I was going through all my cds of photoshoots and I came across a special envelope I made that reads “Utterly Useless” on the front. I totally started laughing because I knew exactly what it was. When I first started modeling almost a year ago, I didn’t know how to tell a good photographer/make-up artist from one that was not so great. I was on the grind for photoshoots, I just wanted to do as many as possible so I could get better at posing and angles, so I would often find my self working with a not-so-great team.
Also, I will use this blog entry to provide some advice to anyone out there chasing the same dream I am, so you don’t waste your time with pictures you cannot use. Observe.
Diagnosis: Bad lighting, bad styling, bad make-up, bad photography angles, just bad bad BAD!!! and not bad in the sense of really good. This is just horrible work and I can’t even comment on the wig lol. Not gonna lie, I kinda look like a prostitute. The make-up is super heavy and just not working at all, especially the multiple eye shadows. A good way to tell the skill level of a face beater is how they put on eye liner. If it’s straight and clean, it a go! But if it’s crooked, skipping, and they poke you in the eye, it might not turn out that great.
Ways to avoid a mess like this is to see the work of the photographer and make up artist before you agree to shoot with them. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the concept of the shoot, walking in blindly can lead to disaster. If you are working for TFCD (trade/time for cd) then you need to benefit from the shoot as well. For example, if you want to be a commercial model, the styling of the pic above will do you no good. It is unnatural. The photographer you work with should have a varied portfolio with different looks. Pay close attention to the lighting and angles they shot, and also to the retouching details.
Also be leary of any photographer who asks you to meet them in their home, especially if they are a man. Now, some home studios are nice and legit, they have proper lighting equipment and ample space. But others are just someones dining room cleared out for the day. With the proper equipment anywhere can be a studio, but I highly stress with the proper equipment.
Shoot hot women all day? Heck yes some guys will get into photography just because of that. There are some photographers that are just guys with a camera, so be careful, and if you feel uncomfortable, bring an escort to the shoot with you. I had this one photographer who said he wanted to shoot, but he would constantly call me and hold hour long conversations with me that were really just him talking to himself and me saying “uh-huh” every 5 minutes. Needless to say, we never shot. You have to keep things strictly business.
Also, don’t be afraid to speak up at a shoot if there is something you don’t like. At one shoot (to be blogged at a later date) I thought the make up was too heavy. I needed a commercial look and it just didn’t look light and clean. Everyone at the shoot, the photographer and even the stylist, said it looked great, so I went along with it. When my agency saw it, they did not like it all! I should’ve went with my gut instinct. Like I also should’ve done with this picture below.
While I loved working with this photographer, the make up again was way too heavy for my face. The backdrop was a curtain tapped on the wall. Because it was wrinkled, retouching needed to be done, and you can see how the photographer crossed the lines into blurriness. It makes the backgroud look non-existant, like I’m coming out of a brown cloud lol. I could not use this photoshoot in my portfolio as well.
When a shoot is over, inquire about when you will receive your photos. Every photographer is different. Some will burn you a cd of all the pictures from the shoot right after it’s over. Others will just send you the retouched images. Ideally, you should get them within two weeks. But it’s been two months since I did this shoot and I have yet to see any photos. Everytime I call the photographer she tells me it’s in the mail. SMH!!
Luckily, these were the only two slip ups I had and I learned my lesson very quickly. When you spend all day shooting you want to have pictures you can use in your port, and when it doesn’t come out great, it’s like you waisted your time, and that’s not a great feeling at all. Hopefully by looking at my mistakes (I can laugh at them now) you won’t make the same ones.
T.H.E. Artist Agency sent me on a last minute job to Arlington, VA to particpate in the Clarity Breast Cancer Foundation Fashion Show. It was a swimwear show, which initially made me scrunch my face because again, I’m no size zero. But the agency told me they specifically requested women with real bodies LOL okay that’s fine.
