Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's be kind to photographers

Hi everyone and welcome to the new followers of this blog.
This post is to acknowledge the importance of a photographer in a model's career. Where would we, models, be without photographers? I'm talking here about photographers with a professional attitude to photography who expect the same kind of professional attitude from a model regardless of whether it's a paid shoot or TFP/TFCD.
So far I've distinguished three main problems photographers encounter when working with models: being unreliable, bad skin (and sometimes also hair) condition and having chaperones (especially male ones) at the shoot. Let's talk about the first one, being unreliable.
A lot of aspiring models (based on what I've been told by many photographers) don't take photoshoot appointments seriously. Weekend shoots seem to be the worst for that. The model would text the photographer an hour before their shoot and come up with some excuse like a sick relative they have to visit in a remote town or some other urgent matter to attend to. Some however, are rather blunt and admit that they went drinking or clubbing the night before, so now they've got a hangover and are not fit to shoot. It's good to be honest about your current state but it also demonstrates your immaturity and unprofessionalism. Do you think the photographer would want to work with you again?! 99% of the photogs said they won't deal with a model like that ever again. Please, don't think photogs are dumb - most of them have heard all the excuses under the sun anyway.
Don't forget though, that photographers are human, so they would understand and accept a genuine reason why you couldn't make it to the shoot. It's best if a model gives enough notice, unless it's an emergency. Ring if you can, rather than text, and explain why the shoot will have to be rescheduled. Be understanding of the photographer's feelings : the poor guy spent a decent amount of time setting up props and lighting, especially if he uses his place as a studio and anticipates a good productive photo session and then the model cancels on him. Now reverse the situation: you booked a makeup artist (plus made child care arrangements if it's applicable in your case), got all dressed up, packed your bag with props, shoes and changes of outfits and when you're just about to leave anticipating how gorgeous you'll photograph, you get a text from your photographer saying: "Went 4 drinx w da boys last nite n this hangover is jst killin me. Nxt weeknd ok?" Please, consider that next time you decide to go "4 drinx w da girls" the night before your shoot and get some beauty sleep instead; then you'll definitely look gorgeous at your shoot. Ideally, it's best to get a sufficient amount of sleep every night (which is mostly impossible for models with kids) so your body can repair itself, but if you can arrange it, two nights of good sleep before your shoot will help greatly, too.
In New Zealand since it's a small country we are disadvantaged in the sense that most of the entertainment/creative industries (including modelling) are small, and the competition is huge, even for unpaid assignements (for instance, I've been to Thin Lizzy auditions and saw a whole wall plastered with girls' photographs that were considered for a 2 minute ad) and everyone knows everyone, so if you get a reputation for being unreliable, word will get around and it'll be hard to get rid of that image. Back to Thin Lizzy auditions (if anyone's interested), they rang me a couple of days later and said that I came pretty close, it was a tough choice between me and another girl, but they selected the other girl. That's cool with me, I was there on time, well presented as required and gave it my best. I also understand that it's a casting director's job to select a model that can be best associated with the product so it'd sell, so no hard feelings here. There are other opportunities out there.
Anyway, the important thing to remember if you're starting out as a model: to increase your chances of work (be it paid or TFCD), build up a reputation of being a RELIABLE MODEL.
Now I can go and get some beauty sleep.


  1. Hey Anya,

    Enjoyed your comment on model professionalim...and unfortunately it seems to be largely confined to internet models.

    I had plenty of cancellations whether for TFCD, paid work offers etc - mostly non-nude commercial stuff! So many grandmothers died the night before a shoot...I started feeling like a mass-murderer!

    As much as there are GWC (guys with cameras) that models should be wary of, there are the same amount of model time-wasters that photographers should be wary of!

    A large part of internet based modelling sites seems to be photographer no-hopers, shooting model no-hopers...for not much more than an internet profile which no-one cares about.

    The serious models will find a way out - as will the serious photographers.

    Awesome article...I hope people reading it take notice!


  2. Thank you for your comment, Grant.
    I think the "flake factor" is minimal with agency-signed models because they represent not only themselves, but the agency, too. If they flake, the agency will look bad and the model may have to start looking for another job or agency. I imagine it won't be easy to sign up with a new agency if you have a "flake record" in your CV.
    A lot of Internet models regard photo shoots as a "bit of fun", hence a certain attitude and a high incidence of the "flake factor".
    But quoting you: "The serious models will find a way out - as will the serious photographers". Very well said!

  3. Hi Anya, thanks for your comment on my blog.
    I followed your backlink and enjoyed reading your blog posts. You are obviously a model who has really thought about the issues in this industry.
    From my own experience, yes there is a high "flake factor" amongst internet models, and this can be very frustrating, but on the other hand I have had the privilege of working with a number of really great models that I have met through Model Mayhem.