How to shoot models


Learn how to get great model shots with help from Zalando

How to shoot models

A model can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Whether you are a professional photographer or a hobbyist on the side, there are certain techniques to keep in mind to make sure your fashion shoot is a success and if you are a professional, your client is happy.

1) Relaxed and natural = great picture

Firstly, a connection must be made between yourself and the subject. This is why many times it is a good idea to start photographing a close friend or family member because they will be able to relax and feel comfortable because of your already established bond. If you don’t have a willing close person and instead plan on shooting a stranger, then it is still important to try to create some kind of rapport between yourselves that will contribute to a relaxed, natural looking shot.

2) Styling is key

Professional photographers have the luxury of stylists to decide what the models will be wearing. But for those just starting out, they may not always have this benefit, and if fashion is not your forte, it is important to learn some special tricks that will make your photos look professional and well put together. The best way to do this is to find a “model” that you notice has a consistent, flattering sense of style. They may not have to be the most beautiful of your choices, but if you notice their great sense of fashion, there is a good chance others looking at your photos will as well, which makes the photographer look even better. The second option would be if you have a model in mind that would be great for a certain photo shoot or look, but neither yourself nor they have the expertise to create a great look for the shoot. You can find many websites that offer style boards or a pastel fashion glossary, for example. Through these sites you can find expertly planned outfits to choose from, which allows you to style like a professional.

3) See the light

Now that you are comfortable with your subject and they have the right look you’re going for, you should focus on the proper lighting. Not only does the light make your photographs lighter or darker, it can also set the tone for the picture, whether it is bright and free or dark and mysterious. A harsh light will create strong, defined shadows, while a soft light will diffuse into the background. The direction of the light will also change how the shot looks. Many times photographers ask their models “to find the light”, which can further emphasize bone structure, or slightly change the look of the face. The color of light will also be very different. Depending on if you are inside or outside, the time of day, or the weather, always consider what kind of light you will have because it can set a whole mood for the photo. For some more specific portrait tips read here.

4) Composition

Composition is a common element of all kinds of art, whether it is a painted masterpiece or your living room design. If you’ve “got an eye” for composition you’re already ahead of the game. Essentially, composition deals with what you are putting in your photo and how those elements work together towards your common goal. This includes things like angles, point of view, framing, rule of thirds, etc. Composition can also refer to what objects (or in this case people) you have featured in your photo. Their placement can drastically alter the feeling or overall experience that viewers get from your photo.

5) Choose your setting

Another important aspect to the overall feeling of your photo is the setting. Whether you shoot indoors or out, you can evoke a variety of emotions and reactions from all kinds of environments. Shooting indoors is a very common way for most models because you can control nearly all of the elements. Whereas shooting outside can produce amazing results if the weather and landscape is great, there are a lot more variables to consider. For some fantastic flash photography tips, including for outdoor shots, follow this tutorial.

These are some of the basic things to consider when shooting a photo of a model. Of course each photographer has a different style, but considering some of these basic tips will help new photographers gain a better grasp on shooting people. What are some of your best ideas?

How to shoot models

Content supplied by Zalando

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