During the 2010 WPPI conference, I helped out and hung out at a photo shoot with Carlos Baez, assisted by Jessica Lark. The shoot involved two professional models and what Carlos calls – “nudeoir.”
Carlos presently is one of the best photographers working with the nude form. So it’s no surprise that the workshop filled up on short notice.
My pals at Pictage helped make the event a reality and Photofocus was a sponsor Even though I was chipping in with advice here and there for newer students, I was learning as much as I was teaching. Carlos gave some great lighting tips but what surprised me is how much I learned from the models. Now I’m not talking photographic knowledge, but rather, how to get great pictures from the model’s perspective.
Both the girls who modeled for our workshop had experience. They knew how to pose and they knew how to hold a photo-worthy expression. Since I mostly photograph wildlife, I don’t find myself using a camera around young, naked girls that often. (I know – you’re probably shocked to hear that!) It’s amazing what that situation creates when the model is a real professional.
Our models delivered everything we asked and more. The surprise came when I realized that I was making the girl’s faces the center of attention rather than their perfect bodies. It was the model’s ability to deliver attention-getting expressions that got to me. While it would be easy to concentrate on the naked body parts, I kept finding myself being drawn to their faces.
Reading a model is crucial to any kind of photography where models are used. These models were a wealth of information. To find it, all you had to do was watch their face. They let me know when they were comfortable, tired, happy, creative, engaged and motivated, simply by their choice of expression.
I am putting a fine point on this to be sure, but some things are subtle. In the midst of an in-your-face perfect naked body, taking time to read a face can make the difference in getting a good or a great shot.
The event was a blast. Carlos and Jessica did a great job. The folks who signed up for the workshop seemed pumped and in fact, every time I saw any of them at the follow-up WPPI events, I got a hug.
It was a great experience. And to Stacy and Jolene, our models, I say thanks for being real professionals and for showing me the way.
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