Focused Insight BlogMaximizing Your Creative Potential with Models Pt. II
Maximizing Your Creative Potential With Models
Part II – Breaks, Safety & Privacy
April, 7th 2023
We all love an environment where we feel free to be ourselves. To let loose and allow our uniqueness to shine. Unleashing all the vibrant parts of ourselves we typically dim in fear of being judged or embarrassed. It’s in these moments, feeling unrestrained from the shackles we place on ourselves, we truly come alive. When we are being our authentic selves, we naturally radiate and glow.
Capturing these moments creates visually and emotionally impactful images. So in part 2 of this three-part blog series, we’ll explore ways we can create a space for our subject to tap into their creativity. From the impact of taking breaks to the awareness around safety and privacy, there are underlying elements to consider. And it is our responsibility as photographers to incorporate these elements to naturally allow their personality to shine. By maximizing your model’s creative potential we will also maximize ours.
Let’s dive in!
Planning breaks will immediately expand the creative potential of your shoot. Having time to rest and recharge will elevate the mood and energy of not only your model, but you as well. This is very important because if our energy and our mood begins to drop, so will our focus. Directly impacting the shot or the story we’re looking to capture. We have all experienced stepping away from a creative task such as writing a post or song or…this blog. And in a short period of time, you return focused and uplifted with a spark of new ideas. So, structuring breaks effectively will be important throughout the shoot.
It is easy to lose track of time when shooting. So before we ever begin, I take the time to discuss important details with the person I’m working with. I want to see how they like to work, and meld it with how I like to work as much as possible. This has led me to the habit of setting a timer on my phone before the next set of shots within a shoot. Oftentimes with an agreed upon break structure. This makes sure my subject has the breaks they need to feel comfortable and creative. Be considerate of the person you are working with, but don’t allow them to set the whole schedule. You are still the person in charge.
Now, to be as supportive as possible, it is helpful to understand what type of breaks your model prefers. While some people are more introverted and want to retreat and totally disengage for a few minutes. Other people are more extroverted and want to use the time discussing new ideas or experimenting with different poses and lighting. So, being aware of how your model relaxes and recharges will help you both get the most from the shoot.
But also, how do you recharge? What helps you return excited to continue working? The way you choose to spend your breaks is just as important. You need to be at the top of your game as well. So keeping these questions in mind will create more effective breaks.
It is also essential to ask your model in advance whether they have any specific needs or requests. I always enjoy preparing some drinks and snacks for the shoot depending on how much time we’ll be shooting. So, I want to make sure that I’m getting something they will like. But also being mindful of any potential allergies. The last thing you would want is to be rockin and rollin on a great shoot, then have your model become a fish out of water because they’re allergic to the blueberries you brought. Finding out your model is allergic to berries after the fact is not a great way to end the shoot. And, you can anticipate not working with them again…
When it comes to breaks, consider your location and possible necessities. Here are a few questions that run through my mind as I am preparing for a shoot:
- How close are the bathroom facilities?
- Is there a private changing area nearby?
- Is there a comfortable place to sit?
- What’s the weather going to be like? (if you’re outside)
If you are shooting in a lush forest beside a waterfall, it will be more difficult to have these elements readily available. The nearest bathroom may be hugging a tree and squatting with the squirrels. And your private luxurious changing area could be a towel held up by a tree. But luckily for you, a super professional foldable chair or a blanket can be brought to sit on!
Funniness aside, these are all things to bring to your model’s attention so they know what to expect.
It’s always important to take this initiative for your shoot. Which includes bringing items for your subject whether they plan to or not. If your model forgets to bring a sweater and it becomes cool, you could have a bathing robe to give them warmth and comfort. It is also handy having a towel when working in and around water. I always have a towel and bathing robe available in situations like that. We all know a warm sunny day can turn in a flash when rain starts sprinkling and the wind shows up.
Creating a safe and secure environment is one of – if not the – top priorities when working with models. If they are comfortable, I know they will feel free to express themselves. And building this foundation of safety and security starts before the shoot.
