My First Male Model!
As with every “firsts”, you always think you’d suck at it, (which is expected), so I was excited about this photo shoot. Traditionally I’ve shot primarily brides, or groom/groomsmen, sprinkle in some portraits of children, but never really a ‘male’ photoshoot. So this is a TFP (trade for photos), which essentially means the photography volunteers their time and the model does the same. Free photos all around, they get to use it for their portfolio and so do I…ergo, Everyone wins.
I’m glad we ended up doing the shoot. I was going to cancel it on account of it being a gloomy dreary day. I thought the photos would end up being flat and dull, but we went ahead anyways, and I think it turned out pretty decent. Next time I now want to shoot in the rain. I guess the main impetus behind not canceling is, hey…being a wedding photographer, you can’t choose your weather nor the venue, so if I’m going to let a few clouds keep me home. Well I must suck, because the conditions ‘must be right to take good pics’. Pssssshhhhh. Anyone worth their salt will make the conditions work for them and be adaptive! Bruahahha, so alas… I got out of bed and said, what the heck. I don’t want to get rusty do I?
I found Bob via an ad on CraigsList. What’s interesting was, at first I was a bit apprehensive to ask, “hey can you show a little more underwear”, or “can you stick your ass out some more”. But I think fundamentally, after about 30 minutes into the shoot, you start to get the flow of things, and it just gets more easier and comfortable. Which reinforces my notion of the first 10-30 minutes of ‘any’ photo shoot will yield crappy photos. On average (at least for me), It just takes awhile for the model to warm up to the photographer, and vice-versa, until –if you’re lucky– it’ll just literally click, and there’s a rapport between subject and photographer. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen at all. That’s life, and the nature of business. Again, re-enforces my thoughts that brides who choose wedding photographers based on price alone will get screwed in the long run. If you don’t click with your photographer, doesn’t matter how good he is. They’ll end up sucking because there’s just no connection, and you’ll see it in the end result.
However, with a standard photoshoot, good connections aren’t really ‘required’ as opposed to a wedding, or a big important event. Because lets face it, portrait sessions last about an hour and everyone moves on with their lives and goes about their separate ways. Totally different set of rules than for wedding work. But I’m really glad I’ve done those weddings. If anything, it has taught me to deal with crappy situations, and just exposes me to a variety of styles n shooting environments. I think everyone who’s into photography should at do a few weddings, or at the very least, 2nd shoot for some. I think of it as glorified boot camp, as it exposes you to soo many different environments. It covers the whole gamut to some degree: scenery, landscapes, portraits, groups, macros, still-life, indoors, outdoors, low light, harsh light, drunk people. You get it all!
Bob and I did talk briefly about what he wanted, and it was decided early on, at least for me, to try to stay away from the standard ‘smile and look happy shots’. There were a few in the set, but they ended being too ‘boring’ for me, I think because that’s what I’m used to when taking pictures. Smile…So I thought creatively, this was a bit more unique. The last portion of the shoot, we ended up adding eye-liner, just to mix things up a bit, it ended up looking pretty decent! I think I’ll definitely work with Bob again.
There are some themes that I’d like to explore, which initially had a female protagonist, but I think after this experience, it can be either male or female. I wanted to explore addiction. Whether it be shopping, drugs, alcohol, hand bags, gambling, the whole gamut, and start a set or photos that will fall under that theme.
I think that’s the next level of where I want photography to take me. Exploration, and expression.
Bob knew of this abandoned house in Laguna, and it served us well for the shoot. I saw this big for sale sign, not sure what I was thinking at the time. But I wanted a ‘state of the economy’ type shot with homes rundown, and things just poor and in disarray. So the shot below I liked, but realized….damn, it says ‘for sale’ instead of ‘foreclosed’ or something like that. But all in all, I think it achieved the look I wanted.