Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Good Glam, Bad Glam

I came across an interesting thread on the Glamour1 Forum with the same subject title that I'm plagiarizing... I mean appropriating... I mean using for this update.

I'm not calling attention to this particular G1 thread simply because the original poster included a few nice words about your's truly--although it's always a nice ego-stroke when that happens--but because the quest to produce competent glamour work is what this blog is mostly about. Plus, I needed an idea to write about today. (What did you think? I came up with all this stuff to write about myself?)

G1's original poster begins by stating, "I'm trying to study a number of pictures to learn what seperates good glam from bad glam." He then goes on to list a number of variables that, he believes, may be significant factors in doing so. I could have responded (on the G1 forum) with my opinions on the subject but, like I said, I needed an idea to blog about today.

After removing the model's contributions from the equation, Nakins, G1's original poster, lists lighting, glass, exposure settings, and composition as potential candidates for separating the good, the bad, and the ugly in glamour images. Certainly, I agree that these are all important factors: A shooter's abilities to light and compose and make good technical choices all contribute immensely to the final product.

Various G1 members contributed to this thread with their own opinions and a few of them pointed out the original poster neglected to mention rapport, with the model, as a key ingredient to good glam. Again, I agree. In fact, I agree in a big, big way.

Gaining rapport with the model and promoting her comfort level during the shoot is one of the most important ingredients to good glamour photography. That's not to say good images can't be captured even when the shooter and/or the model aren't particularly fond of each other and their level of rapport aint' so great but, when the rapport is good, it makes the process of achieving positive results easier and more likely.

Nakins, the G1 thread's original poster, mentioned my work with Tera Patrick in his post. For the record, I get along swimmingly with Tera and we have good rapport when working together. But I'm also aware that Tera has a favorite photographer. (Unfortunately, it ain't me.) Tera's favorite photographer, I learned, is model-turned-shooter, Lisa Boyle. Although Tera's shot with many, many photographers, there's a bunch of reasons Lisa is at the top of her list, not the least of which is Ms. Boyle's considerable skills. But two big reasons originate with the facts that Lisa is a woman and Lisa was also a glamour model herself, most notably a Playboy model. Those are two realities neither I, or most other shooters, can easily compete with in the rapport department. Sometimes, the playing field ain't so level, leastwise and in this case, when it comes to achieving the same rapport and comfort-level Tera has with Photographer Boyle.

On Lisa's site's homepage, she says, "I think my experience as a model helps me tremendously in being a photographer. I know what I want and how to communicate that to my subjects. I feel I'm really good at capturing the spirit and individual personality of each of my models."

Lisa's words are incredibly important ingredients to competent glamour photography, i.e., the shooter knowing what he or she wants to accomplish coupled with his or her ability to communicate it to the model. Plus, that part about the shooter's aptitude for capturing the "spirit and individual personality" of the model is unquestionably significant.

I suppose the bottom line is this: Producing good glamour photography isn't merely about the shooter's abilities in producing (technically) good photography. There's so much more that goes into the brew.

The pretty girl pics of the long, lean, model posted along with this ramble is Alexa Lynn. These are from about 6 months ago. I may have posted these before, I can't remember. It's too big a hassle to go back through my posts and figure it out. I captured these with my Canon 5D, 85mm prime, ISO 100, f/5.6 @ 125. Lighting was accomplished with a 5' Octodome as my main, a piece of white foamcore for fill, and a couple of strip-boxes behind her.

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