Forums > General Industry > An Artist's Question for Models

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

I don't ever shoot my own reference photos, but after discussing this with another artist and a photographer, I'm thinking of trying it.

Problem is, I would have to TFP, and I have a really small digital camera, and no lights.  For reference shots, it may not be a problem. 

But I was wondering if that would put off some models, as I would appear too much to be a GWC.  Thoughts?

Feb 07 13 12:42 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15705

Orlando, Florida, US

Vincent Wolff wrote:
I don't ever shoot my own reference photos, but after discussing this with another artist and a photographer, I'm thinking of trying it.

Problem is, I would have to TFP, and I have a really small digital camera, and no lights.  For reference shots, it may not be a problem. 

But I was wondering if that would put off some models, as I would appear too much to be a GWC.  Thoughts?

Not if you explain to them what you're doing and the reason for it.

Especially if you can show them what the finished products will look like based on the reference images you need to take.

I would be willing to bet that you would get plenty of people interested in doing it for art's sake.


I suspect that your only problem would be to get the poses and looks that you want.

Feb 07 13 12:46 pm Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:

Not if you explain to them what you're doing and the reason for it.

Especially if you can show them what the finished products will look like based on the reference images you need to take.

I would be willing to bet that you would get plenty of people interested in doing it for art's sake.

Thanks, I would hope so.  But I have a little camera, no lighting.....I'm a professional artist, but a rank amateur photographer!  smile

Feb 07 13 12:48 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15705

Orlando, Florida, US

Vincent Wolff wrote:

Thanks, I would hope so.  But I have a little camera, no lighting.....I'm a professional artist, but a rank amateur photographer!  smile

That's my point.  You're not trying to take amazing photos.  You're taking reference photos and you'll be making an amazing drawing.  Arrange for the model to receive a copy of the drawing and that's far better than some digital retouched image they get in their email.

Feb 07 13 12:49 pm Link

Photographer

salvatori.

Posts: 3836

Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, US

Not taking into account the quality of your work, but consider what you will be giving the model as her part of the 'tf*'

If she feels it's worth her time, the 'gwc factor' would be of little consequence.

IMHO

Feb 07 13 12:50 pm Link

Model

Torrid James

Posts: 683

Upland, California, US

I model for arts sake, and if that was what I was approached for it wouldn't put me off at all, unless you were asking for just photography shots. I'm not everyone though..

and to help with lighting, just shoot outdoors in daylight. smile

Feb 07 13 12:56 pm Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

thanks all, those are really good suggestions.

Feb 07 13 12:58 pm Link

Model

Kozmina

Posts: 6534

Colorado Springs, Colorado, US

I agree with Good Egg about telling the model why you need the shots and why they won't be port worthy for her.

And +100 on offering a copy of your finished drawing. The quality of your work is fantastic and I personally would happily accept a drawing as compensation.

Feb 07 13 01:55 pm Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Kozmina wrote:
I agree with Good Egg about telling the model why you need the shots and why they won't be port worthy for her.

And +100 on offering a copy of your finished drawing. The quality of your work is fantastic and I personally would happily accept a drawing as compensation.

thanks so much for the nice words!

Feb 07 13 02:41 pm Link

Photographer

Looknsee Photography

Posts: 21647

Portland, Oregon, US

1)  Explain what you are intending to do to the model.

2)  Perhaps offer the model TF* of a digital scan of the end-product painting?

3)  Be sure to set the model's expectation concerning how long she would have to wait.

Feb 07 13 02:44 pm Link

Photographer

JimBobLc

Posts: 199

Martinsburg, West Virginia, US

How would the model even know what type of camera you have? I have yet to have a model ask me how big my camera is. They don't seem terribly interested if I am using Canon or Nikon etc. You could show her what you want to do (the final product you want). But I don't see how she would ever know your camera and lighting arrangements before you meet if you don't offer the information. Unless you mentioned it in a public forum.

Feb 07 13 02:57 pm Link

Model

Gabrielle Heather

Posts: 10064

Middle Island, New York, US

who took your references before? (as an artist myself asking)

The reason I ask is that the better the reference is, the better the outcome will be. That's all. "Pro" photographers trade quite often, so trading isnt the issue here. Maybe ask a photographer friend to teach you some basic lighting techniques so that it can translate into your reference photos the way you want them to when you start taking them.

Feb 07 13 05:41 pm Link

Model

Caitin Bre

Posts: 2248

Naperville, Illinois, US

Vincent Wolff wrote:
I don't ever shoot my own reference photos, but after discussing this with another artist and a photographer, I'm thinking of trying it.

