New Model Army Photography Blog

One for the ladies...

OK, so I started writing a few blogs about what you should and shouldn’t be doing if you want to get into modelling and I got bombarded with messages and emails with lots more questions. This got me thinking…

I’m sick to death of you girls getting a rough deal when you decide that this career path might be for you. Apart from having to deal with suspect photographers and rogue agencies, there are precious few places for you to go to learn how to protect yourself, how to promote yourself AND HOW TO ACTUALLY MODEL. Modelling is a job, just like any other – if you don’t know how to do something, nobody’s going to employ you. I need somebody to take about three feet off some trees in my garden but I won’t be asking butchers or car mechanics for quotes any time soon.

So, if I was to say to you that I’m thinking of putting on dedicated modelling workshops, would you be interested? I will be bringing in some of the UK’s finest independent models to take you through your paces and to give you a fighting chance of getting your careers off the ground. There are way too many fools in this game and I want to help you fight your way through all the crap and set you on your way. Nobody’s born knowing everything, and this is no different. Would you know how to position your hands, how to hold your head, or if you were creeping or mothing ? Could you tell if the photographer was using the wrong lens or framing you badly? What’s the difference between a manager and an agent? Why should you ditch the fake tan? I want you to know the answers to questions like this, and a whole load more.

Why do I want to do this? I have a good friend who is set on this career and as much as I’d like to think so(!), I don’t have all the answers. I want her to be safe, productive and most of all, educated. Like I said, you girls get the rough end of the wedge and quite frankly, it pisses me off. If I had a daughter who wanted to get into this game, I’d be very concerned, knowing what I know about the industry. As a photographer, I get to see both the good and the bad sides of this game, and I want to do something about the bad bits, it’s as simple as that.

It wouldn’t be free, though. To get a respected, established, internationally published model to come and run a workshop for you will cost money, so will a venue (and the catering – yes, you’ll get fed!) Naturally, parents/relatives would be more than welcome to join you, so they get to ask their own questions. Either way, the price will be kept as low as possible; I realise that money may be an issue, especially for you younger ladies, and there’d be no point in doing this if it was out of your reach.

So there we have it, my little plan to help you. Go back to my Facebook post and let me know what you think, I’ll be grateful for all your feedback. You can also message me from my page if you have any further questions or you can contact me via this website – just click on the contact button and send me an email.

NB At the moment, this is only applicable to female models, as the workshops will be led by female models.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

So you want to be a model (part 2)

Wow, I really didn’t expect last week’s blog to get so much attention, but a big thanks to everybody who took the time to read it, it’s appreciated.

So, in my last blog, I think my message was pretty clear – you’ve got to practice. But practice what? Catwalk is different to editorial, which is different to glamour, which is different to fashion, which is different to other disciplines and styles. The good news is, the basic principles are all the same (except possibly for catwalk, which involves another set of distinct skills) and hopefully, this blog will give you something to study and aim for. See how I said “study”? This isn’t something that you’re going to achieve overnight. You’re going to have to work bloody hard for it.

First thing’s first, and this applies to anybody. Look after your body, this includes your skin and hair. Caning it every weekend in town may be fun when you’re younger but believe me, it’ll soon start to show. In this game, you need to be fit and healthy, and scoffing cakes, biscuits, processed foods and alcohol won’t do you any favours.  There’s a term in computing called GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. Remember that. And one of the best skin tips you can get? Supermodel Carolyn Murphy’s top tip is to drink plenty of water. Sounds obvious but hands up all those who drink enough. I don’t, which is probably why I have skin like a kangaroo’s scrotum. What else? Sleep. Get plenty of it, and that’s the advice of Victoria’s Secret model, Hilary Rhoda. Getting four hours’ shut-eye after a night on the tiles isn’t going to impress anybody, unless you’re deliberately going for the homeless panda look (and that’s *sooo* last decade).

I suppose the next biggie is how to actually model. Remember, it’s a skill you learn, much like anything else. You may think you look like the mutt’s nuts in your latest profile pic but I bet you’re pulling all kinds of poses without realising what you’re doing and why. At this point, please allow me to introduce Jen Brook, a genuinely amazing model and also an all-round good egg. She’s worked with some of the biggest photographers in the world, including Von Wong and Brooke Shaden to name but two. Jen’s travelled the world in the name of her art (and trust me, it is an art with her), so when I say you should read her blog on posing for new models, you really should read it. If you don’t, then you’re going nowhere. This woman knows what she’s talking about. In fact, her Tumblr’s a mine of information, so bookmark it and have a read when you have a spare 10 minutes every so often.

