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Liz Thomas crossing South Hill Street toward the corner of Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.

Liz Thomas crossing South Hill Street toward the corner of Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.

In Tina Fey’s Bosspants, the comedian dedicates a chapter to how being a Vogue cover model is nothing like anyone would like to believe. She doesn’t get to keep the clothes, heck, the clothes doesn’t even fit her (she describes how they squeeze her into a too small designer dress and then don’t even zip it up).

Before I’d done a lot of hiking, I thought that the ladies I saw in the outdoor gear catalogs were just rugged looking models, but it turns out (at least if I’m showing up in print) that at least part of the time, the outdoor industry uses real people in their ads.

Yes, a lot of the big companies, especially the ones who make “lifestyle clothing” are hiring real models to look hot in their products. But as a long distance hiker, no one is investing that kind of money in models, and instead, they’re getting real people who really use their gear.  As I join a crew of GG ambassadors headed to do a photoshoot in the canyons around Moab this weekend, here are a few things I’ve learned about being (perhaps the most ironic term ever) a hiking model:

 

Liz Thomas hiking through the Grand Central Market in downtown LA. Since 1917 the largest open-air market in Los Angeles.

Liz Thomas hiking through the Grand Central Market in downtown LA. Since 1917 the largest open-air market in Los Angeles.

1)      No one is doing your hair or make up. Bummer. Because I really wanted to look hot in this photoshoot, and instead, I look like I’ve got about a week without a shower (yes, I know that’s true but…)

 

2)      Wear brightly colored clothes-they show up better in the shots

 

3)      Bring a full backpack-because, a partially filled pack looks 20 pounds heavier , extra dumpy on camera

 

4)      Bring an extra change of clothes. When I did the photoshoot for Brooks Range, I brought a couple outfits, and we tried out what l what looked best on camera.

5)     Be prepared to walk back and forth A LOT. When Kevin Steele got his first page shot for the article in Backpacker, I walked an LA downtown crosswalk at least ten times. Meanwhile, he laid down in the center of traffic to get the angle on the shot he wanted. It was worth it—the photo turned out awesome—but there were certainly some extra miles made that day.

6)      Know a lot of shots that were taken will never see the light of day: Sometimes, you’ll take 100 shots from 15 different angles of that one mountain—and it will never make it to print or the web. I have yet to have a photographer get an awesome portrait shot of me, but a lot have tried.

7)      After the shoot, be sure to credit the photographer and use photos only with permission: People taking photos are artists, which means that a lot of them are starving and struggling. Be sure to send them some future customers by acknowledging and recognizing their work.

 

Are you a photographer or have you taken a lot of outdoors photos from people? What tips would you have for hiking “models”?