Pretty girls make lousy models

May 16, 2017

Natalia Taffarel

Natalia Taffarel is an Argentinan High End Retoucher. She is quite an expert on colors.  She is neurotic, detail maniac, and a control freak who thinks beauty is shown solely through the details. You can see more of her work on her website and follow her on Facebook.

Pretty girls make lousy models

May 16, 2017

Natalia Taffarel

Natalia Taffarel is an Argentinan High End Retoucher. She is quite an expert on colors.  She is neurotic, detail maniac, and a control freak who thinks beauty is shown solely through the details. You can see more of her work on her website and follow her on Facebook.

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When shooting fashion or beauty for an editorial/commercial market the most important thing will always be the teamNo Exceptions.

The model will be the most important part of this team – The subject of your images.

This is something that aspiring photographers take a lot of time to understand. And aspiring photographers find a lot of excuses around this fact. (Of course, the ones that do get it, are not aspiring for long).

Fashion or Beauty Model?

Pretty girls make awful models. Yes, this is the truth.

Here are the photos that show up when I google “beautiful girl

You will notice some things that all (or most) of them have in common: round features, lack of sharp/noticeable bone structure and a soft expression (also probably there is not enough variety of expressions/poses) – These are pretty girls.

 

Models are not pretty girls, models are very special creatures, that can be found everywhere in the world, but distribution wise, they are only 0,02% of the population. And the fact is that you need a model to shoot fashion and beauty, not a pretty girl.

This is what shows up when I google “beauty editorial” – See the difference? Deep bone structure, extraordinary features, unique expressions and poses, distinctive characteristics.

If you don’t have a model, shoot something else, do portraits with character, do stylized lifestyle, glamor, or conceptual fine art. For those, you can use regular people.

Because, if you try to shoot fashion or beauty photography with a normal looking person (as beautiful as they may be), you will fail and no photoshop will help you there.

I can´t stress this enough – You just can´t shoot beauty and fashion without a represented model or someone with real model´s stats.

If you can’t pay for a model because you’re starting out and only shooting self-founded editorials/submissions or portfolio material, agencies usually have something called new faces. The agencies need images and experience so they will let you “borrow” some models in exchange for some images.

How do you approach agencies? With a tasteful portfolio, an idea and a team.

Portfolio: You can´t go to agencies without something to show, of course. You need to convey that you can shoot people in a good light and you have good taste.

Things that automatically eliminate you from Fashion/Beauty Agencies

  • Having stereotypical glamor images (tits & ass) in your portfolio
  • Having dark, deviant-art-like, digital art images with composites of dark rooms and spiders or vampires
  • Having wedding images in your portfolio – Fashion and wedding RARELY mix and you’d better keep those genres separated in your social media
  • Having images that try to be fashion or beauty with non-models (see above)
  • Having filtered or over-processed images

Things that could help you:

  • Since you don´t have models yet – shooting good portraits of both male and females
  • Having lifestyle images
  • ONE SHOOT – done right with a woman that looks like a model (everything else should be good, idea/makeup/styling) and instead of siding out your port sending only that shoot so they see only that of your work.

An Idea: You can´t go to or call/email an agency saying “I want to shoot something”, you need to have something more organized and precise if you want to be taken seriously. You could even send them a brief or a mood board.

A Team: While you can ask for models just to test light, the agency will be more inclined to lend you models when they know you have a team to create images they can use

Styling: If you´re shooting fashion you need…. well… fashion.

  • Having great clothing/accessories, styled by a professional, is a must.
  • Cheap fabrics and bad finishing destroy images.

So start building your connections with every new designer out there, offer to shoot their collection, with another designer’s accessories and another designer’s shoes all for free and you got yourself the possibility to actually shoot an editorial piece with their stuff.

Fashion stylists are really hard to come by but indispensable to put outfits together.

If you can´t find a fashion stylist, wardrobe producers or even designers directly are usually quite fine with people shooting their stuff for free, especially if you have a submission in mind.

Make up:
Especially important for beauty work, a trained MUA, who knows how to apply make up for photography and understands color palettes as well as lighting.

Hair:
A hair stylist who is as much of a control freak as myself ?

Finally, but not less important, of course, a retoucher:

If you can’t retouch yourself or don’t have the time to retouch properly, you need a retoucher. Most starting photographers assume this is something they need to do themselves. This is not true.The retoucher is an important part of that team, you don’t do your own make up or design the clothing or style them, why would you think you should do the retouching? It’s a different skills set and it takes a lot of time to do it right. I always advice photographers to be proficient with retouching to build that FIRST portfolio that will get you the better team.

(via RAW.exchange)

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Natalia Taffarel

Natalia Taffarel

Natalia Taffarel is an Argentinan High End Retoucher. She is quite an expert on colors.  She is neurotic, detail maniac, and a control freak who thinks beauty is shown solely through the details. You can see more of her work on her website and follow her on Facebook.

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11 responses to “Pretty girls make lousy models”

  1. Jimmy Harris Avatar
    Jimmy Harris

    WTF did I just read?

    Oh… It was a rant by a talentless amateur who blames everyone and everything else for their lack of talent. Good photographers don’t make excuses. They make things work.

    1. Natalia Taffarel Avatar
      Natalia Taffarel
  2. Richard Doktor Avatar
    Richard Doktor

    “If you can’t retouch yourself or don’t have the time to retouch
    properly, you need a retoucher. Most starting photographers assume this
    is something they need to do themselves. This is not true.”

    Well, personally I think it _is_ true. In earlier days, the processing of the picture in the dark was also done by the photographer. Doing digital processing and retouching is the finalization of the captured vision of the photographer. Because processing an image can be done in so many ways and is highly depending on the photographers taste (and also vision of the motif), I personally wouldn’t let (re-)touch someone else my images except it is really, really, really unavoidable. Or I’m a extreme huge fan of his style.
    Maybe if the images are really and _only_ fashion pictures, this could be acceptable. but every other image … no way … IMHO.

    1. Natalia Taffarel Avatar
      Natalia Taffarel

      No it wasn´t – Most professional photographers had an expert on the dark room – Steve mccurry told me himself

    2. Natalia Taffarel Avatar
      Natalia Taffarel

      This ONLY applies to Commercial and editorial work

  3. J. Campbell Avatar
    J. Campbell

    Bah. This article is just ridiculous, and pointless. You’re comparing apples to oranges. When you did a Google search on two separate search phrases, you were doing a search on two VERY different things. “Beautiful girl” does not equal “beauty editorial”. These photos are two VERY different style types, and the editorial types are a very specific style of photography.

    1. Natalia Taffarel Avatar
      Natalia Taffarel

      Exactly my point – You can´t shoot Beauty editorial with a non editorial model

  4. Mike Avatar
    Mike

    Also, fat bottomed girls make the rocking world go ’round.

    1. Natalia Taffarel Avatar
      Natalia Taffarel

      we most definitively agree :P
      That and icecream

  5. Nath Bala Avatar
    Nath Bala

    Ahah thanks, I have a lot of laugh.
    “Having filtered or over-processed images” Just take a look to your own portfolio and please make me a definition for over-processed, those guy in flame are fantastic.

    1. Natalia Taffarel Avatar
      Natalia Taffarel

      Intentional manipulation is not the same as looking “fake” over-processed :)