How Can a Model Be Both Sexy and Ugly?
While this may be amusing, there is a lesson to be learned here. Many times in stock photography, you have to be many things, and many times being a PHOTOGRAPHER is the least important thing in what you are trying to do.
A good commercial photograph will be planned and thought out before the shutter is ever released. You have to think ahead, prepare studio and props, know how you're going to process the image, and know what the model needs to do in order to create a successful image.
Essentially, you are more of a boss and project manager and not a photographer. You can't just have an "idea" in your head, you need to create a clear path from imagination to final product. This is not always an easy thing to do when you're an amateur. But we should clarify that "amateur" does not imply you don't have the skill and talent; many of us really only lack resources such as studio space, high end equipment, and access to props and models.
Regardless, when you work through a concept, there are a series of steps to consider:
1. Coming up with the idea.
2. Is the idea feasible? Photographing a pretty girl holding a drink at a beach resort is easy to do. Finding a pretty girl and a beach resort is virtually impossible unless someone really needs that shot and is willing to finance the shoot.
3. Once a concept is defined, how will you shoot it? What will the composition be? What props do you need? What equipment will you be using?
4. What will be required for post-processing? If you're going to isolate an object with software, little details like using a white bed sheet as a backdrop will make photo editing ten times easier. Isolating an object with a busy background is hard work.
5. You are the art director and boss during the shoot. You are responsible for having everything ready and in place. If you are working with models, they look to you for direction. An experienced model can make things easier and be helpful, but you're the one in charge and you have to know what you're doing. Having everything planned out from beginning to end makes it easier to direct the shoot.
6. Processing the final image is also a critical step. Simple things like removing dust specks is one thing, but if you're going to try advanced topics with your software you better know how to apply the special effects you have in mind or else the entire shoot will be a bust. You need to constantly try new things, buy books or find tutorials on the internet, and practice with your software.
And that is how a model can be both sexy and ugly. In this case my imagination was not limited to what I could do with the model. Many things can be accomplished with limited resources when you stop being a photographer and become a project manager, an art director, and a commercial marketer of concepts.
Photo credits: Wisconsinart.