Posts tagged ‘ideas’

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

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April 7, 2011

Reader’s Choice!

So as usual, I’ve got a stockpile of drafts I’ve started, and can’t decide what to finish next.  So here are a few topics I’ve got a little bit on already, with a brief description of what each topic is about.  Take a gander…

  • Blogging: Getting Started
    In this entry, I talk about how to get started blogging, give tips for writing, and talk about some good and bad reasons to start a blog.
  • Hiring An Experienced Model: Why It’s Worth It
    This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but I talk about why, sometimes, hiring an experienced model is a better idea than going with a newb.  I won’t be discussing agency models here.
  • Point Your Toes When You Pose
    Another one that doesn’t need much introduction, but simply talks about (and shows, with photos) why it’s important for a model to be body-aware and make sure she’s pointing her toes when working the camera.
  • Posing vs. Being Posed
    Here I talk about my thoughts on a model posing on her own, versus being micromanaged by the photographer.  Is there a ‘happy place’ somewhere in the middle?  Perhaps 😉
  • Pre-Shoot Meetings
    This is something people seem to either be for, or against, and often comes up in the discussion regarding whether one is a professional or not.  In this entry, you’ll get my take on the pre-shoot meeting, when I feel it’s appropriate, when it’s a waste of time, and why it shouldn’t replace checking references.
  • Stealing vs. Inspiration
    This entry is loosely inspired by the recent Robert Granito artwork thefts (Google it).  I’ll talk about the differences (in my opinion) between outright stealing a shot (really, copying it) and using elements of a shot for inspiration.
  • Tips for Underwater Modeling
    Pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll give some tips for modeling for an underwater shoot.  I’ve only done two, but learned a lot on both shoots.  Mostly, I’ll post things I hadn’t thought of before shooting underwater, as well as some safety tips.
  • Why Public Blacklists Are Bad
    In this blog, I’ll talk about why public blacklists raise red flags about the person with the list, instead of the person on the list.

So now that you’ve seen what I’ve been up to “behind the scenes”, if you could, take a minute to vote on your favorite in the poll below.  I’d much appreciate hearing what you’d like to read about next!

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!


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.

August 5, 2010

I’m Now A Chicago Modeling Examiner!

That’s right, I’m not writing for the Examiner as the Chicago Modeling Examiner!  I’ll be looking at some of my older blogs and revamping them for the site, as well as writing a lot of new content for the site.  I haven’t yet published my first article, but I’m going to start with some great stuff 🙂  So bookmark now, people, and head there often to read more great stuff from me.

http://www.examiner.com/x-62802-Chicago-Modeling-Examiner

Oh, and don’t worry, when I post new stuff there, you’ll see it on here, my facebook, and my twitter 🙂

July 30, 2010

Recycling Wardrobe & DIY Magic

So, with many folks still struggling to make ends meet with the way the economy is (I know, I know, we’re all tired of hearing about it), I figured I’d share some pretty awesome DIY projects and blogs that might even be made from items you :gasp: already have sitting in your closet!  So, here you go!

Some specific projects… but be sure to check some of these sites for other DIY projects!

And some general DIY blogs that are awesome!

I’m sure there are TONS out there, just search “DIY Fashion” or “Recycled Fashion” 🙂

July 2, 2010

What do you practice in front of a mirror?

Models say it all that time.  Many photographers do too.  “Practice in front of a mirror.”  But what, exactly, is a model supposed to practice in front of a mirror?

Practice moving in general and expressions.  Study your body and watch how it moves, both nude (or in a bra and panties) and clothed, so you can see what happens to your skin as you move, and to the clothes as you move.  Watch what your body does as you move, and as you stop moving.  Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s far better than not knowing your body and its movements at all.

Same goes for your face.  Sit in front of the mirror and make faces at yourself.  Walk yourself thru emotions (get a list if it helps) and think of situations you might feel those emotions in.  Use personal experiences as a guide.  For example, remember how you felt when your childhood pet died, think of the first time you got flowers from a boyfriend, or what went through your head during your first car accident.  Study how your face moves through each expression, and what happens to it when it stops on each one. Again, it’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

A model would also benefit from taking dance, yoga, martial arts, acting classes, or any other kind of class that either teaches you how to move (and be aware of your body) or how to emote.

Using it on shoots…

Take what you’ve learned from studying yourself (and from any experience you have, both from a body-movement aspect and from a personal-experience aspect) and use that when you model.  You flow from pose to pose, expression to expression, and alter what you do based on feedback from the photographer/art director.

It’s not something a new model can do right off the bat, usually (some dancers are almost natural posers).  It takes a lot of practice, a lot of patience, and a lot of time to learn.

If you’re a photographer working with a lot of new models, I usually suggest scrapping the traditional pose book (mostly ’cause most of them blow) and make your own.  Take photos you like the poses in, print them out or tear them out of magazines and catalogs, and put them in a 3-ring binder.  Categorize them if you like–fashion poses, glamour, art nudes, commercial/lifestyle–to make it easier to dig through.  Keep that book on hand at all times, and reference it.  Show the model you’re working with what you want her to do, and verbally make adjustments as you go.  You’ll be more likely to get poses you like (instead of stuffy, fake, senior-portrait poses) and you’ll be happier all around.

Here’s a bunch of modeling-related links (articles, videos, whatever) that you may find helpful. If you have anything you’d like me to add to the list, feel free to drop me a line.  Modeling Articles & Videos

June 18, 2010

Get The Look: A Breath of Fresh Air

I haven’t done this set in quite some time… largely because I’ve been busy with other stuff.  Bringin’ it back for kicks.

Look 9:
This shot is actually one of my 365 self-portraits, but I thought it would be a good one to do.  Here’s the shot…

Get The Look:
Pair a simple black A-line dress with T-strap high heels.  Though it is hard to see, I wore simple CZ studs and a multichain necklace.  For makeup, I did creme blush on the apples of my cheeks swept up to my temples, smudgy black liner, black mascara, and just a touch of a neutral shimmer (I didn’t use the dark side of the shadow duo).  It’s a pretty simple look that’s elegant without being over the top.  I had actually worn this outfit to work that day.

Check out the full 365 entry here: http://the365study.com/2010/06/12/day-55-a-breath-of-fresh-air/

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