Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No, I Did Not Get Hit By a Bus

Although the dog keeps trying to kill me. He likes to lay in the hall in the dark and see if he can break my legs. So far, he's only managed to hyperextend one of my toes on the laundry hamper, but it's only a matter of time.

I have not had any creative impulse whatsoever for quite some time, I'm sad to say. I mostly just sit around and do geek stuff. I did send a model who's traveling here (or maybe she already did) an email just to see if she'd work with me and she didn't answer, so that didn't help. I can handle most criticism but the kind which implies it's not even worth it to criticize me is kind of rough.

Anyway, here is a letter I got from a nice young lady in Greece and my comments on her questions. You may find it useful. Or interesting. Or at least mildly Amusing.

Hello!!I read your article http://www.marcwphoto.com/starting.html and I thought that you could maybe help me out and answer some qustions.
First of all I'd like to work on swimwear modelling and I'm thinking of building my portfolio soon.
Questions:1)Is it possible to start modelling and still be a good student?

That depends on your bandwidth. If you have the mental energy to try to do both, then yes. I know several models who have finished college degrees, including postgraduate degrees, while supporting themselves partially or wholly through modeling.

2)My portfolio should only include bikini pictures?

If all you ever ever ever want to do is swimwear, then I guess you could have all swimwear pictures and one good headshot, but you might as well at least put a few casual/lifestyle shots in there. It will look awfully strange if it's all bikinis, all the time.

3)Only one photographer helps with the portfolio or can I cooperate with more than one?

If you want your portfolio to have any depth, you're pretty much going to have to get images from more than one photographer.

4)How many pictures can you take in 1 hour?

Me? Thousands, especially if I put my camera on motor drive and hold the button down.

But if you want *good* pictures, the answer is complicated. I've gone the first hour of a shoot and not taken a single frame. I've taken thirty pictures in a two-hour shoot. (And to an old-school film photographer that could STILL be machine-gunning it.) I've taken three hundred pictures in a one-hour shoot. It depends on what you're doing. I would say that unless you're doing seriously complicated concept work, a one-hour shoot ought to get the model at least five pictures she can use, if you're doing trade or paying the photographer. See question three: you don't want or need dozens of pictures from any given photographer anyway. I'll never understand models who want all the images from a shoot. If you get one great image from a session, you're ahead of the game. More than that is a bonus. Unless, of course, you're paying for different looks - then you should expect at least one usable image for each look.

5)Who does the make up,the styling,the wardrobe?

That depends on who's willing to pay for what. I've had the model do it all herself, I've had models pay for stylists and artists, I've paid for stylists and artists, I've had stylists and artists work for trade, I've had clients pay for stylists and artists. (That last is how it works in the "real world" of commercial photography - they're just a line item on the invoice or included in the daily.) If you want pics for your port, either you ask the photographer to arrange makeup and styling and pay for it as part of the shoot, or you arrange for it yourself. If you're doing trade you can often find artists and stylists who also want trade, although they do tend to be less experienced.

6)Do photographers retouch the pictures taken?

Usually, especially if you're paying. However the level of retouching varies wildly, as does the quality. I retouch my pictures very little, but that's because (if I do say so) I know how to take pictures that don't need much retouching. Some photographers are mediocre photographers but have Photoshop skills far exceeding my own. This is great, unless their pictures end up more as photo-illustrations that don't *look* like you. If you show up at a shoot looking radically different than your heavily-retouched pictures, the photographer/client is going to be very upset.

7)I checked model mayhem out for photographers and found some really good ones(and expensive)for bikini shoots but I didn't find someone whose pictues I like here in greece.Should I take some pictures with a not-so-good photographer at first or what else can I do?

If you want pictures to use to market yourself, not-so-good images are worthless. Better to have digital snapshots your friend takes with a point-and-shoot camera than crappy-looking pro pics. Digital snapshots say, "Hey, I'm just starting," and crappy-looking pro pics say, "Hey, I have no idea what good pictures look like and I paid this shmuck to make some bad ones for me." :)

If you listen to nothing else I say, listen to this: It is better to have one good headshot and one good body profile than fifty crappy pictures. Quality is EVERYTHING. Photographers have a saying that you are only as good as your worst picture. It also applies to models.

More after the jump - click here!