Archive for December, 2009

December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

So instead of going into work today I stayed home to sleep off some of this craptacular cold I have.  Wise choice, because I feel much better.  Now I’m going to remake my shopping list (left it at work), hop in the shower, head over to Walgreens in hopes that there’s a Z-Pack waiting (if not, OTC drugs it is), and then to the grocery store to get food for tonight.  From there, I’m off to a friend’s to help her set up and cook for tonight’s party, and then it’s party time! 😀

I’ll blog about what I’m wearing tonight sometime this weekend.  I didn’t get a chance to today, clearly.

Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to everyone!

December 31, 2009

New Header, Again

Just a quick note to point out my new header.  It’s a bit more sophistocated than the other I had, I think, and I like it more.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a special New Year’s edition of My Everyday Style.  I’d slated it for today, but I still haven’t figured out what I’m wearing LOL, so yea.  Off to work on that now.

December 28, 2009

Photographers: Preparing for Your First Shoot

Due to popular demand, here’s my blog for photographers, on preparing for your first model shoot. Models, I’ve got one for you too… that one’s here.  Now, these are just suggestions and shouldn’t be taken as the end-all-be-all regarding doing a shoot.  Certainly not all of the suggestions I have will work for everyone, or apply to all situations.  But they’re all definitely worth making note of.

Before The Shoot: General Communication
Discuss everything in advance with the model, including her limitations, what you both need as far as work goes, location, time, if there will be a MUA and who will pay for him/her, image delivery, etc.  You should also make sure that your rules regarding escorts are laid out here, especially if you do not allow them.  Generally, you want to make sure anything that could be questioned the day of the shoot or afterwards is taken care of before hand. It will lessen confusion, drama, and anger if done so.

Make sure you get both a phone number and an email address from the model, and that you give her your number and email as well.  You need to have an open line of communication off-line should on-line not be available, and it needs to be open from both your end and the model’s.  Many suggest a quick phone call prior to the shoot helps, but this likely depends on the model.  A simple confirmation email that outlines the date, time, and shoot concept/style and asks the model to respond by X time or else you will consider the shoot canceled should be sufficient.

If you require a stated ID to shoot, make sure you let the model know to bring one.  Especially if she’ll be taking public transport and not driving (not everyone carries a state ID at all times).

Before The Shoot: Ideas
Give the model some ideas, specifically, of what you’re looking for.  Don’t just tell her “bring whatever you want” and then, when she gets there, tell her “oh, I wish you’d brought [list of random stuff]”.  Heck, send the model some example shots if that’s easier for you.  But make sure you communicate what it is you need from the model in advance, so she can be as prepared as possible.

If you are going to send the model specific ideas, it’s generally a good idea to print those out as well, so you can reference them the day of the shoot.  Same goes for shots that have poses you like in them.  There’s nothing wrong with having a few pages (or even a book) to look at while shooting.  Especially if you have specifics in mind.  A 3-ring binder may be helpful if shooting on location, so nothing blows away.

Before The Shoot: Location & Equipment
If you’re shooting on location, make sure you check to see if a permit is required to shoot there, and secure one.  If you opt not to secure one, make sure you’re prepared to deal with authorities and any problems not having a permit may cause.

Set up and/or scout the location in advance, or at least while the model is doing hair, makeup and/or getting changed.  It’s pretty irritating to get to the location, get ready, and then have to sit around for 45 minutes while the photographer scouts the location for the best spot, unpacks his lights, and sets everything up.  If you can’t get there in advance, get there early the day of the shoot (if you’re renting a studio, perhaps ask the model to show up 30 minutes after your rental time starts, so you can set up).

On that note, make sure you know how to set up and use your equipment.  If it’s new, open it up at home, set it up, try it out (use the dog, the wife, the kids, or even a bowl of fruit).  Your shoot with the model may very well be a test for the product, but the product should at least be out of the box, have batteries in it, and the instruction manual should be read.

