Information for Prospective Models
What is my only rule for models?
Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable. It’ll show in your face & in your body language. So, usually, an uncomfortable pose is a waste of both your & my time. So, if a suggestion isn’t something you want to do, just tell me, and we’ll move on – I rarely run out of ideas. If I ask you about it, I’m not trying to talk you into it, I’m just trying to find out what is making you uncomfortable.
What constitutes a successful sitting?
For me, the bottom line is this: At the end of the sitting, if both the photographer & the model feel respected, then the sitting was successful. Bonus points are scored for any of the following:
- We both had a lot of fun.
- We produced good images.
- We tried something new.
- We both want to work together again.
My minimum expectation is that we treat each other with respect during the sitting.
What does it mean to behave like a professional model?
There are several things that experienced, successful, professional models do that make them fun & easy to work with. All models can benefit from these things, not only in their modelling professional life but in their overall relationships to others.
- Never stand your photographer up! I don’t mind if you call me to cancel or reschedule before I start to set up for the shoot. But it can be very annoying if I’m waiting for a model that just isn’t going to show up.
- Be responsive. I hate it when I e-mail a model, or leave her a message on her answering machine, and never heard back from her. If you don’t want to work for me, just say so, and I’ll move on.
- Be prompt! If you are going to be late, call and let me know.
- Stick to your commitments. All negotiations should be complete before the sitting day. It is as much your responsibility as it is the photographer’s to discuss the content of the sitting and the details of the transaction. If you have concerns or limits, make them clear before the agreement is reached. Once the sitting starts, stick to the commitment.
- Be prepared! Get a good night’s sleep the night before. Arrive prepared – most models arrive with their basic make-up all ready in place. If you are asked to bring wardrobe or accessories, have them with you. Arrive with your positive attitude in place.
- Be focused! The best models are the ones that can give the photographer (and his camera) her entire attention. Sure, life is complicated, and we need to figure out when to do the laundry or what our mothers really meant by that comment — leave all that at the door.
- Be fun! I enjoy sittings a big lot, and it always helps if I feel the model is having fun, too. Animated & energetic models are the best!
- Be creative! Suggestions are always welcome. Don’t be shy.
Can I bring a friend to the modelling session?
Well, remember the only rule – don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable. If bringing a friend improves your comfort, then by all means, bring one, just let me know that you are bringing an escort – I prefer not to be surprised. I have more guidelines & rules for studio visitors than I do have for models:
- Don’t do anything that makes the model nervous or uncomfortable.
- Don’t draw the model’s attention away from me & the camera.
- Don’t sit or stand & look over my shoulder – that makes me nervous. I can usually find you a spot to be in that’s out of the way but still includes you in the session (typically, to the side of the model or me).
- You don’t have to be silent – we all will be conversing, and you are welcome to join in. Please minimize any personal conversations that exclude me. At the same time, don’t be overly chatty. The objective of the sitting is to make photographs, not friends. Keep conversations to a minimum.
- Encourage the model at all times. Don’t argue. Don’t be judgemental.
- Your feedback is appreciated, especially positive & constructive feedback – if you have ideas or suggestions, I’d like to hear them.
- Only one friend per session – more is too distracting.
- Expect to be put to work, holding reflectors or lights, things like that.
- I apologize, but I’ll be too busy to be a good host.
- Never, never, never go wandering off – stay where the photographer knows where you are. I don’t want to be worrying about whether the escort is looking for stuff to steal.
What should I do to prepare before the sitting?
- Be clear on where & when we are meeting, and please show up on time.
- Get a good night’s sleep!!! If you don’t, it is likely to show. And remember: coffee isn’t a substitute for sleep!!!
- Wear loose clothing. It takes quite a while for marks left by tight clothes to leave the skin; it may be subtle, but it can be noticed.
- Before the sitting, I hope I cover the following information:
- What compensation have we agreed to.
- What are the objectives for the sitting.
- What specific concept do I have in mind to try.
- Any props or clothing you should bring.
Do you have any posing guidelines?
Every photographer has a unique style, and in order to deliver that style, every photographer has different posing guidelines for models. Here are mine:
- The first session with a new model is a “get acquainted” session. We won’t be trying anything extreme or experimental – we just are learning how each of us will communicate during a sitting.
- Be natural! If I want you to smile, I’ll say something nice. If I want you to laugh, I’ll (attempt to) say something funny. If I want a serious look, we’ll be talking about a serious topic.
- Be expressive. Talk with your hands. The best models fidget all the time.
- Keep moving. But be prepared to repeat movements. Keep showing me different shapes.
- I like to have models stretch, flex, and twist — some of these poses may feel unnatural.
- I like working with dancers, because they have great posture. Please provide me with poses with straight (or arched) backs, shoulders back, chin high.
- Express yourself. The more passionate you are about expressing yourself, the better.
- Please have fun. If it ain’t fun, let’s not do it.
What do I look for in models?
I think that selecting models (and negotiating with models) to be part of the artistic process, and at this point, I guess it would be fair to say that I am selective. Here are some thoughts:
- Experience doesn’t matter. I do well with inexperienced models, but I am much more efficient when I work with experienced models.
- All natural – although it is currently fashionable, I don’t care for tattoos, body piercings, or surgical enhancements. While I can be somewhat flexible in this area, a good rule of thumb is that I won’t photograph tattoos, so if I can’t hide it with make-up or with a pose, I won’t bother. Sorry, but I find these things to be much too distracting. I’ve turned down sittings with wonderful, beautiful, experienced models simply because they had tattoos that I didn’t think I could avoid.
- Attitude – attitude is everything. It takes a certain kind of confidence to pose; I definitely don’t want to feel like I’m making someone do something that they don’t want to do. The first thing I look for in a model is confidence.
- Healthy & Fit.
Would you please photograph me?
Maybe. Before we get too serious about setting up a sitting, consider the following:
- I often get this request from people who are nowhere near me, and I don’t travel much. I live in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK – are you going to be in town for this proposed sitting?
- I am looking do this for a living, and currently my goal is to place some of the photographs I make on this web site. Are you willing to have photos of yourself be on display here? Are you willing to sign a model release?
- Please understand that each & every sitting represents a sizeable commitment of my energy, time, and finances. I simply can’t host a sitting at a moment’s notice. If I can’t display the photos of you on this web site, I’ll have to think hard about doing the sitting (and will probably decline the opportunity).
- What kind of pictures would you want to do? Is there a specific target audience? The more specific you can be, the easier it’ll be.
- Will you be bringing someone with you to the sitting?
- Have you thought through how your friends/family/significant other will feel about you posing for me?
- How accurate is your own self-image? Will you be disappointed if/when the resulting images look like you and not like how you want to look?
- Can you send me pictures of yourself?
- Note: at this point, I am not interested in photographing tattoos. Sorry.
I should also be honest. The women I photograph tend to be young & beautiful, and frankly, that’s the kind of woman I want to photograph. I have time only for a limited number of sittings per year, so I tend to be selective.
Okay, I’ve been candid. But I like to think that I can help inexperienced models. I’m fairly easy-going & quiet; I am certainly respectful, so I can be a good photographer for amateurs.
If you are interested in booking a photographic session with me, please head over to my client questionnaire page and fill out the form. Thank you!
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