Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stop saying you don't have a live model...

written by blythehopesvintage.etsy.com

You do. Yourself.

If you really want to show off your creations on a model, it may be time to put on your big girl panties and learn how to use the self timer on your camera.

Yeah yeah, I hear a cry of 'But I look terrible in pictures!'

Very likely you do - and that's because modeling is actually a skill, not a gift of genetics. Okay, it helps if you look like Kate Moss, but it isn't necessary in order to take a good shot of what you're selling. But I can assure you that even our dear Kate had to LEARN how to take a good picture. Just like how you learn to use your camera, you need to learn how to model.

They have classes at the big agencies for just this purpose. I used to teach one.

So here are some basic things you can master:

1) Nerves - nothing looks worse in a photo than nerves. One way I beat this is reminding myself that it's not about me, it's about the product. No one is coming into my shop to see how ugly/skinny/ridiculous I look, they're coming to see the clothes. Therefore I need to do my job to show off the clothes in the best way.

2) Angles - Y'know how we're always told never to shoot our product straight on and centre? Same with a person. Limbs bend in many different ways - use them.

3) Hands: One major thing that people have trouble with is their hands - usually the more you think about relaxing them the tenser they get, so try bending your middle fingers slightly - your hands will instantly relax and look natural.

4) Think about negative space - if your arms are straight down the sides of your body, you now look as wide as your body plus two arms. Do you want to look wider? Yeah, didn't think so. Aim to separate your arms from your body a little bit so your figure is visible. For example:

One arm is by my side, but held slightly away so there's space between my waist and my arm, the other is on my hip. Another point is not the break the 'line' of the outfit - always place your hand under the waist line slightly - not on it.

5) The most flattering pose is going to be one that makes your body look longer - there's a reason most models are very tall, clothes look better in photos on a long body type. However, if you're titch like me you can cheat. Check out my dear friend Alex in this picture:

See how her body makes an 'S' almost? I swear this looks good on everyone, the trick is to put all your weight on one foot and rest just the toes of the other on the floor, and move your shoulders off to the side without the weight.

6) Facial expression - forget the camera is there and think about something or someone nice - run a little day dream in your mind while the camera clicks. Looking off to one side is always gonna be more flattering than straight on:

7) Most importantly, learn to be self critical. That doesn't mean focusing on all the things you don't like about yourself - we all have issues with the way we look, but I promise no one is looking at your nose. Look at the picture as a whole, and decide if it's showing the PRODUCT to it's best advantage. Take lots of photos, you can always delete them.

written by blythehopesvintage.etsy.com


Danielle Renee said...

I've modeled alot for my own pictures in the past. The body was easy to get the right pose in but I had trouble in the facial area, when I tried to look mysterious and dreaming I ended up looking mad and sad. Your right, it is a skill ( in which I need more of). I'm wondering on if there's any information out there that teaches you how to manipulate your face to get the up close pose you want.

PrettyCoolShops said...

I used to model all of my clothes and necklaces, too....

but then I received several shop critiques stating that because my items are all OOAK, I need to use a mannequin so as not to "gross out" any potential customers who might not want to buy something that has already been on a real live body
.... soooo.... I am always half amused and half sad when I see articles like this one, because it seems like for every 10 people who say live model, there will be 10 equally passionate people who say eeeww gross use a mannequin.

{and to Danielle, this might not help you, but I wear glasses, and would always take them off for pics, and since I am SO nearsighted, I couldn't see the camera, and so it was easy to make just the right kind of 'soft, dreamy" face lol.....}

Blythe Hopes Vintage said...

One way to get the dreamy look is to not look at the camera - pick a point behind it and relax your face as much as you can.

Facial expressions are the hardest - I usually end up deleted many where I look pissed off/like kevin from the office/like am going to be sick.

Morphologica said...

Love this post!

Victoria said...

Love this, what if your old and frumpy, everything sags south :) And, those tiny little clothes just won't fit... and I may look silly in clothes that are designed for much younger women. All that side, great information on taking photos of live models. I know, my sons have girlfriends, I may commandeer them to model, they actually may get a kick out of it. Last note, I probably don't look as bad I imagine in a photo, there that makes me feel better :)

Anonymous said...

Something I've been considering doing - jewellery always looks better up off the table.
The only downside is trying to set the pose; make sure you're in the frame; hit the timer; and run back to resume pose...
I'm still keen to give it a go though.

Danielle Renee said...

Your right PrettyCoolShops, there are many passionate people who think wearing an item is gross. Its almost like you have to chose who you cater to. I can really only see close up,maybe I could look more dreamy and mysterious if I didn't have to squint at the camera.

ModistaModesta said...

I don't mind being the model - I to have to delete a lot of pictures - but have learned the more you take the better odds you have of getting the perfect one. My problem is that using the timer makes me tense you have 12 seconds to get the right pose and then you have to keep it sometimes the 12 seconds is to long. I guess I just need to learn patience.

Great post - lots of wonderful advice!

Olelé said...

I'm surprised by what PrettyCoolShops says, but it makes sense, depending on the item you are selling.
In my case, all critiques I've received went on the opposite direction; people want to see the actual size of the fans I make, so the only way to show it is modelling...
Great post, by the way!

Anonymous said...

Interesting...intelligent advice...thank you! smiles

Gail said...

This is fabulously helpful. Thanks so much!

Laura said...

Those are some fantastic tips! Does anyone have more info on how to get the right spot for your camera? I can set the timer just fine, but I can't seem to figure out what height it needs to be and how far away for it to take a good picture of me. I usually cut off my head.

Also, styling... I need to model my jewelry, but I have no idea which sorts of outfits look good to show off jewelry. And is it ok to be very lightly-styled. Like, not too many other accessories so the focus is on my jewelry?

Now that I've asked, I'm sort of thinking it's probably a branding issue that you have to decide for yourself and your business... Guess I better get on that!