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  • Hector Heathwood

Tips for pin-up photographers.

I've recently shared the Delicious Dolls article, 'Modelling/pin-up tips' again. I thought it might be prudent to put something similar out for the photographers working in the field.

Each of us has his/her own way of working, and I would find it largely irrelevant and grossly arrogant if I were to go into mine. So, a more general list of some important points on how we conduct ourselves would seem more appropriate.

1. In any session the model's wellbeing and comfort is paramount, and outweighs all other factors.

2. The model is part of the creative process, not simply a blank canvas for your art. That deserves respect and appreciation.

3. When we take our photographs we have our own motives, and wish to communicate an idea, emotion or mood. But we must never lose sight of the fact that, though we wish the resulting image to represent something, it is still a picture of the person in front of the camera. They must be comfortable with their portrayal of themselves.

4. Talk to your model at all stages of the process, explain your plans and intentions, listen for their input and additions. Also, look for what they bring which is particular to them; oftentimes it's a non-verbal communication that lets their persona shine into your imagery. You have the means, nowadays, to let your model view the work in progress, use it. Show the shots you've taken, is something missing, can the picture be better, what do you both think?

5. Of course you have already built up a portfolio of shots and poses you know will work, adapt it to each individual you work with. No two humans are identical, so a posture that's worked many times for you might just need to be shot from a different angle for this sitter.

6. Get the images to your model promptly unless there is a good, and explained, reason not to. They are keen to see them, and should you really publish them before the sitter knows what's in them? They have given their time and effort, even when you pay them, so surely they deserve the chance to enjoy what you have both created as soon as possible.

7. Ensure there are means to rest, or re-hydrate, or eat during your shoot; if the model gets tired your shots will be useless and neither of you will get the full enjoyment of the endeavour.

8. Practice, practice, practice! You and your sitter are going to create some wonderful imagery out of thin air, don't hamper that by weak technical knowledge or lack of a certain skill. So much of a successful shoot happens before the session was even booked.

9. Get a 'Model Release' signed detailing what use the images will be put to. If necessary this can be re-negotiated if another opportunity presents itself.

10. It goes without saying that you must act in an ethical and professional manner at all times; but I'm saying it anyway!

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