Models wouldn’t get very far without a professional photographer. Regardless of what kind of modeling you’re into, both female and male models alike greatly benefit not just from the images from the shoot but the networking that takes place as a result.
Oftentimes, models are able to develop a list of go-to-photographers they regularly work with. Those types of business relationships are golden in the industry because everyone involved benefits. Of course, first thing’s first: you have to know how to work with photographers and be the type of model they would drop everything to shoot within a heartbeat.
Below are some helpful tips that can be applied to most situations when it comes to working with photographers:
COMMUNICATE LIKE A PROFESSIONAL
When contacting photographers, don’t talk to them like they’re your bestie. That means messaging/emailing them using complete sentences with good grammar that are free of typos. No emojis or other goofy things you’d normally include in a message you’d send to a friend. Always keep that first impression in mind and how you would like to be perceived by the person you’re contacting.
You want them to take you seriously and that can be hard to do if they receive a message that looks like it’s been composed by a drunk person.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Before reaching out, make sure you’ve not only checked out the photographer’s portfolio, website, and social media pages, but also read their bios/about page and anything else related to their background history and experience. They didn’t include this info on their sites just for fun.
No two photographers are alike and you can tell a lot about someone based on what they write about themselves. It will also help you, as a model, find out if that individual would be someone you’d want to work with.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT & HOW TO ARTICULATE IT
Don’t expect the photographer to figure out everything for you. Are you in need of new headshots? Do you want to create a portfolio to aid you in booking gigs as a freelance model? Does your agent want you to update your images?
Tell them that.
You’ll get the end results you’re looking for a lot quicker if you get to the point, as well as a relevant and direct response in return. You’ll also get bonus points if you have references and/or a mood board that clearly shows the look and feel you’re going for.
TELL THEM A BIT ABOUT YOU
This doesn’t mean submit a full biography. Keep all correspondence simple and straight to the point. If you don’t have modeling experience, then say so. Briefly describe your level of experience, if any, and what your purpose is with wanting to work with them.
SET EXPECTATIONS & HOLD UP YOUR PART
Once you’ve opened up a dialogue with a photographer, there is going to be a lot of conversations back and forth in the time leading up to your shoot together. There should ideally be at least one in-person meeting prior to working with each other, especially if you’ve never met offline before.
Whatever expectations, agreements, arrangements, etc. should be followed by both parties to guarantee a positive outcome. Figure out locations, if you’ll be taking care of your hair and makeup or if additional pros will be onset/on location and confirm who is responsible for doing what.
As long as you do what you’re supposed to, the photographer will have less to worry about, making their job easier–that’s what you want and they’ll love you for it.
ARRIVE EARLY, BE PREPARED & READY TO GO
Because common sense is a superpower, I have to do my due diligence and state the following because I continue to hear ridiculous stories about models showing up to shoots not prepared in the most basic of ways:
– Early is on time and on time is late. Arriving 10-15 minutes early should be the approach all models have towards business.
– Have good hygiene: take a shower, shave (stubble is a major no-no, ladies!). Bottom line: don’t be gross. This includes cleaning under your fingernails.
– Have your wardrobe organized, including accessories and footwear.
– Have some idea of what types of poses you’ll be doing. Practicing in the mirror and studying reference images before the shoot are all ways to prepare yourself and take most of the guesswork out of the situation once you arrive.
GIVE & TAKE
As stated before, not all photographers are the same. Their shooting styles, personality and work ethic are going to vary across the board. Work with each one accordingly and you’ll quickly get a sense for how to get photos you’ll both be happy with and a working relationship you’ll want to continue in the future.
New models, don’t expect all photographers to tell you what to do and how to pose. Some are more than willing and even enjoy guiding new models with posing, while others will expect you to figure it out along the way with a bit of help from them when necessary.
A lot of shoots when it comes to posing simply requires going with the flow, experimenting with poses and understanding that not all of the images are going to look perfect. The photographer knows this, too, so it’s not like they’re expecting you to knock it out of the park each time they snap a photo.
Photoshoots are a give and take process. When you work together to create that dynamic, you’ll know–namely, when you see the photos that come of it.
BE APPRECIATIVE & GIVE CREDIT PROPERLY
After the shoot is done, send the photographer an email/message to thank them for their time and that you’re looking forward to seeing the final images. It’s the little things that count, no matter what industry you work in. And don’t wait a week to say thank you. Do it the same day or the following day.
When you receive your pictures and start posting them online, practice common courtesy and give credit to the photographer in the caption. Tag them, including their social media handle, link to the website, etc. The way we give credit these days has changed because of social media, so make sure you’re giving credit where credit is due and in the correct ways.
Just as you want your images to give you exposure, open up networking channels and modeling opportunities, the photographer also wants the chance to have their work catch the eye of others.
It’s a two-way street and if you take the time and consideration to do your part and make the tips listed above part of your business routine, photographers will be more than happy to do the same (if they are legitimate and professional, of course).