After many conversations with photographers, I have decided to write a series of posts called Model Keys To Success. These will comprise of basic advice that may be overlooked by newcomers to modeling or forgotten by those who have been absent for a while. I hope these reminders are good for everyone, including other photographers.
Before you worry too much about image sharing, you need to find photographers. The good news is that they are everywhere! The bad news is that there are a lot of bad seeds, both in terms of image quality and professional behavior, too. Let’s focus on how you find that photographer who is worth your time.
The Photographer Pool
Whether on sites like Model Mayhem or on social media, finding lists of photographers is not terribly difficult. On Facebook, look for groups ready to help. Searching terms that include “model” in the name will lead to several options. Find a group that is local with the stated purpose of helping models and photographers network. Checking out who the Admins are can help identify any bias. A group run by other models might be more helpful than one run by the only photographer in the group. Once you join, introduce yourself, ask questions, and get to know people. Odds are good that you’ll find yourself in contact with multiple photographers.
Testing The Waters
When approached by a photographer, be professional. This includes checking up on any person who has a sudden interest in working with you. Here is a quick checklist of things you should always do:
- Check their portfolio – Look for strong, quality images in the style you want in your portfolio. This means you should work to understand what strong, quality images in your desired style should look like. If they do not look like a good match, you do not need to waste your time exploring them as an option.
- Check references – Don’t just ask the photographer. Ask models they did not mention who have worked with them, too. If they are unprofessional, you will find out quickly enough.
- Verify terms – Whether you are paying or exploring a trade shoot, you should know how many images to expect and when they will be delivered. Waiting months to get photographs is a waste of your time and effort. You should have everything within two weeks whether you pay for the shoot or not.
- Never be afraid to say no – If the photographer doesn’t fit what you need, thank them for their time, let them know that you are not ready to work with them, and move on. Should you decide to work with them later, ending the initial discussion professionally will help keep things rolling the next time.
Perhaps the single most important thing you can do is to maintain a professional appearance. Even if someone decides to get ugly with you, keep your cool. If you respond to them in a hateful manner, even if completely justified, you are potentially hoisting a huge red flag for other photographers. Professional photographers want to work with professional people. Unnecessary drama is not something that will help you in your modeling endeavors.
This is very much the nutshell version. If you have questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!
Do you have suggestions or questions about modeling? Feel free to let me know in comments, send an email, or message me on one of my social media pages. If I do not have a solid answer, I will do my best to find someone who does and share it with you!