5 top tips – To get the most from your first model photoshoot

by David Jenyns

As the saying goes, there’s a first time for everything… Working with a professional model is no different. It might be intimidating at first but well worth the effort.

Up to now you’ve probably been shooting family members and friends, possibly whilst on vacation or at special events. These are all great learning opportunities as it lets you hone your skills and make mistakes in a non-critical environment.

But now you’re itching to take things further and want to try your hand at a modeling shoot in a studio set-up. So you’ve seen videos of the pros at work, snapping gorgeous models with windswept hair striking pose after pose, while assistants and MUAs run around ensuring every eyelash and crease is in the right place…

Well just stop right there…

That is not going to happen, at least not for your first shoot or unless you have a big budget at your disposal. Most likely you will be photographer, assistant and casting agent all rolled into one and with the rise in popularity of microstock photography, a lot of photographers are starting to work this way.

Just to say, this is not a tutorial on studio photography techniques or makeup tips. There is plenty of information out there already. So lets get started with my 5 tips for a successful first model shoot.

Where to find models – So you’ve exhausted your contact list and its time to find new talent to work with. One option is asking model agencies if they have any new faces that need test shoots. As a first timer, its unlikely they’ll give you the opportunity so that means looking elsewhere. The internet has lots of websites like model mayhem and onemodelplace where new and established models register their profiles. Another option is somewhere like craigslist. Often you’ll find some who are willing to work on a Time For Print (TFP) basis. i.e they provide the time free but expect copies or digital files of the shoot in return. I personally prefer to at least pay travel costs, as there’ll be less chance of a no show if there’s a financial incentive. I would also at this stage look for models who do their own makeup as it’s one less thing to coordinate.
Booking a Studio – Again the internet is your friend, just google for studios in your local area. The rates are usually on an hourly or half day/day basis. Ask if you can drop by, as the studio images on their website (most will have one) are often taken with wideangle lenses and look bigger than they are. Check if lighting equipment is included. Some of the expensive studios will be geared towards pros and will typically be well specced in terms of facilities like high ceilings, model changing areas, showers, client area etc but these will be overkill for what you require for now.
Bringing it together – Now you have the model and studio selected, its time to pick a few dates and check availability with both parties. Once a suitable date is found you can book the studio. They will most likely ask for a deposit, which is standard practice.
Communication is key – Let the model know what you will be looking to do i.e. the style and look of what you’re trying to achieve. For your first time, I recommend something simple like a white backdrop shoot as this will let you concentrate on trying different model poses and learning to give instructions. Having some idea of poses to try is invaluable as this cuts down on the model standing around wasting studio time. A posing guide will be useful. (You’ll also look more professional). Email him/her clearly with the time, date, what to wear and location (A map will help). I often ask them to arrive a little late so I have time to set-up. Call the studio and model a couple of days before the shoot to reconfirm.
On the day – You can ask a reliable friend to come along who can act as assistant for the day. Bring some refreshment like water or soft drinks, your model will appreciate the gesture. Make sure you are professional and respectful at all times. At the end of the shoot thank the model, let them know you’ll be in touch and when they can expect to receive their prints/files (if it’s a TFP shoot).

Note: If the model is a no show then you’ll just have to take it on the chin. Most photographers say this goes with the territory. The reconfirm in point 4 is to give you a heads up just in case. You may be able to make alternative arrangements.

Happy Shooting!

www.promodelposes.com

 

Jay Durden a photographer for many years who likes to share his passion.

See more here. posing guide

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