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Photographer
Picturetaker
Posts: 19
San Antonio, Texas, US


From the photographer or model POV...what have been the best details about a photo session that has gone very well?  For example, what have been specific things that the model or photographer did to prepare a great session?
May 02 13 09:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 37,471
Portland, Oregon, US


Picturetaker  wrote:
From the photographer or model POV...what have been the best details about a photo session that has gone very well?  For example, what have been specific things that the model or photographer did to prepare a great session?

1) Start with a great model
2) Take lens cap off camera
3) Push clicky thing on camera

Most of all, communicate clearly with the person you're working with (but avoid stress and pressure).

May 02 13 09:35 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Anna Adrielle
Posts: 18,762
Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


for me:

good preparation

not too much pressure: the first shot is not going to be killer. that's not a problem, it will come

at the same time: setting goals, a little bit of pressure and nerves is also good, makes me push myself

a relaxed environment where everybody gets along and communicate well
May 02 13 09:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


for me the first part of a photo session is a throwaway. just getting used to the model and getting the lights dialed in and getting my head in the game.

i love it when models come with some great styling (hair, makeup, wardrobe). depending on what they've brought we might decide to go glam or maybe dirty it up. it's not all about the model but it is a lot about the model.
May 02 13 09:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Picturetaker
Posts: 19
San Antonio, Texas, US


May 02 13 09:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Picturetaker
Posts: 19
San Antonio, Texas, US


Anna Adrielle wrote:
for me:

good preparation

not too much pressure: the first shot is not going to be killer. that's not a problem, it will come

at the same time: setting goals, a little bit of pressure and nerves is also good, makes me push myself

a relaxed environment where everybody gets along and communicate well

what do you mean by goals and little bit of pressure?

May 02 13 09:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


For me it usually starts weeks before the shoot with the pre-shoot communication via email. Get that right and have everything agreed and you are 80% of the way there.

Oh, and cookies. smile
May 02 13 09:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Picturetaker
Posts: 19
San Antonio, Texas, US


Drew Smith Photography wrote:
For me it usually starts weeks before the shoot with the pre-shoot communication via email. Get that right and have everything agreed and you are 80% of the way there.

Oh, and cookies. smile

but WHAT KIND OF COOKIES???  big_smile

tongue seriously, what kind of things do you do upon meeting to set the tone for the session?

May 02 13 09:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,059
Orlando, Florida, US


Good communication before the shoot usually leads to a good shoot.
May 02 13 09:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Picturetaker
Posts: 19
San Antonio, Texas, US


Good Egg Productions wrote:
Good communication before the shoot usually leads to a good shoot.

how about upon meeting...how much time do you take to get to know the model and share ideas...before beginning the actual session?

May 02 13 09:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Picturetaker  wrote:
but WHAT KIND OF COOKIES???  big_smile

tongue seriously, what kind of things do you do upon meeting to set the tone for the session?

Chocolate chip - is there any other kind? smile

On meeting - do you mean for the shoot?

Well, just be myself really. And that means being professional.

I almost always sit with the model to begin with or whilst make-up is being applied and go through the 'ground rules' for the shoot. Things like; no mobile phones on set, the rules for 'touching' (always ask first) when appropriate, and so on.

A lot of this will depend on the experience of your model. If she is an experienced and strong poser you may not have to direct her. If she is new then you may need to put her at ease about her posing and work with her to get what you need.

I know that a lot of models don't want to hear you constantly talking during a shoot and equally not saying anything at all will freak some models out so try to strike a balance and let your model know how she's doing.

Almost all models enjoy compliments during the shoot but If you're going to compliment her keep it professional and appropriate.

May 02 13 09:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,517
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Picturetaker  wrote:
From the photographer or model POV...what have been the best details about a photo session that has gone very well?  For example, what have been specific things that the model or photographer did to prepare a great session?

Show up on set.
Schmooze with the models
Take off shirt
Unzip pants
Wave penis around models
Take lots of photos
Make lots of sexual innuendos to models
Take photos with arms around models
Leave

Well, if it works for Terry Richardson....

May 02 13 10:03 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Anna Adrielle
Posts: 18,762
Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


Picturetaker  wrote:

what do you mean by goals and little bit of pressure?

