My Only Rule For Models!
Are Models Compensated for Modeling?
What Constitutes A Successful Session?
What Does It Mean To Behave Like A Professional Model?
Do You Have Advice For Models Wishing To Avoid “Bad” Photographers?
Can Models Get Prints From Their Modeling Session?
What’s A Modeling Session Like?
Can I Bring A Friend To The Modeling Session?
What Should I Do To Prepare Before The Session?
What If There Are Some Poses I Don’t Want To Do?
What Happens After The Session?
Can I Use Pictures From The Session For A Modeling Site Or My Site?
What Do You Do With These Pictures?
What If A Friend Of Mine Wants To Have A Print?
Do You Have Any Posing Guidelines?
What Do You Look For In Models?
Are You Looking For Models?
Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable! If a pose makes you uncomfortable, it’ll show in your face & in your body language. So, usually, an uncomfortable pose is a waste of both your & my time. So, if a suggestion isn’t something you want to do, just tell me, and we’ll move on — I rarely run out of ideas. If I ask you about it, I’m not trying to talk you into it, I’m just trying to find out what is making you uncomfortable.
Absolutely every model is compensated in some way for their modeling time. The actual compensation varies greatly. Some models accept image files as compensation (“Trade For CD” or TFCD), These are edited images that we will have picked out. It will not be all of the images, but the best ones, usually 1 to 2 of each outfit / set-up. I usually pay models for nude modeling. The rates are negotiable, starting at ~$25 an hour for inexperienced models, going up significantly for more experienced models (and, yes, experience is worth it).
For me, the bottom line is this: at the end of the session, if both the photographer & the model feel respected, then the session was successful. Bonus points are scored for any of the following:
- We both had a lot of fun.
- We produced good images.
- We tried something new.
- We both want to work together again.
My minimum expectation is that we treat each other with respect during the session.
There are several things that experienced, successful, professional models do that make them fun & easy to work with. All models can benefit from these things, not only in their modeling professional life but in their overall relationships to others.
- Never stand your photographer up! I usually get to the location at least 15 minutes before our agreed upon time. To be honest, I’m a little annoyed if I get that call after I get to the location, but it’s nice to know, so I won’t sit around waiting. But I am livid if I am stuck waiting for a model that isn’t going to show up. It is very rare that I give a model a second chance after she stands me up. I will never give a model a third chance. It’s a waste of my time, it’s disrespectful, and it is certainly unprofessional.
- Be responsive! I hate it when I e-mail a model, or leave her a message on her answering machine, and never heard back from her. If you don’t want to work for me, just say so, and I’ll move on. If you don’t respond, I’m lost & unhappy. Respond promptly to all inquiries! If I have problems getting a hold of you, I won’t be able to set up a session with you.
- Be prompt! Even after dozens of sittings, I get excited before each sitting. If the model is late, I get nervous. If you are going to be late, call & let me know.
- Stick to your commitments! All negotiations should be complete before the session. It is as much your responsibility as it is the photographer’s to discuss the content of the session and the details of the transaction. If you have concerns or limits, make them clear before the agreement is reached. Once the session starts, stick to the commitment. Any model who tries to renegotiate limits or fees during the session is not likely to be invited back. (I, too, stick to the commitments & never try to ask the model to do anything beyond their limits).
- Be prepared! Get a good night’s sleep the night before. Arrive prepared — most models arrive with their basic make-up all ready in place. If you are asked to bring wardrobe or accessories, have them with you. Arrive with your positive attitude in place.
- Be focused! The best models are the ones that can give the photographer (and his camera) her entire attention. Sure, life is complicated, and we need to figure out when to do the laundry or what our mothers really meant by that comment — leave all that at the door.
- Be sober! Do I really have to say this? I have had models show up stoned or drunk or high. They are certainly not invited back.
- Be fun! I greatly enjoy photo sessions, and it always helps if I feel the model is having fun, too. Animated & energetic models are the best!
- Be creative! Suggestions are always welcome. Don’t be shy.
Well, to me, there are two kinds of “bad”:
- An unskilled or inexperienced photographer, who produces bad images.
- A predator.
As far as I’m concerned, I would hope that models wouldn’t avoid unskilled or inexperienced photographers — we all start out unskilled & inexperienced, and we can only improve our skills through practice.
However, we’ve all heard horror stories about predator photographers who prey on models. I think predator photographers are fairly rare, but they exist, and yes, they should be avoided at all costs. Here are some ideas to help models weed out these kinds of photographers:
- I don’t know why more models don’t ask for references. I think it’s a good idea. I encourage you to contact any of the models in my portfolios. I list models I have recently worked with on the front page of this site.
- If it makes you more comfortable, definitely bring a friend along. If a photographer doesn’t want you to bring a friend, well, you probably don’t want to work with him.
- Establish relationships with other models in your area and share notes. Also, local, trusted photographers might be able to provide you with some insights, too.
- Before the session, try to be as clear as possible about what will happen at the sitting. Ask questions, like…
- “How will I be compensated?” (Include a discussion if you also want prints or CDs — when can you expect prints or CDs?) I personally review our agreement before asking for a signature on a model release & definitely before we start making images.
