About a month ago I flew to Los Angeles to shoot some model test/portfolio shots for Elite Model Management. For those who may not know, modeling agencies send their models to approved photographers to get photos for their comp cards, portfolios and for the agencies' website. The key aspect of delivering usable shots for a major agency is to know what the agencies particular style and cliental is, and to recognize what the model needs in their portfolio. The basis is to shoot the model in a way that is going to get the attention of clients and therefore get the model booked. Each agency has their own look, or style that they represent themselves with, and will sign a model based on the model's ability to fit that look. As mentioned before, a photographer must also understand and represent that style in their creative approach, otherwise the photos could misrepresent the agencies' style format and therefore be rejected. As the photographer, I have full creative control, but I'm not going to waste the model's time by shooting stuff that they can't use. It's important to remember the model's needs first, then create something that is going to hopefully not just satisfy, but impress. In a place like L.A., that's may not be easy.
What is easy though, is being really good to work with. Keeping a positive energy, allowing the model to be a part of the decision-making process, and always respecting everyone and doing your best under any circumstances. I was surprised at how the models were so easy to work with. They were willing to try any idea I had, and genuinely had a good time throughout the sessions. Sometimes their own ideas worked great as well, and me being willing to go with it really made them feel that they were a part of the process and not just someone being told where to stand. I was equally impressed with the model's ability on camera. There's no substitute for professionalism, and Elite's models just know how to inspire me to want to shoot all day. In fact, you just can't call it "work", it's more like a challenge to see how good you all can correlate to get the shot.
To see the shots go to Elitemodel.com, hover your mouse over Los Angeles, click on Elite and scroll alphabetically to Alexandra Cobrin, Jana Banker and Jena Sims (the models I shot with). Not all the images in their portfolios are mine, but two of their main photos are and you can reference their shots with ones in my AGENCIES gallery at mtmstudios.com to see which ones are mine.
So, to models Jena, Ali, and Jana, and my L.A. makeup and hair team Jyoti and Jaque, I just want to say "thank you"- you all are such professionals and it was so much fun shooting with you. Much love! I'm looking forward to my next trip back again. Below are a few screen captures of the model's online portfolios.