Steven Brokaw Photography

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Modeling Tips From A Photographer - Part Deux

I recently wrote a blog post on observations what I think makes a great model, or what skills / attributes a model should have.  I thought I would write part two based on a observations working with a few models over the past month that did a great job.  Here you go.

  • Keep your profile & model portfolio up to date.  There is nothing more disappointing than requesting a specific look, seeing that a model has that look in their portfolio and then coming in with a different look.  This is especially important with hair length & weight / fitness,
  • Tell the photographer in advance if you're having a bad skin day.  That information needs to be passed along to the MUA.  It effects the time in makeup and potential lighting required,
  • Check the photographer's portfolio and be picky about asking a photographer to work with you.  A bit of explaining here - I am currently shooting a specific style.  That is fashion / editorial inspired model photography.  I therefore photograph models with that look and skill set.  However, I get lots of inquiries from people that want me to hire them, but their portfolio has nothing similar to what I shoot.  Or, their skill level doesn't match what I need.  I end up feeling like a dick telling them they are not right or I don't plan to schedule them,
  • Processing images takes time.  It can take weeks especially if there is a backlog.  A model should NEVER expect to get a selection set or final product back in a day or two.  Believe me, most photographers want to turn their shoots around in a week, but it's not possible.  Most photographers do everything themselves so it's fair to expect 30-45 days.  This is ESPECIALLY true if the photographer is not getting paid,
  • Just because a photographer says he wants to work with you or expresses an interest does NOT mean he / she IS going to work with you.  The stars, planets, schedules, looks don't always align.  Remember, it's a 2-way street on this one. 
  • PLEASE don't talk yourself down.  Your personality and attitude are almost as important as your look / skills.  It's all part of your brand.  I worked with a model a week ago who was top notch, but kept saying she looked bad or was unhappy with her look.  Well guess what, I started to believe it, and because of this the chemistry just didn't jell.  Won't work with her again. 
  • Again, this is a 2-way street issue, but don't bring attitude or drama.  It ends up being reflected in the photos.
  • Practice, practice, practice posing.  I've said this before - I can direct you, but unless you are a new model and we are both aware of this fact I expect you to be able to pose.  A photographer should be able to give you directions, be he/she shouldn't have to tell you how to pose after each shutter release,
  • Be fun and talk to me.  I LOVE talking to people and I try to be as down to earth as possible.  But I really don't want to be the only one holding a conversation.  You know, "how did you get into photography?", "why do you shoot with Nikon?", "how long have you been married?", "what's your cat's name?...." - small talk is nice,
  • Don't rag on other photographers, MUA or models during the shoot.  Yes, I'm human - I gripe every once in a while and I love gossip now and again.  But, please don't talk badly about someone else in the industry.  If you've had a bad experience with someone then you can just say something like "I don't like his style or the way we worked together, so I won't recommend him/her....".  If you complain about a person behind their back then I have to believe you are going to do the same thing about me to someone else,
  • I've said it before and I'll say it again - communicate actively.  If you don't communicate with me once we have started to talk about a shoot or have lined something up I have to believe you are no longer interested.  I will then need to get someone else.  Seriously, with text, phone, social media you should be able to follow-up quickly.
  • This business is about exposure, so I like to post photos on various social media.  If I photograph a model I will ALWAYS tag you unless you tell me not to (at minimum I will put your name in the comments).  All I ask is that you do the same thing for me.  If you use one of my photographs that I've taken please tag me.  I hear this all the time from photographers, stylist & MUA that they don't get proper tagging.  There is nothing worse than seeing your image posted and there is absolutely no credit given.  Remember, I don't watermark my images so this is especially important.
  • If you want a selfie during a shoot, let me take it for you.  Seriously, hand me your phone and I'll use it to photograph you.  I want ALL your photographs to look good during a shoot.

You noticed I didn't say anything about looking pretty or being fabulous.  Those things are a given.  Remember, your look, skills, & fitness are part of your brand and are minimum standards to get into the game.  All the other stuff is as important. 

Remember, I DO NOT consider myself "all that" when it comes to model photography so please take my comments as from my experience only, but I bet if you talk to 10 photographers they would agree with most of my comments. 

Ultimately, it's a team effort.  Let’s work together!

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