“You’re too good to work with me”

I recently came across a social media status update by one of the more accomplished fashion and beauty models within the photography community, somebody I’ve worked with and have another shoot planned for next month. The nature of the model’s update was about conversations she’s had with photographers, the type of photographer I would class myself as: hobbyists, keen amateurs, professional hopefuls, or possibly even the complete beginners. These gist of this conversation, and I’ve found that this particular model is by no means alone in this, was the photographer not wanting to make a booking because, in their own words “oh you’re too good for me”.

The feeling being that booking one of the top models would be a waste of everybody’s time because the skills of the photographer don’t match the model’s ability.

This is of course complete nonsense. Utter balderdash.

Of course I understand the sentiment; I’ve been through similar feelings myself, but they are easy to get over when you work with these models. So if there are any photographers reading who think that they can’t book a particular model because she’s too good, or you’re not good enough, and are perhaps thinking some of the things I’ve thought in the past, let me try to help you.

Don’t worry that you can’t produce images as good as those in the model’s portfolio. You’re not meant to. It doesn’t matter, and nobody is expecting you to any way. Shoot for yourself. If you want to improve then an experienced model can help. They have experience and if that’s what you’re lacking then you should definitely book them.

Take Artemis Fauna for instance.

Artemis Fauna
Artemis Fauna from out first photo shoot

Artemis is, aside from being a very experienced and incredibly beautiful model, is also an accomplished photographer. Whilst we were discussing shoot ideas we also spoke about lens choice and suggested aperture value combinations. This was incredibly helpful.

Sinopa Rin is another example of the “modelographer”.

Sinopa Rin
Sinopa teaches me something new on each photoshoot

I was lucky enough to have Sinopa along on my first shoot. She was supposed to be there as a model, but ended up being a teacher, educator, motivator, and possibly therapist too. I gain more and more knowledge from each photoshoot with Sinopa. If there is ever a moment of doubt or uncertainty she will always add a creative suggestion when asked.

Continuing the trend of models who know life on both sides of the lens is Arabella.

Arabella
Arabella helped me get started in the right way

I only found out how good Arabella was with a camera after our photoshoot had finished and she showed me some of her published works. Arabella was one of the experienced models who took a chance on me in the early days just when I got started and didn’t have a stack of positive references to my name.  Her experience and creative eye were invaluable in helping my get started and most importantly to get better.

Stephanie Dubois is another I’ve been lucky enough to shoot with.

Stephanie Dubois
“Too good to work with me”

I will admit that immediately before making the booking to work with Stephanie I felt a lot of the feelings that some of the photographers mentioned at the start of this post had been going through. Why would Stephanie work with me? The answer is because she’s a professional model and I’m a photographer. That’s how these images are created. Stephanie didn’t care that the images would end up on my blog and not the from cover of Vogue. She understands that there are amateurs out there looking to create photographs and was happy to help me. I’m very much looking forward to working with her again.

There is a longer list of top models that I’ve worked with, but this was starting to look like me showing off rather trying to help a photographer make a booking with one of the top models. Believe me when I tell you that your starting skill levels is irrelevant, and will improve if you work with these model. Don’t be scared, don’t worry you are not good enough, just commit to the booking. You will not regret it.

Danny.

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What a difference a day makes

I was feeling more than a little down about my photography. I wasn’t booking any models to work with, and had turned down a couple of offers of work from models who wanted my style images in their portfolio. Not really sure what had caused this negativity on my part, but I did realise that this slump had got hold of me, and I was bereft of idea on how to fix it. My portfolio wasn’t up to date and seemed to be going nowhere. What to do? Upload some images to social media and take some time away.

On Thursday I uploaded this image to a photography group on Facebook.

Classical beauty
Classical beauty

And then on Friday I uploaded this image to my Flickr account

Urban chic
Urban chic

Yesterday I had a look at the statistics on how these images had performed on social media. I was floored. The first image was incredibly popular on Facebook and had out performed any other image I have ever uploaded there, with more likes, loves, and reactions than anything else I’d posted.

The second image had been Explored on Flickr. For those that don’t know, Explore is Flickr’s way of showcasing the best and most interesting photographs each day. There are usually over 8 million photographs uploaded to Flickr each day, and only 500 of those are chosen for Explore. To be chosen for Explore your an image really must catch the attention of those that choose them.

Well I was delighted. Truly thrilled to receive so much love and attention. My notifications on both sites went crazy, and my statistics on Flickr are booming like never before.

