When to Take A Step Back

April 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you follow my bi-weekly posts on a regular basis, you have probably noticed this post has been late.  For this I apologize, but hope the internet will understand as I have needed to do something I have not done in quite some time… Take a step back.

 

A time out.  A breather.  A good week to recollect my thoughts and energy.  A few days to tend to other things that required my attention.

 

It isn’t just artists who are faced with this occasional dilemma.  Our society is one that praises workaholic tendencies.  Relationships die, health suffers, and families fall apart because of the one thing we simultaneously love and hate – work.  Work is our security.  For some of us, it’s our value and self-worth. For the lucky ones, work and life passions are one and the same.

 

Hard work is a wonderful way to live.  Where hard work exists, success, achievement, and new adventures often follow. But when does dedication and motivation cross the line?  When is it time to slow down?   We are often the last ones to see when work has begun to take a toll on our lives.  Today I challenge everyone to carefully evaluate for these warning signs that you may need to take some time to reinvest in yourself.

Photographer: Bjoern Hoppen – www.bjoernhoppen.com – IG: @bjoern_hoppen

Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat

Makeup Artistry: Briana de Bengson – www.beautybybriana.com – IG: @beautybybrianamua

 

  • Your relationships are not the same –

Familial, romantic, platonic – any and all relationships count. Maybe you have not been spending the time with your family that you once did.  Maybe you haven’t had room in your busy calendar for date nights.  Maybe you don’t meet your best friend for Saturday brunch like you used to.   You may be left feeling distant from these once significant people in your life.  It may suddenly hit you that the people who once stood by your side are back where you left them as you journeyed on to something more.

 

  • What was once exciting is now disinteresting –

 

Have you buried yourself in projects, pursuits, and goals that you were very determined to reach?  Did these things once promise you fulfillment and success?  Maybe to a degree they have delivered, but over time they’ve left you feeling empty and alone.  The tasks that once gave you a thrill now require immense focus to complete.  The everyday is no longer stimulating enough for you, and you feel as if you’re sleepwalking throughout the day.

 

  • Your health begins to suffer –

 

You discover new aches and pains you did not notice before.  Your body changes in ways you never would have thought. You can’t sleep through the night no matter how many sheep you count.  Your doctor delivers news you didn’t see coming.   As commonsense as these warning signs are, they are often the last we notice – or give validity to.

We often handle physical symptoms with the “bite the bullet and work harder” mentality.  No one wants to slow down and become less productive.  Our society is based upon mass-production – yielding maximum effort to achieve maximum results.  We will often attribute these physical changes to the fact that we have just been “working hard,” and find such a thing to be of little worry.  That is…until we are faced with a change or test result that is too startling to ignore. But at that point, it is often too late.

Photographer: Bjoern Hoppen – www.bjoernhoppen.com – IG: @bjoern_hoppen

Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat

Makeup Artistry: Briana de Bengson – www.beautybybriana.com – IG: @beautybybrianamua

 

  • You rarely wake up feeling fully rested –

Back to sleep… Maybe you are sleeping non-stop on your days off.  Maybe you are lucky to get four hours each night.  Maybe you sleep a usual amount, but have only nightmares.  Does sleep still leave you with dark circles beneath your eyes?  Do you daydream of the last time you woke feeling restored and ready for your day?  This may be something you need to think about if you are wishing you could repeatedly hit the snooze button.

 

  • Your schedule gets out of control –

You find yourself always asking for a raincheck.  “Something” always comes up.  You can’t say where you are supposed to be tomorrow until you look at your heavily-marked planner.  You find yourself pushing this here and that there to make room for one thing more.  You’ve seriously thought about how you could be two places at once…but haven’t found the solution. In the meantime, you continue to pile more and more to your ever-growing list of commitments.

 

  • Your stress level goes through the ceiling –

 

You may not even know why, but you always seem to be on-edge.  Everywhere you walk, you find yourself looking over your shoulder.  You find yourself in a state of absent-mindedness too often as you worry about other things that you couldn’t leave at work.  You may find yourself in overwhelming panic for no explainable reason.  Or you may be crumbling under the pressure of your six rapidly-approaching deadlines.  For whatever known or unknown reason, you are not yourself.

Photographer: Bjoern Hoppen – www.bjoernhoppen.com – IG: @bjoern_hoppen

Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat

Makeup Artistry: Briana de Bengson – www.beautybybriana.com – IG: @beautybybrianamua

 

These are some of the few yet crucial warning signs that you may need to re-evaluate where you should be spending your time and energy.  I write this from my father’s hospital room.  I myself have been referred to a specialist for treatment of an unexpected test result. My two careers have continued to demand much of my time, and I often feel very overwhelmed balancing my jobs and continuing education.  After much introspective examination and intervention from loved ones, I have decided to reinvest in my family, health, relationships, and overall well-being.  After reading this list you may find yourself in a similar state of realization.

Life is a never-ending quest for happiness, peace, achievement, and overall balance.   There are times for sprinting but there are also times for regaining your strength so you can finish the race.  I encourage every artist, model, photographer, and working professional to see to your own needs so that we can not only reach our destinations, but be well enough to enjoy the view when we get there.

 

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat – Model, RN, & Actress

Print | Runway | Live TV | Short Film

 

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Dropping the Human Prop Mentality

March 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

What is the purpose of a model?  What exact role do we have in the scheme of a photoshoot?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a model as “one who is employed to display clothes or other merchandise,” or “a person or thing that serves as a pattern for an artist.” These are the definitions of commercial and portraiture modeling.  Is that all we are – a “pattern” or “display?”

I rather dislike this more literal perception of my career and passion.  Our job is to showcase the talents, products, and services of others.  We employ the art of showmanship daily.

Some may argue that the model is nothing more than a human prop.  The living mannequin selling the clothing.  The silent subject for the portrait photographer.  In some cases this type of modeling is appropriate, but have you ever considered what a photoshoot can become when the model takes a more active role?

