After various experiences behind the camera I thought I would share my ideas on the ideal model and maybe this will be receiprocated by a model with his/her ideas on the 'ideal photographer' or MUA/stylist. Most of my experience with models has been top notch, but there are others that do amuse me.
My ideal model should, in the first instance, be able to communicate, preferably in words of more than one syllable and be able to articulate what they actually want to achieve from a shoot rather than "I dunno" or "it's up to you" or "I've not really thought about it".
When reading replies to casting calls there are a number of things that put me off straight away, such as a one word reply "interested" and nothing else. Is it at all surprising that many people simply do not reply to those types of messages? When I get emails stating "I'm so excited about our shoot" I can almost guarantee that it will be another 'no show'. Be genuine and honest and don't book a shoot unless you truly do intend to turn up.
'No shows' cost in time and preparation effort, even worse lost studio costs if you have to hire. Turn up and turn up on time wherever possible. Delays sometimes cannot be avoided, but being two hours late....I don't think so.
I always like to at least speak to a model on the telephone prior to arranging a shoot and most are comfortable with that. It gives us a chance to have a little idea of what is required. One model wouldn't speak to me on the phone as she said she was 'too shy'. Another would only communicate by text or email and turned out to be a bloke pretending to be a woman. It's good to talk.
Communication on text or email is very one dimensional and can lead to much confusion. For example, I responded to a casting call and stated that the level I am prepared to work to on a TF shoot is maximum lingerie. The reply was "I want to shoot fashion style not lingerie". I tried to explain that lingerie was only my maximum and that fashion was way below that, but no, as far as the model was concerned I only wanted to shoot lingerie and we didn't meet.
Models have turned up for shoots totally unprepared - hair a mess, blotchy fake tan, chipped finger nails and so forth. One even said to me "it's ok you can photoshop my nails and tan can't you?" Do I really not have anything better to do with my time? I have also had one who refused to brush her hair and just wanted to wear a decorative head cover.
Out of the blue I had an unsolicted message some time ago from a model informing me that she had completed two TF shoots and now thought it was time to turn pro and she wanted to shoot with me the next day at 2pm. Her rates were very reasonable but for some reason didn't want to pay my studio rate, no surprise there then.
Most, if not all of my shoots with people have been on a TF basis and my understanding of TF is that money does not change hands and it is for mutual benefit, the majority of which I might add have been fantastic by the way. Why am I still surprised when models expect me to bear the cost of hiring time in a fancy studio that they like and pay their travelling expenses into the bargain?
As I previously stated, my maximum level for TF work is lingerie. I will shoot above this but only for a mutually beneficial purpose or if I'm being paid to do so. Imagine my surprise when, after agreeing levels, the model decide to bare all! I'm no prude but respect goes in both directions.
Lastly, a recent shoot booked in my studio was for two hours for one model. She turned up with her mate "you can shoot her too can't you?" Can you see the look on their faces when I gave them my reply? I welcome chaperones (except husbands/boyfriends/wives/girlfriends) but they can't expect to take part in the shoot....surely not?
So, my ideal model would be able to:
•Communicate clearly, preferably with me during the shoot not their mates on the phone
• Turn up, on time would be good
• Contribute to the shoot in terms of what they want to achieve
• Be honest and genuine
• Be prepared for the shoot and willing to alter their look - put some effort in
• Walk before they can run, a couple of half hearted TF shoots does not make you a pro
• Be respectful, when I say my maximum level is lingerie don't go stripping naked
• Accept an honest answer, even if it might not be the one that is expected
I've had some great shoots with some top models and we've all had a great time. I'm a firm believer in anyone can take good photo's with a bit of practice and know how, but truly great images are created when a team of like minded individuals get together and work their socks off!
Attitude on both sides of the camera counts for a lot as does actually enjoying what you're doing. If one or the other is arrogant or ignorant or is not enjoying themselves it shows in the shots, without a doubt.
So, there you are, a collection of my thoughts on what makes a good model....now what makes a good photographer do you think?