Taking It to the Streets: 101 of Street Modeling

By: Abby DivDate: July 19, 2019

Street photography is a genre that encapsulates many other forms of photography: urban, architectural, model and some times even still life. Perfecting the skill of shooting outdoors with natural light as well as the challenges of changing environments and weather conditions make street shooting a challenging endeavor for the less experienced. Managing crowds and having to scout locations are just the tip of the iceberg in creating a streamlined experience that leave a general impression of goodwill towards all. As a model on the streets to be shoot ready and achieve a flawless look requires preparing the basic needs:

Who to Attend

Even on the brightest of days, for instance noon in the middle of summer with a cloudless sky, the available light may not fill the entire shot. Hard lines from direct sun under the eyes and on the neck are unsightly and give the appearance of a sunken face. To avoid the unsightly shadows having supplemental lighting or reflectors to manipulate the light can reduce those effects. This is where having an assistant on hand comes in handy.

An assistant can carry equipment, wardrobe, and props leaving the photographer to photography and model to model. They are particularly helpful when it comes to handling the changing light conditions to hold a reflector or a portable light. They are also another pair of eyes for styling mishaps to adjust hair or makeup. And with other concentrating on the shot they can look out for pedestrians passing or potentially entering the 'scene'.

What to Wear

Shooting on the streets as opposed to studio or indoor space makes wardrobe far more limited in terms of what you wear during the shoot and can carry. First, there’s wearing what is weather appropriate, light fabrics in the summer and layers in the fall, to stay physically comfortable. Second, there is what you can change into and out of with ease. Unlike studios there’s no changing rooms to do sophisticated outfit swaps to get a different look. Plan to wear the more complex look at the beginning and deconstruct in layers. Have a bag or carrying case to put the pieces as you take them off.

What to Carry

The arsenal of model must-haves for outdoor shoots changes based on the shoot scenario. For urban street shooting there are a few essentials to stay well tempered. Working with natural light and increasing levels of UV, sun protection is a must: sunscreen, parasol, or both. Bug repellent even in the most urban jungle is also a basic to have for every shoot. Bottled water to hydrate is possibly the most important. Lastly there’s footwear. Always have a pair of sneakers and slide on flip flops to change between the stilettos and boots. There’s nothing more complicated than walking a few miles in heels to find sore feet and blisters the day after.

Where to Go

Location, location, location...it can make the shoot a success or unforeseen challenge. Choosing the location and framing the composition for the shots before venturing outside will make shooting significantly easier. Plan the angle, crop, and pose before going out. Also consider the locations to shoot and the distances between them. It may change the spaces or mode of transportation.