One of my passions is closing the distance between the spotlight and the place behind the camera.  I firmly believe that successful photos are achieved when everyone works together – models included. Every strong team requires not only a leader, but participation from all members.  Group participation can affect the outcome of a photo just as much as a team’s outcome in a tournament.  The more personal involvement, the better…particularly when it comes to art.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Co-Producer: Chanel Fernandez – IG: @chanel_fernandez_art
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Val Mancini – IG: @val.mancini
Custom Gown by Krustallos Couture  – www.krustalloscouture.com – IG: @krustalloscouture       

 

In what ways does it serve the photoshoot when the model takes a more active role?  The answer may vary depending on the type of shoot. However, the most universal result of greater talent involvement will often be a more genuine photo.  Guidance is important to lead the model in the direction of the desired vision but commanding too much runs the risk of making the model lose him/herself.  The result of this overdirection is frequently a lifeless photo.

From a photographer’s perspective, involving your model from the very beginning can set the shoot up for success from the start.  Immediately you can ensure that the creative vision is meaningful to them and that a genuine emotion will be exuded on-set.  The fastest route to a lacking photo is by leaving your talent uninformed.  To achieve the desired look, your subject must understand the concept of the shoot.  To take this one step further you can ensure your talent is also passionate about it, greatly increasing your likelihood of exceptional shots.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Kim Jefcoat – www.gracewithfire.com – IG: @gracewithfirephoto
Creative Director, Hair Styling, & Makeup Artistry by Anna Marie Christmas – www.sidtenterprises.com – IG: @anna_marie_christmas
Brown Python Handbag: Giovanna Barrios – www.giovannabarrios.com – IG: @giovanna.barrios
Lipstick: Inari Liquid Matte in “Deep Coral” by Viospa and Kha Kim Ross

 

A skillful model will be familiar with their own strengths and weaknesses.  This is crucial when bringing a portrait or ad campaign to life!  If they understand the desired effect of the photo, they can help take the final scene there. Work with them to decide how they can best present the product. Help them use their own voice as they tell the image’s silent story.  Encourage your talent to let their strengths shine and be there to capture it on camera.

Allowing your talent to put their own personal twist on a pose can add immense unphotoshopped magic to the frame.  Any organic movement produces a genuine flair to the capture that is unmatched by any instructed laugh or smile.  Guide your model to a pose for one frame, then encourage them to move/shift as it feels natural to them.  You may be surprised at what you catch with your lens.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Eric Kinney – www.erickinneyphotography.com – IG: @ekinneymedia
Wedding Gowns: “Blysse” & “Brielle” by Yong Lin Bridal – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonlinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Adela Hittell – IG: @adelahjax
Custom Flower Wall by Iris Ruz – IG: @iris_secret_garden

 

For all of my fellow colleagues that work in the spotlight, I want to encourage you not to adopt the “stand and smile” mentality.  Our job is to be what every unique client wants, but not to the point we are no longer ourselves. I challenge you to make every role, shot, and pose personal to you. The part you play in image production is far more complex than simply looking nice.  Understand that for the moments the cameras are clicking you are selling a fantasy.  Whether the shoot is for portrait or commercial purposes, you must make your viewers believe the scene they see.  The best way to do this is to believe it yourself – or better yet, make it somewhat real. Never be afraid to try what comes naturally.  Never hesitate to ask questions if you feel your vision of the project is unclear.  Most importantly, understand the power of working with your photographer.

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat

Print | Runway | Short Film

www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images

Instagram: @ashleybeloat      

 

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Being Your Own Agent

February 17, 2018 | 4 Comments

Many believe the life of a model to be an effortless, never-ending game of real life dress up. This could not be further from the case.  Models invest time, money, and effort in their appearance, casting call attendance, and bookings.  This alone is enough to be a full-time job!  But what happens when they don’t have an agency on their side pulling the strings?  What if they don’t have somebody securing the next booking, or giving information for the next casting call?  What if they are their own marketer and manager?

What is it like when a model is their own agent?

This is a question I can answer from my own personal experience.  Every shoot, runway show, commercial, and short film booking I have ever received has been secured on my own.  I am my own manager, marketer, branding strategist, etc. What exactly must a model do to get work on their own?  I can tell you what I did to get started, and what I do to continue growing.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Ina Pandora – www.inapandora.com – IG: @inapandoraphotography
Swarovski Gown by Inna Rudenko – www.innasdesigns.com – IG: @innasdesigns
Makeup Artistry and Headpiece: Val Mancini – @val.mancini
The initial goal of any model should be constructing a strong portfolio.  This can be accomplished by either paying photographers for the sessions you want, or by booking shoots “time for print” (offering your services as a model in exchange for pictures).  This may be tricky, as the model just starting out has no experience.  There are often few photographers willing to do a time for print session with an inexperienced model, thus it requires persistence and patience to find the ones that will.

For me, building a portfolio was an extensive process.  It meant waking up early in the morning and reaching out to photographers with styles I admired.  I sent out many messages introducing myself, confessing what I liked about their work, and offering my services as a model.  I made sure to present the opportunity as much for their own portfolio expansion as it was for mine.  I remember receiving many rejections – if I was lucky to receive a response at all.  I was also asked many times if I would consider doing nude, bikini, or lingerie work. Many a person masquerading as a photographer will prey upon young girls trying to make it in the industry, promising them that this sort of work is the way to get started.  I can assure you…it isn’t.  It’s important to know this from the early stage in the game, and steer clear of such “opportunities.”

The true key to building a portfolio is patience and wisdom.  Never sacrifice who you are or what you want to be associated with for the sake of a few photos. Not only can this sell yourself short, but it can also be very dangerous for your personal – and professional – future.  Which brings us to my next point…

Branding; as a model you must have something that sets you apart from the others.  There must be something about your look that is unique.  There should be something about the type of work you do that catches the eye.  You must stand out, but most importantly…you must be you.  Authenticity is extremely captivating, and it cannot be photoshopped.  The most successful models are mindful to make every photo exude something that only they can bring to the table.

