2/06/2012

Working with a Model

When I asked my teenage daughter to model my jewelry and pottery, she gladly accepted. Well aware of all the sacrifices I’ve made to her life, she  willingly gave me 20 minutes of her time. She compliantly posed, her face beaming love, light, rainbows and unicorns. Okay, not exactly true. In fact, my first photo session with my daughter as model began my education in how to work with a live model. Teenage girls are particularly self conscious, and getting past that is 95% of what you need to get great shots.

I have a very clear vision of who should own or wear my work, and this is crucial for getting the shots I want. Since my daughter Marci is not a trained actress, she selects which pieces of jewelry she would actually wear, and we choose the styling wardrobe together. The final selections must meet both of our ideas of a good look. Nothing is more awkward than those “mug shot” style poses you see in many Etsy shops, with a model backed up against a white wall, looking nervously straight into the camera, wearing clothing or jewelry that is incongruent with the hair and other accessories.

When I shoot, I want 2 separate frames- one that is a style shot, another that is a product shot. The above is a style shot, showing how the necklace can be worn and also something less tangible; a good style shot isn’t about prettiness at all but rather attitude. I talk to my model constantly during a style shoot, always in a way that bolsters her confidence. I exaggerate the angles of her natural posture. I ask for different moods. When a model becomes too stiff or self conscious, I have her shake it off. Marci’s hair is often tousled in my shots because she has just done this. I don’t want to show perfect hair. I want to show a woman who is free to be herself, because that is the woman who buys boho artisan jewelry.

This is a product shot, where the model is used for scale; to show the size of the bowl. It is successful because the photo is about the bowl and not the model. The background and sweater are soft. When you do this, you must be careful about where objects are placed relative to the model’s private parts. You don’t want large pointy shapes that seem to emerge from a crotch, and you don’t want  cleavage or the outline of breasts to become a distracting focal point. Young children are bad choices to model if you want to show scale, as their small hands and bodies make objects appear too large.

I use my friends and family as models often. It brands my work as that made by an individual in a home studio. It helps to tell a bit about who I am and the life I lead. And, for the most part, it’s been fun. I’ve also found it useful to use my Pinterest boards to gather photos shot in a style that I like.

by Lee Wolfe/ OneClayBead

15 comments:

steinschmuckdesign said...

I totally loveyour daughter as your Model! Not everyone can be a Model and she is one with all her unique charisma!!

Jennifer Cowgill said...

great advice, I wish you could send Marcy to me :) thanks for this Lee

IKABAGS said...

Thank you so much or great advice Lee.

Natural beauty :) you are lucky :)

TuckooandMooCow said...

Marci makes such a perfect model for your boho jewelry. She really has that model look--I'm sure thanks to your direction.

Lauren said...

Marci looks gorgeous! Thanks for all of the tips Lee;)

Jahje Ives said...

Great tips - I just started using kids as my models and have found it really works to help people get an idea of how my mobiles will fit into their life...and the cute kids don't hurt sales either :D

3 Divas Studio said...

She's a beautiful young lady, Lee..and a natural model. Great article, good information. We've often considered recruiting #2 son's girlfriend to model our jewelry and now you've provided more motivation :-) Thanks so much!

Darkcycleclothing said...

Great article! Working with models is a challenge but always worth it!

Viktoria said...

great explaining! Thanks for this!
I´m experienced with"Daughter modeling" !
Try to bring my post on the way today....

PetitPlat Miniature Food - Stephanie Kilgast said...

Hm great advice indeed!
and the shots are just plain gorgeous :)

Genevieve said...

I definitely agree that showing scale is so important for online shopping. While we should list measurements I think the model shots are really necessary since the customer can actually pick the item up, try it on.

Toni said...

Great advice Lee! Showing the scale of the item is so important, and a model it the perfect way to do that. Marci is gorgeous :)

Nicolas Hall said...

Wonderfully done Lee! In both images the product is shown in great context and is prominent and well displayed.

The visual help in showing size is invaluable since I have come to realize how difficult it can be for people to estimate what dimensions actually translate to in reality.

nicolas

Celia / TheSlyFox said...

Like Jen, I wish you could send Marci to me, too. I would love to have a model or models. I need to cultivate some extremely good looking friends ;) Great advice, Lee!

anakim said...

Great advice! thank you Lee.