Every so often I will photograph a new model, because frankly their looks just inspires me. Tomorrow I’ll be working with a newer model from the Orange County area. I don’t know what that county does, but they grow them well out there. Don’t fix what ain’t broke, right!?
Anyhow in speaking with newer models, I come across questions that to me seem simple but I realize they are common mistakes. Today’s question was “What will our background be?” and the answer is simple. I like to photograph simple and clean areas, the models can look simple and clean and the pictures are simple & clean. There are reasons for keeping it simple, the first being that you are not selling clothing. You are selling yourself, so do not let a shiny Versace piece distract the viewer (often a casting director). Keep the backgrounds simple and do not worry about an older staircase or used couch. We’re not after selling the items in your house, we want to make the model as marketable as possible. Usually simple backgrounds will do from a white wall to even the sky.
The idea of the pictures, is to sell the new face. It is to remind Banana Republic about the fresh face that can help sell their clothes. It’s for Dove Soap to see a clean girl without a lot of make-up and see her potential behind their camera. So keep your pictures clean. Keep your clothes logo free. Keep your shiny new cars out of the picture, that’s as tacky as a picture can get. I don’t care if there is a mansion behind you or a new BMW, I want to see how the girl/guy in the picture can sell my product.
Keep it fresh, keep it timely. It may be a while before you can afford a different set of pictures. Shoot it and stick with that look. Do not cut your hair or get a tattoo. Keeping the logo out of the picture will make it easier for other brands to picture you in their ads. Keeping the colors less vibrant will keep the focus on your eyes and face. Styles go in and out. What was great last summer is NOT great the following spring, so keep your clothes basic (but still stylish). Pick items that are timeless, you will get more out of your pictures.
UPDATE: I wrote about simplicity and purposely used the word SIMPLE over and over. The shoot above this post with NATALIE is the perfect example of that. Already her agent is crazy about the images and we haven’t even gone through all of them! We were easily able to capture many beautiful images of Natalie that are simple and clean. They are sexy but do not compromise her personal boundaries. Her image is not competing against a staircase, a car, or any other item used to dress up a picture. Natalie’s clothes are stylish but simple. You can see her wearing those this year or even 2 years from now. You do not see any logos, and now every brand can imagine her in their clothes without having to ignore a logo in the picture. She says sexy but it’s not over the top and in a way, she will probably stand out more than most models. Because after a while, everyone has nearly topless images (you should see the same girls auditioning, it’s pretty heart breaking how they dress for attention but the more classic styled models stand out from the crowd). Natalie’s make-up is not too dark, not too light. In these pictures she is selling her face to Colgate, to Honda, to Banana Republic, to Guess?, to Kohls, and many companies around the world. Simplicity is great, simplicity will take you further.