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Listen up all MODELS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, AMATEURS & PROFESSIONALS: We need to have a LIFE CHAT about photo shoot etiquette in today’s ever changing world of photography.

First thing’s first: We all know there are so many different types of models, bloggers, designers, musicians, artists, etc. That said, there is no difference when it comes to photographers. Each one has their own angle (literally!) But in all seriousness, this art requires a high level of collaborative spirit rooted in equality and creativity from both the model and photographer. So let’s get into it:

DO: Discuss details ahead of time

If you haven’t read, “The Pre-Shoot Conversation all Models & Photographers Need to Have”, READ IT. You will want to make sure that you understand the scope of the project in full detail, and know what questions to ask.

DON’T:

Assume that you will just discuss details “as you go”. Not being aware of the details pertaining to wardrobe, location, shoot duration, photo terms/releases or even compensation will add unnecessary stress, and may cause problems in the future.

DO: Prepare Accordingly

Carefully select an outfit that will compliment the venue. The photographer will have ideas in mind as to what stylistic goals they are trying to accomplish with the photo shoot. Make sure that you discuss all of this ahead of time so that you are fully prepared. Be sure to bring everything you will need to your photo shoot. Read: What’s in my modeling bag

Part of preparation is being on time…which means being EARLY. Should any difficulties arise, contact the model, photographer (or corresponding agent) immediately.

DON’T: Show up in your favorite club dress “just cuz”

Or any outfit that doesn’t flatter the shoot location or venue. Discuss all wardrobe and venue ideas ahead of time, and work together to determine the desired theme or aesthetic of the photo shoot. Not caring about the photographer’s vision and simply wearing whatever you feel like is not only disrespectful, it shows that you only care about your vision. This is a TEAM EFFORT.

DO: Communicate kindly

Sometimes an idea just doesn’t work, and that is OKAY. Whether you are the model or photographer, if something isn’t working, calmly and kindly explain that you need to modify what is being done, or simply change directions. Do not pretend to be comfortable doing something you are not. Chances are, it will show in your face, and ultimately…the photo.

DON’T: BE RUDE OR CONDESCENDING

This really should go without saying, but showing patience and kindness in a moment of frustration is the only way to maintain professionalism and mutual respect. Do not make passive aggressive comments about the model’s look or photo movement. Models, don’t ask the photographer to see the photo in the preview screen every third shot. If there is something you do not understand, kindly ask the photographer to clarify, or even demonstrate.

DO: Freely create & explore

That said, when you establish a respectful, effective working dialogue, the creativity is limitless. Set a tone that is kind and open. Inspire the model to feel comfortable and explore new ways to showcase their personality (and fashion!!) When both the model and photographer take an equal role in creating, the final product will be much more vibrant and captivating!

DON’T: Feel like you are not “allowed” to do certain poses.

I’ve styled so many photo shoots, and often times the models will ask if they can raise their hands, jump, sit down, etc. You can do whatever comes to mind. Your photographer is open to capturing your on the spot creativity.

DO: Reflect and discuss

Did you love the way your photographer was able to catch you in mid air while you were doing a back flip? SAY SO! Compliment your photographer’s adaptability and expertise. Think you need to work together to develop a better way to communicate or plan? Also let them know. It is also helpful to mention anything that you feel that you did well with, in addition to mentioning things you could improve yourself.

DON’T: Pretend everything was perfect if it wasn’t.

If there was something that ;made you uncomfortable, tell your photographer. Many times, it may not have anything to do with the photographer. For example, letting your photographer know that you don’t feel comfortable shooting in front of strangers is something he or she should be aware of.

DO: Say Thank You!

Thank your photographer/model for their work on the project. It takes a TEAM to accomplish the vision, so be sure to extend your sincere gratitude. Take a selfie together and post it on Instagram! This is a great way to let your following audiences know that they can expect some awesome photos yet to come!

Don’t: Bolt out as soon as the last photo is taken.