Problem is, I would have to TFP, and I have a really small digital camera, and no lights.  For reference shots, it may not be a problem. 

But I was wondering if that would put off some models, as I would appear too much to be a GWC.  Thoughts?

You are awesome!  You are Talented, for sure worth a trade! Hmmm and your not to far from me!
I don't think you would have to much problem finding models.

Feb 07 13 05:53 pm Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

JimBobLc wrote:
How would the model even know what type of camera you have? I have yet to have a model ask me how big my camera is. They don't seem terribly interested if I am using Canon or Nikon etc. You could show her what you want to do (the final product you want). But I don't see how she would ever know your camera and lighting arrangements before you meet if you don't offer the information. Unless you mentioned it in a public forum.

my point is, I have a small digital camera, snapshot quality.  So, would I put off a potential model if she sees a GWC camera, even if I explain upfront what I want to do?

Feb 08 13 08:54 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Looknsee Photography wrote:
1)  Explain what you are intending to do to the model.

2)  Perhaps offer the model TF* of a digital scan of the end-product painting?

3)  Be sure to set the model's expectation concerning how long she would have to wait.

Great talking points, thanks

Feb 08 13 08:55 am Link

Model

Alabaster Crowley

Posts: 8265

Tucson, Arizona, US

Gabrielle Heather wrote:
who took your references before? (as an artist myself asking)

I'm wondering this too. Do you use random photos you find?

Feb 08 13 08:56 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Gabrielle Heather wrote:
who took your references before? (as an artist myself asking)

The reason I ask is that the better the reference is, the better the outcome will be. That's all. "Pro" photographers trade quite often, so trading isnt the issue here. Maybe ask a photographer friend to teach you some basic lighting techniques so that it can translate into your reference photos the way you want them to when you start taking them.

Professional photographers, which is my other concern with my snapshot camera, if I can get the quality that I require. 

I have photographer friends who I'm sure will be more than willing to help me with techniques.  But that's a great suggetion, thanks

Feb 08 13 08:56 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Caitin   wrote:

You are awesome!  You are Talented, for sure worth a trade! Hmmm and your not to far from me!
I don't think you would have to much problem finding models.

lol, yeah, Caitlin, you are right by me! 
thank you.  I appreciate the nice words

Feb 08 13 08:57 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Alabaster Crowley wrote:

I'm wondering this too. Do you use random photos you find?

if it's a commission, the photo reference is usually chosen by the client. If it's for fun, I will choose a photo that just 'grabs' me.  this is with permission of the photographer or model

By taking my own, I have no copyright issues, and just as important, I can direct the shoot to my own liking

Feb 08 13 09:00 am Link

Model

Gabrielle Heather

Posts: 10064

Middle Island, New York, US

Vincent Wolff wrote:
Professional photographers, which is my other concern with my snapshot camera, if I can get the quality that I require. 

I have photographer friends who I'm sure will be more than willing to help me with techniques.  But that's a great suggetion, thanks

sure, also im not sure what you define snapshot as. There are plenty of point and shoot cameras that you can get good results from. This is your work representing you. It is your livelihood. You can get cameras that are a couple hundred (not even) that would have automatic settings on them and such. If you want to learn a bit more, you could invest a bit more. Even iphones these days come with lenses. Just know that your references represent your end goal. Best of luck.

Feb 08 13 09:28 am Link

Model

Caitin Bre

Posts: 2248

Naperville, Illinois, US

Vincent Wolff wrote:
my point is, I have a small digital camera, snapshot quality.  So, would I put off a potential llama if she sees a GWC camera, even if I explain upfront what I want to do?

Don't worry about that GWC term its bs.
Your an Artist it doesn't matter how big your camera is. Its how you use it!
I have shot with photographers that have used a throw away wallgreens camera and got some great stuff!
As a matter of fact I have better cameras, lenses and lighting than most of the photographers I shoot with.
Don't sweat the little stuff!

Feb 08 13 09:43 am Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Artists pay me for my time, whether they'll be painting me, drawing me, sculpting me, or taking reference photos. 

An artist once said to me: "If I want to paint a still-life, I have to buy the fruit/jars/whatever.  If I want to paint a model, I hire her."

I can't use your reference photos to make more money.

If I do trade, it has to be for something that will benefit me.

If you just want to take reference photos, and aren't actually drawing the model in front of you, I'd expect you could get tons of people willing to do that for transit cost and a sandwich or something.

If you want someone to sit for you, you should pay, as others in your part of the industry do.

