Modeling Pro Tips: Studio Shoots

The word “model” is usually defined some sort of this way: a person or thing that serves as a subject for an artist, sculptor, writer, etc. (from You’re not a thing, or an object. You’re a person, living and breathing, with thoughts and valid feelings. Yet when you pursue a modeling career – whether it’s the traditional way, or it’s for building your online brand – you’ve got to realize that you’re still an object to the client, graded on your usefulness. That usefulness usually is marked by your looks. It can also, however, be marked by your reputation as a forward-thinking pro that’s easy to work with.

In this two-part series, I’m going to give you some short and sweet practical pro tips that will make you one of the most useful living objects around. We shall begin with studio shoots.

Arrive With A Clean Face

No makeup. No concealer. No eyeliner. Nada. Nothing. Only moisturizer. Now, this is assuming that a makeup artist will be part of the crew. If not, then do whatever saves everyone time. But if makeup is waiting for you, your face should be naked.

Bring A Power Strip

A shoot director who can have you in and out in under two hours is a rare one, so trust, your device batteries will run out. If you’re smart, you’ve brought along your laptop or tablet to get work done during your down time. Outlets are not always easy to come across, however, and crew gets first priority. So if you want to stay charged all day without annoying the hair stylist who needs to plug in an iron, or the photographer who needs to get lights set up ASAP, bring your own strip.

Be Alert

Photography equipment costs a lot of money. Like a lot. Ditto for lighting equipment. Ditto for studio rental time. Ditto for the time that everyone is (hopefully) being paid to work a shoot, and that includes you. When you’re not being mindful of your surroundings, expensive accidents can happen. You don’t have to be paranoid, with your eyes on everything at all times. Just be aware of cords that may be snaked across the floor, of boom arms and light stands, of hot lights. For your safety. And arrive wearing closed-toe shoes.

Find Your Light

There are terms for the lights that photographers set up in studio, and the two main terms are “key” and “fill”. The key light is the main one that they’re using to light the scene, and the fill light is secondary, filling in any shadows. Note that these are not brand names; a continuous light can be key or fill, a strobe light can be key or fill, ProPhoto lights can be key or fill, JTL lights can be key or fill… you get the picture. That light that you must “find” is the key. As you’re shooting, find it with your face, find it with body parts. As the photographer or creative director puts you through your paces, make sure you’re always aware of where the key light is, and serve everything toward it.

There you go: short, sweet, and to the point. It’s the little actions you take that add up to make you a polished, professional model. In part two, you’ll learn how to be a pro at location shoots.

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