3 Things That Will Make Your Model Portraits Epic!
Apr 5, 2019 | By: B Strong Productions
Every photographer is out to create something they love. For me, when I get the perfect idea and execute, it's like that mythical perfect golf shot that keeps you coming back to do it again. I'm going to give you three things you need to make your next model shoot epic and it has nothing to do with gear!
One of the biggest reasons you will crush your next model portrait shoot is your location. If you're shooting outdoors, you need to find someplace that is interesting. One of my recent shoots I found an amazing place in San Antonio called The Paint Yard and the nearby Essex Modern City that is filled with murals and amazing colors. This takes a bit of scouting to find, but I know that every city has interesting architecture, colorful art projects or even nice landscapes to feature. Once you lock in the location you're more than halfway to getting that epic image. The first 3 images below were shot in the middle of the day, which everybody assumes is a huge problem. Not if you have the right location to add that visual pop.
I can't stress enough how important lighting is to set the tone in your photos. Two of the next 3 images below were all shot in the middle of the day under a bridge in San Antonio. Because I was able to control the light with my off camera flash...it made everything exponentially better. I love to shoot natural light, but without understanding off camera flash I would have never been able to do this type of look under the bridge with those murals in mid day. The flash was typically up and pointed down in a 45 degree angle, but I also tried a moodier look with the flash directly overhead. The other image that illustrates my point is with an amazing model Alex who is holding a clear umbrella. We shot this at night with two Westcott Ice lights and wrapped the fairy lights around her for dramatic effect. This was in the parking lot of a small college in Charleston, SC. With the right lighting, you can create something magical almost anywhere.
Your camera position is everything in model photography. Shoot down low to give the model a more commanding feel. Shoot straight on to feel more connected to your subject. There are two images below where I shot from down low for the lovely Alejandra to give her command of the shot. The last shot is actually standing over an amazingly trusting Christine, but has the look of windblown hair from a fan. The angle gave me the chance to create something really striking with her hair and keep the look that I wanted with the diamonds. Keep working different perspectives until you get the look you like. Don't be afraid to try a lot of different looks. Your model wants awesome images too so keep moving until you find that great angle and you'll find that your work improves over and over and that the models love what you do.
These might seem like the most simple tips, but mastering lighting, understanding the look you're going for and where you're going to shoot can take a lot more time than you'd expect. Not sure if anybody can ever truly master lighting, but a deeper understanding will always lead to better results straight out of camera. One thing many might think is that the model you're working with is the biggest key. I will agree that there are differences you find with more experienced models, but if you give me a cool location, the right lighting and the opportunity to find creative angles, I guarantee you I can get something epic from almost any model.
What else do you think is essential to an epic modeling shoot? I'd love to hear your thoughts!