Most beautiful women don’t know they’re beautiful.
If you’re a woman, you already know this. But guys find this hard to believe.
Even models, who have their moments of awareness, usually suffer from low self-esteem for one reason or another. And haunts them with seeing flaws in themselves that others would never notice, or at the very least, overlook.
They may wear a brave outer shell, but many times that is just a defensive wall for what’s going on inside.
One of the things you can do to make yourself a better photographer is to know your camera. And the way to do that is to handle it. When you’re idle, just watching a TV show or movie, sit with it in your handles. Fiddle with the controls. Flip through the menus.
Learn your camera like a soldier learns to assemble his rifle blindfolded. This will prevent fumbling during tense situations (spot news for example) and help your overall confidence. Being confident means being competent.
Years ago when I first got my Minolta Maxxum 7000 I sat with it whenever I could. I knew the controls inside out. In fact, if someone handed me that camera now, 15 years later, I’d probably still know how to adjust everything.
Knowing your camera is especially important while attending a workshop. We usually shoot manually, using a shutter speed to sync with our flashes, and an f-stop to balance. Sometimes we even change the White Balance (WB) to cool down or warm up a model’s skin. It’s important to know how to do this ahead of time so that you can concentrate on what is being taught at the moment, and also not to slow down the class or distract the instructor. Every camera has slightly different ways to set these and it’s likely the instructor may have to hunt and peck for your settings too.
Know how to adjust these controls without thinking:
And know the relationship one has on another. Do this and you will boost your confidence. Boost your confidence and you’ll create better images.
There are some models who say a photographer who has a home studio is creepy, unprofessional, and is one to be wary of. There are even some who say that a photographer who has an actual studio (as in one separate from his place of residence) is far more legit, safer, and more professional. The reasoning is often, “I don’t want to be alone with a stranger in his house”. What’s even more mindblowing is when people say things like, “a home studio is fine as long as there’s backdrops, lights and other expensive-looking stuff, it can even be in the basement… but just shooting out of the living room with none of that is creepy!”.
Created in a one bedroom apt home studio.
And to all that I say: BULLSHIT! Why?
Studio rental can be expensive. Not everyone can afford to rent space to shoot in (especially right now). And why should someone who has the space available in their home/apartment be forced to fork out more dough to rent more space? They shouldn’t. Renting space doesn’t automatically make someone a pro… it makes them someone who can rent space.
Space is space. If there’s room for a backdrop and lights to be set up, there’s room to shoot. Heck, a lot of the time, you don’t need the backdrop and lights to get a beautiful shot–a space lit well with natural light can create amazing images. And sometimes, the lack of space and the uniqueness of it might force the model and photographer to get creative, which can result in some great stuff as well.
When did expensive equipment and a “legit-looking” place start meaning that the person who owns it all is safe and professional? Spending a lot of money on something doesn’t automatically buy that person talent as well, so why would it eliminate their creep factor or make them conduct themselves in a professional manor? It wouldn’t.
So, home studio versus rented space…
What’s the big deal where someone shoots? Models (especially those building their portfolios) should be more concerned with portfolio quality, professional conduct, and communication skills than where the photographer shoots his/her pictures.
If a model is insecure with being alone with the photographer, even after she’s checked references, she has a couple options. She could make sure it’s ok to bring a MUA (or ask the photographer if he has one he works with often), and book one. She could ask the photographer to meet ahead of time, at a place like Starbucks. Or she could just not shoot with that photographer.
Next to ‘Do you need someone to hold the lights?’, the question I most often hear in regards to my photography is ‘How do you that?’.
How do you get that vignette effect?
How do you get the models skin that smooth?
What is that material you are using for the background? How did you get it that color?
Those are just a few of the most commonest questions I get asked every time I post a new photo online. It never fails; a few minutes after posting a new photo, I get a chat window popping up, or an email, or just a comment on the photo itself.
And, the truth is, at one time, I had those same questions. I’ve been shooting for over twenty years. And I had experience shooting models. But, one day I saw a persons work that just blew my stuff out of the water! And I had to know how to do it! Luckily this person put on his own workshops. I not only signed up for two of his workshops, I travelled many hours to get to them.
I invested in myself. I knew that by making a small investment in myself, I was avoiding the long term trail-and-error method of trying to figure out how to do this…and how to do it right. I mean, how many times can you get a model to commit some time, at her own expense, just so you can experiment with getting it right? Not only is she going to get perturbed, but you’re going to look incompetent with all the fiddling of the lights, chimping at results, readjusting lights, changing backgrounds, etc.
So, I invested in the workshops at almost $300 each time. And that’s just for the workshop. That’s not counting the 3 hour drive to Houston, or the 5 hour drive to Dallas, hotel rooms, meals, gas, etc. I think I figured out that each weekend cost me an average of $500.
Then, I came home from each and ordered more gear; lights, booms, backgrounds, softboxes and grids. I already had a plethora of lights and such, but I wasn’t absolutely confident in how to use them, or what other gear I should invest in to create the results I desired. And this is one of the things that those workshops solved.
So, ask yourself these few questions:
1. Do I want to improve my confidence in photographing models?
2. Do I want to improve my confidence in using my lighting system?
3. Do I want to know what equipment I need in order to create those images that will stand out from competition?
4. Do I want to learn using real, live models, creating images that you can add to your portfolio immediately?
If you said yes to any of those questions, do yourself a favor and invest in yourself. Save yourself from wasting time and money on trail-and-error, and learn it quickly and inexpensively. Sign up for one of our glamour photography lighting workshops at: iPhotoWorkshops.com