Bikini Photoshoot is Underrated
My fashion sense for bikini shoot is the combination of some clothes over the bikini set. I like to keep my photoshoot tasteful. It is a form of art - not the selling sex kind of work.
Many people, including model-wannabes, do have very bad impression of bikini shoots. Does doing a bikini photoshoot mean the model is loose or immoral and does doing it mean the photographer is a pervert? Fortunately (I'm a photographer) and unfortunately (they shouldn't be), people tend to focus on the model.
The contestants in most of the beauty pageants like Miss Singapore (Earth, World and Universe) have done bikini shoot and even walked on the stage in bikini. Do you doubt their chastity or moral?
The main problem is that Singapore is considered as quite a conservative country that is being stuck between the Eastern and Western cultures. I can see a trend that more people are getting more open-minded, which I'm not sure is for the good or bad. However, there is still a long way for people to reach the level to appreciate art.
Another big problem is probably due to the numerous bikini shoot photographs that have been produced by hobbyists and freelance models. Most of them that are not very artistically executed or captured, and thus do give the viewers very bad impression of doing a bikini shoot. Bikini photographs usually go viral easier than other kind of photographs, and thus more audience are reached and they will compliment on the hot models regardless of the quality of work.
Many model-wannabes and freelance models have been approaching me for TFCD photoshoot. I do very selective TFCD shoot due to time restriction and that my portrait portfolio is already good enough to showcase my talent. What I need is stronger marketing.
Why do I suggest doing a bikini shoot when a model approaches me?
- To get reaction from the model in order to judge her because both attitude and EQ matter a lot to me - not just the looks.
- To see how open-minded the model is before I can think of a suitable and non-boring theme.
- If the model has the aura, figure and outfit, bikini shoot is a good marketing tool. We can proceed if she really suits it.
- If the model is not very good looking and will only impress viewers with theme that is of a little sexy nature.
- To scare away the model who is incapable of producing good work with me easily (requires extreme makeover or has limited good angles), without directly rejecting her.
To be frank, most of the models who have approached me are not very ideal for doing bikini shoot.
What irritates me most is the fact that although most "models" (who have approached me) do not want to do bikini shoot, they already have many photographs of themselves in bikini inside their social media profiles. This actually shows that they are open to showing the amount of skin to others. Moreover, doing a bikini shoot with me will produce much more tasteful photographs than their casual bikini ones.
Planning, Consideration and Execution of My Bikini Shoots
There are actually many planning and consideration involved in doing a bikini shoot. Below are some of the bikini shoots I have done before. The description and limitation are based on the time of the shoots.
Jade was playful, confident and open-minded. She had a couple of bikini sets and a few stylish outerwears that could be worn over the bikinis. With the involvement of an extremely experienced and creative commercial hair and makeup artist who beautified her on the spot within a short timeframe, we went for a very lifestyle and stylish looks.
We made good use of the existing props on the location to further nail the shoot. I depended on the late afternoon's natural light and without the use of artificial light allowed the model to move around conveniently to push her creativity to the maximum.
Esther was energetic and open-minded. Unfortunately, she only had a set of bikini and very limited tops that could match with her bikini. No hair and makeup artist was involved and she did not process very strong makeup skill. With all the limitations, I decided not to be too ambitious and thus chose a lively kind of bikini shoot that could make full use of her energy and cute bikini set. I chose the most suitable hairstyle that I could find inside her Facebook photographs and got her to do her basic makeup. I also planned some props that would suit the theme well.
I was not sure the management of the condominium would allow me to set up my light modifiers by the poolside. I chose to shoot in the early morning to get the best light possible and with the aid of the venue that blocked most of the direct sunlight, I was able to shoot using natural light. There was only a slight problem of strong reflection of sunlight from the glass of the buildings.
Bianca was energetic, open-minded and creative. It was the last second morning of her short holidays in Singapore and we had to shoot in the early morning just a few hours after she contacted me. The shooting location was at the condominium where she was staying and thus I needed not worry about her outfits - I could get her to change her outfits any time and we just had to use whatever she had with her for her trip. She was able to do her own basic makeup. Since she was a Caucasian, I decided it was good to do a lifestyle shoot that could display emotion.
Since I was unsure if I could set up my lighting again, I could only make use of the ambient light. It was a partially cloudy day and the constant changing of the brightness of the sun posed difficulty for me. After getting some good expressive shots of the non-bikini outfits, she was very satisfied with them and her energy level increased. Thus, I made use of her creativeness and hyperactiveness to work on the set for the bikini to show a different side of hers. We also used existing props like the buoy.
Lovelle was composed and had this lady-like look. She did her own makeup. I was invited to her group shoot and thus I did not make any planning on the outfits, location, timing and props. After she ended her shoot, I had only two choices of outfits - a red bikini and an unattractive designed swimsuit. Since she had been doing "supermodel" kind of shoots with her customers (hobbyist photographers), I decided to keep this shoot lifestyle. As I was quite unlikely to be able to set up my lighting equipment over there, I was in no hurry to begin the shoot but to wait for better natural lighting.
The hotel's pool was not super crowded but there were still guests all over the place and thus it was difficult to find good spots and angles. She was a non-swimmer and it was not safe to make her go into the water. The biggest problem was that her then-boyfriend was there and even though we were all friends, there was some awkwardness. However, I let him take the lead in cracking her up.
Beverley was energetic and feminine. She had quite a number of outfits but I did make a big mistake by not insisting her to try on the clothes in order to visualize the looks properly. She was able to do her own makeup. Due to her talent in dancing, I decided to focus on her energy and fitness. The first set was a warm-up shoot to show her youthfulness with props, second set to do something more towards fitness and third set were to focus on sunset, although the weather prevented us from working on the last set.
Since we spent quite some time inside the water and the weather was bad that we had to hide from the rain halfway, I did not set up any lighting and thus was using the limited quantity of ambient light filtered by the very dark clouds. Halfway through the shoot after the rain stopped, a staff from the hotel nearby claimed the part of the beach was owned by them and thus we had some restriction of angles. Besides, there were many photobombs.
Martina was very confident and open-minded. Since she was a foreigner, she actually had limited clothes with her in Singapore. She was able to do her own simple makeup. Caucasians looked naturally exotic, which was a benefit. She also had years of experience working with other photographers and thus I decided to go for a lifestyle and stylish shoot. She was one of the models I had limited discussion with and thus even though she was extremely open-minded, I did not dare to go for a more provocative feel.
The location was temporary emptied due to the year-end beach party and thus my plan to use some of the props as backgrounds was eliminated. The sky was clear and the sunlight was extremely harsh even though the weather forecast told me that the afternoon would be partially cloudy. There were limited open shade areas to hide at, with sunlight piercing through the tree branches and leaves to cast bad shadows on her. The sunlight also caused problem to my camera's auto focus system at times. Even though I was using a 600-watt studio strobe, it was not sufficient to overcome the brightness of the sun after putting on the diffuser. We had limited time while she had to leave before the golden hour arrived, however, with her experience, we were able to get some good shots.
It really depends on individual photographers to produce the quality and tastefulness of photographs, regardless of the type of outfits. A photographer can turn a lingerie shoot stylish while another photographer can turn a t-shirt shoot into porn. There are also many kinds of clothes that may show more skin than bikini.
Therefore, everyone, especially models and model-wannabes, should stop labelling bikini shoot and models who do it with decent and professional photographers.
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