Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When to charge and other related questions

When to charge?

It's a question that photographers and models alike tend to ask quite a bit. Am I ready to charge? How much should I charge? What if no one pays?

To simplify the topic, you're ready to charge when people are willing to pay you.

But when is that? How do you know?

For both models and photographers, a good sign is that you're booking more work than you can do. Photographers, if you have 5 shoots a week and you can only manage 3, then it's time to start charging. The same goes for models.

When you have something no one else does, chances are you can get away with charging. It's no secret that girls who shoot nude get paid more, but that's because there are less of them in the area and they're in demand. Girls who have a specific look, or a large repertoire of poses, or are stylists and makeup artists.....anything that sets them apart from the crowd will help them charge faster than other people. When there are so many people shooting TF*, it's important to set yourself apart from the crowd.

But what do you charge?

Look at the photographers around you. What seems to be average? How do you see your work in comparison to theirs? And then you charge accordingly.

The same goes for models. Can you pose as well? Can your emote? Can you bring something more to the shoot than the other girls.

Once you start charging...

That doesn't mean that you charge everyone. If someone can help your portfolio, then don't send rates. The key to building a strong portfolio is to always work with people who can help your portfolio, whether that means working with someone TF* or paying them. You send rates to the people who can't benefit your portfolio, and work TF* or pay those who can.

An important note about charging and setting rates, be realistic. No matter how long you've been shooting, or how much your spend on maintaining your appearance , none of that plays into your rates. What does play into your rates is your level of experience, and your ability to produce something worth buying. Models, can you pose and emote well, and do you maintain your appearance? Photographers, can your consistently create strong work that will benefit a model?

And let me be blunt here, no one cares how much you've spent on equipment. Just because your photography equipment totals 10,000 doesn't mean models have to pay you. Models, just because you're cute and you've been modeling for a year, photographers don't have to pay you. Honestly, no one has to pay anyone...it's their prerogative. Which brings me to my next point...

Don't take offense. If you've been sent rates, that simply means that the person sending the rates feel that your work won't benefit them at that current time. It's not an insult, it's just business.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Fashion Side of Things

It's funny how life works, it really is.

When I first started shooting, I said I would never shoot fashion. Although I love fashion, and I have a few copies of Vogue stowed away in a bookshelf, fashion didn't seem the right fit for me. If you've seen me, I'm a bit of an awkward girl, mousy, crooked smile, and I certainly don't appear to be the height of fashion. But hey, if Ann Ward can be fashion, so can I...right?

So here I am, shooting the fashion side of things (as I like to call it).

I love Terry Richardson, although I find his actions with models questionable. The ring flash is my new best friend. And as I continue to shoot, I'm realizing more and more how much I love fashion and how malleable I find it.

Fashion isn't just about clothes, it's a mood, it's a lifestyle. The lighting can be simple or complex. The clothing can be intricate, or minimal. But somehow it all ties together to create the fashion genre...it just works.

And it just works for me. It 'appeals' to me as I often tell people, and I plan to continue down the fashion path as long as it continues to 'appeal' to me.

What does that mean for you? Well, more fashion work on my Facebook, and more of a fashion focus in portrait shoots and even weddings. I want to infuse fashion into all facets of my work, subtly, but with flair. I want to create something unique and new for the Quad Cities, and I hope that it'll have a place. If not, well, I suppose I'll have to make one.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vegas Baby!

This is the point where I talk about how very blessed I am, and how awesome my life is.

I'm in Vegas right now, something I never expected to happen. Last night, I was at the Playboy club, something I've always wanted to do. But alas, I'm a college student, and my only income is from photography which doesn't allow me to do too much traveling. Between attending class, and balancing photo work and homework, my schedule and finances don't exactly allow for extensive traveling.

But here I am, in Vegas, typing from the home of a very talented, and very established photographer. April Berry is currently in the bathroom curling her hair before we go out to the dry lake bed to shoot some distinctly Vegas photos.

So how did I get here? Roger Talley, who you may know as the guy who wrote "The Professional's Guide to Modeilng" spotted April Berry through my work on Model Insider. Now if you know April, and you've had the pleasure of working with her, then you know that she's one hell of a model and she has an amazing look. Not only is the beautiful, she's exceedingly versatile. (and you know what that means, if you haven't shot with her, you need to!)

Well, Roger could tell that April was exceptional, so one thing lead to another and here we are in Vegas. April as the model, and me as her seeing eye dog. Turns out, there are amazing perks to being a well trained seeing eye dog.

Firt things first, simply being in Vegas. It's gorgeous. Vegas sits in a valley, so it's surrounded by mountains...I love mountains. But add in the beautiful sunsets the past few days, and they're simply stunning. Then you look at the strip and amazingness that it offers. And for April and I, it's a whole change of scenery. Not only are there mountains, but there's desert, a dry lake bed, and so many food options that we don't know what to do with ourselves. Oh yeah, we've turned into tourists, it's okay.

On Saturday, Roger brought over a local model who is signed with an agency. Since she has similar measurements to April, she brought over some great wardrobe to shoot, and on top of it all, she's also a fantastic MUA. Really, she's ideal. Needless to say, we got some great shots.

Now onto Sunday. There was some more shooting, we hit the strip to get some shots there (editorial style) and then we hit the arts district for more 'edgy' looks. (By the way, what exactly does edgy mean?) Then to top off the day, (after a short but much needed nap) we hit the Palms Casino to go and enjoy the Playboy Club which Roger was photographing for the night.