Help clean up and load up the photographer’s supplies if needed. This is a kind gesture and shows that you care.

DO: Review Details

Discuss when the photos will be available, how you will receive them, and ask the photographer any questions you may have regarding their release form before you sign it. (Read this blog for more details)  Also, leave the photographer with a couple comp cards. This is a great way to leave a reference of yourself. The photographer may pass along your comp card to other awesome photographers. Click here to learn more about Composites, or, “Comp Cards”, along with other standard modeling materials.

DO NOT: Harass the photographer for photos the next day

Chances are, your photographer has a TON of other projects going on simultaneously. Do not expect to receive the photos that week! By this point, you should have already discussed an approximate timeframe of when you will receive the amount of photos that were previously agreed upon. At a very minimum, most photographers will not offer the photos prior to two weeks. Photographers usually take an average of 2-4 weeks for a single photo shoot, or 2+months for a wedding or large event.

DO: Follow up with your agent

Definitely let your agent know how the shoot went! Your agent will want to know the positives and negatives (if any) pertaining to your shoot. Was your photographer on time? Did he/she communicate effectively? Did they facilitate a comfortable environment? Any feedback you can provide your agent is always extremely helpful. Remember, your relationship with your agent is also a TEAM.

DO: Always Value Professionalism

Even after your shoot is over, always be professional no matter what. Chances are, you are going to have a few fantastic photos!! However, if for any reason you run into problems with your photographer (or model) you need to let the corresponding agent know right away.

Unfortunately, if you are not working with an agent, there is not much you can do when it comes to a photographer failing to deliver photos, or deliver photos that matched your expectations. The best thing you can do in this unfortunate situation is to remain calm and kind. Your reaction is always a reflection of your character. Do not turn to social media to verbally bash or lash out on anyone. (Doing so only makes you look immature and inexperienced.) A true professional knows how to endure unfortunate situations calmly and respectfully. If you really were not pleased with your collaborator’s work, simply do not shoot with them again. 

Photo shoots are a blast, but behind the scenes they are a lot of work! The best artists are the ones who are confident and collaborative.

Are you ready for your next photo shoot? Be sure to read, “What’s in my MODELING BAG” (available next week!!) to make sure you are ready to go the next time you hit the set!

Did you find this blog helpful, or have a follow up question? Definitely leave a comment! I respond to all of them 🙂

Photo shoots always look super fun because, well…they are!! Photography is an all-around beautiful art, as it allows people to work together to create a moment in time, captured in an image. Creativity is limitless, and memories are made forever. Chances are you are going to have a total blast once you’re on set, but it is very important that all of the details are cleaned up and taken care of even before the first flash. Before you agree to shoot, you should ask yourself:

1. Do I like their work?

If you are a model, look at the photographer’s previous work. Do you like their take on angles, color, lighting, style, and overall artistry? If you are a photographer, do you like the model’s style, and on-camera movement? Will the model’s look fit the vibe of your next project?

This is a big one, because you must realize that—just like all models are different—photographers are so different too! This is an art, and everyone creates differently. Make sure you are pleased with the other person’s work, and you could see yourself creating excellent work together!

2. What’s the project?

By now you’ve decided that you like their work and you have decided to collaborate. You will want to know what kind of project this is: creative/portfolio building (TFP), publishing (web or print) or, maybe it is for a special event. This is the time to get into as much detail as possible when it comes to what is expected. State your limits clearly. You should never feel obligated to do something you do not feel comfortable with. Whatever the case, you will want to know the full scope of the project, because that will also help you determine:

3. Compensation

If you don’t have an agent (or are not working with an agency), you’ll have to learn to be extremely mindful of the many factors that go into negotiating a compensation, whether you’re a model or a photographer. Depending on your skill level and experience, you may want to begin by building your portfolio by doing TFPs (Trade For Prints.) If you are a photographer hired to shoot images for a publication, you may want to hire an experienced model from an agency. If you are a beginner model looking to build your portfolio, your agent may know of some great local photographers who may be interested in doing some trade work with you.

