IN THE past couple of weeks, right after I opened my studio in Manila, I offered to do some test shoots to foreign models just to start up the studio and to test my studio design if it will function as I designed it.
Test shoot is actually a term used where models would do a portfolio shoot with the photographer with no fee and both party can use the images. Some would call it an x-deal, but internationally, it’s more known as test shoot.
After shooting a few models, I was surprised to receive a number of messages asking for a test shoot schedule. These were models from different parts of the world travelling from one city to the next and handled by local agencies with connections to their mother agencies. They would normally stay for three months or more before moving on to their next destination.
It is quite interesting working with models from different countries. Your mastery on how to light a model is challenged by the unique physical attributes of models of different descent. I remember when I was deciding how high should we put the backdrop, and I said to myself that I should put it two feet higher than the usual since most foreign models are tall.
When I’m trying to conceptualize a shoot, I would normally look for inspiration from the net and the photos that you normally see there are foreign models, and it’s quite awesome seeing your shots very much similar to your pegs. I don’t normally get that very close resemblance from your pegs when shooting local models.
However, what I can attest is, whether they’re local or foreign models, there are those that are just plainly gifted with finesse and can naturally project without much effort. They are born to be models. Of course, there are also those who have difficulty finding parts of their body. It would take time getting into that rhythm, but eventually they’ll pull it off.
Just like photographers, some are good at shooting landscape and some in weddings. There may be a lot of different photographic genres out there, but the concept about getting the right exposure is the same across different genres. It’s the same light no matter where you are, and it doesn’t matter what camera you are using.
As photographers, it is essential that we have to continually improve on our craft. The world is so big with so many photographers out there. I normally did a few commercial shoots in Manila before, but only now that I’m staying longer that I start to see just how many talented photographers there are in this big city.
One guy that I’m recently following started by buying himself a camera as a gift to himself and in just a matter of a year or so, his work is already exceptional. It’s hard to compare yourself to another photographer, but the idea is to always put yourself in a challenging situation. We are all finding our ways and that includes even the models, makeup artists and the rest of the creatives in this industry, and only those who will persist will move on to the next stage.
Keep on shooting, everyone!