By Eugene Struthers
In order to find the perfect model for your photo shoot. You first have to have a criteria from which to work from. This criteria is based on your previsualisation of what is required in order for you to achieve a certain desired appearance, feel, atmosphere or mood for your portfolio. Having the right model will allow you to produce professional images, which you can then sell to a publication. When you find the right model. It can mean the difference between outstanding or mediocre images. Yes!, you can capture a great image, but if the model doesn't have the right poses, attitude or appearance. This will show through into your images. Our jobs as photographers is to create great images. We use our knowledge, skills, and experience to maximise the model's beauty with lighting, even enhancing it with clever in camera techniques and choice of poses and camera angles. But what if the model is sexy, gorgeous has all the right poses but the images turn out terrible. Well then, this aspect of the process is down to the photographer not being competent or having the correct amount of exposure and experience as a glamour photographer.
1) Portfolio: If you are new to photography and don't have a portfolio. I would recommend attending a studio work group or joining an evening photography workshop. There are loads all across the country. If you want to specialise in Fine art nude, Glamour or Adult photography. These events are your best option for breaking into the industry and building up a portfolio. You may find a particular studio offering an evening photo shoot from 19h00 – 22h00 with a model working from Lingerie to full glamour nude. These may be limited to 6 photographers for obvious reasons. So that each photographer has enough time with the model. A few of these workshops may even be turned into weekend events and holidays. A number of high profile publication models may get together and offer prospective photographers the opportunity to photograph them all in a great location over the course of a whole weekend. This will usually involve overnight accommodation, meals and two to three days full photography with each model in and around the chosen remote location. These events are ideal if you want to break away from the studio and capture some stunning models against the backdrop of a stately home, castle, beach or remote landscape location etc. The event organiser usually will be a working professional who can assist you on working with the models, equipment, lighting and camera techniques etc. If you attend one of these, then also attend a fortnightly glamour evening at your local studio with the added bonus of a one off glamour day weekend workshop thrown in. The chances of you having a great portfolio within six months would be more than 70%. This portfolio of six months worth of top notch stunning images, is what you will use to showcase your technique and style to a prospective model. Every new model will want to see evidence of your abilities and proof of how good you are. By attending these types of events, studio groups and workshops. Your portfolio won't became stagnate, with images of the same model doing the same poses. So start by dividing your portfolio into sections: “Studio” and “location”. Then subdividing the portfolio once again into different genres or area of expertise. An example would be a section called “Bikini”, “Topless”, “Lingerie”, “Nude”, “Fine art nudes”, “Erotic” and “B&W”.The list is endless and more explicit in the adult photography industry. The portfolio will be used to show the level of your expertise as a photographer to the picture editor at a publication. This is a very competitive market. Which is constantly developing. So you will need to have great skill, an eye for detail and total originality. Add a great looking photogenic model into the equation and you will find a lot more opportunities opening up to you.
2) The use of the images: Outline how and where the images will be used. Detail specific publications, website, blogs etc. Highlight to the model why you think she would be perfect for that particular media format. Create active links to publications, websites, blogs etc you have had your work published on in the past. Each media format will have their own particular inhouse style. You will be taken a lot more seriously by a model if you mention to her that the images will be taken for a particular publication in mind. But saying that, there are some models. Who are only interested in doing images for private use. Exclusive to you as a photographer only. We term these “hobby photography images”. As their sole purpose is to be used by the photographer for private use. This may be for a particular niche on their own website or until they have built up the confidence to actually go out and get their images published. Here at Glamour-Photography magazine we would encourage you to create images for all media formats. An example of what we mean would be: postcards, calendars, top and mid shelf adult & lad magazines, products, mugs, posters, t-shirts, bags, books, gallery prints. I think you get the idea. The list is endless.
3) The type of model required: This is where you will need to be specific to the type of model you require. This will allow prospective models to be aware of what your requirements are. So be specific, to eliminate time wasters from flooding your email inbox with model requests. In detail, list what you require and mention why. Ask the model to visit your website, blog etc. If they are unsure. You basically need to streamline your audience so that only the models that meet your specific requirements apply to work with you. Perhaps have a listing on a few model profile websites. So that they can see examples of your work and your set list of requirements. This also has the added advantage of allowing you to do a search by ticking the selection criteria set list. To minimise the amount of suitable model profiles you require. Plus you can add an application which auto sends you model profiles via email each day based on your set requirements.
