As photographers or filmmakers, many of us have or will work with models at some point, perhaps even regularly. Typically, however, it’s about the whole package. We’re not usually focusing on just one part of them. Well, not unless you’re shooting products and need the services of a hand model. A hand model like RayMartell Moore.
This eight and a half minute video from Insider offers a fascinating insight into the world of hand modelling. RayMartell is uniquely qualified to talk about this topic as he’s been doing it for a decade now and his services can command as much as $4,000 per job.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already seen RayMartell’s handy work somewhere and didn’t even realise it. He’s worked for some pretty big brands and his hands have been featured in a lot of big advertising campaigns all around the globe.
He attributes his success to his skin tone, which he says is perfect for lightening or darkening in post, and the size of his hands which are “large, but not too large”. They’re large enough to comfortably hold many of today’s smartphones, but not so large that they dwarf those of other products he holds in front of the camera.
Of course, many of us have heard of hand models, even if we didn’t know one personally, I’m sure most of us don’t have any idea what it takes to actually be one and to be able to maintain one’s hands in order to be able to keep doing it for a living. RayMartell lotions his hands an estimated 30 times per day, with a couple of manicures each week to keep everything camera-ready at all times in case he gets a sudden call for an immediate job – which he says isn’t uncommon.
Of course, having to have pristine hands all the time means he’s limited in what he can do. He says he can’t be anywhere near cats, due to their sharp claws. He can’t risk one of them scratching or cutting his hands. And he always wears his rubber gloves when washing the dishes to prevent the soap from dying them out.
But it’s what he must do in order to mean a living. When you’re essentially self-employed, you have to be ready to work at a moment’s notice – which can earn him day rates ranging anywhere from $150 to $1,500, with one up even pulling in $4,000. Over the past year, eh says he’s earned more than $75,000. I wonder how much of that he’s had to spend on lotion.
It’s quite amusing that, even as a hand model, he’s sometimes asked to create some very unusual poses in order to be able to get his hands in just the right position for them to look good on-camera, as the last Instagram image above illustrates.