“I Feel Protective of New Faces”…Interview with Photographer Steve Read

Steve Read is an absolutely ACE photographer. Every day his Instagram feed will be full of the ridiculously hot beautiful models – often posing in their smalls. All the pics in this blog post are by Steven.

Stevepix1Errrrr *immediately drops down and does 300 sit-ups* *in my mind*

What sets his photos apart from other similar shoots of sexy looking ladies by other various photographers, however, is the humour in each shot. You can tell that he and the models have really connected – in many pics it looks as though they’re mid-joke. Having shot with Steven, I know that’s cos they probably are.

 Model Melanie Ribbe has an INSANE body!

He’s absolutely great to work with – mega respectful, often taking direction and suggestions from the model and make up artist. Lots of photographers would never ever do that! (AHEcosthey’vegotmassiveegosAHEM).

All of the top agencies are sending their many of their models – often New Faces – left, right and centre to shoot with him as he never fails to make flattering, fun photos that invariably end up as their comp card. He’s been really interested in ModelTypeFace, coming up with very pertinent comments each time I post.

Because he has so many insightful things to say, I thought I’d ask him some juicy questions to find out for you some of the best hints and tips for successful shooting…

R: Hello Steve! I’m picturing myself as a New Face: awkward, unsure of my how to move my body for the camera, and more used to adults being my teachers at school – not colleagues! How do you feel when New Faces turn up on your doorstep for a shoot with you?

S: I feel very protective of New Faces, especially when I’m their first or one of their first shoots. The way I behave, the advice I give them and how I make them feel and the pictures I produce has the potential to affect their whole career.

R: That’s so true. I was lucky to have lovely photographers for my first shoots and it does make a difference. My boyfriend was scouted but his first shoot was horrible – it put him off modelling for ever. Why do you feel protective?

S: I think it’s a big responsibility. I can’t think of many other careers where you as an adult are interacting with a teenager professionally.

R: Well most of the other capacities would generally be teaching, or medicine, which are heavily regulated by law, whereas modelling isn’t.

S: Exactly, so I find it very important to find the balance between the professional, adult job that modelling is, versus the fact that many of these models are under 18. I talk to the girls about their agency, ask them how they’re getting on, and give them advice on how to deal with certain situations. It can be tough and cutthroat out there, and so many girls aren’t given any information at all.

R: Well it’s great that some people take responsibility for that: most of the time I was thrown in at the deep end, so when people gave me and my parents advice we’d cling onto it like gospel!

So let’s talk about the actual modelling. Are there any common rookie errors New Faces tend to make?

S: Mainly the poses – more specifically, how they think they should pose. I can take for granted the elements of posing that main board girls know – like how to hold your lips (imagine holding a penny between them – feels weird, looks good! – Rebecca).

stevepixMESlightly parted lips looks good in a shoot, but it makes you FEEL like you’re doing a duck impression…PS a rare ‘no-fringe’ sighting of me!

They’re also often very unaware of their hands. I do see a lot of girls holding their hands behind their back a lot, which is super unfortunate because on camera you can just see their fingers dangling between their legs. You want clean lines.

Another common rookie error is not really comprehending what I’m talking about when, for example, I tell them I’m cropping in for a shot. A Main Board girl would know to pose her body but focus the energy on her face and maybe angle her shoulders. A New Face, however, might still raise her hands in the air, meaning her hands are chopped off. Not a good look.

A mighty fine example ‘cropped-in’ posing!

R: Are there benefits to shooting a new Face versus a Main Board model though?

S: Well I like the fact that the shoot is important to the New Face. Early shoots are exciting to New Faces and new and it’s great to be part of that energy. It’s also refreshing because New Faces are a completely blank slate. There aren’t those catalogue of poses that Main Board girls have, which means that, while you can nail the shot really quickly, it can look a bit generic and not stand out in her book.

Steve says that this is the strongest New Face he’s shot – and what she brings is that her pose is less guarded and more raw than many Main Board girls. Also she has ace brows.

R: I soooo know what you mean. When I was newer I’d try out some pretty funky movements and not feel worried about what I’d look like. Now I know what makes my thighs look thin/what the photographer will go for/what lazy poses I can get away with. I probably took some awful pics when I was younger, but also some more inspired ones.

S: Yep, I do have to direct New Faces more heavily – how to hold their face, avoiding claw hands etc – but we can come up with bolder, more inspiring pictures.

R: So what advice would you give to a New Face heading off to their early shoots?

S: It’s all about the attitude. Occasionally, Main Board girls come to shoot with me and they don’t give two hoots about the job – it’s just another day, another shoot to them. New Faces can take advantage of the fact that they’re interested and excited by it all, and bring that energy to jobs.

Do your research – look in the mirror and learn how the light falls on you best, what angles work for you and lean how to pose your whole body, starting from your toes and working up to the top of your head. A Main Board girl will be poised from top to toe, whereas New Faces can be more uncertain & awkward, and therefore harder to take a really flattering shot of. Check out Coco Rocha and her famous posing for inspiration.

Also, decide before you start working what you are comfortable doing. Sadly, some people on shoots will try and wheedle models into wearing outfits that they’re not initially comfortable with, such as certain lingerie sets. Be prepared to stand your ground and say no – it has to be respected.

R: It’s likely that a 16 year old hasn’t had to stand her ground about what she is and isn’t comfortable with before, especially in a professional capacity. It can be so hard to do, because you don’t want to offend anyone, make a scene, or get dropped. Do you think photographers could make more of an effort to make sure a girl knows she can say no?

S: Definitely. It’s more on the photographer’s plate to do this. I always talk to the model for at least half an hour before the shoot, just to build a rapport with her (which helps with the pictures anyway). That also makes the model feel more comfortable with the team in general. I’ll be explicit in what I want to shoot, how I’d like them to look, and that it’s fine if they don’t want to do it. It’s not in a photographer’s interests not to have a nervous or uncomfortable-looking model, so don’t be afraid to speak up. I want the models that I shoot with to have a great time, for that to be reflected in the shoot, and for the pictures to help with her career.

Stevepics5Having a brilliant time with Steve! I just love this pic.

That means the model should be confident in what she does and doesn’t want to do, and feel comfortable in telling me this.

R: You’ve been really supportive of ModelTypeFace since I started it. Why do you think it’s a good idea?

S: It’s really hard to find unbiased information out there. Everyone else – clients, agencies, bookers, will have their own agenda, where as this blog is by a model, for models, to give support and information. Lots of girls are clueless about the money side of things, as well as how to set boundaries – hopefully ModelTypeFace will arm them with more information and confidence.

Do go and check out Steve’s site! www.smread.com

Follow me on Instagram! @1rebeccapearson
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One Comment

  1. fay wrote:

    Great interview! So useful to have ideas on what a photographer might be after than to try and guess what’s in their mind!

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