[Originally published in MOXIE ASIA http://moxie.asia)
1. Where to scout for guys? I do not scout for guys at the bars or clubs; I think it comes off as a bit sleazy and a bad excuse to actually be picking them up. I prefer using the internet such as facebook or Instagram. Some other photographers I have spoken to say they have no problem walking up to guys but they seem to rarely become models for me in the end.
2. The Exception to the above is when someone you know at the bar or club introduces you, then it is acceptable. Hence, it’s good to have your work out there so people begin to recognise your work.
3. Name Cards. In the event that you do meet someone at the bar or outside the internet, have some business cards handy. Just pass the guy your card and ask them to contact you. It friendlier, and you hope for the best.
4. The Initial Meeting. Set up an initial meeting to talk in person about the shoot. In the meeting discuss what they are comfortable with shooting. Nude? Semi-nude? Covered? Also, talk about the model release and that they need to sign at the end of the shoot.
5. Sincerity. Be sincere in what you say and do. If you are out there to just meet hotties and using photography as a way of getting into their pants, they will normally see right through it.
6. Be professional, although you are an amateur. The goal of the shoot is to try to get really good images in the way that you imagined it to be. Professionalism when it comes to photographing nudes basically means one thing: NO SEX. So you need to stay away from the thought of getting it on with the model.
7. The Oil-Down. Yes, a bit of baby oil (mineral oil) does wonders on the skin. It is okay to offer the model some help in the application but ask first. There have been instances where the model has preferred to do it by himself. Usually, I oil only the back and help with the legs. Yes, you have to learn to resist yourself.
8. About the oil. The normal versions seem to be better than the light version in my opinion. I don’t prefer organic oils since they tend to be too viscous, and they get absorbed into the skin toofast and you’ll have to reapply (of course, it’s not necessarily a bad thing).
9. Too much excitement. For some guys, they tend to get excited just by the thought of being undress, let alone being nude in front of another guy. Well, this is a good thing and a bad thing. I usually will stop photographing and ask if they want to continue or wait awhile until they calm down.
10. Music helps. Assuming that the shoot is in a studio or home environment, play some music to get you and your model into a good mood. I usually play ambient type music with no vocals.
11. I work alone. I normally do everything from setting up the lights, the backdrop and oil-down. I shoot alone because I find that a helper/assistant a distraction. Unless the model is more experienced, then they might not mind if another person is helping in the room, but I find that I get more of the real person to come out if I’m working alone with him.
12. Process. I start out with clothing, and then progressively remove clothing. It is better this way since it allows you time to warm up and vice-versa.
13. Duration. How long does a shoot take? Normally, a shoot will last between 2 – 4 hours long, depending on how many ideas I have in mind.
14. Experiment with lighting arrangements and don’t be stuck to strobes. Although many professional photographers shy away from tungsten lights, I have found that it is extremely nice for shooting male bodies. A tungsten light and softbox were all I needed for the majority of shoots I did.
15. Keep moving. For me, I prefer it when the model is constantly moving during the shoot. The movements are not wild and erratic, but small. They are small shifts in the stance, their head direction and position of their hands and legs. Professional models are usually very good at this, although I have seen some become really awkward when they have to pose nude. It’s a challenge.
16. Talk to your model. I have always thought that the best shoots were more like a dance than a conversation. The dance or synergy is between you and the model, an exchange of giving and receiving. What do you talk about? Literally, anything that comes to your mind, but usually, we are talking about the shoot and meanwhile, I am directing the guy at the same time.
17. Follow up. After the shoot has finished and you have processed (post production) the images, you should follow up with sending him the photographs as outlined in your agreement. (See Part 1 ).
Sometimes, I have very little idea of how I am going to approach the shoot. I have a very general idea of how things will go. I do not usually work according to a theme. The element of surprise is rather more interesting.
Finally, have fun and enjoy the shooting.
The Asian Male Project
Norm Yip Photography