Model citizens

In the Creative Intensive session titled “Persuasive Photography and Compelling Copy — Without Blowing Your Budget or Your Cool,” Kevin Kotowski and Janice Olson, president and CEO/chief creative officer respectively of Redondo Beach, CA-based creative agency Olson/Kotowski, detailed the planning of a photo shoot and the roles of the art director, the photographer, the merchandiser, and the photo team. But they didn’t neglect the importance of the model.

You may be tempted to use employees or other “real people” as models in your catalog instead of professionals, and that’s fine, Olson said, but make sure you have them sign a release, no matter who they are. It’s also a good idea to pay them something — even a nominal fee — for their modeling services.

When casting professional models, Olson said, it’s better to meet them in person rather than relying on headshots or other photos. She recalled working on a swimwear catalog shoot and almost hiring a model from a photo. But when she saw that model in person, she realized the woman would not have been the best choice: “Her skin tone was not right for the suit, and the shape of her legs was wrong.” Especially with a product category such as swimwear or lingerie, Olson said, you will spend a lot of time and money retouching if the model’s skin tone is off.

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