I receive many questions regarding my workflow in photographing new models and faces, so I thought I would address some of them. This post is only about photographing models from talent agencies or bookings directly with a model.
Over the years I've developed a rhythm which allows me to get to know the model, as well as what type of lighting works best for them. This week was a prime example; Emily was in my studio for a portrait session, and while I've worked with her in the past, this was her first portrait session with me. My normal progression is what I like to call, “no make up, makeup, and lighting.” For the no makeup look, I normally just use natural light from an open door. Typically I shoot these on a black background. This allows me to really focus on the subject’s face and learn what lighting and lenses are a good match for them. Once I get these shots done, I have the makeup artist begin the model’s first makeup look. By the time I get the last image, it's typically something a little more complex with the lighting.
In the progression of Emily's images, I photographed her with no makeup for the first set. I loved how her freckles showcase the natural beauty she possesses. Next, I have the makeup artist add to her look while still keeping it simple. I work fairly rapidly throughout all the different looks. For each set up, I may only spend about 10 minutes. My goal is to get 3 to 4 really strong images from each look.
During last round of makeup, I normally let the makeup artist do something they've been dying to try. It's always good to allow collaboration with your team. Having the hairstylist or makeup artist use their creative juices can inspire me as well. There are times that this collaboration has produced some of my best images. All the looks put together in this type of session typically take about a three and a half hours.
Finally, the equipment I use stays pretty consistent. I use my Nixon D4 & Nikon D810. The lenses I shoot with 85% of the time are the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Lens and the Nikon 85mm f1.8. For the lighting I use Phottix Indra 500 with various modifiers.
If you have any questions, I’m always open about how I do, what I do, so please drop me a note.