand what your lighting situation is or is not. How will the elements affect your work? Will it enhance your photoshoot or will it negatively affect your shot? These are all things that you can do ahead of time so when your model is in front of you, you know exactly how to instruct him/her to get the desired shot that you are aiming for. Your prior knowledge of the area and understanding of what the potentials are, will give you, the photographer, the confidence in yourself as well as the model. Later when you land that million dollar shot and he/she sees it and falls in love with it, this helps to form a trust bond between you and your model and I can guarantee you that every shoot after will get easier and easier for both parities.
Further more, talking to your model after you have sized up your venue helps a great deal too. You already know what you want your model to do so now is the perfect time to communicate your ideas with your model. At this point you and your model can begin collaborating with each other on ideas to make this shoot more of a success. Make sure you offer advice to your model that will help her understand exactly the shot you are looking for thus allowing her allow to deliver the shot for you. This approach allows the model to feel relaxed and even comfortable with you while the photoshoot is actually taking place. Giving her instructions to get the pose your looking for becomes easier because she understands what it is you are essentially trying to aiming for. Again, the trust between the model and photographer to grow and become solid for future photoshoots with that particular model or any other model for that matter. I hope these tips and techniques will help you in your future shots, be great & dream BIG!

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