Before saying Yes to a shoot Posted on Wednesday 14th of October 2015
Written by 165429
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Did you just jump up and down at your first (or latest) shoot offer? How quickly did you respond with 'Yes!' to the lovely photographer?
Of course getting shoot offers is flattering, and it's what we are using the sites for. It could mean more or better quality images for you, or simply some more cash as soon as possible. But before you replied with a 'Yes, and when?' message, did you look at who you would be working with?
Shoot offers should be regarded in the same way you would treat work offers in any other line of work. You wouldn't turn up not knowing what the business is about, and what qualities they possess. The same should be applied here as well. Most members of these sites will be professional about their photography, conduct, and be who they say they are. That doesn't mean that a model can't be selective with who to work with, and do their homework beforehand. After all, no one has to say yes to every shoot offer they receive, whichever side of the camera they are.
Back to basics...
View their portfolio
Very simple, and quick to do. It shows the photographer that you do know the type of imagery that they shoot, and hopefully that you like it too. This should give you a good indicator of the quality of the images you would be likely to receive or to be tagged in. The style and levels they like to shoot will be easy to spot from the images as well. Ask yourself if the images, style and levels match your own levels and style preferred. Would this person's images enhance your portfolio? Can they add something different into the mix?
Look to see their portfolios on other sites, or the social media that they use. Some members use different images on each website. Social media sites include Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
Let's face it, you've not met this person before. References are not set in concrete, but can give you an idea of who they have worked with, their reliability, professionalism and any other issues that may arise. Firstly, check public references on the sites. If none on the site you are viewing, as above, contact the photographer or view their portfolio to find out what other websites, or social media networks they use. Go to these other places, and look for public references there as well.
No, or a low number of public references on any site? Go back to the photographer's portfolio, and look for models that have been tagged in their images. Again, if no tags, or no modelling images, contact the photographer and ask to be pointed in the right direction of models they have worked with. Use these contacts to try and obtain private references on the photographer. Private references are recommended, even in the case of glowing references to be found publicly. Most photographers will have no qualms over you contacting any model they have worked with directly.
Remember that any member may have different feedback across the sites, depending on where the shoot was booked. They could also have different usernames on each site they have a portfolio hosted on.
Get the shoot details clear
Avoid communication difficulties down the line, or on shoot, and get everything clear that is being proposed before agreeing to the shoot, and most certainly before the shoot day itself.
Where are you shooting? Studio, location, home studio, or in more than one place? Do you know the name of the studio, or have you got the location area or the home address?
Travelling? Find out where they are based, and work out how you will travel to the shoot. Use the Trainline or National Rail websites to plan rail journeys, or National Express for coaches. This will also give you an idea of travelling expenses. Can you get to the shoot on time from your home, and is there also transport home after the shoot. No point turning up all enthusiastic to then be left stranded at a train station through lack of planning.
Levels? Make sure you have read the messages, and you are clear on the levels, genre or style that the photographer would like to shoot. Are they your current working levels that are listed on your portfolio, and are you happy to shoot them? If you are unsure, then use plain English terms to say what you will and won't shoot. Back to your school biology lessons, rather than flowery descriptions or ambiguous level descriptions. For example, implied fashion is likely to confuse the matter, but 'I will / will not show boob, nipple, bum, open leg' leaves no room for interpretation.
Payment? Have you checked whether it is a paid, TF (time for), or part paid shoot. If it is paid, how much, and are you being paid on the day of the shoot. For TF, have you agreed a rough number of images that you will receive, and if the shoot goes ahead, when you will be likely to receive them?
Contact details? Before the shoot day you should have contact details for the photographer, and not just left to message them through a site. A mobile telephone number so you can keep in contact when travelling is a good idea. Always let someone you trust know when and where you are going for shoots.
If the photographer has kindly offered to meet you at the train station, get the details of their car. You wouldn't step into a strangers car ordinarily, and this is no exception to the rule. A quick question of 'What's your car colour, type, reg... so I don't get lost leaving the station' puts it across politely, and should give you the answer to these questions. Alternatively, a description of what they look like, what they will be wearing, or a photo of themselves.
Photographers please note, as unbelievable as it sounds, models don't have the gift to guess what a photographer may look like. We're not mind readers, so don't leave us looking lost at the station...
Sounds too good to be true?
Just like the saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is plenty of fantastic and exciting shoot offers on these sites. However, promises of photo shoots to be used for international brands for example (when your portfolio has three images) might need taking with a pinch of salt. If at any time, something doesn't sit right with a message for any reason, report it to admin on that site. Talk to other photographers and models, and use the forums to gain advice.
Lastly, if you've made it this far, and you're still excited at the thought of shooting, then don't forget to reply! Make sure the photographer has your contact details too. It's time to practice those emoting skills, pack your bag and manicure those nails...