Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Model Photoshoot questions answered

This are questions and my answer to a girl asking about preparing for a shoot.

1. one nice smiling headshot, one in business attire/glasses/holding cell phone, one in either bikini or fitness outfit, one action shot-smiling carrying handbag walking down street, and one close up beauty shot. I watched all your youtube videos and wanted to make sure I got it! Is this a good layout for my comp card??

Reply: Yes it can be, I think those shots would be good, but remember everyone's compcard looks different and there is no real rules. The idea is to focus on showing the best of you and to think of the modeling jobs you want to get and target your photos in that direction. If you want to model shoes, show that you can in your photos. If you have a young look then a suit and serious attire is not needed as much because you will mostly not be booked for that, so in that case just jeans, basic, casual wear is best, perhaps you can wear fitness clothing or a dress, you could do a shot that shows you in a more formal dress like prom since younger girls have that. If you are more mature, 22 and older then you want to show your diversity in shots but you want to make sure you do look like all the shots and that you are not over doing it with makeup, or trying to hard in the photos to look mature or something, you want to always look like yourself. Looking at ads ahead of time helps, it is best to shoot from an example, something you have seen and liked and thought of as something "that could have been me."

Work from examples of ads you see in magazines.

Not fashion ads but ads that show lifestyle products, and notice the personality and translate that into your shoot. You do not need to stress over shooting 4 different looks, that might have been how models shot years ago but today the point is to get the shots to show the best of you, it is nice to show yourself in different atmospheres and energy,and style, but you don't need to stress over the 4 outfits, and changing your look 4 times. Just get the point, the basic, look attractive but not over doing it with makeup, and mostly look real, a real smile, a real laugh, really walk down the street, look natural.

2. I also want to do parts modeling... my hands, legs, hair, and eyes ( maybe feet, but only if it's closed toe ) How should be comp card be for this layout? And it does have to be another comp card with my face still in front and 3-4 images of my body parts in back?

Reply:A parts compcard is all about showing the parts you want to most in an advertising way. So for hands you could show your hand by putting on nail polish for the shot, holding a nail polish bottle in a pretty way, holding a glass, or just laying your hand on a table with nice lighting to show your full hand simply. It again, like commercial print photos, helps if you look at ads that involve hands. Same for legs,look at ads that involve shoes because legs and shoes go to together for modeling. If I have a casting for feet I always make sure my legs also look nice, and vice versa. The layout of the card should be to show your main"part" that you think suits you best on the front, or some girls put a headshot on the front so when they go to castings their face, who they are, can be remembered, compared to the casting director just remembering...which hand and whose! So it can be good to put a headshot or beauty shot on your parts card too on the front of back. You basically want to show your best in the best way you cna. Ways that look like ads or an editorial in a magazine. Look at ads for food products, cleaning products, jewerly,etc. So look at magazines like Allure, Cosmo, Marie Claire, Glamour, Fitness you might see "parts" shots in ads or the magazine editorials/stories. The more your photos look like an ad the more an agent will think you can be in one. Parts modeling is about making your parts have a personality, and whether you are holding a fork, wearing a shoe, or wearing a peice of jewerly you want to make the product look great as well as your hand, leg, foot, etc modeling it.

3. How many images should I receive in getting lightly retouch and cropped?

Reply:To start for your commercial print compcard you should ask for 5-7 touched up, but YOU should pick these and keep in mind the examples of what other models have as photos at the agencies you want to work with. You want to create a card that the agenct you are marketing yourself to would like but you also want to make it a card you can submit to more than one agency, so be picky about the photos, and about which photos show your energy personality, good skin, smile, and that you can model something, a product.

4. How many looks should I ask?

Reply: Instead of looks ask to get certain shots acomplished. "I want a nice headshot" I want to get a shot walking down a street." This could really be the same outfit, just one shot will be more about face and one will be more about personality. And say "I need a shot in fitness clothing." - Have your goals based around the shots you want to get. Not just the outfits. I do not like the 4 look thing because sometimes in one or two looks you can get the shots you need. Think about it this way. You might even get some parts shots out of it if you know how to crop photos, in the dress if you have sandals on you could be walking down the stress with your handbag and smiling and then at some point stop and fix your shot or stand pretty against a wall or fence or sit on some steps or something and when the shot is cropped (you do this yourself later) it could become a parts shot of your legs and feet,-get it.) I would focus more on the shots you want to acomplish than how many looks, outfits. It might only take the fitness outfit, and the other outfit to get the shots you need. Especially if the shot on the cell phone or whatever is more of a waist up shot and you are sitting on the phone in the same outfit as the one that you walked down the street in. The idea is there. That is the goal, not how many outfits you wear. Plan creatively and with your budget in mind.

