Working with Models
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Saturday, September 09, 2017
By Captured Occasion

So I'm sure for many photographers, certainly those just starting out with portraiture, the idea of working with a model might be quite daunting.  I'm sure this is intensified even further when you think about placing a casting, or even answering the casting put out by a model.  This is certainly my experience, but nevertheless I wanted to attempt to cover the subject, share some of my thoughts and hopefully encourage you to take that next step.

Without doubt there is much to consider before a shoot, are my batteries charged, what's the weather going to be like, how quickly can I get to the settings I need and how am I going to direct the hopefully get the picture.  For me, I found myself very nervous prior to a shoot and it would only be because I wanted to get the best results and see that progression in my work. I guess its no different to wanting to do well in a interview and in some ways a bit of nervous energy is a good thing and will lead to a good set of images being captured.

First and foremost, the thing to remember is that models are people too and I'm sure they have the same anxieties (at least when first starting out) as photographers if they are working with each other for the first time.  I think its important to be professional, you want your model to feel comfortable, so be friendly and make the shoot as fun as it possible can be.  I think taking this approach can only help make everyone feel at ease, as ultimately its in both parties interest to get the best out of the shoot and be able to showcase some good work.

I know I'm only scratching the surface with much of this stuff, but some common courtesy goes along way, both before, during and after the shoot. I can only think taking this sort of approach can help build a strong portfolio and a good reputation.  Make a point of tagging your model in any social media posts and that certainly goes for anyone else who has supported or contributed to the shoot.  Another good idea is to tag any brands the model may be wearing and any of your photographic equipment you may have used.

Another point I would make, is try not to make assumptions about a model or feel intimated (I refer to my point about them being people too).  It is easy to do, I made that very mistake recently when answering model Melanie Robson's casting recently.  Melanie has some awesome images in her portfolio, I could see she was very experienced and had worked with some excellent photographers.

I need not have worried, because upon meeting Melanie I found she was great, very easy to speak too and I quickly knew the shoot would go well.  Melanie was well prepared for the shoot, the communication was good and I would certainly work with her again. Melanie required very little by way of direction and was friendly throughout, particularly with my young assistant on the day, Jessica. 

So just to recap, you should be looking develop a strong, personal and professional relationship with everyone you are looking to work with, be it with models, hair stylists, make up artists and even fellow photographers.  I know I have received a considerable amount of help and encouragement from many people and certainly hope I pass that on as and where I can.

And if you aren't ready to place a casting or answer a casting don't stress, work with family and friends until you build up your confidence or perhaps even try a workshop or two.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you agree in the comments, and tell me about your own experiences

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