Archive for ‘inspiration’

December 5, 2011

A Good Read: Inspiration vs. Imitation

A friend sent me this article and I thought it’d be a good one to share with my readers here, though it was written in reference to the design community.  Modeling and photography certainly deals with both inspiration and imitation, especially when we’re in the beginning stages of things.  The author of this article, Jessica, does a very good job explaining things to her audience (which she notes as aspiring artists and designers), I think.  So check it out.

Inspiration vs. Imitation

Enjoy.

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June 6, 2011

Beating the Blues

Modeling can lead to emotional burnout pretty quick.  There’s only so much someone can take before they want to just hang it up and move on.  I imagine this comes from the rejection a model faces regularly, as well as the fact that modeling is very much about one’s looks (including their skin, face, hair, and body), and that models are often criticized.  So sometimes, models get emotionally burned out, and need a little encouragement, even if it comes from within.  Here are some ways I’ve found work for me when it comes to beating the modeling blues.  Feel free to add your own in the comments!

  • Review your photos, especially the ones you feel are your best, look at tear sheets (if you have any) and other successes you’ve had as a model, and otherwise remind yourself that, hey, you’re good at what you do.  If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have all that stuff!
  • Sometimes, stepping away for a bit can be the best cure.  It might just mean a night or a weekend away from the forums, Facebook, and other modeling-related stuff, or it might mean a break from modeling entirely for a little.  That’s up to you.  But a break from things might be what you need.
  • Other times, pushing yourself to create something new and different can also help get you back on top of your game.  Try a new concept, or push yourself into a really complicated pose.  Try out new hair, makeup and wardrobe, or shoot a style you’ve never done before.  Work with someone you know can deliver great shots, and work to create something new and better for yourself.  The results might be just the boost you need!
  • Writing helps me.  Often I just start a new blog draft and get my thoughts out.  Sometimes, I end up deleting it, but other times it turns into something worth publishing.
  • A glass of wine, a hot bath, and getting lost in a good book always cheers me up.  Sometimes, I even grab an old favorite off the shelf and read it cover to cover.
  • Going for a drive can help clear my mind.  As can taking the dog for a walk, or even sitting in front of the TV and doing something crafty.  Concentrating my energy on something that’s not modeling related can be a big help.
  • Retail therapy.  Even if I don’t buy anything, I find it comforting to go to the mall and browse, or grab a coffee and people-watch.  I often prefer to do this alone.
  • Along those lines, Ugly Dress Game with a friend or two can be hella fun!
  • If something’s really bothering me, I’ll often use my husband as a sounding board.  He’s got a level head on his shoulders and will tell me if I’m being a tard about something, if I’m over-reacting, or if my feelings are just.  And sometimes, talking things out helps them make sense too.
May 3, 2011

Getting out of a Creative Block

A photographer on one of the modeling sites, HT Portraits, shared a blog post of his, which discusses some ideas on overcoming a learning plateau in terms of photography.  Given my last entry, and how the team I worked with stepped outside our comfort zone, I thought it would be appropriate to share his blog with you.

Before I do that though, I would like to address it from a modeling standpoint, as quite often a model reaches a creative plateau that can put her in a funk (of sorts) and result in all kinds of issues.  Boring, still poses, the same facial expression over and over, doing the same kind of shoots over and over… you get the idea.  I have definitely been stuck on that plateau before… and it sucks.  So, I’m going to take this blogger’s suggestions for photographers, and write some tips for models.  Here they are… 10 tips for moving past a learning plateau, for models.

