Stupid models rock! I'm not talking about models who are stupid, I'm talking about models who get stupid in front of the camera... although probably not in the way you might think I'm saying.
I get asked, often enough, about working with inexperienced models. To be sure, they can be a challenge. Even those of them who are so drop-dead gorgeous that you (are I) might think, "How can anyone screw up snapping a pic of a goddess like this?" (Assuming the photo is close to being properly exposed and in focus.)
The truth is, while there will always be some viewers who could care less about any element of a pretty girl's photos other than the "goods" being displayed by the pretty girl herself, they are not the only audience I'm hoping to reach with my glamour and tease photography. I'll bet lots of you are reaching beyond that group with your pretty girl photography as well.
I am, of course, talking about the more subtle elements of glamour and tease photography: pose, expression, attitude, and more. Those are the things that often separate sexy snapshots from engaging glamour and erotic photos. Add to those elements things like lighting, style, environment, makeup, and more and you're on the way to snapping some really great glam and tease shots.
But let's get back to the posing and expressing and that sort of stuff. When models are new or less experienced, that stuff can be a challenge for them to "nail it" and/or for you to help them "nail it."
Obviously, the more you, the photographer, knows about what makes for good poses and expressions and such, the better your chances are of helping the model achieve good poses and expressions and such. Often, what's standing in the way of inexperienced models "nailing it," beyond a simple lack of knowledge and skill, is insecurity. They simply don't want to look stupid. (Because those poses and expressions make them feel stupid when they're doing them.) So they often are unwilling to let it go, get in the groove, drop their inhibitions, and strike poses and expressions and attitudes that makes for winning shots. (No Charlie Sheen pun intended.)
Fortunately, a newbie model's concerns about feeling and looking stupid can be your secret weapon! In other words, your weapon becomes helping her embrace feeling stupid and using those feelings of feeling stupid to own the poses and expressions that make her feel that way... if that makes sense.
I've said this many times: building rapport with models is a huge part of snapping great glamour and tease pics. When I sense a model is holding back because A) she's inexperienced and doesn't really know what to do and B) she's insecure and C) she's feeling stupid when she poses or engages in those model-like poses and expressions and attitudes, I encourage her to really go all out, that is, to go over the top with the poses and expressions that are making her feel stupid. In other words, to really get stupid in front of my camera! (BTW, they rarely will go too far over the top because, after all, the poses are still making them feel stupid even though I've, hopefully, made them feel somewhat relaxed enough to appear stupid in front of me and my camera.)
I explain to them that, with my camera, I'm only capturing a very small fraction of a single second and, although they might feel dumb when engaging in various poses and expressions, those tiny slices of time are where the really cool pics are hiding even though it often feels totally weird and dumb when they're busting those moves and expressions. I let them know that when a bunch of pics are captured in and round one-hundredth of a second there usually lies, in the many pics frozen in those tiny fragments of time, some really great stuff and I ask her to trust in my experience and skill in finding them.
Have you ever seen the movie Zoolander? Yeah! That's what I'm talking about. If I can get a beautiful, sexy, inexperienced model to go over the top in pose and expression the way Ben Stiller's "Zoolander" character does in that flick, as stupid and silly as some of the poses and expressions Stiller mimicked in that film might be, I know I'll get some great pics!
The pretty girl at the top is Lexi from a shoot a month or so ago. (Click to enlarge.) She wasn't overly experienced but she wasn't overly inexperienced. She ain't stupid either... although I asked her to go ahead and act a little stupid.