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Photography Tip - Working with Models, Makeup Artists, Wardrobe Stylists & Hair Stylists

If you find yourself getting into serious people photography, you will at some point consider shooting beauty or fashion portraits.

Of course the words beauty & fashion imply the involvement of a professional / aspiring Model & perhaps to some extent a Makeup Artist / Hair Stylist & Wardrobe Stylist.

Before we get any further, let us stop for a minute and explain what those roles / titles refer to:

Model: A person whose role is to promote / advertise / display a commercial product during a photo session. Makeup Artist: A person whose role is to apply makeup products on the Model; either to present an art direction or to enhance the looks of the Model for a photo session.

Hair Stylist: A person whose role is to style the model's hair; either to present an art direction or to ehance the looks of the Model for a photo session. Wardrobe Stylist: A person whose role is to select the outfit the Model will wear to match the art direction of a photo session.

Now note that a Model can also take on the roles of a Makeup Artist / Hair Stylist & Wardrobe Stylist and that a Makeup Artist can also take on the role of a Hair Stylist on ocassion; however, that would only be applicable in collaborative photo sessions & not in Editorial or Commercial line.

Ok, back to basics ...

So, you decide you wish to venture into the professional stream of Beauty & Fashion as a Beauty & Fashion Photographer. Your first challenge would be to build up a team of talented people who will work with you on artistic concepts & themes.

Now, if you do not already possess a portfolio which showcases your talent, experience & knowledge, don't expect any talented individual to join you on a collaborative photo session (unless you're willing to pay them for their efforts).

So how do you go about creating a portfolio then? Simple, you approach friends & relatives who are willing to lend you their time & effort to help you learn, experiment & build up a simple portfolio.

In the process, you'll need to watch out for things like:

- Start simple: use natural light & plan your photo sessions on days with overcast sky (as you tend to get soft pleasant light which is easy to work with).

- Quality of light: good light is the foundation of a good image

- Quality of shadows: nasty shadows can easily ruin a good image

- Direction & color of light: use the direction & color of light to your advantage, set a mood

- Complimenting colors, makeup, hair & outfits: this is something you learn with time & by building up your taste.

- Help your photo session partners: if you are collaborating with inexperienced people, they'll expect your guidance & support.

- Quality of retouch & skin: in modern day photography, retouch (post-processing) can be a 'make or break'; learn how to do Photoshop / Lightroom retouching, enhance colors & get rid of skin blemishes without ruining the skin texture. YouTube can be a fantastic source of valuable information.

Eventually, people will start to take note of your efforts & approach you for collaborations. When a group of creative individuals work on such a photo session, they call it a TFP shoot (Time for Print) ... as everyone is putting in their time & effort in exchange for images.

If you paid good attention to all that's been said so far, you'll notice I mentioned the word 'collaborate' quite often, because that's what you would need to do to achieve experience & build up a respectable portfolio. That said, you're not the only one with a target, those who will collaborate with you will also expect quality images for their own use. Learn to give, share & most importantly to listen; this will make you a great team player. Once the photo session is wrapped up, compensate fairly.

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