Every booking a model accepts will affect their future opportunities.  Every job will lead further in another direction.  Beginning models should act as if every photographer, company, and brand is watching.  Models should always be asking themselves; would these clients want them representing a product or brand based on the work they are currently producing?  Talent is selected fo bookings based on what their current work exudes. Therefor it’s imperative that the up and coming model is mindful of they want their brand to say about them.  It’s a strong mindset to treat every job as only a step in the overall journey. Work that leads to the desired final destination is the work that should be accepted. Deviation from this path can be confusing to an audience and harmful for a model’s existing brand, so booking should be chosen wisely.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Jacqueline Roche – www.jacquelineroche.co

Let’s say a model builds his/her portfolio and defines their brand… If an agency isn’t where they desire to go with their work, what next?  How do they continue to find work and keep an active presence in the industry?

-Self-Promotion:

On average, I spend at least 1-2 hours every morning with marketing, self-promotion, and responding to messages. This is the first step to keeping any name present in a circle of talent. When you are your own manager, nobody will promote your work for you. Models in this position need to take an active role in showcasing their work to the best of their ability.

One of my strategies is striving to post a daily picture on my pages.  Not a selfie of any kind, but a real, professionally-taken photo.  I take great care in captioning each one and do my best to share it in as many circles as possible. This alone has yielded me quite a few shoot opportunities.

-Job Hunting:

Typically, shoot inquiries are sent for styles of work a model already exhibits in their portfolio.  If an unrepresented model is looking to expand their horizons and try new things, very rarely will the job simply fall into their lap.  This means that to continue growing and pushing their boundaries, they must be vigilant to make new connections and seek out different casting calls.

I respond to any casting calls I locate that spark my excitement.  I send many messages to new professionals and brands I wish to work for.  Searching for new opportunities is an active process.  I am always seeking out new ways to push myself in front of the camera.  This approach has kept me from remaining stagnant in the work I produce.

-Planning

Being your own manager puts you in the driver’s seat – and modeling is no exception.  Not only must the independent model seek out new opportunities, they will also have a bigger say in how these opportunities are executed. Photographers may give more artistic freedom when planning a shoot. I am often given the choice of shoot location, concept, wardrobe, posing style, and/or hair and makeup styling.  In many of my photoshoots, my role has extended beyond being the prop in front of the camera.

Taking such an active role has given me knowledge of photography, lighting setups, garment construction, fabric choices, color coordination, storytelling, and more.  I’m often blessed with the chance to select what story is told in the final frames and am familiar with the creative journey it takes to do so.  I will spend much time on messages discussing these details and embarking on many prop-hunting errands. This sort of role is not for everyone but is a key part of working as an unrepresented model.


Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Wardrobe Stylist: Brittany Jones
Makeup Artistry: Nicki Marie – IG: @nickimariemua

This concludes my brief summary of what it’s like to be your own agent in the modeling world.  This is my modeling life (thus far) in a nutshell. Is there more you would like to know?  Let me know in the comments below if I should write a part two about this lifestyle.

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat

Print | Runway | Short Film

www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

 

 

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Eating Like A Model

February 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

“How do models stay so skinny?!”  Thankfully we now live in a society were the modeling world is becoming more diverse.  We now have a multitude of body types walking the runways and various physiques gracing magazine covers.  However, the question is still often asked; “How exactly does a model eat?” The answer is different for everyone, but today I am going to give you mine.  This week on Model Focus is all about what I eat as a model.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Angelica Bosch Photography – www.facebook.com/angelicaboschphoto – IG: angelicabosch_

 

Many of you may not know that I am a full-time registered nurse. While I’m certainly not a nutrition expert, my medical knowledge and studies have influenced the way I eat. I view food as an indulgence, but also a way to strategically fuel your body for the unique needs you have as an individual.

The first thing you must realize, is that everyone expends energy at different rates.  Everyone participates in different activities and leads a unique lifestyle.  Our workout habits, daily exercise, and sleep schedules are all different – and therefore our caloric needs will always be unique to ourselves.

A good starting point to decipher your ideal amount of calorie consumption is by calculating your basal metabolic rate – the amount of calories you burn in a typical day just by being alive. This would be the number of calories you would burn if you were to do nothing but sit on the couch and breathe for a full 24 hours.  Your calorie requirements would increase if you were to work a shift in an active job, go for a run, hit the gym, clean your house, or simply spend the day running lots of errands.

Ready for some math?  Here you go…

 

For Women

 

Basal Metabolic Rate = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

 

 

For Men

 

Basal Metabolic Rate = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

 

 

This is my guide when deciding how much I should eat. Consuming less than this total will result in weight loss (as well as hormone fluctuations, but let’s keep it simple), while consuming more will require me to be more physically active in order to refrain from weight gain.  A good model will need to be conscious of these numbers to stay on top of maintaining his/her physique.

Just as crucial as caloric consumption is the type of calories you are consuming. Your body actually has a preference for the way your foods are metabolized, did you know that? Carbohydrates are the first to be processed. Your body can break them down and store away the extra very efficiently.  That is why you can eat a large helping of pasta, rice, or bread and feel hungry a shockingly short period later.

Proteins are the next to be broken down.  If you aren’t fueling your body with food and there are no carbohydrates available to metabolize, guess where these proteins come from?  Your existing muscle.  Proteins are the building blocks that compose muscle, and consuming extra/too little will affect how much is given/pulled from your existing muscle.  So just be mindful that by fasting, you may be actively losing muscle tone as your body pulls from your protein reserves. It is also crucial to provide ample protein for rebuilding if you are trying to gain muscle and achieve a certain physique.

The body’s least efficient energy source is – you guessed it – fats.  Calories from fats are typically stored away in your body’s reserves for use as a last resort (after your carbohydrates and proteins are used up).  This is why that slice of cake and that serving of your favorite fried food may go straight to your hips – your body doesn’t break the fat down as efficiently and stores it away.