I mean I don't want to start by saying 'oh well. we'll see how it goes." I want to have the goal that we'll make awesome pictures, that everyone will give it their all and that we're going to work hard to get the best result possible

at the same time, I also don't want to breakdown and cry if we don't get a good picture. I don't want to feel like I'm the worst model on the planet if not every shot is perfect.

so it's about balance: set goals to have a great result, but also keep it light and fun.

May 02 13 11:13 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rob Photosby
Posts: 2,216
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


The Nine Rules For Getting The Best From A Photoshoot

(1) Let the model know that the first part of the shoot is largely just about learning how to work with each other and that any good photos are a bonus.

(2) Encourage the model to have fun and enjoy herself.

(3) Let the model know how stunning she looks (not creepy, just factual observation).

(4) Encourage the model to have fun and enjoy herself.

(5) Have a range of props on hand for the model to play with or to ignore, as she chooses.

(6) Encourage the model to have fun and enjoy herself.

(7) Offer occasional suggestions about posing.

(8) Encourage the model to have fun and enjoy herself.

(9) Pick out the superior photos from the rest.

Works at least 95% of the time.

Overall strategy - allow the model a fair degree of freedom.
May 03 13 07:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leonard Gee Photography
Posts: 16,022
Sacramento, California, US


Picturetaker  wrote:
For example, what have been specific things that the llama or photographer did to prepare a great session?

I use to instruct the assistant, "when I leave through the door, be sure I have the camera, film and a light meter".

For a llama.

Take proper care of your skin, hair, nails and health
Get plenty of rest
Don't starve before the shoot
If going nude, don't wear bra

May 03 13 07:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Allen Taylor Photograph
Posts: 19
Anaheim, California, US


Bacon
May 03 13 10:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
curiosa des yeux
Posts: 1,457
Seattle, Washington, US


I think there are only a couple things necessary for a good shoot.

I do my best to make the model feel not just comfortable, but like they would rather be no place else at the moment. I think that where the battle of a good shoot is won or lost is in this detail. When a model feels excellent about being at the shoot, the shooting portion is no problem. Being a good host, and planning ahead a bit can make this happen. Offering bottled water and asking if the model will need a snack (granola bar, cookie, whatever) should be done immediately so that you are already being a good host while also preventing the needed water/snack from being a problem right after lipgloss has been applied. Once the water/snack is taken care of, then you move on to making the experience be as close to a day at the spa as possible. It generally takes me about 2 hours to do full makeup and hair, and I try to perform that work in a way that gives it a spa like feel. This is the point where the model would feel there is no better place to be.

After that, it's just a matter of being professional and being prepared. I typically visualize what the outcome of the shoot should look like prior to the model arriving, and from that I also have a good idea as to how I will be lighting the model and in what ratios. Once the model is ready and on set, I take readings from the main light and (if used) each fill or highlight light. Since I know the ratios I'm after, this is a fast process, perhaps 5 minutes tops. Once the lights are set, we take about 36 shots (one roll of film) and change the lighting a bit. I then take another 36 shots and we're done. I usually have already established a working relationship with the model before we even shoot, so this is all I typically need. One thing I've noticed is that models much prefer shooting for 30-45 minutes to shooting for 2 hours.

There are a couple comments that the first while of shooting is throw away. I completely disagree with that. I've had the occasional shoot where the first shot is easily the best shot of the day. While shooting with film is a bit different, in that I really don't want to waste a frame if I can avoid it, I also think that planning to take a bunch of garbage shots for a while seems kind of pointless. Why not take your first shot with the same vigor and professionalism as your last shot? It seems like planned failure otherwise. I have this goal to one day take 72 shots (2 rolls of film) and have every single shot be excellent. It's a bit like playing golf and wanting a hole in one. It may never happen in my lifetime, but I take each shot thinking that it needs to be excellent and any other approach just seems like a waste of time.
May 03 13 10:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Orca Bay Images
Posts: 32,233
Lodi, California, US


Picturetaker  wrote:

how about upon meeting...how much time do you take to get to know the model and share ideas...before beginning the actual session?

If there's been good communication leading up to the shoot, ideas have already been shared and very little time need be spent in getting to know the model.

