SHOOTING GLAMOUR MODELS
By Bill Dobbins
Almost any young photographer fantasizes about working with glamour models, being able to shoot photos of beautiful, sexy models. The problem is that too often the fantasy gets in the way of the reality of actually doing really good photos. It may be more exciting to shoot models than food or products, but the ultimate goal is the same – to create the best images possible.
I’ve shot so may photos of sexy models over the years that am able to treat the process in a very matter of fact manner. Of course I notice that they are attractive. Certainly I am aware of their sexuality. But I notice without reacting emotionally. These women are my photographic subjects. They are not part of a potential dating pool. My job is to communicate their appeal to viewers of the photos while remaining relatively dispassionate myself.
Many non-photographers and too many photographers ask me how I can be around these fabulous females and not get frustrated. The answer is that I know what needs to “turn me on” is the image I am in the process of creating. When I was a kid and looked at Playboy, my father said to me, “Remember, that is not a girl. It’s a picture of a girl.” When you are working with beautiful models, you need to keep in mind that your goal is not to hook up with the girl in some personally way but to create a picture of the girl.
The photographer needs to differentiate between being excited by the model herself and by the photographs he is taking of her. All that really counts is whether or not the photo has the impact and appeal you intended. The model is just the means to an end. The end is the quality and impact of the final images.
It is very important to keep these in mind because this is not the 1960s. While many photographers end up marrying a model, they have to be very careful about coming on to them. Nowadays, too often leads to sexual harassment suits or getting fired. And it can often make the models nervous. Women – especially highly attractive ones – are used to getting hit on left and right. They have to develop defenses to keep unwanted attentions at bay. If you spend as much time around women as I do (models, assistant, make up artists) you hear all the stories of how much crap they have to put up with. A lot of men can be real sons of bitches where women are concerned.
So the last thing a model wants to do is to have to keep up her defenses when she’s doing a photo shoot. She needs to work with photographers who make her feel safe and beautiful, who will create images that will help her career. The photographer needs to make her feel attractive but not in a way they she needs to worry about his attentions.
Another thing to consider is that when you are shooting revealing photos, semi-nudes or nudes, the less the model is wearing the more you have to be aware of keeping her feeling emotionally and psychologically secure. If a nude model gets to the point where she forgets she isn’t wearing any clothes, the photographer has done his job.