Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer's Here! Get Out and Shoot!

Technically, summer doesn't begin till the Summer Solstice, June 21, but for all intents and purposes, it's here, now, with Memorial Day weekend heralding its arrival. My summer advice? Get out and shoot!

While many of you live in places where moderate weather isn't a year-round perk, like where I live in Southern California, summer is photography season for almost everyone everywhere.

Yep! Now is the time you don't have to worry so much about finding a cool interior location to shoot your pretty girl photography. Now's the time you have so many more places to photograph all those beautiful women who are just waiting for someone to immortalize them in sexy, seductive, glamour images. And that someone is you! Well, it could be you.

So how do you find those pretty girls who want their egos stroked by a guy with a camera?

As many of you know, it's not always so easy.

Two of the most useful places to find models to grace your viewfinders are OneModelPlace and ModelMayhem. If you're not a member of these sites and you're a serious pretty girl shooter, or hope to become one, you should get yourself a photographer's membership to both of them.

One of the really helpful ways to find models on these sites is to search for those of them who live in your geographic area. Both sites offer search functions that allow you to use search criteria by zip code.

When making contact with models on these sites it's really important to present yourself in a professional manner. Be concise and direct in stating what you're hoping to capture with your photography. Pay attention to the models' profiles. Don't ask them to go beyond the content limits they've stated. If a model indicates she's not interested in nude modeling, accept it, deal with it, and move on. (Assuming nudity is something you're looking to photograph.)

It's also important to prepare yourself for rejection. While many pretty girls love presenting themselves as models, it seems some of them enjoy the idea or notion of being a model more than getting out there and actually doing some modeling. Once again, accept it, deal with it, and move on.

I often read, on more than a few photography forums, a lot of griping about models who want to bring escorts along with them. If you're insistent the model shows up without an escort you're increasing the odds she won't show up at all. Sorry. But that's just how it is. Yeah, I know, those escorts can be distracting and, sometimes, outright obstacles to getting that shot you're looking to capture. What can I tell you? If having some pretty girl you've never met (and who has never met you) show up, alone, at your designated shooting location is what you're insisting on, you've diminished the odds she'll show up at all. And if you're also expecting, once there and alone with you, she'll get naked for you and your camera, you further increase the odds she won't show up.

Accept it, deal with it, and move on if getting the model alone and naked with you is your insisted-upon goal. I ain't saying it ain't do-able. And I ain't questioning your motives. I'm just saying.

I'm also not trying to dampen your enthusiasm (and hopes) for capturing pretty girls with your camera, naked or otherwise. I'm just trying to offer a dose of reality.

By the way, I've noticed many photographers don't think twice about dropping some serious dough on gear. But when it comes to offering some cash for a model they act like it's some violation of their artistic code of ethics.

Photographers please! Just like you might hope to make money with your photography, many models (and would-be models) hope to do the same with their modeling. Yeah, many models haven't yet paid their dues (qualifying them to earn) but then many photographers haven't done so either.

I know you might feel like you have a bigger investment, what with the cost of a camera body, glass, and other gear, and you bring more to the "free shoot" than the model--after all, all she brings is herself and maybe some wardrobe and makeup--but again, it's the nature of the beast that the photographer, if anyone, is the one who is going to cough up a few bucks to make the shoot happen. I'm not talking about accomplished shooters who, rightfully, should be paid for their time, especially when photographing novice models who are hoping to build a great portfolio, I'm talking about the average hobby shooter working with models with little experience.

Money talks. And offering even a small remuneration for a model's time--some $$$ to cover her travel expenses and make her feel more like a pro--will increase the chances of getting that model in front of your camera. If the model already is a pro, you're more than likely gonna pay for her time.

Bottom line: You'll get more models in front of your camera with a good portfolio and a Ben Franklin than you will with a good portfolio alone.

Accept it, deal with it, and score yourself some pretty girls to add-to, or build, that good portfolio you're looking to assemble. Who knows? Maybe even a great portfolio?

The sexy pretty girl at top is Tory from a shoot this past April.


Robert E Carter said...

This makes a lot of sense. I hope to start doing this soon. Have to save to join those sites first and then save to have money to shoot some pretty girls! lol ah well all will come in time!

jimmyd said...


Model Mayhem is free. I believe OMP charges different prices for different levels of membership.

Stephen Cupp said...

Except in Las Vegas where the summer is when you stay in a nice cool studio and fall and spring is when you want to be outside. It's already a 100 degrees outside.

Torix said...

Just another perfect article as usual:)
I would add that if a model insists to bring an escort, the chances to add some nice pics to your portfolio are close to zero, so as you say, move on...
My first comment on your blog, but for a year or so it became some kind of bible:)

jimmyd said...

@Stephen Cupp,

I hear ya! I've been to, and shot in, Vegas many times. Don't wanna shoot outside in the summer except maybe in and around dawn and dusk. And even then... it's freakin' hot!!!


I've shot some decent stuff where there were escorts with the models. Recently, I mentored a photographer with some private training and the model's Mom ended up coming along and the shooter got some really awesome stuff! And I'm talking semi-nude stuff! So, an escort doesn't automatically mean you ain't gonna get good shots. But it's true, there are times when the escort is a royal pain, butting in where they have no business, and ruining what might have been a great shoot.

EleganceAndChaos said...

I would add that it is important to make connections with makeup artist, hair stylist and wardrobe stylist in your area too. You need to improve your production values if you want to work with better and better models. Offering a unique location, a unique concept, hair, makeup and unique wardrobe goes a long way to attracting better models. If you are doing this seriously you may need to invest some money up front to get the quality of images that will have models wanting to work with you and your team.

It really is a team active. Build a good one and make sure your team is happy and getting what they need out of the process also.

Everyone is constantly testing, whether it is new equipment, new models, new locations or concepts. It is part of the business and it is what keeps your portfolio fresh.

Anonymous said...

Great entry Jimmy!specially in the paying lots for gear and not wanting to pay for the model fee!, Whenever I need to update my portfolio I'm all for collaborations with MUA's and Models, however when I need top notch models I search for a professional and pay their fee if they ask for it.

Many don't seem to understand that the way to have a good photo isn't only to own and know how to use latest camera, lens and lighting gear they buy, it is in reality putting someone interesting and that knows what to do in front of that camera, lens and lighting gear what makes a good photo!!! there's nothing worse than a photo that's sharp, well composed, beautiful lit but with a stiff model with a stiff expression because they didn't wanted to pay real talent!.

Hope you are enjoying the weather Jimmy :D

My best wishes

jimmyd said...


The team and production value can be everything! Often, it is the difference between an okay image and a WoW! image!


It's the model who "sells" the image. In glam photography, having the best gear and mad photo skills often doesn't mean squat if the model ain't cuttin' it.

Anonymous said...

@Jimmy amen to that! people forget that your photo is only as interesting as the person or object that is in front of it, not the gear in front of the model :)

Anonymous said...

What do you do in terms of model identification? What do you require? Do you have photograph the id with the model? Have you changed your ways in light of 2257?

jimmyd said...


Yeah, we "Mickey Mouse" ear them with their IDs. There's more paperwork now, in light of the new 2257 changes, than ever

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jimmy. I had one model from OMP go postal when mentioned that I planned on photographing her with her ID. She whined about identity theft. I canceled the shoot after she went postal.