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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tips for Dealing with Flash Photography

Taking photos as a model means not only dealing with the photographer and whoever else is on set, but with the photography equipment as well. Being familiar with how to work with such items can make all the difference in how your images come out.

Posing in a studio can be an amazing experience for any model but because shooting indoors is very different from shooting outdoors, you'll need to learn to adjust, namely when it comes to dealing with the lighting equipment.

To maintain good color balance and avoid any harsh shadows, photographers must use lights--flash photography is becoming more and more widely used to create images that are clean, crisp and capture the subject perfectly. However, having such high intensity light flashing in front of your eyes can wreak havoc on your vision and can also be distracting, especially if you're not used to it.

The problem some models have deals with the issue of blinking. Of course you're going to have to blink and it isn't uncommon to accidentally blink during your photoshoot but with flash photography, I find that blinking usually becomes more of a problem. But luckily, it is one that can be easily remedied with practice. Some models have a tendency to blink a lot or their eyes get dry easily, causing them to blink faster/more often.

When a photo is taken during a blink either the model will look like she/he is closing his/her eyes or it may be in mid-blink, making it look like you're sleepy, drunk, or let's face it--strung out on drugs haha. To avoid these unsightly accidental pictures, it is helpful to communicate with your photographer to work around the flash/blink scenario.

One tip I've followed and put into practice with each studio shoot I do is to have the photographer do a countdown. I'll close my eyes and the photographer will count to 3 and then I'll open my eyes and take the photo with my expression and pose ready. This ensures that I won't blink as the photographer takes the picture and it gives my eyes some time to adjust to the lighting and avoid them from becoming dried out.

However, there is one setback to this suggestion if you are new to the game...if done wrong, the countdown method can have you looking like a deer in headlights. By now I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the eyes can make or break a photo. If you want to put the countdown method to use in your shoots, practice! Learn how to open your eyes and compose your expression so that the final image comes out naturally and not fake or weird looking.

While I have my eyes closed, I picture my facial expression in my head as well as how I want my body to be when the flash goes off. This is where practicing in front of a mirror is important. Unless you know how your body moves and what expressions your face can do, you won't be able to train it to adapt to the routine of flash photography in a studio.

This particular method of preserving your eyes also works well for shoots outdoors where you have the unfortunate task of facing the sun. Of course be sure to tell your photographer that you need a countdown before they take the picture. If you have good chemistry with the person you're working with, you'll easily be able to incorporate this method and get great pictures while keeping yourself from going blind.

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