Meet New England has a running Calendar Model search Competition during their event that I was at this past Sunday. Up until this day my Model Photography shoot experience was limited to My Kids, Family members, and Cars… That’s it…
While I have been playing around with cameras since High School, It was not until I started this website that I became really kind of serious about it… I went from entry-level cameras to more complex pro-style camera bodies and more importantly invested in better lenses.
Photography can get expensive
Investing in all this gear while expensive did NOT by any means make me a better photographer. I am far from being a great photographer. But I think I can say I have gotten better. A great Photographer can visualize the shot and make it happen even with the least expensive camera.
The Challenge and Differences of Shooting Cars vs Models
This was a daunting and amazing challenge. One that I will whole hardheartedly admit that I did not nail perfectly. Don’t get wrong. Some of my shots came out very good but in many respects, I forgot some basic principles of portrait photography but also remembered other aspects… (Insert a funny visual of this Fat Old Guy telling a young woman how to stand because she was wearing sneakers.)
This part is going to get technical so I apologize if you get bored with this part. When I shoot cars, I try to get as Tack Sharp as I can get. I want you as my reader to see every detail from front to back as much as possible in my limited size format as I can.
What this means is I tend to shoot at a higher F-stop in order to get the sharpness through the depth of field of the car I am taking a picture of. The drawback about this means you are also getting the background just as sharp. Most photographers will tell you that you possibly should find that distracting but most car guys are not even looking at the background and I’m usually able to get away with it. (I think?)
However, with Model Photography, you shoot wide open at a much lower f-stop allowing much more light and less depth of field. The backgrounds will be softened and less distracting so you focus on the model whether it is a guy or a gal.
You can also enhance this even more by using longer lenses as well.. Most Model photography is done with 85mm Lenses and most Pro Photographers who use Canon gear agree that the 70-200mm IS L 2.8 lens is the most ideal Portrait and Model Lens you can get. You stand further away from the model and get those milky smooth blurry backgrounds with Tack sharp faces. In theory…
I shot them like they were Cars
SO – I realized a little too late that I really had not made many adjustments to my camera. I shot a bunch of Cars, Saw the Models walking around, and just began shooting with my favorite 17-40mm L 4… The reason I like it is because it is a wide-angle zoom that I can get close to a car in crowds and still nail the Whole Car
I realized I really did not have the best lens for this application and decided to take a chance and break out my 50mm prime lens… this became a whole new challenge in that I had to use my feet as the zoom but already in my viewfinder I was getting a better crop but I forgot to change my F stop and was still shooting too sharp….
The ladies were very patient and professional
The lead photographer told me to feel free to ask any of the ladies to pose for me. It was intimidating to do at first. Lsten, You gotta realize I was lucky to get my wife at all… So Here I am feeling like an Old Creepy Dork asking a woman to pose for me… It’s New… And It just seemed odd even though I knew they are expecting it was just out of my comfort level. I’m pretty outgoing but in reality, I’m actually kind of shy and awkward. But I Dove in feet first.
I started with Lexi as she happened to have changed to outfits that were the same colors as my Car. Lexi Kind of intimidated me a little bit… She is Very Outgoing and I don’t think she’s afraid of anyone. Least of all me per say. But I think we warmed up a little when I asked for a specific shot format. She said “Ah I see what you are going for” and I got her to sit behind the door. Kind of as if she was arriving. She had these glasses on that made her look fierce and powerful and I felt as if these shots emphasized her scoping out the scene.
Chantal and Kae
I then worked with Both Chantal and Kae. Both asked if they could lean on the Car and Chantal went for it showcasing her flawless hair. I was looking through my viewfinder trying to figure out how to politely ask to have her move her legs to one side to get the license plate as I figured my vanity plate had a funny juxtaposition appeal of base humor and sexiness… I asked her about moving her legs to one side and she decided on her own to jest spread her legs as I think she got the joke. Kae Shouted, “I want the same shot!”
When I worked with Kae I wanted to capture her face as well. Kae has very long classic features. I got her on the passenger side door doing the arrival shot as well. I had told both of them I was very new at this but she had no issue with taking my subtle direction it seemed and I felt at ease working with her
I asked Kiki as she was on her way to work with someone else. SO – Unfortunately I did not get as many shots with here as I wanted. I Got Stupid Lucky with the shots I got with her on my Car. She Gave the most classic ’40s and ‘50s style classic Pin-up model pose and feel lucky I nabbed this in just 2 shots. I think I even yelled “Nailed it!” after I took it…
This is when you begin to also understand that these women are really working very hard to get into some of these Naturally Unnatural positions to get these pictures. No woman in the real world would actually put themselves in this position unless some guy or gal has a camera pointed at her. It looks amazing but I imagine the Model is tired and ready to sleep for a week after these sessions
I then asked Karina for a few poses. Karina Has this Pixie-like quality to her. My Daughter after looking at one photo I took of her literally went “Oh my God Who is She!” and marveled at her Hair in all of its colors. I had sneaked a picture while she was posing for someone else earlier and despite the walkie-talkie on her hip the profile of her face is what captures you.
I learned so much
As a novice photographer, I learned so much. I had a hint that the opportunity might happen. Thus the night before I did a bit of technique research on the learning platform called YouTube. But to actually witness and do it for real was an experience I’ll never forget.
I have had a few folks approach me about taking their pictures and in the past, I have usually said: “Uhm no, I’m not that great of a photographer nor am I even that type of photographer. I shoot cars not people.” I might consider it now… Who Knows…
Check out these Fierce, Powerful, Brave, and Beautiful Women in the gallery below