Amy Ploof of Identities
Yes, it's me again, and yes another blog is coming your way, just after a short interval of time since the “oath” blog. When people come to my blog (especially models), I always want them to walk away with something that may help them along the way. A lot of the things I say may not affect them now, or even make sense, but somewhere down the line, the model may be in a photo shoot perhaps and a light bulb will go off an they will say to themselves: “THIS is what Dallas was talking about.”
If any of you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, models from coast to coast constantly hear me talk about boot camp, boot camp, boot camp. My dear friend and world renowned runway coach, Michael Maddox (http://www.michaelmaddoxrunway.com/, http://www.dearmichaelmaddox.com/, http://www.michaelmaddoxrunway.com/) talks about it in his seminars. My good friend and amazing hairstylist Tim Johnson explains it to models he is trying to develop in the southern states. I extol the fundamentals of modeling. The understanding of light, the understanding of a model’s angles, the importance of posing, the importance of emotion, the understanding of presence, how to connect with the camera/photographer, the true meaning of head to toe modeling. I’ve boot camped veterans and neophytes alike and every single time I was met with a “no one has ever told me that before.” Yeah, I’ve become that photographer.
So you, the model, will now think: “well I got some really great images now. I’ve worked on my personality. I’ve learned how to flirt. I went through Dallas’ boot camp. What more do I need to know?” A lot.
Honestly I am surprised I have never covered this topic before, but a model posed a serious question to me a couple of days ago which prompted this blog. He asked, “how do you prepare for a particular photographer?” To say the least, he stumped me.
Different photographers want different things and unless you know the photographer beforehand, or know what the project is going to be, you really don’t honestly know. Some photographers are very precise at how they want their models to pose. Some photographers are more organic at their approach and let the models pose for themselves and the photographer will look for the best possible angles. Some photographers want movement (be it hair, or body), and other photographers want you to pose like stone. It’s a crap shoot (pardon the pun), but if nothing else, you should always be prepared for anything which is the reason for this blog.
Models, how many times have you been booked for a particular designer, and you go online to look at their previous collections? That’s homework. How many times have you gone and actually studied a photographer’s website? Other than going to see if their work is “good or not?” Most of you haven’t. You normally just go to a photographer’s website to see if they are any good, and if they can give you "hot photos". This is also a time to study. What is the MODEL doing in that shot? What emotions are the model conveying. What kind of lighting is the photographer using to set a mood? How are the models groomed? This is very very very important.
Models, I cannot stress this enough, if time allows, always do your homework on who you are going to shoot with. When you go for a job interview you try to find out as much as you can about a company, it isn’t any different than studying a photographer’s work. Secondly, you should always be groomed at all times.
On more than one occasion, I have had models come through with unsightly body and facial hair (this is both male and female). Photographers HATE having to retouch hair that could’ve been taken care of in a quick shave, be it the lip line, the arm pit, the pubic area, jaw line/cheeks, or the back of the neck. Ladies, that pretty downy fluff that sprays across your cheek may look cute for your boyfriend, but if a photographer tries to back light you with that over the shoulder lighting, it comes across like Santa Claus. Males, if you are going to shave your torso, shave your arms and legs as well. Remember black models, hair on the body can photograph like dirt. How do you do your homework? If you go to a photographer’s website, look at the guys. Are they smooth? Hairy? Let that be your benchmark.
Deodorant. I cannot stress this enough as well. Gels everyone. Or sprays. Those blocky, chalky anti perspirant wreaks havoc on wardrobes as well as anything else that will require the model to bring their hand over their head and expose their armpits. Keep perfumes and colognes to an absolute minimum.
Hands and feet. Manicures and pedicures are paramount. You have no idea what may be captured in an image. Gnarled nails, and bad finger nail polish are a no-no. Remember ladies: neutral colors, short to medium length. Most of us prefer clear polish, or the rudimentary ¼ inch French manicure (anything longer and it comes across like an extra on Jersey Shore).
Hair. Gentlemen always keep it neat. If you are prone to being photographed with facial hair, always have it photo ready. If you can’t then in your bag of tricks bring your shaving equipment, be it shaving cream or clippers. Same holds true for ladies. This means eyebrows as well (gentlemen a neat eyebrow is different than a “done” one). Take care of those pesky nose and ears as well. And ladies, if you are prone to doing beauty, a well established photographer will normally have a well established crew. We prefer to have a model with freshly washed hair and no products in it whatsoever. At the shoot all of that will be taken care of. What happens is, if your hair is dirty, or weighed down by products, the hairstylist can’t achieve their end results, because they are fighting the product that is already in your hair and you start gunking up their equipment. If you have dye jobs, make sure they are fresh, there is nothing more frustrating then Photoshopping in the correct color of the roots. If you have weaves and extensions, make sure they are shoot ready and that you have qualified people doing your hair (REAL hair is much more preferred). And speaking of extensions, if you have clip on hair pieces or wigs, throw them in your bag of tricks (same rule holds true, make sure they are clean). This helps the hairstylist out tremendously if you have thin hair and they may need to build a style.
Makeup. Come with your face free of makeup. Most times, a lot of models don’t know their true color foundation and “shoot” makeup is a hell of a lot different than “every day” makeup. If per chance you have the fortunate discovery of finding your true foundation, always have it available at a shoot. It lets the makeup artist know that you are serious about what you do and that you are well equipped. This goes for guys as well. And all models should know how to apply the fundamentals of makeup. Both male and females. Most important: Skin moisturizer and LIP BALM!!!! Toothpaste and floss are also good to have. If your eyes are never at their “whitest” Visine is always a must for every model’s bag.
Underwear. Always carry fresh underwear in your bag of tricks and possibly different kinds of underwear. You will be surprised how underwear will photograph under garments. This holds true for bras, panties, thongs, briefs, boxer briefs and so forth. Gentlemen you should always have clean socks (both white and black) and ladies you should always have a pair of stockings.
Now that you’ve come well equipped and you had a stellar shoot, one of the most important things is a simple thank you to all you’ve worked with on the crew. A successful photograph starts with a team of people to achieve a required result. If possible, get a business card from each person involved and send them a thank you follow up. You would be surprised at the results. Many times I am contacted about the usage of a model and more often than not I am recommending the model that gave a damn versus the model that I never spoke to again. I’ve asked models about a particular photograph in their portfolio and the worse thing a photographer can hear is: “I don’t remember the photographer’s name.” Ultimate NO-NO because that tells me that you didn’t give a damn about that person and the work they went through to create a beautiful image for your portfolio. So let’s recap, shall we? Things that should always be in a model’s :”bag of tricks”:
- Clippers/razors/shaving equipment. This also means that you should have a towel, wash cloth and soap.
- Deodorant should be clear.
- Change of underwear, bra, socks, etc.
- Simple pair of fitted black jeans and a pair of casual black shoes.
- Hair products (clips, weaves, etc.).
- Fingernail polish / remover (you may have to change your nail color while you are there). Fingernail clippers.
- Makeup products and makeup remover as well as a good moisturizer and lip balm and Visine.
- Don’t forget thank you.