4) Frequently asked questions: A new model may ask if she can take a chaperone to the shoot with her. Is there suitable parking? How long will she be actually at the studio? How will she be paid? What percentage of the studio cost will she have to pay for? Is she able to have a few images for her own use? Will overnight accommodation be provided? Will the cost of petrol be paid, if the model is travelling by car? Are refreshments provided? How many breaks will be allocated during a full day of shooting? What happens if the photographer cancels the shoot? Does the model get a booking deposit? How many sets of clothing should she bring? The types of clothing to bring. Will a makeup assistant be available? Does the model have to do her own makeup? What level of modelling will be required?Is it a soft or hardcore glamour shoot? Does she need to bring any props, toys etc with her? What safety measure are in place to guarantee and secure she will be okay all day out on location? What will the images be used for? What magazine publications, gallery? Signing a model release? Does the model get a percentage of the profits made from merchandise sold? As you can imagine. The list of questions asked by prospective models is endless.
5) Location: When searching for a model. It is important to stipulate your own location. This makes it easier for models to determine if they want to work with you or not. Would it be viable for them to travel four hours by train for a one hour shoot which just covers the cost of their travel. Perhaps detail your location with an online link “Street view” so models can realistically see where you are located. If you keep your location a mystery, this kind of highlights your level of commitment and intent. Here at glamour-Photography magazine we do not have a set location or studio. The main reason being. We don't want to be stuck in a studio all day. We do have a web & business based location in the UK. But when it comes to actually capturing images of models. We have found it more viable to travel to different locations and use different studios across the UK and Europe. It cuts down our costs whilst adding to our style and originality. Makes it more fun to get out and travel. Either photographing in a barn, old dilapidated building site, the beach, urban area, studio, models house, country setting, remote location. I think you get the idea.
6) Contact method: This is kind of selfexplanatory. If you don't have any contact details. You will be sitting and waiting in a void. So create a contact profile page on your website. As an added measure. Clearly stipulate your email address, telephone number office and mobile, studio address etc. If you have a form models need to fill in online via your website or blog. This can be even better. If you have a contact page, that allows models to attach sample images of themselves. And upload these to you. You are going in the right direction. However, a word of caution. If you do have an upload attachment function on your contact page. You need to be careful who and what is being uploaded and sent to you. As the controls in place for this means of contacting you, are less secure. You won't know if it is a genuine model until you actually open the attachment. If you do have this function, speak to the model before requesting the information and sample images from her. Then you are fully aware who the sender is and the content you expect to receive.
How to find models
There are various methods and procedures to finding models who will do Nude & glamour adult images for you. Asking a model to pose can some time be intimidating and awkward for both you and the prospective model. The approach needs to be done in such a way as to convey professionalism, a tact of diplomacy with the polished candour of a smooth talker. Okay, maybe not the last one. But you get the idea. This is the Glamour-photography magazine bullett proof method to getting models to work for you.
Identify yourself, so carry some form of identification. An accredited press card, a business card or photography membership card with a colour picture with your full name and surname on it.
Place yourself in an environment where by it will seem easy to approach women. An example would be a pub or club or scene that casual chat and conversation is the norm. This environment kind of encourages casual conversation. If you are sitting at a table in a strip club and a prospective model at a table next to yours catches your eye. There probably is a 99% chance and likelihood that she won't be offended by you approaching her and asking her if she would be interested in doing some glamour photography modelling for you. If you saw the same prospective model in a church. I bet 8/10 she's gonna tell you to get lost. So assess the situation and keep it real.
Don't approach strangers in the street. It is just creepy and kind of comes across as weird. It might have been okay in the 1980's. It isn't the done thing today. You may draw a crowd and before you know it, accusations are being thrown at you. As the general public are under the impression all photographers – especially glamour photographers are perverts “sexual deviants” and pornographers. They are unaware of the glamour “Fine Art nude” images being sold in art galleries in London, New York, Tokyo for fifty thousand pound a print. Due to the availability of free porn on the internet. I'm afraid we have all been grouped together. Whether you only shoot bikini models and nothing else. The general public only see the pornographic side to our industry. Sad, but it is the truth. It is not the done thing. The added precaution that needs to be pointed out. Is the age perception of some women. A young girl with the right makeup and clothing can look five years older than she actually is. So don't do it. You heard it here – a word of caution. DON'T DO IT!
Only approach women in public, if you are a 100% sure about their age and have a positive indication that they are fully aware what you do for a living. Or you have been referred to them by a friend who is with you at the time. So your friend can introduce you and can verify your credentials.
