Tempe12 is well-known in Arizona for their annual calendar release that features the 12 hottest girls from Arizona State University. The calendar comes out in the early part of the fall semester and people (um, male students) line up to check out the coupons for campus eateries, or maybe it's the photo spreads and fold-up poster!
Considering ASU is one of the largest schools in the country and auditions for the calendar last all year, one could say that the 12 featured girls are the hottest women on campus and that designation is what makes being a Tempe12 is a pretty big deal. I can imagine that attendance for classes that have Tempe12 girls in them shoots up for a few weeks when the calendar is released or maybe grades fall for lack of concentration!
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to film behind-the-scenes video of the 2013-14 Tempe12 Calendar Shoot. Not a bad gig! What most people don't realize is that these shoots are HUGE productions that not only take a lot of time to plan but it's a lot of work once the 3-day shoot begins. Million dollar mansions, teams of hair and makeup artists, racks of bikinis, lingerie and ASU clothing, a pack of photographers, rooms full of equipment and of course the 12 girls must be scheduled and present.
Once the girls are out of hair and makeup, they rotate through various photographers and locations. It's very frantic as each girl is expected to get through at least eight outfits during the day and with 12 girls to rotate through 3-4 photographers, there's a lot of running around and time management. Watching the photographers pick their spots in the house is quite interesting, some like to use lights while others prefer natural settings. The girls seem to adjust quite easily and enjoy being a star for the day.
Most of the girls have never modeled before but they all seem to possess that natural ability to pose and look great on camera. The photographers direct their movements and looks; from the way they should smile, to where to rest their hands, feet, legs or even hair. It's a complicated process that all comes together when the camera starts clicking and in the end amazing photos are captured.
The girls this year might just be the hottest young women to be called Tempe12. From girls-next-door to fitness buffs to natural beauties (although most are, um, enhanced) this group was just fantastic. Great attitudes, lots of energy and in between texting, facebooking and tweeting -- there were some amazing photos and video captured over the 3 day weekend! Check out Tempe12 here.
Filming half-naked models in a public park is a lot of fun but also a little bit worrisome. Getting caught or attracting uninvited onlookers is always a concern.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of working with January's Playboy Cybergirl of the Month, Dani Mathers. Dani is a bubbly, intelligent brunette who is very comfortable with her body and is a natural on camera. All of this makes for a wonderful shoot as you simply leave the camera on and record all of Dani's actions, quirky comments, funny moments and ensued craziness that happens when filming a model in lingerie or sometimes less than that in a public park.
We had a great crew along which made the shoot run smoothly as photographer mKuta brought along MUA LaVern Castillo and her assistant. They attended to Dani and made sure she was comfortable (it was in the low 50's and rainy), hair and makeup were perfect and wardrobe fit the needs of the particular shots that Mark needed.
Dani's outfits in our two-hour shoot ranged from lacy lingerie to a leather jacket with no bra to short shorts and a pink top. Hikers and passerby's were frequent so covering Dani up from time-to-time made the somewhat awkward situation a bit more comfortable. But there is something a bit exhilarating and fun when you are in a public setting trying to capture sexy images and video while remaining out of view.
By the end of the shoot, Mark had his images, I had about 16gb of footage which I turned into a pretty cool, behind-the-scenes video and Dani flew back to LA, happy to be out of the cold and to have completed another successful shoot. (always important to obey all laws in public places)
Finding great locations for a model shoot is never easy. Shooting in mansions equipped with swimming pools, interesting architecture, modern colors and for a price one can afford is probably the most difficult part in planning a model shoot. Other options are studios, outdoor parks, industrial areas and hotels.
Mansions typically cost put up to $2000 per day for rental use which eats up most or all of your budget. Studios run $400 to $800 per day unless you only need a small space, then it's more like $200 to $400. Parks are free but usually require permits from the city. Industrial backdrops can be cool but you run the risk of being kicked out at any given time and hotel rooms can work as well, but can be expensive in the high seasons.
Not surprisingly, there are countless number of guys who are rich and own nice homes who will let you shoot for free as long as they either can watch or sometimes even shoot the models themselves. See blog #2 below…lol! We have been at mansions before where the homeowner treats a model shoot like a football party and invites all of his friends over to drink beer and watch girls in bikinis walk by. Not a great atmosphere for a professional shoot.
Studios are nice and provide a unique background but you are limited to white walls and lots of props to spice of your shoot. And the nicer studios usually charge as much or similar to the mansions. However, they usually provide an employee on the property which is nice to have so the models feel more comfortable, creates a more business-like atmosphere. Parks rarely work when you are shooting bikini or lingerie-style content. Too many onlookers and cities usually don't want that in their public places.
We just shot this past weekend in a luxury hotel in Scottsdale. We thought about just booking a room (summer rates make it affordable) but we didn't want to "get caught" so we contacted their general manager and it turns out they receive requests like this all the time. So we booked an "official" room and had an awesome shoot! The hotel even brought a special care package to our room thanking us for the business. As long as you are not shooting porn, they seem to be all for it as it gives them income during the slower months.
The best option is to find a large home or mansion and trade-off, maybe shoot some promo videos for the homeowner's business or find a reasonable rate that you can afford and assure the homeowner you will be back with more business. Even a day rate of $300 to $500 helps pay their AC bill for the month so it usually works out for both parties. As the producer, you have to be very professional, leave the property in the same condition as you arrived and it helps to have company insurance.
