Sandra’s Fashion Photo Session in Virginia Beach’s Town Center.

She wanted to give modeling in front of a camera a try so we did a Model Experience session.

Sandra and I have known of each other for a while. She’s done several runway fashion shows that I’ve photographed in the past few years plus we share several mutual friends. We were on each other’s radar, it seems, but we never actually worked together in a photo session.

Now, those that know me know I have this knack of reaching out to the right person at the right time. There’s no special sensation like “Oh, so ands so needs something. I need to contact them immediately.” It just seems that, when I reach out to them for no other reason than to just say “Hey there”, they’re like “Hey, it’s funny that you texted/called. I was just thinking of…”

This is exactly what happened with Sandra. We had never messaged/texted each other until one recent morning when I just clicked on her name and sent my first ever message to her. The following is copied and pasted from Messenger.

Me – We’ve been working in the same circles for years and yet we’ve never worked together. I’d like to change that 🙂.

Sandra – Hey Mark- Your message is timely. I have wanted to collaborate with a photographer on some work.

And just like that, we were off and running.

As I said above, Sandra is a runway model so she has had photos taken of her but she had not, up until that point, did a solo photoshoot. Believe it or not, the two are worlds apart in terms of prep and execution.

The main job of a runway model is to walk down a runway and show off the outfit they are wearing. It sounds simple but it’s a tough job. For a fashion photoshoot they are still concerned with showing off the outfit but now they need to know about lighting, posing, spatial awareness, et cetera, while also dealing with the public and other distractions.

So I decided that I would provide what I call a Model Experience Session. These sessions are geared for those that are thinking of getting into modeling and see what it’s like or for those that would like to experience what it’s like being a model. They get a pre-session consult to go over outfits, how to prepare for it, and what to expect during it. They get pampered with hair and make-up before the session, do a two hour photo session with me while getting coaching and posing tips. Finally, they get edited versions of the best images from the session sent to them.

On the morning of the session, Sandra came loaded for bear. She arrived all done up for her first “look”, with a make-up artist with her for touch-ups, plus an consultant to help her with outfits and such. She brought all the outfits we talked about in the pre-session consult which helped me relax. I knew what she brought was going to fit and where i would use them in the session. It also helped as I knew we didn’t have to use the same two or three outfits for the entire session. It was amazing.

We started at 7am as the plan was to shoot night on the town scenes first and then transition to day “looks”. Want to shoot nighttime scenes in busy locations without the people and traffic? Shoot them early in the morning. Most everyone else is still in bed so the area is yours to explore without distractions and interruptions.

Sandra quickly warmed up and got into a flow after seeing a few images from the back of the camera. She saw what we were getting which helped her relax and get into it more. We started at one end of Town Center and gradually, over the course of the session, moved towards the other end. We wrapped it all up by cutting her loose to walk, run, jump, and dance in celebration of completing the session.

Not every outfit or pose worked out, which is the norm for such things, but there were plenty that did. What we got was a range of “looks” that lay the foundation for a stellar portfolio that showcases her. As always, I’m left with the thought that, if we got this much good stuff with one session, just imagine what we’d get with a second go around. We now have a foundation of trust and understanding in place plus we know how the other thinks and works. What we create from this point forward will start at that new, elevated, level.

I simply cannot wait.

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