Sunday, June 07, 2015

Model Photography: Work and Play

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When it comes to shooting models, many photographers (I'm guessing) harbor dreams of being paid to shoot models. Regularly paid. Nowhere is that more evident than on social media where many, many, many images of models can be regularly seen; the majority of which (I'm further guessing) snapped by hobbyists.

Many of those hobbyist-snapped model photos are as good, or better, than the photos shot by those who shoot models for a living and/or who offer training and education in shooting models, myself included. (In case anyone thinks I'm inferring a personal exemption for myself regarding this.)

In my case, I've spent a lot of years shooting models for a living. Mostly "adult" models but professional models nonetheless. In more recent years, I've also made some forays into photography education with my eBooks, not all of which are about shooting models. I keep threatening to take that aspect of my photography life, the photography education part, to another level with workshops and such but, so far, I haven't found the necessary motivation, determination, or whatever it takes to pull the lever on that. I'm pretty sure I'd do okay with it. Perhaps better than okay. But still, so far at least, I've been all talk and no real action on that front.

One thing I've discovered: All those years of shooting models for paychecks has meant I have little-to-no interest in shooting models for fun, for play, for however you want to describe shooting models without being paid; especially, in my case, glam, tease, and nude models. (Not that shooting models can't be fun and entertaining, complete with its own set of ego rewards.)  Human nature I suppose. If I had spent twenty years working in a candy factory (which some might say I have, metaphorically) I probably wouldn't be overly interested in buying and eating candy. (Wait! Don't read too much into that last statement.)

None of that means I don't understand the allure of shooting beautiful, sensual, hot, sexy models. Especially, in the minds of many male photographers. Again, it's a human nature thing. But my human nature driving this sort of endeavor has been satisfied many times over. Over-satisfied I might say. In other words, I see it as work, not play. And if/when I go to work, I'm going to get paid or I'm not going. That's not for all my photography pursuits but for pretty girl shooting? It is.

There's more than a few photographers -- you see them pimping their stuff on social media all the time -- who are plying the "learn to shoot models" trade in big ways. They are, by and large, pretty good shooters. Some of them, of course, are more than a little bit self-aggrandizing when pimping their stuff, i.e., they regularly exaggerate their own importance, skills, talent, and/or reputation. But that might be human nature too. Course, when someone's constantly-repeated branding line is along the lines of the best (or finest) in artistic portraiture, it either reveals a high level of being full of one's self, an obvious lack of awareness of the overall, wide, wide, world of artistic portraiture, or probably both. 

But hey! Different strokes and all that. If tooting their horns to a near-deafening level is what floats their boats, who am I to find fault with that? Besides, the world of photography is big enough to accommodate more than a few self-aggrandizing, overly-full-of-themselves, incredibly-egotistical photographers. And please trust me when I tell you-- there are quite a few of them out there. I've personally met more than my share of them.

All that aside, I hope many of you who shoot models, that is those of you who do so for fun, play, and entertainment, keep doing so. Many of you are true inspirations to many of us. Likely, even more so to those photographers who are significantly behind you on the learning curve. In fact, many of you are probably bigger inspirations to those people just starting out than those who shoot this stuff for a living or who teach others how to shoot models.  

I'm often amazed at the level of production value some hobbyists apply to their artistic model photos. I'm not simply talking about post-production -- although that too but to a lesser extent-- but in terms of the make-up, hair, wardrobe, styling, and so much more. More importantly, the level of imagination and creativity I often see in those pics. Wowzers!  Many of you who are, for the most part, hobbyists -- leastwise when it comes to shooting models -- truly rock! Keep on keepin' on! Shooting models, that is.

The model at the top is Tera Patrick who is no stranger to the covers of magazines like Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, even High Times and many more. 

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