Your first shoot what are you trying to achieve?
The moment has come. You are sitting looking through Glamour Photography Magazine, reading the articles, looking at the pictures. You have read most of the articles in the back issues when it was www.Glamour-Photography.co.uk and have a good idea about glamour. So could you do it? Could you take pictures like the ones you see?
How will you ever know until you try. So what exactly is involved in organising and preparing for your first shoot? We hope to show you and tell you all you need to know to take your very first glamour shoot. Step by step this article will check list everything you need to do.
So your very first requirement will be a studio. Now around the country there are multitudes of studios that provide amateurs and professionals with facilities. The hourly rates are I consider very reasonable. You should plan for two hours booked time although I doubt very much you will use the whole time. One hour will not be enough though as there are lot's of things you will have to consider. Remember your first solo drive in a car wasn't up the Main Motorway/Freeway.
You can find a list of studios that hire their services here: Studios. I suggest, to begin with, you should use the nearest studio to you. They all provide phone numbers so it is always a good idea to phone and have a chat. Explain you are an amateur and you have never used a studio before and see what the response is. I know most of these guys are more than happy to help with lights and props etc.
Next, you will need a model. Lots of the studios provide models as well and you can hire them both together. Remember though that the model you hire has to be attractive to you. No seriously don't be shy about this, there is no point in trying to take sexy pictures of a model that you don't find sexy. The accepted "sexy" is young, slim, large-breasted and long legged. Maybe you like larger ladies, or short squat older woman. Maybe you like AA cup tits. Whatever if the studio doesn't have what you like then look around.
Here you see models of all ages, sizes and types. Obviously, it's important to find a model that is close to the studio you plan to use otherwise you will have travelling expenses on top. If nothing here works for you then there are more model sites out there than you can shake a stick at, so have a good look round. If nothing else it will give you a good idea of what the standard rates are. Some models charge far over the odds and should be avoided.
So let's say you have found a model to your liking and she seems to charge a reasonable rate. By reasonable, I mean much the same as other models. You now need to know what type of level she works to. At this point, if you are emailing or chatting to the model before the photo shoot. Be specific about what type of images you want to capture. No point being shy. After all, she probably makes her living by doing glamour photography.
At this point, you need to know the different levels. So let's break down the terminology.
Bikini & Lingerie
This is fairly straight forward photography. The model will wear either sexy under wear, a bikini or lingerie. There will be no signs of nudity. Considered to be at a soft level. You can really show your lighting skills as a photographer especially if commissioned to do a photoshoot for a catologue or lingerie website.
As the name indicates on the tin. This is when the model is completely naked from the waist up. Glamour in it's pure form.
There are loads of different styles and levels from small breasted models to large. To large nipples, to pierced nipples the list is endless. If you are doing a set of images. You will probably be moving from bikini to topless and then on to full nude.
This is when the model is completely nude. But nothing is shown to the camera. Usually very artistic and elegant. These types of images are some times found in fashion and photography magzines. They are great when building your portfolio to show your lighting skills. They will usually be found in upscale galleries. And can usually demand a price tag of about £1,500.00 per print.
Fine Art Nude
Fine art photography is a style that depicts the human body as an art form. Another great why to show the viewer your artistic abilities by using clever lighting techniques and props. Usually exhibited in galleries and fine art books. Great why to be taken serious as a nude photographer. Can demand high prices for exclusive prints. More on this subject can be found here: Fine Art
This is when the model is "Au naturel". She will have a bush of hair covering her genitals. In some cases her genitals may peek out from within her pubic bush. Great way to do a nude photoshoot and not be explicit. Between the late 80's to the late 2000. The bush some how, completely disappeared. It is however, making a return in a lot of adult topshelf amagzines. May be not a complete bush, but a landing strip. Which can make an image very sexy. Termed the hairy beaver photography style.
The model in these types of images will be completely shaved.
She will have no hair any where around her genitals. Termed the skin or pussy shots. The image will be of a model completely naked with her vagina on display. Usually with her labia minora placed or pulled open or to one side. Some times termed in photography cirles as a Playboy, Hustler or Penthouse magazine level. This is very explicit as you will capture every aspect of the female genitals. Images in this category are usually seen in topshelf magazines. Images can demand any where from £60.00 to £90.00 per image if printed.
Images of this type will have a USA magazine style pose with her legs and genitals open, but with an added interest of including the model inserting her fingers, toys, a dildo or a vibrator into herself. Considered to be hardcore in classification. As the toy's, dildo and vibrator have taken the place of the male erect penis.
This isn't porn but still considered to be glamour - hardcore glamour.
Images in this style can demand about the same as a USA magazine.
Expect to receive £60.0 - £90.00 per image.
Open leg /Open pussy
The model will be photographed with her legs wide open, she will usually be holding open her vagina. To give the photographer the full pussy experience. If you see an model advertisement and it says she does open leg shots. This is basically what it means. These are usually termed in glamour photography circles as the pussy shots. At this level you will probably get £70.00 - £90.00 per image. Classified as hardcore glamour still as there is no penetration by an erect male penis.
Close up "zoomed in"
The female genitals will be pulled wide open. The external and internal female genitals, urethra, labia, clitoris will be on full display.
Termed the gynocological shot. These types of images are classified as being hardcore glamour. Glamour photographers term these type of images: European.
Images of this nature can demand £70 - £90.00 per image depending on the publication.
Soft or Hardcore
These images will encompose all of the last six levels. But with an extra model of two. There is a high demand for Girl / Girl images. But there is a catch. The models need to be very attractive. Images at this level can demand £80 - £120 per image depending on the publication. These can either be softcore or hardcore glamour.