  1. Ask questions.  And ask again.  Ask the photographers you work with to explain something about their lighting.  Ask models you know how they practice their poses, or acheive certain expressions.  Ask models and photographers about styling (or drop by your favorite retail store and ask an employee to help style you).  Ask an MUA you’re working with for a quick tip on makeup application.  Ask, ask, ask!  You can’t learn more if you don’t.
  2. Take a risk and try something new.  Step out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never done before.  This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to try something you’re totally uncomfortable with (like nudes, or fetish), but try out a genre you’ve never done (pinup or horror, perhaps?) .  Maybe try out a new pose or a new expression (don’t be afraid to be vocal while shooting).  Go through  your closet and find 3 articles of clothing you’ve shot in before, and figure out a way to style each one dramatically different.  You won’t know it won’t work until you try it, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
  3. Read through forums for an uninterrupted amount of time.  The forums on many modeling sites can be a wealth of information.  And a great source of entertainment.  Spend some time browsing through them and reading posts, looking at the profiles of people who post often, and just absorbing the knowledge that’s there.  If that’s not enough, you can use a site like www.tfp.me to search for posts on a specific subject, and learn more.
  4. Start an inspiration collection.  I’m a huge advocate of this, and have mentioned it before, numerous times.  See an image that inspires you? Save it to a folder on your desktop.  See an ad in a magazine you like?  Tear it out and put it in a binder.  Store window catch your eye?  Snap a pic on your cell phone and email it to yourself to save.  Carry a small notebook with you to write down ideas as they come to you, or even sketch things out.  Inspiration is everywhere, and when you open your mind to it, you’ll be surprised how fast it can come to you.  Especially when in conjunction with #2.
  5. Aim high.  Don’t just look for inspiration in average places.  Look at the best of the best, and see what they’ve done.  Be inspired to be the best, by the best.  Sometimes, though, inspiration can be found in a poorly done image, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Just strive to not only be inspired by what you find, but to do it better.
  6. Find mentors.  Everyone can use a mentor, no matter how experienced you may be.  Look for someone to offer you tips and advice in an area you want to excel in, and then ask questions.  Perhaps see if you can shadow them for a day.  Maybe find a mentor in a different area–a photographer for example, instead of another model–to help teach you about other aspects of your craft.
  7. Take a break.  I’m also an advocate of this, having done it numerous times myself.  The length of the break doesn’t matter–take however much time you need, and don’t let anyone pressure into coming back until you feel you’re ready.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as turning off the computer and putting down the smartphone for a night, or a weekend.  Other times, you have to step away for a few weeks, or even months.  Stepping away from something, no matter how much you enjoy it, can give you a fresh look at things when you come back to it.
  8. Teach others.  Sharing your knowledge can be very rewarding, and you can also learn things from those with whom you’re sharing.  Offer to mentor a new model, or host a workshop for new photographers.  See a question being asked in the forums that you know an answer to?  Answer it!
  9. Get paid.  When you are getting paid, often, more is expected of you.  And quite often, that alone makes you step up your game and work harder.  When you work harder, you learn more, not just about what you’re doing, but about yourself.
  10. Enjoy the journey.  That’s right, enjoy what it is you’re doing along the way to wherever it is you want to be.  Take some time to make art, to shoot what you want to shoot.  Immerse yourself in a concept you’ve been dying to do, or something you’ve never done (see #’s 2 and 4), and while you’re doing it, have fun.  Never, ever forget to have fun.  If you do, once you reach your goal, you’ll look back and find yourself wondering if it was worth it.  You can still work hard, but take some time to enjoy both your work, and the results from your work.
So those are my thoughts on breaking out of a creative funk, or learning plateau, as HT Portraits calls it.  A model’s POV.

Now, take some time to read a photographer’s take on it, for other photographers.  

Though models can learn from HT as well 😉

Beating a Learning Plateau in Photography

May 2, 2011

I love pie. And this team.

Every once in awhile a team gets together and consistently creates great images.  Which is awesome, but sometimes, you all need to step outside your comfort zones and try something new.  That’s what Christian Carlson, Christin C and I did on Saturday.

We started out with a set I’m calling Eyes, Lips.  Christin used her skills as an artist to not only flawlessly do my makeup (and hair), but place an eye on one hand, and a lip on the other.  Christian busted out his gels and we shot a beauty set that was way different for all 3 of us.  Here are my 3 favorite shots from the set.

  

But then things got crazy.

