Tag: fashion photography

Posing Models Part 2: How to Pose Models for Fashion Photography

Fashion shoots take a lot to organize, and moving from concept to set is no easy task. It can cost a lot to run a shoot. It will cost more if you have to work overtime. The best way to avoid this is to give clear direction to the models. In Part 1, How to Work with Models, we gave some advice for maintaining clear communication on set, now let’s look at how to pose models for a fashion shoot.

Brief the Model

Briefing the model is always where you should start. As it’s a fashion shoot, the client should have given an idea of the style they want the photographs to take. Convey this to the model, along with any other information about featuring the products. The model will have a better understanding of how to pose if they understand the needs of the client. You should also quickly let the model know which lights are the main lights so they can position themselves accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask them to move out of or into the lights.

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Once you’ve briefed the model, use the following quick tips for fashion posing throughout the shoot:

  • Fashion tends to be high energy, and the model should maintain tension across the entire body to create the right effect.
  • Unless you’re looking for action shots, tell the model to make small adjustments instead of drastic changes as they shift poses. This will ensure there’s no motion blur in the image, and small changes actually make a big difference between photographs.
  • Make sure the model knows which products are being featured, and encourage them to play around with the props and featured products or accessories. If they are modeling pants, make sure they keep their legs at least slightly apart.
  • The model’s expression should reach the eyes. If it doesn’t, the picture will fall flat.
  • Don’t let them get too close to the lights to avoid a high white balance in parts of the image.

Use Posing to Create the Illusion of a Perfect Body

Many believe that you need a nearly perfect body for modeling. The truth is, there are a lot of tips and tricks that models use to create this illusion. If you’re working with someone new to the fashion photography, don’t be afraid to offer some advice throughout the shoot.

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Here are some quick tips that will help to correct any flaws:

  • Keep arms away from the body. Placing hands on the hips will create negative space around the torso and make the waist look slimmer.
  • Keeping the knees turned in will create slimmer hips and negative space between the thighs. This can also be achieved by angling the body to the side while shoulders are turned towards the camera.
  • Leaning forward with the back slightly hunched will minimize a bigger bust.
  • Keeping the chin raised will make the forehead appear smaller.
  • Avoid keeping the arms pressed against the torso. Even when the elbows are not angled out, the model’s arm shouldn’t completely touch the torso. This will result in a slimmer arm.
  • Elongate the neck. This does not feel natural for the model, so they may need you to remind them.

Face, Hands, and Feet

No one forgets how important the face is to the shoot, but you shouldn’t underestimate the feet and hands either. If the feet or hands fall flat, the image will not be as good as it could have been.

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Here are a few notes to pose models with feet and hands in mind on your next fashion shoot:

  • Keep the mouth slightly open. It adds vulnerability to the image while also creating a “come hither” look that is inviting to the viewer.
  • Avoid showing too much white in the eyes by telling the model to look in the same direction their nose points.
  • Keep the chin down while also extending it out. This will help elongate the neck without losing definition in the chin.
  • Unless the purpose of the shoot is to highlight a shoe, make sure the model’s feet aren’t the closest thing to the camera. What’s closest is also biggest, and that can create a strange effect.
  • Always show hands angled with curled fingers. A straight shot of the flattened back of the hand will make them appear large and unusual.
  • Feet and hands should have tension. If the model is having a hard time with the feet, get them to jump around or take big, slow steps.

There will be more detailed information about hand, face, and feet posing in Part 3 of this series. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are if you can’t work with the model properly, so check out the entire series on how to pose models to make sure you’re ready for your next big shoot!

How to Get a Fashion Photography Agent

When you’re ready to get your career as a photographer going, you might consider getting an agent or a rep. An agent will take some of the money from your sales, but they offer a lot of good as well. Agents know people and have spent years building professional relationships. They can use those relationships to help get you a job as a professional fashion photographer. Getting an agent will take some time, and a lot of effort. You can’t expect to get an agent just on your photos alone, but with enough passion and drive, you can get a rep who will help sell your work.

Have Work Ready – Start Small

An agent won’t want to work with you just because you have a good personality and a passion for pictures. Having those qualities help, but won’t get you a rep. You have to prove to a future agent that you’re going to get them money. You have to prove that your work will sell.

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Sure, it is possible to get an agent just by having really great pictures, but the best way to prove your worth is to already have work sold. This means you’re going to need to start small. Work with a small business. Take photos for a new online site. Get a job selling pictures to your local magazines or newspapers. Having sold work to small businesses won’t deter an agent, but will actually help show them that your work has value.

Research

Don’t send fashion pictures to an agent who sells landscape photography. Not only will you not get an agent, but this looks entirely unprofessional. Before sending your work off, do the research. Look for agents that present your genre of photography. Then, look at who they’re representing. Maybe they’re an agent for someone you admire.

