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Photographer
Deji Joseph
Posts: 62
London, England, United Kingdom


I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the model (beginner model) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional models and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D
Dec 03 12 05:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


Ask Matthew Jordan Smith. smile

Just be yourself.  If that's your personality, do it.  If it's not, don't, it'll may just come across as a bit creepy.
Dec 03 12 05:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Deji Joseph
Posts: 62
London, England, United Kingdom


Thats what I am afraid of, "being a creep" would be better to just keep my mouth shut and just direct the model? I'm sure pros are comfortable with what they are doing and dont need any compliments on my part?

D
Dec 03 12 05:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D-Light
Posts: 546
Newcastle, Limerick, Ireland


I always do it and it works. No matter how experienced a model is, she still needs to know that she's doing it right and getting the pose you want. Remember, she cann't see what you see and even if she could, she wouldn't know if it's exactly what you want.

Don't over do it and don't use inappropiate language. There's basic 'rules' about what to do and say when working with a model, keep them. As long as the model feels comfortable and you don't cross boundries, it's ok.
Dec 03 12 05:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BlueMoonPics
Posts: 3,903
New York, New York, US


The models I've worked with like it when I tell them what I'm doing as in changing a lens or moving them to another location for better light, etc.  They've actually told me they like the feedback.  They also like to hear when a pose they do is working.  You can tell them to repeat the pose and do small variations around it.
Dec 03 12 05:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
intense_puppy
Posts: 862
Brighton, England, United Kingdom


I tend to compliment on what they're doing (if they're doing well) rather than how they look.
Seems to work for me.

The "zomg! ur so beautiful!!!!" thing doesn't wash with models smile
Dec 03 12 05:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


Taking your pants off without being invited to do so is frowned upon.

As long as you're not talking about inappropriate things - eg. your or the model's sex life - then a bit of banter keeps things light and generally keeps the model happy.

Awkward silences are certainly not a necessary part of 'keeping it professional'.







Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com
Dec 03 12 05:36 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Axioma
Posts: 6,756
Gent, East Flanders, Belgium


Don't compliment me, direct me.
Dec 03 12 05:37 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Chloe Burton
Posts: 8
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom


As a model, its important to know what looks good. If you like a pose or think something just fits really well, then say so. On the other hand, if something doesn't look right, give direction on how to improve or make the pose work.

Talk to your models, we don't bite smile
Dec 03 12 05:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhotoPower
Posts: 1,361
Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, Canada


intense puppy wrote:
I tend to compliment on what they're doing (if they're doing well) rather than how they look.
Seems to work for me.

The "zomg! ur so beautiful!!!!" thing doesn't wash with models smile

Try pulling your leg up and resting your chin on your knee, how about turning to your right and looking over your shoulder at the camera - let's try to keep eyes locked on the lens - do you want to try something with a bit of action - perhaps a few spins and kicking up a leg...etc...very specific requests for particular positions and that sort of thing!! That's okay! Do you have a boyfriend? What do you do on weekends? Do think I should order a black or red Charger!! These things are not okay!! Try to build a conversation slowly and avoid nattering away endlessly? Brush your teeth. Gargle. Show your subject what's happening in the camera...don't wear shorts or tank tops unless you know you're way better looking than Channing Tatum!!

Dec 03 12 05:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Barely StL
Posts: 754
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Models don't want cheerleading.

They want to know

a) what you want

b) when they've giving you what you want

c) what adjustments they need to make to give you what you want.


The idea is to explain what you're looking for before you pick up the camera, then give clear and concise direction in a way that doesn't break the flow of the shoot.
Dec 03 12 05:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,658
Houston, Texas, US


Deji Joseph wrote:
I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the model (beginner model) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional models and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D

I find positive feedback works the best with all subjects, professional models or not.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?threa … age=1#last
but you can check out this link to JoJo's comment.

There are some comments i would normally never say..
......unless I was drunk or screwing around...  LOL

Dec 03 12 05:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leighthenubian
Posts: 2,740
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Deji Joseph wrote:
Thats what I am afraid of, "being a creep" would be better to just keep my mouth shut and just direct the model? I'm sure pros are comfortable with what they are doing and dont need any compliments on my part?

D

So when you go to the Dr.'s office you just want them to start poking at you without saying a word?

