Shoot Story: Finding a Model on Instagram – Holli

Once I’d done my first photo shoot, with Lauren, I wanted another model to work with. But where do you get models? I didn’t really know. And I couldn’t really afford to hire a model.

I turned to Instagram. I followed Holli already, and she followed me. We’d both been to Exmouth Pride, though we hadn’t met there, and we’d both posted photos from there – I’d found her through the hashtag #exmouthpride. She’d posted some nicely artistic selfies, so obviously had some ideas, and cared about how she looked in photos. She was also an artist, and obviously had a good sense of aesthetics and composition.

So I sent her a DM. I said I liked her style and look, and that I was an amateur photographer. Would she be interested in modelling? I couldn’t pay, but if she wanted to try, I’d like to photograph her, and she’d be able to use the photos.

Somewhat surprisingly to me (and, I found out later, quite surprisingly to her too!) she said yes. We chatted most days for the next week or so, finding we had lots of things in common, and arranging the shoot. We didn’t arrange much specifically, just where to meet and when, and discussed a few ideas.

On the day, we met up in Exmouth, and started with coffee and a bit more chat. Sam came along, and got on well with Holli too. I caught a first few shots while we were sitting on benches chatting.

We tried a few shots with some flowers in the town centre.

Then we headed down to Manor Park Gardens – a nice park in Exmouth with a great little cafe called Bumble and Bee.

After we’d done enough shots in the park, we thought we’d head down to the sea front, and we needed to move the car anyway, as we were running out of time in the car park. The sea front parking was way too busy, though, so we made a last-minute change of plans to head to Budleigh Salterton. It was more convenient for Holli to get home, and would be a bit quieter.

Budleigh has a pebble beach. Maybe not as nice as sand if you want to sunbathe, but it looks good in photos, so we got a bunch more photos there.

One setup took a bit more effort. There was a drain outlet on the beach – a really big thing, encased in concrete, like a small hut. Easy to get to the top of from the back, and much lower at the front. Holli got up on top of it, her bright red dress startling against the blue sky. To get the right angle, I had to slide down the pebbles to the bottom, and lie down. A few good shots later, I scrambled back up on all fours. It was not dignified, but totally worth it.

We ate in a nice little cafe, then went to a nearby park for a few more shots around the trees.

There was a park bench with a high bank behind it, which gave me an idea. Holli sat on the bench, leaning back, and I got up the bank to look down on her. It makes for a really interesting and unusual angle, and has become a bit of a set piece for me since – any time I can find a bench or similar, where I can get a bit of height behind it, I tend to go for that shot.

And that was the day. I had a great time, and I love the photos I took. Holli said she had a good time too. I assume she did, because we’ve done a couple more shoots since, and met up as friends. I got a new model, and a new friend!

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