Monday, February 07, 2011

Model call

On occasion, publishers do photo shoots to get just the right shot for a cover image. Because photo shoots can be pricey, they're generally only done if the right stock photo can't be found.

I've never worked on a book where we've done a photo shoot for the cover...until now.

I won't mention which book it's for just yet, as I'd rather wait until the cover is final, but I was absolutely fascinated by the process, and thought I'd share.

This past Friday was the model call.

The designer takes care of setting everything up (in this case we used a coordinator who scheduled everything), so all I had to do was show up. Before the model call, model agencies send online portfolios of the models that meet the criteria that we've specified (age, height, hair and eye color, etc.). The designer and the photographer will both review the portfolios individually and pick which models they want to show up at the model call. As the editor, I was given the option of reviewing the portfolios as well, but I chose to just look at a sampling to make sure that the designer and I were on the same page. We were.

The model call was in a very simple, spare room. The designer and I (and my assistant for part of it) sat at a table near the entrance. The photographer set up his equipment. The coordinator of the shoot was out in the hallway with the models, taking their names, studio, and giving them numbers on stickers to wear so that we could keep track of who we liked. One by one, the models would come into the room, we would greet them, and look through their portfolios quickly. Most of them had tear sheets we could take and number to remember who we liked. Two had their portfolios on an iPad, which was a cool use of technology, I thought. Then the photographer would take some shots of them at different angles, highlighting the type of shots we would most likely be doing at the photoshoot, making sure to get the important angles. He spent more time with the models he liked.

It was fascinating! And really, really fun. Although it was exhausting, too. I felt like I was a judge on America's Next Top Model--the theme song "you wanna be on top?" kept running through my head. I found it interesting that neither the designer nor the photographer felt the need to take notes--they were both visual people, and remembered the models they liked and didn't like. I took notes, and felt really judgmental as I did: "Nose too big. Nice skin. Neck too short. Too awkward. Not pretty enough." etc. Although, of course, they were all beautiful in different ways. Some were just obviously not right for this project. Some had the right look, but didn't take direction well, didn't know how to pose.

"You must be the editor" the coordinator said to me at the end of the day. "Yes, how did you know?" "You're taking notes. You're into words." Ha.

For the most part, we were all on the same page, although there was one girl that I liked that the others didn't as much. I thought the model was gorgeous. The photographers thought others were better suited. "Her beauty feels a little too generic, a little cheap" the photographer said. "Not unique enough." I could see what he meant.

We chose five or so girls that we were most interested in based on what we saw during the call, although we won't choose officially until we review all the photos the photographer took. I plan on sending our top choices to the author to weigh in, too. The coordinator immediately emailed the agencies to put holds on the models we liked, and got a message back saying that one of them was already booked. The models were going to model calls all day, for the most part. One told us that she had been to eight that day alone. Apparently there were a lot of fashion week calls.

Overall, it was a fascinating look into a part of the business I didn't know much about.

The actual photo shoot is this Wednesday. More next week!

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

Very interesting post - can't wait to see the final cover!

We recently did a shoot for our upcoming title Fire Men of a family of firefighters - grandpa, dad and son - the actual people in the story.