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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bulk Up Your Book

Producing personal photos on a budget

Bulk Up Your Book You have to think about everyone you know and whom they know. There could be a little gem of a location that someone may open up to you. Just remember to be gracious when they offer this to you, and clean everything up when you're finished. Don't leave trash behind; being respectful is part of your job.

I find this to be the most challenging aspect when producing one of these low-cost, stylized shoots. Getting a stylist to work for free is nearly impossible because it's a lot of work. Pulling clothes from designers, getting the right sizes and then returning everything can be a hassle if you aren't getting paid. Additionally, working with a fashion design student or someone who wants to get into the business can be a crapshoot. It's a matter of meeting them and getting a sense of whether they're totally into your project; otherwise, you can have last-minute cancellations or they won't come through with what you need.

I've found the easiest thing for me to do is to hit the thrift stores. These places are musty time capsules full of old-fashioned treasures. Spending only about $250, I managed to clothe two models from the welding shoot and all of the characters from the image shot in the living room. An extra $27 went to Sears for some lingerie, and another $87 went to Fedora Primo in Santa Monica, Calif., for two of the hats seen in the living room shot. Those hats were a necessary extra expense. Without them, I wouldn't have achieved the dated look that I was going for and the image would have looked incomplete. That kind of essential prop is well worth the additional cash outlay.

Bulk Up YOur Book Models And Actors

This is the easy part. Three cheers for the Internet! Craigslist.org is a great resource for job- and talent-seekers. The site connected me to some of the models in the living room shoot, including the female impersonator, Willam, in the green dress. To my delight, he just appeared on the TV show “Nip/Tuck” and was happy to work with me in exchange for a print. The man on the left, Jesse, is also a Craigslist find, while the two guys in the middle, Dana and Kurt, are old friends. The woman on the floor served as both model and hair stylist. Just completing school, Britt is also looking to bulk up her book, and she had the short-banged hair and classic cherubic look that I needed to complete the shot.

Hair, Makeup And Modeling Agencies

I met my makeup artist, Aunny Delarosa, on a job that I did a few years ago. We've been working together on paying jobs and personal projects like this for a number of years. When Aunny isn't available, I've turned to agencies to find talent who are willing to work for prints. The Osbrink Agency in Los Angeles has stylists and hair and makeup talent who will work on spec if it's worth their while, but it's usually when a celebrity is involved in the shoot.

Also, my model in and by the old car, Emily, comes from Photogenics Media modeling agency, also located in Los Angeles. Emily took the job in exchange for prints, and she turned out to be priceless. You'll want to do some research for these types of agencies in your area and set up a meeting with one of their reps to show them your work so they can see your style.

Aside from collaborating to create striking and professional images, hooking up with agencies that represent models, hair and makeup talent who are serious about working in the industry is a great way to build relationships. These are the people who eventually become part of your team when the big jobs come in.


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