So you want to be a model?
A lot of my photography is what I classify as “pretty girl” photography. It ranges from portraits of roller derby girls, to girls in the shower, to girls in jeans, to girls in nothing, and a whole lot of everything in between.
I have photographed real working models who make a living having their pictures taken, to models who have appeared in international magazines, to the girls next door who want to see what it is like to be in front of the camera.
In 100% of those shoots I worked with models/subjects who wanted to work with me for the creativity I brought to a shoot, or because they wanted to get some experience in front of the camera, or because they just wanted to have some fun.
I used to have a photographer profile on modelmayhem.com, and I frequently check in to see what new faces and figures show up in my area that I might want to work with. Lately the pickings have been slim, and the demands of new “models” have been silly. Here are some tips for new models.
- Do not immediately start demanding to be paid – especially if the only pictures you have to show are snapshots done by your boyfriend, mother, sister, next door neighbor, or duck-face selfies in a mirror. If you want to get paid for your face, figure, or fashion sense, get some pictures that show you know what you’re doing, and that you have a marketable face/figure.
- Shoot for free (or “TFP“) with photographers whose work is better than the best thing you have currently have in your portfolio, or whose work shows creativity and promise. But don’t be surprised if one of those photographers you want to shoot with for free tells you how much he charges for inexperienced and unproven models. For me, the T in “TFP” stands for “Trade” – meaning I will shoot what you want, and you will shoot what I want.
- If you are approached by a photographer whose work isn’t as good as the worst in your portfolio, or who doesn’t show creativity and promise, charge a reasonable fee. What is reasonable? That’s for you to decide, but keep this in mind – according to a November 2010 post on jezebel.com Polish model Anna Jagodzinska was paid $125/day for French Vogue and $500 total for American Vogue.So if you aren’t a willowy high-fashion model, don’t expect to get paid a lot money as a beginner. If you could make an extra $50 on a Saturday afternoon for a few hours in front of a camera, what’s stopping you?
- Do not demand to bring an “escort” to every shoot you do. I don’t mind if a model wants to bring a friend along, but demanding an escort is a sure sign of a model with an attitude. You can simply say, “If you don’t mind, I’ll be bringing a friend to the shoot with me.” If the photographer says “no”, then you can simply say “no” to the shoot. But if your online modeling profile says: I will always have an escort with me. Most of the time my boyfriend. No this is not because I feel like I need a bodyguard because I am a big girl and can handle myself. but lets face it, in this day and time you cannot trust everyone you come across. I can promise you that you won’t be getting a lot of requests for work.
- Do not rely on the photographer to provide you with wardrobe! When I had my studio, I got a lot of comments from models about the large selection of wardrobe and props I had available, but very few photographers have wardrobe ready for you. Think in “outfits” – head to toe and in between – not merely tops and bottoms. Put together complete looks and take them with you to every shoot. I worked with one model who literally had a trunk full of outfits that she kept in her car for photo shoots.
- The next girl who shows up for a shoot with me with hot pink finger nails will be sent home. If you’re going to model, have a neutral French manicure.
What else can I add to this? I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop here – for now. Feel free to add your own comments, or read more at newmodels.com.