Melbourne Escort and Photographer Venus Van Gogh Shares Tips for Image Selection After a Photoshoot
Updated: Jul 4
So your photoshoot is done and dusted. You turned up, you looked hot, you smashed it out, and your photographer took hundreds of amazing images of you. Now, the hard part is over, right? Sadly, no. Once you receive the images from your shoot for selection, there is a whole lot of work to be done to get hundreds and sometimes thousands of images down to your final selections for editing. I offer a short listing service, but want you to have every resource at your desposal before paying me for a service you are perfectly capable of yourself with the right tools and approach.
Your package might include 6, 12 or 25 images and depending on your budget or how much you love the results, you may want to purchase extras, but where do we even start? There are so many images and you somehow have to get them down to 6 or 12 or 25. It's so overwhelming! My goal here is to try to take a bit of the overwhelm out of things for you and break down the process.
Prepare yourself for the task
Photoshoots are hard. They're hard on you creatively, they're hard on you physically, financially, and they are even harder on you mentally. It can be a real psychological challenge to spend a day or several days looking at endless images of your body and scrutinising every image in a way that relates to how to put your best commercial foot forward and sell the experience you offer. It's imporant to prepare yourself for the task ahead, it's up to you to be accountable for how you approach your shoot from the beginning to lessen the impact on your psyche and get through the task.
Before your shoot
The first part of this process starts before the photoshoot even happens. As you are planning your shoot, do your market research and ask your clients what they like about you, put thought into your triggers and style your shoot appropriately, and most importantly have a conversation with your photographer about the things that you feel meh about. They will do one of two things, they will avoid focus on those areas or edit them in post, - or - they will show you just how amazing those areas can look with the right pose, lighting and angles. For example, I do not wear or purchase strappy lingerie because, as good as it looks on the model, I know before purchasing that I don't like how that style looks on my body, I know those straps will dig in and disappear as soon as I breathe or move or sit. From time to time, when I'm being overly critical of myself, I am also insecure about my lower belly so I try to ensure that I wear outfits or lingerie that flatter the area, and when I can't do that, I make sure I get into a pose that stretches and elongates the area or obscures it and draws focus away from it. It's not my goal to be deceptive, it's my goal to highlight the things I like instead of the things I don't particulaly feel good about all the time.
I am not trying to appeal to clients who only like women with a six pack and I don't get them because those clients are looking out for those who specifically market their six pack. My clients either prefer or also enjoy softness. The one thing I have truly understood from doing my market research and asking my clients questions about what drew them to me and who else they see - not to gossip, I don't want details, but to research - is that clients in general don't have one singular type. A lot of my clients also see the six pack ladies, so I have learned that comparing myself is a useless and uneccessarily damaging practise. Do I still do it sometimes? Yes, but I try to catch myself every time and do something more productive for my business instead.
Managing and compartmentalising your insecurities
Even on our best days we all have our insecurities. You might be looking at your body from an angle you've never seen before, and when you zoom in to try and find all of the details you want edited, you can become aware of "imperfections" that you never knew were there. The camera can be unkind and your brain can exacerbate and fixate on the things that you see wrong with an image. Sometimes you can just shut down and not even want to look at the images and so you keep procrastinating on making your image selections. It happens a lot. You are not alone.
When it comes to external pressures, aside from the strict guidelines on what the societal ideal is, whether you're a size 6 or 26, whether you're 18 or 80 you are attractive to someone. Of course, on the other hand, you can be the juiciest ripest peach, but some people just don't like peaches. No matter how close to the societal idea we are, we have all had some loser try to take us down a peg after rejecting them or not responding to them for whatever reason, and most of us have had some graphic review somewhere of a pathetic person dissecting every detail of our bodies and what they like and don't like, as if they are some kind of oil painting themselves. Sometimes it's poorly socialised clients in a booking who make - what they think is simply innocent - passing remarks or think that insulting your appearance is just good "banter".
