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Photographer
Lee Nutter
Posts: 160
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


I usually spend some time before the shoot talking to the model about the concept and the way I work, and trying to understand her ideas and how she likes to work. I'll usually share some inspiration shots too.

Even when I see we're on the same page, I'll still offer direction. I usually allow the first little while for everyone to get comfortable, running through a few poses and making sure I compliment the model when I see something I like, then taking it from there.

I will offer more direction if it's required, but I find the more I've managed to connect and communicate with a model before we start shooting, the less direction is required.
Oct 08 12 05:13 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rebel Photo
Posts: 11,446
Florence, South Carolina, US


Harold Rose wrote:
This type of photo turns me off.    I would not produce something with all the lines,   distorted body,  and a background that  distracts,  feet bigger than legs etc.

+1

Model photography can be fun with either a willing newb or an experienced model, Ford, Elite, etc.... I've worked with both. The difference is percentage of usable shots and length of shoot.
If you, the Photographer, have to direct every pose and expression, that's not a model..it's a mannequin. A photographer should state what the goal is (the mood), the Model should deliver without "is this OK?" every 20 seconds, or "Move back..you're out of the key light..no God Damn it, turn around... the key light should be pointing at your face not the back of your head" (with the usual reply - but it hurts my eyes")... DONE, OUT!
A Pro knows all those things, pose-- hold 5-10 sec... move.. repeat. Granted, in there maybe a great shot where the photographer makes adjustments and this is where great models pay off... they listen and endure, no complaints.
If you went to work any job as a pro, do you think someone is going to hold your hand and give directions on how to do what you should already know? I think not!

Oct 08 12 05:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GCobb Photography
Posts: 15,886
Southaven, Mississippi, US


Select Models wrote:

That's OK dude... I don't create digital art designed to excite you... and your unsolicited critique means ZIP to me (you tell'm AC babe).  I've got dozens of comments and lists on this image from people who think it's cool... all that matters here.  Here's another one I'm sure you'll love... lol

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110406/10/4d9c9ccd81f63.jpg
Oh and PS... I got more comments on one of my pics, than you have in your entire port... and you've been here SIX years... wink

Pat yourself on the back a little more. smile  If you want to showcase your port, start another thread.

Oct 08 12 05:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Supermodel Photographer
Posts: 3,309
Oyster Bay, New York, US


Mad Hatter Imagery wrote:
I don't always like to give models a whole lot of direction ... What is the best balance for giving a model direction from a model's point of view?

A half lot of direction.

Oct 08 12 05:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rebel Photo
Posts: 11,446
Florence, South Carolina, US


Select Models wrote:
Oh and PS... I got more comments on one of my pics, than you have in your entire port... and you've been here SIX years... wink

and were so tired of seeing this for the lat 3+...the rest of us rotate in newer stuff.

Oct 08 12 05:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,375
Upland, California, US


Rebel Photo wrote:
and were so tired of seeing this for the lat 3+...the rest of us rotate in newer stuff.

Ooooooh... OK... I didn't realize you were such a long time fan... and I definitely don't wanna dissapoint ya... so here's somma the newer superwide stuff... borat

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/GaryAbigt/JNT2.jpg

Shot last month on the cruiseboat photoshoot.  I gave this model (Jin) some location direction... and she rolled with the pose... wink

Oct 08 12 08:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Digital Kythe Image
Posts: 310
Deerfield Beach, Florida, US


Every model and every shoot is different...

I suppose it all depends on who initiated the shoot. If a model came to the photographer, liking and wanting results base upon the photographer's port, then I'll say the photographer will be doing more of the directing, to achieve the expected result.

If the photographer came to the model, inspired by the model's port, then I'll say the model will be directing more of her poses.

If more TF bases, where photographer and model are equal and are open minded to the shoot, then it will be a give and take.

You just have to find that direction before you shoot. Then create the balance and adjustments needed!

DK
Oct 08 12 08:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darren Brade
Posts: 2,746
London, England, United Kingdom


Mad Hatter Imagery wrote:
I do photography as more of a hobby, but still I don't always like to give models a whole lot of direction for the sake of something genuine. Some models seem fine with improvising while some seem at a complete stand-still until they are told what to do. What is the best balance for giving a model direction from a model's point of view?

The model should always know the goal of the shoot and pose accordingly, you still need to give them some idea to base their poses on. A good model practises poses before a shoot, a bad one (in my opinion) won't. I give ideas of the mood before the shoot and may give examples of poses and ask them to practise. I can always tell who hasn't.