This concept started out in my head just as a wardrobe idea, and was inspired by various people and things (songs, actually).  I made the “Diva” shirt, the earrings, and gathered a bunch of accessories together after getting inspiration from music artists Ke$ha, Dev, and P!nk.  When I sent Christin my wardrobe ideas, she came back with this mask idea, and I managed to find a material that worked for it.  She also had this great shot that involved Silly String, which we decided we wanted to include.  I also found large sequins at Hobby Lobby, and snagged those (glitter would have been way too hard to clean up, and may have just looked like dirt in the shots, which wasn’t what we wanted).  I brought a few empty cans of AMP as well.  The set evolved from just a musically-inspired set to one that evoked thoughts of having been out all night partying.  Which, thinking about who I drew inspiration from when it came to wardrobe, works well too 😉 LOL

Anyway, after the first set, Christin and drew on the mask I’d cut earlier in the week while Christian broke down his backdrop and re-set his lights.  And then we drew on me.  And then we piled on the accessories, tied on the mask, and started shooting.  I’ll just let the resulting shots speak for themselves…

 

  

 

Somehow, we managed to get them to be a little editorial, as well as a little crazy.  I feel like we were channeling a lot of different people here, and it kinda just… came together wonderfully.

This was, quite possibly, one of the most fun shoots I’ve ever done.  I have laughed on shoots before, but never this hard.

I think this conversation we had while reviewing pics sums it all up perfectly:

Christian: Wow… this looks like the set of a porn or something…
Christin: Yea, but it’s so awesome it makes me want to shit rainbows!!
Rachel: Christian, did you ever think you’d hear that about your work?

Check out the team’s Facebook Fan Pages, and LIKE THEM!

Christian G. Photography
Christin C Makeup

April 6, 2011

Getting Into VOGUE: FashionIndie Figured It Out!

Blogger Lester, for FashionIndie, wrote about the 10 poses that’ll get you into VOGUE magazine.  He included examples of each pose, from the magazine itself as well as his own take on the pose.  Definitely worth a read, as it’s pretty darn funny 🙂  I think this is my favorite set of pics from the two-part blog:

Anyway, here are the links so you can check it out for yourself:

  1. 10 Poses To Get You Into Vogue, Part 1
  2. 10 Poses To Get You Into Vogue, Part 2

Perhaps I’ll do a self-portrait montage over the weekend… after all, practice makes perfect, right? 😉

March 15, 2011

Yay Nerdiness!

A photographer I’ve worked with often, Ryan a.k.a. Hallopino, was featured and interviewed in the online magazine RKYV.  He chose one of our many shots together as one to send into them as an example of this work, and RKYV chose that shot to be the cover of the issue he’s in 🙂  I’m also on page 23 of the ‘zine, where they note why they chose that particular shot.  Click the images to view them larger.

Check out the magazine and the rest of Ryan’s interview here: RKYV Online

Here are a few more of the shots we’ve done together.  A little small, but mostly to save space.  Here they are, in no particular order 🙂

  1. Go Bears!
  2. Comix v.Something.0
  3. Accordion Rockstar
  4. Fashion, for Erika Hendrix
  5. Werewolf
  6. Ice Queen

There’ve been a bunch more shoots we’ve done together, but those are the ones I had available right now  (and largely, fan favorites) 🙂

And again, Ryan’s website is www.hallopino.com.  Check it out!


January 24, 2011

Upcoming Interview

I was just contacted by Ron over at www.photographerandmodel.com.  They want to interview me for their Podcast! 🙂 Supercool!

We’ll be recording February 11, and the episodes are released every Thursday at 1A.  So you’ll probably get to hear my spot Feb 17th or so.

I’ll post more about this as it gets closer, but if you have any questions, feel free to add them to the comments and I’ll see if Ron and co-host would be willing to ask them.

October 25, 2010

25 Fall Essentials

Kind of a random post for me, but I made this set on Polyvore last week and thought it would be a good one to share with other models 🙂  It’s my list of 25 fall essentials for 2010.