About the Clarity Breast Cancer Foundation – David Magsumbol and David Hamblin are the founders of the Foundation. They became aware of the needs to be addressed by the Foundation through the business, Clarity CenterRx, a resource center catering to women from pregnancy through cancer. Through offering the resources needed in conjunction with breast cancer, ie. Breast prostheses and post surgical garments, it became evident that many patients were not able to obtain assistance due to lack of funding and needed products (i.e. wigs for breast cancer patients, mastectomy bras, breast cancer support) were partially insured or not at all.
The swimsuits we were modeling were by BellaFigura, their website isn’t up yet, but it’s a unique swimwear company that makes suits for women that have gone thru the changes breast cancer can cause, i.e. losing a breast. There were special pockets for inserts and such. The show went great and I met a lot of fun people, especially Gurvir Dhindsa, the anchor from Fox5! She hosted the show. Check out the pic, geez why do they always put the tallest people in the back??
Another cool person I met was Jeff Fasano, a celebrity photographer, who did our photoshoots before the show. He’s worked with some of the greats and I was excited to shoot with him. I was in need of a natural editorial headshot for my portfolio. This is what we got…
I like them, they are sort of relaxed, peaceful and natural.
Lastly but not leastly (lol word?) I met Alexandra Boos, who is thee top full-figured model around. She works with Ford Modeling Agency and a few others across the nation. She also runs the Clarity Breast Cancer Foundation. I was so glad to meet her and she had the best advice. She thought I had great potential and so did Jeff. Alexandra told me that I need to go to New York, she said that she knows they’ll give me hell about my weight, but I should let my dreams carry me. She’s so positive and I was really inspiried. Her and Jeff gave me agency contacts to reach out to. But first, I have to get to New York 😉
Afterwards I went out with one of the models in the show and then crashed at her apartment, I was tired and had another shoot the next day for an online vintage store, but I’ll save that story for a later blog (plus, I haven’t gotten the pics yet lol).
I headed out to nowheresland Virginia in monsoon rain to meet photographer Stephanie Reese (http://www.modelmayhem.com/254247). She had given up her day job to chase the dream of being a commercial/fashion photographer. She now does this full time. See, when you want something, you go get it…that simple! Anyway, for the first look, she had this whole clean, GAP type style in mind, a wife beater and some baggy jeans. I got dressed, and she told me that she didn’t want me to wear a bra lol because you could see it through the shirt. Now, I’m definately not well endowed but I was worried that you would be able to see the nips! But I think the shot came out great.
Don’t look to close lol I feel like you can kinda see them.
Next, she wanted a Carrie Bradshaw type Sex and the City type look. I had gotten some pieces from Forever21 (I hate that they don’t let you do returns because I buy a lot of clothes and take them back after shoots). Anyway, these pics turned out great! The one where I look like I’m running took forever because it is harder than it looks to stand on one foot for a long time with 1000 watt flashes blinding my retnas. I kept on falling lol.
So all this from one shoot! I sent them to my agent and go figure, they didn’t really like them! I think they try to put me in to the category of commercial smiley model and not high fashion (remember, I’m not a size zero!). But I like to do more high fashion dressed up shoots, and I feel I can do commercial too! I can do it all!
I had a blast shooting with Stephanie and we made plans to shoot again. This time in Georgetown and with model Monique (http://www.modelmayhem.com/849853). Her and I instantly fell in love lol she is like my white twin! We have exact personality and she was sooo much fun and I told her she was my model soulmate and she agreed that I was hers 🙂
However, it was raining and FREEZING outside. We got make-up done in the local Starbucks and got dressed and headed out. The theme for this shoot was like a famous fashionista party girl who is always on the scene and always being photographed. I didn’t really get it because I had a confused look on my face lol but here are the shots.
Afterwards we all went to the Cheesecake Factory in Chevy Chase on Wisconsin Ave and ate, we had so much fun together, definately great girls. I went home and woke up with a cold from shooting in the rain, but I suffer for my work! LOL!
So, as an up and coming model I sometimes take odd jobs that aren’t the most glamorous. I saw a posting from a lady named Katie, she owned her own balloon company (www.katieballoons.com) and was sponsored by a balloon manufacturer to make a gigantic dress out of balloons. I remember the ad read something like “need model to be painted and wear balloon dress in stilts” lol, so I made contact and got the job.
