Most flash photography videos that I am watching use a model, telling her to turn left, chin up, etc. But I don't have a family or friend around to practice on, and because one of my main goals is to get into portrait, wedding, people photography, I want to practice on something as close to the shape and size of a human. What do you suggest I use?


3 Answers 3


Tethered selfies are easy to setup, or you could give a try to an "Hair Styling Head" even though that could feel creepy.

My solution to this was to do party photography at a local bar to try new techniques and light modifiers. Everything had to be quite portable, but as everything i used was DIY i could deal with it and not be afraid of having it damaged.

Getting at a party with crazy DIY photography stuffs is a good way to get the attention of potential models.

I ended up doing ~130 studio photo shootings over 2 years this way, and ~400 nights at the bar shooting. It helps being a student in this situation.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Always was a question for me and was afraid to try it: So people at the bar don't care some camera guy who is not the official photographer take their pictures? ( Country: US, State: KS) \$\endgroup\$
    – Brandon
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also about: "Tethered selfies are easy to setup" How do you do the focus and light shadows if you are behind the camera? \$\endgroup\$
    – Brandon
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 13:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Blake You just go with some friends, shoot them, then other people (if drunk and happy enough) will ask you for a photo. Post them to you facebook to get better known, or, better, say hi to the barman and he'll probably be happy to put them on his bar's facebook (and give you a beer). For selfies you need a IR remote control like this 1€ one : is.gd/sFPKdt The camera will auto-focus when you trigger the photo. For the shadow, see what you got on your computer (tethered shooting ftw) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 13:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, if you want people to pose for free, just make sure they're getting something in return. Posting to Facebook is a great idea if people are cool with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Crowder
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 17:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I often find that even strangers are cool with candid photos if I ask permission and explain what I'm doing first: "Hi, I'm Nathan, and I'm learning how to do flash photography. Could I take some photos of you guys hanging out? Want me to put the good ones on Facebook so you can tag yourselves?" Genuineness goes a long way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Crowder
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 17:22

A few people use a polystyrene head on a light stand or table, but I've not been able to find one where I am so I use a cable release and shoot myself until I have something approaching usable then call a friend in for the minimum amount of time I can.

This takes longer than shooting a head on a stick, but works just as well, a chair helps you keep the positioning consistent and tethering is a huge help.


Have a look if there are any local studios, groups, clubs, etc that get together to shoot models.

A studio close to where I used to live used to run regular group shoots. Not only was it great for practising and shooting different models in different setups, but you could also see how other photographers interact with a model, and it was great for socialising too.


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