The living model, the naked body of a woman, is the privileged seat of feeling, but also of questioning... The model must mark you, awaken in you an emotion which you seek in turn to express.
----IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ME THAT YOU READ MY BIO BEFORE HIRING ME----
WORKING WITH MEL -- MAXIMIZING THE EXPERIENCE:
I LOVE MY JOB!! Since 2003 I have been so fortunate to travel the country, and even parts of the world, working with artists from all walks, skill levels, and artistic drives! As one with an insatiable hunger for continual personal and professional growth, I find myself stretching my limits at every shoot (newbie or not) in an array of positive ways.
With EVERY shoot, my primary goals are positivity and productivity. Please contact anybody you can find who has shot with me in the past if you are seeking references. I do not filter them and encourage you to do your homework.
Perhaps I am different than most models in the respect that I have little interest in myself in each image. To be frank, I'm kinda bored looking at pretty pictures of myself. While I certainly don't want to look bad, I'm more interested in selling your concept/style/mood! To do this, figuring out how to successfully collaborate is pertinent. Read on and maybe I can give you some insight on how to best collaborate with me:
In my experience, I have found that it helps to come to the shoot with some clear or even vague ideas about what you would like to accomplish. Maybe you're looking for deep shadows, something anonymous with a just got home after a long day of work feel. I've got it from there. In all honesty, I find that it's really hard for me to produce my very best work if you are micromanaging my every pose. Like anyone who produces his or her best in any situation, it is important that I, too, am allowed to find my flow and get lost in the concept. Pose coaching is not a problem, but I work best if we can get into a rhythm. I have a vested interest in making your ideas come alive! If something is not working or does not look good, I am absolutely not offended when the artist communicates that. As far as I see it, it's not personal and I should know.
What excites me during a shoot is the feeling that comes when the artist and I have successfully connected in a meaningful way around the art that we are working to create. As a model and artist, I live for those moments when we are actively feeding off of one another's creative energy and striving to effectively capture something original and powerful. Ultimately, this means that I must adapt to your style of shooting. In most cases I can do this easily, however, there are two styles I struggle with. Let me first say that if you can identify with either of these modes of shooting, this does not mean that I will not work with you or even get mad; I only want to give you my very best work while also inspiring you to do yours--so consider this food for thought:
To those hyper rapid-fire shooters out there, I'm speaking to you first. If you're in the habit of shooting as fast as you possibly can (i.e. literally on 'Continuous' mode), then you are missing so many great opportunities! Not only are you forgoing the opportunity to become the best photographer that you can be, but you'll be hard pressed to experience what differentiates me from others in this industry. I understand the various rationals behind wanting a large quantity of pictures, but realize that when you are shooting your camera like a machine gun all that I am able to focus on is keeping up! If, instead, you shot at a steady pace, you will find that you have more time to compose the shot and I will have more time to hone my pose and give you my best look. We will go back and forth at this, our creative synapses firing as we try to make each shot our best, and maybe we'll start to become synchronized in our respective roles. As it flows, I surrender my thinking mind and just embody the goal; Hopefully you'll get lost in the experience and do the same. Creativity flows best at this point when we are ever-present in the task at hand but still, somehow, lost in it. We'll continue back and forth and then boom it will be done! You'll be out of memory, battery, or I'll realize that my muscles are tired, that I need a drink of water--but that's how it goes. It's times like this that you realize how collaborations can become bigger than the both of our talents and the final piece(s) opens your eyes to our potential.
Now, let me turn to those shooters who like to look at each picture after each shot or who talk between each shot. I can understand doing this at the beginning of the shoot or even often throughout the shoot... But again, focus must be transcended to a point of effortless concentration. So long as art is our goal we need to think about the frame we're shooting now, not the frame we've just shot. While I understand that you MUST first learn, then apply, there is some overlap in these stages. I LOVE working with the learning photographer/artist! But if you have your lights set and we're ready to get the shot, this choppy style of shooting not only impedes my ability to get into my grove but it also inhibits your ability to get know your subject, identify what it is that speaks to you, and capture it!
Connecting, collaborating, creating, chasing the light...and then dancing in it. ...For me, this is what "it's" about!
