Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Building A Model's Portfolio (From Behind the Lens)


A model's portfolio is an integral part of the fashion and commercial world. It's the thing that best represents your asset. The portfolio can be considered a model's resume or representative. Nevertheless its a highly underrated part of the Jamaican commercial and fashion scene.  The commercial an fashion scene to some degree focuses namely on the end production value and mostly neglect the selection process as it relates to talent section. It's almost like picking apples from a tree that has never been planted. 

Within my years as a commercial and fashion photographer I have noted that quite often talents get selected with little or no images shared and if pictures are shared then the images are of such poor quality that it's quite easy to assume they were pulled from Facebook or other social media pages. Images are frequently not professionally captured and are quite often dark, grainy, fuzzy, over exposed with the exception of a few cases. Remember folks this is a model's resume! would you send a badly printed resume that can hardly be read for a prospected job? 

My intention in this article is to help models to think about the importance of their image and to give some clarity to how one achieves the best images to represent themselves.  It is an investment of time, mind and money that will pay off in the long run.

These are some pointers I would like you to consider for achieving the best portfolio results for representing your image. 

 1. Get familiar with the work of the photographers you are considering to shoot with. Do not work with a photographer based on hear say alone. Always make it a priority to see the photographer's portfolio; preferably a website, blog, pdf, facebook fan page etc. View and compare their works to other photographers in the local and, more so, international scenes. This act will give you a good idea of how good the prospected photographers are. 

2. Research for the image you would like for you - If you are aware of what image you desire then it is much easier to find the photographer that can deliver it. Styling will be clearer and make-up will be spot on. Research changes everything, it even helps you to be more comfortable in front of the lens. 
Research is simple, just look at the trends and see what suits your style. Also you should visit model management sites, view their models and save images that appeal to your sensibility, the market and that adds dynamics to your look. 

3. Meet the photographer in person to discuss your shoot before the actual shoot date. Meeting place may vary, as it could be by the photographers studio, office or a coffee shop etc. Consider skype or Google Hangout if you can't meet in person before the shoot date.  Give a clear explanation of what images you desire from the shoot. When all is made clear, the shoot must be booked with email confirmations given on both ends. Payment does not have to be in the form of money as a photographer may request to use your images for his/her portfolio or he may like your look for a project he/she is working on and will offer to trade services.  

4. Secure a good makeup artist for your shoot. If you don't have enough money to secure a top makeup artist then work with the makeup artist assistant or trainee. Photographers sometimes have their own makeup artist or knows someone who may fit your budget or will want to trade images for their services. Or better yet, if you are no-budget model, spend some quality time on youtube for make-up channels. You'd be surprise what you can learn. 

5. If your sense of style is average or below then consider working with a stylist. The photographer should be able to recommend one or a few for your consideration. Here's another option - just find a friend who has style and is your fit that could help with that aspect. Whatever you do, please understand that if your outfits are not good then your shoot falls apart. Get the styling figured out.

6. Practice your poses -  I've never come across a model who doesn't do the 'Practice in the mirror'poses. That always works. Practice your poses, facial expressions and mood. Look at different magazines and model management websites and practice your pose.

7. Things to know before the shoot - 
(a) Shave your arms and legs if you're a female or a male with unattractive body hair. As a photographer that's one of the hardest things to edit and retouch and sometimes its just not possible to edit and it spoils the shot. Just shave or wax, it's easier for everyone!
(b) Make sure to get plenty of rest before the day of the shoot because sleep reduces dark circles and bags under the eyes and also helps you to remain focus and less agitated. 
(c) Have your nails manicured 

8. Buy a professional portfolio - Professional model portfolios are sold online for between $20-$35 dollars. They are also sold in major art supply stores here in Jamaica. Consider a 9x12 inch portfolio and 8x10 prints. Please print all photos on photo paper, avoid all glossy paper. You may use a photo lab or a photo printer but print on semi matte or matte surfaces or just plain laser paper! 

So models, I hope I was able to help. Now, have a great and fun-filled shoot and watch your portfolio come together!

The following images represent some model portfolios I have done:











Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saint International's Tsheca White easily one of my favorite models

Way Back in March, 2011 Tsheca White came in third place in the Saint International Fashion  Face of  the Caribbean competition. It was a remarkable finish from a competitive  batch of almost 50 finalists from Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grand Cayman. Fastforward to 2013 and Tsheca is now a fierce force to be seen in the industry. She is now signed to Storm Models and has walked a number of runway shows such as Fendi, John Galliano, Missioni, Christopher Kane and so on.

The images below were shot at the beginning of 2013. It  was an awesome experience working with her as her coach and Agent Dewight Peters who directed her every move. Though Tsheca was fairly new to the scene, she owned the frames as if she'd been in front of the camera for eons.  She owned and occupied every frame as though she knew it was hers and hers alone to be in and she's absolutely Stunning! 

Retouching was a breeze because she has the most amazing skin texture and tonality.
Lighting was far too easy as I only used a two light setup. This lighting approach was chosen because of the amazing bone structure that Tsheca has and I figured that shadows were needed to highlight her features. For you, gear heads like myself I've put a list of equipment used with a link to their description at the end of the post. 

Definitely looking forward to working with her some time in the future.


The equipment used to shoot these images are:
Camera - Nikon D800 -
 Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 -
Lighting - Profoto D1 air 500 -

Keep on Shooting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Play Ground

Hello Everyone its been a while....
Its a new year and I wish for you all God's richest blessings.
Expect a lot this year from Marvin Bartley Photography, from bi-monthly posts to video blogs and exciting gear reviews!

In the meanwhile I'm quite elated to show my most recent publication in UCE Magazine Armageddon issue. 'The Playground' was completed by the team consisting of the following people:

Dexter Pottinger - Styling & Makeup
Marvin Bartley - Photography and retouching
Taj Francis - Photo Manipulation
Robert Harriott - Photo Assistant
Racquel Smith - D1 Models
Danielle Lowe - Model

Images can also be seen at the National Gallery of Jamaica current showing of the Biennale exhibition.

Hope you enjoy & please feel free to share with everyone!

We appreciate your support and wish you the Best for 2013.