- 13 Dec 2021
Top Tips for Getting the Best Out of a Model Shoot:-
1 - Communicate
Most of the people feel really nervous and uncomfortable in front of the camera. Even an experienced model cannot read your mind and have no idea what your intentions are. So before you start, sit down with the person and talk to them about your plans for the shoot.
Explain your concept, share your goals, sketch out how you want the pose to look, and what mood or emotion you're after. One big mistake that many photographers make is to treat their model like a living idol, only to pose there and take direction, and they forget that the model is actually a person.
By discussing everything in the beginning, you give the person some structure, context, and understanding of the situation, which helps them to be less nervous. It also gives them the opportunity to engage with the process, they may even have their own ideas that can improve the plan you started with.
Making it a cooperative situation builds trust and engagement, reduces constraints, helps model relax and hopefully give you better results. Constant reassurance and feedback are also important to keep them motivated throughout the shoot.
2 - Relax
Many model shoots often include models dressed in clothes that are not always appropriate for the environment. It's really hard to create an atmosphere of comfort in summer when you're standing in the cold air wearing a bathing suit.
Be aware of the environment and temperature your person is modeling in, make sure they are as comfortable in the situation as they can be. If you have to shoot nude, try and do it in a warm room instead of outside. It's really hard to look comfortable when you're cold and shivering.
Discuss your model's strength and stamina with them in relation to the poses you are doing. Then schedule regular breaks and stick to the schedule. Doing the pose can be quite physically difficult as many poses are quite unnatural to hold for long periods of time. Be aware of getting into the zone and shooting for too long and not allowing the model to take breaks.
3 - Environment
Consider the comfort of the model as well as the environment in which you are shooting. Is it inside and private? Is it outside and open to the public? Are they expected to be replaced at the rear of the car or are there some features nearby?
What can you do to make the model feel comfortable in the environment? Would they like to play some music to help them get in the right mood? Is there a private place for them to vacation? Blankets and hot drinks and somewhere to sit away from the camera?
Maybe it's a hot sunny day and they need to stay away from the heat and the sun? Has she stood in front of the hot studio lights and sparkled incessantly wearing sky high heels?
Can they bring a friend along for support and encouragement? Are they able to relax and feel engaged and safe while working in front of the camera?
4 - Explain Currency
The way people naturally stand up usually looks less than ideal when a shot is taken. Double chin triples, elbows and knees all awkward, hands on hips or arms crossed in front of chest, etc. Feels comfortable and natural to do, but doesn't feel so good.
It can be quite uncomfortable to do the kind of things your body needs you to do to get a good looking pose and hold on long enough to take multiple shots. The classic "turtleneck" where you roll the head forward to separate at the jawline sounds really weird.
So take the time to explain and demonstrate the pose to the person. Give them a chance to experiment and figure out how to get the hang of it. Typically, you'll need them to do multiple things at once – stand a certain way, bend shoulders, position arms, move head at right angles, do something with hair, etc.
Demonstrate each pose and explain to them why it matters. If you show them "before" and "after," they'll generally understand and be more willing to try because they can see the difference.
Start with small easy pose setups so they can rest and master the fundamentals before moving on to more complex poses. That is unless you have a really experiential model that is at your wavelength, in which case, go crazy.
5 - Hands
Usually, when people are asked to do something new and difficult, they focus so much on the hard stuff that they forget about the unnecessary things around the edges. One of those things is their hands, and they can often become floppy seamless things stuck on the ends of the arms.
Bad hands can completely ruin an otherwise good shot. So pay attention to what their hands are doing, as the model may not know they need to be with them.
6 - Make Them Look Good
A lot of fashion photography styles use really artificial poses that are too uncomfortable to do. They generally don't seem achievable or appealing to an audience, but that seems to be the style at the moment. This can be your desired result and I hope you end up with some amazing shots.
However, one of the great things you can do when working with a model is to make them look good in front of the camera in a way they've never done before. A lot of this is because people usually don't know how to pose in front of the camera. Creating images that make them feel good means they feel good about what is happening.
Being able to offer them a few copies they can be proud to show people later on is an added bonus. If they leave the session feeling valued and positive about the experience, they will be more likely to say yes if you ask them to model for themselves again.
7 - Involve Feelings
Using a model as a living breathing mannequin is one way for you to create a model pose. Some types of photography require an impeccably different style of posing. However, if you really want to captivate the audience, some of the emotion in the image is more effective.
Really good models can present a range of different emotions, that's what good professional models do and why they get paid big bucks. Not everyone has the option of working with models of that ability every day, so you may need to train them around emotional projection when working with less experienced models.
Asking your model to try and feel a particular emotion can be a challenge on top of all the poses you're asking for them. So this is a more advanced step that you can't always get to.
Talk them through the concept of the shoot - is it a soft spring morning and they are enjoying a walk on the beach in the sun? Are they a cool crisp corporate executive about to deliver a high level presentation? Some friends enjoy cocktails and nibbles on a summer evening? Help them get into the right headspace to project the feeling or emotion in order to fully express the pose they are doing.
Sometimes allowing them to move or move into the final desired pose while shooting can add an extra level of engagement. Both the body and the mind are fully involved in communicating the outward expression of the pose.