What do photographers expect from a model and what do models expect from a photographer during a shoot ? I hear many arguments on this subject and after finally getting tired of hearing many photographers and models give their opinion that THEY think is correct I decided to tell you all how it really is in hopes that I can provide a little less friction in this lovely world of the model and fashion photography industry.
Ok so this is how this discussion is broken down.
We have photographers and models who shoot test shoots, paid and non paid but aren’t at the level yet to shoot commercial paid assignments, editorials or advertising.
Then we have photographers who shoot commercial assignments like catalogs, advertising, editorials and look books. These photographers also shoot test shoots and model portfolios. I fall into this category. I have had many girls come to me from all over the country who want to get into modeling and some girls that are already modeling and they just need to update their books. Like I said, I also shoot advertisements, editorials and look books.
Now when I shoot an ad gig or a catalog I am expecting the model to already know what he or she is doing. This is NOT the time for modeling 101. I am not going to tell you how to pose, where to look, what angles you look better shooting. That is the job and responsibility of the model. She is being paid because she knows how to “model” and I am being paid to photograph her. My job as the photographer, is to direct her on what kind of looks I need her to emote. I will help her “give good face.” I will also talk to the model and give encouragement and keep the set “alive.” The model is expecting me to direct her like a director would direct an actress and I am expecting that the model knows how to take direction and turn my direction into the emotion I am asking for. But you know as sure as the sun is gonna rise that the director on a film is not going to start giving acting lessons just as I am not going to give modeling lessons. We are both professionals and expected to give our client what they are asking us to give them. Let me remind you that there is a make up artist for the shoot, a hair stylist and a wardrobe stylist. So all I am expecting from the model is to show up on time and ready to pose and take direction.
The other kind of shoot I do is model portfolio shoots. This is where a girl will pay me good money to start her portfolio for her. I shoot five different looks, in studio and on location. I have a make up artist there the whole time. I tell the model what kinds of outfits to bring and I ask her to practice posing in the mirror so she has some kind of a head start. I DO NOT expect her to know what she is doing at all. She has never modeled before and she is coming to me because I am a professional and I know what modeling agencies are looking for. So I WILL tell her how to pose. I WILL tell her where to look. I WILL help her know what her best angles are and of course I WILL direct her to emote and “give good face.” I also give the model encouragement and constantly talk to her and give her accolades throughout the whole shoot. I will also point out what she is doing wrong and show her how to do it the right way. So in this case one could call this modeling 101. That is fine with me. I get paid good money for this and I like to help and educate.
There is another kind of shoot that happens where we have “wanna be” models and “wanna be” photographers who are building their books and they both think they know what their role is in this kind of shoot when in fact BOTH of them are wrong, at least from the stories that I hear. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE OFFENSE TO ME USING THE TERM WANNA BE. I am not discounting these models and photographers in any way. They have not reached the professional status yet and earned the right to be paid for their services because they have not perfected their craft up to a level where a client can depend on them to deliver. They “wanna be” professional. I was there at one point as everyone is. Someone going to medical school wants to be a doctor, however they have not had enough experience and perfected their skills enough to be trusted with a real human life. Can you get the analogy ? I hope so.
Ok so now that we got the politically correct bullshit out of the way let me go on. So as an example we have a girl who has created a profile on one of these amateur model sites. We have a boy who has created a profile on this site as well. Boy “photographer” meets girl “model” and they schedule a test / creative shoot that will hopefully benefit both their portfolios as well as the make up artists portfolio. Now because these three creative souls haven’t been exposed to the professional world of fashion photography and modeling maybe because they live in a city somewhere in the middle of the Bible belt, the only expectations they have come from their own little world of these online amateur modeling / photographer sites. They look in on the chat rooms, the forums and read what everyone else is quoting as the Gospel of the modeling industry in this little bubble world community and bingo, instantly our “photographer” and “model” think they both know what is expected of them and what is not. The problem we have here is that our “photographer” is reading what the other “photographers” are griping about and our “model” is reading what the other “models” are griping about and both sides are not working as one.
So on the test shoot our photographer is expecting our model to know how to pose, give good face and know all her good angles and our model is expecting our photographer to tell her how to pose, give good face and help her know all her good angles. Well, well, well. Can you see the train wreck about to happen ? Not a pretty scene. They start to argue, it gets uncomfortable and the shots end up looking like crap because NO ONE worked as a TEAM and COLLABORATED ! So listen up ! On shoots like these neither the photographer nor the model has enough experience to handle the shoot all on their own. Therefore the solution is to help each other and if the model is not posing the way you want her to pose, Mr. Photographer, then simply tell her and show her what you want. I’ve actually struck a pose to show the “model” what I want. Talk to her through the whole shoot. Don’t just sit there like a dummy waiting for someone to pull the string on your back for your mouth to move. And ….MOVE AROUND. Look for good angles. Don’t site in one place capturing one point of view.
Miss Model ? If the photographer is not directing you and you need help, then tell him. Your job as a model is to come to the shoot as prepared as you can be. Don’t expect the photographer to give you every single pose. If you want to become a professional model then do your homework and study ! Study magazines, fashion books, watch Americas Next Top Model. Some of that show is totally ridiculous I know , but much of it is actually insightful. Bring nice clothes for shooting. You AND the photographer and the make up artist should all be involved with selecting the outfits for the shoot. Have a theme and shoot at least four images with a different outfit and tell a story.
So in conclusion, professional models and photographers both know their roles and what is expected of them. Amateur models and photographers don’t have enough experience and knowledge to know what to expect from each other. So help each other out and do your homework so that each of you can bring some level of professionalism to the shoot and everyone wins and leaves the shoot with a smile on their face rather than a frown.
Ok now it’s time to beat me up, praise me or both ! LOL I would like to hear your sides and happenings. And as always if you think this is an interesting article, retweet and Share and Enjoy down below.
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