Thursday, June 27, 2013

Photography Tips from a Familiar Face

Nigel Barker, known for his role on the judging panel of America’s Next Top Model, has many other talents which include being an author, a model, as well as a photographer.

Nigel became a successful model after his mum entered him in to a TV show searching for new models, despite him at the time wanting to pursue a career in medicine. It was the show that started his modelling career after Nigel finished as a finalist. From there his modelling career lasted around 10 years, with Nigel modelling all over the world, including Milan, Paris and New York. 

In 1998 he decided to focus on a different career after accepting that modelling wouldn’t last forever. This career was photography. Photography seemed to be his forte, resulting in him opening his own successful photography studio StudioNB.

Some of his most successful shoots have taken place on America’s Next Top Model, which he joined as a judge in 2003. However, as well as judging the models, Nigel was given the opportunity to photograph the models personally, helping them reach their full potential. Nigel has produced stunning photos on, and off, the show, which not only capture the beauty of the model, but also the beauty of the surroundings.
Nigel revealed tips to aspiring models and photographers on PopSugar TV, whilst also giving quick demonstrations. These tips included:

  • ·         Be yourself. Nigel says, “If you’re a goth, be a goth, If you’re a punk, be a punk, because there is nothing more beautiful than who you are.”

  • ·         Be Spontaneous. Nigel says, “Spontaneity is very useful when you’re trying to take a picture. As a model you don’t just want to be that façade, you’ve got to have something that is going to create spark and it’s the photographer’s job to coax that out of them.”

  • ·         Smile with your eyes. Nigel says, “There is nothing more important than smiling with your eyes, your eyes are the window to your soul and they truly tell the story of who you are.”

  • ·         Don’t put yourself down. Nigel says, “A lot of people think they have a good side and a bad side, but that’s not the case. What you might think is your bad side is what other people might like.”

Well there you have it, some tips from a photographer who has worked all over the world, here at LuxeModels we certainly agree with them!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Controversy over Curvy Mannequins

There has been an inflow of mixed reactions causing internet controversy after a photo was taken of a curvy mannequin in a Swedish retail store called Åhléns. The photo was recently uploaded to Facebook gaining over 50,000 likes and 16,000 shares in just a few days. image was posted on Women's Rights News’ Facebook page with the caption “Store mannequins in Sweden - They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these.” The mannequins were originally understood to be displayed in a Swedish H & M store; however, later reports confirmed that the mannequins were actually in a Swedish store called Åhléns. The Mannequins photographed in the Swedish store are unlike typical mannequins, as they have larger thighs and stomachs than most, which portrays a more realistic body image.

Most mannequins tend to be a US size 4 to 6 and some displays can be as much as six inches taller and six sizes smaller than the average US women. This is far from a realistic representation of society, with the average US woman wearing a size 14. Nearly 70 million American women alone are overweight, which helps to reiterate the unrealistic nature of the mannequins. There have been several reports released that analyse the affects the media can have on how people perceive their body and many people claim we are over exposed to unrealistic expectations of how people should look. It has also been suggested that stores would benefit from using mannequins that look more representative of customers.

There has been previous controversy over shops using unrealistic mannequins. In 2007, companies such as Zara and Mango agreed to replace excessively slim mannequins on in-store displays with size-6 mannequins or bigger after they received several complaints from the Spanish Ministry of Health. Stores now need to carefully consider the size of the mannequins they use. In another case a store used oversized mannequins and a photo later appeared on Reddit and caused many people to suggest the store was promoting obesity. This leaves many stores with the dilemma of ensuring that their mannequins are suitable and not negatively perceived by customers.

This issue of obsession of size has spread throughout the whole fashion and modelling industry. Many industry insiders seem to agree that there is now a serious problem. Beauty standards have become unattainable and some models who are not a size 0 have started to complain about not being able to fit into sample clothes.  The nature of the modelling industry has made it ever more competitive and many aspiring young models have gone to drastic measures to meet new criteria set out by modelling agencies.

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in modelling don’t hesitate to contact Luxe Models.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

What to expect from your first modelling shoot

Luxe Models
Luxe models knows that modelling is a tricky business. A certain set of skills must be owned by a model in order to succeed. The difficulty of working well with a camera is massively underestimated; the best make it look easy, but any model knows it requires a certain talent that not many possess. If you are gearing up for your first modelling shoot, make sure you bear in mind that communication with your photographer is key. Listen to them avidly and you’ll be on the right path. Expect to be taken outside of your comfort zone and always stay confident. Even though it can be nerve racking, remember that you have been booked by them and that they want you.

 Firstly, it is a good idea to get to grips with... your own face! This sounds bizarre, but facial expression is (obviously) very important in modelling. It can be underestimated how much effort it takes to get the exact look the photographer/director wants to go for. Get to know your face in a mirror or in front of a camera with a friend. Practice the way in which you can hold your face to create different expressions. Obviously, we all know the general rules of smiling and frowning (!), but it’s a good idea to master a sultry look, a candid look, a thoughtful look etc. Expect your photographer to ask you to give certain expressions and looks; be prepared to be diverse. 

 Ok, so we’ve covered the face, now it’s time to think about the body. The way in which you hold your body is definitely something you should practice. Your photographer will want you to hold all kinds of different positions. What’s more, you will be surprised at how much effort it takes to look natural. Get used to moving your body in ways you wouldn’t usually do in day to day life. Bend your arms, twist your torso, discover how to make different shapes and what kind of positions flatter certain clothes best.

Finally, all models should expect to be able to work with props. Of course, there will be shoots where you don’t have to use props, but there will be many where you’re expected to work with all manner of things, from food, to sports equipment, to make up, to animals! Practice with anything and everything; use a mirror to get an idea of what you look like when eating, toss a ball and pose at the same time, try draping yourself across a sofa in a few different positions. It really helps if you look comfortable with different props, so practicing is a great way to show your photographer that you’re able to work with anything. 

Luxe Models wishes you the best of luck with your first shoot!

Until next time!