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Monday, May 16, 2011

Breaking Down the Time Structure of a Modeling Photoshoot

This blog post was inspired by an email I received from a model hopeful, asking how models are able to come up with enough poses to last during a 4-8 hour shoot. After answering the email I decided the topic would make for a great post...so here we go!

The main thing to keep in mind when it comes to posing and shoot time is that no model is in front of the camera the entire time. So even if you're scheduled for a shoot that lasts 4-8 hours, you're not going to be posing for 4-8 hours straight--that would just be insanity!

Additionally, each pose does not have to be dramatically different from the others. Below is a basic breakdown of the time structure that most photoshoots follow. Please keep in mind that not all shoots are the same so the information below is only to be used for reference...there are always exceptions to the rule but for now this will suffice for models of all skill levels:
  • Hair & Makeup: 1 - 2 hours
  • Wardrobe/Fitting/Changing: varies on how simple or difficult each outfit is to put on in between changes but you can expect this part of the process to take up between 10-15 minutes each time.
  • Waiting for the Photographer/Crew to Set Things Up: 20 minutes or longer for each change in location or outfit (remember my saying, "Hurry up and wait?" Well, it definitely comes into play when the photographer and/or the crew are setting up lights, doing test shoots, changing out equipment, etc.).
  • Actual Shoot Time: varies but anywhere from 10-15 minutes at a time.
If you consider that this process repeats itself throughout the duration of the shoot (shooting, changing, touching up hair, makeup and wardrobe and adjusting the lights and other equipment for the next set of images), it's easy to see how it can take up hours out of the day BUT without having you as the model in front of the camera the entire time.

As far as worrying about coming up with various poses to do when you are shooting, the key thing to remember is that you don't have to create an entirely different pose each time the photographer snaps a photo. Of course all of the poses aren't supposed to look the same but what I'm saying is that you can easily create multiple poses by changing little things while holding an existing pose.

For example, let's say you're standing up with your legs posed a certain way and your arms are crossed in front of you. Here are some subtle changes you can make without having to do a totally different pose but still create mini poses at the same time:
  1. Look straight at the camera and smile
  2. Look straight at the camera and don't smile
  3. Keep your face looking straight at the camera but your eyes are looking somewhere else while smiling
  4. Keep your face looking straight at the camera but your eyes are looking in a different place and this time you're not smiling
  5. Turn your face to a 3/4 angle
  6. Tilt your head slightly to the left
  7. Tilt your head slightly to the right
...are you sensing a pattern here? LOL. That list right there is already 7 poses that can be knocked out during your shoot. Again, you should give a variety of dynamic poses but for each major pose you do, break down each one into mini poses that will provide more images for the client to choose from. Additionally, the photographer will more than likely suggest certain poses as well, or tell you to hold a pose while he/she snaps away. 

With time and practice, any model will eventually become comfortable with how shoots work and won't have any problem coming up with suitable poses to get the money shot.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dania! Gorgeous new banner pic by the way :). I was wondering- I'm attempting to get signed with a Chicago agency called Factor Women. It's a large agency, it and Ford are the two major ones in the Chicago area. If I got signed,and I went to LA for a few days for a competition, would my agent be able to book me work there during the times I'm not competing? Thanks,

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #141." Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Much success and many blessings to you ! I see big opportunity in your future !