10 Questions with Tim Jahns About Elyssa Online Magazine

Tim Jahns (OMP Member #4467) is a longtime OneModelPlace.com member from California. He has collaborated with Elyssa (OMP Model #18537) for the past several years, and their images together are impressive to say the least. Their early shoots led to a serious collaboration for magazine and book projects featuring professional wardrobe and styling, unique locations, and other elements. The result is the magazine Elyssa: The Model as Muse, which can be previewed and purchased in both print and digital formats at MagCloud.com.

OMP: How did the idea for the magazine come about?

Tim Jahns: I wanted to do something that went beyond just making Elyssa look good. This was about the time I began thinking of her as a muse – she is a special model who inspires me in many ways. I got more ambitious about the shoots, and felt like one goal was to combine styles–fashion, fine art and glamour—in creating more unique images with her. Also, I felt that I could produce enough strong images with enough variety that it would make a compelling book collection.

OMP: How did you first meet, and what did you see in Elyssa that made her a good candidate to be a model?

Tim Jahns: Elyssa was introduced to me by her family when the mother of another model I was working with recommended Elyssa as a model prospect. She was about 5’11″ at the time, still growing, with incredibly long legs and a remarkable presence for a girl with no experience in front of the camera. She was raw but seemed to have a lot of potential. She had been more of a tomboy and into athletics. She had never considered herself to have an attractive body until then, so it was a boost to her self-esteem as well. I thought she might be a strong candidate for work with fashion agencies, where I had some history of placing new models. Whoever saw her always raved about her amazing legs. Within the first couple of years, she had grown to over 6′, which meant she had great length to work with, but agencies tend to prefer models under 6′.

Elyssa’s kind of a cross between a fashion model and a glamour model, but really atypical of either one. She’s extraordinary. She developed in her posing and how she projected her energy over time. She’s definitely sexy, but also has this strong energy that comes across in different ways—like she’s in control, sometimes superior or remote, but always captivating in her looks.

OMP: What was your most recent shoot like?

Tim Jahns: I did a combination of still photos and video interview where I asked her to talk about herself while posing or doing things in the house location where we were shooting. She tends to come alive in some interesting ways as she talks, and can be more playful or humorous in video shoots as well. While shooting still photos, on the other hand, she’s more serious, sultry and commanding.

OMP: How has the working relationship changed over time?

Tim Jahns: Elyssa’s become more vocal and insistent about certain things, even though she still takes direction most of the time. If she’s not happy or comfortable with something, she lets me know about it. In a way, I guess you’d say she’s more professional,  approaching the shoot more like a work situation, and she also asserts herself more now.

At the same time, working on this project, I had more definite and kind of complex shoot ideas. The goal was more artistic, so I really had to challenge her and myself to do something special. I tried to explain at least some of the concept to her before we’d start shooting, so she could try to bring out the qualities I wanted to capture in her while creating the situation or story in the images. But most of the time, it’s been about placing her physique and her energy in settings that create even more drama for her, interesting ways of setting her off. She always manages to command whatever space she’s in.

OMP: How did you come up with the idea for the magazine?

Tim Jahns: It was an outgrowth of the book project I’ve been working on. I heard about the Magcloud site and realized it was an opportunity to test out a collection of images, to see how well they reproduce in a print output. The magazine allows you to do more creative things with layout and design than you might do in a book. It’s fun to work with a graphic designer, as I did with the magazine—Chris Smith, who also produced page layouts for the book project. We found that we can do more artistic things with typography, graphic touches, and design elements for the magazine. I think the magazine has a dynamic feeling to it, where the book tends to be more conservative or traditional in its layout.

OMP: What is the process and program used to create the magazine layout?

Tim Jahns: My designer, Chris, uses InDesign as the graphics program that fits well with the requirements of Magcloud’s production. I don’t own that software and don’t know how to use it. He created a few cover ideas and some page layouts using images I gave him. He would present me with options for individual pages, two-page spreads and so on. Then I’d suggest modifications in the arrangement of images or text, and it would go back and forth like that until we had something that was powerful in its design.

I wanted to have strong design and variety in the magazine, with verticals and horizontals that could be in different arrangements–framed on the page, or bleeds off one or more edges, or spread across two pages in different ways, and using text in creative ways too. There’s not that much text, but I wanted to have a mix of small type in columns or unique placement as well as large excerpts from the text that have more visual power on the page and comment on the images in some interesting ways. The layout has to serve the images effectively but also have an artistic quality of its own.

OMP: How did you choose the photos and content?

Tim Jahns: That was a big challenge, narrowing down the choices. I tried to select the images I thought were the strongest while also having variety from the straightforward to the artistic or edgy. Many of the images were already in the final mix for the book, but I also thought the magazine could have a different spin to it, so I chose a number of images that might not be in the book. I wanted to show interesting images from the many shoots I’d done with Elyssa, so there weren’t too many shots from one location or look. I also wanted to show different moods and styles. At the same time, I had to keep the length manageable so it was within certain guidelines for the Magcloud production, both the number of pages and the fixed size they require.

For the text, I wanted to keep it pretty limited but still give readers some insight into my thinking about the images. I selected passages from the longer book text I’d written over a period of weeks, something that was still in need of more editing. Then I chose certain passages from that text to highlight in larger type here and there, to emphasize certain ideas about Elyssa and the work.

OMP: How do you plan to market the magazine?

Tim Jahns: Besides selling it through Magcloud, I hope to market the magazine through some online systems like Amazon, plus camera stores and other retail markets.

OMP: How does the MagCloud system work in terms of sales and commissions?

Tim Jahns: Magcloud has a base price, which is the cost of producing the magazine through them—a cost per page. There’s an option to do both a print version and a digital version. The digital is much less expensive. The markup is a decision for the publisher, so I can decide how much profit I want from sales there. They list magazines by category, and in this case I listed it in the Photography section.

OMP: What other advice do you have for models and photographers who want to publish their own magazine?

Tim Jahns: Think of it as a showpiece, something to be proud of and display as a representation of your best work. You can give some magazines out to friends, professional contacts and potential clients as a unique portfolio or promotional piece. Whether you sell a lot of them or not, you still have a nice print production that you can show off.

Read carefully and know all the details of the magazine production before you get too far. The best way to produce a pdf for the Magcloud site to print is using InDesign software, and I think the results can be even better if you have a professional designer create the pdf you will print from.

OMP Members can see more of Elyssa’s on her personal website. And check out a preview of Tim’s book project on his website, under the title “Elyssa Book.”

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