A muse is a model that you shoot with often and massively increase your skill and art in the process. If you’ve been following my blog daily you’ll notice a lot of images from Scarlett St. Vitus. Scarlett was my first muse.
There are very few models I’ve shot with more than once. Scarlett I’ve shot with more times that I can count. Remember that post apocalyptic shoot? That was a spur of the moment thing. She called and said she had a cool outfit and I drove down picked her up and drove around looking for where to shoot it. You can do that when you have a muse relationship.
I’ve also shot Scarlett’s husband, Bear, and the two of them together. I’ve gone to fashion shows she was in to shoot. Shot party shots of the goth dance club they ran for awhile. Been dragged into the woman’s restroom to shoot by her and her friends in the toilet stall. (There was great light in there)
How Do You Find Your Muse?
In one sense it is an accident. Shoot with lots of models and eventually you’ll click with one. Though you have rapport with a model doesn’t mean she’ll be your muse. She might not feel the same way about you, or she might have issues that make her worry about getting close to you.
Assuming the connection is mutual here are a few tips.
Shoot often. While this is the definition of muse, it is also a conscious choice on your part. Plan more shoots. Develop series together.
Form a partnership. Don’t just shoot what you want. This is always a good idea, but with a muse it is at a higher level. You need to be willing to shoot her ideas even when they don’t excite you. She’ll do the same for you.
Serve with your photography. There are often photographic needs models have you can meet outside a modeling photoshoot. Look at them as acts of service and new experiences. Scarlett was in the Heavy Red fashion show here in Houston. So went down the goth nightclub (remember I’m in now way goth) and shoot the show for her. I also went to her goth club and just shot regular club photography for her. The image at the right is of Scarlett and Bear from a maternity shoot I did with them.
Have fun. I hope you are always having fun with your models, but with your muse it should be more fun. You don’t have to worry about all that new relationship stuff. You know each other. You trust each other. You know each others strengths and weakness.
Downsides Of A Muse
There are some drawbacks to having a muse and you need to watch out for them.
Getting Tunnel Vision It is easier to shoot with your muse. You don’t have to worry if they will show, if they will be a primadonna, if they will be good. But don’t let that hold you back from shooting other models.
The All Muse Portfolio. I remember when my portfolio was 75% Scarlett. You need variety in your images and that includes having different models in there. Because of your special relationship and experience with your muse, you will produce really good work. You want your best work in your portfolio, but make sure you don’t go overboard.
Becoming Unprofessional The muse relationship can be pretty powerful emotionally. You need to understand that it is an artistic relationship and not a personal one. Don’t fall in love with your muse, or if you do understand it doesn’t have to be the kind of love that is romantic or sexual.
In conclusion, having a muse is a wonderful thing. I very much value my relationship with Scarlett and we’ve both grown as artists as a result of it. Remember to keep variety in your portfolio and keep things professional and friendly and you’ll have a great long term relationship.