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Look at the photographs they’re selling and look for qualities that you want in your own photography. Also look at where they’re selling their work. Make sure that the agent is getting good jobs for their clients. Make a list of several possible agents and send out your work.

Show Off

You have to sell yourself when getting an agent. Don’t hold back on the bragging rights. Tell them about all of the jobs you’ve had, no matter how small they are. Let them know about any awards you’ve won for your work. Don’t worry if it’s something small and local, being recognized shows your worth. Now is not the time to be humble. Show off your best work.

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Make your portfolio a showcase of your best pictures; the ones that show off your unique style and abilities. You want to give a prospective agent the impression that you are professional and have work that will make money.

If You Get Rejected

Getting rejected doesn’t mean your work is bad. Rejections from agents and employers are common in any art world. There are several reasons that an agent might reject your work. Maybe they’re already full on clients and don’t have the time to work with you. Perhaps an agent is trying to break out of their shell and showcase different types of work. There is the chance that they did not like your work, but that is no reason to get discouraged.

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After getting a rejection, it’s important to keep your spirits up. Yes it’s hard, and getting rejected hurts, but you can’t give up. The first thing you should do after a rejection is ask for a follow-up. In a very polite and courteous manner, ask for tips going forward. Agents know a lot about the fashion photography world. They’ll be able to tell you what about your work didn’t work.

Maybe you’re photographing last year’s fashion trends. Maybe you need to focus more on model poses. Whatever the reason, asking for advice will show professionalism and will help you improve your work. If you ever submit to them again in the future, they’ll be more willing to look at your work.

Do what you’re told. This doesn’t mean you need to destroy your artistic integrity. But if an agent tells you that you need to tone down the work on the green clothes, take that into serious consideration. Agents and reps know what works and what sells. So when they make a suggestion, it’s in your best interest to follow them.

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Getting an agent is a good step if you want to bring your professional career to the next level. An agent or rep can sell your work to bigger businesses and clients that will get you more money. These professionals know the market and will help you improve your craft as well as sell your work. Making it in the world of fashion photography without an agent is possible, but spending the time to find one will help you in the future.

Using Natural Light in Fashion Photography

Having a studio with flash lighting can be great for shooting fashion. However, sometimes you don’t have the space or the money for such a studio. Sometimes using natural light for fashion photography creates a better look for your work. Either way, using the sun and the clouds is a great alternative to getting your pictures. And if you find that your pictures still don’t turn out the way you want, there’s an easy fix. Using the Sleeklens Chasing Light Workflow you can turn your fashion photographs into amazing pieces of art.

Time of Day

When shooting outside in the direct sunlight, you need to pay attention to the time of day. The first and last two hours of sunlight are the best times to shoot. During these hours the sun is soft enough of a light source. The angle of the light will strike the unique bone features of your model’s face and create flattering shadows and planes of light. However, with the sun directly in front of the model, the face gets washed out. With the sun directly behind the model, the entire body and face will be covered in shadows.

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To get the best photo using natural light, you should shoot with the sun to the left or right of the model. This angle will help get you the best fashion photo from natural light. When shooting in direct sunlight, it is also best to coordinate with darker fashion colors. Using natural light with light colors can wash out the colors and ruin the fashion (which is the focal point of your photography).

Shooting in the Shade

If you can’t find the time to shoot in the morning or evening, finding a shady spot is a great way to keep using natural light. Somewhere like under a tree or beneath a tall building can also add a certain mood to your photo. However, if you’re shooting in the shade, you run the risk of losing important details in both the model’s face and the fashion.

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To help counteract this, you can use a reflector. A reflector will catch the light of the sun and redirect it towards your model. It operates like a mirror, except toned down to help give an overall light instead of a focused point. When shooting in the shade you still want to use darker colored clothing, but can get away with some lighter tones.

Shooting Indoors

Using natural light doesn’t mean you have to shoot outdoors. If you have a room with a lot of windows or one big window you can get the same effect. If you’re using a room with lots of windows, set your model in the center with their back facing the wall that has the least amount of windows. This helps avoid creating an unwanted backlight that will shadow the fashion. If you’re using a room with one large window, place the model next to the window with their side facing it.

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This is the same setup as using the sun outside, to help avoid washing out and shadows on the clothing and face. When shooting through windows it’s always best to use soft drapes to help soften the light.

Creating Natural Light

Sometimes the weather doesn’t play nice with photography. If you find yourself needing to shoot with natural light, but it’s stormy outside, then you can create the effect of natural lighting indoors. Using a spotlight, set up mirrors around the perimeter of the room. By reflecting the spotlight off of the mirrors you fill the room with a softened light that reflects flooding the room with sunlight. This is a great trick to get the effect you want with an uncooperative mother nature.