Needless to say any negative feelings I was having towards model photography were banished instantly, and I have already started the process of arranging another photoshoot.

Regular readers of this blog will recognise the model in both of these images. It is Sinopa Rin who has been a great ally and constant source of inspiration throughout my photographic journey. For those wanted to get started in model photography she comes with the highest possible recommendation from me. You can view Sinopa’s portfolio here.

I know this story takes place over the course of three days but I just wanted to use the Dinah Washington inspired title. You’ll allow me a little poetic licence won’t you?

First photoshoot. A day in the studio with Sinopa Rin.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter, @computerdan for those that don’t, will know that for the past four weeks I’ve been in the process of arranging some studio time to photograph a professional model who’s arranging a tour of Manchester. You will also be aware that I have been a compete bag of nerves about the whole thing. Emotions up and down like a yo-yo, so far outside of my comfort zone I needed a compass and map to find my way back.

Well Saturday was the big day. Was I nervous? Of course I was.

I arrived at the studio 20 minutes early. As it turns out I was actually an hour and 20 minutes early due to a slight miscommunication issue. The studio owner let me in, and let me have a look around whilst I was waiting. So what to do to amuse myself for 80 minutes? Yup, start taking selfies.

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As it happens the time alone in the studio was invaluable. It let me get used to the environment, figure out how to make the lights work, attach and detach the different light modifiers, and just generally get into the swing of things.

Then Rin arrived. I was polite and courteous as always, but more than a little terrified. I told her. No point pretending that I’m Mr Cool Photography Man. Well I needn’t have worried. Rin was an absolute delight. Charming and amusing, she poses with grace and elegance.

Here are some of the results.

"The years will never take awayOur chance to start anewIt's on Push up the level the heavens will fight for me "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily ... is wasteful and rid

I had a session booked with Rin in the morning, and some more time in the afternoon. I’d already written of any chance of getting good images in the morning session. Just use it as a learning experience, getting used to the environment, trying not to drop my camera, remembering how to breathe, that sort of thing. I needn’t have worried as you can see from the images above.

Our morning session finished all too soon. Time for me to return home, calm down, take a valium, and gather my frayed nerves. I downloaded the images from the first session to have a look. Hey, not bad. Not bad at all. There were some good ones. Some really good ones. It turns out that all the money I’ve spent on photography books, time spent reading blog posts and articles, and watching instructional videos on YouTube were a waste of time. The way to get good photos is to get Rin in front of the lens and press the button. Easy.

Time came for the second session. We decided to try some more head shots and fashion images. Like this.

Between the lines of fear and blame you begin to wonder why you

Here she comes now arms dance together in the fall

We spent some time in the “infinity room” at the studio getting these and other images. There was chatting. Lots of chatting. Rin really did put me at ease with her relaxed conversation and the photos I think are great.

We finished off downstairs and headed back up to the main studio area. I had taken the head shots and full length fashion portraits I was after, but we still had time together. I was completely out of ideas. In a desperate attempt to appear creative I said “Girl in a chair?”

... and if I show you my dark side, will you still hold me tonig

... and if I open my heart to you, show you my weakness, what wo

Rin did her stuff and created some incredible poses, always adding that extra touch of dynamism to the images. But now I really am running on empty, creatively speaking.

This is when something magical happened. I found out just what it was like to spend some time in the company of a true creative. Rin took control of the session and idea after idea just flowed from her imagination. Things I would never have thought of, outside any perceived framework I had in my mind.

Me: “Piano?”

Rin: “I’ll climb on top of it.”

Implied piano

Rin then walks outside of the designated studio space and into the reception areas and starts rearranging the furniture, sits on the floor.

Me: “Are we even allowed to be here?”

Rin: “Blow the background out and take a picture.”

The sparkle in your eyes  Keeps me alive

Between the lines of fear and blame you begin to wonder why you

 

Rin: “Do you have a 50mm lens?”

Me: “Errrmmm, yes ….”

Rin: “Get under the net.”

5T5A3320editweb

5T5A3325editweb

 

Rin: “This will look great in black and white”, as she lies prone on the floor, head hiding behind a wall.

Push me to the floor, don't give up until I'm begging you for moI thought that I was going to be spending time with a model. I had no idea I’d also meet a muse, therapist, and a really genuinely lovely person. I would like to thank Rin for helping me create some beautiful photographs, some of the best I’ve ever been involved in capturing, for a wonderful day, but mostly for opening my mind to possibilities.