It’s Called Range: Part Two

NOTE: The Mexico Workshop and Houston workshops are just around the corner. If you are interested in attending one of these Two Day Workshops, take a look at the Workshop page. We have room in both workshops and they are going to be amazing. Briana will be going to the Mexico Workshop and will be working with the photographers there. Please don’t wait to signup for Mexico, there are only a few spots left. If you need help with getting down there, let me know. We can work something out for sure. Now, on with the Model Behavior article by Briana… Developing Range as a model.

Range Continued – A How to Guide:

Last article, we discussed how to expand a model’s range through 5 basic elements: Wardrobe; Roles; Makeup; Emotion; and Environment. This article continues with another six ideas. But please feel free to leave comments that include other ways you’ve found helpful.

6.) People – They too can affect how you perform. For instance, some of my favorite shots are ones with people in the background. There’s one I like with a couple of children playing behind me and another picture with a lady’s head in the frame contrasting with me covered in sand. But that’s not the only way people can affect your range. At shoots there are always a number of people around: some watching; some helping; some making you laugh. Each lets you mirror their feelings and thus express something you might not have expressed individually. So don’t be afraid to shoot with others around. Feed off the audience’s energy and you might just do something you never would have done without them there.

Notice how the lady on the right changes the mood?

Notice how the lady on the right changes the mood?

7.) Props – Guitars, boxing gloves, guns, saxophones, pool cues, chairs, and even birds have all at one time or another been a part of one of my shoots.

Fly, my pretties... and get their little dog too!

Fly, my pretties... and get their little dog too!

8.) Themes – Pinups, dancing, fruits, colors (or just one color), bathing suits, weddings, stickers, and hats. Each one has let me try new things and both develop my range and my personality.

9.) Location, location, location – Back to environment. It too can work like props or themes work. Simply by finding an interesting location to allow one to try something different will help both model and photog. As for me, I’ve stood in front of “tagged” walls, textured buildings, weird statues, signs, windmills, sunsets, an old jeep, archways, cacti, and doors. Each one has allowed me to either be the object by mirroring it or contrast with it by opposing it. A statue of a sphere versus a model with arms at angles is different than a model who hunches herself into a ball. Just create shapes with your body. But even better, by contrasting your wardrobe to the location you can change the meaning of a shot and also try new things. A model in a wedding dress in front of a textured building has a totally different feel than that same wedding dressed model in front of a “tagged” wall. Ya follow?

Architecture versus the model

Architecture versus the model

10.) Music – One of my favorite things. I love music, from 80’s bands to Top 20, from country to ska, and from alternative to Marley. But when I’m shooting I like to listen to something that either reflects or contrasts the theme. A tango dress is great with tango music, but it’s equally good with any other type. Each will change how I act with the dress. With a tango, I’ll dance a tango, but with hip hop I’ll have a different mindset and perform differently. The end result could be quite dramatic or different and thus stretch my range and the photog’s.

Dance shot - The rhythm is gonna get ya

Dance shot - The rhythm is gonna get ya

11.) Personality – Yes, I know, we all have different personalities, and to some one might have a pool cue as a prop and play pool, for others, they might become kung-fu bo staff masters. It’s all in who we are. So don’t be afraid to show who you really are… or you imaginatively could become.

Widening Perspectives:

Range helps the photog as much as the model, as both can enhance their portfolios. Further, from a business sense, the more range one has, the more marketable one becomes. It’s a simple premise, the more range a product covers the larger its market. Most drugs follow that premise (not often on purpose – for instance, Botox was never designed for getting rid of wrinkles), and like a drug, we models can be just as needed. It’s all a matter of range. As a model (or photog) embraces new elements, others will notice, while at the same time each gains valuable experience. That experience translates to more tools at one’s next shoot. But, to be honest, not all attempts at developing range are positive. There are a few test shots out there of me that I’d rather not see surface too often. But equally, there are a few test shots out there that allowed me to stretch my abilities and grow. And I thank all those photogs out there that let me be myself and… leap… or make goofy smiles!
“But, that’s all I got”:

What if you, the model, think you lack range? Think background. Find out what you do know in other places in your life… become that persona… if you’re a student, bartender, dancer, or a beer-league ball-player? Be it at a shoot. Like a particular movie? Song? Or book? Be the character. Act as he or she would. All professions, hobbies, and interests have skills. All have locations. All have themes. All have props. Get the picture? If not, I recommend Blockbuster. Just pick a genre and head to your next shoot.

Film Noir

Film Noir

Hey… it’s Don here for moment. Just letting you all know that Briana’s Dance Calendar is in production and should be ready in about 14 days. It is designed, and we are finishing the shooting this coming week. When it is ready, we will change this note out to a link for the dance calendar. OK, I’m outta here…


Range is a concept felt in every corner of our lives. It’s just often hard to realize that it’s a translatable skill. If you have multiple roles in your life, like being a model, a student, a dancer, a daughter, a wife, and a chef then you’re already multi-tasking. You’re not just one of those things, you’re all of them. You adapt and adopt new roles and skills as needed. Modeling range is the same. Adopt and adapt. By so doing you’ll expand your portfolio and your photog’s. To start, just change a few things every shoot, from wardrobe to the role you play, from your makeup and hair to the emotion you portray, from your environment to the people around you, from the props to the themes and from the location to the music you use for inspiration. But most of all, embrace who you are, embrace your personality, embrace your background, and be… all you can be.

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Hi, I'm wizwow - also known as Don Giannatti. Photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amhearst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and e-zine with a slightly different slant than most photography related sites. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out Project 52 Pros.

Thanks for visiting.

1 Comment

  1. Hello Briana
    Your articles should be read by every model and every photographer that shoots models. They are very insightful. Lots of talent here on BOTH sides of the camera. Please keep writing and posting.