Posts tagged ‘creativity’

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.
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May 11, 2011

30 for 30 Remix Challenge

Inspired by blogger Kendi Everyday, I’ve decided to take on a new challenge, in an effort to learn how to expand my wardrobe, improve my styling skills, and wear items of clothing that often get overlooked (on an everyday basis) for the easy skinny jeans, boots, white T and blazer that is my go-to daily look.  Heck, I might even save some money :fingers crossed:

I’ve opted to not include jewelry, scarves, belts, socks or tights as part of my 30 items, and be able to mix and match those items as necessary. I’m more concerned with trying to use 3 items that are either newer, or don’t get worn very often.

So, starting next week, with a few days for planning and reorganizing at home (I plan to put away the bulk of pieces I’m not planning on wearing), I’ll be starting the 30 for 30 remix challenge.  It’s very possible that I’ll deviate a tad from this, and won’t do all 30 outfits in 30 days, but that’s ok.

Here are the 30 items that I’ll be working with (more or less… many of the ones pictured below aren’t exact, but similar enough to pieces I have).  I’ve chosen 10 tops, 1 sweater, 1 jacket, 3 dresses, 1 romper, 4 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt and 6 pairs of shoes.  It will certainly be interesting.

I imagine my biggest challenge will be making some of the pieces I’ve chosen work for work.  I know for a fact that the lacy dress, the romper, all 3 pairs of shorts, and possibly the skirt are not work-friendly.  The tanktops either (at least without something underneath them).  But that’s ok.

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!


February 21, 2011

Get Your GWC Gear!

Model Insider has launched their apparel site, with a full line of great T-shirts and more (as well as even more coming soon)!  GWC Gear is home of the famous “I Look Better Naked” shirt 😀

So, check them out at www.gwcgear.com!  You can also follow GWC Gear on Twitter and fan them on Facebook!

Oh, and hey, they have a 10% off special for their President’s Day launch!  Use the code “fbm10” for 10% off on your purchase of the first limited run of “I Look Better Naked” shirts, available in mens’ or fitted womens’ styles!  The offer’s only good until end of business day Monday the 21st (today!), so order now!

January 21, 2011

Time to Get Dirty!

A couple months ago, I submitted 4 of my self-portraits (from the original, failed, 365 study) to a group called S.W.E.A.T (Society for Women in Erotic Art Today), for consideration for an upcoming exhibition.  I had no idea what the exhibition would be, and was pretty sure my self-portraits wouldn’t be accepted.  After all, though I did my best to choose 4 shots that fit the “erotic” theme, none of them were nude, and none of them evoked the word “erotic” to me.  “Sexy” maybe, but not “erotic”.

But apparently, someone found one of my pieces worthy of the show, because the piece below (titled “Open”) was chosen to exhibit with the S.W.E.A.T group at the Detroit, MI Dirty Show!  I’m super excited, and honored, to have been selected to be a part of both the show, and the group of women exhibiting at the show.  This is my first ever gallery show, both as a model and a photographer, so it’s an incredible opportunity for me.

I went today and had the print (which I titled, signed, dated, and numbered) framed.  Shout out to Blue Cube Imaging for the amazing printing and matting, because, as expected, the work was top-notch!  Here’s the print in it’s frame, as well as a close up of my title and signature.

If you’re interested in purchasing a matted print like this, let me know.  I’m selling the framed one at the Dirty Show for $175, but would be willing to do $150 for the matted print without the frame.  I will only print 50 of these, and since I’ve printed 2 already, there are only 48 more 11×14″ (matted at 16×20″) signed and numbered prints available.  You can email me at blog@modelracheljay.com if you’d like to purchase one.

I do plan on going to the show, but I am not sure when I’m going yet.  I’ll likely be posting about that when I make my plans.

From the press release about S.W.E.A.T and the Dirty Show:

For the first time ever the Society for Women in Erotic Art Today (S.W.E.A.T.) will be participating in an exhibition to showcase their artists – a group of females who specialize in the visual art of erotica.  In this historical debut, more than thirty S.W.E.A.T. artists from around the world will be featured by The Dirty Show® with a special exhibit in its upcoming Detroit show from February 11th through February 19th, 2011.

“Women are traditionally expected to be the subject of erotica – or at least part of the scene – an expectation usually held by both men and women who view erotica,” Gilcrest says. “It’s an interesting phenomenon that we tend to be surprised when we hear that a woman has actually produced erotica and even more surprised when we see that many women portray erotic scenes in a much different way than men.”  Gilcrest went on to explain: “S.W.E.A.T. was designed to promote women in a field they’re generally underrepresented in and we were thrilled when The Dirty Show® approached us to offer a venue to recognize our artists’ erotic works.”

“There has always been a substantial female presence on the walls at The Dirty Show®, but with the addition of S.W.E.A.T. artists the mix will be a lot closer to equal,” said Jerry Vile, Dirty Producer.  “For all I know, this time the males may be a minority in the show (we don’t keep tabs).  I think this is going to turn out to be something important – and like most things that become important, you might not know it was until years later. I am proud that The Dirty Show® is where they decided to debut.”

More info:

Check out S.W.E.A.T at www.sweatartists.com/boards
Visit the Dirty Show’s website at www.dirtydetroit.com
Order prints from Blue Cube at www.bluecubeimaging.com

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

August 12, 2010

More DIY Wonders

Not too long ago I posted about some fabulous DIYers out there.  Here are some more!

To check out my first list of DIY stuff, click here.

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