This isn't rocket science. As mentioned be yourself unless you are a terrible person. If you are bad, then pretend to be good. Give posing instruction, show the model the images every now and then and tell him/her what they are doing that works so you can fine tune the composition, etc.

Always have music on the set..show them examples of your previous work...just flow.

Dec 03 12 05:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
Taking your pants off without being invited to do so is frowned upon.

Now, there's a man who sounds like he's talking from experience! wink

To clarify, guys, what I said above was in response to photographers that literally say nothing but "gorgeous", "beautiful", "hot", "sexy", throughout the whole shoot, without really communicating with the model or trying to hold any actual conversation.

It's always a good idea to compliment your models as you go, but do it in a way that's "you".  Don't try to go over the top or be something that you're not.  It's insincere, and obvious to your subject.

Dec 03 12 05:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Art of the nude
Posts: 11,780
Olivet, Michigan, US


Deji Joseph wrote:
I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the model (beginner model) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional models and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D

I tend to chat, probably too much, but that's just me.  But about the shoot, and maybe in general.  Not "sexual."  Some of the models have laughed a bit when I confess to talking all the time, but one in particular said it was much MORE creepy to pose nude for four hours and have the photographer say nothing at all.

Dec 03 12 05:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Woven Thought
Posts: 329
Petersburg, Virginia, US


Most people prefer to be complimented, but it's easy to do it wrong.  Comments generally shouldn't be about sex appeal, but, I'm sure there are times when that WOULD be okay, depending on the shoot.

Easier for me to say, most aren't threatened by a female photographer.
Dec 03 12 06:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gabby57
Posts: 361
Coppell, Texas, US


I typically explain everything I'm doing, why I'm changing a particular light for a particular shot etc., helping him or her visualize what I'm trying to accomplish gives them buy in and leads to better results.

And pointing out how important it is for a model to know something about photography and lighting.  Marlene Dietrich is a prime example, she knew so much about lighting that she essentially dictated it to insure she always looked good.  How many new models know that a head tilt to the low shoulder is regarded as masculine etc.?

Besides, I do this so infrequently it helps me double check what I'm doing!
Dec 03 12 06:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WIP
Posts: 15,115
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


'If the photographers having to all the talking the models not doing her job'.
Dec 03 12 07:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fullmetalphotographer
Posts: 2,672
Fresno, California, US


Deji Joseph wrote:
I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the model (beginner model) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional models and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D

What I find is constant feedback is what is needed. The better the model the easier it is to give the feedback. I had some amateur models that were like herding cats. Your job as a photographer is to direct the model. Sometimes you need the skills of a bartender and psychiatrist to get the look you need for the image.

Dec 03 12 07:59 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Rebecca Lawrence
Posts: 876
New York, New York, US


When working with an experienced model, reserve compliments for the poses that are REALLY great or that you want to see more of.  That helps steer the shoot in the direction you want to go without having to give a lot of unnecessary directions and lets her know everything is going well.

Some photographers compliment almost every pose, so it's hard to tell what they want to see more of during the shoot.  Those compliments have lost their value as a directional tool.  If a photographer doesn't give any compliments at all, I have to either assume that his silence means so far so good or I might start wondering if I'm doing something wrong.

In general, I prefer compliments for an excellent pose that provide feedback on my work rather than personal compliments.  For example, "Beautiful pose!" is more useful to me than, "You are so beautiful!" Compliments like that can be distracting to me at a shoot.

I guess, instead of "compliments" during a shoot, aim for positive feedback.
Dec 03 12 08:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Harold Rose
Posts: 2,925
Calhoun, Georgia, US


Deji Joseph wrote:
I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the model (beginner model) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional models and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D

I do not use the fake  complements..  and I say fake for you are just using them  for  compliments and that should not be needed.. 

I do talk to the person that I am shooting,  but it is mostlly for modification of pose..   I explain why I want the pose changed.   or going into something else..  Most models say they learned more from a shooting with me than they have their whole carreer..    I explain as I go  what happens when the weight is shifted.. or arm more graceful.   seated pose with the weight shifted off the  foremost leg.   these are honest things that  impreove the pose,    I also include compliments when a move makes a big improvement..  I give the model credit for improvements that she makes...      It is a running conversation

Dec 03 12 08:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Graham Glover
Posts: 1,248
Oakton, Virginia, US


To me, this is like office banter in most any job, only here the office can be a studio or some other environment.  Yes it's art, it's modeling, it's photography.  It's also a job, a collaboration between professionals.  Ultimately it's just people.

