Working with Models
I’ll admit, I was very nervous to start these modules (Working with Models 1 + 2). I had never really worked with models before and I was feeling a little intimidated at the start of this class, but as it turns out, I felt very comfortable working with them when it came down to it! My school has a very good relationship with the modeling agency Maggie’s in Boston, we were lucky to have a mix of experienced and new models to work with for our shoots. We did a total of three shoots over the course of two weeks in the Working with Models 1 module, two were during evening classes and one entire day on a Saturday. Working with Models 2 was all about learning beauty retouching and printing the images to send over to Maggie’s for the models to use for their comp cards. We were also very fortunate to have makeup artists come in and get the models ready in addition to tailoring their makeup to our individual requests to go along with our theme/inspiration for our shoots.
I am absolutely thrilled with the work I was able to create! We had assignments for each shooting class to give us a structure to go along with. The first shooting night we needed to just do a head shot, a nice and tight crop to the image. The second night was to create a full length shot, in addition to head shots if we wanted to. The third shooting day was about incorporating motion into the image. We didn’t necessarily have to submit our final images as those, just our very best whatever they happened to be for each model. I was fortunate with timing and was able to shoot a total of five models over the three shooting days.
Working with the models was a very wonderful experience, they were all great to work with and were very happy to be there. After all, they were getting free professional images for their portfolios, and so were we, it was just refreshing to have someone in front of the camera who really wanted to be there and exuded the sort of confidence I was looking for. After each shooting class I felt very confident with the work I created, I was efficient and feel that I made high quality images the models will love. Are they the most advanced and creative images ever, no there is plenty of room to improve, but I really feel that this is a fantastic start! Lets break it down…
This is Asia, she had the most unbelievably quiet confidence about her! She was the very first model I photographed and it was only because she was waiting to have her makeup changed to work with another photographer. I asked her to let me take a few photos of her against this blue background and she was happy to oblige, this is one of my favorite photos from the entire class. Oh by the way, she’s a Patriots cheerleader and going to medical school, +100 cool points.
Next up was Christine, an experienced model who knew exactly what she wanted to do. We really connected and she helped me create some stunning images, I was totally blown away. The blue background was chosen specifically because we were going to photographing her (I was working with my classmates Aimee and Gia), it really made her red hair pop! (We had Asia step in while Christine was having her makeup done) I had a very hard time narrowing down which of Christine’s images to use as my final, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t choose any other except this one. Her piercing eyes, expression and attitude really grab your attention in this image. I would love to work with Christine again, it was such a wonderful experience!
That concluded the first night of shooting. After each shooting class, the next class was dedicated to showing up to 20 of our images from the shooting class so we could discuss what we did right, wrong, and how to improve for the next one. Our teacher was the uber talented Rob Van Petten and he taught us so much over those two modules, I took so many notes and hung on pretty much every word he said. I really wish we had him for more classes, he’s an amazing teacher!
The second shooting night I was only able to work with one model due to a time constraint, but I am very happy with what I ended up with. The first night only female models showed up, and as much as I love to shoot the ladies, I wanted the experience of photographing a male model and I also wanted to make sure I had an image of a guy to work on when it came to retouching since they should be approached slightly differently than retouching a woman.
Justin had only been modeling for a few months when he came in, he had a really laid back demeanor and was great to work with. He had a california surfer bum sort of vibe to him that worked well with the color scheme I was hoping to use. I wanted to go for a look where I was trying to sell the clothes, and I think I was able to achieve exactly what my goal was. He was the model I needed to photograph at full length, and I did, but I really loved this photo and went with this as my final for him.
On the third day of shooting, a Saturday, I was fortunate to shoot two models. I wanted to go outside since it was a beautiful day but I really wanted to reign in the sun since it was right around 1pm and the sun was terribly harsh that day. I decided to use speedlites and shoot on high speed sync to really cut down the ambient light and create a dark and dramatic mood for the model I was really looking forward to shooting, Dana. This girl is really going to go far with modeling, even Rob was really impressed with her. My main thing was getting out of the studio, I wanted to use a textured background that wasn’t just paper or muslin. I found this big shrub in the parking lot and thought it would create a great foresty-ish background and using the speedlites I was able to make it dark and mysterious. The more I use speedlites creatively the more I love them! I had a total of four, one on my camera to trigger the other three, she was lit by only three. One key light at camera right, a kicker at camera left and one aimed at the shrub to highlight it a bit. This was the day we needed to incorporate motion, Gia helped me out and waved a piece of foam core like a mad woman to create the wind. A number of these images stood out to me, but this image was exactly what I wanted to capture, she was incredible to work with!
And finally, as I was getting ready to call it quits for the day I was told that Charlotte was just hanging around waiting for someone else to finish, so I had her step right up! This was the simplest setup, a bare strobe on the wall behind her and a beauty dish for the main light. I was getting plenty of bounce off the white wall at camera left, there was no need for a fill light. Charlotte was so sweet and really into it, she too is relatively new to modeling but she has the biggest most gorgeous eyes and nearly flawless skin, she was really great! There was a big-ass fan (a BAF, if you will) available and I used that to get her hair going, I really love this image because of her matter-of-fact attitude she had here!
I used ProFoto studio packs (except for Dana’s image, those were all Canon 580EX II speedlite’s on high speed sync), Pocket Wizards, a number of modifiers including beauty dish, soft box, strip light and grid as well as bounce cards for fill. All the images were shot with my Canon 5D Mark II and Sigma 70-200 2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM telephoto lens. This lens has been awesome!
So what do you think? I’d love some constructive feedback.