But why does all of this matter to a model?  Knowing the science of how food is broken down will help you understand how to strategically fuel your body and give if precisely what it needs with minimal weight fluctuations.  Models need to remain a consistent dress size, maintain specific measurements, and maintain a consistent muscle tone.  Fluctuations are expected to be minimal and too slight to notice. This is especially true if you want to work with designers.  Fittings are kept to a minimum and often nonexistent, many times I have simply shown up to a shoot or a fashion show and tried on my garment for the first time right before walking the runway or stepping in front of the camera.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Josie Brooks – www.josiebrooksphotography.com – IG: @josiebrooksphotography
Venue: Haus 820 – www.haus820.com – IG: @haus820
Lipstick: Inari Liquid Matte Lipstick in Scarlet Red by Khanh Vio Spa & Kha Kim Ross – www.facebook.com/viospakhanh
So what do I eat?  The answer is different for different days. I have different requirements for the days I work a 12-14 hour shift at the hospital versus a day at a fashion show or shoot.

For my days that I work as a nurse, I am expected to be on my feet and taking care of patients for at least 12 hours. My energy needs fluctuate based on my patient load, what unit of the hospital I am sent to, and the specific needs of my patients.  I will almost always start the day off with a breakfast of fruit (navel oranges or apples are my favorite) paired with a whole grain carbohydrate or protein.  My carbohydrate of choice is usually multigrain toast without butter or cheerios without milk.  My proteins are typically salmon, tilapia, or chicken.  I make the choice between carbs and protein based on how quickly I need to get moving. Since carbohydrates are broken down faster than proteins, I know this will give me the quicker boost of energy if I am running late, whereas if I wake up extra early I know to opt for protein that will keep me fuller longer.

At lunchtime for my nursing days I will usually have a large salad with baby spinach, iceberg lettuce mix, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, and my one weakness…feta cheese. I always omit the dressing as I would rather have those calories in the form of cheese.  This meal provides me with fiber and vitamins of the greens to keep me full.  The chicken gives me protein to replenish my muscles after pushing hospital beds, lifting patients, and the miles of walking I do in a typical shift.  The fats from the cheese keep my stomach satisfied and are my main indulgence for the day. If I am still full from my breakfast of protein and feel in the mood for something lighter, I will usually choose fat-free Greek yogurt instead.  This provides a good combination of carbohydrates for fast energy and protein for muscle replenishing.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat

Photographer & Makeup Artist: Ina Pandora – www.inapandora.com – IG: @inapandoraphotography & @ina_pandora – Visit her YouTube channel “Ina Pandora” for all of her makeup tutorials and tips.

 

If my day is going to consist of a shoot or a fashion show, my eating habits are a little different… I – like many models – have difficulty posing or walking the runway with food on my stomach.  Having a meal or heavy snack affects posture, balance, focus, and if you are worried about keeping the appearance of a slim waist…confidence.  If you have the luxury of shooting in a studio, you have the ability to shoot at any time of day or night.  However, if your set happens to be outdoors, the typical pattern is to shoot near the time of sunset.

This being said, my modeling mornings always begin with a breakfast that will sustain me for a long time – sometimes up to 14 hours!  I reach for a lean protein (chicken or tilapia), vegetables (mushrooms and/or zucchini), and fruit (apples or oranges).  If I already expect the shoot to run particularly long, I sometimes replace the fruit with fat-free Greek yogurt to give myself some extra protein to last throughout the day and prevent breakdown of my muscles.

Lunch typically does not happen if I am working a shoot or show. My stomach is already too full of butterflies and I often need the flexibility for contorted poses and ease of movement. Because I have eaten a strategic breakfast, this is rarely a problem for me and I often don’t even think about food because I still feel satisfied from my morning meal.

Lastly, dinner… Dinner is the one meal I try to keep constant no matter what day it is.  My final meal of the day I strive to keep consisting of vegetables and fruits only. There is nothing more comforting to me than a large bowl of steamed brussels sprouts or a delicious, spicy broccoli stir fry. I avoid using butter, oils, or fats as these can easily hike up calorie consumption.  Fruit is also the perfect cure for any sweet cravings and serves the double purpose of helping me rehydrate.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Angelica Bosch Photography – www.facebook.com/angelicaboschphoto – IG: angelicabosch_

 

So what do you think?  Is this how you would expect for a model to eat?  Let me know in the comments below and be sure to share your nutrition tips and secrets as well!

-Ashley BeLoat

 

 

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The Fiercest Competitor

January 22, 2018 | 1 Comment

Competition; “an activity done by a number of people or organizations, each of which is trying to do better than all of the others” (Cambridge Online Dictionary).  If you are working in any artistic capacity – and also share this perception of the term “competition” – you have likely come to the chilling realization that the competition is fierce.  In the photography circle everyone is often trying to book the most weddings, work for the most reputable brands, or have their work gracing the most magazine pages in the area.  Models, we frequently check to see who is signed with the most reputable agency, who has participated in the most ads, or who has had the honor of walking the most prestigious runways.  Musicians, do you find yourself competing with other artists to see who sells out their concerts the fastest? Who has the widest fan base? Or how about who gets to perform at the most desirable locations?  Today I want to challenge everyone to adopt an entirely new perception of what competition should be.

The very meaning of “competition” is one organism striving to be better in some way, shape, or form than another.  One being attempting to secure more resources, achieve more things, or become better at something than another.  This is an inalterable meaning of the word, but what if we were to reframe our thinking in this manner…

What if we were to consider our greatest competitor, our fiercest rival, our most threatening opponent…to be our own self?

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – IG: @dan_mahar_imagery
Dress Design: Aziza by Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando
What would be the benefits of molding our perspectives this way?  Some may argue it would cease to motivate us to strive for more, as the field of opponents would dwindle from hundreds – or thousands – to one.  Others may think it would be less satisfying to measure each success.  But I, on the other hand, argue it is the most effective, motivating, and strangely satisfying methods of thinking. If you believe yourself to be the only thing you must continue to exceed, you will never outrun or entirely defeat your competitor. Every day will bring a new weakness you must strengthen, goal to achieve, and unfamiliar realm to explore.

