Modeling Photography Tips from a San Diego Photographer

So, a couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to shoot a couple of local models, here in good old Escondido, CA. I posted an ad on Craigslist quite some time ago and was a little weary to say the least; however both women were charming and very professional. I was happy to photography them and hopefully expand their portfolios. Here are some additional modeling photography tips from a San Diego photographer:

If possible, I would recommend meeting your models first, say over coffee. Starbucks is great, because they have other items, in case he or she does not like a cup of Joe. This gives you an opportunity to get to know the model as well their expectations for the shoot.

Set up expectations from the get go; otherwise it could bite you in the you know what. Let the model know what you will be doing, what you will be touching up and how you will be delivering the final product; especially if you are trading work. Aka they model for pictures and you shoot to build your portfolio. In most cases, this is win win. If the model requires some additional touchups, you may wish to be nice and do it for free, but make sure it isn’t the whole shoot and let them know this upfront.

Be prepared. As, I always tell you, make sure all your equipment is ready to go and tested, before your client’s arrive. This includes batteries, flashes or strobe light, light stands, memory cards, soft boxes, or umbrellas. Did I mention to bring extra batteries; especially if you are using your flash.

Make sure you have enough model release forms. I always recommend filling them out and getting them signed, before you start shooting; especially if you intend on using the pictures in any way, shape, or form.

Keep beverages on hand. No not cocktails, you may wish to have juice, soda, or water. You want to keep yourself hydrated and not collapse. You can always have a drink, after the shoot.

Ok, now to get to your camera settings. This is going to be a tough one depending on whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors. For models, I like to shoot in Aperture only. If you are shooting indoors, such as a studio set your white balance to flash, and your ISO to the lowest, that’s 100 for Canon shooters and 200 for Nikon users. The Aperture setting kind of depends on you. You might want to set your F stop should be at 5.6 or higher depending on what type of look you are going for. If you are shooting outdoors, you may wish to use a reflector or flash to make your models pop. You might want to start your ISO at 200, depending on the time of day. Your white balance can be set at Daylight, while your F stop should be set around 11.

If you plan on getting into this type of niche, I would highly recommend getting your feet wet, by signing up with a couple of Meetups. I like Meetups, for the fact that they have them for any type of hobby or interest you can have. They usually have one once a week or more and they are usually local to your area. Plus, most of the people that attend are great and you can build good relationships with them. Another suggestion would be to post an ad on Craigslist, but weary of what may come your way, so be cautious at all time. I have posted an ad myself, and met two great models.

I hope I have not bored you too much. I had fun writing this one. I trust I have given you some valuable tips to think about, before planning your next shoot. It’s not all bad, just be clear and informative, it will save you a lot of headaches. Remember nothing is set in stone and there is not perfect formula, so go out and have some fun.