Making That Connection With Your Model

Above: Jay Brewer working in our studio. Dallas, TX

As a professional photographer, we're experienced working with models of all levels from amateur to professional. We had the opportunity to meet Jay Brewer, an ambitious, young male model based in Dallas, TX. We met through a Facebook group of aspiring photographers, models (both amateur and professional), make up artists, wardrobe stylist, and hair stylist. Jay reached out to us after seeing our post for a "Model Call". He was one of the few people that reached out and we were very lucky to work with him. 

Natural Talent

Last week while we were coordinating his test shoot, Jay was on his way back from New York City after meeting with a few big name modeling agencies such as Wilhelmina, VNY, and Fusion Models. Having been in this industry for a little over three years, Jay was an absolute 'sponge' of willing to learn and perfecting his modeling skills in front of our camera. Within the first few minutes of our meeting, we came to appreciate his exotic look in both his eyes and jawline which is something most people would compliment. But once he got in front of our camera, he immediately got into his usual groove in posing. However, we decided to take a different approach by coaching him on the aspects of male modeling- mainly understanding your angles. He needed to know the following angles: front, right 45 degrees, left 45 degrees. Then we coached him understand how to segment his body and use these angles simultaneously. The result was a model creating a variety of poses that he would add to his arsenal. Although he had some idea of posing, teaching a model to try and see what we see in the viewfinder is key but the overall connection between photographer and model will take your images to the next level.

Understanding The Various Shots

Photographers use cameras to tell a story, evoke emotion, and hopefully will get the message across just with a static image. Unlike video, its a lot more challenging because we have to get that shot down and nail it. With Jay, once there was continuous feedback from both photographer and model, he started to feed off of the momentum which in turn would build his confidence even more. Give your models positive constructive direction and you'll be amazed at the images you will create. Teach and tell them what shot you're about to create such as a headshot, quarter shot, or a wide shot. That way they know what segments they need to adjust their body to hit the right pose. 


Show And Appreciate

Throughout our test shoot, while in the studio, we constantly would show Jay our computer display since the camera was tethered to it. Having a display and showing it to your model is a great teaching tool because you're training them what you see through your lens and get a better appreciation of what emotion they're giving to their audience. On location shoots, we used a 12" iPad Pro and would wirelessly transfer the images from the camera to the mobile device so we can see the images at a larger scale instead of on the back of our camera's 3.25" screen. 

Connect And Execute

Once the barriers were broken down, what we saw before our eyes was a different model compared to what we saw within the first 10 minutes of meeting. We saw a more confident, more natural model that took verbal direction so well we hardly had to physically adjust his positioning. Having that almost telepathic connection is similar to when a runner is in that ultimate 'zone' where everything is working in sync- heart and body. 


Jay is a good male model but we know that he can be a great model when the right opportunity comes along. A single father of a beautiful little girl named Jaylee, he has a heart of gold but put him in front of any camera and you have a model that can take direction extremely well creating a variety of poses. However, it is the photographer's responsibility to get that out of any model whether they're an amateur or professional. It all comes from how your deliver the communication to your model to execute perfectly with zero re-corrections. For Jay, there's always room for improvement and he took our constructive criticism very well. We look forward to our next photo shoot where we we can challenge Jay again with his modeling skills and collaborate with some different and out-of-the-box creative ideas.

If you are an ambitious model looking to improve your modeling skills or a photographer wanting to experience how we work with models of all levels, contact us. We're here to help.