By providing clear instructions and answering all their questions in advance, they will know how to get to the location without being anxious or stressed out. The sweaty frazzled look is generally not the story I’m looking to capture. And typically not the best way to start a working relationship…
It’s wonderful to address all their specific needs before work ever begins. When your subject feels supported, it changes the dynamic. We’ve all had moments where stress just falls off the shoulders as if the elephant just gets off of you. For most people, just knowing the person you are working with is supportive and on top of their stuff is amazing. And I want everyone I work with to feel fully supported. To feel light and free knowing they can allow their personality to shine. Do the same and you’ll always have clients!
On arrival, it is great to introduce your model to everyone involved in the shoot. If there are photo assistants or hair and make-up people, they will also play a role in building a safe and comfortable space for your model. If you do not have a team of people with you, know that many models are young women who may not be comfortable being alone with a photographer they don’t know. So, making it known that it’s okay to bring a friend is encouraged.
To maximize our creative potential, we also need to remain professional and respectful at all times. I would hope this goes without saying… but make sure to establish consent before ever touching your model. Even if it’s just a minor pose adjustment…
Making a point to open lines of communication is another top priority. After building a foundation of safety and security, the last thing we would want is for our subject to feel uncomfortable with openly expressing how they feel.
In regards to safety, the location you choose and the conditions you will be subject to is also a big part of this. If there are hazards you’re aware of and anything you guys will want to avoid, that should be discussed ahead of time. Uneven terrain and walking paths that may be ‘outside of casual’ walking conditions should be noted as well. That way your subject can be prepared. Some of us can elegantly catch ourselves, but let’s not take the risk…
Scout the location ahead of time to identify any potential safety concerns and address them before the shoot. And of course, reschedule depending on potential poor weather such as unfavorable temperatures or heavy rain. It is also a great idea to have emergency contact information for your subject in case of an accident or injury during the shoot.
As photographers, it’s our responsibility to create a positive and safe environment that allows our models to focus on the creative process and final outcome. We want them to feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera.
Respecting our model’s privacy is another top priority of any photoshoot (yes, lots of top priorities in this post). It is our responsibility as the photographer to remain professional and respectful at all times.
It is your responsibility as the photographer to ensure professionalism and respect at all times. So, establishing clear communication and protocols before the shoot is very important. We always want to make sure that our model’s privacy is respected.
Discuss what kind of images you’ll be taking, what you’re looking for them to do and how the photos will be used. Make sure that your model is comfortable with the shots and where they will be used. In regards to how the photos will be used, it’s a good idea to have a signed model release form that outlines the terms of the agreement and specifies how the images will be used. Not alway necessary, but nice to have in the back pocket. Especially if you are doing a boudoir shoot or something of that nature.
Along those lines, it’s important to respect and protect your model’s images and personal information from misuse. Especially if you sign an agreement… All images should be stored securely, and avoid sharing images or the model’s personal information without their explicit consent.
During the shoot, avoid taking images they’re not comfortable with. Reviewing images with your model periodically can ensure they’re comfortable with the direction of the shoot and the images that are being captured. Make sure there is a private area for your model to change their wardrobe. When shooting outside in a more open environment, discuss what your model may need to feel comfortable changing. Respect their personal space and meet their needs. Even if that’s just a towel on a tree branch…
You want to be mindful of your model’s privacy and avoid taking images they’re not comfortable with. By reviewing images with your model periodically they can become comfortable with the direction of the shoot as well as the shots and story being captured. When we create a safe and secure environment, it allows our model’s authentic selves to radiate and glow. Helping us produce the best shots possible.
And with that, we’re done! Thank you so much for making it this far! I really hope you enjoyed this and got a lot of value from it! Stay tuned for Part 3, the final part of this series, where we will explore the essential topics of communication, agreements, and payments in great detail. With these skills in your toolkit, you’ll be well on your way to having the holy trinity of maximizing your creative potential with models!
I hope you enjoyed the shots, this blog is to inspire you to go see this place for yourself!
Below is a link to more pictures and information about this amazing location and models!