- “What kind of pictures are you trying to create?”
- “What is the intended use of the pictures you intend to make?”
- “How long will the session last?”
- “What is the photographer’s complete contact information (address, phone, cell, e-mail, web site, etc.)?” Make it clear that you’ll leave this information with a friend.
- “Who will be at the session, besides the photographer & model”?
- “Where will the session take place? If the session is in a public place, what security provisions will be provided?”
- Check out samples of the photographer’s work. That’s one of the reasons I produce this web site & keep it up to date. I think that when potential models see that I’ve worked with models multiple times, they feel more comfortable with the idea of working with me; they also get to see my style & get an idea of the kind of pictures we are likely to produce.
Bottom line: do your homework, try to find out as much as you can before the sitting, & be as clear as possible about what you should expect at the session. And as scary as all this is, I would think that you will be okay if you use common sense. That being said, be sure to be positive & bring a sense of adventure to the sitting. Any “good” photographer will work hard to make your experience fun, and that includes making sure you are safe & comfortable.
I should mention that typically, my relationship with models extends to the work we produce together and not much beyond that. On occasion, we become friends, but that’s rare & not expected.
One additional point: while we often hear horror stories about predator photographer, there are plenty of less-known stories about models and their escorts beating & robbing photographers. Be sensitive to a photographer’s concerns about security, too.
When I send final, edited images, there are two versions. Web sized are final images at a resolution suitable for online display like Model Mayhem or OneModelPlace. Edited are final images at a resolution suitable for printing at your local photo store. I can also arrange to have them printed for you if needed for an additional fee.
I’m a pretty mellow kind of guy, and my pace is slow, easy, & relaxed. When a new model first arrives at the location, I like to review the model release, so there’s no misunderstandings. I also like to remind models that they shouldn’t do anything that makes them uncomfortable. Then, I ask the model to sign the release. The model’s release will clarify my ownership of the pictures we make as well as any usage license for the model. By signing the release before doing any modeling, the model is reminded about that rule about doing things that make them uncomfortable. (Another way of thinking about that rule is “don’t show any photographer anything you don’t want photographed”.) I prefer to use simple model’s releases, with clear & understandable language.
During the session, I will frequently pause and review with the model what we have shot so far. This gives them great feedback on how they are doing and is always a confidence booster. Many times one of us will see something out od place and want to do it again. Or maybe get inspired and try something a little different. This kind of collaboration is exactly what I am looking for when working with a model.
There is never any touching during the session. That sometimes means that it’ll take a little time for me to communicate an exact pose, but that’s okay — remember, I maintain a slow & easy (& patient) pace. Note: sometimes, especially during fetish posing, some contact is needed (e.g. adjust the fall of the model’s hair) — if that is the case, I typically tell the model exactly what I want to do & I ask permission. At no time during the session (even during the bondage sessions) should the model not feel safe.
Sometimes in the middle of the session, I “zone out”. I’m typically thinking about technical aspects of the session — light placement, exposure, etc. I’m not being rude — please be patient.
Important: I tend to carry on a conversation with the model during the session. The primary reason is that I want the model to be involved in the session, and I like to see pictures of models with something going on on their face; I dislike seeing pictures of models with vacant stares. My best advice to models is to look like you are thinking about something, and the best way to do that is to ask questions during the session. But, to be fair, I don’t always hear everything that is said, because I’m splitting my time between the conversation and the techniques of making good exposures & images. I mention this because the rare model doesn’t like answering questions — I’m not trying to become your best buddy, I just want your brain engaged. If a question makes you uncomfortable, just let me know, and we’ll move on. Also, remember, your answers don’t have to be the truth — I’m simply trying to get your brain engaged.
Well, remember the only rule — don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable. If bringing a friend improves your comfort, then by all means, bring one, just let me know that you are bringing an escort — I prefer not to be surprized. I have more guidelines & rules for friends of models than I do have for models:
- Don’t do anything that makes the model nervous or uncomfortable.
- Don’t draw the model’s attention away from me & the camera.
- Don’t sit or stand & look over my shoulder — that makes me nervous. I can usually find you a spot to be in that’s out of the way but still includes you in the session (typically, to the side of the model or me).
- You don’t have to be silent — we all will be conversing, and you are welcome to join in. Please minimize any personal conversations that exclude me. At the same time, don’t be overly chatty. The objective of the session is to make photographs. Keep conversations to a minimum.
- Encourage the model at all times. Don’t argue. Don’t be judgmental.
- Your feedback is appreciated, especially positive & constructive feedback — if you have ideas or suggestions, I’d like to hear them.
- Only one friend per session — more is too distracting.
- Expect to be put to work, holding reflectors or lights, things like that.
Something I should mention: we have all heard horror stories about bad photographers abusing models during a sitting. It’s terrible, but it does happen, and models should take steps to avoid untrustworthy photographers. You don’t often hear about it, but there are stories about models and their escorts taking advantage of photographers, beating & robbing them. Be sensitive to the photographer. Don’t surprise the photographer with an unexpected escort, and the escort should remain nearby at all times.
- Be clear on where & when we are meeting, and please show up on time.
