Sunday, August 23, 2015

Challenge Your Expectations

We love challenging expectations. I believe it's one of the things that makes us unique amid a sea of other visual artists. So often are people told what they can't do. Societal norms often runs contrary to what a person wants to do and the way they want to look. This is why often times when we photograph someone it's in a different direction and done in a different way than anything they've ever done before. 

When we look at a prospective model's port, we look at not so much of what has been done but mainly what a model or client hasn't done and why. Then we show that person what they're really capable of when those self imposed and societal limiters are removed. That's why we believe that when you go thru a port post-Helios it's easy to identify what's one of ours. It will stand out in style, in genre, in lighting and overall mood. If we're lucky the model or client will be empowered beyond belief and they will never accept being told what they can't do or shouldn't do. 

For years we've heard gorgeous fearful people say that they're too old now when all evidence suggest that they want to try. We've heard women say they're too wide or too slim or that they're not photogenic. We've heard men say they're not tall enough. We often heard I don't do lingerie or swimwear because they're too trashy or too vulgar. More often than not they'd convinced themselves it wasn't appropriate because they were fearful or they're husband or wife was afraid. They had convinced themselves that they didn't look like everyone else in these magazines. They'd never had someone take the time and accent their strengths rather than focus on their stereotypical and alleged weaknesses. Then with a careful eye we show them what they can do. We perfect just the right look, style and pose and make what they thought we flaws beautiful alluring attributes. Then they realize that the next day kids still go to school, the sky is still there, the Sun did not fling itself from the sky and that the world keeps spinning as it always has. They are the only thing that has changed. They're more confident, empowered, strong and as relevant as they have always been and they walk away feeling powerful and when they see themselves for the first time in this new way, it's thru tears, gleeful gasps and often times around family and friends. When the best friend says, I want to do this or I wish I was brave enough to try this. That once shy, once afraid new model or client of Helios replies, "you can if you trust the right person and believe in yourself."

Thru style, taste, quality, appropriateness and imagination, anything is achievable. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How To Get The Most Beautiful Talented Models.

We've been told a time or two that we seem to have cornered the market on some of the most beautiful models in the region. We hear it from prospective models, from photographers and the occasional observer. The question that frequently comes up is where do you find these stunning models to work with? 

I've always the found the idea of going around trying to find models kinda distasteful. I simply don't have the personality nor the patience for it. Additional is the fact that on a deep buried level it was too close to 'hitting on people.' "Hey, you're gorgeous. Wanna take some pictures?" That just seems weird to me. But some photographers have the gift and the personality to talk a complete stranger into just about anything. Maybe I'm just not as vested in any singular person to be that interested or maybe I'm shy. I have no idea. It feels weird to even consider trying and I've never been compelled to. 

If you're starting out you've also tried all the online sites where photographers and models meet and work out collaborations. Many many years ago I'd been there and done that. That's a hit or miss approach with a very low turnaround. It's mostly miss. If you want to photograph a ton of people then certainly websites are the way the go. If you want very very high quality collaborations and high quality models then you'll want a different approach.

Another way is to use an agency. Agencies are often looking for photographers to photograph their new models; to help those models get their ports started and to give them some experience in front of the camera. Establishing a relationship with an agency may be a great idea for you. You'll have to decide for yourself on that. Agencies are kinda... Well... Ambiguously beneficial at times to say the least. But there are photographers that have nothing but the best to say about their agency relationships. 

Over the years I've established my own personal way to get the absolute best of the best models. The trick to getting them for me is not to try - at least not a direct approach anyway. I found that by concentrating more on the quality of my work, higher quality models found me on their own. It seems so simple now but that wasn't always the case. It's a steep hill to climb but putting my efforts into turning out higher quality results eventually, albeit slowly, found the people I wanted to work with for me. More to the point, my best work with models has most often been a referral from another model, a photographer or a paid assignment. There is no higher praise than a referral. That means someone likes or loves your work enough to share you or to recommend you. That's bigger than anything. 

On occasion I'll still stumble upon someone when no substitute will do for a very specific look and I'll go after one model in particular. But over time I've learned that the models that have been statistically more professional, more communicable, more trustworthy, and more punctual tend to find us first. It seems that when you have to pursue them they're simply not as committed to the process or the project and the results are mixed at best if the model shows up at all. It's sounds too much like children dating and chasing each other around as if it's a "playing too hard to get" scenario. Well I'm too old for that so I turn back to what works for me. 

It all brings me back to my original method - concentrate on quality and when you get your model whether it be a male or female spoil them senseless. They will always recommend like minded beautiful and stylish people like themselves that cherish the high quality results you repeatedly give them. Once you hit referral stage you will never have to go out looking and you'll always have professional talent. I've actually had models come up to me and say "you absolutely have to work with my friend or this other model I just met because she's so talented and beautiful and she would compliment your style very well." That within itself would be a huge compliment and a testament to the kind of work you put out. For us, we concentrate on quality and from quality comes all the work we can handle. That's how we get great models.