To give you an idea, here’s a series of ten shots I took of Jen a couple of weeks ago. (Hey Jen, does that put me in the same bracket as Ben Von Wong and Brooke Shaden? Haha, I wish! Study, learning and practice applies just as much to me as anybody else.)

According to my camera’s timer, these were taken in the space of 14 seconds. None of them required any prompting from me, she just knew what to do. Jen was instinctively aware of where the light source was and how to shape herself accordingly to accentuate the dress she was modelling. 

This wasn’t just some happy accident, she knew what to do and how to do it. This has come from years of perfecting her art, from studying others and learning from them. And please excuse the fact that I haven’t edited them, I was in a bit of rush to get this out; I shit you not, I’ve been getting people asking when I’m going to be posting this follow-up.

As with everything in life, time is money. Photographers don’t want to spend time telling models how to pose for every single shot, it just won’t work. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE working with new models, it’s hugely rewarding when you get somebody out of their comfort zone and produce a piece of work that’s bang on the money. However, in a professional environment, you won’t be afforded that luxury. The clock’s ticking and every second counts.

Modelling is about fluidity and movement. Watch this Frederick’s of Hollywood video (with one of my favourite models, Emily Ratajowski) – the models in it aren’t just stills models, they’re also having to act. And that’s what you’re being asked to do – act. Even if it’s for 1 shot, you’re acting. You’re being asked to portray a role, and that’s what’s expected of you. By the way, Frederick’s of Hollywood is a ladies’ underwear company, so only watch the video if you’re prepared to see that kind of thing!

So there we have it, that’s a small insight into the art and craft of modelling. There are countless other resources available in books, videos, blogs and websites but be careful, as a lot of them are absolute rubbish. Learn to separate what’s useful, such as this from Tyra Banks, and some old guff you might be fed by a two-bit model coaching company being run by a failed photographer with no idea of what he’s doing, who’s only in it to screw you out of a few quid.

 

In the next blog in this series, I’ll be addressing the questions around photographers and portfolios, and why you should (or shouldn’t) shoot with somebody. If you’ve got any questions you want me to address, go to my Facebook page, send me a message and I’ll do my best to answer you :-)

Ciao for now!

 

 

 

 

 

So you want to be a model (part 1)

This blog has been months in the making. Every time I write something, I come across as a bitter and twisted individual with very harsh views on the modelling industry. But I think this is with good reason, so read on if you have any interest. If you don’t, just keep scrolling and look at the pretty pictures.

Every week, I get a few emails/messages about modelling. “Are you looking for models?”, “I want to get into modelling, can you give me some tips?”, “I’ve been scouted by an agency, is it a reputable one?”, and more questions just like this. And every time, I do all I can to give the truth.

And that’s where I look like an utter bastard.

The media today (and in a way, I suppose I’m part of this problem) tends to glamourise this line of work. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to have people fussing all over them, doing their hair and make-up, dressing them in killer clothes and generally making them feel like a million dollars? The cold, hard facts make for different reading.

If you wanted to be a hair stylist, you’d train. If you wanted to be a police officer, you’d train. If you wanted to be a teacher, you’d train. Hell, if you wanted to work in McDonalds, you’d train. Can you see a pattern here?

I know a raft of gorgeous women, and most of them will tell you they’re not models. And what’s the problem with that? I’ll tell you – there isn’t one. I drive a car but I’m no Sebastian Vettel. I can’t say I’ve lost any sleep over it.

The long and short of all this is, if you want to get into modelling, you need to practice. And when you’ve finished practising, you need to practice some more. Standing in front of a camera and looking pretty is not modelling, that’s just standing in front of a camera and looking pretty. Modelling is a job, and much like any other job, you need to be good at what you do for anybody to take any notice of you. Work hard and learn from others. Research. Read. Watch. Absorb.

 And practice.

Again.

I’m not going to stand here and say you’re not suitable, that’s not up to me. What I or my clients find appropriate might not be somebody else’s cup of tea. Fashion, catwalk, glamour, alternative, plus-size, petite and more – it’s all there and somebody will always need a certain look.  But you need to be on top of your game. We all learn as we go along but if you put in the effort to begin with (and keep up that hard work), you’ll be giving yourself a massive advantage over the rest of the pack.

One more thing, and this bugs me quite a bit. There will be some models out there that completely disagree with me on this, and that’s cool – but this is my blog and my viewpoint. Don’t get into modelling if you’re just doing it to “boost your self-confidence”. As you start out, for every job you cast for, you’ll get turned down for 99% of them. When you become established, this may come down to 90%. Think about this – can you cope with being rejected time and again? You’re going to be judged purely on your looks, plain and simple. You may be the most amazingly warm, funny, caring person in the world but that rarely counts for anything. If you have self-confidence issues, that’s not something you should be bringing to the table, especially when this business is all about confidence.  I know I’ve been a bit sweeping with that statement but don’t expose yourself to pressures that you don’t need to. Self confidence comes from self worth, and you won’t necessarily find that in a photography studio.

