I recently read a fantastic blog piece by the beautiful model Sinopa Rin (pictured left shot by MyBoudoir, MUAH by Sarah Elliott).
Titled '5 Steps to Getting the Best from your model' Sinopa covers some really important points and it got me thinking!
About a third of my shoots are with models and about 10% of those are collaborative or TF shoots. I shoot a LOT of models, some I love and some I didn't think we gelled with. My favourites are always the best at posing, and the friendliest!
So, I have put together my own blog piece that I hope helps some new models prepare for their shoots and a little reminder for the more experienced ones! This is written from a busy photographer's point of view and I do have a lot to say about this but I hope I don't come across as arrogant, which I most certainly am not! If you have any valuable input i'd love to hear!
TIP 1 - Comms
Sometimes many people are involved in a shoot, not just you and the photographer. There could be a make-up artist, a hair stylist, an assistant, one or more designers and a booked studio space.
Please keep in touch with your photographer prior to the shoot - chat about the looks or things you are bringing with you. Of course it goes without saying, if you need to re-arrange give plenty of notice and reply to emails as soon as possible - your photographer will have to change the booking with all of the people mentioned above, this is often very time-consuming and can be irritating if you keep postponing.
Please be honest with your photographer, if your port shows a size 6 model and you've recently gained a lot of weight then its best to come clean before the shoot. Designers will need to have your correct measurements. If you're well known for your platinum blonde hair and you dye it blue then let us know - it might not matter but sometimes we are shooting to a specific brief!
Organise before hand the type of shoot you will be involved in - if its relevant then do discuss your levels (no nudity, up to lingerie etc). If you find yourself being pushed into doing something you don't feel comfortable with then speak out or leave. If you feel uneasy before the shoot then don't go - or take a friend. Most importantly, do your research! There is an excellent page on Facebook that I suggest you follow - Safe Model.
TIP 2 - TFP (Trade for Photos)
This is when all members of the team collaborate to do something cool! No-one is paid and everyone provides their services for free. These are sometimes called Test Shoots. They can be an excellent opportunity to try out something new with a team you've always wanted to work with, but there some some unwritten 'rules' too.
There is a certain etiquette involved, a model will not want to shoot with you for free if the quality of your work will not benefit her in any way, the same applies for the photographer - the model needs to bring something unique and beneficial to the photographer otherwise why shoot for free? For me this means a few things - a professional experienced model, with a new look (for me) and preferably a large social media following. As I mainly shoot boudoir for paid work I prefer to use models who I know will appeal to my boudoir followers. I also only shoot for publications, either in our own magazine Femme Rebelle or covers for another magazine - well known models are likely to get covers!
If you want to shoot with a good photographer who will provide you with the best images in your portfolio and really give you a leg-up in the modelling world then do expect to pay them. There WILL be plenty of other photographers on your level who will shoot you TF - the quality might be hit and miss but its all experience in my opinion!
(October Divine by MyBoudoir)
TIP 3 - Punctuality
This is something that is understandably going to get your team's backs up before you've even arrived! Arrange a time with your photographer and stick to it - of course we understand that traveling a long way can bring unexpected delays but do leave plenty of time for your journey and plan the estimated time it might take you beforehand.
Believe it or not - i've even had TF models just not show up at all, this can be very detrimental to your reputation, especially on portfolio sites.
TIP 4 - Preparation
As well as making sure your basic kit bag is packed with all your go-to model emergency items, you need to personally prepare. Get a good night's sleep and don't drink too much the night before! Make sure your hair is clean with no grease, if you dye your hair this needs to be en pointe before the shoot, rocking up with inch long black roots and expecting your photographer not to notice is not going to work! This shows that you really don't care about the shoot and how you look and also can mean that your poor photographer has to spend hours editing your hair just to blend in your roots. Same goes for nails - these need to be clean and neat or professionally polished (not chipped - again more post work for your photographer).
Please ensure that as much of your preparation as possible is done before you arrive - making your team stand and wait while you stick on nails is a bit irritating!
(Romanie Smith by MyBoudoir, MUAH by Sarah Elliott)
TIP 5 - Make-up
At most of our model shoots we have our dedicated professional make-up and hair artist. On a collaborative shoot they are also giving up their free time to make you look beautiful. Anything you do to keep them from completing their work on time will not be welcomed - taking endless selfies, chatting on your phone, jumping up to check on their progress in the mirror, all are irritating.
If you are doing your own hair and make-up on a shoot then do as much as you can before you arrive, never keep your photographer hanging about for hours whilst you primp and preen.
TIP 6 - Posing
An experienced model is worth their weight in gold - if you are professional, courteous and a whiz at posing then you'll always be in demand. This doesn't come naturally, you need to practice posing until your back aches! Indeed if you are not sore and tired after a shoot then you've not done it right! Keep your core strong as this will help in all your poses. Work on your expressions and hand placements, these are the hallmarks, for me, of a good model.
Some photographers will just expect you to stand there and do all your own posing - this is totally terrifying if you don't know what you're doing so keep practicing - there are loads of great videos online to help you get started. Most photographers will direct you to some extent to get the shots they require - ask them what sort of image they're after and which light you should pose into.
Sometimes it can help to ask to see the image back-of-camera, you can make sure you're getting things absolutely perfect. (some won't want to show you - its just a photographer 'thing')
(Ophelia Overdose by MyBoudoir, corset by Bibian Blue)
TIP 7 - Clothing
If you are bringing things to shoot that require help getting into then make sure they are ready to wear - ironed, clean etc. If you know something needs stitching or gluing then do it at home the night before.
Try to keep your changing area compact - don't unpack all your many outfits and shoes and lay them around - sometimes space is very limited at shoots!
If you are bringing a corset then make sure it is pre-laced. Ensure that your brand-new stockings still in their packet actually fit you!
When changing between sets be as quick and efficient as you can be - remember your photographer is most likely just standing around waiting for you. A selfie every now and then for your feed is fine but ten minutes getting the right pose and light is going to annoy!!
If you have organised a designer for the shoot, borrowing lingerie, corsets, headdresses etc then it is your responsibility to take them away with you and post back to the designer.
TIP 8 - Post Shoot
Organise a decent time-scale for your photographer to have your images back - at MyBoudoir for collaborative shoots I try and have something back within 2 weeks. Some photographers take a lot longer, sometimes you'll never receive anything at all (!!), try and get something concrete sorted whilst still in the planning stage.
Once you receive your images an enthusiastic 'thank-you' is appreciated! We are creatives after all and its nice to feel that our work of art is loved. Sometimes you may be disappointed with your images - a newbie photographer may still be learning, if you have been paid for the shoot then this shouldn't matter, its just a job.
We all want more exposure for our images so when you have received them do always make sure all the team are properly credited and tagged wherever you post them.
Any feedback do comment below! Remember this is ONLY from a photographers point of view - MY point of view, and what I look out for in models I want to shoot again and again!