After a long while of shooting and meeting new people in the business, I have had some great and terrible experiences. I wrote this article to kind of show everyone the lessons I’ve learned, to make the photography world a slightly better place!
Here we go!
- Be on time. Respect your appointments and always show up. Nobody likes a lame excuse – “just not feeling like it” or “wanting to sleep another hour” is not a valid reason not to show up for a shoot.
- Keep a planning. Make a calendar on which you write all your appointments, including your day job (if you have one). This way, you won’t have double bookings and you’ll have a nice overview of just how many shoots you are doing, and a lower chance of having to cancel shoots.
- Contracts are always a good idea. If you’re doing a TFP job or a paid job, it’s good to have all the details written down and signed by all parties. READ through the entire contract before you sign it! Some (nasty) photographers use contracts with small letters so you can’t take them to court in case of assault (or worse).
- Don’t steal. This means clothing, make-up, etc, but also: concepts. Lots of creative people spend weeks or months preparing for that one shoot, and it’s a horrible feeling to have someone make a ripoff of that one shoot. Happened to me a few times, and it’s terrible. People will start to talk and you’ll get a very bad reputation.
- Don’t take your moodboard too litteraly. Pinterest is an incredible way to collect inspiration and show a general feel of your shoot, but do NOT copy an image exactly the way it is. Be inspired, don’t copy. You can take a hairstyle from one photo, an eye makeup from another photo, a lipstick from another photo, etc.
- As for themed shoots: work as a TEAM for a THEME. Don’t expect the photographer to arrange EVERYTHING when it comes to outfits, hairstyles, etc. The best thing you can do is open a group chat on facebook and brainstorm about your theme with the entire team. (Unless you have one creative director who takes the task for him/herself.)
- Group chats – stick to the point. I myself am sometimes guilty of doing this – you have a group chat with an awesome team you know very well, but along with arranging a concept and a date for a shoot, you start talking about your new job, your pregnant cat, your mom’s groceries, … Stick to the point, group chats are already confusing as they are. Reply as promptly as possible, especially when it comes to arranging a date.
- Photographers: No means no. If a model doesn’t want to do nudity or lingerie, he or she doesn’t have to. Don’t push your model into something he or she doesn’t want to.
- Do not touch models without their permission. 0f course, sometimes a hair or a bra strap is hanging the wrong way and that will look terrible on a picture, but simply ask if you can move it or if the model itself would like to move it. You can use a mirror to show the model what you mean.
- Underage people should always be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. This is for models, but also MUA’s, etc. If you are a young model, ALWAYS ask the photographer if it is okay to bring a parent. If they say no, they most likely have bad intentions with you, and this is a huge red flag.
- After a shoot, ask politely when you will recieve the pictures. If it’s a week or four weeks, always respect this time period – a photographer can be very busy and have several shoots to edit. However, when the time period has passed, feel free to ask about your pictures. I’ve had some bad experiences where I had to wait months for photo’s, and that’s not fun.
- Don’t overdo it. Don’t take on too many shoots. You’ll end up cancelling half of them because you simply are too tired, or as a photographer, you will run far behind on your editing.
- Don’t accept a shoot if you’re not sure you’re up for it. If the photographer asks for flexible poses, you have to be able to do these poses, etc. Also listen to the wishes for the photographer when it comes to styling; if the photographer asks for a ballgown, don’t show up in a miniskirt. Modelling is actually not as easy as it sounds – it’s not just standing in front of a camera and being pretty. If you want to be a good model, practise poses in front of a mirror or webcam, be versatile in your expressions, change poses as much as possible during a shoot, …
- Watermarks are very important. The picture was made and edited (which probably took several hours) by a photographer, who has the full right to put his or her watermark on the picture. If you want to share the picture on instagram, ask for a cropped photo with watermark, the photographer should provide this to you without any problems. Don’t ever remove the watermark, this is disrespectful to the photographer’s work.
- Give credit to everyone. A photo is not just the result of the photographer or the model, most of the time an entire team worked hard to create this one image. Credit everyone as correct as possible – for example, if your make-up artist wants to be credited with his or her “brand name”, then do so. So if you make a facebook album with your pictures from a certain shoot, mention every single person who helped making this shoot possible. (Also, if you have animals modeling with you, you can credit the owner of the animal)
- Work hard and be nice. Attitude is everything in this business. Be prepared to long days of preparation, because this is the difference between an amazing shoot and a boring shoot. Long days of shooting are no exception either. And as long as you be nice to everyone and respectful, you will leave a good impression.
- Don’t gossip. There’s nothing worse than a person who keeps on talking bad about everyone, cause people get the feeling you’ll be talking about them, later. However, it’s completely okay to warn other models (or etc) you know very well, if you’ve had a bad experience with someone. It’s all right to keep a “personal blacklist”, but don’t throw it around on facebook, just share it with people close to you.
- Photographers: don’t take 4 hours on a shoot to show us the previous pictures that you made. We checked you up online. We know your work. You might find it fun to watch your own pictures for hours, but we just want to get on with the shoot and have nice results.
- If you organise a shoot by yourself, arrange breakfast/lunch for the crew. It’s terrible to work hard on a shoot and not eat anything. If you really don’t have a budget, just ask the crew to bring their own food, but the unwritten rule is that the person who organised it, arranges food for everyone.
- Models: Don’t start with nudity right away. You don’t have to stay away from it completely, of course, but if you do your first shoots nude, you will get a reputation of a nude model and only attract a certain kind of photographer. If you plan on doing nude shoots, first do a fully clothed photoshoot with the photographer in question to get to know each other a bit better. If you feel a good connection, you can go a bit further in your next shoot. DO NOT RESPOND when a random photographer adds you on facebook and sends you a personal message with the question “do you do nudes?” This is just plain disrespectful. Also, if you want to do risky poses or nudity, always discuss this with the photographer before the shoot.
- Models: be strict. When a photographer crosses a line, don’t feel ashamed to immediately say something about it, and if he or she continues, you are allowed to end the shoot completely. You are a person, not an object.
- About TFP shoots. TFP means Time for Portfolio, which means you give your time to a shoot and you’ll recieve nice photos for your portfolio in return. This is a great way to achieve a nice portfolio and evolve to paid work. However, don’t work with everyone. If you have bad make-up, for example, you can’t use that photo in your portfolio and your work was thrown away. Choose wisely, but don’t be too picky either. You will have to pay for real quality, of course.
- Don’t haggle. When a person asks for a fee for a job, don’t try to haggle down the price, this is disrespectful towards the person’s work.
- Leave reviews. A lot of artists have a “review” subpage on their pages, remember to always write one after you’ve worked with them! Reviews help to build credibility if you’re an artist.
- Have fun! Life’s too short to be too serious. Photography is a very creative business and you will meet a lot of colourful people. Enjoy the ride!
If you guys have any more suggestions, feel free to reply to this article so I can take it up in the list! Thanks for reading!