Photographing Your Own Playmate
one of our office girls helps us show you how to take a prize pin-up photo
Ever since Nicéphore Niepce took the first photo back in the 1820s, photographing pretty girls has been a popular pastime; and in recent years, about the most popular photographs of pretty girls have appeared in Playboy as Playmates. With the idea of giving you a few pointed pointers on shooting a Playmate of your own, here's the way Playboy goes about it:
The first thing you don't need is a professional model. There's an extra added attraction to the the fact that your fair subject is a secretary or a clerk in the book store where you picked up a copy of Burton's British Mammals yesterweek. We, for instance, find our Playmates in lingerie shops, airplanes, country clubs -- and in our own offices.
Judy Lee Tomerlin, 18, is a receptionist on the fourth floor of the Playboy Building: she is attractive, personable, and fresh from Tennessee, having been with us just under half-a-dozen months at the time we began thinking about her as a Playmate. Modeling experience, professional or amateur: none. Perfect for our purpose. We broached the subject. Judy Lee was aware of our previous office Playmate, Janet Pilgrim, and we considered enlisting Janet's aid in the friendly persuasion, but we didn't want to make things too easy for ourself. Judy Lee did the proper amount of hemming and hawing for a couple of days; then, finally, she said "Yes" (we've discovered, incidentally, that there is a direct relationship between how shapely a girl is and her willingness to show that shape: it is easier to talk a well-stacked girl into removing her clothes for the camera than a dumpy one). The shooting session was scheduled for the very next Saturday afternoon, right here in Playboy's executive offices. A step-by-step photo-and-caption account of how things went occupies these pages. Technical tips? Coming right up:
Recommended for Playmate photography is any good twin-lens reflex camera (that's what we used). You'll want to load the box with a fast color film, like Super Ansochrome Tungsten. Lighting should be kept sweet and simple: a pair of speed lights -- or, lacking these, photofloods -- bounced off the ceiling, will give you a flattering, diffused light. Place your keylight (main source) above the lady, directed down upon her at a 45° angle, from an approximate distance of six feet. About eight feet from her, set up your fill-in light, a foot or so to the side of the camera, slightly above the lens. Try 500-watt 3200K lamps in 12-inch reflectors. Using these and the suggested film, your exposure should be around 1/30 second at f/5.6 -- fast enough to freeze slight movements and sharp enough to allow for small deviations from the prefocused point between shutter-snappings.
Photographing a Playmate, however, whether it's done by a professional photographer or a hobbyist, is something more than a lot of 45° angles and 3200K lamps. It's the most fascinating kind of photography there is -- in short, it's fun. We express the hope that you have as much fun -- and also as much good luck -- shooting your Playmate as we had shooting ours. When the film came back from processing, we were pleased with the results, and so was Judy Lee. So pleased she thought she might like to give professional posing a whirl. We wish our comely coworker well in the modeling field, but harbor the hope that her new career doesn't take her from our midst too soon, for the fourth floor of the Playboy plant would be a bit less bright without her.
Photography by Edward Oppman