It's important to understand that this criticism is never actually a reflection on you, but a projection of their own deep insecurity. It's no wonder why people like that are paying for it and often it's compensation for the feeling of powerlessness they experience over the fact that they either have to pay someone, or could not even pay someone to fuck them because they're so undesireable with their simply insensitive or outright nasty personality. To stay sane in this industry, you need to let that stuff roll off your back. You need to ignore it. Even if there is a grain of truth to how they feel about you, there is no point in trying to appeal to people who don't find you attractive and what one or two people think is not representative of what all clients think. Do you indeed have cellulite? 99% of women do, most people don't care about it, and a lot of people love cellullite. Do you indeed have a big nose? Strong noses and interesting faces are incredibly attractive to many people and can make you stand out in a good way. Are you indeed fat? Plenty of people are into fat people, bbw escorts and porn exist because there's a market for it.
And so you still hate those things about yourself, or you were bloated, or you recently gained weight, or your bra was too tight and you have an extra bulge, or the angle was a bit off, or whatever it is, don't forget about editing. Depending on your photographer and their level of skill or what they are willing to edit, photoshop can help. Now, I don't recommend trying to turn a size 16 into a size 6. That's not going to happen and that is unreasonably deceptive to your client base, but most higher end photographers are happy to do a little shaping and smoothing and refining in order to enhance the image and alter it with marketability in mind while not making it completely unrealistic. My images are edited, I smooth out my skin, get rid of some unflattering shadows, and pull my waist in a bit to enhance my hourglass figure - which gets lost in front of a lens sometimes - and I've had zero complaints in 5 years about authenticity. In fact, whenever I meet new clients there is always a sigh of relief and a "wow, you actually look like your photos!" or "you look better than your photos". Don't be afraid of some editing and try to think beyond the unedited image. Ask your photographer questions about whether something in particular can be edited if you're not sure.
You need to come into your image selection process and focus on the things that you get the most compliments about from the clients who adore you. My biggest compliments are about my friendly personality, my smile, my lips, my eyes, my face, and my curves, so I focus on showing off those assets in my images, and choose the images where those features, either all together or independently, shine. When I pick my images, there's a portion that I select because I love them and a portion I select because I know my clients will love them. So as much as my images are me, they are also not me in the way that they are merely a representation of me that I am using as honey to catch flies. Simplify your approach to the process, detach your emotions from it as much as possible, and keep the goal in mind. There are no positive or negative values in these images, there are simply ones that highlight what you want them to best and images that don't highlight what you want them to. You are simply choosing images for your ads. That's all it is. All you need to do is put out a dozen or so images that show off your assets and your personality. You've got this!
And if you are still in struggle city, you absolutely do not have to do it alone! Get a trusted friend or two to sit down with you at a computer for a few hours and go through the images with you to help you create a shortlist. A big recommendation from me is show some of them to your clients during bookings and see what they respond to. Your current clients can be really useful for market research, don't let that invaluable resource go untapped. Of course, as a last resort or if you want a professional eye, I do offer a short listing service to help you pick the best 25-50 or so images.
Download your images.
So this is the dry part of the process that I will try to make as tech noob friendly as possible. The important part is that you download all of your images onto a laptop or desktop, or at the very least, a tablet. Trying to go through and organise images on a phone is a really tiresome process and it can be done with a general application of the methods I have listed - you can create a new folder and move images to that folder on your phone - but it's really too small a screen to be able to do things effectively. If you don't have a computer or laptop, I suggest borrowing a friend's for this task. It will make your life a lot easier, make the process a lot faster, and offer you things like being able to see multiple images on the same screen at the same time to be able to choose between them or see if they work together.
For safety and discretion when using someone else's computer, make sure you download things directly on to your own USB device rather than a folder on their computer and ensure all of your folders are created within the USB so that, when you are done, you can take the device and your files won't be left on your friend's computer. Also make sure to log out of the accounts which have access to the google drive or drop box and make sure you never save the password on someone else's device, you might even wish to download using private or incognito mode (see below) for their browser so cookies and history are not saved on their device. Just right click on the icon and the option should be there.