Photographers: even if you are new and don’t have the budget to pay for a model, an agency may have new models who could benefit from more photos and would be interested in collaborating for a TFP. I match-make photographers with models for these kinds of projects all the time!

However—if you are a very experienced model—you may no longer need to do work for trade and may want to have your agent determine your rate for most future projects. If you are working as a freelance model, you will want to determine your rate for the project. You will also want to consider:

4. TIME

How long will the shoot take? Should you put a maximum cap on the shoot? Since you (or your agent) have already discussed the full scope of the project, you will be able to better determine the amount of time that is needed for prep, shooting, and travel.

5. Location Permission

THIS. IS. A. MUST. It’s one thing to discuss all of the plans for the shoot, but before you get too caught up in details, the photographer should always obtain permission from the venue. Chances are the business would welcome you to shoot, but you should always make it standard procedure to obtain permission first. You don’t want to be the photographer who didn’t ask permission and gets turned away…Now you’ll have to improvise with a model who may not be so happy with you.

Avoid this situation altogether by always asking for permission in advance. For example:

Hi, my name is ______ and I am a photographer with ______ agency. I am currently in the process of planning a shoot with one of our models. We are interested in shooting at [insert venue here] which will play well into the creative vibe we are looking to achieve. Ideally, we would like to shoot on [insert day] between the hours of __ and __ but we are flexible and would gladly work around any potential events or conflicts. We do not anticipate the shoot to exceed __ hour(s). As a gratitude to you, we plan to post our work on [insert digital platforms here] and tag [name of business/venue] to bring more exposure to [insert business/venue].

We genuinely look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

[Your name/Photography Business name & contact info]

6. Photographer Photo Release & Understanding the Terms of the Photo

Once again—if you are a model without an agent—you will need to make sure that you are aware of what terms you are agreeing to with the usage of the photos. Trade for Prints (TFPs) can have specific or varying degrees of what you are permitted to do with the photo(s) after receiving them from the photographer. If no monetary compensation is being exchanged and you do not own the photo, (i.e. TFP) make sure you understand what you can and cannot do with the photo.

For example, if you are a model that shoots for trade-only, then the photographer will not permit their art to be tweaked or messed with in any way:

That means no presets, no filters. (Yes, that also means on Instagram and other social media!!) When you agree to the trade shoot, make sure that you are also agreeing to the photographer’s terms of the photo to avoid getting fined for breaching terms of a contract.

Now let’s say you ARE getting paid to model…

Then guess what? YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A SINGLE PHOTO FROM THE SHOOT. NONE. ZIP. NADA.

DO NOT go pester the photographer to send you the photos. You already got your compensation in cash, and at this point you are not owed anything else. This is known as a “Buy Out”. If the photographer chooses to give you some of the finished photos, it is at their own discretion, at their leisure.

BUT CYNTHIA, I WANT PHOTOS FOR MY BLOG OR SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESS!!

Be sure to let the photographer know all of your intensions with what you choose to do with the photos. Many photographers are open to editing your photo to match your Instagram layout, but you need to make sure beforehand.

Did you find this article helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below. Be sure to read Photo Shoot Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts“.

⭐️Cynthia

Attention to detail is an absolute MUST when it comes to modeling auditions. Although there may not be a specific “dress code” stated on the audition post, your agent will generally require you to arrive in Agency-Standard Runway Attire. You will look professional and experienced. Better yet, you won’t have to think so hard about what to wear to your next modeling audition.

In short, Standard Runway Attire is defined as an all black, form fitting outfit. Not only will this give you a professional edge, it will help the clients pay attention to your stage presence, confidence, and walk without getting distracted by a complicated outfit. You will want to wear something that is comfortable that showcases your shape and size. Yes, standard runway attire is different for men and women:

Women:

Solid black leggings and a cami work perfectly for a runway audition. If you plan on auditioning for multiple shows a year, I highly suggest investing in some excellent quality leggings that are comfortable, move with you, and are never sheer in places that you do not intend them to be. My favorite are these Lux Flow Crop Leggings.

