My very brief career as a glamour photographer

There’s a lot to be said for shaking things up and photographing new kinds of subjects. So when one of my Flickr contacts announced that in late September there would be a model shoot in Gatineau, I decided to show up. The event was a fundraiser for the local SPCA, and was billed as a chance for local photographers to meet local models and shoot pictures on a boat.

I’ve had very little experience with this kind of photography. Many years ago I shot a couple rolls of film of a co-worker who had aspirations of being a model, but we did it outdoors entirely with available light. This time I wanted to get some practice shooting human subjects with my Nikon SB-900 flash unit and a diffuser.

It was a fairly informal event, and people were friendly. I chatted with a few of the models. One girl told me she tried to sign on with an agency, but they rejected her because of a cheek piercing. I was a bit surprised that in this day of Photoshop and many different fashion tastes that it would be an issue, but I guess the fashion business is pretty competitive and ruthless. All in all, there were about eight or nine models and a few more photographers — some who seemed to be fairly experienced.

Sometimes several photographers shot the same model or models at once, taking turns shooting, and announcing by counting down so that the models knew where to look. The models all seemed to be experienced, and were adept at changing their poses.

It’s definitely tougher than landscape photography, where you can take a lot of time to set up the shot. Here you have to work quickly, paying attention at the same time to the camera and its settings and also to directing or responding to the model. And the added dimension of flash complicated it more.

After taking a number of shots on the boat and outside it, we headed over to a nearby gym just as it was starting to rain. Here, it was even more challenging because of the tight indoor space and the presence of gym equipment and mirrors everywhere. The mirrors made for some interesting reflections, but it was a challenge to keep photographers and flashes out of the shots.

Together with another photographer, Graeme, we worked with two different models, Isabelle and then Jessica as they used the gym equipment. Sometimes male model, Yan, also posed with them. Graeme was great at coming up with posing ideas, and several times he loaned me his SB-800 so that I could get a few shots using multiple lights, which he helped me set up.

I don’t know that I’m ready to become a glamour photographer, but it was lots of fun and I learned a lot.

Model shoot for SPCA de l'Outaouais

Model shoot for SPCA de l'Outaouais

Model shoot for SPCA de l'Outaouais

Model shoot for SPCA de l'Outaouais

About Richard McGuire
Richard McGuire is a part-time photographer and photography enthusiast based on Ottawa, Canada.

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