This is a shot I took in August 2016. I gave him a few bob (I gave money to the homeless in those days) and we chatted. He was amazingly polite and friendly, and we chatted for a few minutes before the Edinburgh Festival took me away in its tidal wave…
He died on the Streets. 47.
It's been a hectic few days...
I'll write about these sites later.
A quick search for some "Rate Cards" came up with these:
An American site. Guy Lewis, mainly a portrait photographer. Ranging from $195-$995 and working for $250 ph.
I'm not impressed with his website, and his portfolios is not a "slideshow" style, and you have to keep going back and click for each image.
They get money for nothing in America.
Then there was this one: Which was more a template than an actual "real one."
And this one... In HK Dollars. Which in "Real money" is £1138-£1365.
On a different front, a commercial photographer in the North of England offers these prices for commercial photography.
Another Link... Another photographer...
Following on from the Tutorial and notes on OneNote, I'm going to progressively go down the points and create entries for each one.
I am a 57 year old, with approximately 30 years experience in photography (If you take into account the 10 or so years I ignored photography). Picked up a Chinon Film SLR in about 1980, turned pro in a different world, became bored with it, and moved in a different direction for many years.
Work I have already done? Varied and eclectic. Weddings, Portrait, Journalism, Erotic, Sports, Stock.
2. Soft Skills
My main soft skills are customer facing skills. I can communicate well - if given enough information, I can form ideas on the fly. I've been trained in customer facing skills by SKY TV and GE through their training programs and have dealt with many different scenarios, and have regularly gained recognition for my outstanding service. As I've got older, that is . There's three sub sections to this little section:
3. Strength and Weaknesses in my own work.
In my work - Here are several strengths and weaknesses I've picked up on through this course.
Working with Models through various sites, they have the ability to leave "feedback" on you - both for you, and so other models can form an opinion of you. Here are a few of my more recent ones left on a popular modelling site...
I had a wonderful shoot with Doug.....He was professional, friendly and really easy to work with. We achieved a great deal, shooting at his home studio and out on location, thank you for a lovely shoot. 100% recommended
Had a really enjoyable shoot with Doug yesterday, I travelled to his house and we shot in his home studio upstairs. He is a very friendly man with a lot of interesting stories to tell, I love to meet a photographer with personality and we got along really well. He makes you feel comfortable as soon as you step into his home, showing you any safety issues as soon as you walk in, which is very comforting. We shot for 4 hours and didn't stop talking nearly all the way through! He taught me a lot about general things in life and I finally got to shoot in some amazing ballet boots!
Thoroughly enjoyed our creative time together and hope to work with him again in the near future.
had a grest first photo shoot with Doug. loads of pre shoot communication. the theme was 'steam punk'. turned up on time, discussed the outfits he provided which were well suited to the theme. we shot in a few different locations. Doug is very professional as well as laid back and down to earth, also friendly. i love the images we created. and i can't wait to work with him again. thank you for a lovely photoshoot. i would recommend to any model no matter what level of experience you have x
I had a fantastic shoot with Doug- he's friendly whilst remaining professional, has a great home studio and also tonnes of ideas. Its refreshing to work with somebody so creative, and I'd recommend a shoot with him to anybody. Hope to work together again soon!
I had a great shoot with Doug today. He was fun, professional and had a great creative touch to his photography. I'd absolutely recommend him to other models and would love to work with him again
And these are the ladies involved...
It hasn't come up in class yet, but the concept of "working" with models will, inevitably, raise its head , and Sam said I should discuss it here.
I've had the privilege of working with some world class models, and some models who had never been in front of a camera before. In this "semi-essay" I'll discuss my thoughts on the subject.
Akin to the "Everyone with a phone is a photographer these days" debate, many - many - people think they are models. They think it is about being moody in front of a camera and raking in thousands of pounds for their effort.
From some 300 shoot experiences, I beg to differ. A "Model" is a hard working creative person who adds to the project. A good model will add to the project, while a bad model can destroy it completely.
I've worked with maybe 6 models who I regard as "Excellent" and would work with them at the drop of a hat. About 50 more I would enthusiastically use again, and that leaves about 200 who I'd work with if the circumstances were right, and about 44 who I'd rather gnaw my left foot off than shoot with again. Blunt, but true, because I'm a blunt and truthful sort of person.