Ready for the Runway Dress.❤️Was $45. Buy it now for $27 by clicking the photo.

Runway Shoes:

A common mistake many inexperienced models make is wearing high heels that do not fit well, or are simply too uncomfortable to wear. The goal is to have a confident walk, so a major confidence-killer can be the wrong pair of shoes. I recommend wearing a classic black pump, 3″-5″ inches high.

Tip: Closed heel and closed toe will give you added stability. I usually opt for a classic black pump for runway auditions: 

Hair:

Keep it natural. Clients like to see the length and overall health and color of your hair. Wear it down, and do not over style it with a bunch of hair products. To tame frizz or flyaways, I always recommend this weightless silkening oil. I actually use this silkening oil every day. (It also speeds up drying time) One drop is all you need for all of your hair:

Accessories:

JUST DON’T. Leave statement necklaces, large hair pieces, and sparkly bracelets at home. The focus should solely be on your stage presence and walk. I encourage talent to take navel rings out, and all facial jewelry larger than a single stud.

Men:

I have not forgotten about you! However, you guys have it pretty simple:

DON’T FORGET:

Your runway attire is not complete without your modeling materials. You should bring your modeling portfolio to every audition, or at the very least, your comp card or printed out, professional full-length photo of yourself.  Showing up to a runway audition without a photo of yourself gives the appearance that you do not care about being selected. Be sure that you also have your up to date measurements to list for the client.

 

 

Still have questions? No worries–I am here to help! Drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to follow up ASAP! 🙃

You just received word from your agency director about the massive hair and fashion shows taking in place in Chicago! After confirming your attendance, you were given all of the details of where to go, when the audition starts, and what to do if you are selected to model in the show. You have your modeling bag prepped and ready to go, and you can now officially say:

ROAD TRIP!!

My favorite thing about hair show auditions in Chicago is the fact that I have yet another excuse to go to Chicago. For most of us Milwaukeeans, we somehow forget that Chicago is only about 90 miles away from us, and we honestly don’t even think to go there unless there is some kind of event taking place that we deem worthy of our time. And, okay–Milwaukee rocks, so, it’s hard to get us to leave Cream City.

HOWEVER:

It’s hair show time, and you know that this is a great opportunity to change up your hair, and model for top hair designers in a full fashion production with the city’s top makeup artists and designers. Chances are, you or one of your gal pals is going to be bringing in some major $$ for over the weekend. So let’s get into it:

DO:

CAR POOL WITH YOUR FRIENDS. (Or take the train with them, whatever)

Bring along your other model friends! This is a great way to boost each other’s confidence by supporting and encouraging each other along the way. You can divide the cost of gas (AND PARKING) amongst everyone. After auditions are over, you are automatically surrounded by your designated Chicago shopping buddies. Not up for shopping? Visit Navy Pier!! Go get some shaved ice and ride the damn ferris wheel–You deserve it!

DON’T:

TAKE REJECTION PERSONALLY, OR WORSE:

Get jealous of your friend(s) that “made it”. You have NO idea what the clients are looking for. Maybe they already casted 4 blond girls and are now only looking for brunettes or red heads. Maybe they already have enough caucasians and are looking for ebony or asian models. Maybe they have plenty of size 2,4,6, and are now looking for 8,10,12, etc. Or, –even more likely–they already have a ton of models with long hair, and are now only seeking to cast short hair models for pixie cuts…and let’s be honest…Are you really willing to chop off your mid-back length hair for a show? Probably not. Bottom line: The clients will not tell you what they are looking for, and there is nothing you can do to control that. However, you can control the way you support and encourage your friends NO MATTER WHAT.

DO:

Show up EARLY.

Allow PLENTY OF TIME for navigation Especially if you are not used to driving in Chicago, or used to PARKING in Chicago, I really encourage you to show up far earlier than planned. Worst case scenario is you get there early, and are stuck in a beautiful city and a whole bunch of street art, vendors, and live music.