Before The Shoot: Home Studios
More experienced models are generally ok with home studios.  However, new models might still be wary of them.  If you shoot out of your home, make sure you note so in your pre-shoot communications.  It also helps find your location when one knows to look for a house, instead of a building.

If you have a pet, warn the model in advance in case of fears or allergies, and contain the pet if necessary.  If the model has an allergy, cleaning the area the model will be in would be nice, because even if she’s taken medication to subdue the allergies, they can flare up if there’s heavy dander in an area.  Generally, allergy attacks aren’t very photogenic 😉

(I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’ve been in some gross places.)  Make sure your house is clean enough so that the model doesn’t feel like she’s stepped into a landfill.  There should be no moldy dishes in the sink, no weeks-old take out containers scattered around, no garbage spilling onto the floor, and no bugs or rodents scurrying around.  The bathroom should have toilet paper, a clean hand towel, hand soap, and the floor, toilet and sink should be clean, not sticky or otherwise filthier than a 50 year old truckstop that hasn’t seen a mop in 45 years.  The model doesn’t have to be able to eat off the floors, but your place shouldn’t look (and smell) like a frat house after a 48-hour party.  Know what I mean?

Day Of The Shoot:
Some photographers drop the model a message or call her to see if she’s coming.  For a location shoot, this might be a good idea (though I recommend a phone call, as models might not check emails prior to a shoot).  It may also help to do this if directions to your place might be confusing, or if there are any development regarding getting to you (like construction, snow route parking, etc).  Just make sure that if you’re going to call, you call at a reasonable hour.  If your shoot’s at 1P, don’t call at 6A.

When the model arrives, this is when you’ll want to ask her for her state ID.  Some photographers take a picture of the ID, and of the model with the ID.  That’s up to you.

If you’re shooting at your home or studio, have her put her stuff down, and then show her around.  Let her know where the restroom is, where the changing area is, and where you’ll be shooting.

During The Shoot: General Stuff
Don’t be nervous.  It will show, and it will trickle down to the model (especially if she’s not experienced), who may get uncomfortable, which will end up showing up in the shots.

Don’t be afraid to talk to the model, have fun, and treat her like you’d treat any other person you have a professional, business relationship with.  It’s generally a good idea to avoid hot-button topics when it comes to jokes and conversation (you know, things like race, religion, sex, and politics).

Be polite and courteous, but don’t try too hard.  For example, ask if the model would like a bottle of water, but don’t force it on her if she declines.

Avoid hitting on the model, even jokingly.  Complements are fine, but be wary of over-complementing and leering.  Both can easily be viewed as “creepy” and can totally screw up the mood of a shoot.  Remember, you want to project a professional vibe, not come off as a horny douchebag looking for a date at the local bar.

During The Shoot: Directing
Ask before touching the model, even if it’s to move a stray hair.  Avoid touch-posing and use your words, your body, and even photos to help direct the model into poses and expressions.  If you’ve made printouts of ideas, make sure they’re nearby and easy to get to.

If the model is an experienced model, you’ll likely have to do less directing.  However, an experienced model generally likes to receive feedback while shooting–even things like, “good” and “hold that but turn a little to the right” works.  So make sure you give feedback while shooting.  We like to know how we’re doing 🙂

If you’re working with a new model, you’ll likely need to communicate better to get what you’re looking for.  Explaining which light is the main light, the area they have to move in, and showing them a few test shots so they get an idea of what they have to work with may help.  While shooting, you may need to be more direct with your instructions.  Printouts of examples may help here, and if you’re in need of specific expressions, feel free to guide the model through a scenario.  For example, if you need a model to project happiness, ask her to tell you about her favorite childhood memory, or something funny her pet has done.

Unless you’re purposefully being a goof, try to avoid things like, “that’s right, work it baby” and “oh yea, make love to the camera sweetie” and “ooh yea, that’s totally fierce”.  They’re just… no.

