Unless you live in the big metropolitan cities like New York or Los Angeles, photographing models is easier said than done. That’s because any chance of success in the industry, and the models move to the bigger hubs. That will not change, but there are opportunities to photograph models in generally any location and that’s what I did with this tutorial.
James is a brand new model that suffered jury duty with me. We spoke for a few hours and then I asked if he ever considered modeling. Photographers are shy when it comes to approaching new talent and to me, it’s always been about the approach. I think we should be self-aware and put ourselves in their shoes. Once you get past the inquiry stage, there are a number of other steps in to increase the odds of a successful photo shoot.
I asked James if he ever thought about modeling and he responded by back saying he thought about it. However, he had no idea where to start. He asked if I would ever photograph him and now we have this tutorial.
I’m going to break down a list of 11 things I did to have a successful photo shoot with James. The camera follows me on the photo shoot and you can see how I have a dialogue with the model, and how I work with him. This tutorial is how I move a brand new model from nervousness to enjoying the process at the end.
11 Steps to a Successful Photo Shoot With a New Model
1. PICK A MODEL: Even supermodels come from small towns around the world, and before they head on a plane to NY or Paris, you can be the one who discovers them in coffee shops, grocery stores or even on a social network. Find someone who has an interesting look and approach them. If they appear to be a minor, approach their parent first. If it’s a female and you’re a male, understand they might be hesitant and you should assess the situation. Use common sense and always respect their NO.
2. LOCATION: Pick an area where the model feels safe, where you can get the job done and you won’t be bothered by the film police. Locations should not make or break the shoot, that honor goes to the photographer and the model. Locations can contribute to your overall aesthetic but in fashion photography, we want to see the face and the clothes more than the background. In other words, just pick a place and make it work to your advantage!
3. GEAR: I don’t believe in the latest and greatest. Have a good camera and a better lens. You can borrow, rent or use the one that you have. Kit lenses? They’re not the best, but I’ve been published with them many times. You’ll do fine!