There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Reality Check: Photoshoots & the "Money Shot" in Modeling

I can't help but be tickled when I come across some postings put up by models or photographers looking for people to work with on shoots...I'm mainly referring to the ones that make statements along the lines of: the shoot should probably only take about 15-30 minutes or an hour or two. Really?

I guess that such a thing could be possible--if quality is completely thrown out of the window. It is important for models and photographers alike (but mainly models for this particular post) to understand the numbers game when it comes to shoots and why you can't realistically produce "money shot" images within such a short amount of time (at least not 100% accurately all the time).

Some people's minds boggle at the fact that it takes HUNDREDS of photos to find the "money shot"...that one image that just screams "AMAZING!" But it's true. While there is such a thing as short shoots that range from 1-2 hours or so, it is a good idea to prepare yourself for what you find as you review the images afterwards.

Even the best models do not always consistently take great pictures one after another during a shoot. You blink, you sneeze, wipe your nose, fix your hair, make silly faces, aren't paying attention or just simply don't take a good picture at times. Such shots make up 90% - 95% of the total images taken throughout the duration of a photoshoot. And it is completely normal.

In fact, it can teach humility. Trust me, viewing tons of images of yourself over time and seeing the good, the bad and the ugly definitely gives you a greater appreciation of what it takes to find that one killer image that deems a shoot a success.

The images I shared from my most recent shoots are prime examples. The fashion shoot I did in San Francisco produced a little more than 450 pictures total. That's a LOT of pictures! But the more images that are shot, the greater the odds are of finding the money shot or shots. Out of the 450 that I reviewed (I was lucky enough to work with a photographer that gave me full access to an online gallery of the images afterwards), I "liked" 20-25. Of that 20-25, I "loved" about 10-12. Of the 10-12, I deemed 6 of them "great." The total images that will end up printed out in hi resolution for my portfolio: 2.

Think about it, aside from eliminating the tons of shots that are no good, you can really only use one or two of the images from each shoot in a portfolio. Remember, it's about showing diversity in your portfolio, not multiple images of the same look.

This is why it is so important to plan accordingly and understand that taking hundreds of pictures that don't look that great does not mean you are a bad model. Again, it's about increasing the odds and that can only happen when a photographer and/or the client has plenty of pictures to choose from.

Instead of trying to focus on getting the pose and facial expression perfect with each click of the camera, which is incredibly hard and even more time consuming BTW, it is much easier to just set aside a good chunk of time in which to capture the money shot. Having 2-4 hours or more to shoot one or more concepts allows for greater flexibility and it gives the model and photographer time to warm up to each other and establish that chemistry that produces wonderful images.

It isn't uncommon to look at the images afterwards and witness a gradual change in the way the poses and expressions turn out over the period of the shoot. Most models find that the best images are towards the end of the shoot since by this time they've become completely comfortable in front of the camera with the concept, clothing, makeup, location, etc.

So the next time you're looking for a photographer to shoot with, make sure that you've got the full  understanding of the effort it takes to create that one image that you'll be proud to display in your portfolio.

1 comment:

PictureMe2 on a iPad! said...

I love reading anything about photography!

Thank you for posting this!

Man.. How could I forget about the Money-shots!???

I have a lot of work lined up for me. Loving your blog!