What Does it Take to Be A Great Model?

Photos © JoAnne Kalish

What does it take to be a great model? Well looks of course, a great figure, and a certain je ne sais quoi. But this is what it takes to make a great model and we can’t all be models but most people can be photographed well once they feel comfortable.

I’ve learned over the years that some people just light up when you point a camera at them. These are the people that you get the best photographs of and I love working with them. For others it just takes a little time for them to get comfortable with you. No one really knows what to expect until they start working with you and the same goes for the photographer. The photographer’s job is to make them comfortable and establish a level of confidence that you will make them look good. When I look through my camera after a short period of time, I can usually ascertain what works for that particular person and how to bring out the best in them. Needless to say, I love portraiture and the challenge of working with people.

I also need to mention, that before a session, I try to do a little research, so I know ahead of time, especially if we’re shooting in the studio, what kind of lighting I need to use. This depends first on what the client’s needs are, whether it be for a Magazine article, a corporate business portrait, or something for a model’s portfolio. I also take into consideration things such as age, gender, and other factors such as complexion, whether they wear glasses and so on…

Here are some photographs of model Lucia Corvelli, one of those people who light up in front of the camera and who is a total pleasure to work with. Lucia is a Wilhelmina model, has her own Lingerie Line, and now even has her Law degree. Quite a few accomplishments for such a young woman.

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Studio Portraits Using Strobes


Photos©JoAnne Kalish

The idea of using strobes is a little daunting at first but if you’re interested in learning how, here is a tip someone once gave me. When you thumb threw a magazine and find a studio portrait you really love, cut it out and study it. Do this with several photos not just one. Look into the models eyes. Do you see any catch lights? How many do you see? This is a good indication of where the lights were placed. It sometimes is even obvious if you look closely whether a soft box umbrella,beauty dish or what have you was used.

In the past students have asked me about sponsorship. Just for the record, yes Dyna-lite is a sponsor of the DiMaggio-Kalish Workshops but I’ve been using Dyna-lite prior their sponsorship for many years. The president of Dyna-lite, Peter Poremba, is absolutely dedicated to making the best possible electronic flash equipment for the least amount of money. More important than that, he is truly dedicated to photo education.

Strobes by Dyna-lite

Shutter Speed along with Motion Adds Dimension

©JoAnne Kalish

When you photograph a waterfall or a stream you learn you can capture a certain feel to your scene by shooting at a slow shutter speed. It’s necessary to use a tri-pod of course and preferably a self timer or hand-held release. You can take this technique to other situations as well. I like to add another dimension to my work, using motion whenever I can. I think it adds more interest. It doesn’t have to be a very slow shutter speed but just enough. It’s not always necessary here to use a tripod, unless you’re shooting really slow. By experimenting, you find out what shutter speed works for different situations. Here are just two examples.
JoAnne Kalish

Think in terms of making a photograph not merely recording the scene.