A more important fact:

The earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to get booked.

Clients cast based on how many slots they have left to fill for the show. The most slots are available right at the beginning, before anyone has even walked yet.

DON’T:

Show up towards the end, or just after the audition has concluded.

Most likely, the clients have already made most of their decisions and are now trying to narrow it down. Also, showing up late gives the impression that you have a tendency to be late. Don’t make them wonder if they may have to worry about you showing up late to the actual show…

DO:

BRING A PHOTO OF YOURSELF & KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENTS

A professional model ALWAYS knows their measurements. A model who is serious about getting booked for the job will bring their comp card, or at least a printed out, professional photo of themselves.

ALSO DO:

Wear comfortable shoes that you have walked in plenty of times before.

The competition is high. You will want to do everything in your power to ensure the maximum amount of confidence is present within yourself at the time of the audition. This starts with a pair of runways shoes that are tried and true. If you are a beginner, choose a MEDIUM heel height about 3 to 4 inches tall. Practice your smooth and fierce runway walk weeks before the audition.

TIP: Wear FLATS when walking around the city, and throw your heels on minutes before you walk. This will ensure that your walk is fresh and radiant, and not tired and uncomfortable looking.

DON’T:

Wear just ANY pair of heels…

Wear your uncomfortable sparkly prom shoes from Junior year, or those red avant garde dress shoes that you never wore for an interview that never happened, simply because you want to get a use out of them… You are NOT doing yourself a favor by doing this. Instead, invest in a solid pair of runway heels. Not wedges, not booties, or heeled boots. Go for a a classy black heel. Click here to view my go to runway heels!

DO:

Dress in a form fitting, all black outfit.

Wear something that shows off your shape. Plain black leggings and a plain black cami would be perfect. Remember, you’re not modeling yet, so keep your whole look simple, plain, and clean. What counts right now is your confident walk and your natural beauty.

DON’T:

Forget to clean up the details.

Do not wear jewelry of any kind. Do not have chipped nail polish, toenail polish, or super vibrant nails…go for a clear nail polish or classic neutral french-tip manicure. Details matter.

DO:

Be Professional, Patient, and Kind to EVERYONE YOU MEET.

Whether you are selected or not, it is always important to represent yourself, and your agency in the best light possible. Always greet people with a warm, friendly smile and make eye contact. Kindly interact with the other models, and be a helping hand if someone needs something zipped or pinned. Thank the clients them for their time, even if you were not selected.

DON’T:

Be that person.

Do not make loud sarcastic comments displaying your dissatisfaction with your experience with the clients, the process, the venue, etc. Do not be rude to other models, or cut in the audition line. Oh, and please don’t get into a fight with your mom, friend, or boyfriend while inside the venue.

DO:

Contact your agency director right away with any concerns.

It is so important to me that our agency talent participate in a variety of high quality experiences. If you experienced unprofessional behavior with the client or the venue staff, I always want to know about it ASAP. It is your agent’s job to follow up with a client regarding miscommunication, unclear directions, or overall lack of professionalism. Your agency director will make proper negotiations with the client directly, or in some cases, discontinue the agency relationship with a particular client. The success of any agency is based on team work. The more you communicate, the better off you  (and everyone in the agency) will be!

YAY!! YOU’VE BEEN BOOKED FOR THE SHOW! NOW WHAT????

Let your agency director know ASAP. The billing process can take some time, so the sooner your agent is able to draft a booking confirmation for your work, the faster the processing time will be. Your agent will then send you a talent voucher for you to take with you to the show. Immediately following the show, be sure to complete your talent voucher and have a client’s representative sign it. Then, take a photo of it on your phone and email it to your agent.

Vouchers are not invoices. They serve as proof that you have successfully completed your work as a model. Have any photos from yourself in the show? Tag your agency’s Instagram when posting!

Have any questions about the process? Drop me a note below!!