Tag Archives: curvy woman

The Winds of March- shooting in the freezing cold

15 Mar

Spring is springing! I returned from a week long trip away shooting for my sister site to find that even though it was night time, I could smell the blossom on the trees and I woke up in the morning to early sunrise and the annual “East side/West side nesting goose turf war”. The weather has improved and I cannot wait to shoot outside again- I’ve even picked up some new floaty pretty things and am working on improving my art-nude pose repetoire to really wow everybody this year.

I began writing this post as the weather turned in Autumn and though I am optimistically hoping we’ve seen the worst of the really bad weather, March and April can still be windy and cold so… better late-ish than never, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰
Here’s my guide for getting the best from your model in a freezing situation:

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All images by Imaginary Revolutionary unless otherwise credited

BEFORE THE SHOOT

1) Keep a ‘model kit’.
An experienced model will have many of the things listed but supplies can run out and sometimes there just isnt enough space in the suitcase for everything. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been so grateful if the cold has really got to me, I’ve slipped on a rock and I’m hungry and the photographer has been able to offer me a plaster or water to wash the cut as well as a blanket and a snack.
– A towel (for changing and/or wet feet)
– Cereal bars or Mars bars (Food is always good but Mars bars are for serious sugar crashes- hopefully it shouldn’t come to that!)
– A couple of bottles of water
– Loo roll. (Especially if you’re in the middle of nowhere!)
– Plasters and painkillers
– A blanket and possibly hand warmers if it’s REALLY freezing
– A flask of hot drinks and a hot water bottle if you know you are really going to suffer for your art.

2) Book an experienced model.
I know professional models charge higher rates but you will get a wider range of poses and more usable images in a shorter amount of time with a model used to cold weather photoshoots- especially when it comes to art-nude work. Overall, the extra cost is offset by the level of productivity.
If you really want/need to work with a new model, bear in mind that a lot of ‘tips and tricks’ come from experience and what may seem obvious may not have occurred to a total newbie- even down to the fact that they are going to be very uncomfortable in the first place! Tell them to bring warm stuff and food.

3)ย  Plan ahead
Have two or three overall images in your mind that you would like to achieve. Work on getting those first and then consider everything else a bonus. This counts doubly on windy days when your model will freeze much faster than on still days.

4) Remember that shooting as a duo or group may halve the work for you…. but it doubles the work for your model.
If you’re working with another photographer who can act as assistant, your model must pose for you, wait for your assistant to set up their camera and then pose for them too. You may feel rested and ready to go again after your break from shooting but your model will not have stopped. This is not to say that duo shoots cannot work- they definitely can and I have had some fantastic and memorable times. Comfort is relative and we won’t be warm and cosy but this is how to help models out and get the best from us:
– Offer your model regular fully-clothed, snack-eating warm-up breaks even if that means waiting an extra 5-10 minutes for them. Cold muscles are stiff, tense muscles and you’ll get better results if your model can warm up to a degree.
– Understand that standing still in the cold, half naked while somebody does a lighting test does not count as a break.
– The second you have your shot, chuck the model their clothing or blanket (especially socks or something to warm their feet) and ask if they want a snack or some of whatever is in the flask.
– Your model will be far more willing and happy to push for the extra shot and pose if they feel you care about their safety and comfort.

5) Check out the location beforehand and have a Plan B.
Certain places- especially involving water- are often extremely dangerous depending on the time of year. It’s a good idea to check a day or so before to make sure the pretty little brook has not become a rushing torrent. I highly recommend the fantastic Marmalade- Urbex Model’s article about shooting in watery locations. This woman knows what she’s talking about and takes stunning pictures.
If the location is absolutely impossible in the conditions, have a backup location- even if you have to postpone the nudes in sweeping landscapes in favour of arty beauty shots using the reflections in your car mirror. ;P
I was shooting a project with Magpie Tommy many years ago- we returned to the same bit of woodland and I posed in a similar manner by the same tree. One day, in biting wind, we arrived to find somebody had driven a tractor through our patch. Cue us frantically replanting bracken with numb fingers.
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We got the shot though… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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DURING THE SHOOT

1) Timing is everything
If you’re working with a team of stylists, start somewhere warm, well-lit and indoors so they can get the first look ready in relative comfort and don’t have to contend with numb fingers early. If not, advise your model to arrive ready to shoot so that she doesn’t have to do her make-up outside.
Set up your shot before asking the model to change or undress. Clothes should come off at the last possible second after all the experimenting is over and you have the perfect light and exposure.