Oct 08 12 09:18 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Anna Adrielle
Posts: 18,762
Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


Alabaster Crowley wrote:

I don't think a photographer should never direct a model at all. Maybe s/he is moving well, but that doesn't mean s/he can read the photographer's mind and do exactly what they want.

oh right, sorry smile. I don't do a lot of that kind of paid shoots (I do paid work through my agency, but not as a freelance model), so I immediately think about TF... so if I go into a Tf shoot, I know what the photographer wants and he knows what I want, since we talked about it, and giving direction is not really necessary anymore (other than some tweaking here and there)

but you're right, it never hurts to guide a little bit to get the best results!

Oct 08 12 09:25 am  Link  Quote 
Model
_ Robyn Elizabeth _
Posts: 436
London, England, United Kingdom


The photographer can see what the pose looks like framed the model cant.

I agree that it's good for models not to need much direction and generally I'm happy working without but some is always useful.  For example on a recent shoot I was doing a pose where my arms were out straight and my head down (it was better than it sounds).  Anyway for a large number of the shots my arms weren't horizontal and so they really didn't work.  I couldn't see my arms and hence I thought they were okay.  It situations like that direction is useful.

So in summary, however good the model is, direction from the photographer can help.
Oct 08 12 09:31 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Lea Eden
Posts: 32
Glastonbury, England, United Kingdom


I like to both be given direction and also to be given some freedom to play around. But if what I'm doing is not right then I need to know about it.
Oct 08 12 02:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Gabrielle Heather
Posts: 10,064
Middle Island, New York, US


Gabrielle Heather wrote:


I am NOT fond of place your right hand slightly higher up 2 inches, and tilt your head to the right just a little then turn your foot outwards and move a bit to the right and, oh yeah now move that left hand onto your thigh........ then repeat another bunch of steps in a row....... ok, Ill do it as long as you pay me with a smile smile but I wont enjoy it so much.

Camerosity wrote:
I think you may be referring to one of my posts. Or, maybe not. Anyway I'll explain my rationale -just in case.

First, I'm old school. It used to be that models were trained to show two hands (with at least four fingers of each hand), two arms (not one hidden behind the body - or seemingly growing out of a boob at the elbow), two legs and two feet in photos.

Well, you don't want to see feet in a headshot, but I think you get the idea.

Also, I believe that white should show on both sides of the eyes. If a model is facing slightly away but turns her eyes back to the camera, for example, there may be white on only one side of each eye. The model can't see what I see - so when I see that, I'll direct her to look in a direction that will show white on both sides of the eye.

There are a lot of people on MM who disregard (or aren't aware of) these "rules." But I assure that there are many photo editors and art directors who pay attention to these things.

I tell models what area I'm shooting - headshots, waist-up, 3/4 length or full length. If you're shooting waist-up shots, you don't want the model's hands below the waist. Either you crop off her hand(s), or you turn what we both intended to be a waist-up pose into a 3/4 length or a full length.

If I'm shooting verticals, and the model's arms are outstretched so that it becomes a horizontal shot, and/or her hands are extended past the edge of the background (often a 14-foot wide cyc wall), I'll have her bring her arms back in.

If I'm shooting the model head-on, and she bends her knee and puts the bottom of her foot against the wall (not the cyc wall, obviously), she looks like an amputee. From the side, that pose often works - but not from the front.

If the main light is to the model's left, and she keeps facing right, and her face is in shadow (or maybe a wisp of hair is making a ghastly dark shadow down the middle of her cheek), generally I'll say something.

There's a phenomenon known as a "split profile," where a model's nose breaks the line of the cheek that's farthest from the camera. It's not flattering. Turning her head 2-3 inches back toward the camera will fix it.

In every shoot I will knowingly waste many shots by not mentioning these things, because I don't want to give such frequent direction that I don't want to break the flow or make the model self-conscious. Often the model will get back on track after 2-3 poses.

But at some point, if I'm not getting the look that's needed, I have to bring the model back to that look and get some usable shots.

And if a model is in what would be the "pose of the day," except for one flaw in the pose - I'll correct it right then. I don't want the pose of the day to end up as a reject.

Fortunately most of the models I work with (even on trade shoots) are experienced enough that the issues are minor and relatively infrequent.

feel better?

Oct 08 12 03:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Oscar Partida
Posts: 729
San Diego, California, US


the ones that Don't know what to do are not experienced ,thats all
Oct 08 12 03:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Kitty LaRose
Posts: 12,707
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


P I X I E wrote:
I've been modeling for 4 years, and I still tend to work better with direction rather than without. That's just how *I* work. Doesn't make me any less talented.

This.

Oct 08 12 04:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Alabaster Crowley
Posts: 6,994
Tucson, Arizona, US


Wtf, unsolicited critique isn't cool, but neither is hijacking a post to be like, "Look at my photos that I didn't bother to re-size, aren't I cool?"

