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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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Modeling On Location: Prepare for Looky Loos

I was reminiscing about some of the shoots I've done over the years and they inspired me to do a post about the topic of having spectators present while shooting on location. Everybody is nosy--don't lie to yourself, you know you've been guilty of it at one time or another. One thing you'll quickly learn while pursuing your modeling career (male or female) is that when it comes to working outdoors, some people just don't know how to act.

Whether it is a photographer's camera or a video camera shooting a film, commercial or other related project, the appearance of any kind of "media" always gets people's attention. As a model it is wise to learn how to accept this as yet another part of the territory that comes with modeling and take it in stride.

Parks, shopping centers, sidewalks and other similar venues are wonderful places to do shoots because you have a lot to work with. Unlike working in a studio, you often cannot help the presence of the public milling about. If you are working with a photographer on location in a public area be prepared for the looky loos. Some know how to conduct themselves, while others can become outright distractions. This is especially the case when it comes to female models--you don't even have to be scantily clad for a wiseguy to toss out a couple of catcalls.

New/inexperienced models may not know how to handle this kind of attention, which is natural, however you must recover from the shock quickly and put your focus back on your shoot. It's okay to laugh and be a bit bashful about receiving attention from the public during a shoot but that should only last for a minute or two--then go straight back to work. If the distractions become too much to handle, the photographer will make a judgment call so allow him/her to delegate how the rest of the shoot will go.

Of course if you are super uncomfortable, express your thoughts to the photographer. But on the flip side, modeling is about following direction and if the photographer wants to shoot in an area where there are tons of people around, it is your job to perform and deliver. Period.

I am not trying to be harsh but I cannot stress enough how important it is to be professional and just roll with the punches. Being uncomfortable is one thing but if you allow it to bother you to the point where you can't take good photos, then you probably should find another line of work to pursue. Models deal with situations that regular, everyday people would never want to deal with: posing in swimwear in freezing temperatures, being extremely up close and personal with a model of the opposite sex, changing in front of strangers (for runway shows), etc.

Shooting and dealing with attention from the public is yet another circumstance that you just have to suck up and use to your advantage. Anytime I'm shooting outdoors I always expect to have someone make a loud and distracting comment, stand behind the photographer and stare at me while I'm posing, working while a small crowd gathers to watch what's happening, having people pull out camera phones and snap a couple of shots...the list goes on and on. I take it in stride, smile and keep on posing.

For instance, years ago I was shooting in front of San Francisco City Hall. As I was posing, a huge tour bus filled with tourists pulled up and as the people spilled out of the bus, the first thing they saw was me and the photographer. Within minutes I had Dutch tourists whipping out their cameras and taking my picture. Personally, I thought it was hilarious--I joked with the photographer later on that they'd be disappointed when they got home, developed the pictures and realized that I wasn't some American supermodel.

Yes, it can be unnerving to have someone other than the photographer watching your every move but instead of letting it get to you and knock you off your game, benefit from it. Instead of seeing it as something terrifying, look at it as if you're a celebrity--heck, to the common passerby you are for all they know!

Enjoy the attention--trust me, 99.9% of models naturally enjoy being the center of attention or else they wouldn't be in this field! If things get out of hand with the spectator distractions, the photographer and/or client will move the shoot to another location. If they decide to stay where they are, put your best foot forward, smile for the camera and do what you do best. That's really all there is to it.

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