Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Are All the Hot Girls in SoCal?

photography, photographer, glamour, glamor, model, modeling, camera, lensI recently received the following email from a PGS reader:

Hey Jimmy!

You get to shoot some very glamorous, very beautiful women on a regular basis. How much of that is their beauty and how much is your skill?

Out here in Xxxxxx, let's just say that models are more challenged in the beauty department than what you're used to working with. If you were in my city, what would you do to make them look like SoCal babes?

All the best,

PS PLEASE don't quote the part that says Xxxxxx models are challenged! I'd have to move to shoot again, its a small town!


FWIW, here's my take on this:

It's true that places like L.A., New York, Miami, and others are magnets for hot chicks looking to parlay their beauty and charms into green. But all these would-be, wanna-be, hope-to-be models come from somewhere. And they didn't all accidentally fall off a turnip cart on the streets of L.A., New York, Miami, or other places where there's plenty more modeling work than where they might hail from. So, I don't think it's geographic anomalies or accidental arrivals that seem to place hotter chicks in one location over another.

That aside, there are plenty of other factors that might make it seem as if most of the best looking women are working the entertainment and media centers around the U.S. And thinking it has everything to do with a shooter's skills, mine or anyone else's, is a simplification.

First, many of the pretty girls I shoot with have experience in front of a camera-- Not all of them, but quite a few. And more than a few have lots of experience. A model's skills are a big part of capturing her beauty and allure. Simply said, successful, experienced models know how to sell it.

Just last week, I had a conversation with Lisa Boyle, a successful glamour model who took up shooting a few years back. Lisa's modeling experience includes more than a few appearances in Playboy magazine--the cover as well as inside the mag--Playboy's various Special Editions, and elsewhere. Lisa and I were both on the same set shooting for the same client. (They needed two shooters for this project due to time constraints.) Both Lisa and I have shot Tera Patrick a number of times and Tera's name came up in our conversation. We both agreed that it's pretty hard to shoot a bad pic of Tera. Why? Because Tera is not only beautiful, she's masterful in front of the camera. Tera knows how to sell it like few others!

Next is The Team. I'm talking about those people who apply make-up, style hair, dress the model, and contribute in other ways to the images. These people make a huge contribution to the outcome of a shoot! HUGE!

Unfortunately, many hometown girls are being shot by quite good shooters but without the benefits of The Team. When you're shooting glamour, the elements of glamour photography don't end with a pretty girl and a good shooter. (i.e., a hot model and a shooter who simply knows his or her way around lights and a camera.) To get the goods, the best goods, you need a team of glamour and beauty creatives who know what they're doing. In fact, often I think the least important person in the equation is the shooter. If you have a beautiful, experienced model who really knows how to sell it, hook her up with The Team (which could be just one person or more than one) performing their magic on said model, and the shooter has good, basic skills, the results are often going to be successful.

Although many shooters might disagree, here's how I figure the equation works, in percentages, contributing to the success of most glamour images: 50% the model, 30% the MUA and others on The Team, 20% the shooter. Of course, the shooter often gets the lion's share of the credit for the images and, while that might not seem fair, that's the way, right or wrong, it works (for the most part)in the pretty girl shooting biz.

So dude! Don't sell those hometown girls short. Without them, the seemingly never-ending supply of hotties who end up in front of my camera might suddenly evaporate. Make the most of them before they head for other pastures. And remember, it's not just about beauty. Often, models are simply missing the skills and experience to sell themselves to the camera or they don't always get to enjoy the benefits of The Team. If and when those elements are brought to bear on most pretty girl images, the apparent skills of the shooter, in other peoples' eyes, increases dramatically.

The pretty girl at the top is the Goddess of Glam herself, Tera Patrick. MUA & Hair by Jennifer Corona. This was from a rather brief and impromptu shoot a few months back. I lit Tera with two lights: 33.5" Mola beauty dish for the main and a small umbrella overheard for some highlights. Tera is wearing a piece from her signature, lingerie line, Mistress Couture.


Robert said...

I agree about the true percentages, and that it is not always fair that the shooter usually gets all of the credit, but we usually get all of the blame, too. I figure it mostly works out in the end.

wildepics said...

Amazing makeup job, I didn't recognize Ms. Patrick, and I am a big fan. Nice 20% also.