OK, I’ve slated pretty much everybody who wants to be a model, so what’s next? Actually, I haven’t. All I’ve said is you need to work hard if this is what you want to get into, and make sure you understand how much hard work it actually is. Believe it or not, I’m on your side. I’m always happy to help but you have to meet me halfway.

I’ve offered no real answers here, but that’s to come in the next couple of blogs - I’m not going to criticise and then offer no answers or solutions, that’s just a crappy thing to do. But in the coming weeks, I will be ranting (for your benefit, trust me on this one) on a whole host of subjects, including portfolios, modelling agencies that aren’t really agencies, why you shouldn’t work with any old photographer who offers to take some photos of you, and more.

Like I said, I am on your side.

 

 

 

 

 

People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude

It’s no real surprise to anybody that knows me, but I’m a bit of a fan of the film Frozen. If I was to be completely honest with you, it’s actually playing on the other screen even as I type this. In fact, it’s taking me ages to write this ‘cos I have to stop and sing every five minutes. It’s not a pretty sight. Sounds just as bad as you think it does, too.

Anyway, I’m blaming this rather unsettling development in my personal life on the model in this set of images, Bethan Geary. A confirmed Disney nut (and a hugely talented illustrator), I’m yet to reach the heights/plumb the depths (delete as necessary) of her level of fanaticism but there’s always time, eh? Actually, some would say it’s already too late for me, as this video clearly demonstrates.

Back to the blog and the reason for it – these amazing images of Bethan. We shot them on location in Manchester, between Castlefield and Piccadilly Gardens, although we were originally only intending to stay around Castlefield. You see, Bethan was “forced” to make a trip to Primark due to a minor wardrobe malfunction (she forgot her belt), which meant I had to make that trip too. Basically, for a country bumpkin like me, that place is WAY too big and probably has more people inside it at this time of year than western Belgium, but I’m pleased to say that I didn’t have a meltdown in the underwear section this time, so that’s an improvement on recent visits.

OK, I’ve banged on long enough so here are the images from the day, hope you enjoy them. The bottom image is a full HD wallpaper so if you fancy it for your desktop, save it to your computer and install it.

 

And, as promised, here's a HD wallpaper for your desktop. Right click on it, save it to your computer and install :-)

New Model Army Photography Bethan Geary

 

I'm hoping to write another blog sometime before Christmas about something that continually causes more grief than anything else I know - "How do I become a model?" Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

How not to get shot at on a photoshoot

For those of you that saw my Facebook post a few evenings ago, I promised to let you know how NOT to get shot at by military police on an MOD airfield. To be quite honest, I can't. If the truth be known, I was fully expecting to be in Guantanamo by now, strapped to a metal bedframe with my genitals wired up to a car battery. I'm not, I hasten to add.

I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a good friend, Rhys Walters from Retro Customs. "Jase, I've got a job for you..." I knew what was coming next, although the bit about the baseball bat was an interesting twist (you'll see what I mean in the photos).

Rhys builds cars, and mighty fine ones at that (check out the Retro Customs Facebook page). In the past, I've had the pleasure of shooting a couple of his other creations and I was looking forward to meeting the latest beast, a 1989 BMW E30 drift car. I was not disappointed.

If the car was a person, it'd be the bastard child of Darth Vader and The Rock. Let me tell you now, this thing has SERIOUS road presence. It looks as hard as nails from any angle and driving it is scientifically proven to make you at least 347% more attractive to the opposite sex. Allegedly.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we managed to blag some shots on a military airfield, which totally suited the car's badass attitude. I even managed to find a use for my walkie talkies, which Rhys thought was amazing. Well, if you live in Llangaffo, I suppose walkie talkies are about as close to witchcraft as you can get...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this looks like the kind of machine you need in your life (remember - 347%), have a word with Rhys and for the right price, it could be yours...

 

 

 

 

 

Why being creepy can work out

Being a photographer sometimes means that I end up doing some creepy things. Take this model for example, Mary. We've been following each other on Twitter and Instagram and every so often, we'd comment on each other's photos or reply to random tweets. After a few weeks, I decided to do the decent (for decent, read creepy) thing and contact her, asking if she'd be interested in a shoot. To cut a long story short, she didn't report me to the police and this was the result. Not bad for a complete newbie, I'm sure you'll agree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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