Saturday, 10 April 2010

Marie Shim Art Shoot

Back in March I had the opportunity to work with Marie on an Art Shoot project. Whilst this was a limited opportunity in terms of time available to shoot, we managed to get quite a bit of diversity into the time we had available.

The idea behind the shoot was to develop an art based series of images that were to be both glamorous and dark.

Marie was keen to work with me on this series and had expressed an interest in creating some strong art based work.
I use a small studio, and whilst this is nice and intimate, it does tend to limit the working distances I can achieve with my cropped sensor. I find myself constrained to working at no more then two meters from my subject, and this brings some issues to the table itself. However, in this shoot, intimacy was the order of the day, and a very close working distance was to be expected as part of the process of achieving the desired results.

We started the shoot with a set of images of Marie in her black lingerie, lit by a single soft box to her right as our key light. This is a simple setup as I'm sure you know, but simple is good in my book.
What I was looking for here, was a soft but definite transition from the highlights to the shadow areas, picking out the subtle tones and curves of Marie's body.

This shot, shows how the light, when placed at about 45 degrees to Marie, and just a couple of inches above her eye line, not only picks out the tones in her body, but also gives a very pleasing effect known as 'Rembrandt' lighting.

The key in Rembrandt lighting is creating a triangle or diamond shape of light underneath the eye. With one side of the face lit well from the key light, the other side of the face is uses the interaction of shadows and light to create the sculptured definition on the face.

The shoot then moved on through a white lingerie set, to Marie wearing a mans white shirt. This is a bit obvious as a device admittedly, however, with a little bit of imagination and good lighting and a beautiful woman, can produce gorgeous and sexy images!

I find that the main problem here is in metering for the white of the shirt. A good rule of thumb with white clothing it not to light it directly, but to use a good reflector to push light onto the garment, you get much less throwback from it and should find it a lot easier to control the tone and texture of the clothing.

We then ended the shoot by loosing the shirt, and working a topless set with lighting provided by a beauty dish alone.

I like beauty dishes, I like them alot! and I often work like this, with simply the one light source. Beauty dishes are very versatile and can prodice lighting for a number of different looks.

Probably the most well known effect a beauty dish can produce is a strong, directional and specular light, with a more defined fall off into shadow than you might get with a soft box.

You can see more from the Marie shoot by visiting:

Sunday, 28 June 2009 Site Redesign

Well, I've redesigned the site.


Well things change, and its important to not just stand still but to move on.

One of the things that's really important to me, and something that has been a bit of concern since I started the site is that Firebaby, is all about images. As a photographer we take images, but more importantly as artists we think and we 'see' in images. so being restricted in the size of image we can show, can often be quite irksome!

So, with the recent introduction of a new design system launched by my hosting company, we have introduced a facility to support larger image uploads, up to 800 pixels wide and high!

Take a look at the site, and please let me know what you think of the redesign, I'm happy to hear your thoughts both positive and negative if you have them, its good to talk!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Why do I need a "Professional" Photographer?

I work with up and coming, aspiring models, and if there is one question that I'm frequently asked, it is probably this one; "Why do I need a Professional Photographer?"

It is a common falsehood amongst models and indeed many photographers that anyone can photograph model portfolios. Really!

However, when you get married - are you going to accept the first photographer who comes along simply because they are free and available and has a camera? Or are you going to use a professional who is experienced and enjoys a reputation for competence in their particular field?

It doesn't take much thinking about really, does it? But how many models actually bother to get professional portfolios done? Take a look at P#**storm and the likes and you will soon see that the answer is not many actually - which is why most potential models get off to a less than flying start and quickly fall by the wayside even if they have potential.

Why would any serious photographer or client want to book a model who has a few amateur snaps or even camera phone pictures (yes, a lot of "models" do!) on their portfolio? Exactly!, they wouldn't.

People will tell you that the best way to get into modelling is by doing TFP/CD (time for print/CD's of pictures) with any photographer who will give his time and that you should spend 6 months doing this before you even think of asking for payment. Now, in my opinion, this is a piece of good, sound, advice. Its through this way, that you can see if you really have any real potential as a photographic model and get a portfolio into the bargain. However, when you pay a professional photographer you might think you'll be getting a decent professional portfolio done by a competent photographer, and generally that is the case. However, always be sure what you getting into, and be sure of the quality of the finished images, because bad photographs on your portfolio are worse than no photo's at all.

But a professional portfolio costs a fortune. Does it? That depends. And this is where you can really make TFP work for you. Take a look at some of the published images here on TFPModel, and find a photographer who showcases images that you empathise with, that you aspire to be in, because some good photographers are here as they are also happy to exchange their time for yours.

My own policy is that if I can use your images commercially, that may be enough to cover the cost of your folio, so it may not cost you anything other than your time. Obviously this is only possible with a small number of potential models, but who knows, maybe you fit the bill.