You see, I'm a huge fan of Playboy. I love the history, I like the magazine, and I like the feel. Oh, and Hef? I can't help but admire all the work he's done and everything he's accomplished. So Playboy? I'm a fan. And going to the Playboy club, something I thought I would never get to do, well that was huge for me. So I bought a dress, did my hair, and threw on some makeup. For once, I looked like a girl, not a photographer with some old t-shirt thrown on.

Off we went to the Playboy club. Everything I had hoped for? Of course. And April decided to join the Playboy Club calendar contest and made it to the top 4, even though she insisted she wasn't what Playboy was looking for. Between the photo shoot for the calendar contest, and the announcement we sat and chilled, enjoyed the company of the other Playboy club goers (if you want to see a beautiful well dressed crowd, that is most certainly the place), watched the bunnies and admired the outfits, and just had fun! But now I want to go back, this could be bad...what has Vegas done to me!?!

On the trip back to Roger's place, he indulged April and myself in our semi-drunken need for tacos. (of course, what else?) Poor Roger, three a.m., and we're eating tacos off of his counter like they're going out of style.

And that brings us to now. April and myself got a bit of a late start (what do you expect? We didn't get in til 3) and now she's curling her hair getting ready for the dry lake bed. And after that? Sushi. And then the redeye back home, which is a poor choice after only getting somewhere around 4 hours of sleep.

But it's all worth it. So very worth it.

And did I mention? My job rocks. My life rocks. And I have so many people to thank for that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Modeling Genres: They're Everywhere!

Fashion - No models below 5'8 allowed, well, unless you're Kate Moss. These are the girls you're going to see in high end ad campaigns and on the runway during New York fashion week. Height is essential, as well as posing skills, and these models are few and far between because of the strict physical requirements and innate modeling ability needed.

Commercial - JcPenney's catalog, anyone? Those models you see when you open up the Sunday newspaper with the ads, they're commercials models. 5'6 and taller, well maintained models who tend to do understated, classic posing that will tempt you into buying whatever the store is selling.

Plus Size - Plus size is an industry term, and it's not just a broad term for 'not fashion model size'. The plus size industry still has a certain look for the most part. Models who are beautiful, and busty, and have an hour glass figure. The models are toned, and healthy, but their hip to waist to bust ratio is more hour glass than it is waif.

Toccara Jones is a great example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toccara_Jones

Beauty - Think Cover Girl and Maybelline. All those close up shots, with a focus on makeup, miniscule pores, and a gorgeous model whose eyes seem to be sparkle. That's beauty. It's a focus on the face, and on lighting, and on makeup...and lets not forget, the model.

Glamour - Playboy. Maxim. You know, those girls who look directly in the camera, with their back arched, with eyes that seem to say "You know you want it". That's glamour. It's about sexy. It's about enticing the viewer. Think baby oil, bikinis, and hot cars.

Fine art - This is tricky. Fine art can be almost anything. Some people say art is subjective, so doesn't that make fine art subjective? Kind of. Fine art is about technical ability, as well as achieving a look, as well as engaging the viewer, as well as evoking emotion. It's so many things. So the models who participate in these images are highly skilled, and highly emotive. There's no height or weight requirements, it's just about bringing out concepts in a shoot.

Nude modeling - I think you can figure it out.

Parts modeling - Floating hands. Great legs. Maybe a shaving campaign, a model with lathered up legs, luscious calves, running a razor over them in front of the camera? That's a parts model.

Edited to Add:

Fitness Models - These models are toned, even buff, and are used to sell fitness equipment, fitness magazines, and all things related. Fitness modeling is mostly about the body, end being in prime shape, so a gym membership is a must.

I'm sure there are others I'm missing. If you can think of any, comment, and I'll add them in.

It's been a while. That's a shame.

I haven't shot with Jamie for several months, which is a travesty.

I shot Jamie's senior portraits last summer, and not only did I really enjoy shooting with her, I really loved the images we got and I thought that Jamie would fit wonderfully into my modeling work.

And she does.

So not shooting with her for several months, well, it was tough. But when we got the chance to shoot again, we had a great time, and got some wonderful results.

And I got a chance to play with low contrast images, which I've been lusting over in other people's work, so I figured I would give it a try.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Back to the basics...

I like to keep my shoots simple. Outdoor shoots usually involve me, a model, and my camera bag complete with one camera body, two lenses, and one flash that I rarely use.

Occasionally, I switch things up and bring a reflector, maybe even a light stand to do some off camera lighting.

Indoors, I shoot against a wall. Basically, I work with what I'm given. If that means a plain white wall, I'm good with that. Painted walls are always fun. And I always love to use the furniture available to come up with unique shots.

That was shot in my 'dining room', on top of my 'dining room' table, while my cats ran rampant around the apartment.

This was shot at the model's home. We stole a chair from the kitchen, placed it in the living room, and got creative.

My favorite light...the sun. I adore backlit images, and the road that Tiffany and I found was perfect to get a great backlit shot with nothing more than a camera.

I keep things simple on my shoots. No fancy equipment. Just a camera, maybe a light or two for indoor shoots, and occasionally a reflector. That's the way I like it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Lovely Ladies

I have to admit, I'm not exactly a fan of group shoots. It's not that I don't enjoy them, I always love hanging out with models and other photographers, but the overall setting of a group shoot can be a bit distracting...so many locations, so many models, and so many options. I much prefer setting up one and one shoots, with a concept, and going with that...

However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy shooting with more than one model at a time, and that's exactly what I did last night with April and Tiffany. Both ladies are from around Peoria, which is wonderful, because I adore last minute shoots. And lucky for me, April and Tiffany are both amazingly talented, beautiful models who are game for almost anything.

I don't have any shots of them together done yet, but check out these for the time being...