TFP Portraiture with Erica in Taipei


So I dabble in model photography as well. I enjoy having a person pose so I can figure out, well, how to pose them. There’s a definite art to giving direction that I haven’t quite mastered. I usually look up a few stock poses, see what comes up organically, and then have the model give suggestions on what they want to see.

This one’s tied for my favorite. Love these Fuji shadows and contrast!

I’ve only done maybe 3 TFP (trade for pics) shoots so I also don’t have much practice in this arena. I’m glad I thought to post to Craigslist this time around. I was hoping to find a beautiful Asian woman to shoot some night time city lights/lifestyle type work with in Taipei. And Erica reached out during my last week there.

We met at Ximending and walked around for a good hour and a half. Some thoughts on modeling at night:

  • Night lighting is HARD to work with!
    I found getting skin tones right incredibly challenging. The Auto WB settings weren’t that trustworthy and whenever we’d walk to a new area or a different color light source dominated, which was constantly happening in the neon-lit Ximending shopping area, her skin tones would shift. I was getting green, pink, brown, and orange undertones constantly. And trying to correct them left her looking like either a doll or a corpse…And by the time I figured out how to correct for it, I had thought I was finished. So I had to go back through and re-edit the entire series. However, I learned a lot about how Skin Tone Corrections work in Capture One Pro, so that’s a solid win!
  • Posing a model in unique and realistic ways is a challenge!
    Turns out I don’t know much about model poses. After the same few poses, I was honestly at a loss as to what pose should come next. Of all the thousands of possible ways to pose a subject, I was drawing a blank. I know it all comes with experience but that was also surprising!
  • Wide-angle portraiture is HARD!
    Perspective distortion is a bitch! It shows up constantly wherever there’s straight lines. And even when I want to embrace the distortion it doesn’t always pan out quite the way I want in my head. But when it does, boy does it rock! I need to spend time studying the Horizontal and Vertical Keystone Correction tools.
And this one’s my other favorite!

Challenges aside, I’m really glad we had a chance to work together. I still prefer more documentary/candid types of photography but it was a lot of fun to do a model shoot. And I got some images I genuinely like as well, like the American flag staircase series. I’m going to ask Erica if she wants to do a reshoot there next time I’m in Taipei. The perspective distortion is annoying me on a few of the images but that spot has so much promise it’s worth the time!

If you like what you see, you can follow fashion designer, business owner, and full-time traveler Erica Chang on IG@punkec

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