Explain to them that you are a photographer that specialises in fashion, portraits, wedding and glamour. Show them your own identification and then give those that have shown some interest, your business card. Advise them that you are always looking for new fresh-faced models for various projects and assignments. Tell them to see examples of your work, your portfolio on your website. We have used the word glamour with the prospective model. This is done intentionally so as not to throw them off. As glamour can mean a variety of different things to each individual person. There are so many terms associated with the word, it puts you in a grey area. So if one of them contacts you about doing glamour photo's at a later date. You can elaborate and explain the difference forms and levels of glamour. Fashion glamour, Hollywood glamour, bikini, topless, nude, implied nude, fine art nude etc. You can break it down for them then.
If you are daunted by the prospect of approaching a model face to face. Then there are other options available to you. So lets look into each of these for you.
Classifieds: These do not require an account to be created. You can create them as a one off if visiting a particular city or location. They can have a much higher success rate than model profile sites. This is due partly to the scope of the audience you can capture with a classified advertisement. As a particular magazine maybe published nationally and internationally. Drawing in a model network even from abroad or models planning to visit the UK. The only downside is the cost involved and the size of the advert that can be placed in a magazine, newspaper and website. So your advertisement will need to be tight and have the correct wording in order to capture the right audience.
Social networking: This can either be by a prearranged method. Whereby an individual will create a classified advertisement or it may also be by word of mouth. This is usually the best way to break into a know group that covers glamour & adult photography topics. In most situations an introduction by an existing member will be required. This is done so as not to over encourage a mass of photographers to attend. These types of social networking groups and events usually specialise in getting wannabe glamour photographers on par with publication and trading standards. They are useful and you will find that you may learn more at these groups / events than you ever did at college. To be taken seriously by other photographers. You will need to be a regular and contribute at every meeting. A lot of my glamour lighting techniques and studio & flash preparation skills. That I will be demonstrating here on Glamour-Photography magazine, has been taught to me whilst attending a few of these social networking groups & events over that last couple of years.
Online social networking: This will require you to have an online “computer” presence. There are loads of model profile websites. Where by a model will list herself as being available to do “fashion, portraiture, glamour, nude, erotic and fine artwork”. The websites will list her requirements and even detail her specific physical attributes: Eye and hair colour, body size, tattoos etc. You will find the casting call made by models very useful. As you can sign up to receive daily emails from prospective models about photo shoots happening in your area. Joining a group on one of these websites. Allows you the added option of being invited to glamour studio days. Otherwise not listed on other parts of the website. They maybe specific and require photographers to be semi-professional so as to save time. But on the most part, they do this so to create a niche group of specialised photographers. The events section on model profile website is very useful. As it allows you to preplan a photoshoot way in advance. These are usually done midweek 19h00 – 22h00 or on the weekends. In most cases the model will be visiting or touring loads of studios across the country. It allows you the added advantage of working with a model who is mainly located perhaps miles away from your current location. Events are pretty much conducted within the confines of a studio. With a professional photographer on hand to give guidance and advice. This is a great way to network with other photographers and also perhaps hold your own model studio event at that studio. The events are usually listed into the following categories: Exhibition, free studio day, free tuition, group shoot, paid studio day, paid tuition, social meetup, workshop. Some may list discussion thread about the best glamour & nude photography locations, best studio, outstanding models to work with, ripoffs, which studios to stay clear of etc. There is of cause the mainstream social online network process done via Facebook, instagram and twitter etc. These are ideal as they allow you to book and link in directly with a studio which will be having a model day or studio event. Models prefer these a lot. As they can either work independently with a particular studio. And the social media platform allows them the added option of adding extra dates, advertising available spaces that have become available due to a photographer cancellation. The interaction and response can be immediate. We highly recommend this option as it not only gets you proactive in your photography. But it allows a platform for you to be taken seriously as a glamour photographer. Showing casing examples of your portfolio.
Respect the profession and the model: Conduct yourself professionally at all times. Either via email, telecommunication or by word. Ensure the model's safety and make sure she is comfortable at all times when working alone with her. Click here:- Model advice . Basically the glamour / adult photography industry. Is about creating sexy thought provoking images. Once it crosses over into being overtly sexual. This is when we will then cross over into being pornographers. There are loads of different levels of glamour photography. If you are unsure. Please visit this page for a more comprehensive breakdown. Click here: Glamour model levels.