Friday, December 19, 2008

Five Tips for New Models

One of the joys of being a photographer is the opportunity to work with a number of aspiring models. Because they're new, many models simply don't know how to act before and during a shoot. Here are a few tips that can make the difference between a successful shoot,and never hearing from the photographer again.

1 – Be on time. I can't stress this enough. In many projects the photograph is just one small part of a huge marketing effort. If you're late, and the photographer is standing around twiddling his thumbs while simultaneously trying to convince the art director that everything is under control, you're not just hurting your own image, you could very well be costing companies thousands of dollars. Even if you don't care about your reputation, you've got to care about the bottom line.

2 – Read your model release. Sure, it's written in legalese, but that doesn't mean you should take a few minutes and read it. A good photographer will be happy to explain any part of the release you don't understand, and be willing to work with you if you don't like a section. Remember, if you cross something out, both parties (that means you and the photographer) have to initial the change, or it doesn't count.

3 – Listen to your photographer. This isn't just about standing in a certain way, or lifting your chin to catch a better angle, this is about everything. If the photographer makes a point to tell you that it's going to be a cold and you should bring a coat, don't show up wearing a thin, fleece wrap. Bring a warm coat. If they tell you not to go to a certain area of the location, you'd better not be found after lunch poking around that back bedroom with the police tape across the door. (True story.)

4 – Stay on your mark. There is nothing – and I mean nothing – more frustrating than telling your model not to move while you adjust a light, and when you get back to the camera, the model isn't even in frame any more. Modeling is hard work. Standing in the awkward positions you have to be in to look right on film is physically and mentally demanding. But that's the model's job. When someone says, “I've almost got it. Don't move,” for crying out loud, don't move!

5 – Enjoy yourself. The more you relax, the more fun you project to everybody around you, the better the the pictures will be. Nothing contributes more to the artistic success of a shoot than the attitude of the people involved. Honestly, there are about a million worse jobs in the world than modeling, so have some fun with it.

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