The reason I feel this perspective is crucial in an art-based field, is for the inescapable fact that art is entirely subjective. The goal of art is to be unique and different. Our never-ending task is to create something that has never been created before.  When we begin to chase success by chasing the tails of others, we allow our work to be influenced by the achievements and creative pathways of our rivals.  It’s a maddening game to keep up with — or remain a step ahead of — someone else when you should both be maturing more and more into your own unique selves.  It isn’t impossible to artistically mature in this way, but it is frequently more frustrating and less efficient.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – IG: @dan_mahar_imagery
Dress Design: Aziza by Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

When the only focus is your own work there will always be new limits to push.  There will never be a time you can relax because of surpassing the standard you want to reach. Even if you succeed in exceeding yourself today, you will be given the challenge of doing so again tomorrow.

I want to encourage everyone to never stop wanting to achieve. No matter where you are, strive for more. No matter how many hurdles you’ve jumped, continue raising the bar higher.  And above all else, measure your progress today against where you were yesterday.  Do these things and you will find yourself on the focused road towards personal and professional growth.

 

— Ashley BeLoat

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – IG: @dan_mahar_imagery
Dress Design: Aziza by Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

 

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How to Photograph & Pose in Designer Clothing

January 6, 2018 | 3 Comments

Let’s face it, a major part of portraiture photography is the clothing the subject wears.  Are you looking to expand your portfolio and audience by featuring custom designers?  I certainly always am.  Working with a designer can breathe a whole new life into the photoshoot and help embrace whatever style you are seeking to produce.  But how do you capture the garments in the best way possible?  How do you produce photos that benefit not only your photoshoot, but the designer as well?  This week I’ll tell you how as I share everything that I’ve learned from my experiences posing for designers.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

Let the Clothing be the Star

Whenever working with a designer, my utmost goal is to give the garments the spotlight. While I still want my hair and makeup to be done well, my posing precise, and my expressions captivating, I don’t want them to distract from the dress.  Instead, I want them to embrace and visually harmonize with what I am wearing.  What do I mean by this?  Don’t overpower an elegant white dress with over-the-top colorful makeup.  Don’t attempt an overtly complicated pose that will distract from the beauty of the wardrobe.  It’s okay to have one or two statement pieces join the photo as well – jewelry, flowers, a tasteful pop of color in the makeup — but ideally they should compliment the garments rather than fight for the focus of the photo.

All of this, of course, is provided the designer hasn’t specified how they desire their work to be captured.  Some designers do prefer to have a highly visually stimulating photo to present their work.  I like to err on the side of caution, however, and give the clothing the spotlight however I can.

 

Study the Brand You’re Representing

This is a crucial step when planning your photoshoot.  Take a close look at what the designer seeks to communicate with their brand.  What audience are they seeking to appeal to?  What is their market?  What feeling do they try to embody with their work?  If they have past advertisement photos, study these closely.  I also advise asking the designers these questions personally.  Ask them what they like and dislike about their current advertisements.  Ask if they are trying to rebrand themselves through your photoshoot.  All of these questions will help guide lighting, posing, venue selection, and more.  It will also help ensure that your designer is pleased with the final photos, and hopefully desire to work with you again.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando 

Showcase the Features of the Fashion


                  Look closely to see the unique features of every dress, jacket, blouse, etc.  Does the piece have intricate beading that would glisten beautifully in the light?  Is the neckline high to the neck and begging for an elegant updo?  Are there pockets that would appear absolutely editorial with hands placed nonchalantly inside while creating interesting curvature and triangles through posture? Personally, I’m always a fan of a classic skirt throw when the garment allows (as seen in the first image above).  Look at the things that make every piece unique, and brainstorm ways you can emphasize them with the magic of lighting, angles, posing, styling, and editing.

Don’t Obstruct the View

 

As common knowledge as this may seem, it is easy to forget when in front of the camera.  From a posing perspective I always have to remind myself to provide plenty of frames where my arms remain to the side, providing a clear view of the dress.  I do my best to refrain from holding props in front of myself, crossing my arms in any way, or blocking the view of key features in my ensemble.

From a photographer’s perspective, you should be mindful to capture the entire piece of clothing. It’s okay to capture closeups here and there, but take the time to ensure at least a few photos where the whole article of clothing is in frame.  So many times I have featured clothing or jewelry from a designer or boutique, only to receive images that only show bits and pieces of the items I featured.  This always breaks my heart as it truly isn’t fair to the designers and doesn’t showcase their work in the best way possible.

Choose Your Lighting Wisely

 

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned lighting on Model Focus.  Why?  It is honestly one of the most important factors in producing a quality photo.  Shooting for a designer is no different, if not more so.

Take a look at the fabrics you will be using.  Will you be provided with satin or silk?  Those reflect light beautifully and you can get away with a dimmer, more dramatic setup.  Are you going to use pieces with tulle?  Tulle can have a gorgeous cloud-like appearance when backlit.  Are the pieces constructed of matte fabrics that won’t provide any reflection?  Those will absorb the light, so be mindful to keep everything adequately lit from flattering angles.   If there are beaded or crystal accents, it can also be fun to angle the light – or position the model – so that they sparkle elegantly for a dazzling effect.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

 

Does this help in your quest for the perfect photo?  Have you ever collaborated with a designer for a photoshoot?  What are your strategies for designer work?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

–Ashley BeLoat

 

 

 

 

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The Importance of Direction

December 22, 2017 | 7 Comments

Too many times I hear from models that their experience during a shoot was nerve-wracking, confusing, or uncomfortable.  The number one reason?  “The photographer never told me what to do.”

 

If you are a private portraiture photographer, you more than likely are photographing the average person and the occasional independent model.  Not all the time will you be lucky enough to photograph someone with extensive modeling experience, and should be aware of the extra guidance your subject may need during the shoot. The fact of the matter is; every photographer’s taste is different, and models realize that.  When a subject doesn’t have the confidence from extensive experience, the worst thing he/she can hear from a photographer is…silence…  We think to ourselves; “Does this angle look flattering?”  “Should I open or close my mouth?” or, “Do they even like this pose??”

