Last week I got to do a really fun photo shoot with my friend Drew Ritter. Drew is really into photography and was looking for a model to add to his portfolio. I've never said "No" to having my picture taken, so we were well matched.
Speaking of "well matched," Drew is in my life because he's going to be marrying my best friend from childhood, Jessie. We made poor Jessie hike into the woods, NATURE, GUYS! She was fucking awesome; she kept the wine flowing and was a real sport about my flailing around making pouty faces at her fiancé.
About an hour into our shoot the sun went down and the woods got dark. NATURE, GUYS! We were just a bunch of kids hanging out in the middle of the woods by an abandoned water tower, drinking out of solo cups, and listening to country music. Not the setup for a horror movie at all!
I like to be scared but I think Jessie was getting nervous. Which is hilarious, because most of our childhood consisted of me making Jessie scared. (Sorry, Snugs.)
The real fear was the giant field of poison ivy we were standing in. Skin rashes are much worse when you spend a lot of time naked on stage.
I've been part of a few awesome photoshoots since I started doing Burlesque and I find that I really enjoy doing them. I remember being really nervous for my first shoot and I think it's evident in some of the photos. It's hard work being a model.
Yes, really! Standing in weird positions, under lights, in a rashy minefield, yeah, it's hard! Why are you so judgey? You got something against fake red heads? Too bad! I will murder you!
Here are some things I've learned about having my picture taken:
4. I guess I should lightly touch on the subject of money. If you're working for a professional photographer, you should get paid for your work. How you work that out is your choice, but make sure that shit is CLEAR before you go in and that you have some sort of contract. I'm not a professional model (See Example A) so I don't feel qualified to give you precise advice on this. The arrangement I have with Drew is Time for Print. Meaning that I model for him and he gives me license to use the photos he takes. Isn't that nice? Now you get to see the forest mermaid, and the awkward handjob shot!
5. When posing I try to remember these things:
a) Know where your light is. Tilt your face toward it and try to elongate your neck to create some contrast. At this nighttime shoot, I kept putting my face in shadow by holding my arm up over my head. Be aware of the shadows your body creates.
b) Listen to your photographer. If they tell you that when you hold your arm like that it blocks the light from your face, then, you know, don't do that....
c) My body creates a more interesting image when I stick my hips out and create negative space between my limbs and my body, that's kind of an obvious tip...but standing stock straight is something I avoid
d) A lot of model "tips" will advise you on tricks to appear thinner. I'm not interested in appearing thinner. That being said, I try not to squish my arms against my sides because it can create uneven "squishidge" making one arm appear larger than the other. You know when you see a photo of a bunch of girls out at the bars in Faneuil Hall and they all have their arms on their hips- that!
e) I try to be conscious of my hands and how I'm holding them. Sometimes I forget and get this weird fish-hand look, or I twist them around too sharply (see my hand in the forest-mermaid-rock- photo above)
f) Relax, yo. If I'm not relaxed I become mayor of Awkwardtown. I need to let go of those feelings of insecurity and just GO with it.
g) It helps to remind yourself that you're fucking fierce !
I've posted the edited photos from the shoot here. Check them out, and remember: I was listening to Taylor Swift the whole time while they were being taken... no! Don't remember that! That's a very embarrassing secret! Shhhh!
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