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Using Lightroom

Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. If you find that shooting in natural light doesn’t work out for you, you can use Lightroom to add the effect. The Sleeklens bundle Chasing Light is an excellent resource for editing photos. The bundle can help fix simple errors, like having too much light directly in the model’s face. You can also fix bigger problems, such as bringing back the color in a washed out dress.

Natural light is a great way to get a unique mood in your fashion photography and make your photography stand out to an employer. It can be difficult to get a great photo taken with natural light. However, if your photo doesn’t come out looking the way you want, you can easily fix it with the Sleeklens Chasing Light Lightroom bundle. With enough practice, and the right timing, you can create wonderful fashion photographs from natural light settings.

Where to Find Models for Fashion Photography

Whether you’re experimenting with fashion photography for the first time or you’re a pro looking for a fresh face to work with, finding models can be frustrating. If you’re a full-time photographer, you likely have the personal and professional contacts you need to find a model. If you’re a beginner, you may be surprised to learn you already have the contacts you need to get started as well.

Although contacting a modelling agency is always an option, it’s usually the most expensive. You don’t need to spend that kind of money for a model, especially when you’re just getting started. It’s always best to start small. Look as close to home as possible and slowly expand from there. Thanks to the internet, you can get in touch with thousands of prospective models within minutes. Remember, though, start small.

Start Small

Often, the best models are people you know. These could be friends, friends of friends or even relatives. You may get a pleasant surprise and find a friend with modeling experience. Even if you’re not friends with any models, however, take this as a chance to develop your coaching skills. After all, even professionals will need your input to make sure you get the image you’re trying to create.

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Working with friends is fun and casual, which allows new photographers to relax and focus on the camera. Photographs taken with people you know can be just as good as photos taken with professional models. If you’re new to fashion photography, working with models, or both, it’s a good idea to remove stress from the situation by enlisting familiar faces.

Social Media

Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are great for making connections with local artists. By joining photography groups and actively seeking models, stylists, and makeup artists through these websites, you can compile an impressive list of contacts in very short order. You can use Facebook groups and pages to post a shout out for models, and models in your area may post shout outs of their own.

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By wielding social media as a recruitment tool, you avoid registration fees that many freelance sites charge, and you are far more likely to find people willing to trade for work rather than charge a fee. Keep in mind, however, that a lot of models still charge fees through social media. They have the same needs you do.

Model Mayhem

Model Mayhem is a website for professional photographers to meet professional models, hair stylists, makeup artists, and more. In principle, you can use this single site to set up an entire shoot. As with anything that labels itself as a professional tool, however, Model Mayhem does charge. You can upgrade or downgrade your account, but extra features incur extra costs, and some are only available to clients who pay the highest monthly fees.

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Since it’s such a unique website, Model Mayhem has gathered a mixed bag of reviews. Many users love it, swear by it, and would never use anything else. Others, however, have had terrible experiences and scoff at anyone who still uses the website to find professional models. Although the entry fee is meant to discourage novices and untrained artists from using the website, it’s still possible to bump into someone who has no idea what they are doing. With that in mind, be sure you’re ready to invest in something like Model Mayhem before you hand over the cash.

Once you’ve invested, scrutinize potential talent carefully, and remember that this is the internet, where it’s easy to lie. Pay attention to notes from photographers who’ve worked with a potential model before, investigate their prior experience, and do your due diligence before making contact.

Freelancing Sites

You can find models on other freelancing websites, including generic sites like Fiverr. The disadvantage, of course, is that it’s much harder to find exactly what you’re looking for on such sites. The services may be cheaper, but it’s harder to look into an individual’s background or check out their portfolio. It’s easier for photographers to sell their work through these websites, but it is possible to find professional models. If you find a reliable model through Fiverr, they are probably some of the most expedient in the business thanks to Fiverr’s policies and speed of delivery.

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You may be surprised how well your friends and acquaintances can model, and you may be surprised how well you can direct them. Using the connections you have is the best way to proceed, but if you’re looking to challenge yourself, try striking a deal through free social media websites.

Spending less money hunting for models allows you to spend more on the models themselves, or on the props, fashion, or location you’ll be shooting. Freelance websites like Model Mayhem still have their purposes, though, and they can open up a wider world for photographers. No matter which path you take, always do your due diligence ahead of time.

Do you know your photo edit limits?