May 03 13 12:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Eastfist
Posts: 3,497
Green Bay, Wisconsin, US


First contact: make a good impression. Whether it's via forum, private message, e-mail, phone call, met in real life prior, etc.  I can always tell via forum, pm, e-mail prior to setting up a shoot if model is going to be a problem or not during the shoot.
May 03 13 12:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,059
Orlando, Florida, US


Picturetaker  wrote:

Good Egg Productions wrote:
Good communication before the shoot usually leads to a good shoot.

how about upon meeting...how much time do you take to get to know the model and share ideas...before beginning the actual session?

Orca already sort of answered for me.

If we have already discussed the plan, we can get started almost immediately.

If we haven't, the general way my shoots go is I have the model show me what she's brought and ask her to tell me why she brought a few things.  It helps me to understand her thought process about what she wants out of the shoot.  If she shows me 5 dresses and pulls out the shoes and jewelry that goes with it, I know that's going to be a different "feel" than if she pulls out a big bag of lingerie and underwear and says "I dunno, I just want something hot".

So, I don't need to talk to the model to understand her personality or whatever.  I'll know that within the first 15 minutes of shooting anyway.  That's if I don't already know it from the communication before the shoot.  People are generally interested in telling you who they are.

May 03 13 12:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ShotbyRon
Posts: 767
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


Well the first thing you need to do is just make sure everyone is on the same page prior to even meeting. Make sure you discuss number of images the model or models get in return. How long the shoot will be? Is it TF or is someone being paid? If it's TF, what exactly does he person get for their time. Will there be an escort? Where, when and what type of shoot is it?

Once we are on set I like to take 10-15 mins just kinda hanging out in a sense. I'll do test shots to get my lighting, we'll go over any extra outfits she might have brought. We might do a quick scouting of the area or walk around and kinda recap the ideas we already talked about. Who knows maybe I'll see something new and a light bulb will go off.

Just be professional and have fun and everything will fall into place. I've had shoots with girls/models I've never met, that started out as fashion, but end up being implied nudity. But never push the model into something she isn't comfortable with.
May 03 13 04:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
KRISTEN MARIE
Posts: 484
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Every shoot for me has started with a warm welcome.

They then show me around their studio...

They show me where the food & drinks are if I need something / where the bathroom is.

We then talk a little bit and do some test shots. Laugh and communicate some more.

Then that's when I usually get comfortable and get more serious about the shoot.

It's always been this way & I have throughly enjoyed every shoot! :-)

You should always give a warm welcome and show the model around!
May 04 13 10:52 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Rays Fine Art
Posts: 5,917
New York, New York, US


What works for me is:
1-Pre-shoot meeting to work out interests, goals, boundaries, etc. and establish a   
   preliminary comfort level.
2-Organize the studio for the first shot planned.
3-Review the paper work, planned shots AND THE AGREED-UPON BOUNDARIES with the model.
4-Start with a few casual shots just to get into the flow.
5-Shoot.
May 05 13 06:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Seismic Images
Posts: 506
Morisset, New South Wales, Australia


Allen Taylor Photograph wrote:
Bacon

Yep, Bacon.

May 05 13 06:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Thomas Van Dyke
Posts: 1,444
Washington, District of Columbia, US


Picturetaker  wrote:
Specific ways to begin a great photo session?

Secure a contract with a large budget client...  the rest is easy, seriously easy...

In earnest, being able to hire the best team, cast for the most appropriate talent... and secure the optimum venue makes all the difference...

Without a realistic budget it just isn't going to happen...

Picturetaker it would be very wise to start with attracting well funded commercial clients...

all the best on your journey...

May 05 13 06:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 6,575
New York, New York, US


Open bar!... big_smile
May 05 13 06:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PictureItYakima
Posts: 371
Seattle, Washington, US


I always use the first 10 mins to get our routines down or explain my 'terminology' as I 'test' shoot with her.  Some models change a pose after a click, I prefer two clicks. A few jokes or laughs and things usually start moving freely.

And 9 times out of 10 I'll get a keeper from those first ten minutes of 'test' shots.
May 05 13 07:21 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Kelleth
Posts: 2,502
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I think it makes a world of difference when photographers (or anybody) start out by saying positive things like "I'm really excited about this shoot. It's going to be great." It shows me they are confident and helps me have confidence in them. And it relaxes everyone.
May 05 13 04:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Barnes Photography
Posts: 202
Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand


^^^ That one is great!

