This is the Blog of Swiss Photographer Nicolas Henri

Directing Models

Have you ever had a model step up in front of your lens, assume some standard pose and (much worse) put on that modelling face? No matter what you do now, she’s gonna stick to that pose and that I-am-sexy-and-wild-yet-arrogant-and-completely-bland-expression. Perhaps you manage to break the habit for a click or two, but as soon as you adjust your aperture for half a stop and look back at her (or him!!!) things have magically snapped back…

First of all: This is NOT the models fault, it is entirely the photographers fault! Being a photographer is not all about fiddling with your gear, it is to a large extent about working with people, with talent, with crew and getting the best out of them. So you have to be able to tell your model the right things, enabling him/her to perform up to spec.

It has been my experience that many models, when they started out had the bad luck of having to work with some hack photographers. The sort of shooter which got into the game because they thought they’d meet more pretty girls that way and think that the bathing suit calendar at the mechanics shop represents the aesthetic summit of contemporary photography… you get the idea. So they try to get just that out of the newcomer models, who in turn are really just hoping to build their book. After a while, always being asked to look and pose that very same way, things start to stick.

There are a few simple techniques, which actually come out of film directing and will work like a charm on almost anybody. Let’s have a look at the following shot:

There’s life behind Tatjana’s eyes and contact with the viewer in this one. You can tell that something is moving her. Try to figure out what I might have told her to get the performance and then hit the jump to read what the secret is…

Posted by nicolas_henri on August 11th, 2008 :: Filed under Artist Technique, Photography, Photogs at work!
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