We are living awesome times regarding to technical advances. Our digital cameras improve every year, the optical of our lenses is high quality, and our photos have better resolution than ever. Also the software for photo editing is in continuum evolution. Photoshop, Lightroom… their editing capacities seem endless.  We can do easily some basic adjustments: hue, exposure, contrast, saturation, clarity or other similar features to improve the look of a photograph. It is what we call enhancement. But we can also clone out objects/persons from the frame; add interesting skies that were not there before, make eyes bigger, people slimmer… (manipulation). These software tools made us free to do as many things as we want. But the fact that we can do what we want means that we should do it? Is it ethical editing photos? Should be define our photo edit limits? The answer to this question is not as easy as it seems.

Photo edit limits
This is the Raw photo. Straight form the camera

Photo edit limits

This is the same photo after I did some enhancements in order to achieve the look I wanted (I darkened the background, I cropped and straightened the photo, adjust contrast, clarity and some other features). I also did some modifications because I deleted the two little bugs that were sitting on the flower and a lighter area next to the flower (lower right corner). I delete them because I found them distracting.

Do an internet search about ethics in photo editing or photo manipulation and you will find all sort of opinions about this subject. Some people think that photo editing is not right, especially when you are talking about photojournalism. Other people believe that photo editing is part of the photographic creative process. They say that photos have always being manipulated somehow. In the past photographers used the dark room to apply their manipulations. Now we do it in a computer. But there is has always been some kind of photo editing.

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I enjoy editing my photos. In this one I played with Photoshop filters just to give a more painterly look to the photos.

The limits of how much photo edition is acceptable seem to be dependent on the photography field.  In case of photojournalism, there are ethical codes. Although excessive manipulations are not accepted, minor ones usually do. Unfortunately there are no clear standards that define the differences between minor and excessive photo manipulations. Oxford’s university’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in association with World Press Photo published a report on “The State of News Photography”. The report contains the results of a survey done to the photographers that entered the World Press Photo Competition of 2015.  1549 photographers completed the survey. They answered 63 questions about diverse subjects, including ethics. Almost 73% of the photographers said that they never manipulate their photos (meaning adding or removing elements). So it seems that manipulation is avoided for most of the photographers (notice that I said “most of”. The other 27% manipulate photos at some level sometimes). The answer about photo enhancement was more diverse. Just 9.4% of the photographers admitted never enhancing their photos. All the rest (90.6%) enhanced their photos sometimes (32.7%), half of the time (7.1%), often (21.8%) or even always (28.9%).  They also asked them if they follow ethical guidelines. The answer was interesting:  26% followed their company’s ethical codes and 58% their own standards. This means that more than half of the pictures are subjected to just individual ethical restrictions. Is this right? How do we know the type of editions that the photo we have in front has suffered? Just enhancement? A minor manipulation? What does minor manipulation means for the author of the photo? All these are difficult questions, aren’t they?

Photo edit limits

Did I edit this photo? Although it might seem a pretty simple photo (just a flower), it is also an edited photo. Here I enhanced the sky ad I increased the contrast and the saturation to make the photo more vibrant.

On the other side of the scale we have fine art photography. This field totally relies on photo editing. Fine art photographers use all the available tools to show their internal vision of reality. Fine art photographers are usually Photoshop masters too. However, things are not so clear in other fields. Fashion photography is not subjected to the photojournalism code of ethics. Does this mean that they can alter the image of a model to create an unrealistic view of beauty? How does this affect to the public? And what about nature photography? And landscape? Are the manipulations we do to enhance skies or to delete garbage acceptable?

Photo edit limits

Landscapes are also subjected to enhancements and modifications. I usually enhance the skies and I delete all the garbage I can.

After all this information, it is your turn: To edit, or not to edit: that is the question. You already saw how subjective this issue is. I will share with you my personal decisions about the subject.

My edition boundaries:

  • I do modify backgrounds in order to make them look cleaner: I delete garbage and objects that might distract from the main object of my photo.
  • I do enhance the general appearance of a background: I do basic adjustments and I apply presets if they can save me time or they can help me achieve my photographic vision.
  • I do enhance the look of my models: I keep my models natural and I just do light adjustments to add brightness to their eyes, skin and eyes. I delete pimples and red skin.
  • I do not change the body shape of my model or delete permanent marks (such as beauty marks). I do not change the color of their eyes or hair.
  • I do inform my clients of all the modifications and enhancements I will do to their pictures.
  • I do not hide the type of enhancements and modifications I do to my photos.
Photo edit limits
I do edit my portraits. I usually do basic enhancements and if I modify something, it is the background (to clean it) or some pimples or red skin. I do add brightness to the eyes, skin and hair. But I always keep my model as natural as possible.

Take into account that I am a portrait and nature photographer. I do not do photojournalism or fashion photography. I enjoy editing my photos and I consider it part of the creation of my photography. However, I try always to be respectful and think of the consequences of my editions. Might my editions be harmful to somebody? If the answer is yes, I won’t apply these editions. I hope my point of view will inspire you to define your own photo edition limits.