Anna Adrielle wrote:

oh right, sorry smile. I don't do a lot of that kind of paid shoots (I do paid work through my agency, but not as a freelance model), so I immediately think about TF... so if I go into a Tf shoot, I know what the photographer wants and he knows what I want, since we talked about it, and giving direction is not really necessary anymore (other than some tweaking here and there)

but you're right, it never hurts to guide a little bit to get the best results!

Even in TF. Like I said earlier, if something needs to be moved slightly to make the shot better, I can't always see that from the same angle the photographer can.

Oct 08 12 04:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
bentprism photography
Posts: 31
Los Angeles, California, US


Modeling is acting. Without the photographer's script and direction she/he doesn't know what to do.

An experienced model should be able to create the look(s) you want after you read her/him the script. But even still you'll need to give guidance because you may have something specific in mind.

A new model will likely need acting lessons during the shoot, so you need to learn to be a good acting coach. Learn the poses and looks yourself so you can demonstrate. Not only will it be a good laugh to loosen the model up, but it will help her/him recreate what you want.
Oct 15 12 12:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,056
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


bentprism photography wrote:
Modeling is acting. Without the photographer's script and direction she/he doesn't know what to do.

An experienced model should be able to create the look(s) you want after you read her/him the script. But even still you'll need to give guidance because you may have something specific in mind.

A new model will likely need acting lessons during the shoot, so you need to learn to be a good acting coach. Learn the poses and looks yourself so you can demonstrate. Not only will it be a good laugh to loosen the model up, but it will help her/him recreate what you want.

Athletes stretch their muscles before competition. Singers (and speakers) have exercises to loosen up their vocal chords. Musicians tune their instruments and play for a few to several minutes before a concert.

At a photo shoot, the first few minutes typically amount to a warm-up for both the model and photographer. If I sense that a model (particularly a newer one) needs more than the usual warm-up to relax and loosen up, I'll have her make silly faces for the first 3-5 minutes of a shoot (and yes, shoot like it's part of the shoot - and show her a few of the photos).

Even if she thinks the exercise is silly, by the end the model is more relaxed than before.

While that changes the tone, of course it does not replace direction.

Oct 15 12 05:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ybfoto
Posts: 642
Oakland, California, US


I direct for a bit, then tell the model "10 shots do what want", I will many times stop the model in the process if I see something I like. Experienced models can bang out 10 easy, and I will adjust head tilt, raise chin, bring hands in the frame, on your toes if needed.

An inexperienced model there will be more direction on my part. Quick note DONT get frustrated with inexperienced doing something that looks, well not good, Just click and move on. If you seem frustrated with her/him an inexperienced model will most likely shut down and get more deer in the headlights....if you arent experienced and neither is the model then get some mags and tear out sheets for examples of what you want. So its clear for both of you.
Oct 15 12 09:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
LizzyB
Posts: 2,174
Rochester, New York, US


depends on model's experience and self-confidence, proceed with caution.
try giving suggestions, but if she gets irritated, back off

i don't think there should be any issue though if you are telling a model to tilt her head just a little bit more, or to change the angle of her arm.  it's hard for models to know what looks best on camera, since we can't see ourselves from that perspective.
Oct 15 12 09:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Sandra Vixen
Posts: 752
Los Angeles, California, US


Well as a dancer, there is something called a rehearsal, it's a rarely used secret technique in Russian, China, and parts of Asia, in which the director or choreographer goes over the performance many times over until it is engrained into the performer's mind and body.

It may take many weeks, even many months, to go over the details of the performance over and over until every step and pose is done to everyone's satisfaction. For hundreds of years, this time-tested method has always produced great quality artwork that you no longer see in today's commercial realm.

*wink*
Oct 16 12 12:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lakeshore Photography
Posts: 169
Holland, Michigan, US


This is a great thread, I too sometimes don't know when to speak and when to zip it smile As I'm just getting started in all of this, I've found the more experienced models sometimes intimidate me. When working with less experienced models I try to direct but have found my communication skills are sometimes lacking.

Live and learn!
Oct 16 12 08:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotografica Gregor
Posts: 4,067
Alexandria, Virginia, US


Start by informing the model what the vision for the shoot is, and especially what moods you want the final images to convey to the viewer -what you want the viewer to "feel" from the images. Every set of images should have a mood, a theme...

With experienced models this is often enough other than some basic positional suggestions and adjustments here and there.

Creating a supportive environment for what you are trying to accomplish is very important...   manage the environment to set the mood,  get in the mood yourself -  mood and emotion are "communicable"

Be encouraging, give positive feedback on what the model is doing well,  give clear suggestions on what you would like the model to do differently.

