Key Tips For Amazing Model Shots
Key Tips On How To Take Amazing Model Shots For Publication
By Michael Schacht
Model photography is a different kind of photography that requires you to do certain tricks in order to create the best shots. It’s not the same as photographing landscapes or static objects, because model photography must look alive and real. Of course, it’s going to be easy if the model you have is already experienced since they will do all the work for you and all of you have to do is to just shoot. But what if your model is as inexperienced as you are? If you’re looking to improve the way you shoot model photography, here are some tips that will help you create very good stills.
Know how to create a good work relationship with your subject
Professional models or not, you still have to establish a good work relationship with your subject. This is kind of a bit awkward though, since it’s most likely that this will be the first time that you two have met.
- So, what you need to do is to try asking your sister, brother, or friends to sit as your model as you shoot them with your camera.
- Engage with them. Talk with them. Learn how to establish rapport with them so by the time you find your own model, you won’t have a hard time talking to him/her. Remember creating rapport with your model is a must, in order for you to create stunning shots.
Choose the right model
Once you’ve learned how to build rapport with a subject, the next thing to do is to find the model that you think is right for you. You must create a concept, theme, and ‘story’ behind your shoot first. So it will be easy for you to find the right model that you think ‘looks’ perfect with what you have in mind.
- Remember that finding the right model is not always about picking the experienced ones. It’s all about how your model will look like in your photo shoot. If you think you have someone you know that will look perfect in your shoot even though they’re not a model, go for it!
Shoot TF first
Since you’re still starting out, it’s best if you offer TF shots at first. TF stands for "trade for".
This is a collaborative type of photography where both the model and the photographer get the shots they want.
- Sometimes there are models that will be asking for copies of the photos just to complete their portfolio.
- TF shots are not free though since you still have to pay for the services of the model. But it’s also a great opportunity for you to showcase your photography skills by helping complete the portfolio of your model.
Respect your model’s privacy and be clear with direction
You must respect the privacy of your model in order for them to feel comfortable around you. Don’t pressure your model into doing poses that they finds uncomfortable. You can direct your model for the poses you want but let them be free to be creative with the poses as well.
- As the photographer, you’re going to have to direct your model when you’re on the set.
- You must explain first what kind of poses, reactions, and angles you want to take with your camera. Just don’t go overboard with directing your model, you must allow them to become creative with the poses you have in mind.
Use appropriate lighting
You need to know how to use lighting correctly, especially if you want to focus on your model’s face. Learn how set up studio lighting first before you start shooting anybody inside your studio. Your lighting should be angled to the sides for the best effect, and to help reduce glare and squinting in the photos.
- Take note of your location, as lighting requirements differ depending on the location you’re in. If you’re outside, always remember that the brighter the light, the more exposure your model gets so use that to your advantage. Likewise, in an indoor setting, the proximity of the light to your model can affect your output in different ways.
- Little things can affect your lighting, making it harder or softer. For instance, diffusion in the environment such as fog, clouds, and shadows can broaden (and soften) your lighting, at the cost of clarity. This means you have to consider the kind of “filters” you want to use and the way they affect your lighting.
- Improvise: you don’t always have to have a lot of lights to make good shots. If you’re short on supplies, you can make use of what you have to produce good lighting. Bouncing light off walls can broaden and soften light, for example.
- Directions matter – remember that placing the light in front of your subject softens their textures, while lighting from anywhere else can emphasize it. Use this if you want certain details to be emphasized on camera.
Show the model your shots
Now that you’re starting to get the shots that you want, don’t forget to take a look at the images every now and then. Let your model see what you’ve been working on. You may think of this as unnecessary interruptions, but this is actually important.
- If your model sees themselves in a positive way in the photos, their confidence will increase. The more confident the model becomes the more they can be creative with their poses!
Take a break
It’s easy to lose track of time when both you and your model are having fun while shooting. So for the sake of everyone on the set, it’s only appropriate that you take regular breaks throughout the shoot.
- You must let your model take a break for a while during the shoot so that they won’t lose their enthusiasm before the day ends. Also, try to avoid making your shoot last for a full day. Keep it as short as you can to help fight fatigue.
Let your model sign a release
So now that you’ve gotten all the shots that you want, it’s time to get legal with it. Never forget to let your model sign a release. This is an agreement between the two of you which will then allow you to publish the shots.
- This grants the photographer the permission to publish the shots or use it for other purposes. It will also grant the photographer an opportunity to license the photographs.
Remember to have fun and relax throughout the shoot
Our team’s experience with digital photography helped us understand that perhaps one of the most important parts of the shoot is to make sure the fun is never out of the picture. You’ll never be able to produce good shots if you don’t get your head right. Always remember to have fun so your model can also feel relaxed.
- Be professional at all times too so at the end of the day, you will have the shots that both you and your model wants. Even the simplest setup and a basic DSLR camera can create great model photographs when everybody on the set is having fun and feeling relaxed. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone!
About The Author
Michael Schacht is a portrait photographer and photography educator based in Chicago Illinois. As owner/operator of 312 Elements Headshot Photography located in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, Michael overseas the day to day operations and has had the opportunity to photograph thousands of corporate professionals over the last decade. Through his direction, attention to detail, and people skills, he's helped these clients to craft a narrative around their personal brand. It's his belief that the headshot is the modern dad business card and that a better headshot is essential for a better career.
Michael, his wife Meghan and his two daughters reside in Tinley Park Illinois where he is a community leader and active participant in the local business sector. Michael studied business at Ball State university and photography with world renown headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. It was Hurley that trained Michael in the art of human expression. Michael is now a Headshot Crew certified Mentor and active member of the Headshot Crew community where he was named one of the top 20 headshot photographers in the world.
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