Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Heather and Paul Lucido, founders of TeaseUm Bikini. They were kind enough to invite me to check out a TeaseUm photo shoot.
The shoot was at a Beverly Hills estate with plenty of locations for great shots: a sand volleyball court, a pool, a grotto, etc. The abundance of good locations was a boon for the approximately dozen photographers and two dozen models that arrived.
The event began with a meeting. Paul explained that the models would be split into two groups. One group would shoot for thirty minutes while the other group had thirty minutes to relax or go to makeup, etc. Generally, he explained how the day would work, and made the point that while they certainly would be working, he hoped they would have a good time doing it.
That was a recurring theme throughout the day. In speaking with models and photographers, the most frequently used terms to describe a Teaseum shoot were: organized, professional, and fun.
It was indeed an organized event. The photographers were already set up in their locations when I arrived. After the meeting, the first "line-up" of the day occurred. The line-up works this way. One group of models is called and lines up facing the photographers. Models and photographers are paired and given 30 minutes to get their shots. After 30 minutes, the other group of models lines up facing the photographers and they are paired off. And so the rotation goes all day, so each photographer gets to shoot 10 to 12 different models in the course of a day.
With an event like this, it would be easy for Heather and Paul to be concerned only with their own interests, but that is not the case. That is the professional aspect that was mentioned so frequently. They want to make sure that everyone involved gets something out of the shoot. Paul himself told me in the interview, "The girls walk away with amazing images. The photographers walk away with amazing models and I walk away with amazing content." When I spoke to her, Challis said essentially the same thing, "The atmosphere makes for better photos." Ricki (pictured, right), at her first TeaseUm shoot, said, "They have everyone's best interests in mind. " it was easy to see that they have everyone's interests in mind. Paul and Heather both made the rounds all day to see that everyone (including yours truly) was doing well.
And then there is the fun factor. I didn't see anyone all day that looked stressed out. In speaking with models and photographers, I got the sense that they were truly enjoying themselves. But don't just take my word for it. I asked Dom, a photographer at his third TeaseUm shoot, how this event compares to shoots he has done with other companies. "It doesn't," he answered. "It's organized and fun. All the photographers get along and all the girls get photographed."
TeaseUm veteran Savanah (pictured, left) said, "It's the perfect mix of business and fun." Micaella, a photographer in her TeaseUm debut, said, "This is my first TeaseUm shoot. Hopefully, it's not my last."
Part of the fun factor arrived at lunchtime when a DJ arrived with a portable stripper pole. In between shoots, some of the models were trying it out. It was a workday with a party atmosphere.
So, what's my take on the whole thing? Well, I'd say it was everything they told me it would be. It was a fun day of work with a bikini photo shoot at a primo location, on what just happened to be a perfectly cloudless (albeit a bit toasty) day. What can I say? It's a tough gig, but someone has to do it.
For more information and photos of TeaseUm shoots, visit http://teaseum.com.
Photo of Savanah and Ricki by Gary Schwind.