I talk with my models.  We share ideas regarding how the shoot is progressing, and I'll show her images as we are working.  My camera allows me to rate photos, so we'll rate them as we go along.  It's a great way to get input from her regarding what she likes and what she doesn't like, and it can sometimes change the shoot.  In the in-between times, we may also talk about other things.  How long have you been modeling?  What are you studying in school?  What's it like to travel for a modeling job?  If the model is interested in talking, great!  If not, that's fine too.  You'll know.

I am not naturally a people person.  I've had to learn how to communicate and start small talk with people.  However, it isn't about faking it.  It's about wanting to be able to function with people because overall I like people.

Did you know that models can be very interesting?  One of the models I photographed a couple times earlier this year, Ioana, is from Romania.  She's been here for 11 years.  Can you imagine what it's like to have spent half of your life in a completely different world?  We worked hard both sessions.  We also talked a bit about lots of different things, growing up in Romania, living in America (and all of the places she's lived while here).  During one part of the second shoot, I automatically said, "Those earrings are gorgeous on you!  Oh, I hope that's okay to say that."  She was fine with it.

Talk with the model?  Absolutely.  You're working together.
Dec 03 12 08:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Woven Thought
Posts: 329
Petersburg, Virginia, US


Graham Glover wrote:
During one part of the second shoot, I automatically said, "Those earrings are gorgeous on you!  Oh, I hope that's okay to say that."  She was fine with it.

Often so much is in the intent, though some females are hyper alert to the come-on.

Dec 03 12 08:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Renato Alberto
Posts: 798
San Francisco, California, US


Deji Joseph wrote:
I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the model (beginner model) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional models and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D

I think the best advice was given before. Just be yourself. If you are yourself, it comes across as natural, not creepy.
Most of the models I shoot are agency models for work, and I do tend to talk to the model while I am shooting. Just me and it comes natural. I don't think that in my 25+ years of doing this, that a model thought I was creepy. Also, the more I work with a model, the more she gets used to my personality and how I shoot.

Dec 03 12 08:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Abbitt Photography
Posts: 11,353
Oakland Acres, Iowa, US


A model being more expereinced does not mean she will magically know exactly what I am seeking of her to get the image I desire.  I feel feedback is important regardless of how experienced the model is.
Dec 03 12 08:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Don Garrett
Posts: 4,215
Escondido, California, US


I talk to my models during a shoot, kind of like they are the same species as I am ! I guess I could just be quiet, and say nothing though.
-Don
Dec 03 12 08:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kawika Photography
Posts: 110
San Diego, California, US


Great tips. I'll add that not only are the subjects wondering if they know what they're doing, they're wondering if you think they know what they're doing. And secondarily, if you know what you're doing. The skill is getting them to stop thinking those things when you fire the shutter. If you fail at that the image will make it abundantly clear. Be yourself, relaxed, professional and communicate in a way that makes the camera disappear. If yourself is an uncomfortable amateurish butthead then be someone else until you fix it. smile GL
Dec 03 12 08:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,180
Salem, Oregon, US


to me it's not so much about flattering them as engaging with them so i get a good performance. it's true that experienced models may not need much direction but you might want them to be doing something different from what they normally do. if you don't talk to them they will just do whatever they do.

i'll try to say something positive like "your hair looks great" or "good job on choosing that outfit" but i won't say "nice ass!" (i might think it, though. lol)

the guys who say "awesome" every couple seconds seem a bit over the top to me but i'm not a model. maybe that is helpful to the model. i have read they do like some positive reinforcement so they know they're giving the photographer what he needs. and i have had models complain that their last photographer never said anything.

so unless you talk like a frat guy i wouldn't worry too much. and maybe ask your models this question. each model is different.
Dec 03 12 08:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,180
Salem, Oregon, US


lol reminds me of the dating advice to "be yourself" well, i think that only works if you have a personality they want to be with. otherwise best fake it until you've got them hooked.