Feb 08 13 09:52 am Link

Model

MatureModelMM

Posts: 1168

Detroit, Michigan, US

I have been modelling for artists for over 25 years.  It is very common for them to take their own reference photos, and usually they do not have professional type cameras. Most of them use a small camera with built in flash, since they are comfortable with it and know they can get the photos they need without any trouble.

Sometimes I model at the home of an artist, other times it is in a group session such as life drawing or painting at a gallery or studio, or in a college classroom.  In all of those situations it is acceptable for the artist to take photos to work from later on, provided the model knows ahead of time that this will be expected of them.  I do know quite a few women who model in the nude for artists but will not allow any nude photos to be taken.

I think that all you need to do is approach models with the information that you are an artist wanting reference photos to work from, and they will understand what your needs are and be very willing to work with you. Having good examples of your artwork to show them will certainly prove your intentions are honorable. Giving direction for what poses you require is a given, and will be expected by the model.

If I were in your area I would be honored to have you shoot reference photos of my nude poses.

Feb 08 13 09:58 am Link

Artist/Painter

sdgillis

Posts: 2444

Portland, Oregon, US

Vincent Wolff wrote:

my point is, I have a small digital camera, snapshot quality.  So, would I put off a potential model if she sees a GWC camera, even if I explain upfront what I want to do?

no, you just have to spend time learning to get the shots you want with your camera. The two biggest problems you will encounter are quality of images to work from and lighting.

Feb 08 13 10:26 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Gabrielle Heather wrote:

sure, also im not sure what you define snapshot as. There are plenty of point and shoot cameras that you can get good results from. This is your work representing you. It is your livelihood. You can get cameras that are a couple hundred (not even) that would have automatic settings on them and such. If you want to learn a bit more, you could invest a bit more. Even iphones these days come with lenses. Just know that your references represent your end goal. Best of luck.

it's a cheap digital camera, it actually takes decent photos, but more of the snapshot variety.  the flash flattens the images, although not as bad as film cameras I've had.

Feb 08 13 11:04 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Caitin   wrote:

Don't worry about that GWC term its bs.
Your an Artist it doesn't matter how big your camera is. Its how you use it!
I have shot with photographers that have used a throw away wallgreens camera and got some great stuff!
As a matter of fact I have better cameras, lenses and lighting than most of the photographers I shoot with.
Don't sweat the little stuff!

smile thanks Caitlin

Feb 08 13 11:05 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
Artists pay me for my time, whether they'll be painting me, drawing me, sculpting me, or taking reference photos. 

An artist once said to me: "If I want to paint a still-life, I have to buy the fruit/jars/whatever.  If I want to paint a model, I hire her."

I can't use your reference photos to make more money.

If I do trade, it has to be for something that will benefit me.

If you just want to take reference photos, and aren't actually drawing the model in front of you, I'd expect you could get tons of people willing to do that for transit cost and a sandwich or something.

If you want someone to sit for you, you should pay, as others in your part of the industry do.

thanks for your opinion, that's what I need to know

Feb 08 13 11:06 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

MatureModelMM wrote:
I have been modelling for artists for over 25 years.  It is very common for them to take their own reference photos, and usually they do not have professional type cameras. Most of them use a small camera with built in flash, since they are comfortable with it and know they can get the photos they need without any trouble.

Sometimes I model at the home of an artist, other times it is in a group session such as life drawing or painting at a gallery or studio, or in a college classroom.  In all of those situations it is acceptable for the artist to take photos to work from later on, provided the model knows ahead of time that this will be expected of them.  I do know quite a few women who model in the nude for artists but will not allow any nude photos to be taken.

I think that all you need to do is approach models with the information that you are an artist wanting reference photos to work from, and they will understand what your needs are and be very willing to work with you. Having good examples of your artwork to show them will certainly prove your intentions are honorable. Giving direction for what poses you require is a given, and will be expected by the model.

If I were in your area I would be honored to have you shoot reference photos of my nude poses.

thank you for your excellent input

Feb 08 13 11:07 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

sdgillis wrote:

no, you just have to spend time learning to get the shots you want with your camera. The two biggest problems you will encounter are quality of images to work from and lighting.

yeah, the lighting.....that's what worries me, because you sometimes won't be able to tell it isn't good enough until well after the fact

Feb 08 13 11:08 am Link

Model

Aaliyah Love

Posts: 113

Los Angeles, California, US

If you were paying me, no it wouldn't, as long as you didn't come off as a creep (my prob w most GWCs isn't that they're inexperienced, it's that most of them turn out to be creeps and unprofessional) and you had model references.
But to be honest, if someone tried to hire me for a TP with no lights and a point and shoot camera, I would def say no. Just my honest 2 cents.