When I showed up, Katie took me upstairs to see the dress, it…was…HUGE! It filled the entire room and nearly hit the ceiling.
Katie and her boyfriend took me outside to practice wearing stilts, they were two feet high, and felt so wierd to walk in. They had to hold my hands the whole time. I felt like I was going to fall (I have to protect my face it’s my investment lol). I now have a new respect for circus people. After about 20 minutes of that, we went inside for the body painting (done by Katie’s boyfriend, aren’t they quite the creative couple!)
Originally, Katie wanted to fit the dress in the back of her van, but it was just way too massive. So she and her friend ended up walking it to Meridian Hill Park in DC. Imagine a 9-foor-tall dress of balloons walking across the crosswalk, we made quite the spectacle. We got to the park and scouted shooting locations. Once we found a spot, I began to put on the dress.
This in itself was quite tricky. I could get my head and arms in the top, so Katie had to pop some balloons and then readd them once I made it in the dress. I got on the stilts, got the skirt on, and was ready to go. Oh wait, I had a balloon halo as the final touch.
We shot for about 2 hours all around the park, I even walked in this thing in stilts! I surprised myself. We made such a scene, people were stopping and taking pictures. It was quite the publicty stunt and good marketing for Katie and her balloon company. Some people were super curious, but some just walked by like they were too cool to notice, I mean it’s not like you see this type of thing everyday. I even got to take a picture with Flat Stanley (google it).
By the end of the day I was drained. Katie left the balloon dress skirt at the park, it was just too big to carry back. I took the top and kept it in the car to show friends (it made the car smell like rubber). I went home and washed up. The green body paint however did not come off so easy! It was on my skin for 2 more days, I had a greenish hue all over my face.
Boy what a weekend. At first I had no plans, I had the weekend free to take care of a list of errands. Saturday morning I was up for the gym, then I get a call from Marie, a make-up artist I’ve worked with in the past. One of her models called out for a shoot and she wanted to know if I was available. Since I’m always on the prowl for photo opps, I agreed and headed out.
When I got there, I met model Kim (http://www.modelmayhem.com/425280).
We both got fitted and got our make up done.
The theme for the shoot was “stranded”, we were on the side of the road. Shooting at first proved difficult! Not only was it 90 degrees out (if you didn’t know, I sweat like a fat man) there were bugs everywhere, everything from nats to ticks, I felt so sticky and gross. The shoot took the entire day, but I think we got some great shots 🙂 The photographer was Theresa, and I had worked with her once before. The last time I was covered in mud in an alley, she always get me dirty is seems lol.
After things were over, I headed back to my apartment and raided the fridge, I hadn’t eaten at all that day (except for a spring roll generously offered to me by the stylist). Then before I knew it I was passed out in the bed.
The next morning I woke up and finally made it to the gym. I love that the gym employees all ask me “Where you been?!!” lol uhhhhh okay okay I’ve been avoiding the gym! Geez! After some cycling, I head home to get ready for my shoot with Christoph from Germany.
At first, I was slightly nervous to meet him, but as soon as I met him he was super nice. We chatted over drinks at Caribou Coffee at 14th and P, then headed to the trunk of my car to look at wardrobe.
Sidebar: Sometimes you get the whole package, studio, wardrobe, make-up, hair, lighting, and sometimes you rough it with a camera and a model.
We headed to an alley because he wanted to shoot in front of a Shepard Fairey painting.
Sidebar: All of you know Shepard Fairey from his famous Obama painting, here’s some more of his work…
We shot for around 2 hours at various locations in the city. Here are some pics…
The above pic was funny because he didn’t want to shoot on the steps because we didn’t have permission. So I was like we just shoot until they tell us to stop and then we shoot some more!
Eventually the sun went down, and we had to call it a day. Christoph was the best thou, and I just loved is accent! He said I have great potential in Germany 🙂 Now if I could only get the U.S. to love me!
I headed home and straight for the bed. I definately got some great shots from this weekend! Be sure to visit my portfolio at www.modelmayhem.com/naomikeziah for all my latest works!