Kawika Photography wrote:
If yourself is an uncomfortable amateurish butthead then be someone else until you fix it. smile GL

Dec 03 12 08:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John M Hoyt
Posts: 344
Greenville, South Carolina, US


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
Taking your pants off without being invited to do so is frowned upon.

What!??!! You're just now telling me this?

Dec 03 12 11:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John M Hoyt
Posts: 344
Greenville, South Carolina, US


The few models I have had the opportunity to work with did not seem "creeped out" by talking to them. For example - Telling them I really like a certain pose with them, or that their eyes look great from a particular angle.  Compliments, but informative still the same.

It works both ways too... I have had one young lady suggest that I was not getting what she thought was her "best side" and darned if she wasn't right when I listened to her.
Dec 03 12 11:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Eros Studios
Posts: 690
Boston, Massachusetts, US


There's nothing wrong with communicating with your subject, providing feedback on what you are liking and what you might feel isn't working.

Postive feedback is fine so long as it is kept on the professional level and is pertinent to the work at hand.

Over the top, personal compliments are most often going to make an experienced model uncomfortable if not downright offended and pissed off.
Dec 03 12 11:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,734
Santa Ana, California, US


Positive verbal feedback is good when they are giving a look/pose/whatever that is really working. But if you are always complimenting no matter what they are doing, it looses its value and could be a bit annoying. If they're really that good, give them some positive feedback, but limit the frequency.
Dec 03 12 11:42 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Melodye Joy
Posts: 542
Rancho Cucamonga, California, US


Deji Joseph wrote:
I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the llama (beginner llama) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional llamas and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D

Personally, a new or even an established llama, I believe, would like critique and compliment during a session. How else will they know if they are delivering? Or if YOU, the photographer, have gotten the shot(s) you wanted/needed to?

As long as the critique and compliment is professional grade, I see nothing wrong with speaking to a llama during the shoot. I might add on to "that's great" with, "that's great, hold it!", "beautiful, but can you open just a bit" (be more expressive, part lips don't stay closed mouthed, ect)...

That's just my opinion smile

Dec 03 12 11:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Art of the nude
Posts: 11,780
Olivet, Michigan, US


Rebecca Lawrence wrote:
Some photographers compliment almost every pose, so it's hard to tell what they want to see more of during the shoot.  Those compliments have lost their value as a directional tool.

Sometimes, a novice photographer works with a model who is so skilled that most everything they do is amazing.  And there's nothing to do but keep saying "wow!".

Dec 03 12 07:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
imcFOTO
Posts: 579
Bothell, Washington, US


Deji Joseph wrote:
I have done a few shoots, when I first started, complimenting the model (beginner model) like "thats great", 'beautiful" etc was a great way to break the ice, however I am working with more professional models and wonder if this practice is frowned upon?

Thanks

D

I really haven't worked with experienced professional models yet - but from my experiences so far, I know it varies a lot. I think you have to be prepared to talk when you need to (you still need to direct the shoot - even with an experience model - no-one is psychic). You should also be guided by how talkative the model is. I probably talk too much but I like to gauge how they are doing - whether they are comfortable - whether they have ideas for poses too. And I think everyone appreciates feedback as long as it's genuine. I'm not going to do the "Yeah baby, work it!" line - it would sound silly. But saying "That's nice - turn a little more - great" - where appropriate helps. And if something isn't working, you stop, reset, explain, try again.

I also like to use gaps (when I'm moving lights, or moving props) to take a minute and just chat - like "How long have you been modelling", "Do you do a lot of shoots". Sometimes I'll ask how our shoot compares to some of their other shoots - I like to find out how other photographers work.

Above all, I ask the models your original question - especially at the end. How did they feel? "Do I talk too much?", "Did I give enough direction? Too much? Please be honest". It's a learning experience and take each piece of feedback (good or bad) on it's merits.

And yes it's ok to compliment the models as long as it's done tastefully and tactfully. Saying they have a great body shouldn't be offensive - especially if you stick to the context of the posing and the shots - saying "Wow amazing T*ts" , when they first take their top off .... maybe not so much.

But I have found that once you get to know a model (I've shot one model four times), you get to know them as a person and find the right level of chat.