Lots of good advice in here...personally, I also always start with headshots. I'm physically closer to the model, there's less pressure on posing, we can chat as we go.

I find that eases things in a more friendly fashion than if I'm lying on the floor across the room while the model is balancing precariously on one foot for the first shot.
May 05 13 08:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhotosByNC
Posts: 13
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


I always do a pre-meet with all of my models. Go over our goals for the shoot, what we hope to accomplish, types of images they want and depending on their existing portfolio I recommend the images they need. Also give them a list of things they should do/not do to get ready for the shoot, etc...

For the actual shoot, I try to keep it laid back for new models. I go over the clothing they brought and have them try different things on to see what will shoot best and in what order. Then start off with headshots and go from there.

I like to show them the photos as we go along so they can see what looks good and what doesn't for their posing. It's not just about getting photos, it's the whole photo experience. Educating them along the way as they start out modelling (if they are new to it).
May 05 13 09:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fred Ackerman
Posts: 255
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US


Simple for me, I speak to the model a few days before the shoot and we get to know each other. I get what I want from the first segment on.. Professional photography and results are based on the 'personalities' of both the shooter & model.
May 05 13 09:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,021
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


You don’t just arrive for a shoot and lay the groundwork for a good shoot. It begins with communication days or weeks before the shoot.

I get the feeling that most people on MM, when they decide to shoot, set a date and then figure out what to do. To me that’s backwards. I want to pre-plan the shoot with the model before I schedule it – especially in the case of trade shoots. But either way, the planning should be done before the shoot.

I’ve found that pre-planned shoots go smoother and are MUCH more productive. Everyone knows what we’re shooting, where, in what order, what wardrobe will be used, and what moods and looks we’re going for.

Before the shoot we've exchanged photos (or links to photos) to illustrate the looks we’re thinking of, and most of the time I’ve seen photos of the wardrobe we’ll be using – and in many cases I’ve participated in the selection of wardrobe from cell phone photos or clothing web sites. Words are subject to interpretation – and misinterpretation, especially where intangibles like concepts and looks are involved. With photos everyone sees the same thing. Then the model and I decide what to shoot.

That way everyone knows what's expected and what to expect, and any props or accessories that would complete a look should be on hand. (“Hey, anybody know where we can find a white dove on a Sunday evening?” You get the idea.) And because there’s time for everything to roll around in my head for a while, it’s likely that the best ideas will come before the shoot rather than when I’m driving home afterward - as they sometimes do when I have to wing it for a shoot.

Whether it’s a trade shoot or a paid shoot, the more the parties are on the same page, the better the shoot is likely to go.

The first thing I do when the model arrives is to show the model around the studio – where the dressing rooms and restrooms are, show her the room where we’ll be shooting, etc.

Then I look at the model’s face head-on, evenly lit from the front, to decide how I want to set up the lighting. I already have an idea how I want to set up from looking at the model’s photos – but seeing in person is better and more often than not confirms what I decided from looking at the model’s photos.

We lay out the outfits the model is going to wear in order. That way the MUA can see the wardrobe that’s going to be used with the makeup.

Usually makeup and hair take longer than it takes me to set up – which give me a chance to observe what the MUA is doing before she’s finished. While we have a makeup area at the studio, the MUA’s I usually work with prefer to set up and do the makeup in the room where we’ll be shooting.

If the model is going to arrive ready to shoot (with makeup and hair already done), it’s best if the photographer is already set up and ready to shoot when the model arrives.

We go over what we’ve already discussed (usually by email) regarding the goals of the shoot – looks, moods, etc. If I haven’t worked with the model before, I tell her about my posing preferences and how to interpret my 2-3 word instructions during the shoot.

I show her which light is the main light and give the model an idea how much freedom of movement she’ll have.

The first few minutes of a shoot are basically a warm-up for both of us. I intersperse small talk in with the shoot. (How long have you lived here? Or, have you been to St. Louis before? Did you have any problem finding the studio? Is it warm enough (or too warm) in here? Help yourself to the grapes, cheese and crackers or whatever. Etc.) The idea is to set a relaxed and friendly but professional tone.

