What Photographers Look For in Models
Today I spent a significant amount of time browsing ModelMayhem.com in search of a model in the Orlando area for a future shoot. It’s been just over a year since I joined Model Mayhem and because the site features a lot of amateur models I have had to develop some techniques to figure out which girls are the best ones to work with. This article describes those techniques and should be helpful for photographers seeking models, and for models looking to improve their chances of getting booked by a professional photographer online.The average height for a female in the United States is currently around 5 feet 5 inches tall. Runway models are usually 5’9″ or above, but fortunately you don’t have to be tall to look tall in photographs. One trick that models use is to photograph themselves from unusual angles to make themselves look taller. Photographing with a wide lens, or from a low angle will sometimes give the illusion that you are much taller (not to mention skinnier) than what you actually are. Elongating the neck with a v-neck shirt to gain an extra visual inch. My last tip for models concerning height, and what will undoubtedly be every model’s favorite, is to get a nice pair of pumps! Shoes with tall heels will elongate your legs and also help tone your calves in photos.Above I have two example images to demonstrate good and bad poses for profile pictures. The example on the left is good for a number of reasons. First, the model is making eye contact with the camera. While this isn’t one of the most important features that makes this a good photo, eye contact will draw the viewer in and create a more memorable photograph. Second, the model is wearing a form fitting dress that allows the photographer to see the basic shape of her body. This is especially difficult to do while in a sitting pose, so bravo to this model. Next, the model’s body and face are both making a connection with the camera, drawing the viewer in. Finally, the composition of the photograph makes it easy for the viewer to see her facial features. Onto the second image, designated as the “Bad” photo. While this image on it’s own is a great shot, it would not make a great main profile image. The main reason for this is because the dress and pose completely hide the figure of the model. I am not going to advocate that all models use bikini shots as their profile picture, but you should use form fitting clothing so that the photographer can have a good idea of your body type. Bulky clothing like gowns and flowing dresses make it difficult for a photographer to tell if your body shape is right for the position they are trying to fill. Another negative aspect of this image is that the model’s face is small in the frame, making it difficult to get a good idea of her features from a thumbnail sized image. Lastly, the model is not looking into camera so you don’t feel the same connection that you get from the first image.
The Profile PhotoThe first piece of advice concerns the first impression that you make online: your profile photo. A model’s profile photo should convey natural beauty, body shape, and a model’s ability to make a shot interesting. It’s difficult for a model to convey all of these things in one image that’s under 100 pixels wide, but it can be done. I aim to demonstrate how all three of these elements can be improved just by you following this guide. When I use the term “natural beauty” I am referencing a model’s facial features, and how well they photograph. Just because a girl is beautiful in person does not guarantee that they will be beautiful on film. Even if you don’t photograph as well as you would expect, there is room to improve through practice. Models who frequently practice poses and facial expressions in the mirror will produce consistently better photos because they become familiar with their looks. Practice makes perfect, even in the modeling world. Another important factor that should be considered is lighting. I’m sure many models have heard the phrase “find the light” either in real life shooting scenarios or on the TV show “America’s Next Top Model”. Models should have a basic understanding of how they should model in relation to the light source (or sources).
This photo uses all 3 of my below recommendations. Tall heels, a wide angle lens, and a low angle make this model appear taller than she really is.
Here is an example of good and a bad poses for profile images.