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What do you say to models during a shoot?
Old 09-26-2006, 07:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am trying to learn all I can about shooting models for my upcoming multi-model shoot, and it struck me that I don't know how to direct them into various positions (I've only shot sports and landscapes up until now).

How do you guys do it? Are there differences in what you say to adults and kids? How do you encourage them and make them feel good? Which techniques have you found give you the best results? How do you make them feel relaxed and comfortable at the beginning of a shoot, and how do you encourage them during it?

Five million thanks in advance. I can't wait to post the results of the shoot in a couple of weeks!
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Re: What do you say to models during a shoot?
Old 09-26-2006, 08:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is entirely dependent on the model. Some I'm dead serious with, others I flirt with, some I tease, with some I'm self-deprecating, with others I do my best Austin Powers impression... The list goes on.

Mostly I read the model and find what works for them and that is usually a combination of all of the above. First you need to understand what motivates them, and then you need to adjust your demeanor to be able to achieve that. I find humor is usually important when dealing with new models as is being firmly in control. This does not mean that you are a drill seargent on set, what it does mean is that you have your stuff firmly together, are well rehearsed and that you know exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. If there is a leadership vacuum, a more experienced model will take charge. You need to establish very quickly that this is your shoot and that it will be run by you. Now, you could do this by being bossy, but that rarely works. Instead, just lead by example. Smile, be fun, but keep everyone working on time and on budget. This is one of the reasons I spend a lot of time in preproduction. Once we hit a location or a model arrives at my studio, it's go time. I'm shooting a model tomorrow (hopefully, her son is a bit sick) I've spent days building the set, testing the initial lighting plan, making notes of how I want her posed, purchased wardrobe and accessories, etc. I'm ready to go. If I have crew on a shoot, they are ready to go. As soon as the model walks through the door, it's a big smile, a euro "air" kiss to the cheek and then she's off to hair and makeup. As soon as she steps on set I'm ready to put her in position and begin metering and tweaking the lighting plan. While I'm doing this, I make small talk to get to know the model, if I already know her, we chat, I tell some corny joke I heard recently or answer her questions regarding my non-existant love life. But all the while I'm working, smiling, but working. I'll remind her of previous conversations regarding what I'm going for in that shoot and compliment her. Once the camera is up I take a few test shots, and check them out on the computer. While doing this I keep up the chatter, always talking, and then we discuss the tests, I make adjustments, test again and then we shoot. By that time, if I selected the right model, it just flows and I get what I want. If not, then I have to try and figure out how to get it.

Good luck,

Matt
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Re: What do you say to models during a shoot?
Old 09-26-2006, 08:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_D50
I am trying to learn all I can about shooting models for my upcoming multi-model shoot, and it struck me that I don't know how to direct them into various positions (I've only shot sports and landscapes up until now).

How do you guys do it? Are there differences in what you say to adults and kids? How do you encourage them and make them feel good? Which techniques have you found give you the best results? How do you make them feel relaxed and comfortable at the beginning of a shoot, and how do you encourage them during it?

Five million thanks in advance. I can't wait to post the results of the shoot in a couple of weeks!


Start with hand me all of your money and take off all of your clothing..... If they laugh you just might be able to joke with them if they don't. take off all of your clothing and hand them your wallet....lol

Seriously though....
You must be able to read people and how they may react to what you say.

Test the waters with some small talk and maybe a dumb joke.

See what happens and go from there.
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Re: What do you say to models during a shoot?
Old 09-26-2006, 09:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A pose book or a collection of images is helpful if you have a tough time describing the pose you're looking for. In most cases, I've had photographers doing a bad imitation of the pose they're looking for. It's amusing, keeps the mood light and still gives them an idea of what you're looking for. Humor is always good, and music can help a model relax (as long as they like the music of course).

It's those uncomfortable silences that kill a set mood.
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Re: What do you say to models during a shoot?
Old 09-26-2006, 09:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brattitude
A pose book or a collection of images is helpful
I am proud to say I actually thought of this earlier :-) I have a collection of about a thousand images I spent a couple of days locating... I am putting them all in a little book (easy to point to a pic and ask them to do it), sorted into categories (seated, kneeling, standing, moving, etc) so I can shoot all the poses I like while the models are in one particular position, without inconveniencing them to stand, then sit, then stand again... Plus, if I get all the standing/moving shots first, and end the shoot with them sitting or laying down, it might prevent some fatigue and make it a more enjoyable shoot for them.

I really like your idea about music too, but this shoot is outdoors in a public park, so I might have to file that idea in the back of my mind until my next shoot.

Thanks :-)

Daniel.
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Re: What do you say to models during a shoot?
Old 09-27-2006, 03:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I mostly work with new or relatively inexperienced models.

I usually meet with a model before arranging any shoots with her. I like to get to know her a bit beforehand so this mostly consists of smalltalk about her likes and dislikes, what each of us has done in the past, etc. I also get to actually see her and evaluate her photographic possibilities. I have a 'Model Profile' casting form I designed that I have her fill out. It asks for complete contact information, references (which I do check), vital statistics, etc. I also record her ID on the form - driver's license or whatever. (After the meeting, I add some of my own notes to it). I ask her to bring her portfolio and a clip file of what she would like to do. I bring the same. If I have a specific project in mind, we may negotiate a shoot at this meeting, either paid, TFP/TFCD or a combination.

Such advance meetings are held on 'neutral ground' in a public place such as a local coffee shop - I ask her to choose the location - and last about an hour.
So, when a model arrives for a shoot, either at the studio or on location, we already have established some kind of a relationship so she feels like she knows me. That meeting also helps prevent 'no-shows'. I usually start with some smalltalk, take care of business like the Model Release, then move on to the shoot. I have all my equipment set up & tested before she arrives. I also put on some music to set the mood for the shoot. It could be anything from rock to jazz to classical.

Like Matt, I take a leadership role in the shoot, directing the model. I demonstrate poses and use a clip file or books & magazines to show what I'm looking for. I use conversation to elicit expression and that can lead almost anywhere. Some models have their own set poses but I don't like them because it just means I'm taking the same picures of her as every other photographer she works for.

At the end of the shoot, I either pay her or tell her when her prints or CD will be ready.

I hope that helps. I covered off quite a few different topics there but they are all interrelated.

Les Howard
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