Dec 03 12 09:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Brett Fish
Posts: 394
Seattle, Washington, US


I think everyone has their pet idiosyncrasies.  I, for some reason, always say, "pretty..." when a model gives me a particularly good look.  It just slips out.  I will usually share this quirk before a shoot - let them know that it's my version of "you're a lemur!"- and then when I say it later it's good for a laugh.
Dec 03 12 11:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R_Marquez
Posts: 4,608
San Francisco, California, US


People I work with often talk whenever no shooting is being done.

Once we're shooting, I'll direct and only comment when I think something is exceptional. In my opinion, overdoing it or saying something just to say it, comes off as not being genuine.

In the end, I may give some compliments, but never just to give them. I'll mean them, or I won't give them.
Dec 03 12 11:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Barely StL
Posts: 754
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


I’m going to clarify what I said earlier. I didn’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t tell the model when she’s doing well. Quite the contrary. Even the most experienced models need feedback to tell them when they’re on the right track and when they need to adjust. But done properly, this is more direction than cheerleading.

And a little conversation and nonthreatening (nonsexual) playful banter helps keep things loose.

Here are a couple of posts I made (from my other MM account) to a forum thread on directing models a few months ago. Maybe these have some of the information you’re looking for.

~~~~~

Most of the models I work with can pose themselves better than I could pose them – and with more natural results.

At the beginning of a shoot, I tell the model the looks, moods, expressions, etc., that I want. I tell her which is the main light and how much freedom of movement she'll have (and again each time I change the lighting). We’ve already discussed the nature of the shoot, looks, moods, etc., by email before the shoot – and exchanged photos that illustrate them. Often I’ll have a number of tearsheets with me at the shoot that show these as well.

I also tell the model when I'm shooting full-lengths, 3/4 lengths, waist up, etc. – so she'll know what area her hands need to be in. If I’m shooting from the waist up, I don’t want her hands to be below her waist.

If the model gives me the poses and looks I want, I give only minor instructions – as briefly as possible to avoid breaking the flow of the shoot. As often as not, these are things the model would do as well, if she could see herself from the camera position.

"Head back." "Chin up." "Eyes toward me." "Right hand above your waist." "Arch your back." "Head slightly to the right." Things like that. From time to time I'll suggest a completely different pose.

Same with expressions. "Pouty." "Angry" "Confused." "Fierce." "Vulnerable." "Attitude." "Part your lips." "Stare me down."

If I say "that's great" or "let's work with that," it means that I want very small variations in pose for the next several shots. If I say "perfect light," that means I want very little movement in the model's head position for the next several shots.

If I'm working with a very experienced model I've worked with before, I may appoint her vice president in charge of posing (inside joke) at the beginning of the shoot – but I still give direction as needed.

If it becomes obvious that more direction is required, I give more direction until I have the look I'm going for. But first I want to see what the model can do without detailed direction.

Don’t get frustrated if you’re not getting exactly the looks you want. If you get frustrated, the model gets frustrated – and the shoot gets derailed. Just be patient and steer the model in the direction you want her to go.

~~~~~

The best "posing guide" I've seen is actually a DVD for photographers on working with models by Detroit area photographer Mary Duprie. From this DVD, a photographer can learn not only how to direct models – but also how to teach them to pose by what I call "modeling in motion," creating a theoretically infinite number of poses by making small, incremental changes in pose after each shot.

Mary also has a two-DVD set for models who don't want to have to find a photographer who has the DVD for photographers.

Just Google "Mary Duprie DVD."
Dec 03 12 11:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Top Level Studio
Posts: 3,232
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Even very experienced models sometimes need a little prompting.  They'll be concentrating on leg positions, finger and toe positions, hip, shoulder and head positions, and I may have to say "Suck in that gut."

It's not offensive if you say it politely, and it saves a lot of Photoshop time later.

If you think of all the body parts the model has to be aware of at the same time, you'll understand why sometimes a detail is overlooked, and it's up to you to notice and correct it.

Recently, I was working with a very good model, but something about her lines wasn't quite right.  I just said, "Err, your butt..." and she replied, "Oh, right!" and moved her hips so the slightly angular line became the rounded line I wanted.

She was experienced enough to know what looked best, with just a hint from me.  A model like that is a pleasure to work with, and the results show it.
Dec 04 12 12:17 am  Link  Quote 
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