Scheduling a Photo Shoot
**Collaboration Information for Potential Models**
In this age of social media, specifically on Instagram, models, and potential ones can communicate with photographers about working together on a photo shoot, sometimes involving a specific project or building each other's portfolio. I am all up for collaborations, but before you slide into my DMs, there is some essential information you must be aware of that is vital to a successful experience. Every photographer is different, so I want to go over my expectations. One word summarizes my expectations and impresses me the most, professionalism.
A lot of effort, time, and energy goes into putting together a successful photo shoot, and nothing ruins it faster than not being on time or failing to show up at all without notice. Invest in good time management skills. Use your smartphone to set up alarms, google maps to tell you how much time is needed for traveling to your destination, and in the event of some impromptu situation, use that phone to send a text immediately. It shows courtesy and professionalism and conveys that you value the photographer's time, skills, and commitment to the collaboration. I don't care how beautiful you are or how many thousands of followers your Instagram account has. If you show up late because you didn't do your part in time management, I lose all respect and will not work with you ever again.
When I started shooting male nudes about thirty years ago, I asked this handsome young man to pose for me. We ended up shooting at his pool home. We captured some great images at night. However, I was unaware that the model had chosen not to disclose his intentions of posing nude with his significant other. A week later, I received a visit from his partner demanding I destroy all pictures taken and the negatives. I was beside myself, but ultimately, I destroyed everything to avoid an ongoing headache. Lessons learned, I made sure to require a model release.
Many years later, I will still encounter a potential collaboration and variations of the same situation.
Case Study #1: Two models who are in a relationship express an interest in collaborating on a shoot involving nudity. After several attempts at scheduling a time, I suggested shooting one by himself since he was more flexible with his availability. That's when I was told his partner doesn't like him to shoot any nudes if he's not present and part of the shoot.
Case Study #2: After canceling a photoshoot due to a last-minute grooming mishap, the model approached me a year later, asking me if I want to shoot still. We set up a day and time, and on the morning of the shoot, I received a text from the model informing me that the man he was dating didn't like the idea of him posing, showing frontal nudity.
In both cases, I declined to go along with the shoot, not wanting to deal with the potential of jealousy and trust issues following the shoot. I take issue with someone controlling someone else's choice, but I will respect their decision. However, if those are the dynamics in your relationship, do not ask me to collaborate.
If you become single or your relationship "evolves," do not expect me to collaborate. Working with models who can make their own decisions is my prerogative.
3. Model Release
Please read the model release and ask for clarification on any questions you may have before signing it. It is a contract. Make sure to abide by the stipulations listed on the release. It still surprises me to come across one of my images posted on social media and used in a third-party commercial advertisement (which is not authorized) without giving proper credit.
I cannot stress enough the value of communication, beginning with responding to your DMs. Communication is the key ingredient that makes it possible for all of the previous expectations listed to fall into place.
Where do I shoot?
Primarily I shoot in my space located in West Hollywood, California. I incorporate some form of artificial light in nearly every portrait I take. I do this for two main reasons. Most obvious is the control I have on how light strikes the face. Second and most importantly, I want to create an image that does not precisely represent our real world. Because, first of all, it is impossible. And second, the real world is something we see every day. Most of us what to be taken into a world of make-believe, dare I say, a world of fantasy. It is all about the creative process. My setup consists of a seamless background. Depending on the shoot, I may replace the seamless background with a background image in post-production.
Alternatively, an on-location shoot may be arranged.
What kind of gear do I use?
Canon 5DS R
Canon Zoom Lens EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM AutoFocus Wide Angle Lens,
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, STM,
Really-Right Stuff TVC-24L Series 2 Mk2 Versa Apex 4-Section CF
(3) Flashpoint XPLOR 600PRO TTL Battery-Powered Monolight with Built-in R2 2.4GHz Radio Remote System (Bowens Mount) - Godox AD600 Pro
(3) Flashpoint 10' C (Century) Light Stand on Turtle Base Kit w/40" Grip Arm & 2 Gobo Heads and Baby Pin - Chrome
(1) Flashpoint 40" Arm For C Stand
Flashpoint R2 Pro 2.4GHz Transmitter for Canon (XPro-C)
Glow EZ Lock 31x47" Quick Rectangular Softbox With Bowens Mount
Westcott Beauty Dish Switch with 40-Degree Egg Crate Grid, 24", White Interior
Phottix Solas Strip Softbox with 16x71" Grid.