Working with a professional photographer

A Must-Read for Handy Tips

Photography freezes timeless moments and emotions with beautifully captured images. It’s boomed as an industry; many have taken it up as a hobby and art form over the years. When it comes to modelling, photography is an essential tool to drive a company’s success, maximising their exposure and broadening their target audience.

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If you’re a prospective or existing model, your chances of being photographed will be extremely high. Models are in regular contact with photographers, so Models Direct have compiled an outline for newbies and current modelling professionals providing some handy tips to help photoshoots go smoothly.

Follow the tips below when working with photographers, whether this is for yourself or your child:

  • Have a chat with your photographer prior to the assignment – whether it’s over the phone, online or if possible, meet up with them for a coffee and a chat in a public place. Get to know their work by looking at samples and their portfolio.
  • Always ask your photographer if they are bringing an assistant to the shoot so you know who is present.
  • Be punctual. Being on time is very important, no one likes wasting time and hanging around for others. However, life is unpredictable so if you’re ever faced with a time delay that’s out of your hands, get in touch with your main point of contact.
  • Take a friend or parents along with you, or at the very least inform someone of your whereabouts. Your safety is paramount and letting others know where you are going will help.
  • Make sure you tell the photographer that someone knows where you are. This is so that they too are aware that you have informed others of where you are heading to.
  • Ensure you know exactly what you're supposed to do during the shoot. Never feel pressured to do anything that you do not feel comfortable doing.
  • Whether it's a professional studio or on location, ensure that there is a separate changing area.
  • Reputable photographers will NOT touch you or your child. Make sure you remind them of this if they get within your safety zone.
  • Make sure you get a modelling agreement "release" signed before the shoot. You must be informed where and how your images are going to be displayed and give your consent.
  • Read all paperwork closely before signing a contract at a photo shoot. Never sign a contract unless we tell you it's okay. Sometimes, crooked photographers will try to get you to sign a contract at a shoot and then sell the photographs without your knowing. In this case, if you signed a contract, there's nothing you can do about how your images are used later.
  • Beware of contracts that prohibit you from working with other photographers. The amateur model should not accept this kind of contract. When you are starting out, you need to make as much money as you can work for as many different photographers as possible.

We've covered a lot of points here because our aim is to always keep our models and parents of models safe when heading out to assignments. Having said that, try not to feel overwhelmed or paranoid as most professional photographers are more concerned about how the shoot will turn out, make-up, and the position of the sun. For most of them, 'time is money’ so enjoy the day whilst keeping the points mentioned in mind.

Types of photography agreements

Before you work with a professional photographer, it's worth clarifying the nature of the arrangement - who's paying, who gets copyright with the shots and how they can be used in the future. Let's discover more here:

Trade for print (TFP)

Most models are looking to add variety to their portfolios without the cost. Some might be willing to do a trade for print (TFP): you pose for them and in exchange they will shoot what you want. But this usually means you will have to pay for your prints, and this may be very expensive. Also, watch out for the photographer who says it's free but goes on to use your images for profit - in this case you should get paid!

The Photographer Pays

This is the staple of the modelling community. The model (or the model's agent) and the photographer negotiate a mutually satisfactory rate, which the photographer pays the model in compensation for his/her time and a release to use the images collected from the shoot. When being paid to pose, remember that the person who pays for the shoot is the one entitled to decide the format and details of the shoot, the time and place, how many rolls of film will be shot and the number of outfit changes that will take place. You also have to be prepared to follow the directions to get the type of shot that the photographer or client wants. Additionally, on most professional, paid shoots you are not entitled to any of the prints that result from the assignment; the only way you can get hold of them is by getting shots after they are published (your "tear sheets").

The Model Pays

The model pays the photographer for their time and the images they take, as well as the copyright to those images. This is ideal if you need the photographer to shoot a particular image and you want to receive ownership of that. The photographer and the model must negotiate a mutually satisfactory rate for the photographer's time but the model has complete control of the images. Because this is, typically a 'no hassles' deal is a great way to start off, creating a strong base that you can build on.

Meeting Photographers

A good place to meet people is on online social sites, so try looking to see if there's a local photographer near to you on Facebook. There's often a mix of pro's, people who do it as a hobby and students who need models for their projects. Sometimes photographers post to look for models for their shoots. Why not post a short thread about yourself with your test shots, a short description about yourself and the kinds of shoots you want to do and see who's interested?

Doing the Shoot

It's exciting and fun when the day of your shoot arrives so make sure you eat and sleep well to keep your energy levels up and maximise your day's productivity and achievements. If you're a parent of a baby model or child model, ensure to pack their belongings and extra healthy snacks to keep their bellies filled for the day. Contact your photographer beforehand just to double-check that everything is A-OK and if there's anything last minute that needs to be resolved. Be prepared and ensure that your outfits and makeup/hair products are packed. Be relaxed and comfortable when you're in the flow of the shoot- think of an emotion, person or memory and let your body find a pose and relax into it. Ask the photographer for direction if you need some help. Remember, mirror work? No? No problem! We’ve got a great blog to help you out with tips on how to practise mirror work for modelling poses.

If you're a parent of a baby model or child model, we hope that you can follow through the steps the same way you would if you were doing so for yourself! Above all, enjoy the experience!

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