When Photographers See Models as Human Props Instead of People

Sometimes photographers forget that models are human beings.

Models provide opportunities to learn, they reignite inspiration, and connecting with them provides an excellent excuse to get out of our editing caves and meet with other creatives. As such, several members of The Phoblographer staff and I joined a model on the last day of the Photo Plus Expo and discovered a story deserving of discussion that unfolded right before our eyes. Usually, photo walks are quite fun and create great ways to connect with other photographers. But, this walk became a different sort of revelatory encounter. As the model who was hired to help with the photo walk joined us, we watched what we’ve probably seen all too often on the set of a shoot: a slow but steady dehumanization of the young woman in front of us: beautiful, photogenic, and seen as a prop instead of a person.

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The Basics of Interacting with a Portrait Subject/Model

Model: Bec Fordyce

Model: Bec Fordyce

Fact of life: Most people in front of the camera cannot read your mind or figure out what you’re going for in your final image. There needs to be a back and forth conversation between the photographer and the subject to create a photo.

Interacting with a subject in front of the camera is essential to anyone looking to get into portraiture, and after having a creative vision in mind, it’s also the way that you can convey to someone what you’re looking for in a photo. Besides, it wastes less time.

Dan from AdoramaTV tries to illustrate this and explain it very simply in the latest OnSet video.

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