Note: Always get two forms of original identification to verify that the model is over the age of 18. Before you start taking any images. Also get the model to sign a model release. Click here for more info:
I will not take the list any further as we are talking about a first solo studio shoot.
You have found the model you like so the next stage is to contact her. Usually by email. Explain that you are an amateur (this means she
understands you will not require a release signed) and that you would like to book her for a shoot. Tell her the studio you are planning to use, the length of the shoot, time you would like and give her some dates to select from. Details of the shoot, clothing, styles etc. can be arranged after the shoot is confirmed. Make it clear what you require as regard topless, art nude, or whatever it is you require. She will normally reply with her charge for the shoot, any travelling charge and a date. She will usually also send through a mobile number for you to call her. If she doesn't send her yours so she can contact you, as emails can get a little frustrating when details are important.
Once you have the date and time ring the studio and arrange it with them. Hopefully this will all be OK and they are both booked. Now contact the model to confirm the date and now is your opportunity to discuss clothing, and what it is you want. I promise the more enthusiastic you sound the more encouraged the model will be. That's enthusiastic not lecherous.
Now it is possible that the studio and the model will require a deposit sent by post. This is perfectly normal as they both get quite a few no shows, where the photographers wife finds out and says "No way", or they simply bottle. (English expression meaning to chicken out) This bit can be a bit tricky because if the model doesn't show you will be stuck with the studio charge. Let me say here and now that I have never had a booked and paid model not show up on the day. I have had one or two that rang the day before to apologise circumstances beyond their control, but the shoot was always rearranged and the studios were also very helpful. I have never lost out costs wise.
Phone the studio in advance and ask if you can pop along and have a look. Don't just turn up, the studio may well be busy and as a pro I know it would piss me off having sightseers wandering around while I am working. Go when they are free and you will also be able to discuss with the guys their what sort of lighting you require and any sets they may have. Also tell them what breed and model of camera you have and ask them how you will fire the flash. This will all be set up for you on the day ready when you arrive.
Before the day make sure you have plenty of memory cards. You are going to look a dick if you run out of memory after half an hour! Remember it will probably take about twenty to forty shots for both you and the model to warm up. Camera batteries. Yes make sure you have a spare set. Any props that you feel will help.
Now we discussed earlier about what the model should bring. That includes styles of make up. It's no good saying on the day "Red Lippy Please" if the model only brought pink, and maroon. Was there something particular that you wanted her to wear, but she didn't have it? Then buy it. Find out her size and get one. Don't arrive with some tatty thing from a jumble sale. :-) Mind you most models seem to turn up with enough luggage for three weeks holiday and no washing machine.
Now she will probably need 10 minutes to sort herself out when she arrives, changing, and make up. In that time you will be checking the studio, working out where you will be shooting from. Chat to her while she is getting ready. Don't be shy, but on the other hand don't stand and oggle as she dresses. It may ne the first time an unknown female has stripped and dressed in front of you other than for the normal reason. Be nonchalant, casual it happens all the time right! :-)
During the shoot make sure you keep her within the area that the guy showed you when he set the lights for you. That really is all there is to it. Be friendly, PLEASE be encouraging, if you think the model looks bloody sexy tell her. If a look isn't working say so. She will not be offended, she's a professional. Mind you it's no good saying it doesn't work and leaving it at that. Be constructive. A photographer that says a model is only another prop is not going to get the best from them. An umbrella, or a chair are not going to throw a strop if you insult them. They will still be an umbrella, or chair. An unhappy model will look dreadful. Having said all that you are paying for a service and no matter what, she should once she is in front of the camera turn into a star, your star for two hours. She'll find it a lot easier if you are friendly smiling and crack the occasional funny. I cannot say how your model will be, after all they are human and are all different. All I can tell you is they will not get much work if they are not friendly and helpful. Some actually say they love working with amateurs.
In all fairness I can honestly say that our mail bag is full of praise for models hired by guys that it is their first time. They write to tell us usually that the model was great, but everything else went wrong. So that's why this article came about.
You are paying for the studio time so rely on the guys their to help. They will clear off and leave you to it once the studio is set up.
Talk to the model. This is important. Sometimes it can be advantages to book the model through the studio, but they might not have the look you are seeking. Also there maybe problems like you hire a tall blonde with very long legs and on the day they may have to substitute a short brunette with not so good legs. It's important that you discuss all possibilities before hand rather than be disappointed on the day. This is your day, you are paying for it and have every right to expect it to go as planned. Do remember though shit happens and models get flu, trains are delayed and such like does happen.
I gave this article to two models and two studios to read prior to publication just to check we are all in agreement.
The models said, that there is nothing worse than having no clue what the photographer wants. They run through poses, but if they get no feed back how the hell can they know if what they are doing is right for him. They also said it's nice to be sent a couple of prints afterward for them to see how it went. If they are good sometimes they know of new models looking for TFP (Time for Prints) for their portfolios and they pass on details.
The studios said, that the above is the way to go. Please they ask don't front it out like you know everything about lighting if you don't. If they have the impression you know what you are doing they will leave you to it. If you ask for help they will be only to happy and I promise your pictures will be far better.
Finally if this seems all too much for you, quite a few studios organise events. This entails a group of amateurs and one model on a special evening. It keeps costs drastically down, but it can be a bit of a bun fight. As they say though, "Horses for courses!". These group sessions are great for networking and learning new techniques.
The main thing is to enjoy the experience of working with a professional adult glamour model. You will gain a great reputation as a photographer if you treat your models with respect and act professional all the time with them.