During The Shoot: Keeping Track of Time
Many artists get “in the zone” when working and lose track of time, and both models and photographers are no exception. It helps to have a clock (a working clock) near your set so both you and the model can keep track of time during the shoot.  If you’re on a set schedule, it’s especially important to do so.  Heck, if you’re on a really set schedule, set an alarm on your cell phone to go off approximately 30 minutes prior to when you need to end.

After The Shoot: Done!
If you need the model to sign a release, typically right after the shoot over is the time.  You can either do it right after the last frame is taken, or say, “go change into street clothes and I’ll print a copy of the release for you to sign when you’re done”. 

Some photographers prefer to, after a shoot, go through all the images with the model right away, and choose what to edit.  If this is how you opt to work, you’ll need to make sure you let the model know about this ahead of time so she can plan for the time in her schedule.

Generally though, it’s best to part with a handshake, a “thanks for your time, it was a pleasure working with you”, and a quick mention about when the model can expect the images in the format you agreed upon before the shoot.

I highly suggest (especially if you’ve rented a studio) going through the area where the model’s stuff was during your shoot to make sure she hasn’t forgotten anything once she’s left.  If she has left something behind, drop her a quick call to see how far away she is and if she wants to come back for it.  If she can’t come back for it, put it somewhere safe, with her name on it, and hang on to it until you two can figure out how she’ll be getting it back (her picking it up, you sending it with her CD, you bringing it to a local event).  Whatever you do, do not use the item as a way to get her to shoot with you again, a way to get her to agree to go on a date with you, or otherwise hold it hostage.  Not cool.

That’s it! That’s all I’ve got.  Hopefully it was helpful!

December 28, 2009

New Look

For the blog 🙂

What do you think?

I’ll take a couple days to get used to it, and from there, if I’m diggin’ it, I’ll transfer the look over to business cards (which I’m in the process of re-ordering).

But feel free to let me know what you think!

December 24, 2009

That’s Right, I’m a Hack Hobbyist Model

So there’s currently a thread on one of the modeling sites where the OP rants about crappy portfolios and real models.  To paraphrase:

I get that there’s all different kinds of modeling, but not everyone can do it!  So why does everyone have a profile here?!  People with myspace pics, and all these amateur “adult” models… there’s so much horrible stuff, and it all really jades me, even though I know there’s a lot of talent here.  I just wish the moderators were more selective with who they allowed here.  I don’t mean to offend anyone, but… damn!  Just my opinion!

Initially, I hadn’t planned on responding to her. I spent some time on that very site as a person who voluntarily approved profiles.  I saw what came through, what was approved, and what was denied.  Believe you me, I got it.  But I also get that not everyone starts with professional pics–something a lot of “jaded” folk don’t think about. But then, she goes on to say that, in her opinion, a model is (again, paraphrasing):

… proportionate, takes care of themselves externally, and represents themselves well.  A model is someone who believes that what they are doing is art, and they are passionate about it–they’re not just doing it for the fame, money, or attention.  A model is someone who has some knowledge about the fashion industry, and is able to note at least 10 top models off the top of their head. A real model makes it their life.

Her list of what makes a real model, on top of her rant opinion about the crap on this particular modeling site that anyone can join, really got to me.  Why? Because not only do I not know much about fashion, but I can’t name 10 supermodels (let alone 10 designers).  Even now.  Fashion just isn’t the genre I’m in, so I don’t spend much time studying it.  But more importantly, I was, at one point, one of those girls who didn’t think she’d amount to anything, yet applied for an account at a modeling site anyway.  At the time, I had no job, and nothing to lose by applying for a free site.  I didn’t know a thing, other than the fact that I was pretty sure I was 6″ too short, too old, and too heavy.  So what did I do?  I took 5 snapshots–2 I took myself, 2 my husband took, and 1 shot where I’d cropped out 4 friends from a bar–and I applied to a modeling site.  And got in.

