Shooting Mode in Photo Session


I write this article because I want to share some of shooting experience in Taiwan. I am not sure about the title for this article, I know it can make some people miss understand the content^^.  Some people may think this article is about camera mode such as program, aperture priority, etc ~ shortly I would say it is not about camera mode.

First I need to explain that most of photo sessions in Taiwan are totally different than photo sessions in US.

Most photo sessions in Taiwan are similar with photo session in Indonesia (my country) and some of Asian countries. In Taiwan it’s common to shoot together (maximum ratio about 10 photographers : 1 model), and all photographers share the fee for the model. Normally photographers no need to worry about make up for the model, outfit for model, and pose ~ photographers just focus for shooting. In Taiwan, as photographer you also can conduct 1 by 1 photo shoot which you can control everything (theme, location, outfit, pose, etc) but you need to consider the model’s fee. Notice that almost no TFP (time for print) or TFCD (time for CD) in Taiwan – except the model is your friend or girl friend ^^. Normally photographers will pay the model, of course with exceptional case such as you working for company (third party) then the company will pay you and the model. Seldom case the model pay the photographer, except the model is your client ^^.

General speaking most photo sessions in Taiwan are joined by many photographers and one model. Since there are many photographers shooting together then you can imagine how difficult to shoot the model. Every photographer has different style, some photographers like to shoot natural (kind of candid shot), others like shoot kind of fashion shot (which model is looked being posed). Every photographer also has different favorite focal length (lens) – some photographers like wide angle lens, other photographers like tele photo lens. Not only that, every photographers also has different habit – some photographers like to shoot with available light (natural light), others like to shoot with studio setup (full setup of lighting).

Because it is difficult to shoot properly in this condition then I will explain some shooting modes that can manage / rule the photographers.

(Note: red dot = model, blue dot = you (as a photographer), black dot (other photographers), green area = your shooting area).

1. All Together Mode

This shooting mode is the most popular in Taiwan. All photographers shooting together at one time, good thing is you will get longer shooting time (if the photo session is conducted for 3 hours then you also get the same 3 hours for shooting), you also can share the model’s fee. Down side is you have less shooting area and less freedom to adjust model pose. It’s difficult to adjust the model pose to follow the pose that you want, just imagine if every photographer want to adjust the model pose – I am quite sure the photo session will be messy. For this mode, if you use a little bit different lens (regarding focal length) then you will have big problem because you need to wait other photographers or change your shooting direction (which means also limited your composition) – just like the picture below (assume you use tele photo lens and other photographers using wide angle lens).


2. Role Shooting Mode

This shooting mode is not popular in Taiwan (IMHO). One of my friend told me that some photo sessions in Japan are using this mode. It’s looked like a short time one by one shooting. Each photographer is given the same limited time. For example there are 6 photographers join the photo session and there are 6 shooting spots for photo session. The shooting time for each location is about 30 minutes (assume that the total shooting time = 3 hours). Each photographer is given 5 minutes for shooting in one spot. When one photographer shoot the model, the other photographers just can wait until their turn. The good thing for this mode is photographer have freedom to adjust the model’s pose and adjust the best position (model and photographer) to get the right angle and composition, photographer also share the model’s fee. The down side is limited time for shooting – if you are new to photography then you will feel not suitable for this mode (maybe you still don’t know how to adjust the model pose, adjust your camera setting, choose the right angle, etc.), you also will feel more pressured because it’s looked like shooting competition (IMHO).


3. Grouping Mode

In Taiwan, this shooting mode is more popular than role shooting mode (but not more popular than all together mode). As I remember some photo sessions in Taiwan, if the shooting space is very limited then the shooting mode can be changed from all together mode to grouping mode (maybe only for some spots). Grouping mode is kind of combination between all together mode and role shooting mode – you get a win win solution between shooting time, shooting area, and freedom to adjust the pose – you also share the model’s fee. I have seen some photo sessions registration in Indonesia, usually there is a question about the focal length of lens using for the photo session. So the photo session organizer can split the group based on focal length. General speaking, focal length is the easiest way to split the photographers into the group.


4. One by One Mode

This mode is an exceptional than other modes. Simply you get unlimited shooting area and freedom to adjust the model’s pose. You just need to consider the model’s fee. In this mode, you can choose and adjust many things from locations, theme, model’s outfit, model’s pose, lighting setup, etc. Basically you got what you paid, but still if you consider about the cost then you may ask your friend and treat him/her a dinner ^^.


In the end of this article you may ask me which one I prefer. Well, it’s a secret ~ but I can say I prefer shooting together with friends who I know well.


6 thoughts on “Shooting Mode in Photo Session

  1. Wow great writing! It’s nice to know the shooting culture in other countries.

    I mostly shoot in one by one mode, because up until now the models have been my friends hehe :). That’s because perhaps I like to choreograph the pose and set up the lighting (even though it’s outdoor) which requires time. But sometimes I also go with another photographer friend and in that case we take turns posing the model, but while one person is directing other person may also shoot :).

    I think that’s what’s great about photography, every person has its own preferences.

  2. I like this Article! Actually, it’s my first time to read an article about photographer’s experience in Taiwan or any other country. And the fact that I was thinking of becoming a photographer maybe someday, I thought, I would rather be a model. Atleast, maybe hardwork would be less, but I think it would be harder being a model than being a photographer. You need to pose thingys the photographer said. Haha. Anyhoo, I have no regrets in reading this article, especially the one who wrote this, is you, sir. But, I have questions. Does the experience in Taiwan is much more better than any country? For example, in Asia? Korea, Japan, Philippines, etc. Does they also treat you well or such? [I’m thinking of making ‘photographer’ job to be a sideline job. Since, I really can’t let go of the though of being a photographer. Hahaha.]

    • Thanks Suppi. I never do photo shoot in Korea, Japan, and Philippines so I can’t compare photo shoot in Taiwan to these countries. I ever do photo shoot in Hongkong but so far I love photo shoot in Taiwan more…..
      Anyway most photo shooting (model photo session) are just for hobby, it is totally different with photographer job (professional). If you want to become professional photographer in Taiwan (especially for shooting model), I would say that “so difficult” ~ most of photo session in Taiwan is following one culture (more likely as a hobby, means photographer needs to pay the model^^).

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