 

I remember feeling this way in the before I had put in the time in front of many cameras.  I was absolutely shocked in the worst way when I showed up to my first shoot where the photographer looked at me and simply said; “Go.”  I learned quickly that as a model I would need to learn to pose myself. But what if you are shooting a subject that just doesn’t have this confidence and the experience it takes to do this?  That’s what brings us to today’s topic; the importance of direction.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Carlie Chew Stephens – www.carliechewphotography.com – IG: @carliechewphotography
Makeup Artist: Nicki Marie – IG: @nickimariemua

 

We Want to Know What You Want

                  No, you are not bossing us around.  You are not barking orders (at least, not unless you decide to yell at your model). We actually want to know what images you have in your head that you desire us to bring to life.  We want you to direct us into a better pose if a certain angle isn’t flattering.  The first step to being a good director is getting past this mental block.  For myself and many other models it is most important that you are pleased and satisfied with the photos.   Never be afraid to give direction if we begin to stray from what you want.

 

You Will Not Offend Us

                  This is a common misconception for male photographers photographing women.  As long as your direction is respectful, you avoid crude language, and treat the model the way you would want your daughter to be treated on a shoot, we will not be offended if you mention our body in your direction.  Note – there is a BIG difference on mentioning our body to direct us (i.e. ”Arch your back a little more to create a stronger curve.”) versus commenting on our body in a disrespectful or sexual manner (need I even bother putting an example here?).  The key is to be diplomatic with your word choices.

 

Visuals May Help

If you are describing a pose to your subject and they don’t seem to understand – or you would just like to make work easier from the start for them – show them an inspiration picture of a similar expression or pose that they can imitate and adjust to make their own.  If you cannot find an accurate picture of what you want, you may have to bring out your own posing skills and show them yourself what you are looking to capture.   The latter is utmost dedication, especially if you’re a male photographer demonstrating a very feminine pose.  We appreciate the effort…and love sharing a quick laugh over it.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Eric Kinney – www.erickinneyphotography.com – IG: @ekinneymedia
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Eileen Infante – IG: @einfantemakeup
Imagine the Tables are Turned

Think about how it feels to be in front of a camera.  For someone who isn’t used to – or is still growing accustomed to – having their picture taken, it can be a nerve-wracking experience.  Every insecurity is exposed and potentially immortalized in every click of the camera.  A person can easily fall victim to stage fright and forget how to move naturally.  As stated before, the worst thing you can do is remain silent while shooting an inexperienced subject/model.  Compare silent clicking of the camera to performing on the stage…but the audience has no reaction after your act.  You would wonder; “Did they even like it?” You may even think to yourself; “Oh my goodness, they hated me!” or “I knew I should have practiced more!”  All things that models can and do think when their photographer stays silent.
That being said, what direction cues have you ever tried used during your shoots?  Have you ever had a moment where you just couldn’t describe to your subject what you wanted them to do?  Models, what instructions have you been given that you found helpful?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

~Ashley BeLoat

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Lady Rose Warne – www.ladyrosephotography.com – IG: @ladyrosepotography

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Achieving the Bohemian Portrait

December 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Achieving the Bohemian Portrait

 

A popular style of photography – and one of my favorites – is the bohemian style of portraiture.  This type of photography is defined by more than just the clothing style.  Dictionary.com defines “bohemian” as; “living a wandering or vagabond life, as a Gypsy,” and as a person who “lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.”  The goal of Bohemian-style photography is to convey this free-spirited feeling.  The many factors you can consider to help achieve this look include lighting, pose, setting, movement, and facial expression.  Today we’ll discuss things photographers and models can do to make this look a success.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Tami Keehn – www.tamariephotography.com – IG: @tamikeehn
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Lauren DeCosimo – www.pinnedandproper.com – IG: @laurendecosimo
Bouquet & Headpiece: Emma’s Flowers of West Melbourne – stores.emmasflowers.us
Dress: Free People – www.freepeople.com – IG: @freepeople

Behind the Lens

                  Photographers, your planning begins with location choice.  This style of portraiture thrives on settings in nature – particularly wide and open spaces where your model has the freedom to move around.  Trees are wonderful, but you may also want to choose a place where the overgrowth isn’t too thick to allow natural light through.  The important thing is that the setting you choose communicates that of being a free spirit – whatever that means to you.

Next, when selecting your model, choose somebody who will be comfortable enough to move around. Nothing says “freedom” like hair flowing in the breeze, fabric lifting into the air during a spin, or dancing blissfully through an open field. If you don’t know the model well, suggest she bring a friend or family member due to the likely isolated nature of the location. This will promote her comfort on-set and help her relax for the photos.

If you will be using a hair and makeup artist, be sure to instruct them to choose earth-toned pigments and give the model a natural glow. The hairstyle shouldn’t be too stiff and should allow some form of movement. You can also ask the makeup artist to give a nice sunkissed bronzing and highlight to accentuate the natural light.

Speaking of natural light, this is a tool you can really experiment with in your interpretation of the bohemian style.  Sunset is a very magical time to shoot this concept because of the lovely honey golds in the sky.  You can position the model behind the light and cast unique shadows across her face for a more mysterious look, or you can have her turn so she is in front of the light for a dreamy backlit scene. Play around and see what appeals to you.

Lastly comes color choice. Just as the makeup, earth-tones and warm colors will help greatly in achieving this look. Instruct your boutique or model to provide clothing with this color palette to accentuate the nature being captured in the scene. When editing your captures in post-production, keep in mind that warm tones may embrace the style better than cool tones.  But once again, the important thing is that you artistically interpret what “free spirit” means to you in your images.

 

In Front of the Camera

Models, decide in your head what the words “freedom” and “free spirit” mean to you. Keep this definition in mind throughout the planning and shooting process.  Let them guide your artistic decisions when the photographer gives you creative freedom.  It’s important to know what these things mean to you before showing up on-set so that you can better communicate with your body language and expressions.

If you will be supplying the clothing for the shoot, make sure to choose light airy pieces with every outfit. The goal is to not look/feel too stiff or rigid in the final photos, so pieces that show movement well are the best bet. When choosing jewelry, you can opt for thin and layered pieces, numerous small rings, layered bangles, feathers, or pieces made of wood.  Accessories are a great way to have fun with this look!  You can also go completely natural and skip the accessories.  Discuss this with your photographer and at the very least, bring a few options just in case.

