Hey everyone we had a very low turn out at the Manchester Group Shoot yesterday. But that did not stop us from enjoying our photography. If your interested then you can see my After Event Newsletter by following this link as it contains my fav images of the day.
So because we had a low turnout then I would love to know what you all think about group shoots. For Example....
1) Does the weather stop you from wanting to attend events ?
2) Does the quality of the photographers stop you from attending events?
3) Does the lack of models stop you from attending events ? etc... etc.. so come one everyone share with us the pros and cons of TFP Group Shoots
I can't think of anything more likely to depress me about photography, than being one of up to half a dozen photographers all trying to vie for the attention of a model, paid or TFP. I did a different sort of shoot yesterday, and 90% of the images were just great. I knew all of the people, which helps, but I controlled the shoot. In a normal art nude shoot I reckon on 30% being good and 10% being spot on. In a Group Shoot I'd anticipate 1% - 2% being useful. It might seem a cheap way of getting images of some lovely models, but the quality of the experience would be rock bottom.
- No time to establish rapport with the model
- No time to style/change sets
- No time to modify lighting
So you learn little, and input little of your own creativity. Seems to be more for collectors.
Group TFP brings out many photographer's over inflated sense of entitlement, and seems to be a very bad deal for the model. TFP kind of works when a model gets to choose an individual photographer based on his/her demonstrated skill and quality of portfolio images. They stand a reasonable chance of getting something worthwhile in exchange for their time. Can't see how that works in a group if a bunch of randoms turn up and snap away in the same lighting and set for the whole session.
If you're going to club together and get a model to shoot, at least throw in a tenner each... miserable b******s!
Edit: I should add that I've been on a couple of (paid) group shoots. What I mainly got out of them was a useful opportunity to look around a new studio/meet a new model for not much money. Not great from a photographic experience point of view though, and no 'keepers' to speak of.
The only group shoot I've been on that I found valuable was one of those 'spectaculars' occasionally self-organised by a group of people on NetModel. Great location, and a good group of people in that instance - but it was very far removed from the 'camera club' style group experience.
Very constructive points you have made there you two fellas and here was me thinking that it may be down to things like
1) Having to pay for parking spaces.
2) Travel to location i.e. no train station, bus station etc...
3) Not liking other members of the group that may be attending etc...
But strongly have to agree about that point of not having enough time to set up you lighting.
Never been one for all the reasons mentioned above. I say never, I went to one as a social thing, took a model to shoot and it was her condition that she wouldn't be shooting with anyone else. If I am going to shoot a model, I want to have time to sort out what we both want, choose outfits, sort out lighting that I think will be right for the set we are going to do. I want it to be fun, not some sort of rate race to shoot this model and that model, then to rush home to be the first to post a shot from the day. I am not tempted, as you can see.
On the other hand, if it was a small group and all models and photographers were happy to shoot with each other, it was agreed that organising sets was important, then I might be persuaded.
To what extent are the detractors above going on experience or expectation?
I fully understand the criticisms levelled at group shoots but my experience of them has been mostly very different. It very much depends on the organisation, which in turn addresses the issue of ratio of photographer to model.
I have never been to a GS where any photographer worked on a ratio other than one-to-one. In all cases the amount of time allocated for a paring allowed for considered and careful photography.
The King of the GS has to be the Cardiff GS for Charity. I attended all three. In each case there was a balance of models and photographers. The venue was very good. (A large pub on the Wharf in Cardiff Bay). There are plenty of location opportunities around the venue, within walking distance. The organiser (Martyn) arranged for various props to be available. One one shoot that was WW2 vehicles and fire-arms, on another it was custom painted Harleys and collectable cars.
In my view a GS CAN be a great day out and worthwhile for everyone who attends BUT it has tobe well organised and well thought out. I would never wastemy time going to a shoot (labelled GS or not) if I was to be part of a pack shooting one model. Those people who put together so-called 'model days' are wasting everyones' time, in my opinion. "Look guys, I will have So-And-So in my studio on Saturday and she will be taking her knickers off and you can all come and shoot her for a very reasonable £1,567 each, limited to only 319 photographers. Tesco dough-nuts provided", is not an attractive idea.