It sounds disparaging to say about 1/6th of models I've worked with I wouldn't work with again, but it's just a fact of life. Either "We" don't Gel, they're late or no-shows, they're arrogant, they only have one look, they expect control over the shoot (When it is not a TFP / collaboration) or any other reason that just makes it awkward.
Fashion and Glamour photography is a creative process, it involves ethereal processes that the photographer and model go through. If they are not in harmony, they won't create the best.
I suppose, at this point, I should explain what I am looking for when I cast a model...
Let's imagine someone has come at me with a project. Needs a model - who I can cast myself. Here is how I would progress...
Talk with the client about what they're looking for. Now, taking a leap of faith, let's imagine we've come up with a general outline of the physicality of the model. Remember, modelling is outwith the Sex Discrimination Act. I am quite within my rights to state I'm looking for a 5'10" female blonde with large, natural breasts...
As long as the concept fits my spectrum, I'll consider the casting process...
NOTE: I will not cast models who I consider to be unhealthily thin. My choice. My shoot. My rules.
I will fix a budget, and explore the "legitimate" modelling sites. NOTE (2) It is an unfortunate fact that there seems to be a "cycle" of the sites being flooded with escorts. A site that was great 10 years ago may now be virtually useless because "models" are simply escorts looking to make "extras" - And equally, some sites are filled with photographers looking for such "models," so that is a fact of life.
From there, I'll search by:
Levels: This is THE most important thing. I hear it all the time from models. They're booked for fashion, and the photographer is immediately after them to go topless, etc. THIS IS UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR AND IS NOT SOMETHING I CONDONE IN ANY WAY. If I need a topless (Or higher) model, I'll state it in the casting call. Simples. I'm not shy about it. In fact, I'll often cast for the next level up than is needed, so contingencies can be coped with. (Simple example. A model is doing a shot where her dress gets wet... Nipples show... OH dear. That might cause concern for a fashion model, but not a glamour model. Better to pay £5 an hour more than have half a day wasted...
Experience: The more experienced model that fits the budget, the better. This however, works well, because I find an experienced model "produces" more good quality work than a less experienced model in the same time. The online portfolio of the model will show her expertise (Or should). Look, see, read her abilities, decide. Someone with a few selfies on their profile will unlikely fill you with confidence, no matter how beautiful she is.
Cost: I seldom do TFP (Time For Prints) I believe a model should get cash money for her efforts, or at the very least trade of some sort. Cost vary. I always ask for 4 hour and day rates, because hourly is not long enough, and from four hours up, you usually get a discount. I WILL Do TFP / Collaboration if the model approaches me, but not for a set shoot, where I am directing the theme.
Distance: Some models can travel quite cheaply, but others seem to want a chauffeur driven Bentley everywhere. I will check travel costs, and offer those.
Those were the tangible truths to the business. Looks, Experience, Levels, Price.
From there, you need to explore the intangibles.
How enthusiastic is this model?
How creative is this model?
Can she be "made up" to look different in set from set?
Will I get along with her?
Will she get along with me?
Will I get the end product from her?
And, an important part of this comes down to SSC - SAFE, SANE, CONSENSUAL. This permeates all I do.
HORROR STORY: I occasionally "rig" for suspension (The model is tied and suspended from the floor). I can do it, or I can photograph it. I CANNOT and WILL NOT do both at the same time. Ropes can slip over pressure points and nerves, and the rigger MUST continually be checking for safety. you cannot rely on the model to vocalise their distress. It is one of the few times you MUST touch model. You must feel for cold spots developing, for numbness (Scratch her if you have to) and continually access her level of coherence. I can't safely do that while wondering if F/14 is the best aperture, and should I maybe move a light for a better effect...
I had a model who badgered me to do some suspension for her portfolios, and I repeatedly refused. Eventually, she went to someone else, who suspended her and took the photographs - and left her left arm paralysed for two years.
CONSENSUAL: I'll be honest with my models. Many photographers won't. They'll book someone for fashion, and try to push for higher levels. I don't believe in that because consent should never be exploited. Yes, the model has consented to pose for you - to her limits - but that does not mean you should coerce her beyond that.
HORROR STORY 2: A model I knew did a CFNM (Google it) with a photographer for a favour (and some extra cash to pay bills). It was intended as a one-off, but the photographer wanted it again... And again, until it was effectively a blackmail situation. She eventually outed him, but it had an effect on her and her family.