After 10-15 minutes of shooting I’ll show the photos to the model. I think models are more comfortable when they see what we’re shooting so they can see how the shoot is going.
May 05 13 09:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Natural Means
Posts: 521
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Drew Smith Photography wrote:
For me it usually starts weeks before the shoot with the pre-shoot communication via email. Get that right and have everything agreed and you are 80% of the way there.

Oh, and cookies. smile

pfffff cookies - as if thats gunna work!

Now, if you talk about fresh Blueberry Muffins, THATS gunna work. smile

May 06 13 03:21 am  Link  Quote 
Model
shibaswindler
Posts: 205
Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom


He made me a cup of tea. Well appy smile
May 06 13 11:11 am  Link  Quote 
Model
MiaDLove
Posts: 28
London, England, United Kingdom


Good pre-shoot communication

Knowing what the photographer is aiming at creating

Relaxed attitude and friendly atmosphere

Coffee + biscuits (this really helps to put the smile on my face)
May 06 13 11:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jay Smellow
Posts: 7
Bainbridge Island, Washington, US


Photographer:

Plan, plan plan... 

have an idea of what you want from the images... you have to already have the answers to

who:   who is the model playing?   attitudes?  personality?
what:   Clothing, faces, emotions? lines, body, light ?  whats the goal?
When:  what time of day?
Where:  Location, location!!
How:   Gear... have it all prepped and ready, Ahead of time... have replacements ready... Spares,  Extra crap in case something fails...  be prepared!

why:   Why are you shooting the above?   Do you have a concise explanation of your goals?

be prepared with the above ahead of time, and you can guide the model efficiently, without stumbling,  and have a great shoot.

Model:

Know what the Photographer wants in advance... Get the story... (why) what's the goal of the shoot,  what looks, who is the character you're playing.     Ask good questions before hand, so you're walking in with ideas and preparation ahead of the game.

Prepare:  Think about the character,  Talk to the Photog about it if you have questions.   Effective communication is key.   Don't worry so much about design,  that's the shooter's job.    your's is to prepare your mind to  be the 'character' the photographer needs for the job.   

Practice:  Every single model job has a personality attached.  either yours, or one you create.   you should know them, and practice them.

Eat well, and Sleep well the night before the shoot.    Don't come to a session hungover.

Arrive early!   have clothing/makeup, gear, supplies, and sustenance ready before hand, so you're not scrambling once you're on site.  Be ready to work!

everyone
have fun,  have common goals, and reach far...
May 14 13 07:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Stanley L Moore
Posts: 1,485
Houston, Texas, US


Picturetaker  wrote:
From the photographer or model POV...what have been the best details about a photo session that has gone very well?  For example, what have been specific things that the model or photographer did to prepare a great session?

I always like to start with a couple of headshots. It relaxes the model. And flus the way for a good shoot.

May 14 13 08:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ddtphoto
Posts: 2,378
Chicago, Illinois, US


If you're the photographer, have some good music, offer a beverage, some tea, or a tasty snack like wasabi almonds or the like. If you're the model, be on time and bring lots of options.
May 14 13 08:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotografica Gregor
Posts: 4,065
Alexandria, Virginia, US


probably influenced by my background in photojournalism and portraiture,  but in my opinion, the most important ingredient in a successful photoshoot is the establishment of a comfortable rapport and clear communication.....

taking the time to get to know the subject or model a bit before sticking a lens in their face is very helpful -  allowing time for this is of course required,  as are good people and listening skills...

photography can feel a bit like an exploitation, or a violation,  without a certain degree of empathy....

however, models will rock a session if they feel comfortable with you and trust you...
May 14 13 08:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Miroslava Svoboda
Posts: 555
Seattle, Washington, US


Hungry model=cranky model.

Not hungry model=happy model.

Drew cookies are good but you got to actually feed the models, the good stuff. You know prosciutto, tomatoes, blueberries, and so on and so forth.


Ok on the serious note I get so involved in the shoots that it's hard to say or pinpoint anything specific or just a few things. On the opposite side I hate when we get there and I'm just expected to pose without any concept, purpose, idea.

Usually I build relationships with the people I work with. If they are not receptive to that sort of a deal and it's just a drive by type of an arrangement it usually doesn't make for a very great shoot. If they are the shoots are great, probably happen more than once, and they become good friends and acquaintances.
May 14 13 08:58 pm  Link  Quote 
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