So once you have the location selected, then you just have to line up your models and crew and set the date for your shoot. And then pray the models all show up!
Guys With Cameras - and that's not a good thing! One of the most common phrases you will hear when working with models or a on photo shoot is the acronym, “GWC” which stands for “Guys With Cameras.” Basically, this title describes guys who have no professional skills or a business relating to models and just want to shoot half-naked or naked girls ... yes, these guys exist and are everywhere!
With today’s technology which make cameras so affordable, websites like Craigslist or Model Mayhem and models who are desperate for jobs that pay or provide images, it’s a dangerous combination that leads to many negative experiences for models -- much to the joy of GWC’s across the country.
It’s as simple as this. Buy a camera. Post an ad on Craigslist or Model Mayhem saying something like this, “Looking for hot models 18+ to build my portfolio. Will trade for images (TFP or TFCD is the common name for this which means no pay but will give images to the model when the shoot is over)” and then wait for all the replies to come in.
Models reply because they either don’t know any better or they are just desperate for new images. Some GWC’s will state upfront that they want models who are willing to do nude work while others will just wait until they have you in a studio or at a remote location and then ask a model to take her top off. Scary! And since most of these guys have no skills, the shoot itself will be awkward, amateur, unprofessional and a waste of time.
I attended an event (not knowing what it was) a few years back called a “shootout” which is basically where an organizer lines up 10-20 models at a private location and then invites photographers to attend for anywhere from $300 to $500 each. It’s supposed to be an environment where the photographers learn how to shoot glamour or girls in various settings but it usually turns into a bit of a GWC orgy. Girls are pretty much naked with 20 guys following them around snapping away. I even saw one guy with a wind up, disposable, camera from Walgreens. Hmmmm.
On GWC shoots, the photographer (using that term loosely) typically doesn’t have lights or if he does, doesn’t know how to properly use them, mumbles, has sweaty hands and never shows the model any of the images after the shoot but then promises to email them to the model when he gets home, but never actually does because he’s busy doing something else (that we won’t say but you can guess).
So how do you avoid a GWC? Easy. Check their references. Do they have a website? Can you see their portfolio to see how their images look? Contact models they have worked with. And just be smart about it. But to make my point as I close this article, here are actual ads from Craigslist that were in the Phoenix area June 3, 2012.FEMALES 18+ NEEDED FOR PHOTO OR VIDEO WORK - photos start at $150 per hour. video work starts at $250 per hour. you will NOT be required to sign a model release form as this material is just for myself and will never be seen by anybody...ever. please send photos and lets set something up. thanks
LOOKING FOR ATTRACTIVE FEMALES - Im looking to an attractive female between ages 18-30. I'll just require your company for an hour or two. Email me with a pic, and info, and for details.
FEMALE BIKINI MODEL NEEDED - It's for a private gig today. Just hang out and look pretty. Please reply with at least one picture and if possible a number. 18+to 29, no race preference
As I said, it’s a GWC orgy out there and that’s not a good thing!
Flaky Models - I hope that byline caught your attention. While it may be a slight exaggeration, it's sadly not too far from the truth as the #1 excuse models give to cancel or not show up to a shoot is either a sick relative or sometimes a dead one. After doing this for several years, I could write a book on the crazy excuses I have heard over the years from models who I had booked for a shoot but then cancel. And when I say cancel, I don't mean 48 hours in advance or the day before a shoot, that would be professional and well-received. No, most models who flake on a shoot will text you in the middle of the night when your phone is off so that when you wake up you are greeted by their "bad news" but it's too late to do anything about it.
I almost have an anxiety attack turning my phone on the morning of a shoot. And I have heard everything from, "Hey, I am so sorry, but my grandpa fell last night and I am the only family in town so I have to take him to the hospital and I can't make the shoot." to the sudden strep throat, "Hi, I can't make it tomorrow because I am sick in bed with strep throat, I can barely talk and my doctor said I better stay in bed today." to the most remorse of all excuses, "My uncle was in an accident and passed away last night and I am flying on a red-eye to Omaha for the funeral."
I even had one model who used the "grandparent dying" excuse twice as I think she forgot she already used that one with me. And on another occasion, I was so fed up, I started asking whether they were making this up or not, and the model said she would send a copy of the death certificate. Ouch. That one made me think a bit about whether maybe I was being a bit too pessimistic and not allowing for the some of these excuses to possibly be true, but from talking with other photographers and videographers, I have a feeling that there must be a book or online site somewhere with "great excuses" for flaky models.
Now you may be asking, "So what's the big deal?" if a model cancels. Shoots cost a lot of money and there are some tangible aspects of a shoot that are prepaid or where you are paying money out whether the models show up or not. A location like a home or studio costs several hundreds of dollars for the day and you usually have to pay for this in advance or there are no cancellation options as you are taking up a day of their rental. If you hire photographers, videographers and make-up artists, they get paid no matter what the circumstances are. So when a model doesn't show up, it greatly affects your bottom line.
Of course, there are other models who are nothing but professional, show up on time and are a pleasure to work with. But because of the "flake-factor" I usually end up hiring one to two additional models for every shoot just in case I am awaken at 3:30 a.m. with a text about an angry boyfriend, a sudden illness, a broken-down car, a death in the family or perhaps one day, it will truly be that an unsuspecting grandma who gets run over by a reindeer!
Please check back for more blogs by our guest models or our resident anonymous blogger with insights on photo shoots and the model world.