Models and context - natural interaction

posted on 29th of october, 2009

As many of us know, working with models can be a real challenge when it comes to the visual result of your concept. It's both a challenge for the photographer and the model and the key to the best result is communication between the two parties. Be friends with your models, know them, be relaxed and play.
That being said, after searching for imagery of people involved in different activities, I noticed there are two major types of model expression: models looking at the camera while involved in an activity, and models that interact naturally with the object of their activity. The first category may lead in numbers, but the latter has more sales. That's why I think it's very important to realize that a natural looking attitude has a better sale potential.
I will briefly emphasize on the natural appeal of a photo, that can be achieved when greater attention is paid to the context and to how the model should relate to it.

For example, mechanics at work: in the first image, the models focus on their job, interact with that specific environment and it all looks natural. In the second image they pose rather than work, not to mention that looking directly at the camera while working with the wrench can be hazardous, if not plain dangerous; the image looks a bit artificial by comparison.

Another example, young women lifting weight, exercising: The first model is clearly focused on her work, mostlikely paying attention to her trainer, while the second is rather posing and relates directly to the photographer, as well as having a pretty awkward working position.
The first shot looks natural, giving the impression that the photographer randomly and discretely snapped a young woman who was unaware of his presence. The second image shows a direct relation between the model and the camera, with less regard to the workout itself.

Comments (15)

Posted by Danienel on November 27, 2009
I like the thought. I suppose showing involvement with the environment cuts back on the cheese factor dramatically!
Posted by Sutashiku on November 14, 2009
Thanks a lot!

By the way - it's interisting how the same thing works in erotic photography - when the model is busy with reading for exemple it not so embarrasing for spectators to look at the picture with nude model
Posted by Fleyeing on November 12, 2009
Ouch Andrei, you're giving away some awful trade secrets ;-)

This is a superior post. There is just one word of caution, when a shoot with friends becomes crazy and too relaxed: don't overdo it. I plead guilty to that sometimes.

Looking into the lens can also make sense when there is a clear appeal to the viewer, or in portraits, when the interaction is with the viewer.
Posted by Kasienka on November 10, 2009
Andrei thanks for sharing your experiences!
Posted by Jocky on November 06, 2009
You are absolutely right and it is of a high concern key to success.
Posted by Kostudio on November 05, 2009
Very useful and interesting! Thanks.
Posted by Rosedarc on November 04, 2009
Very interesting and clearly illustrated. Will try to keep this in mind!
Posted by Aguus on November 03, 2009
This is great and valuable information. Keep share such practical information - we have a lot to learn.
Posted by Conceptualcreations on November 02, 2009
I always prefer my models to interact with the project at hand. I want the end result as me being a voyeur, capturing a moment privately.
Posted by Alext on November 02, 2009
good point, thanks for sharing and good examples!
Posted by Frantab01 on October 29, 2009
thanks for sharing, great tips :)
Posted by Wildmac on October 29, 2009
Excellent blog! Thank you for sharing this :0)
Posted by Mani33 on October 29, 2009
Very nice! Thump up for the good work ;)
Posted by Jonvitalija on October 29, 2009
Perfect, great blog! Thanks for sharing !
Posted by Creativei on October 29, 2009
Andrei, great blog, explained well with images. Thanks for the share.

Comments (15)

This article has been read 3162 times. 15 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Alexmax, Monkey Business Images, Val_th.

About me

I am one of the admins here since 2005 and i'm also in charge with training most of our new editors. I started drawing, like any kid, but found support for that throughout my childhood and eventually went to an art college where i specialized in graphics. I started studying the photographic phenomena at the University of Fine Arts Bucharest, where i pursued photography as my main media and got in contact with contemporary photography and new media. Apart from doing this fulltime job, i am focusing on personal projects that i hope to share soon.

Ploiesti, RO

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