Thursday, October 30, 2014

Buying to Size: Why Shopping for Clothing is Increasingly More Difficult

Here is a fashion shopping tip for the holidays. Did you know that there really isn’t a hard baseline clothing size scale? It varies depending the on manufacturer. Generally, the higher end the designer the smaller the size. In theory, a size 8 may be more like a size 4. On other other hand a lower end discount store’s clothing size 8 may be actually a size 12. 

Unfortunately, clothing sizes are used more like a marketing tool to attract specific buyers.  Studies prove that feel better about buying a brand and more of it if you think you’re smaller than you actually are. Retailers that market to a younger crowd or a more brand and fashion conscious crowd is likely to be smaller. Consider why it is that you love the brand of clothing that you do. We delve more into this in the next Issue of Sircus Magazine.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Breath Mints and Midday Munchies: Everything Models Wish They Could Say and Will Not

You cannot have taken thousands of pictures over the models and retail clients over the years and not have them speak frank to you about what they like and don’t like about photographers. Well we’ve listened to everyone and comprised a list of the most annoying traits a photographer should never ever have and some things you should stop doing if you are doing them.

Stop fiddling. This is mostly about preparedness. Be ready for your shoot when your subject arrives. Barring a technical malfunction, don’t waste her time. She’s ready, the stylist is there, the makeup artist is bored to tears waiting on you for the next update and your hair stylist has another appointment she may not make because you still don’t know your equipment. Be prepared and have your equipment together and be sure to have a backup plan should something fail.

Don’t Get Your Money Where You Get Your Honey. Stop hitting on her and asking her out. This is work. I’m of the mindset that the photographer should take the high road in these circumstances. Why? Because if you’re the photographer then you’re not the one on display. You’re less likely to be in the photographically vulnerable position of having your likeness plastered all over the world for everyone to see. That said, if she wants you then leave it to her to let you know. Sure a little harmless flirting and telling her she’s gorgeous does a great deal to help keep her confidence level up. It lets her know her makeup, clothing and hair is exactly the way it needs to be and that she’s beautiful. Confidence means better, more natural looking images. But beyond the basic compliments let her make the move. Married, unmarried, open relationship or dating for either of you isn’t in question. That’s a private matter between two consenting people. Frankly, it’s not my decision to make. But if you must, be subtle (don’t do it at all if you can help it) and then let it go. She’s there to work, you should be there to work and not seeking a mate or a date. Don’t mess it up for hardworking, genuine photographers who are trying to earn a living and/or develop art by giving photographers in general a very very bad stigma of using photography to seek dates. Bad move. Bad boy.

The Silent Treatment. No input, no direction and pure silence aside from the shutter release sound of your camera makes models very nervous. Let her know she’s giving you what you want or need. She’s the model and she already knows how to model. That’s not your job. However, she cannot and will not read your mind. Let her know she’s going in the right direction or constructively suggest alternative looks or ideas. Verbally share. Plus it let’s her know you’re comfortable with her and willing for her to take a posing chance or a give you more expressiveness.

Please Shut Up. What might be worse than the silent treatment is the guy that won’t shut up. Hello!!! We’re on a photo shoot here and we need to take photos. Maybe the photographer is lonely and just needs someone to hang out with. There is nothing more annoying to a model than have a photographer that just wants to chant her up endlessly for hours. If she’s up for it then set aside a different day for that. On shoot day, be ready to shoot. If by some chance you can mix a bit of business with a bit of plutonic pleasure then again (as implied above), let her guide the exchange. 

Touch feely guy. Please don’t weird her out by touching her without permission. This is a no man’s land and photography 101. Whether or not your model is male or female, you should have their direct and absolute permission to touch them. If at all possible try to avoid it. Now if you know the subject extremely (EXTREMELY) well and you to have developed a collaborative and intimate creative report then by all means go with what your head tells you providing she has consenting to it. Otherwise, don’t go there ever without permission. For me, it has never been a problem. I don’t linger on or around a model. Assuming the stylist isn’t around or handy of course; I always have somewhere for her to change and if she needs an adjustment on clothing or hair I let her know what I’m about to do and where I expect to make the adjustment with the least amount of invasiveness as possible; very quick and out - NO lingering, NO strange awkward silences and absolutely NO implied anything. I’m just working here.