2) Check on your model
Experienced models know their limits. Still, it is nice to be asked if we’re okay or need a minute to get warm again. (Though don’t worry- you don’t need to check every moment- we’ll tell you if we need to take five.)
When I first began modelling, I was so fixated on doing a good job and being ‘professional’ that my safety would suffer and I’d push myself to the point of danger especially in the cold. Newer models may be more worried about saying they’re in pain or too cold so check on them at slightly more regular intervals (but not every 30 seconds!) and reassure any model of any experience level in advance that if they are uncomfy or need a break, to say so and they can take a few minutes out.

3) Be on the lookout for warning signs.
Has your chatty, enthusiastic model gone silent? Are they shaking with cold? Pale, or flushed? Ask them if they are okay. Take anything other than an immediate confident โ€œyesโ€ as a signal to wrap the shoot. Most photographers I have worked with have been fantastic if we’re both too battered by the cold to continue but I’ve heard a fair few horror stories about models being asked to stay in the same place with the cold getting into their bones, while photographers shoot and shoot and shoot. I assume anybody reading this post wouldn’t be that photographer in the first place but I couldn’t not mention it.

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ADVICE FOR MODELS

1) Be prepared
Carry snacks and buy a hot drink before you arrive. Make sure you have a warm jumper or coat in your bag as well as plasters and any other medication you want to have. Keep snacks close by as they can make all the difference. The diet may go out of the window but I find a protein bar, chocolate or something like a flapjack is better than nibbling on nuts and grapes, which are healthier but don’t really fill you up.

2) Know yourself.
I know it’s one of my ‘suits all situations’ pieces of advice but seriously- what can you cope with? If you’re okay with cold, still weather but not roaring wind then take that shoot in a freezing, snowy but sheltered mountain valley- not the one with blowing material and streaming hair on the top of the cliff. ๐Ÿ™‚
At what point do you need to stop and warm up. When you start to shiver? When your fingers go numb? When can you tell that the cold has reached your muscles? Once the cold has reached your bones, it’s all over so listen to your body and warm up before that.

3) Don’t be afraid to ask for a break.
You’re entitled to a break! Especially if your ears are going to drop off and your nose is gushing water down your face. You’re a human being and being warm(er) and less hungry will make you feel so much better- even if you know the pictures will be beautiful anyway.

4) Relax your face and try not to tense your jaw
I wish I had known this earlier! It’s one of the things that I notice about myself as a new model vs now. Luckily my tensed face suited the style on the left (my first mostly-nude shooting trip back in 2010) as I was going for the water vampire/evil siren look but there were plenty of other pictures from earlier shoots with this same expression and they did not work! The right is a later shoot- 2012. I was memorably freezing during this shoot and running around to keep warm in between shots but I’d learned how to relax my face more.
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Left pic by John Downs, right pic by Imagesse

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GENERAL GUIDE: (This may be different depending on your level of health.)
Shivering, goosebumps: You’re cold. You can usually work through it or do some more active poses to warm up.
Stiff muscles, fingers and toes going numb. The cold is in your muscles. Take a warm-up break and wait for your fingers and toes to regain a little feeling.
Actually shaking with cold, fingers and feet numb, you’re clumsy and cannot get warm: The cold is in your bones and this is dangerous. Stop the shoot immediately, if not sooner.