25 Fall Essentials

25 Fall Essentials by racheljay featuring black wash jeans

Here they are, by number:

  1. Motorcycle jacket. Great for cooler days, layering, and goes with everything—even dresses.
  2. Draped cardigan. Another great layering piece that works with pretty much everything. Best in a neutral color.
  3. Basic turtleneck sweater. Great with jeans, skirts and even leggings.
  4. Plaid shirt. Cute with leggings and jeans, nice for layering.
  5. Blazer. A general wardrobe staple for me, but great for layering, over dresses, and with any bottoms. Easy to accessorize as well.
  6. Dolman sleeve sweater. Pretty with skirts and pants alike, easy to accessorize, and great in neutral colors.
  7. Military inspired vest. Great for layering, and military is in right now.
  8. Little black dress. Whatever looks best on you, a little black dress is necessary.
  9. Sweater dress. Solids and neutrals work best and go great over leggings, tights and skinny jeans. If you get a nice sweater dress you can even dress it up.
  10. Skinny jeans. Great for tucking into boots and go with pretty much everything.
  11. Jeggings. As much as I hate the word, I love the pant! Great with nearly everything, and perfect for tucking into tall OTK boots.
  12. Flare jeans. Great with flats or heels, and pretty much anything else. Flares are my go-to jeans for going out.
  13. Khakis. Great for work but also nice for days you want to be comfy and lay around but still look cute. Find a pair that works both with other neutrals and bold colors.
  14. Black pencil-like skirt. Great for layering over tights, with sweaters, and easy to dress up or down.
  15. Neutral A-line skirt. I found one with pleats that works great both casual and dressed up.
  16. Various tights. I’m a fan of lacy tights, solid neutrals, and texture. All are great under dresses, long tops, and skirts.
  17. Scarves. Great for adding both a bit of texture and a little extra warmth, and work with pretty much any tops, and even dresses. I’m a fan of both florals and plaids.
  18. Nail polish. Right now, I’m obsessed with “greige”, deep sparkly neutral colors, and greys.
  19. OTK boots. I have 2 pairs, one flat leather pair and one heeled suede pair. Both are great with leggings, tights, or skinny jeans, and can be dressed up or down. I do try to always keep my legs covered to avoid the “skank” look.
  20. Fold-over knee-high boots. This year, instead of my trusty black knee-high boots, I went with a neutral color that works with light and dark denim, browns, olives, and blacks. Knee boots work with skinny jeans, leggings, tights… pretty much everything. Even under flare jeans sometimes.
  21. Chucks. My trusty Chucks. Great for casual days… I pretty much wear them whenever I don’t feel like dressing up. They work with everything.
  22. Oxfords. Great for when I want to wear flats but don’t want to wear Chucks. They even work with skirts.
  23. Clog boots. Great with jeans, dresses, skirts, leggings, tights, whatever. A great pair of boots that are easy to dress up or down, and go with pretty much everything.
  24. Statement pumps. I have a pair similar to this, and love wearing them with neutrals to add a punch of color.
  25. Nude pumps. These have replaced my black pumps for now as my go-to safe dress shoe. They work with pretty much everything and make my legs look longer. Win-win!
October 25, 2010

Another article published!

My great blog entry on coming up with shoot ideas is now an Examiner article too!  Check it: http://www.examiner.com/modeling-in-chicago/coming-up-with-shoot-ideas

October 8, 2010

Must Read: Memoirs of a Bullied Kid

Many models tell stories of how they were awkward kids, didn’t fit in, grew up ugly ducklings, and never thought they were pretty.  Some even had bad acne, were overweight, or otherwise were considered “ugly” by peers.  Most certainly, they dealt with being made fun of.

But besides that, many of us have dealt with bullying.  We’ve spent time wallowing in self-loathing, and we’ve dealt with plain just not fitting in, at one point in our lives or another.

And that is why this article is worth a read.

http://www.danoah.com/2010/10/memoirs-of-bullied-kid.html

Oh, and this one’s worth a read too.

http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/disease-called-perfection.html

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