Cheesy Profiles of You Holding Your Camera. Photographers hear me NOW! If your profile pic must be anything, do not let it be a picture of you holding your camera. Models often cite photographers’ ports that are made up of an uncomfortable amount of pics of photographers holding their own cameras. Okay, we get it. You’re a photographer or you wanna be. Your profile name Bob’s Photography should be enough. It’s 2014. We get it. Models say it looks creepy and screams of a lack of confidence and possibly even implies compensation for a lack of experience. “When a photographer has his camera with him on his profile pic, I think of it as him compensating for his lack of experience or trying to hard to impress me with gear rather than talent. His port should speak for itself. I just skip over it.” Yep, that’s how you’re viewed by models and even other professional photographers. Besides, it just looks weird.

Who cares about your settings? No one but an amateur cares what camera you have or what settings you used to take the pictures. Photographers that list their gear are moronic enough to give burglars a list of targets and/or they’re compensating for lack for a experience yet again. There are two types of photographers that list gear and supplies aside from the one mentioned above: (1) someone that teaches photography classes, workshops, does reviews, or works for a product manufacturer or (2) an amateur photographer taking classes so that his fellow classmates or peers know what gear he or she is using and how they managed to get the shot they captured. Otherwise, WHY? You scream amateur every single time you do that particularly on social media or related applications. Find the proper venue for such things; a class maybe, a workshop or a industry publication, site or blog where that is appropriate.

WANT A BREATH MINT? Laugh now (better yet, wait til’ after the breath mint) but it’s one of the most courteous things you can do. We’re in each other’s face all day or at least for several hours. Do us all a favor and have good personal hygiene which includes having reasonably acceptable breath. We’re just saying. She will love you for it and so will everyone else on set.

Give me a beat. I don’t know any person I’ve worked with that didn’t prefer music on set. Of course, it’s not always convenience such as on location on in circumstances where music isn’t permitted or places you’ve never been. Music sets a great mood and the choose music commensurate with the theme if you can. If you want dark, moody and sultry looks try jazz. If you want upbeat energetic looks try pop, rock or dance. If you want attitude and swagger try hip hop or dub step. Just don’t ever do country. EVER! Just saying. 

Bad Mouthing! Never speak ill of other clients or models. It doesn’t make you look very professional by talking about personal and potentially private problems or pet peeves you’ve had with other models or clients. How do you think it makes you look as an alleged professional photographer to the person you’re speaking to when you speak negatively about every other model you’ve worked with. It’s okay to give examples of what you do not want your new subject to do or even emphasize instances when you hoped things may have gone a different way only to demonstrate what your expectations. However, under no circumstances should you talk repeatedly and be obsessively negative about anyone you’ve worked with. It undermines your level of professionalism and casts a negative light on your business.

Nothing Compares to You. Don’t ever compare a model to some other model you’ve worked with in the past. Unless it’s a very very positive comparison it’s not a good idea. Even still every single person is unique and prefer to be treated as such. So while a photographer is saying, “you remind me of Kirstie,” your subject is thinking “then you should have called Kirstie you idiot.” 

The Midday Munchies. There are many models that will not eat before or during a shoot; not even for a quick snack. However, there are many more than will. It’s always a good idea to have something on hand if it’s practical. No one is asking for a buffet or a fully catered shoot. Yet, having a few finger foods lying around is good for energy and comfort should your model or your crew partake of any. I’m not beyond asking a model, mua, or stylist about any known food or even fabric, clothing, or metal allergies before a booking. It just made sense to make sure everyone is comfortable and helps to avoid potential problems or performance issues during the shoot. Finger food is a really big deal. Whether a model or client of yours partakes or not is a different matter altogether. They will still appreciate that it’s there for them should they require it.