Photographer Rants and Models

Posted on February 16, 2012


I am writing on something that was posted yesterday by a fellow photographer last night on FaceBook and received quite a few comments. This is what this photographer posted:

“Certain “models” are upset about not getting paid for portfolio work. Yet, of what benefit is the PHOTOGRAPHER getting? You’re not 5′ 10″. You’re not size 0. In fact, outside Indiana, your pictures are not marketable AT ALL. So, now, who should be getting paid? Hmmmm? Perhaps my fellow photographers would like to create an equal-size fuss about the HOURS we GIVE AWAY processing photos for “models” who yield us NO BENEFIT, sometimes not even being worth putting in our portfolios.

It works like this: either we ALL cooperate, or NO ONE gets any pictures. Period.”

You have to wonder what mindset he was in, and why he is working with models here in Indiana if they are such bad models and the work he produces is worthless outside of Indiana when he creates it.  I find this really derogatory to the models in Indiana and a lack of professionalism on his part. You also have to wonder why he stays here if the models are so terrible and better models can be found elsewhere. Scarier, I see that many models supported him in this post and also put comments of support in this post. I expected support from photographers, but the amount of support from models was just under 50% of those who supported him in this post, even though he said they “are not marketable at all.”

I also know that this kind of game is typical from sexual predators. The goal is to demean and reduce the worth of whomever the predator is attacking. Once the individual who is being attacked feels like they aren’t worth anything from a multitude of different demeaning attacks, but by doing what the predator says, it gives the attacked person worth and value that they didn’t have previously. The predator usually want the attacked person to do something sexual in nature, but could be other things grooming the individual being attacked for something else. Most well balanced individuals can see through these games. Some do not. As a model, you need to beware of people like this. If the photographer is insulting or too egotistical, you don’t want to work with them. They will always be playing games and you never know what they will try-they are manipulators. Their “brand” or images or contacts won’t raise your status in the modeling world no matter how much they say they will.

As a photographer, I understand this photographer’s rant about the amount of work and cost involved with a shoot. I also know how frustrating it is to find only models who want to be paid, especially when the models are unprepared and think all that a photographer does in their job is clicking the shutter of a camera. For each hour of shooting for me, there is typically an hour of preparation work, and six to ten hours of post production work editing images for everyone involved in the shoot. Some photographers have a five minute per image rule on post production work-I don’t. There is nothing worse as a photographer than having a model tell me that they want ALL the images from the shoot in the native format, all rights, about 96% of the images edited (usually around 80-100 images per hour), and also expect to be paid a $100/hour. This doesn’t include the money that is paid for a makeup artist, hair stylist, and fashion stylist that they demand in order to work with you. Even worse is when you find out they have only worked with one photographer and for only one or two shoots. Yes, this industry is full of egos and diva like attitudes. I put up with it and just move on to another model when I run into one. I find this type of attitude on the modeling sites with most models who are active there.

This isn’t to say all models are like this. There are a few who always come to a shoot, prepared to shoot. This means having their nails pampered, their hair treated so there aren’t many fly away hairs or not so greasy that the hair stylist refuses to work with the model’s hair until it is washed out, with a complete night’s rest, show up on time and ready to work, and similar things like this. They also know that part of the dance before a shoot is making both sides equal to both model and photographer. Both need to work toward that equality. This is why I call it a dance.

If there is ever a photographer who acts like this to you as a model, I would highly discourage you from working with them. First, this is very unprofessional and insulting. Second, the game that is being played is one that sexual predators use (whether the photographer intended to do this or not). Third, there are models who think they are worth more than they really are and become divas or very demanding. If you run into a few of these models at once as a photographer, it can be very trying as a photographer. There are those who are great models, and they understand the negotiation between models and photographers, and how it becomes like a dance.

If you have comments or questions, feel free to drop me a line, send me an e-mail, or leave a comment.

Edit: If the work is paid work for the photographer from a client, then the model should get some form of monetary payment. This isn’t the type of work we are discussing in this blog post.

<img class=”alignright” title=”Mariah bokeh image” src=”; alt=”Mariah bokeh image” width=”200″ height=”300″ />Bokeh is a word that many photographers use. But, are they using it correctly? It is a word used to describe the quality of the blur you get from a specific lens. Some people pay a lot of money for a lens with good bokeh – but is it really noticeable?  To me, it is. Take for instance, the image at the right. The blur on the image is created only by the lens – none of it is photoshop. What do you think of it? I have a bigger copy of the same image on my <a title=”Link to Mariah bokeh image – her face” href=”; target=”_blank”>Flickr</a>. If you look carefully, you can see the focus plane extends from the top of the model’s head to the bottom. But, that isn’t what we are interested. Instead, look at how the blur occurs over the skin closer and further away as it moves further out of focus. That blur is the bokeh.

The other type of bokeh is the type that talks about how bright light is rendered when it is out of focus. Most often, any lights that are out of focus render as spots based on the blades of the aperture. A few images are posted below. One of the interesting effects that you see with highlights or hot spots with mirror lenses is a “ring” effect bokeh (often referred to as a “doughnut” by those who own them).  An example of this can be found on Mike King’s Flickr page of a <a title=”Wind board surfer with doughnut highlights” href=”; target=”_blank”>wind board surfer</a> on the ocean. But, this isn’t the bokey we will be showing how to photograph in this blog entry.

Instead, we will be working with a regular lens type of bokeh and how it reproduces dots of light. There are two things we will be doing to ‘create’ a bokeh.

The first is taking and bluring the lights, most often Christmas lights (or similar types of point source lights), in the background. You will need a relatively large aperture lens – something with F2, F1.8, or larger. The easiest way to do this  method is creating a setup with the lights in a dark area behind your subject about 10-15 feet. I recommend doing this at night when it is dark out. The second is illuminating your subject from the sides (maybe a 45 degree angle from the front) so that you don’t light up where the Christmas lights are located. Key to this is keeping the aperture wide open at first, and then play with the aperture of the lens to get just the right amount of blur you want on the Christmas lights. Depending on the focal length and the distance to your subject, the amount of blur will be different. A note on cheaper lenses, the shape changes from a circle to a shape with the number of blades (typically five or seven) you have making up the aperture in your lens because the aperture isn’t perfectly round at the smaller sizes.  Some examples of this are below.

The second technique builds on this one by creating a mask of a specific shape to put on the front of your lens like a filter. By doing this, the shape of the lights then becomes that shape. Some of those are below.

All information and images are ©2012 Don Krajewski on this post.

Posted in: Modeling, Photography