The following do’s and don’ts for freelance models working with a freelance photographer. Generally the below would vary if the shoot is a paid gig, or you’re hiring the photographer, or it is a TFP shoot. As well would vary heavily on the photographer as every photographer is vastly different and are not expected to be the same as any other photographer. Also when I say photographer I don’t mean Joe Blow or Jane Doe down the street. I mean the serious professional photographers who are day in and out of being in front of social media which will clearly show their care of their brand.
1. Do ask for compensation for your time and look only if you think the photographer’s abilities will not add to your portfolio, or if you’re unable to afford any time to do any portfolio work (TFP). (Even when you know you may not add the images to your portfolio if you have no other use as well, some cases some model may use some images not in their portfolio to either use it for other marketing needs. So if you need images of a specific kind but know it won’t be in your portfolio you can either hire the photographer or offer to do a TFP.) But do not contact them and ask them to hire you, if you want a specific photographer to hire you follow them on social media, they may follow your work and may make an offer to hire you or offer TFP depending on the photographer.
2. Don’t ask for “All images”. This is big one for serious, professional photographers, and photographers who take their branding very serious business. Some models will ask for this to study their own look, some photographers will be hesitant to giving this especially unedited, and will never fully retouch all the images. At most some will release it un-retouched, and will require an NDA (non-disclose agreement in case you release these images and will need to pay a fee for release and are subject for civil suit as per the contract’s agreement being violated). Photographers do this to protect their public image and branding. Not all photos in a photoshoot are magically fantastic, it requires hours of selecting the right image and hours of retouching those images.
In some cases both parties, or all parties have very sensitive branding, everyone should be careful on who they work with. If you do not give the trust to that person or work, do not work with them. In cases where you’re being paid and you are not a huge fan of their work you can choose either to work with them or not work with them but if you’re in need of money today and need constant cash flow then simply shoot with them do your best to make them happy and simply not include it into your portfolio and marketing. I know its a bit more difficult when the client (generally a photographer) say who you are and your face is in the image but its part of being paid to model. A side note, a photographer can choose not to edit any images they see are of no value to them nor their brand they are not required to edit them, especially if they are paying you. And some photographers at certain levels will not under any circumstances for TFP or even if you pay them as you being the client. A photographer you hire will provide images they think are best based on the expertise you hire them for and select those best images they think work best for you. At most they’ll give you X number of proofs for you can select for retouching.
3. Do ask a lot of questions if not enough detail is given to fully understand of the possible shoot. Information given to models for TFP or paid gigs vary on the photographer. Every photographer is vastly different and should not be expected to be the same as the last. Typical information that should be asked are if not already included or provided… (side note some information may not be available as they may be in casting stages only and may not have it until later in the pre-production. )
- Location, either general area at first or specific address
- Times and Dates, sometimes in the early stages of pre-production a specific set date/time will not be made until a week before or days before, depending on the type of shoot.
- Wardrobe, which may be provided at times, and other times may not depending on the type of shoot.
- Makeup/Hair included or doing it yourself?
- Estimate length of time for shooting
- Are you able to photograph behind the scenes photos, and share them.
- Are you able to share any unedited images, and edit them yourself.
4. Don’t compare a photographer to the past photographer’s you’ve worked with, such as a photographer you say something like “ummm, all other photographers I’ve shot with do this like that”. You never say this unless its asked and welcomed, but generally it is not. Anything, from how they shoot, or processing their coordination, or editing, etc…
5. Do have very well ironed and cleaned wardrobe when asked to bring wardrobe. Some may be surprised to see this but this is a very common thing where clothing has wrinkles or creases that are unappealing to look at on the final image. Sometimes it may not be possible to remove this understandably, and may cost some investment to have it professionally ironed and cleaned to ensure the photos come out as clean as humanly possible and cost less time in editing. For example, I personally have spent 1 hour removing creases and wrinkles on a dress in editing. Granted some creases are caused by some poses.
6. Don’t be unprepared. Many things can go wrong when a person in a dynamic group relies on every person of the team. One person comes unprepared and forgets a key factor to have a successful shoot can derail and stop the entire shoot or cause delays, of if lucky just a minor tweak on the shoot and re-coordinating. Some examples…
- If you have something on your body that wasn’t on any images shown to the photographer and not mentioned, it should be mentioned at pre-production stages of casting not show up at the shoot looking different. Even minor changes will cost changes to the entire group and flow of the shoot. If you need to make changes to your look advise the photographer before hand if possible. In some cases if this is a paid gig for you, you can risk losing the job if the photographer no longer sees the look you’re providing matches the vision of the shoot.
- Changes like: Hair color change, minor or majorly changed. Tanlines, this one is a big one especially shooting a photoshoot that would show the tanlines, but if you’re shooting on a shoot that will cover these up its no problem, just know if you have a booked shoot for like bikini and then you want to go to the beach you have the option attending the beach and risk losing the shoot because of those tanlines. Added tattoos, some tiny ones is ok for most photographers, large ones not so okay. Piercings, as long you’re able to remove them BEFORE the shoot it will be much easier to edit out, if not mention this at casting, if you added this after being casted mention it ASAP to the photographer. Any of the above changes must be mentioned to the photographer ASAP actually.