Every now and then I need to add a new model to my repertoire in order to bring a breath of fresh air into my workshops and BLOG+.
The model has to be living close to Prague because I don’t reimburse extensive travel and accommodation costs for such jobs.
This time I sought out Ivana and arranged a paid test shot in Prague center with her.
Even though Ivana already is a very experienced glamour model, she is yet new to me since I have never worked with her before.
Testing Requirement 1: Communication Skills & Reliability
Before the actual shoot takes place, the first criteria I test is the communication skill with regards to her responsive time.
As always when approaching a new model I contacted Ivana by e-mail, described my request in detail, attached a PDF showing my work plus some behind the scenes material and I made a concrete offer for a test shoot. Just the date was open as the date mostly is up to the model to choose for this form of shoot (after all, it is me who wants something from her so I always try to be very flexible in the beginning).
I give a new model I approach a maximum of 3 days to respond after my initial contact attempt. If I receive no answer within this timeframe, I move on and do not bother to contact her again. After all she considers herself a “professional” and communication is an essential part of our profession. Everybody in this business has a smart phone these days and models are constantly toying with their phones during shootings, gym workouts and on vacations…
Ivana responded within 24 hours, we had a few more e-mail exchanges to clarify details and then the shooting date and parameters were set.
On a side note: after a first successful contact I also attach importance to the regularity of our further communication. If I get the impression that, after a nice first communication, the following exchange starts to become more irregular and/or I have to remind her to respond several times, I simply stop this trial.
Being responsive on a constant level is a must for me – a professional attitude – that is at least as important as “good looks” and great posing skills.
Eventually, the model has to be absolutely reliable later on to ensure that she will be at the right place at the right time, for example.
Testing Requirement 2: Punctuality & Personality
When I am going for a test shoot, I always have my make-up artist with me. These tests are exactly like a normal shoot for me and I create the best possible conditions so I can truly judge the model during the shoot.
This kind of shoot is different from a casting call where I would only snap a few impressions.
My team for this day was comprised of: Aneta (MUHA), Ivana (model), Jan (BTS documentary) and my humble self.
I had my first personal meeting with Ivana right on our shooting day and I immediately felt that she’s easy going yet very professional at the same time. She arrived 10 minutes earlier as agreed upon, brought her suitcase full of clothes and accessories and had her hair and nails prepared as discussed.
Ivana was open-minded, laughed a lot and simply wowed us with her pleasant personality.
On a side note: If I choose models for my own productions/workshops (= no client obligations) that I want to work with on a regular basis, I don’t like divas, arrogant, distant and cold people. I would carry out the test shoot as agreed but then never ever work with them again…
Testing Requirement 3: “Acting” & Contribution
The light for set number 4 was installed, Ivana’s styling and look finished and we were ready to go.
We worked on four different sets that day, yet I am only showing one of them here. A second set will be revealed in a later post…
The aim of this scene was to create a sexy situation in front of old lockers, within a perspective alignment. So the composition itself was quite static and now it all depended on Ivana’s acting and expressions.
- As key light I used a strip softbox 1.3x6’ (40x180cm) with grid. The grid helped to avoid too many reflections on the locker’s metal surface and on the opposite side on the wood’s paint.
- In the background I had a massive window front delivering a) an extensive overall volume light and b) a soft and even back/rim-light on the model. Outside was greyish weather so this rim didn’t produce any extraordinary highlights (that I was actually looking for!).
- Rim/Hair light: I installed a second flash head to the left behind the model, equipped with a standard reflector and a 20 degree grid. The idea was to create a controlled, additional highlight (area)…but it just disappeared when it hit the model’s dark hair. The distance to the flash was simply too big. But I had no chance to place this light any closer as we were working on a very narrow aisle. Trying to bring it into play was a waste of time and effort…
Posing & Expressions
So far, Ivana had passed all tests with flying colors (communication, personality, reliability) but now we were facing the second big “hurdle”: posing and expressions.
I always need to find out how versatile – and opposite – how straight to the point a model is able to act. Yes, it’s acting not just posing! Acting is the combination of body posing and facial expressions and gestures.
Ivana’s task was to simulate various moods and emotions: seducing, dreamy, romantic, teasing. And of course the alluring, subtle poses where C & S curves were involved.
All this had to be produced in a 15-minute timeframe because we were working according to a comprehensive schedule that we had to stick to.
For me it was once more a great experience and proof that I can rely on my instinct and system:
- My first impression and consideration during the initial communication.
- Choosing the full team and functions for a test shoot as best possible precondition.
- Working according to a plan and schedule I’ve created prior to the shooting date.
I’m very satisfied with the results; Ivana acted very professional, warmhearted and super sexy in front of the camera. She proved to be a worthy future workshop and BLOG+ model!
- 2x 400 Ws Monoblocs
- Key light: 1x Strip Softbox 1.3x6’ (40x180cm) & Grid, powered around 350 Ws
- Rim/Hair light: 1x Standard Reflector & 20 degree Honeycomb (Grid), powered around 400 Ws
- Nikon D700 full frame
- Nikkor AF 85mm, 1.8