Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When Good Models Go Whacky

It's true there are some models who primp and pose with little going on behind the scenes, that is, there's not much happening, cerebral-wise, while they're pimping their stuff in the light. On the other hand, many models have Brainiac-like machinations constantly going on in their melons while seducing the camera with their charms and allure.

Personally, I think it's an 80/20 thing: The 80 referring to the percentage of models engaging in mental gymnastics while being photographed.

Most of us on the other side of the camera happen to be men, especially when it comes to pretty girl shooting. That means that most pretty girls shooters don't have a clue what's going in our models' brains, female brains, while we're shooting them. I'm certainly no exception to this general rule.

Fortunately, many models exhibit tell-tale signs that, assuming we take notice, are indicators that some extraordinary photographer-to-model finesse is in order.

A simple, uncomplicated example: Your model is wearing a very sexy get-up including a too-short skirt, stripper-pumps, a.k.a. CFMs ("Come Fuck Me" footwear) and an undersized halter top that causes her incredibly ample breasts to practically spill out in extremely enticing ways. You, the shooter, thinks she looks like the Goddess of Love in the outfit. The model, however, doesn't share your appraisal or optimism. She asks you whether you think the sexy micro-skirt she's wearing makes her butt look a little big. The model, BTW, has asked this probing (and perhaps misleading) question in a very casual, non-emotional, academic way.

Often, questions like "Does my butt look big?" have little to do with the anatomic Southern-region she has referred to. Instead, it is an indicator that the model, for whatever reasons, is feeling a bit insecure about her body's presentation in general.

Generally, this isn't a good sign, leastwise, in terms of how the shoot will progress.

There are few things that will kill your masterpiece shots of a beautiful woman than the woman experiencing insecurity about her body. Why? Because guess where that insecurity shows up in big ways? Yep. You guessed it. In her face, her eyes, her expressions.

"With a body like that, who's looking at her face?" you might wonder. Well, pretty much everyone, that's who.

The truth is, just about everyone who views a sexy image of a naked or semi-naked chick will still be drawn, almost immediately if not first, to the model's face and eyes and expression regardless of how hard or tight or curvy or sexy her body might be. (Unless her face is hidden or absent in the photo, in which case, we're probably talking about art nudes rather than glamour or tease shots.)

BTW, here's a short and incomplete list of why your model, no matter how gorgeous she looks to you, is feeling insecure:

1. She's in and around that time of the month and she's thinking "water-retention," i.e., she thinks she looks bloated. (I'm not sure whether menstruating women get bloated in their behinds but that doesn't matter; only what the menstruating woman thinks matters.)

2. Her boyfriend or husband recently told her that her butt is getting, or has gotten, large. (Note: Big Booty Syndrome is, more often than not, a self-esteem problem with white models. Black models often strut their bootyliciousness with pride.)

3. Worse than a boyfriend's or husband's callous ass comment is the same sort of comment coming from one of the model's girlfriends or female acquaintances: Her girlfriends, no matter how well loved, always represent competition in the world of women seeking approval for how they look. Often, they value the approval of girlfriends and other females over husbands, guy friends, and others of the male gender. Go figure, right?

4. Even worse than a girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, or complete stranger making an unkind comment about a woman's ass is the same comment coming from the model's mother. (Yes, I've heard of this happening to a model... more than once.) A mother's love is supposed to be unqualified and without exceptions. A daughter's ass, no matter how large it might or might not have become, does not qualify as an exemption to the sanctity of the mother/daughter "some subjects are off-limits" rule.

I'm sure there are more reasons I could have mentioned but the bottom line is, regardless of the "why?," you need to deal with the insecurity and you need to do so quickly and effectively. Otherwise, you're pics of your beautiful model are probably gonna suck or, worse, you might have an emotional, outa-control, whacky model on your hands. Neither of these situations is preferable over the other.

So here's the deal: Just like with cancer, early detection of the insecurity is a big plus. The quicker you notice something ain't right, the quicker you can begin the treatment and, thus, increase your chances of success. In other words, pay attention to what the model says, with words and body language, rather than gawking staring at her wonderfully sensuous form and thinking how awesome that form is going to look in your pictures.

Rather than trying to determine why the model thinks her butt looks big, focus on doing and saying things that tell her it ain't. I don't care if you have to lie, cheat, or whatever! You need to put those big-butt thoughts to rest and you need to do so immediately.

I can't tell you exactly what to say in situations like this, the situations are almost always different, but I do know that, like a doctor's bedside manner, your interactions with models usually make big differences in terms of good pics versus shit pics. Being a silent voyeur while photographing pretty girls reduces the odds of yielding good pics. When shooting pretty girls, you need to be a cheerleader with a camera, a therapist snapping photos, hypnotically Rasputin-like while making pictures of your beautiful muse as you mold her, physically as well as emotionally, like soft clay in your hands.

You're in charge! That is, you're responsible for the images that result. You need to quickly assess potentially damaging situations and make things right. Otherwise, no matter how well lit, exposed, and composed your shots might be, they're simply not going to "wow" anyone.

The pretty girl at the top is Kelly from earlier this year.


RandJ-Photo said...

A little story from a motivational speaker some years ago:

A woman in her very late 30's was getting a thorough physical. As the doctor wrapped it up he told her what great shape she was in, Her skin was soft and smooth, body trim and fit like that of a much younger woman. " Why even your breasts are like those of a twenty year old, very firm and well shaped."

Later at home, she kept thinking of what the doctor had said. She went into the bedroom, stripped down and was looking over her body and breasts when her husband came in.

"What the hell are you doing?" he bellowed.

"The doctor commented what great shape I am in, like a twenty year old, and I was just ....."

"Did he say anything about your 40 year old ass?"

"No dear, your name never came up"

Ed Verosky said...

An excellent commentary. I have to deal with these issues on a very regular basis, not just with models, but everyday women who want to look like glamour stars, and you're completely right. Other people can get in their heads very easily.

It's rare that if they bring along someone for "moral support" things go well -- it's often quite the opposite. Other women are usually soft saboteurs, and husbands or boyfriends tend to make nervous teasing comments. None of this helps the resulting photos.

lee said...

I fucking love the woman in those photos, she's AWESOME. Lighting is awesome too. You should post more black and white, I think your lighting style suits monochrome better.

jimmyd said...


You should post more black and white, I think your lighting style suits monochrome better.

I been doing that more and more lately. You might be right!