Friday, August 13, 2010

Tools of the Trade

Let me start off by saying that this is by no means a comprehensive, or universally applicable, list. This is just the list of what I've found to be especially useful in my work as a freelance art model. I bring very little with me to shoots, so I've broadened my scope somewhat. Rachel Jay has written a similarly-themed list here, but hers is geared toward people who model in clothes, and who know how to apply makeup. If you're one of those clothes-and-make-up-wearing types, then I'd highly recommend checking out what she has to say. Similarly, there are some items on my list which others have done perfectly well without.

Now that we've got that disclaimer out of the way, let's get down to it. What is the stuff I use?

1. Hairbrush, and her friends the hairties- Messy hair works great for some images, but not all. For figure work in particular, being able to pull my hair up into a bun is quite useful. The hairbrush and a few hairties travel with me to every shoot. Hairties live on the handle of the hairbrush, instead of on my wrist where they would likely leave elastic marks. Which brings me to...

2. Loose clothing- This means no socks, no underwear, and nothing so tight-fitting that it will leave impressions in my skin when I take it off. I usually opt for jeans which are slightly too large for me and a tank top or tee-shirt.

3. Cards- Especially when sitting for drawing groups, I’ve found it to be quite useful to be able to hand out cards with my name, stats, and contact information. It communicates that you are serious about modeling, and it also makes it easier for people to contact you and hire you independently.

4. Modeling robe- Again, this one is mostly useful for drawing groups. While it doesn't strike many photographers as odd for me to remain nude during breaks, that is a major no-no for drawing groups. Some groups have robes on-hand for models, but not all do. Bringing my own robe means that I have something to easily throw on for breaks.

5. My car- Though I do occasionally travel by plane, much of my travel has been done by car. It allows me to easily reach artists who are way out yonder in the suburbs, and it allows me to stop by much smaller markets along the way. Anymore, I’ve found that small cities with next to no local nude models are great places to stop for a few days on my travels. Plus, my car is incredibly fuel efficient. It is because my car gets 40ish MPG that I can state that anywhere from Cheyenne to Denver is “local” to me without cringing.

6. Sunblock and bugspray- Part of being a nude model is making sure that your skin is in reasonably presentable condition. While I’ve had some faux pas moments along the way, I strive to make sure that my skin is all approximately the same non-red shade, and isn’t specked with mosquito bites.

7. The internet- Be it with my blackberry or my laptop, I strive to stay in touch with the world. If somebody needs to contact me on short notice, whether to hire me or to cancel on me, I want to know sooner rather than later. Coffeeshops have, at times, felt like a second home for me as I utilized their complimentary wireless to take care of business while traveling.

Again, this list is of the items that I have found indispensable in working as a freelance model. Those occupying other modeling niches, or with different travel styles, will have a different list. It takes some time to find your own groove, and what works best for you. Lists like this one, as well as the lists that others have made, can help you on your way as you find your rhythm.