Again, just my thoughts, please feel free to contribute your thoughts and lets discuss?!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Tips for modelling poses

Taking beautiful photographs of beautiful people is not easy. However, it can be a whole lot easier if the model understands a little more about how to pose for the photographer/camera. Here are a few thoughts:

It’s a common misconception that naturally beautiful models take naturally beautiful photographs. The truth is, without modelling poses and modelling tips, perfect photographs are harder than you think.

If you are a professional model, a photographer will most likely guide you through a variety of model poses throughout the photo shoot. But if you are an aspiring model and are still working your way up to the top you may have to control your poses to ensure great head shots and sample modelling photographs.

Live show models, promotion models, photographic models, and runway models all rely on professional model poses to succeed. Whether you aspire to appear in print magazines or fashion shows; if you want to be a model, pay special attention to your modelling poses.


Although sometimes concentration enhances a good photograph, obvious concentration can distract and often ruin a good photograph as well. Do not hold your breath for a modelling pose; always remember to breathe and appear at ease.


Bad posture is an unrecognised flaw in many people. However, and especially for models, posture is a harmful flaw. Always remember to keep your back straight and your shoulders up. Slouching affects the mood of the photograph and enlarges the appearances of your stomach. In addition to your back and shoulders, always remember to flex your stomach muscles. Despite your weight or state of shape, your abdomen will appear more toned if you flex.


Symmetry is officially out in the modelling world. When posing, make sure to differentiate your arms and legs with asymmetrical poses. If you have one arm long and straight by your side, make sure the other arm is bent. Whether a big or small angle, the bend will make the modelling pose look more real, less artificial. Continue the asymmetry to your legs. If one leg is locked straight, give the other leg a casual bend.


Although the camera is the ultimate focal point of a modelling photo shoot, great models do not look directly into the camera. To enhance the quality of your photo shoot, look away from the camera with a mix of head and eye poses. Looking off to the right or left side, or tiling your neck to either side can help you avoid direct eye contact with the camera. In many cases, your head and neck can remain stationary in your modelling pose, and your eyes can do all the work. Head and eye positions, coupled with personable facial expressions make for great model poses.

Sitting Poses

If you are sitting down during your photo shoot, don’t think that it’s OK to slack off. In fact, sitting photo shoots require a lot of extra work. If you are sitting down or reclining, it’s important to put your weight on the back of one thigh, rather than distributing your weight equally on both thighs. If you roll one hip up from the ground or surface, shifting your weight will be simple. This pose results in a slimming effect that you don’t want to miss out on.


To make sure your best assets shine, there are a few basic guidelines to follow. Based on two distinct poses, a forward lean and a backward lean, any model with any breast size can maximize cleavage. When leaning forward, either bring your arms together at your waist, keep your arms straight at the elbows and clasp your hands together below your waist, or simply cross your arms. When leaning backward, raise your arms about your shoulders and head, keep your arms apart, and always slouch for the best cleavage results.


If you have a naturally beautiful smile, show your pearly whites with pride, just not every time. If you smile in each modelling pose, modelling agents will notice your lack of versatility, not your smile. To add variety to your modelling poses, try switching up your smile with a cute frown, a bratty pout, a friendly laugh, or even an edgy scowl. Your facial expressions can make or break your modelling poses. Let your smile show, but make sure to show what else you can do.

In addition to these tips, every model should be aware of the basics of posing. There are four main types of model poses: lifestyle pose, movement pose, portrait pose, and body pose.


The lifestyle pose evokes a sense of everyday living with common body movements and facial expressions. Throughout the day, moments of happiness, love, anger, and hope arise. To succeed at the lifestyle pose, each model must be able to recreate these everyday emotions.


The movement pose captures a specific action, such as running or jumping. Because this pose is most often used for a marketing photo shoot, the model is used to promote a product. Each model must be able to smile and laugh when using the products in the photo shoot.


This modelling pose emphasises the face of the model, and relies purely on facial features. The model will be in modest make-up and relaxed hair and should pose with a casual, genuine smile. Many portrait photographs are taken close up and emphasise details of the models face. If you are scheduled for a portrait photo shoot, make sure to pay extra attention to your skin and drink at least 8-12 glasses of water a day.


Full-length photographs require body poses. Models are encouraged to shift weight between hips and make arms and lengths into asymmetrical stances. Although many body poses do not require specific facial expressions, putting your entire body into character during full-length poses helps your body find a natural balance.

Keep these thoughts in mind during your next model photo shoot. Whether you’re an expert or an ambitious beginner, all models have the ability to excel in photo shoots. Focus on your posture, attitude, and facial expressions to succeed beyond your wildest expectations.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The use of chaperones and age appropriate work

In a recent conversation regarding photographing the under 18s the following was discussed, and I thought it appropriate to post if here too as it has a real value for those youngsters just starting out in a modelling career.

