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Team players


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Team players

1 Apr 2021 8:23AM   Views : 264 Unique : 187


Over the last five or six months, I’ve got quite used to the idea of remote shoots, and I am now comfortable with booking them with models I have never met, after starting with people I have known for years. A couple of days ago, I had a notably successful session with a Ukrainian model who lives in the South of France, and the first result I posted caused some surprise among friends, prompting me to wonder why it had worked so well.

There are actually a few factors, but the first and most important is that people who are well-practised in their craft can work with a new colleague really easily and fluidly: although I have absolutely no interest in watching or playing football, it’s a bit like a player moving to a new team. They share a vocabulary of moves and sequences, they can make reasonable predictions about what teammates will do, as well as what opponents are likely to try.

Complex sequences of plays will not work as well as if they have practised together for months, but simpler ones will, and difficult ones are worth trying… And there are some other things that will probably help!
Any time a photographer chooses a model (and sometimes the other way round, when a model is looking to expand their portfolio) they will be looking at past work, and making a judgment about compatibility with their own style – or at the least with an idea for a picture or pictures. It extends to how they usually light themselves – the other day, Amarutta tends towards the same sort of double side-lighting that I use a lot. We worked together well, I think.


There are a number of well-established models who are either competent photographers in their own right, or whose partners are established photographers, and they can offer a complete novice a photographically-rewarding online experience. It’s like driving four laps in a supercar at a track day – there’s someone alongside you telling you exactly when to brake and when to change gear.

For a more experienced photographer, the selection won’t be random: I’ve realised that I have chosen models whose environment is likely to give the sort of pictures I like. A lot of models are working with natural light, which is something I do anyway – and the tripod-based nature of remote shoots means that I am actually happy to shoot with continuous lighting, at shutter speeds I wouldn’t use hand-held.

The common vocabulary extends to dealing with any finessing of light or pose: we’re all used to the same set of ideas and shorthand, so that things are likely to gel easily in terms of changing lighting and the technical settings that you can’t control with the screen-sharing software. Of course there’s a risk that they won’t – but in a real sense, you run that same risk every time you book a model you haven’t had posing in front of your camera before. My strong feeling is that it works best with models who are experienced, but not too set in their ways – if you look at results from remote shoots and they are all the same, look elsewhere.



dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1832 England
1 Apr 2021 8:29AM
Remote shooting is not what I want to be doing every month, but during lockdown it allows some shooting, which is good. And it's opened up a new world of locations that i am never going to visit in the real world.

My thanks to Vampire Princess (middle shot) for introducing me to the concept; to Lou1111 (bottom) for showing me how well it can work with an iPhone and an app, and to Amarutta (top) for brilliant poses from the South of France.

Negative expressions to the people who thought that leaving the EU was an unreserved Good Idea: the first personal impact, for me, is that Amarutta won't be touring in England, because of the complexity of the visa process to visit the UK to work: all-new, all-British red tape. It's a pretty trivial gripe: but impossible to ignore.

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