There comes a point in a portrait photographer’s life when you need to make the leap from practising on reluctant friends and family to shooting "real" models. Numerous advantages include having a subject who actually likes having their photo taken, adding nice variety to your portfolio and having friends and family less reluctant to decline your "lunch" invitations. I recently came to this junction in my photographic journey and, after some research, settled on signing up with Model Mayhem. Although predominately established in North America there still appeared to be a healthy UK community. Registration was relatively simple and involved writing a short description about my skills and then uploading a few photos of adult models. About two days later the Model Mayhem team approved my profile after presumably doing some type of "degree of dodgyness" background check. Once approved I instantly went online to view my profile and the first thing I noticed was that I had no "friends", no "likes" and no comments or messages. Not really an awesome profile for getting models interested to work with me. I suddenly felt like a very small fish in a very big pond! However, I linked my website to my profile as this allowed an additional resource for people to find out more about me and my photography.
Much to my surprise and delight I very quickly got some positive responses to a few messages that I had sent to models fitting my shooting style. One of the first models I got to work with was the bubbly and energetic Lulu Lockhart. For a photographer looking to increase experience in a studio environment she was the ideal model. With striking features and the ability to seamlessly flow into a new pose for every shot she made it hard for me to take a bad photo. This was great as I could concentrate more of my attention on framing the shot and ensuring that the studio lighting was setup correctly. I have to admit that I was nervous before the shoot as I did not want to “mess up” on my first venture working with a model. Beside for tripping over the light stand and having a beauty dish fall on my head I think I did a fairly decent job. I was honest and upfront with Lulu about my ability prior to the shoot and I think this was important so that expectations could be met. Most importantly I really enjoyed the shoot and was appreciative of having a model that was patient with me as I setup different lighting configurations. Some advice and lessons I learnt from my experience:
Here are a few images from my shoot with Lulu: