(Click on photos to enlarge)
After arriving at the model’s house or apartment and spending a few minutes chatting with her (and/or her parent if she’s a minor), I’ll request a quick tour. I'm usually asked what sort of areas I’m looking for. Further, I might be told she won't show me certain areas because they'd probably hold no interest for me. To both statements, I’ll respond that I’d prefer to see everything. That's because places she assumes I wouldn’t like might actually be perfect. If we come across rooms I like but that she’d rather not use for the photo shoot, I won't push to change her mind, though I may gently prod a little, hoping she'll reconsider.
...when you sign up for a One-To-One Workshop!! This is a Fruit-Of-The-Loom, 98% cotton shirt. It has my absolutely gorgeous logo (see top of page) printed on the front. Available sizes are men's medium, large, and extra-large. These shirts may also be purchased.
During our tour, it can be disheartening finding rooms I particularly like but probably cannot use because of the following:
I was trying for both an odd angle and offbeat composition. The left side of the frame resulted from me shooting through a large display case filled with crystal and dishware. Marcie is leaning on the dining room table, creatively emoting.
Randy is looking out her opened front door. It’s remarkable how the mirror affects this picture. First, we see her from two different angles, giving us a more complete view of her face. Second, the mirror adds a significant increase to the apparent depth of the picture, becoming a virtual window to another room.
Here’s Elizabeth standing outside a closed bedroom door. Her pose could imply a number of emotions - annoyance, boredom, waiting, or perhaps exhaustion.
Some places in a home or apartment work better as shooting locations than others. Bedrooms are one of my favorite spots, though it’s the beds I’m more drawn to. A bed provides lots of posing possibilities. It's usually very comfortable, allowing for a variety of body positions and oddball contortions. Likewise, it's easy for the model to interact with one or more props, thereby adding more interest to the setup.
The model can do more than just lie on the bed. She can stand on it, hang part of her body over the side, or bury herself under the covers. As the photographer, I can shoot down at her while I stand on the bed, kneel on the floor and photograph her from eye level, lie on the floor and shoot up at her, zoom-in tight on her face or feet or hand, or zoom-out to show her and everything else in the room. Several times our photo sessions have begun and ended in the bedroom without having shot anywhere else in the house.
Anna has beautiful long dark hair, and I wanted some way to feature it. I thought the obvious thing to do was to shoot straight down on her. I carefully arranged her hair and asked that she wear these sunglasses, hoping they'd take the emphasis away from her eyes. I added the blue color in post-production.
I think it's the out-of-context, overly large space helmet on what is obviously a little girl sitting on the corner of the bed in an empty but normal-looking bedroom that makes this image interestingly out-of-balance and nicely weird.
I positioned Carol on the bed and asked for various expressions as I photographed. This is one that I found interesting. I relit it in Photoshop, creating areas of dark and light from what was an evenly illuminated bedroom. My goal was to match the lighting to her rather apprehensive demeanor.
As Mandy was getting onto the bed, I pulled out a bunch of items from my prop bag, including this glass ball. In the process of lying down, she happened to extend her right arm. It seemed obvious that something needed to be in her hand. I picked up the glass ball and asked her to hold it. It took time deciding on the exact positioning of her hand and arm, and on the placement of the camera, but I think we came up with something interesting.
This is Laurette on her bed. We were working out a pose when her cat suddenly jumped up. I didn't say or do anything but waited to see what would happen. When I saw a composition I liked, I began photographing. I thought this shot was the best of the group.
Obviously, there are other places in a bedroom for posing the subject. What I like about this setup is Elspeth’s pint-size table - a perfect fit and a perfect prop for supporting her upper body. It allowed her to try a variety of poses and expressions. In this picture, I think there’s an interesting connection between her costumes - those hanging and the one she’s wearing - and her rather gloomy expression.
Bathrooms (clean bathrooms!!), because of what's available in a relatively small space, are another location I really like. The sink, shower, bathtub, toilet, and mirror all lend themselves to unconventional poses. in addition, models I’ve worked with really seem to enjoy the outlandishness of posing in such an odd place.
I consider this a really weird picture. That it makes little sense is why I find it so appealing.
This pose was the idea of Jenna’s mother. I removed nearly everything in the bathroom so nothing would clash with the tub or the young lady. Incidentally, I didn't realize how interesting the weird positioning of her right arm was until I saw the photo on my large office monitor. Hindsight: Maybe something hanging on the wall or a towel on the rack behind her would have made the photograph a little less stark.
Here’s Jenna again. My intention was to throw things off kilter somewhat. To that end, I got low to the floor, had her sit in a rather awkward pose, slightly tilted the camera, framed the shot to show a good portion of the floor, and, in Photoshop, darkened the edges.
As it's probably obvious, this bathroom needs some serious updating. Because we’re not seeing any part of Julianne’s back, it seems as if she’s standing behind the mirror, looking outward.
There are times, however, when it’s impossible to find or create a desirable shooting area. As mentioned, the walls may be all marked-up or covered with objects that can’t be removed, or there might be too many things strewn about the house. But there are solutions for this.
I was photographing in a cluttered bedroom. Being too lazy to remove all the junk, I asked Hannah to stand on her bed. Photographing from below hid everything, thus creating a very clean background of walls and ceiling.
Finding The Shot
Focus And Blur
Lighting The Subject