5. How many shots should be taken?

Reply: Expect a total of 100 shots or so. Honestly if the photographer is any good at all he can get the basics of what you need for your first compcard in like 100 shots. You do NOT need a 100 of each look but to better prepare I would look in front of the mirror and practice for 30 minutes or so BEFORE you do the shoot. Be prepared, know what you want, and be confident about getting what you need. Don't be nervous, the photographer is just taking your picture of yourself doing what you want to do. It is not about impressing the photographer it is about you getting the shots you need.

6. Hopefully I will be using these images for my comp card but is there a model release form that states otherwise?

Reply: For TFCD ( a situation when a model doesn't get paid, the photographer doesn't as well but is more common among amatuers), the release should involve that you get all the photos, and that you can use them for your compcard and if either party uses them for print they must get the permission from both party.

Speak about ALL of this usage ahead of time. If shots are planned to be for your compard then each time the camera clicks, you should get that shot. Or discuss ahead of time what will receive. Don't be mislead by Photoshopped or touched-up image promises, YOU DO NOT want overly touched up images for creating a commercial print modeling compcard. You want a natural look.

When it comes to getting the images: You should get the CD the day of your shoot. I mean come on it is digital just ask for it to be burned on a CD or bring your own USB drive device and ask to copy the images on it. You want the images also be large files. 300dpi, print size. It is important learn the size of the images you need so that you can print them. Otherwise you didn't acomplish anything today. :) So remember, 300 dpi! And big enough to be printed at 15 inches. Then say to the photographer that you will review the shots and "I will be picking 25 of the best shots", or "I would like all of the shots on a CD and then I will go over them and pick the ones for re-touching." Do not let the photographer pick the ones for re-touching. You, as the model, pick them, you need to take control over what shots you want re-touched, so look over the shots and then ask to have 5 or so re-touched or you can easily adjust somethings yourself in Photoshop. Also at www.compcard.com they do light retouching for free by the way when you make your compard state "can you remove that shadow on my cheak" or whatever. Take control of what you need. Don't get scammed. Know what to expect ahead of time, talk it through ahead of time.

7. I told the photographers....I only sign a model release form only if he agrees not to sell them unless he has my written agreement to do so or I get a cut of the profits. My friends had the worst incident that made their images be on a website that was not what they bargained for.

8. Is this too strict? My friends told me I will miss out on some great photographers that don't agree to this, but some say it's the only way to protect yourself.

Reply to 7 and 8: Your friend doesn't realize that getting professional photographer quality is best, TFP can be a true waste, it isn't about just shooting something it is about shoot something great. I am imagining your friend doesn't work with agencies..., she might mingle with photographers on the internet but this is not the way a girl should go about working with amatuer photographers. The TFP thing over all is typically a waste of time. Too much drama, mistakes, etc. Honestly if you work with a professional or someone who understands the craft of photography and get some good compcard shots and mail them to agencies and keep trying to mail, mail, mail the right agencies,..that is how you will get an agent and get legit modeling work. It is not hard for a person to buy a camera, call themselves a photographer and use the internet to mingle with girls who want to be models, but this is not modeling at all and is not professional nor respected in the real modeling and advertising business. If you happen to get into a TFP situation, you always do want to becareful of who you work with an their intentions, will not miss out on photographers by not signing an amatuer release and you should more importantly protect your image, because once a photo is taken of you...if you give the TFP amatuer photographer the right to post them anywhere, you might regret it if the photo taken is a bad photo or something that doesn't flatter you well. The freedom to use the images in a TFP situation should be equal. If you are being forced to sign a release, you might very well want to have your own release created as well or create a contract, release you can agree upon BEFORE the shoot. Basically stay away from TFP.

