Tomorrow is our monthly studio shoot, when we photograph how-to pictures for an upcoming magazine issue. This time it's for December/January McCall's Quick Quilts (yes, that's how far ahead we work!). When I came to work at McCall's I had no idea I'd have to become a hand model, but all our editors do. We prepare the samples, and then our hands are photographed doing the steps needed for whatever technique we're teaching. Here, at risk of humiliating myself beyond repair, are the secrets I've learned over the years about hand modeling for quilting photos:
- Don't do any heavy gardening, grungy cleaning, or dangerous chopping, etc. for the few days before a shoot. Give your hands a chance to be relatively intact and normal looking. Like most of these tips, I learned this the hard way. I once cut a big chunk out of a finger the night before a shoot and had to have a hand stunt double!
- Do a fresh manicure the night before the shoot. Short nails and clear or light pink polish are best, as they don't distract a reader from the quilting action shown. Blood red nails = vampire quilting....not so good.
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I like Crabtree & Evelyn's Gardener's Hand Therapy for super moisture and no shine or stickiness.
- Find a good cover stick that blends well with the skin on the back of your hand, and use it. Age spots (oh, my age spots), scars, freckles all cost money to have edited out of photos. The closer you can get to flawless skin, the easier on the folks who prepare the photos for the printer.
- Posing for the photos is an art in itself. Listen to the photographer and whoever is art directing the shoot. They can see things you can't from your perspective. As our photographer Mellisa Mahoney often says, "If the editor isn't uncomfortable, it's not a good shot." Twist yourself into a pretzel if needed...the cramps will pass, but the photo lives on.
- When in doubt about whether a shot is necessary, take the shot. They're easy to delete or not use, but almost impossible to recreate later to seamlessly blend with the other pictures.
- After the shoot, wash your made-up hands before handling any fabric or quilts. Don't ask me how I know to do this.
So, if you're ever called on to model for quilting how-to photos, you're all set. Me, I'm off to do that manicure...