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Over to you guys! Any more tips about shooting in the cold? Anything I’ve missed? If so, I’ll add things to this post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thankyou to all the photographers I’ve worked with who have been wonderful in freezing conditions, especially Imaginary Revolutionary who was a perfect example of how to shoot in the cold on a dawn photoshoot with me last month and whose images are the illustrations for this post! ๐Ÿ™‚

ROSWELL x

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Upping your game- model resolutions

29 Dec

It’s that time of year again- the time we collectively freak out over our tax returns (hey, it isn’t January yet…) and many of us start looking at self-improvement, myself included. As I have a few big projects on the go, my resolutions are little ones this year but one involves upping my game as a model. The other is setting up a new website for my professional and fiction writing.

While I have a blog in the works about the ways people shoot themselves in the foot when trying to make a living as a model (or any professional really), this one’s about the little things that make all the difference. I asked industry people how they knew they were working with a really good pro model and combined their advice with mine.
NB: When I say ‘professional’, I am referring to attitude and not whether modelling is a full-time occupation.

While I detest the phrase, this is how to “take it to the next level” as Tyra Banks would say…

1) Arrive professionally!
I considered this ‘basic’ knowledge but it came up so often I couldn’t not add it to the list.
Wear loose-fitting clothing and no underwear when travelling to photoshoots- it means there will be no lines or marks on your body that will need photoshopping out. During the photoshoot, work from less clothed to more clothed. Nude to fashion. Same reason- starting in lingerie before moving onto nude means you’ll have red marks from your bra and knickers.
If there will be a stylist, come with no make-up on at all. If not, check in advance how the photographer would like you to arrive- some models prefer to come 100% shoot-ready, others apply foundation, powder and eyebrow pencil so they can freshly do any look required with the basics already in place. This works well for studio days or if the photographer is unsure what order to shoot outfits in.

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Arriving “naked”.ย 

2) Remember your fingers and toes!
Hands are often hard to pose. One of the lessons I learned very early on in my modelling career was that unless you are going for the ‘trapped in a box’ or ‘ugly-pretty’ vibe, hands should be made as elegant as possible by:
– Posing with the sides or backs of your hands to the photographer.
– Keeping the wrists relaxed and the elbows strong. Ballerinas already know this!
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– Consciously paying attention to the way they look and feel, so you’re less likely to get spade hands (picture below), clenched fists or โ€œDr Zoidberg handsโ€ (which is when you look as though you’re impersonating a lobster and what I end up with if I don’t remember to relax!)
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Left: way back when! (photo by Gothic Image)
Right: last year (photo by Emma-Jane)

Point your toes- especially when shooting nude.It lengthens the leg and tapers it to a point rather than an angle.

3) Embrace your face
I read the BEST article about the ‘contouring’ craze recently, which mirrored my own feelings on the matter (more in a later post). Learning to do your own make-up is ‘modelling 101’ but knowing when to take some of it off is also invaluable.
Pre-Raphaelite style or very high-end Art with a capital ‘A’ photographs often feature a (seemingly) make-up-free face. Though you may rarely have to do it (especially if you’re a glamour or pin-up model), knowing how to do ‘natural’ properly and having at least one photo showing that style on your portfolio can help you if you want to move away from the more made-up genres.
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Case in point- this is Ivory Flame, photographed by Derek.

I now wear minimal make-up for art-nude work unless the photographer is going for something different- which leads me to…

4) Ask the photographer what they want to achieve.
Your job is to get more amazing shots than the photographer needs- so they are spoiled for choice by the end of the shoot. If they have not already sent you a moodboard or plan, ask them at the beginning what kind of images they would like to make.
If they’re all about going with the flow, then put your ‘muse hat’ on and offer a few ideas along with a wide variety of poses, outfits and accessories. Not everybody has a ‘plan’ so as long as they’re happy, you’re doing a good job!
Also, ask where your light is so you know which direction to look and pose toward.

