The ideal model

The ideal model
Posted on Saturday 18th of February 2012
Written by 13 comments • Read 3021 times • 4 minute read

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:

[bull]Communicate clearly, preferably with me during the shoot not their mates on the phone[/bull]
[bull] Turn up, on time would be good[/bull]
[bull] Contribute to the shoot in terms of what they want to achieve[/bull]
[bull] Be honest and genuine[/bull]
[bull] Be prepared for the shoot and willing to alter their look - put some effort in[/bull]
[bull] Walk before they can run, a couple of half hearted TF shoots does not make you a pro[/bull]
[bull] Be respectful, when I say my maximum level is lingerie don't go stripping naked[/bull]
[bull] Accept an honest answer, even if it might not be the one that is expected[/bull]

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 what makes a good photographer do you think?

Comment on this Article

Login or Sign up to comment!
Very well put .... an couldn't agree more with talking first, I'm glad I'm not the only one that get text from blokes pretending to be female I do find that very strange.
Spot on article, couldn't agree more. Well said!
As both model and photographer I detest one line replies, I will respond to the first, assuming its from a phone and they haven't got much time. If after that I will assume that they don't really want to do a photoshoot and are merely wannabees.
One who shoots 4 that wood bee the eye deal...
I think it's good to have a talk on the phone first, Trust is a big thing ! Every model is different some like to meet before the shoot.
One of my latest grumps is that it sometimes takes DAYS to sort out a shoot then it just doesn't come off due to neither party wanting to make the traveling commitment. I include myself in this.

Models that don't reply to messages are a pain, as you don't know if they are interested in a shoot or not. The `read` message is handy but not so much if they still don't reply.

I don't think I've ever fully sorted out a shoot the same day that contact is made on here. Frustrating at times.
An excellent article. BUT how many models and photographers will read it, understand it, and act on it? I echo all the thoughts expressed and was about to write something similar. I love pghotography and working to create something worthwhile with models but am constantly frustrated and disappointed. TRUST is another key word for me. however so much distrust is developed by wannabe and bad models and bad photographers.
This is just a brilliant article!
Echoing what Protea said, it is so good to keep things on a professional level.
I cannot abide photographers who get too friendly too soon. We've just met, please don't think it's alright for you to make flirty comments or to stand and talk to me while I get changed.
We all have boundaries and they need to be respected.
The girls who consider themselves worth paying for after 2 or 3 TF's are bad but so are the photographers who buy the expensive kit and take a tutorial on Photoshop.
Unfortunately it's the time wasters that make this business all the more difficult for those of us who are honest and hard working.
It's models such as the above examples that make my job easier! I can't imagine turning up for a shoot late and unprepared with no intention to please the photographer who has booked me.
I find it shocking that photographers are so grateful when I turn up early, prepared and ready for action...I thought that was common courtesy if not an obligation?!
lollylou liked this 2012-04-12Report
I just have to plus one this!people, and i do say people still surprise me, i had a shoot arranged,time date only via email, i gave my number for her to contact me, no contact, what a surprise, after the appointed time, she sent a message via email, saying sorry but she was on a shoot and went on late, OK excepted, it happens, re arranged, via email, gave her my number again, asked for address before shoot, no surprise, no message, no show, she then went on to blame me for not turning up, yes definitely good to talk.+1 to this article.
Great article. If more people (both sides of the camera i might add) realised the benefit of behaving in a professional manner about their modelling (like you would for a job interview!) it would help a long way. I'd also liek to add that as a model i can glean a huge amount of information about a person from a phone call - their manner, voice and way they engage with me on the phone says a lot about how the shoot will go :-)
One thing I have always found is that talking on the phone allows you to have an effective conversation that isn't "flat" and as you said it avoids confusion.

Very good post
sophiadupont liked this 2012-02-29Report
She turned out to be a bloke??? Wow, it really does pay to talk!!! :O

Timesearch liked this 2012-02-29Report

Opinions expressed within this article are those of the author and do not neccisarily reflect those of MadcowModels, nor its associates.
MadcowModels accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for the content or accuracy of authors comments.
Report Article