What I’ve Learned So Far Going On Test Shoots

This Saturday and Sunday I had the opportunity to work with a boutique modeling agency for some test shots. Both were male models, and both times the Director of the NYC office was there to guide the model (and to a certain extent, me).

It was really reassuring to have someone who has been in the business for a number of years on set. Not only did their experience help me, it also grounded me and made me confident in what I was doing. The director, who basically became the Creative Director on set, coached the model on a variety of poses and how to angle themselves for the camera. As he explained things to the models, I listened and mentally took notes.

To get into fashion photography, I realized it wasn’t just about taking a photo and editing them to look pretty. In fact, there’s a lot of minute details that have to be ironed out as you go through the shoot. A model may have to stay in a certain pose for several minutes until the photographer captures “the look”.

I learned how to angle the arm so that it doesn’t look stubby. I learned to look out for unextended arms and legs. I learned to balance the shoulders, to have the models use their cores instead of their arms for support. I learned that the torso should be more open and that they should never, ever be slouching. All of these are painfully obvious, but if you aren’t looking for them, you won’t say anything, nor will you recognize it.

Saturday was my first test shoot. It lasted just about three hours in TriBeCa and I learned a lot about posing in that three hours. This is also when I learned that I should really dedicate some time to honing my Photoshop skills.

Come Sunday, well, I actually had two shoots that day. My morning shoot was with a former Ford model and she was fantastic. I can’t wait to edit her photos. She moved around and had a wonderful personality. She was fun and gave me a slight glimpse into the acting world. She had most of her angles down, making sure her body was always facing the camera, but I did have to make minor adjustments to get her hand placement and arm placement to fit the camera and to make it look right for it, too.

The second shoot was the test shoot. It was a bit rainy, but we made do and I think we managed to get some great shots. The model was very receptive to notes and quite photogenic. Here, I learned more about poses and what types of models fit what type of brands. It was very interesting to hear what kind of looks certain brands go for.

It was on Sunday that I realized I should have a secondary memory card — after the two shoots, I had enough room for just about 200 more shots. (I have a 64gb memory card, which can usually hold up to roughly 2000 RAW files.)

And I realized I needed a faster camera and better lenses.

Damn the crop sensor!

I’ve been adding to my photography book. Please check it out here!

(model in middle photo: Jenny, @clovers_closet)


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