Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 21, 2012
A few days ago I got called to do a modeling shoot. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing; model… me?!?!? Well yes! It seems that most of us don’t think of ourselves as model material, but not everyone is looking for only the beautiful people, if you will. There are often calls for regular folks like us to fill a role, and this time I got the call, my first ever.
I was asked to show up at a location around 9AM that was about 30 minutes from where I live. I hadn’t been to this community in more than 30 years, which tells me I really do need to learn more about my surrounding area. The studio was located in a beautiful area that I can’t necessarily say was out in the country, although, since the photographer owned 37 acres, it almost has to be called that I guess. I was also asked to bring 2 suits, 2 shirts, and some colorful ties. Since I only have 3 suits I took them all, took 3 shirts, and took 10 ties, just to make sure I’d covered it all. By the way, have you ever had to carry 3 full suits at one time? Sucker’s heavy! lol
The studio was very large. It was a converted truck garage that the guy had totally painted white, with only one of those large heaters in the top back corner of the room; no, it couldn’t totally overcome the cold, as it was around 20° outside. And I wasn’t the only model for this shoot, as there was this lady who I thought was around my age but turned out to be 74 years old who I was going to be shooting with. Sorry, no details on what we were shooting, as that’s part of the agreement. But I can still talk about the process.
If anyone thinks modeling is easy, they’re wrong. It might seem glamorous when you see those model images and you’re saying “man, based on what I do that’s some easy work.” Nope, sorry kids. Sure, it’s not like shoveling holes, but it has its own bit of work and effort. For instance, the poor lady I was shooting with had to keep walking and “almost” sitting at one point for about 10 minutes as the photographer kept trying to capture just the right image. Imagine what “almost” sitting is like; that’s tough on both the back and the knees.
And you have to keep that smile up; at least she did. Sometimes I didn’t have to smile, other times I had to smile on demand, and even though there were a lot of shots of me from behind, I had to keep my eyes on her eyes to help guide her through her shots. We had a good working relationship, which is always nice no matter what you’re doing.
There were also some strange contortions both of us had to go through. What some big time photographers do is work from a storyboard and someone else has drawn up of what they want. Well, turns out some of those poses aren’t, well, realistic, but it’s what they want. At one point he needed me to twist my arm into a strange position acting like I was receiving something, but he needed to see my open hand in the picture. For another series of shots I had to lean way over onto this desk because that’s what was in the storyboard, but it meant I had to lean over about a foot and kick one of my legs out in order to get into the pose. I didn’t even know they made short desks except for little kids; ugh!
Of course there’s the obligatory standing around time as well. I got lucky in that my standing around time was early, when they were taking prep shots. My partner, whose name was Juanita, had to sit around waiting later on when it was time for just me alone in a picture.
Finally, it was time for my main shot, and I got to sit for this one. I was holding papers and a pen in one hand, and I had to alternate between looking serious, looking stern, looking content and smiling, both with and without teeth. They had to change the set because his assistant realized that they had the same pictures in the new shots that they had in the original shots when we were turned the other direction; that wouldn’t do. And I couldn’t look at the papers; I had to remember to look straight at the camera, and that’s another lesson. After all, you know how you always feel like you want to blink when you see a camera flash? Can’t do that with a photo shoot.
I was there just under 3 hours, and it’s a good thing photographers don’t use real film anymore. What a process; digital camera, computer hooked up so they can immediately see what’s going on and what they might have to photoshop out later on. The guy said I was perfect; I didn’t comment because what could one possibly say to that? It was fun I must admit, but I’m glad it was relatively short also because it turns out that Juanita will be modeling for up to a week; she has a really prominent role in the story, though it also seems they didn’t tell her just how prominent.
My takeaway? I get paid and I got the above picture of his puppy Lucy, who was just the cutest thing, and when I got to play with her she kept going for my tie, actually getting it once. What an interesting day, and an interesting lesson to learn. Tyra girl, you do some work! 🙂