Where to start? So, I have been doing portraits for a little while now, mostly children and am getting quite comfortable in that role. But I wanted to expand, get some more adults, families etc. I really wanted to get some casual models (not professional – way too expensive), I thought I wanted real people for real photos. Now if you are anything like me, family and friends are over the whole photo thing. You need fresh faces and willing participants…….where do you find them?
Well I got brave and put a post on my local Facebook Buy, Swap and Sell Page, ‘ARE YOU CRAZY’ I hear you asking while reading this, possibly, my Facebook literally lit up with people, all in my local area, willing to give it a go. I had to push away so many people. I even found a few actual models for my projects, and we took it from there.
I then contacted a few of these volunteers and we set up a garden shoot in the local area. A few emails and messages back and forth and bam! all sorted. It was easier than I thought. I figure if we are doing it in public, there is no harm. If you run a studio there is no real difference, you have no guarantee who will walk through your door. I honestly believe that most people a good, some are a little crazy, but they are still good people at heart. Sure there bad people out there trying to do harm, but I doubt they will reply to a random garden shoot during the day, in public? People will do anything for freebies, so that’s what we offered them. 1 hour of their time in a local area and they would received digital copies of photos as a thank you. With the possibility of more follow up work. It is great practice, working with people you do not know, in a situation that takes you out of your comfort zone. And it puts you in contact with a wider community and it is a great marketing tool. I am currently looking to set up a glamor shot at an historic Mansion, with makeup and hair etc. with a few other photographers, it’s a win win, everyone gets something out of it, kind of like a barter system!
Anyway so I ventured off to the local Gardens, honestly not knowing if they were actually going to turn up or not. But I figured I would play around with some ND Filters and macro if they didn’t, so no real hassle. My first model turn up and we had a wonderful 45 mins session. We seem to hit it off really well and some of the photos were fantastic. She had her own clothes, hair and make up pre organized. I will definitely be asking for her to model for me again.
My next ‘family’ was a no show……..figures, but I was content with my first model and then wandered the park. There were lots of families out enjoying the sunshine and one little girl took a shine to me I guess and kept waving, I kept waving back and then an idea struck me…………I approached her family and offered a free copy of the images if they agreed to let me take their family portrait, right there by the lake and use them on my website………..they said yes. So I snapped a few shots and gave them my business card……..easy as that!
So that was my Social experiment AND NO axe murderers, bonus :-).So seriously If you are looking for free models in your local area and just want real, normal people and not Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt – try Facebook it will amaze you! in fact days after the advert was ‘CLOSED’ I am still getting messages and calls regarding having photos taken and most are now turning into sales.