It's a small but proud modeling agency that uses all Native American models. They do a calendar each year but got ripped off by the crap photographer they hired for the 2010 calendar. Out of money, low on hope, I got recommended as someone who could do the job and for very little money (mostly service-for-service: We get to use some of their models for our Custom Motorcycle business).

As we're already into 2010, I've suggested an 18-month calendar, which of course they are eager to do and I realized is more work for me. Oh well.

Anyhow, it looks like I'll have two solid days to shoot. Some of the models might be available for other days as well (I hope). They want the models (all women) to be the stars of the shoot, but classy-sexy, not Hooters-sexy. Elegant, not a T&A piece. As the models are all Native, they want somewhat of a Native theme and as we live in a pretty photogenic place (where Glen Canyon meets the Grand Canyon), a bit of a nature theme as well.

Knowing this isn't a lot of time to plan, I've picked out a few key locations from which we can get several different shots and it will look like different locales. One facing the lake this way, one facing the other way, one facing just the beach away from the lake, etc. I've planed a couple of prop-involved shots: On a motorcycle, with a horse, etc. And a couple of possible indoor shots.

I know the camera likes angles, use as much available light as possible, early morning or late afternoon for large backgrounds like canyon behind the model.

Not ideal, but looking at what their last photographer did I can only improve things. Any other advice?

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Jo. Where is the calendar being marketed. Is it being sold to "Outsiders" or tourists? By "Native theme" do you mean very rural and somewhat evoking stereotypical Native American Indian cultural roots? Do the models still live on native land? For instance, I just thought that if one of the models was an artist ( photographer, sculptor, potter, teacher, etc. ) then a shot of her painting a canyon scene with her work as an inset or in the background would be nice. Same for any skill. A photo of a model playing her violin on the rim of the canyon would not only be beautiful but it would be empowering to both her as a person, a native American, and a woman.... and for any audience capable of seeing that we are really all the same. I know, models are usually just models.... no offense, for that is a skill too.

While I'm still digging in a pocket for my two cents and coming up with only pocket fuzz, don't rule out evening shadows or setting sun through a window. I've seen pictures you have posted elsewhere and I am sure you are going to nail this project too. How about a group shot of your models on a busy street after shopping. They are talking and laughing as they swing their shopping bags ..... looking all cosmopolitan. But if your client wants to see cute "Indians" then that might not work.

Well, never one to leave a turn un-stoned, I'll tiptoe away and let real camera-ites give you advice.
Wow, some awesome ideas Curt!

I know for this specific project I'm going to be pretty limited for time. E.g.; it would be awesome if we could do this in a warm month ... Lake Powell, pretty much begs for a photo or three in the water.

My understanding is that the target audience is both other Natives and tourists, but this will not be a 'touristy' kind of calendar. I.e.; tourists looking for wigwams and papoose carriers and demure people with a gazillion feathers next to their tipi will be disappointed.

The Native theme they're going for is not an overly strong one, but more like pride in modern Native/Res life. As almost a tongue-in-cheek in-joke, they love my idea that at least one shot should be of a model working under the hood of a horribly old, beater pickup truck. ;-)

But some of the going ideas and props so far: A motorcycle, a horse, we have a dog that is half timber wolf and looks like he could be all wolf. Sand running through hands. One of the models' husbands makes jewelry, so I was thinking of having her crafting jewelry. The local community college is a gorgeous building and would make a great backdrop. A bit of contemporary Native theme, a bit of nature, and like you say a bit of the cosmopolitan.

Thanks again for the tips!
I've got some paying jobs coming up and I always feel more nervous when money is involved.
I've got some paying jobs coming up and I always feel more nervous when money is involved.

Actually, the parameters have changed.

Wildly unhappy with their manager, the models effectively fired him and said they want to work just for us (Motorcycle biz). So that gives us a lot more time to play with and total creative control. Plus now we're definitely tying it together with the motorcycle theme. Yay!

We're trying to organize a weekend when all the models are in one place at one time for a group shot, then work on solo shots as we can. Since it will be an 18 month calendar, we have a couple of months to put it together.
Any progress to report? Half of my paying work has been a success, part two hasn't seen the results from the picture grabbing boxes yet!
Unfortunately, only delays to report. Availability dates keep getting pushed back.

>_/body>

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