Models and context - natural interaction

As many of us know, working with models can be a real challenge when it comes to the visual result of your concept. It's both a challenge for the photographer and the model and the key to the best result is communication between the two parties. Be friends with your models, know them, be relaxed and play.

That being said, after searching for imagery of people involved in different activities, I noticed there are two major types of model expression: models looking at the camera while involved in an activity, and models that interact naturally with the object of their activity. The first category may lead in numbers, but the latter has more sales. That's why I think it's very important to realize that a natural looking attitude has a better sale potential.

I will briefly emphasize on the natural appeal of a photo, that can be achieved when greater attention is paid to the context and to how the model should relate to it.

For example, mechanics at work: in the first image, the models focus on their job, interact with that specific environment and it all looks natural. In the second image they pose rather than work, not to mention that looking directly at the camera while working with the wrench can be hazardous, if not plain dangerous; the image looks a bit artificial by comparison.

© Val_th
Another example, young women lifting weight, exercising: The first model is clearly focused on her work, mostlikely paying attention to her trainer, while the second is rather posing and relates directly to the photographer, as well as having a pretty awkward working position.

The first shot looks natural, giving the impression that the photographer randomly and discretely snapped a young woman who was unaware of his presence. The second image shows a direct relation between the model and the camera, with less regard to the workout itself.

Photo credits: Alexmax, Monkey Business Images, Val_th.

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November 27, 2009


I like the thought. I suppose showing involvement with the environment cuts back on the cheese factor dramatically!

November 14, 2009


Thanks a lot!

By the way - it's interisting how the same thing works in erotic photography - when the model is busy with reading for exemple it not so embarrasing for spectators to look at the picture with nude model

November 12, 2009


Ouch Andrei, you're giving away some awful trade secrets ;-)

This is a superior post. There is just one word of caution, when a shoot with friends becomes crazy and too relaxed: don't overdo it. I plead guilty to that sometimes.

Looking into the lens can also make sense when there is a clear appeal to the viewer, or in portraits, when the interaction is with the viewer.

November 10, 2009


Andrei thanks for sharing your experiences!

November 06, 2009


You are absolutely right and it is of a high concern key to success.

November 05, 2009


Very useful and interesting! Thanks.

November 04, 2009


Very interesting and clearly illustrated. Will try to keep this in mind!

November 03, 2009


This is great and valuable information. Keep share such practical information - we have a lot to learn.

November 02, 2009


I always prefer my models to interact with the project at hand. I want the end result as me being a voyeur, capturing a moment privately.

November 02, 2009


good point, thanks for sharing and good examples!

October 29, 2009


thanks for sharing, great tips :)

October 29, 2009


Excellent blog! Thank you for sharing this :0)

October 29, 2009


Very nice! Thump up for the good work ;)

October 29, 2009


Perfect, great blog! Thanks for sharing !

October 29, 2009


Andrei, great blog, explained well with images. Thanks for the share.

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