5) Ask to see the back of the camera
We aren’t judging you, photographers! ๐Ÿ™‚ Models understand that the finished shots will often look nothing like what we can see in that teeny screen, but we’re looking so that we can check our side of things- the posing- is working. A model who asks to see their work is a model who wants to know if there’s a way s/he can improve and get a better shot.
Photographers: if your model asks to do something again, or asks to change pose so they no longer have a double chin/foreshortened arm/eye bag etc, they are not full of self-loathing, but working hard to make sure the raw photo is the best and most flattering photo you could possibly get! Learning to criticise our own work is part of improving as a model and a couple of photographers have seemed surprised and maybe a little sorry for me when I have pointed out a flaw I could fix. Don’t be! (Unless I run to the bathroom crying that I look like Mad Madam Mim…. and that hasn’t happened yet.) ๐Ÿ˜›
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“The magnificent, marvelous, Mad Madam Mim…”

6) Communicate en-route
Make sure you have the photographer’s number a few days before the shoot just in case of emergencies. Though I could definitely improve upon promptly replying to emails (though I do clearly note my constant travelling and 100% reply rate on my profile), I always always, always text the photographer when I am on my way to the photoshoot and again if there are any delays to my journey. This means that if I go off radar en-route (e.g. on the tube) the photographer does not automatically assume I have no-showed.

7) Rewrite your profile notes
There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to your profile.
One: keep it concise and invite enquiries.
Two: Tell clients everything they could possibly need to know.
I can’t NOT write so I have a great big burble on my profile, BUT… it is spaced-out, separated, with headlines and font in bold. It may be lengthy to read but it is easy to read. Once you’ve saved your notes, check how they appear on the page- make sure you don’t have a wall of text and that what you’ve written is comprehensible.

8) Lose the ‘stripper rates’
I have never understood why so many models charge according to how naked they are! ยฃ15 per hour for fashion, ยฃ20 for lingerie, ยฃ30 for nude etc etc. How does it even work? If you’re booked for a fashion, lingerie and nude shoot, do you charge a different rate per hour? Divide the rate by the mean and median and consult the calculator? Stop this madness!!
Professionals understand that they put as much effort into a clothed shoot as into a nude shoot. They are posing for people who want to capture an image, not watch a glorified striptease. While the main ‘product’ you are selling is your appearance, it is also your skill at posing, your make-up, the guarantee that you will arrive on time etc etc etc. Therefore, your time should cost the same regardless of your state of undress- this places the value on you, not how much flesh you’re willing to show.

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“Implied clothed”. ๐Ÿ˜›
Photo by GSTim, dress by Falcieri designs

On that subject…

9) Don’t ever (EVER) have ‘secret levels’.
It is completely okay to be selective about who you work with, especially with higher levels, but hiding the fact that you pose nude (or any other level) does not work. People talk and it gives the impression that some of your work is a shameful secret.

There are many ways to be clear on the subject of levels:
– โ€œI work up to and including lingerie level and take on very occasional nude work depending on the project.โ€
– โ€œPlease note I only work to art-nude level with a few individuals I select- other enquiries about nude work will be ignored.โ€
– โ€œI only work to open leg level with proven photographers in the genre, with extensive references provided. Thankyou for your understandingโ€
– Please note that as of __insert date here__ my highest level is now lingerie. (This is a good way to state that any more naked images found are simply old work and not your ‘guilty secret’).

Facial recognition software is now scarily good- photos of you are online to stay and just like celebrities who protest through lips that have tripled in size overnight that of course they haven’t had surgery, trying to hide the obvious is an exercise in futility. Post your levels honestly and people will stop obsessing!

10) Stay pro.
Leave your photographer a reference after the shoot if everything went well! Hopefully, they will do the same for you.
If your photoshoot was TF*, you are being paid in images so make sure you receive those pictures. If it’s been a while, send a polite follow-up message. Communicating well is everything.
If you have been paid, but would like to post images on your blog or facebook etc, ask first!! Some photographers are perfectly happy for you to use the images. Others are not, so always check even if it seems obvious. If you have permission to post the pictures, credit the team if there was one. (The whole team- make-up artist, stylist, etc etc- nobody likes to be left out.)

Bonus point:
Don’t nick the photographers pasty. That’s just not acceptable… ๐Ÿ˜›

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I couldn’t decide which pictures to share (as per usual) but as this awesome set from Dirk Glassly show me as the polished lady who has it all, it had to be this set! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Outfit by Lady Allura’s latex
Hair and make-up by me.

