Working with Talent on Commercial Shoots
So when it comes to the talent portion of shooting for commercial clients, the budget's going to determine who you can hire. And if you're shooting with friends, or people that are part-time, or just kind of filling in the gaps of their income, or they enjoy doing it, whatever their reason is, you obviously need to be generous as you can, with their time, their talent, and pay them as much as you can. And also be very upfront and clear about what the usage is gonna be of those files. And you, obviously, also need to have a model release, and the brand of the agency might provide that, or there's lots of forms that you can find online that cover your bases. And the biggest difference between shooting someone who maybe models part-time, or is attractive, but doesn't have the skill set of a professional model, and modeling in itself is a craft, just like photography is a craft, as well. So when I'm shooting people that are friends, or not professional, doing it full-time, t...
he biggest approach that I take is just to activate them, to give them really clear, concise direction of something, an action that I want them to take. "Hey, grab your surfboard and pull it out of the pickup truck." Because a lot of my work is trying to capture real, authentic-feeling images, so like lifestyle brand photos, but you're doing it in a controlled way, where you're not a fly in the wall, documenting the world, you're creating these scenarios and these opportunities to make it work. And a lot of times, if someone's not a professional model, they can end up feeling a little stiff on camera, or self-conscious, just as I do when I get photographed, 'cause I don't, or I'm not in front of the lens all the time. So I'll tell the talent an action to take, "Hey, climb up that ladder, come back down and do it again," and then having them repeat that same action, helps them get a little bit looser in... When I'm shooting, there's gonna be an in-between moment that captures that essence, that feeling of loose, a free, of not aware that the camera's there. Where a professional model, you might have the budget to hire through a modeling agency, they have that gift and that innate talent to turn it on, and act, and just kind of fall into place. And you, obviously, still have to give a professional model direction, a goal, but that is the advantage of shooting someone who does it for a living.