It is horrible that we have to have chaperones because it's such a nasty world isn't it!

I agree, it does sound horrible. However, There are two main issues here to do with age and the use of a chaperone.

I firmly believe that the priority in any shoot must be safety.

From a models perspective after having had a few shoots with a photographer you may feel happy not to be chaperoned, (and I personally do not like people watching as I work, but tough its there for a reason).

If you are going to use a chaperone on your shoots make sure the photographer is aware of this and clarify what conditions they have. Some photographers insist the Chaperones stays outside, others just that they remain outside the studio area. A few will seize on them gleefully as slave labour to hold reflectors or lights!

No photographer will tolerate a chaperon interfering with the shoot in any way however, so make sure the person you choose is trustworthy sensible and understands this as you WILL be blamed for any misconduct by your chaperone. Jealous boyfriends seeking to control shoots are a sure-fire way of having your career wrecked before it even gets started. Generally a female chaperone will be less of a problem.

Secondly, there is a legal implication in entering into a TFP agreement. There needs to be a Model Release and this is a contract (and) it is extremely important that, as a model, you should fully understand the implications of entering into a contract.

The TFP contract covers a number of areas, one of the key ones is the concept of Copyright. In a TFP context is simply the RIGHT to allow a COPY of a photograph to be created. The creation of a copy of any photograph without the copyright holder’s permission is illegal. By default the copyright holder of ANY photograph is the PHOTOGRAPHER.

This remains the case EVEN WHERE THE PHOTOGRAPHER HAS BEEN PAID BY THE MODEL or another third party to take the images. Unless a model has the permission of the photographer it is illegal to create any further copies of those images.

This means that should you wish to use any photographs taken of yourself you WILL require the permission of the photographer first. For example the fact that a photographer has emailed you a few images after a shoot does not permit you to copy them to an online portfolio or send them to a magazine.

It follows that should you enter an agreement with a photographer where for example you have waived or reduced your fees for the right to use some of the images yourself, that you ensure the photographer has given you that permission in writing and that the permission covers all the situations where you wish to use those pictures.

In some Countries such as the USA a model can claim rights to their own image. This is not currently the case in the UK or many EU countries. A photographer can therefore, as the copyright holder, permit the use of any photograph he takes without needing the permission of the model as long as he does not in the process breach other laws such as defamation.


So why have a guardian or parent present? Well not just for safety, but also for genuine legal reasons.

What is not generally appreciated is that there are rules when contracting with minors (under the age of 18), and generally seeking, anyone who contracts with an infant or minor is doing so at their own peril. The reason for this is that the law gives to minors the ability to void, or exit the contract as they see fit. The most common justification for the rule is to protect minors from assuming obligations which they are not capable of understanding. It is obvious to see that this will lead to harsh results, so some general exceptions have been created, however, as far as I can see (and I'm no lawyer) none of the exceptions cover photography.

the bottom line is that safety first, but also consider that the TFP contract (Model Release) for minors should be sighed by the guardian in order to also protect the photographer as much as the model.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Britains next top model?


Britain's Least Competent Art Team?

What an appalling excuse for a program more like.

Such a sad reflection on the industry - that's just what tonight's 'show' was.

I'm simply appalled by the lack of professional ability shown by 'Veteran' judge Lisa Snowdon tonight. She really let herself, and the contestants down when she appeared to be unable to understand the whitewash in tonight's episode. She bizarrely, just followed a very vague line that she appeared to have been given to speak and mocked the contestants ability to guess what was required of them in the task.

What is sad, it that she showed no apparent appreciation for the task and supported the detrimental, facile, and somewhat amateur approach of the so called art director/music guru - one of tonight's 'judges'. You know, what really grinds is the fact that the girls were given no support, no guidance, and no motivation. The kick was that they were to be the face on a new album cover (of a never to be heard of again group?), the bottom line was that they had to parade around for a few hours in the cold
in a bikini, for a few out of their depth guy's, only for a head shot at best to be chosen for this so-called 'album cover'.

There was a photographer, who gave no guidance, and really appeared to be struggling to work with the bare fleshed women, the 'guru' appeared not the be able to offer any useful advice, and also struggled with the technicalities of live models and it was this 'guru' who's line of conversation amounted, it seamed, to be totally exclusive of any help or guidance - come on! you're claiming to be the customer, tell the girls what you want, they are not mind readers guy's!!

And Lisa, to stand there with your judging cohorts and criticise the images your photographer and post-production 'team' produced as faults of the models is reprehensible. Yes, they are to be professional models and there is an expected level of ability, but you know, they were given no guidance, no support, and of the many images (in bikini to topless it appears) only a few poor head shots were pasted into a poor floral frame - something my five year old nephew can do by the way for much less money!

Come on living TV - get a grip!

I am so unhappy at this flagrant amateurism on British TV.