Model photography etiquette for photographers
In one of our previous articles we discussed about model photography etiquette in regards to models understanding the rights of the photographers and more. In this article we would like to turn the lens around and look at model photographers themselves, from briefly touching upon how to get into photographing models, as well as proper behaviour when shooting with them, etc.
Let’s start by discussing how one would start dabbling into photographing models. The first question is, what style of photography are you interested in doing: commercial fashion, alternative fashion, experimental etc ? Look around Facebook and Instagram for models in your area and approach the ones you find interesting either for TFP or paid shoots. If they are very popular, chances are this is at least a side job for them but you will be paying for quality and professionalism so it’s worth giving this option a try to get an understanding of how it is to work with a pro. If, after a while, you decide you really like commercial fashion, take your existing portfolio and go talk to some model agencies and see what possibilities there might be in that department.
You don’t need expensive gear to start in this type of photography, much more important is your imagination and a clear vision of what you’d like to achieve. It also inspires trust and professionalism. Get inspired by other photographers and photoshoots but don’t copy and don’t compare your art to the others. Everyone sees things differently and uses different tools to express themselves artistically. Look around you, with a bit of imagination many of your household items could be useful props for a unique shoot.
Let’s discuss proper behaviour before/during and after a shoot and what is expected from your part:
- When discussing with the model ahead of time try to cover all grounds on what is expected, the concept at hand, location, etc. Be transparent and also discuss your workflows (for during and after the shoot) in depth so everyone knows what is expected of them. There have been instances of models getting assaulted during shoots so it is crucial to establish your professionalism.
- COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
- Behave professionally during the set: be respectful towards the model, don’t touch them without permission, try to pay attention to how they are feeling, if there is tension in the room, etc.
- Let the model bring someone along if they so choose, it will allow them to be more comfortable and that is crucial to the outcome of the photos.
- Have a model photography sample contract at the ready for the situations where it may be needed. It will show you’re prepared and eager to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- DO NOT just post the final photos on social media without the model seeing them first. Share the shots with them first and ask for their feedback; you would not want a photo you’re not happy with of yourself circulating the internet so why do that to someone else?
- If you decide to sell the images from certain photoshoots (as prints, merch, an exhibition etc) discuss ahead of time with the model(s) and see if they are okay with that or if they want something in exchange for this. Yes you own the copyright but this is the professional and honest thing to do and being transparent will benefit your reputation in the long run.
- Be respectful, honest, professional. You chose to work with this particular model on this particular project and this should be a fun time for everyone involved, not just for you.