- Get a good night’s sleep!!! If you don’t, it is likely to show. And remember: coffee isn’t a substitute for sleep!!!
- Wear loose clothing. It takes quite a while for marks left by tight clothes to leave the skin; it may be subtle, but it can be noticed.
- Before the session, I hope I cover the following information:
- What compensation have we agreed to.
- What are the objectives for the session.
- What specific concept do I have in mind to try.
- Any props or clothing you should bring.
- I’m happy to answer questions at any time.
- Most important: stuff happens — if for any reason you can’t make it, please call me & let me know. Like most photographers, I hate waiting around for a model who isn’t going to show up, but I can be forgiving to models who let me know about last minute changes.
That is no problem at all, just let me know. I’ve had models who have requested that I de-emphasize or hide their faces. I’ve had models who have requested that I don’t photograph their feet. I’ve had models request that I don’t photograph other specific body parts. I’ve had models be very clear about their limits with regards to erotic posing. The key is, simply tell me.
Remember my only rule: don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable. I have no interest in making someone pose in any manner that makes them uncomfortable. Just remember that I can’t read your mind; if you let me know your limits, we’ll stay within your comfort zone.
A day or two after the photo shoot, I will send you an email to download the proof photos from our session. I will have weeded out all the technically inferior one (eyes closed, out of focus, flash did not go off, etc.) The color and exposure will have been adjusted slightly if needed, but these are not final images.
Five to eight days later you will get another email to download the edited images that we will have picked out. It will not be all of the images, but the best ones, usually 1 to 2 of each outfit / set-up. When I send final, edited images, there are two versions. Web sized are final images at a resolution suitable for online display like Model Mayhem or OneModelPlace. Edited are final images at a resolution suitable for printing at your local photo store. I can also arrange to have them printed for you if needed for an additional fee.
If this was a Time for CD (TFCD) session, then the final, edited images are licensed to the model for the purpose of making prints or posting them on a modeling website like Model Mayhem or One Model Place for the sole purpose of marketing themselves. The photos made from this session may not be sold.
If this was a paid assignment, you should understand & internalize that when you sign a model release, you relinquish all rights to the photographs from the session. The images belong to the photographer & not the model. If you aren’t comfortable with that, don’t sign the release. (Note: I ask for a signature before the session starts).
That being said, I think it is proper etiquette to request permission to use the images from this session, and if the photographer refuses to grant that permission, you’ll have to accept that.
However, if asked, I will certainly grant such permission if the site where it will be used is appropriate and provided that there is an opportunity to indicate the copyright of the image. Ideally, there should be a link to my site. It is my expectation that you are using these to promote your modeling career and that people are not being charged to see these images.
Finally, I think One Model Place and Model Mayhem are the most popular modeling web sites. I would appreciate it if you put me in your Favorites with a “Worked With” public note — that way, your modeling number will appear in my “Recommendations / Acknowledgments” list. I will do the same for you. (I am OMP Photographer #28420 / MM #16028).
Not much. I display my favorite on my web page and Model Portfolio sites like One Model Place and Model Mayhem. So, keep in touch, or let me know your feelings when you review the pictures after the session.
My only priority is protecting the model’s rights & privacy. Therefore, I tell people who claim to be a friend that the model has high resolution files to make prints at a local photo store. The model can do what she wishes with those prints. That way, the model maintains control, and I don’t mistake a stalker for a model’s friend.
Occasionally, someone will request additional information about a model. I provide zilch to such requests; nine times out of ten I don’t respond at all to such requests. At best, I’ll collect contact information from the requester & will forward it to the model, and the model can decide what to do.
Every photographer has a unique style, and in order to deliver that style, every photographer has different posing guidelines for models. Here are mine:
- The first session with a new model is a “get acquainted” session. We won’t be trying anything extreme or experimental — we just are learning how each of us will communicate during a sitting.
- Be natural! If I want you to smile, I’ll say something nice. If I want you to laugh, I’ll (attempt to) say something funny. If I want a serious look, we’ll be talking about a serious topic.
- Be expressive. Talk with your hands. The best models fidget all the time.
- Keep moving. But be prepared to repeat movements. Keep showing me different shapes.
- I like to have models stretch, flex, and twist — some of these poses may feel unnatural.
- I like working with dancers, because they have great posture. Please provide me with poses with straight (or arched) backs, shoulders back, chin high.
- Express yourself. The more passionate you are about expressing yourself, the better.
- Please have fun. If it ain’t fun, let’s not do it.
I think that selecting models (and negotiating with models) to be part of the artistic process, and at this point, I guess it would be fair to say that I am selective. Here are some thoughts:
- Experience doesn’t matter. I do well with inexperienced models, but I am much more efficient when I work with experienced models.
- Attitude — attitude is everything. It takes a certain kind of confidence to model; I definitely don’t want to feel like I’m making someone do something that they don’t want to do. The first thing I look for in a model is confidence and enthusiasm.
- Healthy & Fit.
I’m doing okay in finding models, and I am fairly particular, but I am always open to meet & work with new people. See this page for more information.
This FAQ is based on one posted at Looknsee Photography that really covers a lot of information.