Sunday, November 25, 2012

American Photo Model Shoot - Review


American Photography Magazine, along with Sigma Corporation, hosted their annual Model Shoot in New York City this past Saturday. The event opened with registration at 8am and continued until the modeling lights were shut down at 4pm. It made for a long, exhausting day of shooting that was by far one of the most fun experiences I've had. It was also a frustrating experience.

It was fun and exciting because I had the opportunity to shoot New York models in New York. Not that being New York models or taking photos in New York somehow make the models or the photos any better. Frankly, they weren't any more professional or beautiful than models I have shot here in Connecticut. However, I do love getting into the city and for me, personally, that was one of the reasons for attending this event.

The event coordinators brought in some wonderfully talented pros; Lindsay AdlerAnthony Neste (at left), Kevin Ames and Mark Reis were on board to share their knowledge and experience with all the attendees. If you don't recognize these names just Google them. They are top players in fashion photography. Shooting sessions were periodically broken up with lecture sessions by these pros. The information they covered went from some standard how-to information I felt was just a little too basic to some wonderful behind-the-scene anecdotes and inspirational images from these working photographers.

Lindsay Adler's (at right) candid discussion about her work and insight into putting a great portfolio together was, for me, the highlight of the day. She put a lot of little tips and tricks and smart suggestions into her lecture that hers alone was worth the price of admission. She was also a little fireball in helping attendees at several shooting stations.

There were ten shooting stations set up inside this very large and very Gotham looking event space in Lower Manhattan's Fashion District. Aside from the ten stations there was also the 'classroom' area, folding chairs set up theater style, and Sigma's lending table as well as another table for their selling lenses. There was also the changing area for the models tucked in the back. All this took up one third of the event space, that's how big this lace was. Impressive to say the least.

There were 17 models that day, each alternating from shooting station to shooting station and rotating costumes. Six stations were equipped with continuous lighting, three were available light (window light) and the last was specially set up with strobes to try out Sigma's flagship dSLR, the SD1 Merrill with an impressive 46MP Foveon X3 sensor.

The biggest problem was there were well over 200 attendees, all clamoring to get the model's attention. While the premiss was that you, as photographer, was encouraged to direct the lighting and the models, the reality was there were just too may people to make it practical. I also thought some of the models were a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. If they were not very experienced (and some definitely were not) the stress showed in their eyes and it hindered their posing.

I do have to mention, although the spaces were crowded in front of the stations the people were courteous and willing to share. If you wanted a particular shot you had to assert your spot at the station but even with that, people were willing to accommodate. It was nice to see this kind of interaction at an event that could easily have been reduced to elbow stabbing and shoulder shoving.

I shot over 830 frames at the event (with an additional 80 on the way back to the train). Not all of them are keepers. Actually, truth be told, the majority are not keepers because either the model is looking slightly off camera or the composition is not ideal. The ideal spot at a shooting station is directly in front of the model. When you have 20 people in front of a station only two or three will have that coveted spot. This does force you to start thinking outside the box and look for creative alternatives. Then again, I am the type of person that looks on every experience, good or bad, as a learning one.

To learn more about American Photo Magazine and Sigma lenses feel free to visit their respective web sites.

American Photo Magazine
American Photo Model Shoot
Sigma Corporation, USA

1 comment:

  1. I was at the event as well, and I think you captured it. I will definitly do it again, but this time I may try and attend one that isn't so crowded. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get some of the shots I would have liked... or a moment or two with one of the profesdionsls, but truth be told this is partly my fault. I was a little "overwhelmed", I'm used to one on one time with my subjects. But now that I know what to expect, I can feel confident going into another one of these events.:)

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