26 November 2020 (Model Photography)

On 26th November 2020 we had our first virtual speaker of the year. Les Duff from Midlothian Camera Club joined our Zoom meeting to talk about his model photography. Les has had 40 years of experience in photography. He explained how he had got started in model photography, helping out a family member with a photoshoot and giving out business cards. Les now finds work with the aid of the following modelling and portfolio sites:

You can join these sites as a photographer or a model and describe the kind of work you are looking for. The site then shows you models or photographers who fit the criteria you are looking for. To join a site you need to submit a portfolio of images which meet the site’s standards. Les also showed us his own personal web sites:

Les likes landscape photography and prefers to take his shots outdoors. He showed us a variety of different shots taken in scenic locations such as Longniddry Bents, Hailes Castle and Colinton Dell. Les’ shots varied from fashion photography to nude, with nude being the most difficult to get right. Les prefers to do only minimal processing on each shot, preferring to get each shot right in camera. He will correct the white balance and levels but prefers not to apply a skin softening filter unless specifically requested. Most of Les’ outdoor shots are lit naturally, but he will use a reflector or fill-in flash to lighten shadows. Les uses prime lenses for the best quality (85mm for portraits and 45mm for whole body shots) and carries two camera bodies so he doesn’t waste time changing lenses. The best shots are usually taken looking horizontally at the model (Les often goes down on one knee to get the best angle). Shots looking up or down tend to be less flattering.

Les also showed us some of his indoor studio work. These have an entirely different feel from the outdoor shots: plain backgrounds and softer lighting. Les normally uses two softbox lights either side of the model to produce the soft lighting, but he also uses vertical strip lights to cast shadows and emphasise body contours. Occasionally he will recreate outdoor conditions indoors by (for example) using a single spotlight to simulate the beam cast by a street light.

Thank you to Les for visiting us, showing us your work and answering our questions.