Feb 09 13 04:47 pm Link

Model

Rachel-Elise

Posts: 1650

Grand Rapids, Michigan, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:
That's my point.  You're not trying to take amazing photos.  You're taking reference photos and you'll be making an amazing drawing.  Arrange for the llama to receive a copy of the drawing and that's far better than some digital retouched image they get in their email.

This. I would LOVE a finished art drawing for my portfolio.

I remember my life drawing classes in college (semi-required; I am *not* a fine artist xD ), and think maybe I should have just gone for it and llamaed for a class or two. :-P

Feb 10 13 06:12 am Link

Photographer

KonstantKarma

Posts: 2513

Hickory, North Carolina, US

I agree with the other posts... You're offering TF, time for what exactly? These aren't images a model is going to be able to use for her portfolio. Perhaps if you finished a painting of her and had a professional camera photograph it, then let her use the image of the painting.

But yeah it's all about open communication.. as long as a model knows why you're doing what you're doing and what the images are going to be used for, and you're compensating her for her time and energy, it's all gravy.

Feb 10 13 06:31 am Link

Photographer

Marin Photography NYC

Posts: 7246

New York, New York, US

Why not find a photographer near you who does trade and then do a casting call. Then you both benefit. The tog can get images he wants and you can get your reference images. Network!....

Feb 10 13 06:31 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Aaliyah Love wrote:
If you were paying me, no it wouldn't, as long as you didn't come off as a creep (my prob w most GWCs isn't that they're inexperienced, it's that most of them turn out to be creeps and unprofessional) and you had model references.
But to be honest, if someone tried to hire me for a TP with no lights and a point and shoot camera, I would def say no. Just my honest 2 cents.

I completely understand your reasoning.  thanks for your input

Feb 11 13 06:34 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Rachel-Elise  wrote:

This. I would LOVE a finished art drawing for my portfolio.

I remember my life drawing classes in college (semi-required; I am *not* a fine artist xD ), and think maybe I should have just gone for it and modeled for a class or two. :-P

Thanks.  Your port is great, you should have modeled, such an inspiration.

Feb 11 13 06:36 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

Marin Photography wrote:
Why not find a photographer near you who does trade and then do a casting call. Then you both benefit. The tog can get images he wants and you can get your reference images. Network!....

I've done that, and it works.  But I'm wondering if I just do the shoots myself, I can get the exact reference shots I want

Feb 11 13 06:37 am Link

Model

MatureModelMM

Posts: 1168

Detroit, Michigan, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:
That's my point.  You're not trying to take amazing photos.  You're taking reference photos and you'll be making an amazing drawing.  Arrange for the model to receive a copy of the drawing and that's far better than some digital retouched image they get in their email.

Many times over the years an artist has sent me a copy of a drawing they made, and in fact I have quite a number of water color and oil paintings that I was given as well.

I think many models would simply love to have a nice quality piece of artwork to hang on their wall, since it is not something that most of them would ordinarily get if they just model for photographers.

Rachel-Elise  wrote:
This. I would LOVE a finished art drawing for my portfolio.

I remember my life drawing classes in college (semi-required; I am *not* a fine artist xD ), and think maybe I should have just gone for it and modeled for a class or two. :-P

I didn't even start modelling until I was considerably older than you are, I think you should go for it now, as should anyone else who finds the thought of modelling for art intriguing.

Feb 11 13 06:50 am Link

Photographer

John Wishard

Posts: 1896

Fallbrook, California, US

Another option is to have a photographer specifically shoot the poses you desire. You offer a copy of the work in exchange for copies of the reference images from the model and the photographer. I shoot trade shoots all the time and most would be honored to have that done for them. After all, your work is amazing... smile

Feb 11 13 06:57 am Link

Artist/Painter

Vincent Wolff

Posts: 2866

Chicago, Illinois, US

John Wishard wrote:
Another option is to have a photographer specifically shoot the poses you desire. You offer a copy of the work in exchange for copies of the reference images from the model and the photographer. I shoot trade shoots all the time and most would be honored to have that done for them. After all, your work is amazing... smile

Thanks!  That may be the direction I need to go

Feb 11 13 07:22 am Link

Artist/Painter

JJMiller

Posts: 616

Buffalo, New York, US

What is a "small camera"? What is the max pixel size it will take?

Feb 13 13 03:21 pm Link