We asked our contributor Vladimir Serov how he managed to create those truly amazing portraits you can find in his portfolio. Vladimir has kindly agreed to share some recommendations on how to work with models and turn each shot into a masterpiece.
1. Photography means constant experiments both with a model and the environment. Use everything you can: light filters, smoke generators, smoke cartridges, glass, water, mirrors – everything you can find around. Your task is not only to create a special image but also a surrounding where you can use this image in a harmonic way.
2. I do not work with professional models, and I suppose not everyone has such an opportunity. You should try to take care of the smallest details such as the eye line, the position of fingers, angles, and movements. In most cases people without professional training are not able to control their bodies; however, it gives you an opportunity to take control of the process.
3. It is very important to understand your models – their positives and negatives. Before a shoot, you should talk to a model, and examine her body language and facial expressions. The more you talk to people, the more comfortable they feel during the shoots.
4. I plan the images in advance and give my models a list of desired clothing as well as my requirements as to hair and make-up. I do not have an opportunity to hire a stylist; however, during the shoots I do always have someone who helps me take care of the model’s appearance. Shoots would just be too hard without an assistant around.
5. I try not to use obvious imagery and symbols since I think that a viewer’s fantasy is the main tool in photography. I guess that mystery is the most important technique I use. Try to avoid clichéd images and unnecessary details. If you feel you are not succeeding, try static images – it is always easier to control them. You can also try to add some new details each time. In such a way you’ll achieve balance, and your works will look much more interesting.