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Modeling Tips

"Advice from a Successful Model"

If you want to get the most out of your photography session, these modeling tips from successful model and actor, Steven Hooper are valuable to you whether you are a photographer or a model.

As a model I have come into contact with a whole host and variety of photographers, from the serious, to the playful, male and female, young and old. And as you would expect, some are easier to work with than others.

Modeling Tips - Steven Hooper

When I started out in modeling it was on the advice of friends and family that said I should give it a try, and in all honesty I was a little terrified on my first outing.modeling tips

The first shoot turned out OK, however I was quite nervous in all my pictures and it shows in some of the photographs taken on the day. Despite this the photographer was really good at helping me through the shoot. When I shot for him a second time at a later date, my pictures come across completely differently as I was a lot more relaxed.

Modeling Tips - Steven Hooper

Although this is just one example, the question stands as to why my pictures were different the second time around?

Well, I knew the photographer by his first name, and we had a chat and a joke prior to the shoot, which was not the case the first time around.

So in general, as experience has now come to show, a few minutes or maybe up to half an hour before you shoot, have a good chat with your models. Not simply to discuss the football and to form the bond that you the photographer and model need to make the experience enjoyable for you both, but also to discuss the day’s events, what you are planning to shoot (if you have arranged the shoot yourself) or if you are shooting a model who has come to you for a portfolio shoot, then you can discuss the outfits, looks, ideas, have a brainstorm as to how these looks can be achieved improved etc… modeling tips

Magazine cuttings are great for this period as the model can show you what they are after, and you can discuss what can be reasonably achieved with the equipment, time and outfits/costumes/clothes at your disposal.

Modeling Tips - Steven Hooper Ask the model for their suggestions during the time you spend prior to and during the shoot, to see if they can input their own ideas, and incorporate them with yours.

When you start Shooting

When you get underway with the camera, in my experience it is essential to talk to the model throughout. Constant communication is a great way of keeping everyone informed of how comfortable you are with positions, angles, how the picture is looking etc…modeling tips

The Hollywood stereotype of the photographer constantly telling the model to "love the camera" etc. may be a little OTT but the idea is the same: tell them how good they look, explain changes when you think they are needed and now with digital photography providing instantly viewable results, take a moment every now and again to show the model how good they actually look there and then.modeling tips

It’s a real confidence boost for me as a model when the photographer actually shows me a picture mid-shoot that I think is really good. It also helps reassure the model that they are doing a good job. Modeling Tips - Steven Hooper

Of course the different types of jobs you may be working on will require considerably different approaches. For example, a model may be paying for your time to build their own modeling portfolio or you may be hired by a client to shoot clothes for a brands website, magazine etc… If the latter is the case then prior to the shoot talk to the model about the aims of the day. If you have examples of the pictures you are aiming to get that will help the model work with you throughout the day.. Again talking to the model while shooting really helps the model to move into the positions you require and get the look you are after.

Modeling Tips - Steven Hooper I have to say one of the hardest things for a model is when the shoot is very quiet.

I have worked on shoots in which barely a word is said, and it becomes very difficult to know how to pose, where to move, how you are doing and if the work being achieved is really what the photographer wants.

I'm sure it can be quite daunting for you as a photographer to know how to "use" your models when starting off, so I hope that some of these points will help you. You may already use some or all of these techniques: everyone works differently, but the main thing is to enjoy it: this truly rubs off on the models, and will result in better photographs.
modeling tips

I hope this helps those of you starting off, and to those of you who are more established perhaps some of the points raised here will help you to work more productively with your models in the future…

Best of luck,

Steven Hooper
Modeling Tips - Steven Hooper

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