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What a Wonderful World

14 Mar

Being me, a title like this could have been posted with about 35% sarcasm but not today. Absolutely nothing groundbreaking has happened but I’m just in a wonderfully good mood. I came back from a really fantastic mini-tour to find my fake wisteria had arrived so I could finish my Zen garden, I also had a graze box AND a new book (Talking Heads) in my pigeonhole. The ducks are sitting on the roof of the pub again (which just looks bloody hilarious) and I have at last named the swans. Frank and Claire. ๐Ÿ˜› Oh, and raspberries were half-price today.
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So I made my zen garden, ate raspberries and fed my current addiction, Sons of Anarchy, which is the best non sci-fi thing I’ve seen barring Breaking Bad. (House of Cards is on a par). Disclaimer: I’m about to start season 3. No spoilers please, or I’ll go berserk. ๐Ÿ˜›
I’ll be the first person to admit I really don’t mind totally unfeminist films like James Bond and Death Race on occasion. In my opinion, not every film or TV show has to provide a teaching moment BUT… when something is done well or breaks the mould, it stands out to me and I fall slightly in love with the show/film’s creators. I’m not going to give an in-depth feminist critique after so many recent ‘serious’ blogs but I just want to mention how much I love what I’ve seen so far. While the traditional role of women in the show is either groupie/prostitute (so far, consensually) or ‘old lady’ (wife/serious partner) there IS an honour code of respect. For example, a douchebag gets punched in the face for hitting his girlfriend. (Neither are known to the gang- it was a chance encounter).
My favourite character is the matriarch Gemma, and the way the show dealt with two instances of rape in two seasons was brilliant. (And bloody.) I’ll leave the feminist soapboxing about rape as a plot device for another time (I’m in favour) but here we are: two rapes, one involving a central character and one involving someone we barely know. Both times, the rape is seen as completely unacceptable, revenge is imperative and while we don’t know the final fate of one perpetrator, the best case scenario is that he’s singing soprano with the local choir.
And the soundtrack ROCKS! It has two of my favourite songs on it. Repeat button + air guitar = the neighbours may hate me…
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Oh, THAT was the other awesome thing- I bought my ticket for Wasteland Weekend! I’m now working on a couple of costumes (any photographers who want to shoot Mad Max style awesomeness, send me a message and book your shoot) and deciding what I want to see while I’m out in California. I might as well stay for a few extra days, right?
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The make-up selfies are from yesterday’s shoot with Jimmy Deas. So many changes, so many headdresses (by Pixified Bootique). ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, I have a week of writing before a shoot in a beautiful boudoir followed by a fully-booked South Coast tour and an Easter visit with one of my favourite ladies. โค Which reminds me, I think I may treat myself to some teeny Hotel Chocolat eggs this year! I actually learned how to make vegan chocolate myself at the Womens’ Day celebration so I will also be trying my hand at egg-shaped truffles too!

As I’m sure most longtime readers will know, I’m on Zivity and I have been shockingly bad at updating you with news about my sets! Sorry about that. If you prefer to view one set at a time (which you can do for just $3), you should know I have mermaid sets, pin-up, crazy make-up, 80s, lingerie and more. My profile is here and today’s happy blog features a photoshoot from a weekend I loved! (Dominatrix, in Holland). There are loooads more pictures from this set on Zivity so go and have a look- non members can still see the sets by paying a couple of dollars.
The photographer is fellow model Maja Stina, who you should also check out. We got all inspired by night time Amsterdam, lol!
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And for a day in which I’m feeling 10 feet tall, have a couple of bonus pics from our other shoot- in which I look 10 feet tall! I’m wearing Yummy Gummy latex

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You will be pleased to know I did not fall in the bath despite my legendary clumsiness (today’s ridiculous injury: burning myself on a butternut squash.)

Going to turn off the internet for tonight and investigate the hot chocolate situation…

ROSWELL xxx

p.s. All together now: I SEE TREEEEES OF GREEEEN! RED ROSES TOOOOOO…