Blind leading the Blind

Brittney Geller photographed by Rodney Alan 20130704-IMG_2570-EditBrittney.  5Dmk2  | 35L

I had a brief facebook conversation with a fellow photographer on his struggle with model direction and vision.  This got me thinking why not write up a blog post on this topic. I’m sure others have struggled with this at some point in their photography.

One of the most asked questions I get asked by other photographers is if they can come along with me on a shoot.  Before I give them an answer I question their question with a “Why?”  Typical responses range from wanting to see how I direct models to people looking for inspiration.

In my experience as a fashion & beauty photographer the ability to direct a model and one’s vision have a direct relationship with each other.  WIthout vision a photographer can’t direct a model, not knowing how to direct is linked to a lack of vision.  In a roundabout way, direction and vision are both related, one is needed for the other.

If you’re having a hard time with direction you have to wonder what’s the issue?  Could it be the model?  Maybe, but more often its not.

I’ve been able to develop a non-model into an agency model, heck pics from our first test are used for book.  And now you can see her grace the ads of Wet Seal.  But I digress.

You can’t always depend on the model to deliver.  The model is depending on the photographer for that.  The model is blind sort of speak.  Without direction your model will just stand there will a “deer in the headlights kind of look.”  I’m sure you’re familiar with that look.  Thats where the photographer comes in play.   The photographer plays multiple roles, not only a camera operator  but also the director.

What you say to the model is really up to you.  I can’t tell you what to say cause there is no magic bullet to that.  Its about your vision and knowing how to communicate that to your model.

-Rodney Alan

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