Thursday, February 10, 2011

Clients Say the Darndest Things

I'm shooting a model, a rather inexperienced model, and getting expressions out of her was like trying to suck mashed potatoes through a straw.

She had a singular expression: A small-to-medium-sized, less-than-sincere smile that was somewhat reminiscent of about a half a billion high school yearbook photos. (I'm not overly down on high school yearbook photo smiles, they just don't have a prominent place on glamour-shooting sets.)

I tried everything to evoke some sign of life from this model but nothing seemed to work.

At one point I asked her to look "vulnerable."

No response other than the yearbook smile became a bit fainter.

I replaced the word "vulnerable" with "anxious."


I changed "anxious" to "apprehensive."

Still nothing.

I asked her to look "scared."


She didn't actually look scared, not even close, but she did look slightly vulnerable.

"More scared!" I said.

She appeared slightly more vulnerable.

"Really, really scared!" I shouted.

Just then, my client walked in.

"Whoa!" he said. "I don't want photos of scared looking chicks!"

"I'm just trying to..." I tried explaining as he quickly cut me off.

"Jimmy!" He said with his best, I'm the boss, authoritative voice. "No scared chicks! I don't want them looking scared!"

I looked back at my once-again-high-school-yearbook-half-smiling-no-longer-vulnerable model. The client walked out of the room.

"Okay. We're done," I told the model.

And we were.

Done, that is.

I knew anything I might say or do after my client's interruption would be a complete waste of time. The model felt vindicated in her efforts to really SUCK as a model. My client stripped any semblance of "Jimmy's the skipper of this photo shoot" from me. Fortunately, I also knew I had enough shots already snapped, leastwise from a numerical standpoint, to minimally satisfy the photo-bean-counters in the art department.

Model #2 for this particular shoot was completely different. She was very expressive and, as such, way more fun to shoot with.

The pretty girl at the top is Angela, aka Model #2. It's not the kind of pic I'd ordinarily choose to post but she has this cute, pixie-like, almost Tinker Bell-ish look with expressions to match. I can visualize her with fairy wings and pointy elven ears even if wings on a model is the ultimate in glamour cliche and prosthetic ears, elven or otherwise, aren't a commonly-seen makeup effect on too many of my sets.


peter said...

I hate it when someone is pulling ranks, for whatever unnecesary reason. Good call on stopping the shoot, despite your hard work.

I hope you told that mofo customer never to intervene again during a shoot (in nice words b/c you might want to work for him again).

jimmyd said...

@Peter-- I did not. It's an ongoing gig and, most of the time, he's not there.

John said...

Interesting story...guess I'm goin' have to break down and buy your e-books to learn more of your secrets of evoking expressions.

"prosthetic ears, elven or otherwise, aren't a commonly-seen makeup effect on too many of my sets"

Maybe you should start a trend?

Mark said...

It would be great to see the "scared" look from model #1.

jimmyd said...

@Mark-- Next update I'll post one.

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