How Can a Model Be Both Sexy and Ugly? - Dreamstime

I had some recent sales lately with two images, each using the same model. They keyword search for one was UGLY and the other was SEXY. In looking at the images, it's obvious as to which one and why.

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.

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July 17, 2011


very good advice.

June 16, 2011


you always hve vary good blogs! thanks

June 14, 2011


Great blog, useful!!! Bye, Francesca :-)

June 13, 2011


I like your blog. Very interesting. Thanks :).

June 13, 2011


nice one!! thanks!

June 13, 2011


Very interesting article!

June 13, 2011


Great blog! thanks for sharing

June 13, 2011


Great article and very funny images!!!

June 13, 2011


Good article, thanks for sharing!

June 12, 2011


If "Granny" made you laugh then mission accomplished. :-)

June 12, 2011


Of course, I was laughing at granny's love & hug, not the article itself, the content of which great advice and a reminder of what to consider before a shoot. You're right, you do have to take control and give direction at the same time as figuring out the camera side of things. Time for a cup of tea!

June 12, 2011


What a great blog - made me laugh - I love the "hug & love" concept.

I was intrigued when you said " imagination was not limited to what I could do with the model." (geez, c'mon, who would want to??)....but then I took a closer look at granny......

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