When posing, be prepared to have fun and possibly get a little dirty.  You’re most likely going to be out in the elements a bit, possibly even asked to go wading in a stream. No matter what you are asked to do, remember to keep a relaxed posture and keep your movements fluid.  It’s a good rule of thumb to keep this style appearing effortless and weightless as opposed to stiff and over-posed.  Give a good spin and let your hair/garments fly, let the breeze blow your hair slightly in front of your face, gently brush the tall grass with your hands, interact with your surroundings – do whatever creative things come to mind when you’re given the opportunity to pose yourself.

Keep your facial expressions soft and dreamlike. You may want to try to avoid facial tension as this could take away from the relaxed, free feeling of the photos. Remember that the goal in this style of photography is for everything in the frame to harmonize well and flow together.  Let your body language and expressions go well with – not conflict with – your surroundings. Ask your photographer for feedback and let them help guide you with your body language and the softness of your features.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Tami Keehn – www.tamariephotography.com – IG: @tamikeehn
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Lauren DeCosimo – www.pinnedandproper.com – IG: @laurendecosimo
Bouquet & Headpiece: Emma’s Flowers of West Melbourne – stores.emmasflowers.us
Dress: Free People – www.freepeople.com – IG: @freepeople

What are some of your strategies when attempting a Bohemian-style shot?  What does “free-spirited” mean to you?  How would you artistically translate this into a photo?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Until next week,

~Ashley BeLoat

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Perfecting the Runway Walk

December 6, 2017 | 2 Comments

Throughout my modeling career I’ve been blessed to walk various runways for some of my favorite local designers.  I also recently participated in a modeling segment on live TV for my designer and dear friend Inna Rudenko.  There is still so much for me to learn and improve, but the secrets I’ve learned thus far have proven themselves invaluable. I am so excited to share with you my tips and tricks for improving your runway technique!

Prepare Before the Show

Make a habit of doing balance-enhancing exercises such as yoga. This is one of the best ways you can prepare for your runway walk (and complicated poses for photoshoots).  You never know when you will be given an asymmetrical outfit to wear, something with a tendency to weigh more on a certain side, or a skirt that requires kicking to walk in. The goal of eveningwear and bridal runway walks is to make the outfit appear as if it’s gliding down the walkway.  Ideally, your movements should appear fluid and effortless. Any time you are able to build your core strength, body awareness, and movement control will be an investment in a graceful, calculated walk.

Practice!!  Practice at home, backstage, in the grocery store… Practice whenever you can.  Whenever I find myself in heels and am faced with a straight pathway I will often nonchalantly sneak in a stretch or two of practice.  It may feel silly when people are watching, but it will make the crowds and flashing lights seem less intimidating when on-stage.

 

Start With the Right Shoes

Make sure you have sufficient shoes. Once before I made the mistake of wearing shoes that – while beautiful – made some nasty cuts/blisters by the time it came to walk the runway. Every step was painful…it was a major learning experience.

My runway experience has always included bridal gowns and eveningwear.  This means that I’ve always been in long skirts – some full and princess-style, some A-line, some mermaid-cut… The important thing to know about long skirts is that it’s usually frowned upon to carry the dress as you walk. Why is this important in shoe selection?  You want to choose shoes that give you enough height so that you are not tripping on the skirt as you walk. The shoes I wear are now a minimum of 6 inches tall. This usually allows me to step with minimal kicking and pull-back to avoid stepping on the hem.  Wearing this height of heel can be very risky when walking on a foreign surface, which is why it’s important to…

Ensure your shoes have a strap of some sort for extra support. If you’re able to get shoes with an ankle strap, it will save you so much worry.  You’ll be able to step with confidence and know that your foot won’t slip out of the shoe mid-step.

Also, try to find shoes with as wide of a heel base as possible. While the slim heels are definitely attractive and fashionable, I advise a wider heel base for beginners.  See if some of the height can be added by a platform at the portion of the shoe that supports the ball of your foot. This will give you additional height without walking more on your toes.

 

Tailor Your Walk to the Garment

                  It’s very important to be aware of the features of every garment you are given to wear.  Every piece should have the unique features highlighted as you walk and pose.  Does the outfit have pockets?  Use them in one of your poses.  Is there a lovely train on the back of the dress?  Make sure it falls nicely and is visible by the cameras when you stop for pictures.  Is there a piece that is detachable?  Practice detaching it and carrying it the rest of the way off-stage.

You can also let the style of the outfit guide your body language and expressions as you walk.  Does the ensemble demand more elegance, confidence, gracefulness, or strength?  Aim to be a reflection of the piece you are wearing.

I can’t stress the importance of practicing as much as you can backstage.  Familiarize yourself with the way the fabric flows.  Make yourself aware of any challenges each piece provides; tight and uncomfortable boning, an immense amount of tulle you need to maneuver as you step, a loose neckline that may fall if you exhale too much… Know what you will need to do to make the piece look it’s best on the stage.

 

Consult with the Designer

                  Every designer is different when it comes to their vision for the showing of their collection.  I always ask the designer what mood they want to set on the stage.  Some have told me to smile, others have told me to keep a straight face. I also ask their inspiration for the specific piece I’m given to wear, so that I may better personify what they want the garment to be.   Sometimes things are hectic backstage and you aren’t able to have a full discussion, but seize whatever moments you can in preparation and/or fittings to get on the same page with your designer.

Timing

                  This is another subjective area. Some designers want their collection to be shown at a slower tempo, whereas others prefer a more confident, marching approach. Sometimes the pace at which you’re instructed to walk is different from the music the show has selected to play.  Keep this in mind as you take every step.

Also pay attention to the other models.  Make sure you start your walk at the appropriate time in relation to the model ahead of you (the designer will usually instruct you on when this moment is to be), and hold your poses for the desired time as well. It’s easy to become nervous and try to complete your walk as quickly as possible, but take a deep breath…  Relax as best you can.  It always helps me to think to myself; “They aren’t looking at me, they’re looking at the dress.”