And then I started researching, learning, and just absorbing everything I possibly could, all while shooting. I worked with good folks, bad folks, and grew both as a model, and as a woman (ZOMG, cheeseballs, I know).  I learned a shitton about  modeling in general, but also about myself.  I’ve studied resources, other models, photographers, MUAs, and all sorts of stuff, while applying my past knowledge of cheerleading, dance, marketing, art, business, and other random stuff (including that sense of “fashion” that everyone’s always thought… odd).  I’ve grown, over the past nearly-4 years, into one hell of a model (this is rare, I hardly ever toot my own horn).  And not only do I know what I’m doing in front of the camera, I’m well-known in my local community, I’ve landed a few awesome gigs for a 5’3″, 118lb hobbyist who works a full-time job, and I’ve met (and worked with) some extremely talented people.

Yet here’s this little nobody telling me, “oh, but I don’t mean you, I mean the wannabes who sign up with cameraphone myspace pics… you’re clearly a real model.” Really?  So I suddenly just woke up one day with this knowledge of how to pose, how to emote, and how the Internet modeling world works?  And this awesome list of contacts and connections, as well as a decent list of accomplishments, just poofed into existence while I was dreaming of unicorns and fucking rainbows?!

NO.  It doesn’t work that way.

Attitudes like this chick’s are the reason I keep my modeling as on the DL as possible.  I don’t want my friends or family thinking that because I model, I’m turning into some elitist know-it-all who preaches “this is the only way to do things because I say so” with every breath.

Attitudes like hers are also the reason that people like me are initially intimidated and afraid to even dip a toe into the ocean that modeling is.  Thankfully, many of us suck it up and ignore people like her… because some of the best people I’ve met are, by her definition, not “real models”.  Yet they’re nice, creative, fun, and wonderful to be around (in fact, I’ve become friends with many of them). In fact, I’d like to see her work next to some of the insanely talented models she looks down upon, simply because they can’t name 10 top models or don’t live and breath fashion.

Fuck that shitty attitude. I’ll do what I want, and as long as I’m finding work and enjoying what I’m doing, I’ll continue to do it, whether or not people like her feel I’m a “real model” or not.

Attitudes like hers only serve to bring the people who have them down. Either because they’re so closed-minded their brain ends up imploding ’cause they can’t handle it when something real contradicts what they believe, or because they try to shove both feet so far into their mouths that they end up giving themselves a painful bowel obstruction. Very rarely are their minds changed. At this point, hers hasn’t been.

December 23, 2009

My Everyday Style XI

A special Holiday Edition of my “My Everyday Style” series!!   For more, check out my “Everyday Style” page to the left :)

Look 11: Happy-Merry Holidays
One of the benefits of being in a mixed-religion marriage is getting to celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas!  The other benefit is not having conflicts on those holidays 😉 Haha!  Being that it’s in the midst of Chanukah and Christmas is coming up fast, I figured it’d be fun to share what I’ve worn and will wear for our families’ celebrations. Typically, I can get away with wearing jeans, but this year, I decided to continue my denial that it’s winter dress up a bit more than usual and wear cute skirts with tights.  I also snuck a pair of cozy ankle socks over my tights, hidden under my boots (shhh!), for both holidays–gotta keep those tootsies warm!

For Chanukah, I opted to toss on my trusty charcoal blazer, because my parents (who hosted) typically keep the house cool.  I kept my accessories minimal because of the patterned shirt and the dynamic of the satin, tiered, pleated skirt.  I went with my basic black knee boots because they’re easy and rather comfortable, and threw grey tights on under them to break up the dark a little bit.  I added the belt at the waist as an accessory, because it needed something.

For Christmas, I went with a basic black short-sleeve turtleneck tucked into a cute blue plaid skirt, that came with a great belt.  Because the skirt’s so bright, I stayed basic on the bottom as well, going with black tights and, again, my black boots.  I added simple CZ studs and a cute, long locket to lighten things up a little bit, and because I know my nieces will love the locket, haha!

