Tips for Models: How to Get Started
8. Do not use Model Mayhem… unless you enjoy copious amounts of creepy messages or spam. I am actually deleting my account this fall. I have only gotten 2-3 paid shoots off of that site in the past 6 months that were genuinely talented photographers who also happen to not be creepy. Most of the people who use MM are GWC. GWC stands for "guys/girls with cameras"...men or women who basically just want to get someone naked in a hotel room and take photos of them. I shut this down instantly and will never shoot with these types of people. For the most part, you are not going to get any usable shots from people who actively use that site as their MAIN basis. THIS DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE NEVER EVER MET TALENTED PEOPLE ON THERE. Not intending to have everyone from MM hate me or think I am trying to put them in a box. The above just sadly seems to be the norm for that site in my experience.
9. Read every single model release before signing it. When you are just starting out, I recommend asking a photographer to email his/her model contract before shooting. If you have any questions or do not understand something, ask them. Some of it may be legal jargon and who knows, maybe there is something on a person's individual release that you are not comfortable with. At that point, open up a conversation and possibly negotiate. Never sign something without fully understanding what it is you are signing.
10. BE PROFESSIONAL. Build an excellent reputation for being on time and ready to go. Do not be flaky! Do not show up 30 minutes or an hour late. Do not bail the night before, or the morning of the shoot. Do not show up hungover. If you want to be respected in this industry respect other people's time. You do not want to build a reputation for being that model that bails on shoots last minute or shows up extremely late. Yes, sometimes family emergency or issues arise or a person gets sick. We all understand that sometimes, things happen. Sometimes life happens. When something does occur, communicate quickly, appropriately, and respectfully. Apologize for the inconvenience and pick a date to reschedule. Most people will be understanding. Example: The latest I have ever shown up for a shoot was 15-20 minutes late due to ridiculous Chicago traffic. When this happens, I call the photographer while on the road and let them know my location, whether it is construction or an accident, and what my new arrival time will be. When I arrive, I still make sure they receive the full amount of time that they paid for and of course politely apologize. Then I proceed to kill the shoot, and everyone ends up happy :)
11. Learn how to do your own hair and makeup. You will not always have an HMUA on site. This is an asset/ skill set that will significantly help you in this industry. I am in no ways an expert, but I can get by if needed. Knowing how to do hair and makeup exceptionally well is an art form in itself that people take years to learn and master. Over the years, however, I have learned to be pretty darn good at doing my own. I would say 50 percent of the photos I post are my own hair and makeup. I have burned myself on a curling iron twice though, and I recommend you don't do that. :-) I will be posting an article about "Must Have Makeup Products" in August that you can reference for more information on what I have in my hair and makeup kit. Essentially, products & companies I trust and would recommend and even better products that make your makeup last longer during many hours of shooting outside in extreme weather conditions like heat, rain and snow.
12. Appropriately credit and tag all parties involved on social media. If there was a designer who's looks you modeled- credit them. If there was an HMUA on location- credit them. Photographer? Of course, appropriately credit them as well. And for the love of sweet Jesus NEVER EVER EDIT OR PUT A FILTER ON A PHOTOGRAPHERS WORK WHEN POSTING TO SOCIAL MEDIA. That is such a huge no! Several photographers I work with who also are good friends of mine have told me horror stories of beautiful final edits they have sent to newer models. Those models then proceeded to put ugly Instagram filters over the shot. Don't do that...quickest way never to be rehired.
I hope this has helped! Again, feel free to comment below or reach out personally with any additional questions, thoughts, or just feedback! I would love your input and thank you for reading.
Photo by: Ed Sochacki
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