Thursday, January 29, 2009

A simple check-list to get you on your way to shooting models.

1. Practice with your camera on other things till you know it back to front.

2. Look at tons of photographs and figure out what you like and what you'd like to make. Talk to photographers whose work you admire, read tutorials, be a sponge and absorb as much as you can.

3. Find a simple model release - even if you're shooting your best friend in the whole world you'll need one and it can save you a lot of heartache in the end if you both agree IN WRITING as to what can be done with the photos. Be sure to show this release to your model before the shoot.

4. Shoot outdoors with a friend. Natural outdoor lighting is great to work in if you hit the golden hours (two hours before and right after sunrise, and two hours before sunset right up till sunset - or some approximation of those times, it depends on where you live, the time of year, and the weather).

5. Look up tutorials on how to retouch portraits, and try a bunch out to find a method that works best for you.

6. Develop a logical work flow and filing system, and always back-up your photos in two places.

7. Be timely about getting photographs back to your models. Nothing sucks more than collaborating on a project only to never get photos back. It's a bad habit to get into, and eventually it can ruin your reputation and make models not want to work with you.

8. Repeat steps 1-7 several times. My first seven shoots, which took place over the course of nearly a year, (not including all the times I took self-portraits) were of friends in a no-pressure situation. Four of them took place outside or indoors near windows to use natural light. Practice with friends till you feel good giving direction, experiment indoors with various lighting, and eventually you'll find your skill level, knowledge, and confidence photographing people will increase.

And don't forget the most important step of all... have fun! :)

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