Hey There! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you got some good information from my last blog posting. Hiring a decent photographer isn’t rocket science if you use your head. But let’s talk a little about you...the model.
First...a word about scams. I want you to ask yourself a question and answer it honestly. Do you really think that a company is going to pay you $1000-$1500 “same day” for a shoot? It is about 99.9999% certain that it won’t happen. Please! Avoid being scammed. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
OK... TFP or “Time for Prints”. You might see or hear this referred to as “Time for CD”, or “Trade for Prints”. In essence, you and the photographer trade services. Your photographer, Freddy Fotog, takes shots to further his business and portfolio. You receive “prints” of the shoot for the same reason. In the days of film, actual prints would be provided to the model. These days, a CD/DVD would be given to the model. These images should be print ready, finished in post production (at least minimally), at least 9”x6” print size and at least 300 ppi. If you want or need something else, be sure to specify. Generally, TFP is good for both partners. You both end up (hopefully) with good shots for your respective portfolios. If the project Freddy is working on does not exactly fill your immediate need, speak up and ask for what you want. This is a mutual trade but don’t wait until the shoot is over and tell Freddy you really want some head shots when he’s been shooting you full length for 2 hours. And, no, they can’t (or shouldn’t) be cropped. Better yet, let ol’ Fred know BEFORE you start what you’d like. Now, don’t expect the world here. Come away from the shoot with experience and 10 good shots that YOU can use. In a perfect world, you each provide references for the other.
I’ve had my share of good and bad models. Experience in front of the camera has not made a big difference. My favorite model has some experience but also has an inherent ability to just look good. She also listens and contributes. She has also been on the viewfinder end enough to understand the process. She is an absolute dream to work with.
OK...so what makes a “bad” model? Well, to start, it isn’t about looks. I don’t care who you are, I will make you look as good as possible. I know the moves, the poses, the looks. No...it’s really about expectations, courtesy, communication and mutual respect. Here’s a list of things I think are important:
1. Be on time! It’s common courtesy and the thing to do.
2. If you can’t be on time, call!
3. Be prepared. You should have everything you need to make the shoot a success. Bring minimal makeup, a hair brush and any props
you said you would provide. Obviously, you’ll want to provide the essential wardrobe.
4. Contribute. If you see something you like...or dislike...speak up. If you want things to go a different direction, let the photographer or
shoot director know. No one on my crew can read minds. This doesn’t mean you can change the direction of the entire shoot.
Remember, Freddy has a stake in this also.
5. Be spontaneous. Unless you’re doing a formal portrait or a passport photo, move! Right, I know this isn’t a video but standing like a
robot waiting for someone to pose you just sucks. You might have heard the old expression “...make love to the camera”. Well, I really
want you to leave your clothes on but I want you to get intimately involved with the shoot. I recall shooting a model that was so stiff
and shy when I met her that there was no way she’d be anything but a lot of work...until the music started! Ok...my ears still ring but
what a transformation! If that’s what it takes for you, go for it!
6. Follow directions. "Work with me, here!". Your photographer has spent a lot of time doing what they do. Some have spent a lot of time
and money taking classes in order to be the best they can be. If you’ve hired the shooting director, listen and follow their suggestions.
They see the shoot through a slightly different perspective and can be absolutely invaluable. Your light tech has that same “different”
perspective. My guy is great and always comes up with a unique look.
7. Be professional and, most of all, have fun. Hopefully you’ve hired a pro and brought your best friend to chaperone. It’s always a lot of
fun to have a friend along. Just make sure they’re not intrusive. Don’t demand things that aren’t reasonable but ask for what you
So...how much do you charge as a model? Conversely, how much should you pay for a professional photography shoot? When do I know the difference?
If you have a few years experience, have the “look” the photographer wants and he has come to you, then consider $40-$60 per hour. You need to have the portfolio to back it up. I’ll leave the pros alone here. If you have zero experience, consider TFP and try to get lunch :).
Hiring a photographer is really about your agenda. Head shots and casual long shots taken within an hour can be fairly inexpensive. Do not sacrifice quality tho. Full blown studio boudoir or green screen can get really expensive but the end result can be fantastic. If you’ve read this far and are still with me, give me a call or an email and I’ll quote you a rate on what you’re considering. Shameless plug...I know.
Questions? Comments? Found a major mistake in what you’ve read? Email me and we can have a discussion, include your comment or get a correction up ASAP. In the meantime, stay safe!