Shooting your own content for your site or resale can be a dream or a nightmare. The better preparations that you make, the more dreams and the less nightmares you'll have. Veteran photographer Paul Markham joins us for a look at the basics and beyond...
A good tip to remember is if there are more than two models and one is clearly not what you are looking for, then very politely tell her at the beginning that she is welcome to stay and listen but that you will not be able to offer her any work. This has the benefit of establishing who is in charge, that you have a set idea of what you need, and that you're not just trying to see a girl naked.
This first meeting is also the time for you to sort out who these girls are: Be wary of the models who want to run the interview, the girl who looks as if she is terrified and forcing herself to do this for the money, the girl who lets her boyfriend make all the decisions, and obviously be wary of drug addicts. Unless you plan to shoot them on location, you're going to be letting these people into your home.
Even with a very low thresh hold for what is acceptable for a shoot, calculate on working with only one in ten that turn up for castings, because some will say no on the casting, some will not be suitable, and some will simply not show up for the shoot. Patience is a virtue.
Some think this can be short cut by booking strippers or contacting the local model’s agent. Both of which are bad ideas. Strippers usually make very bad models, especially for someone just starting out. They think all men who want to look at them naked are jerks, they are rarely desperate for the money, used to being in control, and prone to not show up. Added to the fact that she could have been dancing until 4:00 am and this all goes to make a recipe for disaster.
A model’s agent can be a good friend or your worse enemy, it depends how you come across. Don’t try to con him, he’s been in the business longer than you and can spot a phony. He will probably try to get top dollar for any of his girls and unless you get a really easy model do you want to be shooting one who can spot your every mistake?
Your First Shoot
So the equipment’s ready, model is booked now comes the really hard stuff, the shoot. You need to plan everything down to the last detail. Working on the formula “If it can go wrong it will go wrong” is not enough; include the stuff that “can’t” go wrong too.
Decide what you are going to shoot, where you are going to shoot it, how you are going to shoot it, what the model will wear, how she will pose, what she will do, plan everything. Leave nothing to chance. I’ve been shooting for 25 years and can do it in my sleep and ad-lib, but I choose not to, I plan. Do the same. Or do you want to run out of ideas in the middle of the session and take pictures of a girl who thinks you are a complete loser?
What this girl thinks of you is all-important. Think in two minds, one the mind of the surfer, the other the model. The model is there to earn money and the surfer is a guy at his computer instead of being out in the local bar picking up chicks.
So first the girl, she needs to think you are nice, know what you are doing and professional. She costs money and you want to make as much out of that money as possible. If she gets the impression that you are some loser who does not a have a clue and only doing this to see her naked then she will give you the look a lot of your potential clients get asking a girl in a bar “Can I buy you a drink?” You don’t want pictures of girls thinking “Get lost you loser, this is one pussy you can’t even dream about!” What you want are pictures of girls thinking, “Can I buy YOU a drink?” The definition of good porn is not ‘Would I fuck her?’ it’s “Will she fuck me?”
And there you have it; all the equipment and preparation in the world will not help you produce real porn if you do not have the personality. It will help you shoot a better picture, but that’s not porn. If you can’t make her look at you as if she is saying yes, forget about making money from the shoot. This is why you need the equipment. Look at it as a 22 year old girl posing in front of a guy who looks awful with $400 worth of equipment and a girl in my studio, with all the professional equipment and me in my designer (expensive) shirt. I can shoot yet I still need her thinking I’m cool and not a loser.
Amateur niche is not the photographer it’s the model. You are trying to make her represent the horny housewife, a hot girlfriend or the sexy girl next door, who strips and fucks for fun. Not one of the local girls who is so desperate for money she will show her pussy for $100. Which is closer to the truth.
Pornographers sell the fantasy that something will happen. Photography is about recording it. Remember anyone can shoot a good looking naked girl, few can get her to look like she wanted to be fucked.