Adopting a consistent and clear set of hand gestures for directionally oriented suggestions is important as well.  I find that this helps keeps models in the flow of things - is not as much an interruption to their process.
Oct 16 12 09:06 am  Link  Quote 
Model
JessieLeigh
Posts: 2,001
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


I just have to say that based on posts alone, haven't viewed the port, I'd LOVE to work with Camerosity. Kudos to you.
Oct 16 12 09:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ArtisticGlamour
Posts: 3,846
Phoenix, Arizona, US


I like to COLLABORATE (in detail) before the shoot...with examples of concept and poses...so that the day of the shoot the model and I have have a VERY clear idea about we want to accomplish.

And we both show up ready and excited to shoot.

A quick "review" of the "examples" on my cellphone gallery, and the model is ready to "flow" and "throw" poses in a very natural way with little direction. Minor corrections and watching for stray hair and straps are important. POSITIVE feedback.

But, I also like a VERY natural look! The LOW_STRESS/natural "look"...as if you were just walking out for a day at the beach.
Kinda like this...
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120814/05/502a44153e486_m.jpg

borat lol!

So, I'm not big on the non-natural "stressed out" frowning diva poses...I like a model to be all smiles, and have fun, with a very LOW-Stress "natural" style!
Oct 16 12 10:06 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Alivia Autumn
Posts: 606
Albuquerque, New Mexico, US


The model should be aware of her body and creative enough to come up with her own poses, I do however appreciate direction for minor adjustments, ie "chin up," "left hand a touch lower," etc.
Oct 16 12 10:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
salvatori.
Posts: 3,715
State College, Pennsylvania, US


Mad Hatter Imagery wrote:
I do photography as more of a hobby, but still I don't always like to give llamas a whole lot of direction for the sake of something genuine. Some llamas seem fine with improvising while some seem at a complete stand-still until they are told what to do. What is the best balance for giving a llama direction from a llama's point of view?

Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, John Cassavetes, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, etc., are all people that direct, or directed, people to 'create something genuine.'

How much they allow in the ebb and flow of the choreography of a shooting session is why you recognize their names.

smile

Oct 16 12 10:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
intense_puppy
Posts: 862
Brighton, England, United Kingdom


Top Gun Digital wrote:
You need to have a creative vision before you begin the shoot.

+1

Oct 16 12 11:20 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 17,860
Albany, New York, US


Mad Hatter Imagery wrote:
I do photography as more of a hobby, but still I don't always like to give models a whole lot of direction for the sake of something genuine. Some models seem fine with improvising while some seem at a complete stand-still until they are told what to do. What is the best balance for giving a model direction from a model's point of view?

If you're not that great at giving direction, it might behoove you to get models who have a performance background (like formal acting or dance experience). Let them basically go on auto-pilot filling your general needs while you shoot away.

Oct 16 12 11:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 17,860
Albany, New York, US


Harold Rose wrote:
This type of photo turns me off.    I would not produce something with all the lines,   distorted body,  and a background that  distracts,  feet bigger than legs etc.

Was that really necessary?

You work your way, let him work theirs.

Oct 16 12 11:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
CBAPhoto
Posts: 247
Sparks, Nevada, US


I go into the shoot knowing for sure at least three shots I have clearly set in my head and pursue those first. Each of those are prioritized from the one I know I really want to the others which at least look good in my mind but may need tweaks. After that I build upon what I'm seeing. In most cases I've discussed with the model what we'll be doing. Altogether though, I treat it like shooting a movie. I'll literally walk the model through a mini story line even if it's just a simple movement in a just-because situation. Then the model can practice the movement in the manner which is natural to the model, and that will look appropriate and uncontrived. This also allows me to see if a pose does look uncomfortable before hand. Then I don't even have to shoot it and can just move on.

Sometimes a model is just there, in the shoot mentally and emotionally, and things gel without trying. I never count on that actually happening. It's my concept. I'll direct as much as necessary. smile
Oct 16 12 11:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Supermodel Photographer
Posts: 3,309
Oyster Bay, New York, US


salvatori. wrote:
Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, John Cassavetes, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, etc.*, are all people that direct, or directed, people to 'create something genuine.'

* e.g., the Penn brothers, Arthur and Irving.

Oct 16 12 11:52 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Space Case
Posts: 207
Bellevue, Washington, US


I like a photographer that will let me do whatever, AND make corrections when needed. My hair is messed up? Tell me. You like the face I'm making at a particular moment? Ask me to freeze. My arm is making the composition awkward? Tell me where to move it.

I can do awesome with at least that much direction, and however much more they want to offer, but I don't like it when a photographer is  giving me absolutely zero feedback. I don't know if what I'm doing is any good.
Oct 16 12 10:09 pm  Link  Quote 
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