Tag Archive for: model

Tip : should I actually see the eyes?

When you work with a model you often hear…. “it’s all in the eyes”
And although I often agree with this I also strongly believe that sometimes a pose can be SO much more powerful when you don’t see they eyes, in fact think about so many horror, SF movies or comics when you cover up someones eyes the attention of the viewer immediately goes to the pose and the expression/gesture in that pose.

Take for example these shots I did during a recent Cosplay shoot, as you can see you hardly see the eyes in two of these shots, and to be honest the less I see the eyes the more powerful the shot becomes…. of course I shot it with the intend to let the pose do the “talking” but when you have a model that can show a very powerful pose it’s often much cooler and more threatening/moody to just leave the eyes out.

In the first shot I went for the motion and action.
The second shot only shows a “hint” of the eyes and with the third one it’s all about the pose.
So the next shoot you do… try to do something with(out) the eyes 😀

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Tip : where should the model look

A question I get a lot is “Where should the model look?”
Well in all honesty I don’t really think about it, I often let the model look the way that fits the image. Take for example these shots of Poeka I took during the recent small flash workshop, she is not looking into the camera, but straight into the light. I love the way the light plays on her face in combination with the shadow on her cheekbone.

Now is there a right or wrong?
Well I don’t know, I know what I like, or what my model likes.
In most cases I will however follow a few simple rules or guide lines.

  1. Catchlights
    If possible I always want the catchlights in the models eyes
  2. Center the eyes
    Make sure the eyes are centered, unless of course you want to go for that “walking dead” look with loads of eye white
  3. Make the story
    Often I will try to tell a story with my photography (even with “simple” portraits”) when a model looks straight into the camera this of course tells a story, but when he/she looks away this can often bring just a bit more of tension in a shot.

As you can see I do follow some rules, but in essence I can throw them all overboard when I think something else fits the story better, so if you are still following all the rules…. try to just “relax” and go for that special look, the look that feels awesome and when it breaks some rules… well… maybe it was time for it 😀

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The light blaster in action

Today some images with Nadine, the light blaster and some smoke.
The light blaster is without a doubt the kind of modifier that really triggers your creativity, when I got it I was first a bit skeptic because I don’t like to shoot a model against a “fake” background, but when you use it more “subtle” it can be a HUGE boost for your shoots. We loved it so much we are now the distributor for the Netherlands :D, so check out the shots and if you like them you can buy the light blaster via our website store.


BTW… these shots were done during the filming for the next instructional video in the “Mastering the model shoot” series 😀

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Adding some spice with masks

One of the things I love to do is play with masks.
You could make the joke that it saves on retouching, or it even makes an ugly model look great, but (although all true) in essence for me it’s also the fact that you don’t see any facial expressions, so believe it or not it’s actually MUCH harder to pull off a good shot.

As human beings we are triggered by expressions, emotions (like laughing, smiling, being sad etc) and when you take these away the whole shot can become very “static”, and this is what you actually do with a mask. Now it’s up to YOU to create something interesting.

This weekend was the first time Iris was our model for a workshop, I did a testshoot with her of course but this was her first real “in front of the camera during a workshop” day. I always leave a lot of freedom to the models to think of something cool during the workshops, Iris and Liselotte came up with the following idea… and I loved it.

We often visit flea-markets (for our comics addiction and) to buy some cool stuff for our photoshoots, flea-markets and secondhand stores are actually goldmines for photographers and stylists, often you can get great deals on awesome props. When they are selling gas masks I’m always interested, somehow I just love the story they tell but also the look they give a model, you can combine them with dresses (in this case an awesome Sinister dress) but also with nudes (if you shoot them) and …. well it’s the kind of accessory that CAN work always, but it can also completely destroy a shot, so be careful and think about what you’re doing.

Lighting wise I used one simple lightbulb, no reflectors, no strobes, just a 100W bare bulb.
Here are some of the results.
Also see the difference the BW conversion makes, I always have difficulty choosing so I included both 😀


Want more in-depth tips and techniques?
Check out my book “Mastering the model shoot” or get one of my instructional videos via Direct video downloads

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