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03-17-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Finding Models/Subjects to shoot

I guess this falls under the beginner's forum because I consider myself a beginner. If it needs to be moved the mods can move it as they please with my pre-approval and no complaining rule in force

My question is how do you find models and/or subjects to shoot? I will include a few scenarios and some experiences so you can see what I am talking about...

If I just wanted to find a model of some sort or type so I can do portraits??? What do you do? Just ask a friend or what?

If I wanted to do street photography and I wanted to take photos of people 'in the wild' what techniques do you use to get their picture? Do you ask for permission or do you snap and hope?

I don't plan to shoot nudes or anything like that but just curious as to how people find models for this sort of thing (again its not high on my list at all).

I have found that people in other countries (I have been to a lot) are way more open to get their photos taken than here in the US.

My only real experience wasn't even shooting 'models'... I was on a work trip here in Texas and staying in a lodge resort type hotel so I was taking a lot of interior shots of the fireplace and so forth. I was going happily on my way when i was approached by some guy who declared that I was out 'probably shooting pictures of little kids' and threatened to call the police on me....

Well there were no kids anywhere nearby or in the hotel and I had stayed at that hotel at least a dozen times so even the maids all know me...but the guy was quite rude. I turned my camera around and said you can call em if you want, but here's my pictures... and I showed him a slideshow of a nice fireplace and such...I didn't back down from him but I politely told him to leave me alone.

I want to start shooting more models, doing portraits and such but I have found it very difficult to do here in Texas. For example I was on a trip to South Texas and I was in a restaurant and the non English speaking waitress was a gorgeous Indian from somewhere in Mexico or Central America. She had 'the look' that could easily get her face in Nat Geo. The eyes, the features, the face... it was all there...but alas... no shot. She was nice but I think she was just shy (and she didn't speak a word of English)...there was definitely a wow factor there. I was thinking she didn't want her photo taken 'being a waitress' but if she went home and dressed up and put on makeup and so on she might have let me shoot her photo...problem is...that wasn't the kind of photo I wanted to take...(although in retrospect I would have shot her photo any time)...

In short I would be interested to hear how other people go about approaching or getting shots of people in various scenarios...are they friends? Do you pay models? How do you find people? And I don't want just any person... I want to get people in their raw personal selves...


Last edited by alamo5000; 03-17-2013 at 05:07 PM.
03-17-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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If you have a model agency in the area, you can ask if they have any new faces. You trade their time for your photos.

If you have a college in the area, you can post a flyer (with school permission) in the drama department. Ditto the terms.

I think street photography by nature is "shoot first, ask questions later".
03-17-2013, 05:19 PM   #3
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I live in a small little town but I am moving soon (YEEEHAAWWW!!!)

The people here in general are very standoffish with stuff like that. Like I was saying above... I have been all around to many different countries and people on the street I guess feel a lot more relaxed around 'the foreigner'...and hence are more willing to get their photos taken...here though.... not so much.

My basic feeling is if you do 'street photography' here you run the risk of getting beaten up, a gun pulled on you, or getting arrested or any combination of those... people instantly assume the worst of everything and everyone here from my perspective...

Its just weird...I don't like it....people are friendly in a certain kind of way but they are not at all friendly in other kinds of ways.
03-17-2013, 05:26 PM   #4
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Street photography is a debated topic as to how one should approach their subject.

A lot just shoot covertly and hope they don't get noticed, like myself. Some really bold people we get quite close to their subject and in their face to get the street shots. Finally there is those who seek permission.
Some basic points I have noticed about each method:
1.Shooting covertly Pros: you get natural shots, and normally don't attract much attention. Cons: you have to be quick, accurate and subtle.
2.Bold style Pros; you get shots that you otherwise couldn't or would struggle to get. i.e. Wide angle portraits and the like. Cons: you can draw a lot of attention, and in some cases reactions from the subjects. It can be pretty invasive. Again this method generally requires you to be fast, and accurate to catch a shot.
3.Permission seeking Pros: You get interaction with the subject, and generally get more time to take the shots. Doesn't provoke people. Cons: You won't get that spontaneity in your shots, and the subject will pose/change how they were most of the time. You might find it difficult to get a subject to agree to getting their photo taken.

On a side note, I am from Melbourne Australia and have found that the general population don't like having their photo taken, but are also not confrontational (though there still are a few). So I have found that 1 & 2 are more effective for street shooting.

As for models, I don't have any experience in portraiture beyond casual shots of my partner. But from what I understand, you can hire models from agencies. A quick Google search pops up a few. Or if you have willing friends then they can be helpful in this respect too.

03-17-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
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When I find someone who is an interesting subject I usually try to engage them some friendly banter then just ask them if I can take their photo, it seems to me that they are a bit more relaxed about if you try to develop some kind of rapport with them. I mostly take photos of people here in Mexico and Central America and most people are fairly good natured about it. I don't feel like I lose anymore spontaneity than when I try and sneak up on someone or stick a camera in their face.

Last edited by monoloco; 03-17-2013 at 05:41 PM.
03-17-2013, 05:56 PM   #6
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Have you tried Model Mayhem? www.modelmayhem.com. You can search for models in your local area. I have worked with a few people on there and have good experiences. Most of the models on there are looking to start a portfolio and most will just trade for services. (TFCD-Trade for CD) You get the practice they can build a portfolio. You can create a free profile and allows you to upload ten images. Some do use this as a dating site, so I meet everyone I work with first and set expectations.
03-18-2013, 03:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Just ask a friend or what?
Yep, ask whoever you need to, it's all about getting a body in front of the lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
people 'in the wild' what techniques do you use to get their picture? Do you ask for permission
In most countries if your in a public place, you don't need permissions and if you do get it prior, it usually ruins what would have been the candid moment. The best place to practice these skills, is in high tourist areas with high concentrations of people, cameras everywhere, people then tend not to notice you.
03-18-2013, 06:24 AM   #8
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In popular tourist areas, not only will people tend to not notice you, but even if they do, many won't go out of their way to avoid blocking your view of whatever your subject might be. So... aim toward what might be an obvious tourist subject, and instead photograph those people who either don't see you, or don't care. OR, something I have done- stand across the street from your subject. Aim a bit high so your subject thinks you are photographing the architecture above them. Once they relax, allow your camera to subtly drift down and take your photos. You can always shoot a bit wide and crop.

03-18-2013, 06:58 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
Once they relax, allow your camera to subtly drift down and take your photos
Your a man after my own heart, have you been behind me watching.
03-18-2013, 07:01 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Your a man after my own heart, have you been behind me watching.
On my last trip to Europe, you must be that guy who stepped in front of me several times just as I released the shutter!
03-18-2013, 04:31 PM   #11
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Where I live and where I have been going to the word 'tourist' isn't in the vocabulary. I imagine if I approached men for example and asked them they would be much less afraid to get their photos taken...women on the other hand that's a whole different story.

Thank you guys all for the input... any other ideas would be helpful too. I would like to find a 'model' but paying people isn't in the cards right now and its not really the kind of pictures I want to take anyway. My shots don't have to be entirely candid but rather capture a scene and a mood just out in the wild some place. I will have to keep working on it.
03-18-2013, 04:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Where I live and where I have been going to the word 'tourist' isn't in the vocabulary.
I suppose you have the same bumper sticker I've seen on the back of local pickup trucks- "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?"
03-18-2013, 05:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
I suppose you have the same bumper sticker I've seen on the back of local pickup trucks- "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?"
It's more like 'who in their right mind would want to go to Iraan, Texas? Especially for fun.
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