Everyone in Wanderbites has his or her own thing. I, for one, am entrusted with everything related to writing, caption, and copy. The work pretty much entails everything I expected in the start of joining the team, except one: Becoming a hand model. A photographer’s aid. A part of the prop. I didn’t apply to be one, but the job title kinda fell into my hands, no pun intended. A photographer once said to me that adding a hand into a photo can make it more human and approachable, not static and monotone. In other words, being a hand model is kinda important 😉
Before you start asking, no. My hands are not that pretty and may look chubby from certain angles. I only do a proper manicure once every a couple of months and my fingers are not that long. No, I don’t start wearing gloves every day like Ellen Sirot, America’s top hand model. But my nails are always clean, and the most important thing is I’m available on location. No need to pay me $100 per hour. Give me food, and I’m good to go.
Are you thinking, “Omigosh, what a fun job! You’re lucky to only have to do some poses with your hands and eat good food every day.” Ladies, gentlemen, not so fast. Being a hand model certainly has its perks, but just like everything else in life, there are struggles and downsides. It also requires some very specific preparation. Without further ado, let me walk you through them. Here’s everything you need to know about the unglamorous life of a (faux) hand model. Keep it in your bookmark, who knows becoming a hand model is your next gig!
Rule No.1: Say goodbye to patterned shirts
Whether you like it or not, the awesomeness of the photos are partly going to depend on what you wear. There are shots that are going to show parts of your clothing, which means stripes, florals, patterns, and neon colors are a big no-no. Those are going to clash with the color of the food. Plain black, white, and grey are definitely safe, but for I’ve found that maroon, navy, and dark green can work too.
Keep your hands and fingernails clean
This sadly includes the absence of black nail polish. You know how something that looks good in real life does not always look good on camera? Black nail polish has a tendency to look like dirt, no matter how cute your fingertips look in real life.
Always warm up your hands and fingers
Similar to singing and exercising, a good warm up is essential in making sure you won’t get any pre-performance anxiety issues. No photographer likes stiff hands, so give your asset a good shake and pop your knuckles until they give a nice CRACK! sound.
Master subtle hand movements
A good hand model knows how to move his or her hands (and body) subtly. A little to the left can mean as little as 5 mm to the left. We can’t see behind the lens, therefore it’s best to listen carefully and follow the instructions. Consider yourself as a breathing puppet and the photographer as the puppeteer. Your will is not your own (only for a few minutes, so suck it up).
Try not to be shaky, stay relaxed
This one is quite tricky. My hands have a tendency to shake when I’m hungry or have had too much caffeine, so for pre-shoot rituals (ha!) I try to eat something and limit my caffeine intake. Sometimes you’re also required to hold a pose for a long time. For this kind of situation, I take a deep breath and, well, pray to the universe that it will be over soon. Holding a spoon for sixty seconds is not a walk in the park y’all.
Your efforts may go unnoticed and uncredited
Have you ever seen a blogger or photographer going nuts over uncredited photos? Yeah, boo hoo. Been there, done that. I try not too complain when my hands are not credited. After all, who cares about whose hands are in the photo? Let it go and move on are my everyday #mantra.
News flash: There is always a “prettier” hand model
When it comes to this kind job, you’ll just have to accept that there is a always a prettier hand with longer and slender fingers compared to yours. Even when those fingers belong to a guy. Sigh. My advice? Don’t take it personally. Can’t beat good genes, but I still have cleaner cuticles.
That is pretty much everything you need to know about being a (faux) hand model. It is indeed fun, can be delicious at times, but definitely not glamorous. At the end of the day, despite my rants, I’m glad to be able to help produce a great photo. If you ever found yourself caught in a similar situation and needed a tip, feel free to ask me for pointers. Or maybe there’s another (unwitting) hand model out there? Let’s swap stories.