 

Posing

                  This is an area I’m still working on as well.  Posing for runway is far different from posing for regular photos in a photoshoot.  Try to keep your arms from obstructing the view of the dress as much as possible.  I’m still training myself to walk with minimal arm movement and maintain the negative space between my arms and body. Try to provide views of the front, side, and back when possible. Give each pose a few seconds to provide adequate time for the photographers to snap, and be mindful of the angles they are shooting from so that you can provide the most flattering poses possible.
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And there you have it!  This is what I’ve learned in my runway experience thus far.  I can’t wait to learn more and perfect my walk, and I hope my list of tips and secrets helps you on this journey as well!

What strategies do you use when walking down the runway?  What questions and stories do you have?  Let me know in the comments below!

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat

Photographer: Eric Kinney – www.erickinneyphotography.com – IG: @ekinneymedia

 

Until next week,

~Ashley BeLoat

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Creating a Commercial Photo

November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments

Every now and then I’ll look at an edit and think to myself; “This could be an ad!”  But what really constitutes an ad, anyway?  What makes a photo ad or commercial-quality?  What in particular can take portrait photography to this new level?

 

The purpose of a commercial photo is to sell or promote something. To name only a few examples, you may be given the task of selling a dress, necklace, vacation destination, service, or perfume.  Sometimes the object of advertisement is visible in the photo, other times it isn’t.  Regardless, you still have the challenge of highlighting a person/object/place and making it appear desirable to your viewing audience.  Let’s talk about some ways this is done.

Incorporating the Object, Person, or Place

                  Simply put—show what is advertised.  Magazines are full of spreads where a model is splashing her face with water and a facial cleanser bottle is composited into the image.  Or, the model could be photographed walking up a set of steps in heeled boots for a footwear company advertisement.   The camera can be zoomed into the product, or offering a wider view of an entire scene.   Depending on the creative vision, the object may or may not be the main focus of the frame.  If you decide to use the object as small part of the total scene, it’s important that everything about the overall image is somehow telling the story and purpose of the product and brand.

 

Convey the Feeling You Want Associated with the Product

Is the campaign for an energy supplement?  The overall feel of the photo should exude energy.  Is the advertisement for a spa?  The overall tone should exude tranquility.  Be mindful of the message you are sending through color choices, the models’ posing styles, and lighting. Know the subconscious connotations every detail of your photo is sending.  Ideally, all of these little details should highlight the features, brand, and purpose of the product.

 

Modeling Tips

                  Now for my area of expertise…posing. I remember one particular studio session where I was posing for a new photographer.  The photographer instructed me to “sell him the dress,” and I began playing with the skirt while striking catalogue poses.  Next, he told me to “sell him the necklace.”  My neck lengthened, I used my hands to delicately graze the jewels, and I provided my best angled jawline. Lastly, he told me to “sell him a whitening toothpaste,” and I instantly began beaming a wide, happy smile.  This was such an excellent exercise, and I’m thankful he directed me this way.
This is how you should think as the model promoting a product.  While you want to look good in the image, this shouldn’t be your only goal.  The overall goal of a commercial image is to make the product look good. Even if you are wearing the product you don’t want to outshine it, you want to highlight it.

The first step to doing this is to research the product and brand you will be representing.  Know the company’s slogans and let this influence your expressions/poses in front of the camera.  If they have a slogan like; “Let the adventure begin,” (copyright of Gumbie’s footwear) you may want to look excited, energetic, and like you are trying something new.  Look up their past ad campaigns so you can get a feel for how they like their brand represented. The more knowledge you have of the product, the better able you will be to make it look good on-camera.

Here are some of my own examples of ads I’ve been able to do…

 

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images/ – IG: @ashleybeloat

Designer: Inna’s Designs – www.innasdesigns.com – IG: @innasdesigns

Potography: Ina Pandora – www.inapandora.com – IG: @inapandoraphotography

Hair & Makeup Artistry: Maryam Douglas Nash – www.facebook.com/makeupbymaryambahrami/?pnref=lhc – IG: @makeupbymaryambahrami

These photos were a magazine spread for Inna’s Designs, a wedding gown and formal wear custom design company. Note how I highlighted the fullness of the skirt in the first image, while showcasing the lace detail of the sleeves in the second.  I also made certain to show my symbolic wedding ring as much as possible to complete the picture of the bride I was supposed to be.  For this particular shoot I didn’t make as much eye contact with the camera, because I wanted the star of the photos to be the dresses.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images/ – IG: @ashleybeloat

Photographer: Annette Batista-Day – https://www.facebook.com/AnnetteBatistaPhotography/ – IG: @annettebatistaday

This image was from a series taken for Tampa Nails Salon.  The owner of the salon wasn’t present on-set, but I spoke with him personally before stepping in front of the camera.  I asked him his goal for the campaign, what he wanted it to portray… I was instructed to portray a stylish, powerful woman of today who makes the time to take care of herself.  While striking my poses I did my best to portray this confidence he desired – while still doing my best to showcase the nail polish with creative use of my hands.

Models: Ashley BeLoat & Derek O’Donnel – IG: @ashleybeloat & @derekod

Photographer: Justin Credible – www.justincrediblephotography.net – IG: @surfjunkiejustin

Product: Gumbie’s Islander Flip Flops – www.gumbies.us – IG: @gumbiesusa

In this shoot for Gumbie’s footwear, my good friend Derek and I were faced with the task of looking like two friends having an active, fun day at the beach.  This is by far my favorite shot from that day.  The moment I jumped onto his back and he started running, we got this absolutely perfect click. The shoes were perfectly in place, the key to all the energy and excitement in the image.

These are only some of the ads I’ve had the pleasure of doing, and I can’t wait to do more as I’ve been given a new brand deal with a New York boutique!  I hope you can find these tips and suggestions useful as you integrate products into your portraiture.  Have you photographed or modeled for ads before?  What suggestions and tips did you find useful at the time?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

~Ashley BeLoat

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