HORROR STORY 3: A model - who openly did quite high levels - was asked by a photographer to perform oral sex on him. She refused. Now, as we all know, not every image a photographer takes is glamorous or highlights the model in the best way (She might sneeze, have tummy folds, blink, etc.) and so he uploaded all of those photos to his page, and the model portfolios page, and slagged her off non-stop... The result was a severe dip in her (already fragile) mental health, and she committed suicide.
So, that is how I consider shooting with models. SSC at all times. Don't try to "push the limits" and respect her creativity at all times.
I am also Confident / Brash / Arrogant enough to not hide behind things. I'm not going to get embarrassed to do nude / Continental - or even hard core (Just not at Uni, thanks very much). BUT, I'll cast for exactly that. Not try and coax / coerce a naive young model out of her clothes under the pretense of "Art."
Obviously, there are different scenarios.
Within the Uni, most of the models I've met are inexperienced, and need directions and a level of control that I would put at "quite strict". I'll feed them concepts (Like the SCi-Fi shoot, where we discussed her being a cyborg from another planet, etc.) and the Zombie shoot. That is not a million miles away from how I would work with a pro. The differences would be in the additional creativity that the "pro" would bring. Her own ideas, her own facial expressions, her own outfits and thoughts.
I'm going to leave this here. I've booked models and studios for beginning of Feb, and I'm looking into making a short film about it...
It was NOT my intention to get involved with this shoot at all.
I had already done a MUA / Zombie shoot, where I took over 1000 images, and was keen to let others "get stuck in" as it were.
I initially limited myself to setting up a studio in the TV studio, and as suggested by one of their tutors, I set up a Green Screen backdrop.
My intention was then to let Charlie shoot (My partner for the day) to utilize my experience and my camera (as she was not too experienced with DSLRs). I was quite happy to hold lights, etc.
Here's my thoughts on the project...
The basics of Green screen dictate a flat, even light so that the green can be replaced later. I feel we got that, and most of the shots seemed ok, although I'm not sure how many others used it as such.
The models were amateurs. Not in a bad way, but one has to define the experience of the models, and that is the only term I can use. It is NOT a derogatory term. They tended to be (Or at least the models we worked with) friends of the MUAs. I'll write a separate blog entry on the way I work with other styles of models later...
"Our" two models were inexperienced, I don't know how Charlie felt, but I can only talk about my perspective. That, however, did not mean they were difficult to work with, but simply needed a little bit more coaching than an experienced model would need.
From the studio, we moved out into the college itself, and self selected areas to shoot in.
I directed many of the poses and talked with the models and tried to give them a "story" to follow. It's a common tactic I use, as I find it easier to work with someone rather than simply say "Chin up, turn left," etc.
I decided that one model was a cyborg from another world, making contact with our inferior race for the first time, and we talked this through with the model at each stage, and gave her a chance to input, but she wasn't very forthcoming, but we got there.
The Shots themselves.
I tried to shoot from a low angle, to accentuate her (cyborg) superiority. I think her inexperience helped with this, because she kept a very similar facial expression during most of the shots - which is exactly what a cyborg would do (I assume).
Equipment was kept light. We used LED lights instead of speedlights, which allowed us to see the effect before taking the shot.
Taking all due precautions, we had her stand on a table in one of the craft rooms, and shot with a wide aperture to through some paper decorations out of focus. My concept for these shots was of an "Alien Abduction..." The viewer wakes up. There's a strange cybor sort of person looking down on them, behind them some unfamiliar "equipment" on the ceiling...
We then went to the plaster room, where I remembered they had some torsos, and took some shots there. The concept that inspired me was the scene in "I, Robot" where the day's production of NS5's are in formation, and Sonny hides among them...
These ended up as some of my favourite shots.
In keeping with the "Sci-Fi" theme, I quite heavily processed the images later, including working with some of Charlie's Green Screen Images (See Below.)
What did I learn?
From a photographic perspective, It was interesting to utilize the rather "earthbound" elements of the Uni and try to make them Sci Fi.
From the "assistant" point of view, I found it was good experience to help, and just stand back. I'm quite used to doing my own lighting and setups, so it was not a major adjustment to make.
Well, the holidays brought a break from project work, so I've been able to shoot what I want to shoot...
Well. Here goes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.