So, the first part of shortlisting for me is very straight forward. You want to have all of your images downloaded into a folder and then you want to have a folder within that folder titled "shortlist" to transfer images to. Now you can do this using just your standard windows or mac browser but my preference is to use Fast Stone Image Viewer. It's free and has some great features which are more useful for image processing, most notably the preview window and it doesn't open a new window every time you want to look at an image, you just double click to zoom in and exit, and you can use the scroll wheel to switch between images once they are zoomed in. You will also want to ensure you are viewing the images as thumbnails and that the side bar is set up so that you can easily drop and drag images into your shortlist folder as below.
Fast Stone Image Viewer
Now, you are going to go through every image. I want you to select and drag every image you think is usable into your first shortlist in the side bar. Doesn't have to be a favourite, but if you look good in it and it shows off an asset, and with editing considered you would be happy to share that image, it goes in the first short list. What we are doing here first is separating the usable from unusable, and at the very least, you should have some content for social media in these first few rounds of short listing. Unless you're an absolute supermodel this should clear out at least half of your images so that's a big chunk of the work done, but it is the easy part.
You can even break down this process for yourself, so it feels like less of a big task all at once, by separating the images into folders for different outfits before starting your shortlist process. So once you have gone through an outfit, take a break, rest your eyes for a few minutes or even come back tomorrow to start on the next outfit. I also want to note, that you don't actually have to pick images from every outfit. Sometimes an outfit doesn't turn out well on camera or you looked really rigid in all of the images from your first outfit, or have lost your energy by the last outfit and none of them turned out pleasing to your eye. There is always the next shoot. Don't sacrifice an edit space which could be used for a really good image for one from a particular outfit that isn't that great, but got the outfit.
So once you have your first shortlist, you will enter that folder (or folders if you've broken it up into outfits) and you will create another folder called "shortlist 2" and do the exact same thing again, but this time you are being more critical and looking for the images that stand out a bit more compared to the ones they are close to. Here you are starting the process of choosing between the variations of very similar images that might be basically the same image, but with a different hand placement or facial expression etc. You might want to repeat this second round of culling once or twice more until you're left with less than say 10-15 of each outfit. Call it a day, allow your eyes to rest and your brain to wander, and come back in a day or two.
Now, it's time to take other considerations into your choices. Not only are you culling based on whether you look good or not, you're culling based on your branding aspirations. If you're still figuring your brand out, or you don't really care about a brand at this point, ignore that and just keep culling based on what images you look the hottest in. If you have certain goals, your next round of culling needs to factor them in. So if you want dinner dates, you might need to choose between the image of you standing in the doorway in lingerie and the one of you sitting at the table fully dressed with your cheeseboard. If you want lots of 1-2 hour PSE bookings, you would choose the ones that are more graphic, body focussed and show you in overtly sexual positions over the ones of you being cute and smiley. If you want shy and nerdy clients, pick the ones where you're less sexually agressive and more cute-sexy etc. What does your desired clientele want to see? If you struggle to answer that question, it's time you invested in marketing research, a shoot/branding consult from someone with industry experience, or an industry mentor.
Get all of your remaining images into one folder and review the shoot as a whole. If you've only got 6 edits, you don't need 3 different images of you on all fours in different outfits. You might pick the all fours image from one outfit, then the image that shows off your waist to hip ratio in another outfit, and one that shows off you boobs in another, and then your butt in another etc. If you've got 12 edits, you have a little more freedom to pick edits that are a bit more similar and have 1-3 images that are more about personality and branding than showing off your body parts.
When it comes to those images I mentioned earlier - where it's basically the same image except for the hand placement, or facial expression, or perhaps one is looking at the camera and one is looking away, or one is closer up and one is a full body shot but doing the same thing, in the same outfit and showing off the same asset - my advice is to pick no more than 2 that are similar in that way. Sometimes I am editing four or five images that are basically the same and I feel it's a waste of your shoot and your money. Variation over repetition is key and one perk is that it allows you to change your thumbnail on ad sites every so often, so that you look like a different person or it seems like you have fresh photos, and that helps to pull in some clicks and fresh faces.
Have one last final look over your edit selections and make sure it tells the story you want to tell and that you have picked the best images possible to do that.
I hope this helps people with the image selection process. If you've shot with me and you're struggling to pick between a couple of images for your last 5-10 edits, please don't hesitate to ask me as I'm happy to help out with those last few free of charge.
Much love, V x