Tag Archives: styling

Modeling #101: Tips to Think About When Going to a PhotoShoot

23 Aug

The past month I’ve certainly spent my fair share coaching models in front of the camera.  I’m constantly reminded that modeling is challenging work.  The goal of creating images is to make them look effortless and natural, but the process getting there sometimes doesn’t feel like it.  It’s interesting; when I’m watching models I can often see what’s not working and correct it.  However, when I’m in front of the camera myself modeling it’s much more difficult.  There usually isn’t a mirror in front of you so you have to learn the skills and the best way to do that is practice.

Having seen hundreds of people on-set at this point, and coached a number of them, I thought I’d offer five tips to think about when going to a photo shoot.

What resonates on film and looks natural does not always feel natural when you are doing it.  Many new models show up and as they are posing say “this feels really awkward” or “I would never do this.”  Yes, we realize that.  Some of the best shots taken are sometimes uncomfortable.  Let me give you an example.  When shooting for Pepsi recently I spent 2 hours holding a granola bar in different positions.  Time after time they adjusted my hand, my leg, my angle, to the point where I kept thinking I would never sit like this nor hold a snack like this.  I knew, however, that it was working for them.  It was actually uncomfortable sometimes and by the end of the shoot I was exhausted from holding the position.  Obviously had it felt natural I would not have been so tired sitting.  Keep this in mind as you shoot.

You must look natural. I talked above about feeling unnatural in a pose but I’ll couple that with the fact that you need to appear relaxed.  I spent a lot of time saying this to models:

Relax your arm

Relax your face

Smile naturally

Open your eyes

It’s hard to relax, especially when you are a new model.  You’re focused on doing it correctly.  What you need to do is focus on simply being in the zone.  That means try to forget about the camera and show some personality.  Think about a scenario that mimics what you are shooting.  Mentally imagine yourself in this setting.  If you are shooting a running image, imagine yourself preparing for a long run.  What does your face look like, what you are thinking about, how do you really stretch or prepare for a run?

Watch your core.  This tip is more specific to those shooting fitness or bathing suit images.  Your core matters.  You have got to remind yourself on set to tighten your core by lifting up.  Imagine there is a string attached to your head gently pulling you up and elongating you.  Unless the shot calls for you to be bending over in some format do not hunch.  Keep in mind that no matter how fit or small you are, everyone has an angle that doesn’t work.  Paying attention to your core will help control this.

Listen to your photographer and any coaches you have on-set.  You hired these people because you trust them.  Let them do their job.  If they tell you to look down, look down.  Remember that they can see the image and know what’s working on camera, so trust their judgment.

Bring a lot of wardrobe items: You can never show up with too many clothing options.  I’ve been at countless shots where we have run out of options or something the model brought didn’t work.  Even when I’m styling clients I always bring extra options.  It’s much easier to have choices.  I’ve been on larger scale shots where I’ve been hired to model and there have been times when I’m asked if I happen to have an item with me (an extra pair of tennis shoes, a strapless bra, a camisole to layer under an outfit, accessories or props).  Bring options!

If you are shooting for your own personal use or for portfolio development and the photographer you are shooting with doesn’t bring someone to help, I’d consider two things. Either hire someone or consider bringing a friend to play this role.  I cannot express how much stress is alleviated by having someone on-set who knows what they are doing and can help with all the details.  They should be someone who can assist with wardrobe and help you dress, make sure everything is fitting properly and in-place, help be your advocate on set, make you feel more comfortable and major added bonus if they have experience in front of the camera as well and can help you with that.

Good luck with your shoots.  Remember practice makes perfect.  Relax and have fun during the experience and as always, please feel free to post questions on my Facebook page at Kim Miller Style.  I’m always happy to share any resources and knowledge I have!


How To Create a Modeling Portfolio

27 Jul

If you looking to get into the modeling industry, one of the most important things you will need is a strong up-to-date modeling portfolio.  Aspiring models are often unsure how to put this together or end up adding images that are not suitable for booking the work they aim to do.  Consider the following steps when looking to create a workable portfolio to develop your business.

