Bil and I got to the studio and met up with the wardrobe, hair and make up stylist who was all one person. It was casual. I wasn’t getting paid for any of this. I was just thrilled to be in LA and getting some shots with great young talent to help my own portfolio at the same time they used the shots to give their LA modeling agents to use in the model’s comp card for getting work. These were all great models, for all I knew. They had been hand selected because of their model looks and they were new to modeling.
I had a friend in LA and he invited me to come shoot all these models with him. It was a cool opportunity, and he was really helping me out by including me in something so LA while I was visiting from Florida.
I was shooting models in NYC prior to this, but they weren’t agency models. They were NYC alternative glam and alternative fashion models. Sometimes that was awesome, and even more interesting than top LA model talent. Either way, we work with what we have.
1. Wardrobe and Styling
Wardrobe is the key to any great shoot, if you ask me. Something about clothing… it’s like a visual element that you wear and interact with. Fashion modeling is about one’s relationship with their clothing. Everything interesting, in my opinion, has to do with relationships to someone or something, and in photos, this is still true. Wardrobe can be a powerful element in a successful photo shoot.
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A background is a complete element on it’s own. It should be pure and have integrity from edge to edge. A backdrop needs to get out of the way of the model and only provide space, texture, color, and if it has any designs or imperfections, it shouldn’t interrupt the composition, but only add to the mood. I like white, and grey backdrops.
We used natural sky light coming in from overhead in these images. They would need filler light which comes from reflection off the floor or the white walls, or a reflecting board placed near the model. The lighting can determine the direction the model’s face is pointed. Looking at the light is nice, but also a shadow over the face can be mysterious, and beautiful as long as the overall composition doesn’t suffer because of the lighting difficulties.
4. Set Props
Props stands for property. A prop is any real object added to the visual content of the photo besides clothing. We used a couple of bikes, and a stool and a scaffolding on set.
5. Choosing the final images
Sharpness, lighting, composition, negative space, geometry, and intuition will determine the final selections for me. I try to keep in mind the final use of the images or shoot. Some are for commercial fashion so they need to be pretty, and gentle and not too hard or provocative. Some shoots are for editorial and need to have a lot of attitude and be entertaining and a little bit pretentious maybe. But trends change with the weather.
Bonus – Communication
This is one I have to work on just like all the rest of these studio essentials. I have to connect with the model in order to work together. This is a collaborative type of work and requires feedback and mutual effort. There are right and wrong things to say and it is worth figuring out what works for those in your community. Requests should be made in a nice way, and respect for all involved is very important. These are young girls that are new to all this and they might be a little uncomfortable, so make them comfortable by asking them some simple questions like “who’s your favorite model?” and things like that. After a little while they will relax and feel safe and comfortable and it will shot in the shots.