The Looks: Chanukah on the Left, Christmas on the Right

Get The Look, Chanukah: Boots: Cutesygirl; Skirt: Forever21 (no longer available online); Shirt: Forever21 (no longer available online); Belt: TJMaxx; Blazer: Forever21; Tights: Hue (in Steel)

Get the Look, Christmas: Boots: Cutesygirl; Skirt (with Belt): Forever21; Shirt: Kohls; Necklace: Forever21; Earrings: Claire’s; Tights: Hue (in Black)

The above linked items were chosen by me with no pay or endorsement requests from the stores.

December 22, 2009

Reader’s Choice Results: 1 Week Later

So it’s been about a week since I posted my “What’s Next? Reader’s Choice” blog.  So far, here are the results:

  • Photographers: Preparing for Your First Shoot 40% (4 votes)
  • Problems? Maybe it’s You. 20% (2 votes)
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Directing Models 20% (2 votes)
  • Why “Trade” Doesn’t Mean “Free” 20% (2 votes)
  • Grammar 101: How Bad Grammar Makes You Look Unprofessional 0% (0 votes)
  • Why Models Should Help Concept TF* Shoots 0% (0 votes)
  • Defining “Professional” as it Relates to Internet Modeling 0% (0 votes)

Clearly, you guys want to get some tips from my POV on prepping for a first shoot, as a photographer.  And then there’s a huge tie for 3 other topics.

I’ve got another “Everyday Style” blog coming up tomorrow (a special edition version!) followed by the holidays, but I’ll get working on stuff.  In the meantime, if you haven’t voted and would still like to, the poll’s still open!

December 18, 2009

Get The Look: Playtime

Look 8: Playtime
Busting out a really old shot that’s still one of my favorites.  It always makes me smile!  I call this shot “Keepaway!”, and it was originally shot to submit to a calendar that was supposed to benefit an animal shelter in Georgia.  The project fell through, unfortunately, but we still got some way cute stuff out of it all 🙂  The dog in the shot is my beautiful supermutt, Trixie, who I’ve blogged about before.

Shoot Results:

The Look:

Get It:

Photo Credit: Carlos Alvarez

Please note that the above listed products were chosen by me without payment or endorsement requests from the sellers.

Look 5: Bright Tights
This look is a lot of fun 🙂 The shoot, which the photographer has called “Industrial Living Room” was taken at his workplace, and was just full of good times!  Krystyn, the MUA, rocked it.  I will only be noting what I’m wearing, and not picking up any of the other clothing items featured in the shoot.  For this shoot, we wanted bright but simple, and fashionable.

Shoot Results:

The Look:

Get It:

Photo Credit: Aldo Risolvo Photography, Krystyn J MUA

December 16, 2009

My Everyday Style X

The tenth post from my “My Everyday Style” series!!   For more, check out my “Everyday Style” page to the left :)

Look 10: Space Cadet
So right now (which is December 9th, not the day this posts… I like to write in advance 😉 ) there’s about 5″ of snow on the ground at home, and it’s currently still snowing at work.  Blech!  I wore my shearling boots today, which were a gift from my mom (they’re not Uggs or any name brand, just some random brand, so I pulled a similar, reasonably priced pair off-line and linked for you), paired with a new graphic tee and new blazer, both of which I got over the weekend.  I’m still a little chilly, but at least my feet stayed warm and dry when scraping off the car this morning!  I only wear skinny jeans or leggings with my shearling boots, because I feel like the bulge created by pants that aren’t super fitted on the leg isn’t flattering (ok, fine, I think it looks stupid, there, I said it!).

The Look:

Get The Look: Shirt: Delia’s; Blazer: Forever21; Jeans: Express; Boots: Cutesygirl;

The above linked items were chosen by me with no pay or endorsement requests from the stores.

December 15, 2009

What’s Next? Reader’s Choice!

Alright readers, I’ve got a bit of writer’s block and can’t decide what to blog about next… so it’s your choice! 🙂  The topics below are either drafts I’ve started, or things I’ve made note of that I want to blog about.  I’ll write about each one in the order in which you guys choose (interspersed, of course, with my Get the Look and Everyday Style blogs).

So what are you waiting for?  Start voting already! 😉

On a completely unrelated note: Today’s my half-birthday!

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