Full Model Photography eBook – Progress Update & Useful Tips
As asked for, here are the answers to your most requested model photography topics!
Hi! If you’re reading this you’ve likely downloaded my free model photography eBook. That may have been recently or perhaps it feels like many months ago now!
Quick progress update
My very detailed full model photography eBook is still in progress. It got pushed back when I had to relocate this year unexpectedly. Hopefully I will be closer to publishing by the end of this summer. (I have quite a few distractions/ events booked before that).
Your requests for info to be included the full eBook
If you left a comment detailing what you hope will be in the full eBook this post is for you. As an ex-Accountant I’m pretty good with Excel and processing data. I took the data you gave me from the 1000+ of you that downloaded the free eBook, sorted it and here are your most requested topics (Until I get time to publish the full eBook).
Your top 3 requests
Interestingly, the topic I think the least about is the subject you requested the most. These three topics were by far the most popular from all the requests I received.
#Q1 – How to Pose, Direct and Communicate with models?
This is a big topic so let’s break that down. You need to be able to communicate effectively with a model to be able to direct them to pose. If you can’t confidently explain to a model what you’d like them to do it will be difficult to create those images you have in your head.
A1 – See me posing models
While you are waiting for my book perhaps watch some of the 80+ BTS model shoot videos on Patreon. You’ll see me working with models and you can note some of the posing ideas that I use. For me, the key is the model needs to be relaxed (and ideally having fun) to get those natural looking expressions. A forced or uncomfortable expression means a bad (unusable) photo regardless of how good their figure is.
You often see this online if a model is dressed in less clothes. You can really feel their discomfort from their face. If it’s a beginner model, more clothes is better and shoot outside versus a small studio so she feels safer. (You’ll see the difference in their face).
Q2 – How to Light portraits?
Lighting is a huge topic and probably my favourite. I plan to do a full eBook on lighting to include the basics of using flash, off camera flash, studio lights, LED lights, hot lights, natural light, available light and so on. Stay tuned on that one.
A2 – See how I light models
When I’m teaching model photography workshops I think the key thing to remember is light is light. It can be strong direct sunlight or bare flash. It can be soft diffused light on a cloudy day or a studio light with a big modifier to soften the light. Once you master available light it’s then very easy to replicate it or “make your own”. For me, lighting is far more important than the camera brand or lens that I use. If the light is great you can get brilliant shots with just your iPhone.
Some of my YouTube videos show me using lighting with models. This YouTube video below in particular is more similar to the mentioned videos on Patreon.
Q3 – How to Find models?
For me this was likely going to be one of the top requests and I won’t pretend that it’s easy. It’s actually much more difficult than it was 10 years ago now that everyone has a good camera in their pocket. Their phone! Why should a person meet a random stranger for photos when they can take their own pictures AND look potentially more perfect with a few filters applied. These are tough times for wannabe model photographers but it is still possible if you put the effort in.
Once you can gain a model’s trust it’s full steam ahead from there. If you’re a good photographer, you can pose them better, light them better, style them better and get far more creative with locations and the whole production than they can do themselves. Normally if you do a good job on your first shoot you’ll have them as a contact for years to come. I’ve known some of the models I work with for almost 10 years now.
A3 – Read how I source models
Pretty much the entire free model photography eBook is dedicated to how to find models. Everything in the book still stands and I still use the same approach. The biggest hurdle is often models don’t read their messages as they get so much spam. Keep trying, you’ll get there!
What else are you asking me for?
Here are a few more popular topics where I can direct you to some quick answers until the book is finished.
Q4 – What are the Best Lenses for portraits?
If you follow the YouTube channel and follow the blog you can keep up to date on the various lenses and kit I’m using. You’ll know I’m a lens geek and love to experiment with vintage lenses in particular. Here are some of my favourite portrait lenses to get you started –
Q5 – How to Compose model photos?
For me composition will depend on what format I’m shooting. I guess many of you will be digital shooters so that normally means 3:2 ratio for full frame and 4:3 for digital medium format and micro four thirds cameras. If you shoot film it gets a lot more interesting with square format, 645 film, 6×7, 6×9, pano etc.
Assuming that we are shooting the common 3:2 ratio (or 35mm film) I tend to use variations of these 3 compositions the most (without thinking):
i) Rule of thirds – I often have the models face in the top left or top right intersect of the grid like this –
ii) Centred – By this I mean their head in the centre of the frame but usually placed more towards the upper portion (rather than exactly in the centre) –
iii) Edges – I often crop the top of the heads off for my style of portraits but you can also compose with the face at the edge of the frame –
Check out this article and see which compositions I favour the most!
Need Leica Presets?
Q6 – How do I Edit photos (especially B&W)?
Another popular request was to show you how I edit my photos. You can watch my video tutorials for how I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop in the Accelerator Pack videos. In simple terms I shoot all my digital cameras in RAW, add a MrLeica B&W LR preset (download presets here) and that’s me 99% done. I might then open a few favourites in Photoshop, add a border, polish up a bit before posting to social media.
My editing is nothing fancy. I like to crop in camera and get images as close to finished in camera (like when I shoot film). I shoot in B&W JPEG mode meaning I see in B&W through the camera EVF (even though the camera is only recording RAW (DNG). This helps me visualise the final B&W photo.
I’ve found I now rely very heavily on my presets for digital photo processing and I’m completely lost without them. See this article –
How much does model photography cost?
Another question I receive is how much does it cost to get into model photography? Model photography can be free if you already have a portfolio to show a potential sitter. TFP (Time For Print as it used to be called) is exchanging their time for your photos. You can ask friends and family when you are first starting out but what if you want to hire a professional model? Here are some basic costs based on average London rates.
Organise your own photo shoot
- Model Cost – £50pa (3 hours shoot) = £150
- Studio Hire – £40-50pa (often minimum hire of 3 hours) = £120-£150
- Model + Studio – 3 hours = £270-£300
- Any additional hair, makeup, clothes stylist costs excluded*
Attend an organised event
- Group Workshop – (4 hours including 3 hours with a model) = from £200
- Private 1:1 Workshop – (4 hours including 3 hours with a model) = from £349
Anxiety ahead of your shoot
If you are a fellow introvert like me or just new to model photography the follow thoughts might be going through you head –
- What do I say to the model?
- How should I pose them?
- Where should I tell them to meet me?
- What if it feels really awkward?
- Does it matter if I’m old enough to be their Dad?
- What if they don’t like me?
- ..the list goes on!
Don’t worry. Once you’ve done a few shoots it gets much easier and it’s onward and upwards from there!
Full eBook coming soon!
If you’re trying to plan your own shoot and need some help, get in touch and we can organise a Zoom call beforehand.
*Group workshops will be limited to 4 places per session. First come basis. July date(s) to be announced in the next newsletter.