The thought of 100 models, 100 photographers, a good venue, an all day bar is a SOCIAL EVENT not to be missed. May IO suggest that there is a key. Go as a social thing rather than expecting to get great photographs. For networking and having a laugh, Cardiff and Brighton have been tops.
I started to arrange group shoots last year after seeing some disastrous organisation of similar events. The emphasis has been on having a fun day out, networking and making some great images. Shoots have varied on attendance from 6 to 20 people with a healthy mix of models and photographers. I think the fact that we have so far had 14 group shoots, all in different locations and all have been attended well means for me they are a great way to shoot without worrying about costs etc. The models are always offered lifts there and back and nobody has said they didn't enjoy a good day out. I think they have a place in model/photographers diaries simply for the social aspect.
Some of you guys have really gone deep here with some of your answers. Just letting you know that I am absorbing it all in as your posts are very help to help with regards to my better understand of GS
Been on a few & organised a few with a dance card system, I found them a great way to test 6 - 8 models in a day, plus the locations were often ones I wouldn't have otherwise had access to. The idea of a random free for all doesn't apppeal. Must admit found organising them a thankless task.
For a various reasons, part of the enjoyment in modelling is actually getting to know the people you are working with so you are best able to capture what they are after. If you don't get the chance to speak to them then you don't know what they want (and if you have 26 people to work with on a conveyor belt type scenario it would be impossible). If you are in a small'ish area then chances are all photographers there will get very similar shots even if they are not shooting at the same time, there is only so much you can do on a window ledge before I get bored as a model and want to move on.
Another thing is that if you have more than one shooter (none of which you trust or know) then you are more conservative with posing for that group. Another negative is not being able to check the people who you will be working withs previous work or references. This is something that is extremely important to me now, being able to ask other models if the photographer was a nice person to be around is paramount.
If on a tf shoot then you wont want to be confronted with the "shitty" photographer putting you on the spot asking for a shoot and having to bluntly say no thanks. There is no way not to cause offence at this. .
I did a paid one while ago, and although it was nice to put some names to faces I honestly can't remember more than half of the people I worked with. Should another model ask me for a reference I wouldn't have a clue who the person was or what they would be like to work with. I also don't remember getting any breaks other than a lunch break - I didn't even have time to nip to the toilet to touch up my makeup (or see to a cut I had on my bottom which was bleeding).
Its also the only time I've actually felt really uncomfortable with how a photographer spoken/touched me - you would have thought with a room full of people then this sort of shit wouldn't happen.... but it did! and I wasn't the only model who experienced it that day (by different photographers).
I work best in small groups where there is a chance to have a chat/ touch up makeup or change hairstyles along the way. I don't think its the right environment to produce outstanding images.
I would tell any newer models and photographers to AVOID such events and just work with people on a one to one basis!
I've been on a few over the years, and most of them have been great fun. I've met some great people, and I've even booked a couple of models I've met at group shoots, for proper paid work.
I agree with Andy and Spike, the dance card system is the way to go. For one thing, it helps avoid the rugby scrum scenario, and secondly, the number of models who actually turn up, appears to increase with this method. (Although you should always expect a certain percentage to no shows - it's inevitable).
With the dance card system, you know who you are shooting in advance of the day, therefore, you have a chance to exchange ideas, talk about clothing, etc. before hand. Which also alleviates some of Chrissie's complaints.
The downside is, as well as your first choice dance partners, you might have to shoot with someone you wouldn't normally go near. The gothic male model with the bad acne, for instance, or the myopic photographer with the bad breath, who only wants to photograph your feet. But perhaps that's part of the fun of it.
PS. For more info on Dance Cards, mail me, I'll attempt to put you in touch with Pam (Slipland) Queen of the dance card.