I hate to be a pain in the portfolio…

19 Feb

… but if, like me, you’re doing a shitload of TFP (time in exchange for pictures) shoots, you’ll be working with professional photographers, models and possibly stylists or other creatives, and at the end of the (long, hard day in the freezing rain) you all want the same thing – shit-hot photos for your portfolio.

Image

models: Ieva at Model Team and Lauren at Superior Model Management
makeup by me, photography by Bryce Powrie, threads by One For The Wall

All of us – the photographers, models and makeup artists – all need up-to-date pretty pictures to show off our mad skillz.  Which is why lots of us spend half our lives running around like blue-arsed flies on these TF photoshoots.

They’re great fun, and there’s something nice about a wee gang of you working together with the same vision, not for money but for the love.  Not to say we’re not all getting something out of it, but anyone doing anything for free is displaying some level of dedication, and that’s nice to be around.

All the pretty pictures for me are ending up in my portfolio, which is actually an official thing getting assessed at college next week.  With an interview and all.  We need a minimum of 8 photos from a minimum of 4 photoshoots.  I’ve done 6 photoshoots and pics from 5 of those are going in my portfolio.

I think if I didn’t have a clear idea of what I needed, and if I hadn’t been lucky in landing shoots with reasonably experienced and professional people, that number might not be so high.  As it is my final task for portfolio production is showing some uncharacteristic restraint and editing down my selection to best highlight my makeup work.

None of this putting photos in just because they’re cool and I like them.  Is it a photo that showcases my makeup work, or do I like the photo because the model’s hair looks swishy or because there’s a cute puppy or because the clothes they’re modelling look really good?  All wonderful things, and important components of a good photo… but FOCUS, IMOGEN!

example of a photo that doesn't reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.  BUT PUPPY!   photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

doing the no-makeup-look on a guy is harder than you think, but you’re not even looking at him are you.  This is an example of a photo that doesn’t reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.
photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

Which led to me Googling “how to have a not-shit portfolio” which took me all sorts of interesting places on the internet.  Here is one of the more useful things I read, copied and pasted because you’re more likely to read it if I do it like this, aren’t you.

Get Usable Image Files From A Test With These 6 Questions

A test shoot is a collaboration in which all parties involved should benefit from the pictures received. I don’t go in for contracts or think you should come across like a demanding diva when approached about a test shoot but you do need to discuss a few things with the photographer before the shoot so you can be sure what you receive later will be useful to you.

Here are some questions you should have answers to before any pictures are taken to insure that the image files you receive after the shoot are suitable for printing.

1. Can you get some close up shots of the makeup?
Always ask the photographer to get some close up shots of the makeup as part of the deal and remind them on the day that you need some head shots. A great beauty shot next to a full length image can look fantastic in your book and will show your skills as a makeup artist more clearly.

2. Can you start the day off with a really clean beauty look?
You should be focusing on clean beauty when you start building a portfolio so if you get roped into a test that doesn’t involve clean beauty see if you can do a quick beauty look at the start of the day which you can build on after to achieve something more adventurous. This way everyone should get something usable for their books right from the start and you get more looks out of a days shooting.

3. Will you get Hi-Res files?
Make sure the photographer is going to provide hi-res files so you can print nice sharp images for your book. Low-res files are only suitable for posting online so they don’t take too long to load.

4. Does the photographer have watermarks on all his/her images?
If the photographer you are working with uses watermarks on his/her images check that getting files without the watermarks won’t be a problem so you can print the images for your book.

5. How many images should you expect to receive?
Discuss how many images you should realistically expect to receive and whether these files will have been retouched. Unless you are shooting a big editorial story it is unlikely that you would really need more that 5 images from a shoot.

6. Will you have any input into the final picture selection? 
Often all parties involved are looking for something different for their books so it’s great if you all have some input into the final image selection. If you are given a choice of images think about the composition in your book so the images you pick go together on a double page.

If you are unsure about any of the following points discuss them with the photographer in an email. Emails are great as it gives everyone a record of whats been agreed on to refer back to.

I stole that from http://whattheprosdo.blogspot.co.uk/ – which sadly hasn’t been updated in nearly 5 years, but still has loads of really handy tips for the nascent makeup artiste.
It’s a UK based site however a lot of the stuff on there would be useful for anyone starting out – things like what to think about when putting together your website and business cards, what to carry with you (bottle of water and a banana because no one feeds you on photoshoots – so true, and the reason my makeup kit is a suitcase is really so it can fit all the muesli bars in it that I require for a half-day on the go).
So there you have it flogstars, a bit of practical know-how for ye.
Here’s Steel Panther with The Burden of Being Wonderful.  Watch it and next post I’ll tell you all about the weekend I’ve just had in Denmark partying at them.  Not with them.  At them.
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