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A Crash Course in Glamour Photograph

Guest Post & Photo by Brent Burzycki Follow Brent on Twitter

What do I need? How much will it cost? Why are models so expensive? Do girls hate me?

Those are just a few of the questions I have been asked as I have made my way through my short glamour career so far and as far as answers, well, some are easier than others and that last one is a tricky one.

So if you read my last post here it dealt with rapport and the model interface. The bad part about this is I failed to mention who I learned that concept from and I need to clear that up. About four years ago I met a photographer (well two actually) that have become my mentors and my friends. Mark Daughn and Wild Bill Melton are both great photographers in their own right. Yet I think both excel in the most important skill many photographers are missing and that is people skills and the ability to teach and learn. To be able to teach and yet still learn from your students is something that is a rare commodity and those are the teachers one should look to learn from as that willingness will make you a better photographer in the end. Please take a second to check out both the sites, sadly Bill was lost to us in 2006 in a tragic car accident but many of us try to keep his spirit alive in our photo style and customer relationships.

So this is where four questions can turn into multiple posts so let’s concentrate on one at a time and look for the answers or at least my views to the others in upcoming posts.

#1 – What do I need?

To answer this you need to ask yourself many questions that you hopefully already know the answers too. (hey life is full of questions – get used to it). What style of glamour photography am I shooting? What mood or tone do I want to have in my photos? What will my specific subject matter be?

Since I really only know about what I do, let’s start with how I look at what I need. I shoot primarily Glamour. My style of glamour work uses the subject matter of women and a tone of sexuality, power and beauty. Basically my plan is to make that subject the sexiest she has ever been in a very comfortable environment. Sometimes this is easier said than done but I can expand on that later. I need a few simple things to get this done. A camera, an off camera flash setup and a location. I rarely use more than one flash, a large umbrella modifier and a camera. My setups are extremely simple because I tend to be lazier than I should and also I am on a strict budget per shoot. But simple setups also allow me to move quickly from space to space and keep the model interested in what we are doing and hopefully allow the shoot to flow a bit better.

Budget is one of my largest concerns and one of the questions I get all the time. The deal is simple; you do not need a lot of money to get beautiful light. Your light will cost less than you model in most cases so it’s the first thing you should spend your money on. Over on Mark’s site you can grab a copy of his lighting DVD and get an in depth tutorial on setups but in a nutshell one light and one light modifier and you are good to at least start on your way to beautiful lighting.

So you have your light, you hopefully have a camera. A very important note here thou, your camera must be able to function in fully manual mode and must be able to properly sync with an off camera flash. Remember we are not using a TTL style flash here this is a fully manual strobe head and camera method. Can you shoot glamour with a TTL flash? You bet you can, just for me it does not give me the control or desired effect I want in my portfolio.

Last you will need a light meter and well your model. Start your shoot setup as far ahead as you need before your model gets there. If you are uncomfortable with setup use the prep time to your advantage and be ready for when the model arrives. A model that feels you are unprepared will only feel her attentiveness and professionalism is as important as yours seems to be, be ready, be professional and shoot.

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This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

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