Because feeding off one another's creative energy is so important, I tend to be gentle, attentive, and giving (take your head out of the gutter Mike!). I put a lot of effort into developing a sincere rapport with each person I collaborate with. For this reason, I find that I REALLY enjoy working with the same people again and again. HOWEVER, as of late, I have found that my friendly demeanor and comfort with my body can send mixed messages, so let me be clear: I am here for a higher purpose than sexual desire!!! I am an open book. The way I interact with you is the way that I interact with everybody. More importantly, I am in a wonderful, long term, COMMITTED relationship with a man I hope to marry. And, finally, whether I am shooting with you for the first time or the twentieth time, DO NOT EVER ask me to spread my legs! This is deeply offensive to me. (Read that sentence again.) Crass AND negative, I know, but experience screams that this must be addressed in a very direct way.
THE BOTTOMLINE: I'm not picky AT ALL with whom I shoot, unless I think you're egomaniacal, dangerous, or focused primarily on tasteless sexual content. If you have a good attitude, are a reasonable human being who values mutual respect, and you're someone with a sincere desire to create powerful/interesting/crazy/cool imagery then I REALLY want to collaborate with you!
COMPENSATION: This is currently my full time job and sole source of income. Though I sincerely understand the many reasons for tfp/cd arrangements, I simply DO NOT shoot on a trade basis. If for whatever reason you think we have a trade shoot booked, there, without a doubt, has been a misunderstanding.
My RATES are as follows: $125/hr, $300/3 hours, and $700/day. I DO NOT offer reduced rates. I am very flexible with how we arrange this. You can invite other photographers, pay for my plane ticket or my hotel (at dollar for dollar trade and I stay at the safest cheapest hotels), etc. I do not, however, engage in any sort of arrangement where I receive a certain percentage of the proceeds from the sale of images.
NOTE TO OTHER MODELS: If you are new to the industry or are just having a hard time making this a worthwhile endeavor, please get in touch. It seems that we all learn the same lessons and if I can help you avoid some of the hard and potentially damaging ones, then I would love to help! Send me an email and I tell you all I know. I have helped many fellow models with various issues and I am happy to do what I can...but one general rule: NO DRAMA.
AMATEURS: I work with professionals and amateurs alike. If you have never shot a model before, don't hesitate to contact me. I mean it. I am happy to help you set your lights, make wardrobe decisions, and allow you to simply focus on getting comfortable shooting models without any extra worries! I have been told again and again that I am good at putting first time shooters at ease while helping them to get shots they can feel good about. I feel good about that.
SHOOT CONFRIMATIONS: Once you're in my calendar you can count on me to show up!!! I don't confirm unless you tell me that you need me to, and then I need you to call me AND text me. ABSOLULTELY no email confirmations because I might not look at email for several days. I know models can be flaky, but I'm not. If you are in my calendar, then I will show up. If I am going to be so much as 10 min late I call and tell you.
CANCELLATIONS: Please do not discuss a shoot with me if you are not serious about making it happen. Too often people book me and cancel last min (like 30%)! This is crippling if you're in business for yourself, traveling around with lots of overhead. I allow no more than ONE last minute cancellation from people that I do not have a long working relationship with. If you cancel on me a second time, I am going to very reluctant to book with you again. In the event that I do, I will require a 50% deposit.
MODEL RELEASES: I require a copy of all model releases I sign.
FETISH/ADULT CONTENT: I do not shoot any type of explicit or fetish content. Should you capture that accidental image that crosses my boundaries I reserve the right to add an amendment to model releases to ensure no such image makes it to the Web.
MY BUSH!! I maintain my bush to aid photographers in respecting my boundaries; therefore, I absolutely will NOT shave it! (Sorry, I had to make that one clear)
WAKING UP EARLY: I love shooting outdoors! And if that means waking up before sunrise, I'm still there!
SHOWING UP EARLY & STAYING LATE: I am VERY accommodating. I am more than happy to show up early or hang around after our shoot to address any additional needs, but you must let me know in advance. This is an investment of your time, money, and energy. My sincere hope is that you walk away feeling better than good about our work together.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results."