There are worst ways to pass the time than taking photos of attractive models (photoshoots) and in recent years this type of photography has become very popular in Jakarta.
Photoshoots can basically be divided into two types: indoor and outdoor.
For an outdoor photoshoot you will obviously need a model.
You can arrange this yourself, although, if you are a freeloader like me, you may – if you are lucky – be able to join a photoshoot which is already in progress. Always be polite and ask permission first and generally you will get the all-clear. Don’t, however, push your luck too much and interfere with the photoshoot. As such, it’s best to bring along a fairly long lens so you can shoot from a distance.
Other key considerations are the weather and time of day.
Heavy rain can easily turn your day into a complete washout.
And don’t forget that the late afternoon is generally the best time to shoot as the sun is often too bright during the day – leading to washed-out photos – and the model will also probably complain that she’s too hot!
In Jakarta there are a number of places popular for photoshoots:
1 Kota. Located in the northern part of Jakarta, Kota is where the old Dutch quarters of the city can be found. Although some of the buildings have been preserved, there are many which are crumbling faster than a stale brownie. The brickwork of some of the old buildings makes for a nice backdrop for photoshoots. You have the best chance of coming across a photoshoot on a Sunday – the only problem is that the crowds of day trippers can get quite large here.
2 Ancol. The sea makes for a fantastic backdrop and explains why Ancol’s Carnival beach is a very popular choice for photoshoots, again especially on Sundays. Don’t be tempted to take a dip though: the water’s really dirty and disgusting!
3. Taman Prasasti. This old and spooky graveyard simply oozes the macabre. A fantastic place for a gothic -inspired photoshoot. The only problem is that the graveyard is private property and they charge for commercial photography (which needs prior arrangement). Tip: don’t let on that the girl you have brought along with you is a model and - if asked – just say she is your girlfriend (you wish!)
4 Taman Menteng. This small park is centrally located in the upmarket residential district of Menteng. Its landmark feature is two medium-sized post-modern looking glasshouses. If you are lucky you may come across a photoshoot at the weekend.
5 Monas. The phallic-looking National Monument aka Monas is located in probably the largest open space in central Jakarta. The major downside is that you might be frequently badgered by the locals who come here for a day out – many of whom are likely to be from Indonesia’s lower social strata and particularly annoying.
Besides participating in an arranged photoshoot (for which you will have to pay), the other option is to visit an exhibition which features sales promotion girls, many of whom are willing to pose for photographers.
Indoor photography can be a challenge given the lack of natural light.
Essentially there are two options: shoot with a fast fixed lens or shoot with a flash.
In my time in Jakarta, I’ve found that automotive events are really great for photoshoots.
So make sure to put the annual Jakarta motor show into your calendar!