Shooting a version is considered a staple for all, if not most, photographers. Versions are photographed for portraits, advertising, inventory, etc.. The majority of us, particularly when starting out, utilize family and friends as our models. It is a great way to gain experience and practice. However, at some point, you might want to shoot a person with modeling experience. I decided to have my first model photo shoot because I wished to include more people photos to my portfolio. After having my first model photo shoot, I've discovered a lot that I can talk with you guys. Below are a few tips on shooting and finding a version.
Finding a Model
Detecting a model for your first version photo shoot is simpler than you may think. You can hire one, of course. However, when you're just beginning, you may not have a lot of funds to hire a model. But, there's a solution to this, and it works nicely for both you and this model.
Look for models which are just starting out. For them, there is something that they need more than money. Photos.
For models to get paying work, they need to be able to demonstrate work they've done in the past. In other words, they require a powerful portfolio. Sound familiar? It should. Because you, as a photographer, also need a strong portfolio to reveal if you plan on getting paying tasks. So, by finding a version that is building their portfolio, then you are able to provide a trade-for-prints deal, or TFP for short. Even though it's called trade-for-prints, you don't actually have to supply prints, unless that is part of the deal you make. Many just provide the photographs to the model on a DVD.
For my first version photo shoot, this worked out perfectly. I went on Craigslist and checked under the "talent" section. I was actually looking for models I could offer a TFP bargain for, but I did not have to. There was an ad posted by a model that was looking for a photographer to do a TFP deal! I answered the ad, and after a few emails discussing specifics, we had a time and date setup for the shoot.
Directing the Model
It's a bit awkward if you consider it. You reach the location and you're about to start shooting photographs of a person that you don't know. There will be plenty of things racing through your mind, hoping you're getting the job done right. But remember, if you look nervous or tense, it will make your model nervous and tense. If that happens, the photos are going to suffer.
The best thing to do is simply take a little time in the beginning to speak. My version (Chrissy) brought a friend with her (Ben), which helped a lot. By being there, he also assisted her with almost any nerves she could have had. (He also helped me with my gear. Ben, if you're reading this, you rock! LOL!)
Simply take a couple of test shots just to get some shots from the bag, so to speak. Once your model feels comfortable, they are able to do what they do. Chrissy made things so straightforward. That's one of the biggest differences between shooting friends and family and shooting someone with modeling expertise. Models understand how to pose and provide you a variety of emotion. Don't rely on these alone. The model is posing, but they are relying upon youpersonally, as the photographer, for their eyes. They can't find what the shot looks like. Assess your viewfinder. Start looking for ways to improve. Following your model has given you a few poses, provide them some direction on a few more.
In addition, don't be afraid to try things. There were a few shots I took in which I stated out loud, "I'm not sure if this will work, but let's try it." Sometimes it did not work. However, there were a few times it worked fantastic! Particularly if it's your very first model photo shoot.
When working with a model, you do not want to waste time. That doesn't mean that you have to rush. Take your time and do a fantastic job. But, you don't want to be playing along with your camera, trying to get it to do something that you are not sure how to do. Have an idea in your head of how you wish to shoot the model. Are the shots going to become portraits? Plan on shooting with a big aperture to acquire soft wallpapers. Are the shots going to become more action oriented, such as sports or dancing? Plan on shooting with a high enough shutter speed to catch the action. You have to have in mind the kind of shots you're likely to take so you aren't wasting time trying different configurations. This doesn't mean you can't experiment with various shots and preferences. Only have these thoughts in mind so you can quickly set up and take.
By knowing the type of shots you're going to take, you'll know exactly what you need to have along with you. With this photo shoot, I knew it'd be bright, especially understanding the time of day we'd start shooting. So, I made sure I had my lens shade with me. As it happens, I did not need it. However, it's better to have something that you don't want, than to want something you don't have.
For my first version photo shoot, we went to the beach. Dauphin Island, Alabama has a fantastic beach with several places to make the most of. I actually like the dock there. It is kind of weird because it doesn't go out far enough to get to the water. I'm uncertain what the dock has been meant for when it doesn't reach the water, however, I know it's great for shooting photos! You can shoot on the cover of the dock. Along with there are numerous areas in wide open sun, as well as covered areas for shade. There are steps you can take on this require you to the bottom of the dock. At the bottom, you can go under the dock and find some excellent shots using the shade as well as the columns.
The point is, I understood my location. I had been there earlier, and I already had shots in my mind which I wished to get. Nothing wastes more time than endlessly walking around a place, trying to find a good spot to shoot. So, have your location in mind. I recommend getting there 30 minutes early so that you may look around and find some more ideas of the shots you can take.
Some other important things to bear in mind about place are the ailments. You likely won't have the ability to plan to this before the day of the shoot. Check the weather to have an notion about what you will be shooting in. You can only plan this so much. My very first version photo shoot was in bright sunlight, and we started shooting at 2:00 pm. Perhaps not the ideal time to shoot. The lighting is quite harsh. Nonetheless, you can not always control when you take. You are going to need to shoot whenever your version can. Thus, you have to have in mind the way to take around the weather and light conditions.
It was unbelievably windy during the shoot. There were some shots which the end worked to our benefit however.
You want to take plenty of shots. Especially if it's your first model photo shoot. This provides you with lots of photos to select through when done. You will never know if you could snap a photo that captures the perfect expression or glance. When going through the photographs later, you'll have to decide which ones to keep and which ones to eliminate. By shooting several photos, you'll have several which are very similar that you could select the very best from. For example, the model would give me a certain present, and I would snap 3 or 4 photographs in a quick burst. Each of the photos would be slightly different. These subtle changes make a huge difference in selecting the best pictures.
My very first prototype photo shoot was a very positive and fulfilling experience. It helped me get a feel for what shooting a version on place is like. It helped me understand how important communication between the photographer and model is. It gave me an concept about what type of work is involved following the shoot. Shooting photos is only a part of it. You have to go through the countless shots and try to narrow them down to the ones that you want to maintain.
On this specific shoot, I took around 350 photographs within an 2-hour span. I cut them down to what I felt were the top 50 shots. I made sure there was a variety of photos that both the version and I really could use in our portfolios. Another reason to narrow down them is because you don't want to have to post process 350 photos in Photoshop! Don't waste time editing photos you aren't likely to maintain. Select the best ones and go from there. Dump the rest. Bear in mind, the model will probably be showing your work in their portfolio. Do not provide them subpar images. It reflects on you! Simply give them your very best work to show.
These are the files Chrissy may use to produce prints out of whether she chooses to. Additionally, I added a "Copyright Release Form" which gives her the right to print the photographs for personal, non-commercial use. This is required because some places won't enable the model to print the shots without needing approval from the photographer. Additionally, I added a folder of those 50 photographs in low res form. These are optimized for internet usage on places like Facebook. On the low res pictures, I also included a small watermark in the bottom right-hand corner of every photograph. This watermark has my site address. Therefore, when the model articles the pictures online, I get a little free advertising. Should you do this, make sure the watermark is readable, but not conducive.
One of the greatest benefits was visiting Chrissy light up when she saw the photographs for the first time. I met with her and Ben at a bookstore and we looked in the photos on her laptop. She was smiling ear to ear and kept saying how happy she was with the photos. It's a great feeling when you collaborate with a version on a photo shoot, deliver the photos, and walk away knowing that the model has been outside satisfied with your job.