I've been shooting some studio work over the last few weeks in an effort to hone my skills and build up the portfolio. I'll be the first to admit that I can get a little bored and I need a healthy dose of creativity from time to time. The home studio gives me the chance to play around a bit and break out of my travel/landscape photographer mold.
Which brings us to my biggest challenge — locating models. There are a ton of ways to get good models with services like Model Mayhem at your finger tips. These services make it quite easy to search based upon all sorts physical characteristics. I won't lie I felt like I was on a really bad version of Match.com and at times it felt even worse like Adult Friend Finder. I found myself hiding the computer from my kid as I was searching for “blonde, blue eyes, blah… blah.”
Now, I've heard great success stories from friends that have found really easy-going models from these sorts of sites but I'm going to tell ya it just didn't feel natural to me. I was sort of looking for that Midwestern look, but that was few and far between all the bikini wearing, super smooth skinned models. I felt like I was 10 again with the freshly pressed JCPenney catalog ogling the underwear section with my friends. It was a brutal task, but it's for the sake of my photography, so I pushed forward!
Then the warden arrived on the scene and somehow things just went south. I think it went something like this: “No, no I don't want to photograph women in bikinis.” “Yes, seriously, I need to build my portfolio… REALLY.” “Of course they're legitimate modeling services.” “You know I think you look
fine GREAT in a bikini…” Then it went downhill from there and ended with something like this: “Fine, you find me a model then… I'm off to take a picture of another tree!”
If you're asking yourself, is John really that stupid? The answer is yes and the worst part is I'm surrounded by smart women (daughter included) and they don't hesitate to remind me. Long story short… the Stacer (the warden) delivered me a model — Jodi, an occupational therapist working for the Chicago Public Schools. Jodi has never modeled a day in her life! Frankly, I thought I was screwed because Jodi, while being super sweet seemed a little shy and nervous. Fast forward three hours later, a glass of wine, some chips and guac, and me jacked up on caffeine with Aretha Franklin (her request.. I'm more of hip-hop guy.. ;)) in the background… we we're having a blast. I couldn't have picked a better model — Jodi was a pro. Staci gets all sorts of props for making it happen (bikini or snowsuit you're number one).
Now the question is black and white or color? We want your feedback. No need to give the reason, just simply BW or Color. What do you think?
Fun little anecdote. Jodi and I get to talking about both being from Northern Michigan having family in Traverse City. Come to find out my great grandma Anna (my daughter's named after her) and her great grandma where sisters. It's a crazy — and I mean crazy — small world.
I'll give you the lowdown on the technical aspects of the shoot later this week, so stay tuned.