Photography Q&A: Tripods & Models


Q. Do I use a tripod for shooting live models?-from an apparel retailer
You’re going to have to hold the camera vertical and move your body up and down to get the shot. If you used a tripod for this type of shooting it would take forever to get one shot and way too much work.  Your Nikon D300 and lens will make the job very easy.tripod
Q. When do I use a tripod?-from an apparel retailer
You will definitely want to shoot live models WITHOUT using a tripod.  You’ll quickly get the hang of it once you do it. You will use a tripod shooting accessories like footwear, jewelry, handbags, etc. because you will probably drop the shutter speed so low you’ll need a tripod to hold the camera steady.  I never used a flash for these items, which is why the shutter speed is so low.  I like the natural light and soft shadows created by the lights you buys and set up along side the table.
Q. What kind of models do I look for?-from an apparel retailer
Here are few tips on models that I learned the hard way:

  • No Visible Tattoos or Piercings – Put that requirement in the casting call notice and that the model will be inspected.  I didn’t want the staff wasting their time removing all the piercings and tattoo’s in Photoshop.  Ugh!  Remember, you’re going to be shooting tank tops, shorts, dresses jeans, swim suits, etc., so even little ankle, wrist or belly tattoos is a problem.  Twenty-five earrings in and around their ears are a problem as well.   Nobody gets a tattoo or a piercing because they want to keep it hidden.
  • Pretty Girls and Fashion Models are Two Different Things – Every pretty girl thinks that she can be a model.  That’s because everyone for as long as she can remember has told her that she should be a model.  Have you ever noticed that some women are drop dead gorgeous in person and then take a lousy picture?  And then, other women look like plain Jane’s but look incredible on camera.  It’s all in the features.  Some women have masculine features (muscular necks, strong jawbones, short forehead, and other hard features) while others have feminine features (high forehead, small chin, small nose, a shorter narrow jaw, high cheekbones.)  Both are beautiful but one is a model while the other is not.  Stick with small feminine features when you choose a model and don’t immediately discard a candidate when she doesn’t immediately turn your head when you see her.
Great fashion model!
Beautiful but not a model
  • No Breast Implants on Fashion Models!  Implants add weight and a distracting focus to models and the images are not about that, and that’s probably not what kind of store you are as well.  Unless you’re a lingerie store, implants are not good for fashion photography.  Tall, skinny and flat is perfect for the job at hand if you can find that look, and she’s out there.  Here’s a great model that knows how to be a model with well-done makeup and beautiful photography. This store/photographer does a really nice job with the images and styling the shots with accessories and with practice, you will get this good, too.


  • Shooting Jewelry – When you have clothing to shoot, style the shots with the models wearing the jewelry like the images above and then when you shoot the jewelry, use those images as “other view” images to show the viewer how to wear the jewelry item.  You kill two birds with one stone here.  This is also why it’s nice to turn a staff worker into your assistant who can help you style the shots and keep track of all this stuff.

Remember the goal:  You want your customers to buy the products because they want the outfit to look just as good on them as it does on the model.
For more Photography Q & A, check back often as we will be featuring common questions that we hear regarding photography along with responses by one of our expert photographers.


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