1)      Determine the type of modeling work you aspire to do:  The images you place in your portfolio should reflect the work you intend to do.  One of the biggest mistakes models make is shooting images that don’t resonate with clients with whom they wish to work.  For example, let’s assume you feel like you are well suited to model for a company that promotes family fitness.  It’s unlikely that this company will want to see anything in your portfolio that is overly sexy or revealing.  If you hope to book work that requires you to wear swim wear it’s appropriate for you to include an image in a bathing suit but make sure it’s conservative and tasteful.  If it’s in your portfolio, clients will assume that’s the type of work you want.

2)      Find a photographer.  Hiring a qualified photographer is critical to your success.  There are many people who might offer to shoot you for free but it’s imperative that you keep in mind that these images are a reflection of your abilities.  A good photographer will help you on camera, understand lighting, be professional, thoroughly attempt to understand your goals, help you in securing good locations and secure permits as necessary  and have a solid background in shooting images similar to that which you wish to create.  Ask for recommendations and make sure the photographer is responsive.  There is nothing worse than hiring someone who fails to return calls, respond to emails or provide your images to you in a timely manner.

3)      Determine your wardrobe: Once you have an idea of the type of clients for whom you wish to work you are ready to create a vision for your images.  Arm yourself with as many ideas as possible.  Look up talent on model websites to see if there are ideas, ask agents or others involved in the industry.  Go through ads, look at catalogs and surf the web for eye-catching images.  Pay careful attention to look for models that look like you!  For example, let’s assume you want to work for companies associated with the banking industry.  What do those people look like?  Are they dressed in suits, how is their hair styled, is their outfit conservative, what type of accessories do they have on?  You are going to aim to dress like this!  Furthermore, you should look at the props that are often featured.  Do not incorporate so many props that they distract from your image, but do consider using something.  Examples for this type of shoot might be a briefcase or a laptop.  Bring a lot of items.  I’ve never been at a shoot where I had too many choices!  The photographer will sometimes say the color doesn’t work or the texture isn’t good on camera.  In this case you will want to have back-ups.

4)      Hire a Make-Up Artist (MUA):Now is not the time to start learning to do your own on-camera make-up. Qualified hair and make-up artists understand the intricacies of shooting for photos.  Hair and make-up on camera can be different than that in real life.  You may really like the MUA who did your make-up for your wedding, but it’s important to ask if he or she has experience in make-up for photo shoots.  Look at the work they have done,ask for rates and make sure you find out what that includes.  Schedule your appointment well in advance.

5)      Come Prepared: Arrive on time with everything you need.  Have a list of questions for your photographer.  Bring the research you have collected to share with the photographers.  This will give them an idea of what you hope to capture.  Do not, under any circumstances, let the photographer convince you to do anything you don’t feel represents you well.  Assuming you’ve done your research in picking a photographer this is likely not going to be a problem.  Never-the-less, keep that in mind.  I walk into every photo shoot now thinking, these are the clients for whom I work.  If they were standing here right now would they like this picture I am taking?  It’s as simple as that.

My headshot taken by Sylvia Hardt

6)      Make sure one of your images is a strong head shot.  If you want to do professional modeling nearly every client will ask for a headshot and sometimes that is all they ask for.  A headshot should look exactly like you.  Now is not the time to glam it up.  Look at most of the ads out there, they are real people.  Aim to look like a real person.  Have your MUA do your make-up naturally, wear a solid color shirt, have your hair styled simply and make sure the shoot is not taken with a distracting background.  Headshots typically only show people from waist up.  You’re headshot is the most important image you have in your portfolio.  Make sure you get something that represents you well.Once you have your images back you will want to purchase a portfolio.  I don’t think this is the time to skimp on money and I’d spend at least $40 on a hard cover book.  There are several available on www.amazon.com  Simply search for “modeling portfolio book” and you will find options.  Have your pictures professionally printed and add them to your book.  Make sure you also get web images as there may be times you are required to submit photos online.On a final note, I’ve rarely been asked at auditions by casting agents to see my portfolio.  However, it is vital that my agent have up-to-date quality pictures of me as often times she is required to present them to clients when attempting to book me for auditions and jobs.  My comp card has been extremelly important, as I’ve been asked for it at nearly every audition I’ve been to.  My comp card is printed on quality paper, profesionally designed and has four images, a head-shot on the front, and three images on the back (one lifestyle, one fitness and one evening wear).  My name and my measurements are also shown on the card.

Good luck to everyone just starting out their modeling journey.  May you grow and learn and as you do always remember to share your knowledge with others.