9. When submitting to agencies.... what do I send.. one comp card 8"x12"?? one body parts comp card 8"x12"?? cover letter??? is this the same format as any cover letter? a resume?? how should this be printed.. on paper or like a comp card?

When you submit to a print modeling agency submit one compcard. Write your phone number on it.

Things not to write on the compcard:
Your myspace, your home address, or any social site or website. Agents do not want to look at that, they want to see you, who you are, what you can offer as a model on your compcard, they do not have the time to typically visit all your sites, so do NOT put those.

Send your photo to first time is to introduce yourself and see if you and the agency are a good fit. It isn't only about the agency thinking you two can work together but you also feeling this is a good fit, so don't be in a rush, or fall for a scam. Don't be too desperate to get an agency, you want to work with a good one, a credible one.
The cover letter should be quick and to the point.

I am an aspiring model and I have a background as an athlete in track and cross country and I would be good for print modeling opportunities involving fitness, or ads for beauty care or skincare products. I have a lot of personality and I would also like ot be apart of your commercial and TV projects as well. Enclosed is my compcard and I am working on more commercial print photos as well to share. My contact number is :

Sincerely, ______

If you have modeling credits be sure to mention them. For modeling you do not need a resume printed, you do not put a resume printing on the compcard, and typically your compcard is suppose to speak for itself on what you have acomplished, so if you have tearsheets, modeling experience, you put those images on your card as proof. And inside your modeling portfolio you would put prints from your modeling jobs, or your tearsheets. proof of your experience to show at castings and go-sees. ( for modeling portfolios I suggest 12.5 by 9.5 inches by Pratt. Usually they are under $100. I have two different portfolios currently. One for commercial print work which is based on more smiles and personality and more editorial style, and then I have a parts modeling portfolio for parts modeling castings that show legs, hands, body shots, etc.

When it comes to resumes:

If you have a headshot you can have the headshot printed with your resume printed on the back. You can see a sample of this here:


Or you can print out on usual printing paper your resume, staple it to your headshot and trim the edges since printing paper is larger than headshot standard 8 by 10 inches.

10. When sending it through mail... what kind of envelope do you use? The regular yellow that folds on top?

Reply: I use a yellow envelope for my compards and headshots. The type you can get at Staples. I get the 6" by 9" for my compcard mailings and for the headshot mailings you can get I think 12 by 14 or something like that. They have many sizes at Staples, if you need to bring your headshot or compcard with you and measure. I live at Staples and the Post office! :)

11. I recently talked to a photographer... He told me he can do 4 looks + 7 digital retouch plus have a makeup artist/hairstylist for $500. Is that a good deal?

Reply: I don't think so. First. You can get your makeup done at a makeup counter, at least your eyes and lips, then purchase a couple items for touch ups. I do not think you need major hair and makeup. I hate it when photographers suggest you spend massive on this stuff. Stupid really because agencies do not want to see you dolled up. In print modeling they want to see you as you. So no over-doing the makeup. Here is a blog I recently wrote on makeup and styling tips for photo shoots when you can't afford the makeup artist

I do not think you should go overboard with styling, makeup and hair. It is not needed. Just good foundation and nice makeup, nothing too crazy or fashion-y. Simple.

12. What makeup do you use for a photoshoot? I read MAC, Shu Uemura, Make Up Forever are all good but pricey.

Reply: I use all types of brands. Drug-store brands are great I use Covergirl matte foundation right now on my face, I use Rimmel, I use Revlon lipgloss, stick, and I like Wet n Wild too for lipsticks for a dollar! I do not wear much eye-shadow but when I do it is simple colors, tans, browns, dark greens, dark blue, I like Styli-Style. I get do my whole face for under $25 usually. I love the lotions at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, very good quality for under $20. I do not think you should have to spend 30 bucks on mascara, my boyfriend bought me one vibrating mascara thing and I do like it but I will not be spending on it myself. I think eye-shadows should be bought for under $10 always, and the drug-store brand is not bad. I like Sephora brand makeup.

Also a tip for hair is curl your hair in hot curlers, no hair spray, and then brush out the curls, it will give you volume that looks very alive, and fresh, for free! :)

I hope this helps,

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