My first shoot with a model is about finding out what make them tick and how they interact with me as a photographer. The key I believe to creating a great image is not so much about the lighting, but more about the model and your ability to get a unique look out of them. If you look at some of the masters of shooting natural beauty, for example Patrick Demarchelier and Peter Lindbergh, they manage to capture unique never seen before looks from some of the most photographed women in the world i.e. Angelina Jolie, Kate Moss. They tend to mould and manipulate the models looks to their own style of photography. Just by looking at the models expression you can quite often tell who the photographer is.
So Lets get started, The Stunning Irish Model Deirdre arrives at the studio with her hair and Make up done just the way she likes it. So we sit down for about 1/2 an hour looking at images so I can find out what style she likes and what looks we are going to do. The first thing we decided to do was a really natural look with 100% Natural light. So I set up an area near a large window and put some music of her choice on, I took a test shot and this is what we got.
Natural yes, Pretty yes, Boring yes, this is what you will get out of Deirdre if you just lift the camera and shoot, giving her no direction at all and letting her stay in her pre rehearsed comfort zone. And this look will be exactly the same for every photographer that gives her nothing in the way of direction and emotion. This is not the look I was after at all so I decided to take Deirdre out of her rehearsed comfort zone. I noticed the freckles on her shoulder and that she had covered them up on her face with a layer of foundation. So I begged her to take of all her make up, we came to a compremise that she would take it all off expect her eye make up. Now that I had done that battle I decided to shoot this as a green channel black and white to bring out every freckle on her face. I put on some emotive music (Ludovico Einaudi’s Primavera) then I described the emotions I wanted Deirdre to feel while she listened to the music. by half way through the song I had taken complete control of her look and posing, the next 3 photos are a cross section of what we had created. Natural beauty yes, emotion yes, boring no.
Shutter Speed:1/100 second
Focal Length:100 mm
Now it’s time we stepped it up a notch. Most models would like to expect 3 hours of amazing hair and make up, a $50,000 one off creation and some to die for heals, not when I’m training them. No make up, an over size shirt and some daggy mens underwear, Its not the clothes that make the model, it’s the model that makes the clothes. A good model can make a dogs blanket look amazing. Below is what Deirdre and I created over the next hour or so just working with her emotions. No hair and make up, No photoshop, straight out of hasselblad raw and she looks nothing like any of her previous photoshoots. BTW Deirdre is AMAZING and I can’t wait to shoot with her again.
Shutter Speed:1/320 second
Focal Length:100 mm