Glamour in your Lens

When You Can Pick and Choose

I HAVE ALREADY dealt with the task of getting models with it was difficult, or when you thought it was difficult. If it's still difficult when your career in glamour photography is pretty well advanced, either you haven't been very successful, or you live at the North Pole.

By this time, if you have any talent at all, models should be finding you instead of the other way round. So naturally you become choosy. You can't photograph everybody. You're still probably photographing Helen, Nancy, Rosa and Sylvia occasionally. A new girl has to show considerable possibilities.

If you want to go on having a wide choice, treat even the ugliest of these would-be models with the utmost tact, courtesy and consideration. Tell a girl who has a face like a horse that she isn't quite the type. She has character, of course, one can see that. She would be excellent for dramatic studies. But that isn't your line.

Sun, sea, and air favour the outdoor type.
Photo Zoltan Glass

Don't, whatever you do, laugh at her. It will be hard sometimes. Repulsive people aren't funny, but usually these hopefulgirls won't be repulsive, just plain ugly.

You can't afford to be honest with them. The only honest thing you can say would be: "If you want to model why don't you buy some plasticine?" This would be most unkind.

Try Out New Models

Silhouette and expression aid glossy appeal.
Photo Harrison Marks.
It will pay to expose a few frames of every girl who wants to model for you--just a few exposures on the spot, without going to any special location of making any elaborate arrangements. If you have a 35 mm. camera, whether you do your main work with it or not, you can use it and any odd piece of film for these tests.

It's astonishing how often the camera finds models when the eye has already rejected them.

Surplus 35 mm. film is very cheap. And all inexperienced models need practice.

So do all inexperienced photographers. Any photographers, for that matter. One can be quite frank about this. With a secure reputation based on one's best work, one can arrange what are admittedly practice sessions, use only substandard film, and achieve considerable improvement in both model and photographer at very small cost.

Taking a large number of pictures before seeing how a girl photographs in various poses is usually a waste of film. So is taking a large number before she has any idea of what to do.

If more girls want to model for you than you can possibly photograph, what should you look for in them?


No matter how attractive a girl is, her pictures won't be first-class unless she's really keen, really trying. Even if Jane is ten points below June in looks, enhtusiasm can put her well ahead when it comes to the job of modelling. Her pictures will look convincing and assured.

It's not always easy to establish just how enthusiastic a girl is. She maybe the type who doesn't show her feelings; her parents may not be particularly keen on her modelling; she may have heavy social commitments apart from her sessions with you. So if she doesn't seem thrilled or if she has to put off a date once or twice, you can't be sure she isn't keen.

One girl I'd been going to photograph for some time was like this. She was always apologetic when she rang up and said she couldn't come, but happened two or three times. She never appeared wildly enthusiastic either. Her last chance as far as I was concerned came up. She didn't know this, of course. The weather was not promising when I called on her I fully expected her to say it was too bad to go out. But she came out, ready, and so optimistic about the weather that I began to think she really did want to model after all.

When clothes feature, elegant bearing scores.
Photo Alex Sterling.

We drove north and the rain came down in buckets. She kept seeing little patches of blue sky and was sure the rain would go off soon. We turned south and stopped at a beach where it was dull, cold, windy but not actually raining. She got into a bathing costume and said through chattering teeth that it wasn't cold, really. She was keen all right.

Models with bright spirits never fail.
Photo Philip Gotlop.

Personality alone can make a successful picture.
Photo Peter Basch.


After enthusiasm comes vivacity. Many pretty girls are quiet, thoughtful, and don't smile readily. These are obviously very difficult to photograph successfully. The bathing beauty type, in so far as there is one, is the girl who is gay, athletic, energetic, and who, though she takes care over her looks and clothes, can forget all about them when she's doing something she enjoys.

Physical Characteristics

As far as physical characteristics are concerned, all that really matters is that the girl should be pretty. Tall or short, plump or slim, blonde or brunette, young or not so young--if she's pretty that's all that matters.

Be wary of the fashion model--the girl who has done a little mannequin work and whose heart is really in that kind of modelling. Such a girl can be a good pin-up model, but not always, indeed not often. What she likes about modelling is wearing beautiful clothes, and she's never able to forget what she's wearing. Even in a bathing costume she displays the swimsuit, not herself. The best beach model is the girl who seems to forget altogether what she's wearing.


Finally, there's a lot to be said for availability. If you're going to take the trouble to train a model, it's better to train one who'll always be available rather than one who lives a long way away or who is seldom free to model. Better, too, when she's on the 'phone so that you can readily get in touch with her.

The weather in this country has a disgusting habit of being good when you couldn't care less, and bad when you really want sunshine. There's always a surfeit of possible models at the week-ends, but if you are free to photograph at other times it isn't so easy to find anybody to photograph. And it can be most frustrating to watch the sun beating down, blazing in a deep blue sky on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, when there's nobody you can photograph, and disappear coyly on Saturday and Sunday, when there's a dozen lovely young girls waiting to come out with you.

It's a very sensible precaution to look out for girls who are available on your days off, if any. In a bad summer there can be such an exasperating run of dull week-ends that you'll forget which end of the camera to point at the subject. But there must be sun sometimes. You may be glad that you made tentative arrangements earlier with some pretty housewife or schoolgirl to make use of mid-week sun. Another big advantage is beaches which are packed on Saturdays and Sundays are relatively deserted in the middle of the week.

If you are in that happy state of having more potential models than you want, arrange things if you can so that they'll keep. A photographer who is foolish enough to be rude to all models he doesn't happen to want at the moment will very soon regret it.

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