Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Tips for shooting a model on location (in the cold)..

Image by Simon Pole

I've been asked for tips in the past from photographers about location nude things - I was also speaking to fellow model Sarah - Artemis while she was with me last week, its amazing how many experiences in common we have. So I decided to post a blog on it, most of it is just simple little steps to keep a model happy. Believe me when I say a happy model really is a better and harder working model. So if you want the best from us then treat us as well as you possibly can. I do realise though that some models are fiercely independent and don't want to be treated like a precious flower but others *me* like that technique on location shoots. Along with many other models our bodies are important to us, mistreating it isn't going to do us any favours in the long run.

My first tip - this could be useful for models and photographers.
Is to have an item of clothing like the jumper in the below image, I got this old thing years ago and its stood the test of time (although its about half the thickness it was when I bought it). I call it the "naked jumper". I don't know what I would have done without it. Having an item like this reduces the time it takes me to get undressed and dressed again, yes it might only save a minute or so but its a minute or so which would be better spent posing rather than standing fighting with a button or a zip. I also tend to wear old ugg type boots with fur lining, I have went through about 9 pairs since I started modelling - again they take 2 seconds to put on and take off again. My clothes generally end up getting chucked in any direction out of shot. So maybe ask your model to have a piece of clothing like this, its also beneficial when you are working in public places - like I said it only takes a second to throw on so if a pesky dog walker is approaching while you are with a model throw it over to her and a second later she is clothed. Another great thing about my naked jumper is that the neck of it is HUGE - so it wont mess up my hair or makeup.

Image by Rory Quinn - MUA/Hair - June Long

So the model turns up, has an item of warm clothing to quickly throw on between shooting.. I also like taking a thick blanket with me too - so once basically dressed I can wrap myself in it. I always recommend practicing before taking the actual shot -

This is kind of a practice run from a shoot I had with Simon Pole on our trip to the Isle of Skye a few years ago...

And this is the final shot - or at least one of them.

Doing the practice runs is really beneficial - you can roughly set up the camera and composition you are wanting to get and the model can see what poses work in the area and see what she has to work with. Shouting directions to an incoming wind/next to a fast waterfall or in a public place is not the wisest move. I wish I could find better examples of the before and after but I've stopped using my old computer with all the shots from these shoots on them so that will have to do grrr!!

So I've covered - clothing and practicing the shots you want to get.

Now its down to the little things..

NEVER say to a model "its not that cold" especially if you are wrapped up in a cosy winter jacket with only your eyes and nose exposed to the weather. I'm not saying - get naked so you can experience it, just don't say it. If a model says "I'm cold" then she is cold, wether or not you think its cold is irrelevant as you are not nude.

Another thing which is wise not to do is say -
"Well I swam in the Antarctic naked in colder conditions" / "the last model I worked with was in even colder conditions and she coped fine". Comparing our threshold to yours or another models isn't a very nice thing to do. Its great you're last model was better at coping with the cold but every body is unique and copes in different ways. Don't make us feel inferior just because its not coping as well as somebody else's would or your own.

This next one is very common - once you have got the shot in the bag don't run past the models clothes to show her the images. Yes the images are important and she is excited to see them but remember those few minutes of her standing naked looking at the back of the camera would be better spent getting her warmed up so she is able to perform as well at the next location. So don't chase her with the camera when she is trying to retrieve her clothes, grab her clothes and take them to her or throw them over to her so she can warm up then show her the pictures. I have lost count of the amount of times photographers have stood watching me struggle over harsh terrain to get my clothes when they are only inches away from them. It takes me longer to walk over sharp stones and nettle infested woodland without shoes on than it would if I had my shoes on.

Image - Craig Mcguire

This next little story is not the "norm" but worth keeping in the back of your head for future use. I remember once being booked by a lovely man who shoots on various different formats of camera. There was a horrible wind and ice on the ground, I didn't get much opportunity to stop and warm up and his last set was a bit of an experiment for him - He wanted to do a slightly longer exposure and have me moving material around with my arms but my face had to remain still. If you have shots like that in mind which are focusing on the face or they are not overly dependant on the weather being nasty then its better to try that shot out first before I have snot running down my face, a red nose and the shakes. Or better yet wait till the summer :D

Its difficult to remain still when you have been out for a long period of time, balancing is also a bit of an issue for me so when you add my "not very good" balancing to an episode of the chilly shakes its not a good mix. I remember once on a windy snowy day I got up on a window ledge  (see below).

It doesn't even look overly high, I think at the front it was around 6ft but behind me was a 25-30 ft drop. The ledge itself was only about the same width as my foot and it was covered in ice.. If I had even attempted this shot without being properly warmed up beforehand I would have really struggled. So its a good example of "keep model warm she will work better". 

Image by Simon Pole.

When the weather is seriously bad its also nice to be fairly close to the car, so that we can get out the wind as quickly as possible. Especially on snow shoots when everything I come into contact with ends up soaking wet and cold. I remember years ago doing a night-time shot in Glencoe, I wasn't wearing waterproof shoes and ended up stepping in a stream which was kind of hidden under a blanket of snow (and it was pitch black outside). My foot was actually warmer exposed than it was inside my shoe. So models always take extra shoes/socks just incase you have an accident.

I always find that the more productive location shoots are those which have short bursts of shoots - so 5 minutes in one location - warm up then move onto somewhere else. Another plus point is a flask :D I wish I could remember who it was but one photographer even had a spare flask and a hot water bottle and filled it up when we were done... If whoever you are is reading this then just incase I didn't say it at the time - YOU ROCK.

Image by Nigenw

I'm not really sure what to add to this..  just be considerate.. If you are a model don't feel like you have to stay quiet, if you are cold just say "can i have 5 minutes to warm up" honestly.

Image from a cold morning by - Carl Grim

Have fun...

Oh and here is a sneaky wee peak at an image from last week :D
I will be doing a separate blog featuring Sarah's work and the fun we had together.
Lots of out-takes and the like.

Much love xxx

No comments:

Post a Comment