Posted on August 9, 2012


How many photographers out there shoot with the same models over and over? You don’t? Why?

One of the questions that I hear over and over from other photographers is how do I work with the same models over and over again. This is something that I rarely see many photographers doing. They shoot more and more models and rarely shooting the same model again. The reason for this is that it is easy to shoot the same basic idea or concept over and over with different models. The creativity and differences in these photographer’s shoot is usually location and the synergy between the different models.

In order to do multiple shoots with the same models, it means having to plan and come up with different concepts. This means figuring out what a model is wearing, their makeup, posing, lighting, and where you are going to shoot long before the shoot. This would also mean shooting in different places or creating new sets, maybe even going out to explore and find new places to shoot. This takes time. Maybe even having models that show emotions or feelings when they pose. They can’t just look pretty… or the whole set of images fails dismally. The point is simply that it takes effort, time, and planning.

So, what exactly is a concept? This is a theme or story that the shoot is based. It can be outfits, the makeup, the type of shoot it is, the type of lighting used, a story, or several other things. The point is that you need to think and have one before you shoot. It isn’t just having the model bring outfits and going out and shoot. There is a purpose to the shoot. That purpose needs to be conveyed to all involved, and the focus stay with these concepts or ideas. You don’t have to story board the shoot with all the poses, lighting, and other details. You do need to have some idea of what you will be shooting and the different steps you need. I have to agree that it is easy with digital to just go shoot without a solid concept. I personally am guilty of not having concepts but mostly for model test shoots when I first work with a model. But, ask anyone who has worked with me more than once, and they will tell you about my chicken scratches.

How do you come up with these ideas? There are many ways. One way is to look at other’s work and see what others have done. Also look at the masters before you and what they have shot for concepts. You can find many examples on the Internet. This doesn’t mean copy their concept exactly, but look at what was done and then make it your own. What would you do differently? What could improve the image? What would you do to make the concept your own?

Elevate your work beyond everyone else. Have a concept and story for your shoot. Use the same models over and over again. Push yourself and your abilities. Start working with the same models over and over again.