I photographed my first professional model in 2017. It was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. But, I had wanted to do it for a very long time. While it didn’t go as planned, it was the perfect learning experience.
I will tell you straight off the most challenging thing was finding a model. That was it. For several months, I had no idea how to get someone. My wife didn’t want to do it. No one I knew wanted would volunteer. Even my dog didn’t want to do it. And if the wife nor the dog would help out, things were terrible. I couldn’t find one person to help. Was it a sign that my photography wasn’t any good? I don’t know, but it was a possibility.
Finally, as I was on several social media platforms, I realized I should be using them. You can call me slow; it’s ok. I put a notice on Instagram, and I got an answer. She reached out and said she’d do it. Her name was Taylor, and she was living in Tokyo. We set up a day and time. In the end, it was simple to find someone.
Then I settled into a period of intense prep. As it was my first shoot, I concentrated on making everything smooth. I thought I’d skip a flash. Natural light seemed the way to go. And I watched many videos about how to pose models and anything to do with composition.
Well, my plans went astray. I was nervous as well as very excited, of course. While I’d seen Taylor’s Instagram account, I had no idea who she was. After a couple of minor delays, we met and thought I had lucked out for my first shoot. She was tall, with long blonde hair and a killer smile. It was easy to tell she had the experience.
As we walked to Yoyogi Park, she explained that she had been a professional model for many years. She had even brought two jackets to give three different looks (the last look being no jacket, her top). I had met a complete professional, and that took a load off my mind.
Even though I had watched many YouTube model videos, they hadn’t prepared me mentally. How much should I pose or direct her? Especially with a person I had never met before. It was intimidating. Yes, we moved through the park according to the plan I had worked out, but everything else flew out of my head.
Was it stage fright? I guess so, but at the same time, it was exhilarating. I was doing something that I wanted to do. Eventually, I’ll get used to it. And that means I’ll keep doing it till it becomes second nature. In the end, I got a lot of shots over 1300. Some of them were okay, and I hope you agree.
The one thing I learned from the day was that the photographer needs to give some firm direction. Without it, the model won’t know what to do. It is like being on a football team with no captain. Everyone will do their own thing and pray the game works out well. Next time I’ll be telling my model what I want.
In the end, if I had kept my cool, I might have accomplished what I set out to do. But, for my first professional model photoshoot, it was a fantastic experience! I did something I wanted, and I was pretty happy with the pictures I got. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.