Yet another day of stock portrait shoots to report. I had a busy day of three different models: Yami, Martin and Josh. It occurred to me that I hadn’t mentioned another model I worked with too…Tre.
The stock photography model shooting has been pretty intense. I’m not used to working with people like this. And I’ve never met anybody prior to our shoots so it’s kind of like getting to know somebody and only having an hour or two to get a sense of their “look”.
In the end I feel like I’m learning something. This hasn’t been a particularly lucrative endeavor, at least yet. But while learning to work with models I hope to improve my skills and find what stock photography does sell.
The second model I’d scheduled in this casting was Bianca. I felt especially good about photographing her. Not only because she had a nice look, but because all her sample photos were just random photos with other people cropped out. I felt in addition to getting some nice new photos in my library, I’d hoped I’d also be helping her build her portfolio.
From first shoot with Gina, I’d also learned a bit. I still didn’t have all the lighting gear I wanted to test, so once again I was using “nature’s softbox” (in other-words a big gray sky.) Some photos from the Gina shoot stood out when using certain gear- so I tried to use the longer telephoto lens to compress the scene and blur the background. One of my smaller cameras also seemed to work really well in keeping the eyes in focus while blurring the background too. So I tried to concentrate on what worked before.
In the middle of our shoot I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. Dooh! I’d actually scheduled a second model and put the wrong time on my calendar!
Bianca and I met Rachel, the other model…. Now what to do? We opted to do a few shots together with the two models. It may have been a bit weird for them at first but they did a great job playing friends. And they made a nice contrast too. Bianca is caucasian with blonde hair and green eyes and Rachel is Asian with black hair and brown eyes.
I had another idea- to use some props. I’ve taken up shooting medium and large format film – I had my Mamiya TLR in the car and pulled it out and asked the two of them to take turns pretending to photograph one-another. The prop really seemed to disarm the two of them and get really nice natural smiles and expressions. I also took a photo of each of them on film which I have yet to develop. If those photos turn out I’ll add here and get copies to my wonderful models.
Recently I’ve been hiring models. There are a few reasons- I want to add something different to my stock photo library. I also need to hone my people photography skills for when they really count. So often I have a shoot and find myself fumbling with concepts I could have worked out when I wasn’t under alot of pressure. Having a large diverse library of people also seems to help getting my foot in the door for some gigs too.
In my most recent casting, my first model was Gina. She’s got a great look and was a real pleasure to work with.
On the unfortunate side,I found right before my shoot that all the lighting gear I meant to test was at my dad’s so we worked under natural light. Not to say that’s bad, but part of what’s in this for me is sorting out the lighting options. On the plus side with El Nino we had a giant softbox overhead (heavy overcast!)
Gina had a number of looks and outfits that played well for the shoot. We shot in a local park here in Alameda. All of the scenery was nature- which was nice. But I also wanted a mix of urban as well. Gina offered to do another shoot that I wanted in her neighborhood in San Francisco and I hope to make that happen after I’m done going down the list of all the great folks who’ve replied to my modeling request.
The young woman above, Howland, posed for some stock photos. I think she has a really nice look. I’m still in the process of adding model released people to my stock photo library and hope to find more like her.