Working with a live model requires a lot more planning than any other option for photographing jewelry or art clothing. Finding a model is the first challenge. A close friend agreed to model, but I would have loved to have had more model options just to experiment.
Clothing for the model becomes a critical issue. While planning for the photographic documentation of the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace, I purchased two white dance dresses plus sewed a transparent organza dress. Just sewing up the dress was a stress test in itself. Twelve hours of stitching double layers of slippery sheer organza without knowing if it would fit, look good, function well, or live up to the vision I had for this photo shoot.
We started with a dress rehearsal in my living room (shown below) and practiced a full range of movements and poses.
You can not imagine my relief! The dress fit perfectly but I had all kinds of contingency plans for a nip and tuck emergency sew. During the dress rehearsal, Jen Ohara (the model) and I reviewed underwear options and practiced the poses. Every detail counts. Ultimately we decided to have her wear one of the dance costumes and the organza dress at the same time which gave more layers of fabric.
Before the actual photography even began at Philip Cohen Photographic, I am snipping at raw edges of the fabric edge. It is hard to know in advance what the camera will ignore and what the camera will see as a major flaw.
If I could make any recommendation when using a model in addition to all the advance preparation, it is to have an extra person as an assistant. I knew this but didn't have anyone to help this time. Thus you see me in the photos below at Philip Cohen photo studio making all the adjustments to the model and the necklace. The necklace was long and heavy. Sometimes we needed two people just to move it.
During a photo shoot with a live model, an assistant can step in to make each of the adjustments while you keep your eye on the bigger picture. When I had to go into the camera frame for each adjustment, it was very hard to see everything.
I would move into the frame, change the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace, model, dress, fan, and move out of the camera view for an inspection. It was all distracting and time-consuming, and I never had time to study the composition.
In two hours we tried several poses, standing, sitting, and a few unusual postures for an experimental photographic composition. (This will be next week's post as the Photoshop iterations still need work.) Modeling can be tiring as well. Jen had to balance on two saw horses as just one example.
This was the third photoshoot in five days. Both Phil Cohen and I were getting progressively more tired. Creativity takes energy. I am still having decision fatigue.
A few of the final contending images (from over 100 possibilities) are shown below. There is some variability in the exposure. Ignore that issue. It will be fixed. (These are the proof shots for review rather than the final photos.)
Let me know what you think of the different poses of the model and layout of the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace. Pick your favorite.
I'd appreciate hearing about your opinions about the images.
Posts in this series about photographing the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace: