Model photography etiquette for models

Model photography etiquette for models

Model: Kiet Katharsis
Photographer, retoucher: Alexändra Sleäze Photography
Outfit designer: Marquis Fashion
Previously we wrote a couple of pieces on gig photography etiquette for both bands and photographers and we really enjoyed writing those articles from our years of experience! Now we’d like to take a look at something else that’s an interesting topic nowadays and that is model photography. With the rise of social media influencers and model photography popularity it seems like the perfect time for this article. The target of this piece is both beginning models and a refresher for more seasoned ones. This part will address the rights of photographers and the proper etiquette for models to follow when shooting.
Let’s say you’re a beginner and you’d like to start building your portfolio. There are 2 ways to go about this: either find some photographers that you like that are comfortable working TFP (Time for print aka for free in exchange of the photos being used for both of your portfolios) or find some photographers that you like and pay them for their services in exchange for the photos. Let’s discuss some guidelines for both types of shoots:
  • Copyright is retained by the photographer in both cases. If you’re paying it’s for a service (the photoshoot and the edited photos) not the copyright of the photos unless previously discussed and agreed on
  • Discuss in advance how the photoshoot will go and arrange all details (location/theme/will the photographer edit the final shots or do you want to do that etc)
  • If you spot red flags in the communication before the shoot you have all the rights to pull the plug on the project whenever you want whether there is money involved or not. Trust your intuition!
  • Bring someone along if you’re uncomfortable. All respectable photographers with nothing to hide should be more than okay with that.
  • If you collaborate with a third party (clothing company for example) make sure everyone is on the same page (clothing companies might want to use the photos for commercial usage but the photographer might not be comfortable with that, etc). In regards to the final photos the photographer has the say on all ownership matters so consult with everyone ahead of time to minimize mistakes. This especially applies for paid shoots. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
  • If you’re still unsure safest thing to do is to draft a contract if it makes you more comfortable and to ensure everyone is protected.
  • Each photographer has their own workflow and delivery of materials (which could differ from TFP to paid) so discuss in advance about this.
  • Practice at home in front of a mirror before a shoot. Find some angles you like and try them out during the shoot. Ask the photographer for advice if you need help posing and work together to get the best results.
  • If you’re uncomfortable/unhappy/upset before/during/after shooting talk to your photographer.
  • Be respectful, honest, professional. You chose to work with this particular photographer on this particular project and no one has time or patience for a drama queen unless something serious has happened/is happening.

Model: Jana De Boeck
Photographer, retoucher: Laureline Tilkin
You may have noticed that a lot of these things (99% of them) apply for both paid and TFP shoots and they may seem common sense but we’ve noticed time and time again that people either don’t think about it or forget. Now let’s talk about social media posting and how that works for both:
  • Photos need to be re-shared EXACTLY the way you found them without any alterations (filters, crops, watermarks removed etc), unless previously agreed upon. Don’t get cheeky when posting and start adding filters over the photographer’s hard work without permission.
  • ALWAYS credit the whole team involved, it is their work too and they deserve the recognition. Pay attention to who reposts your photos that they follow the same rules. Some Instagram pages are full of reposts with no credits towards the model. While we understand that it’s very flattering to start seeing your work around the internet, keep in mind that said photo would not exist without the photographer. If you’re unsure of something just ask.

Model: Iiriva
Photographer, retoucher: Alexändra Sleäze Photography
Last but certainly not least, treating people as individuals in the creative industry goes a long way. You could have negative encounters with some artists from all types of fields and it may give you unpleasant thoughts when it comes to photographers. However, if you want beautiful photos, respecting and treating people as equals is a great attitude to have!
Keep an eye out as we are preparing to write a continuing piece on this article looking at the other side and discussing model photography etiquette for the photographers! Leave us a comment if you think we forgot anything about this topic below.

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