Guidance for Photographing Models

Callum Harrison and Nick Berentzen have put together this list of advice and guidance for club members regarding approaching and working with models.

Pre shoot:

  • Have an idea or shot in mind, and lookup some example images and inspiration for references using Pinterest, google, YouTube etc.
  • if needed (i.e. not part of an organised group) find a model that you feel best suits your theme and ideas. Check their references and reliability.
  • If it’s an organised studio session or portfolio-building event and the model, studio, and the theme has already been set, you should still research images and poses which will fit the location and model(s).
  • When approaching models, communication is a vital part of the process especially if you haven’t previously worked with them. It's good practice to explain in detail what the aim of the shoot is (i.e. portfolio building, publication or magazine article, blogs, promotion etc), how you’re planning to achieve it, time scales, available dates, mood board and example images. If you are looking to do a shoot for something more external such as publication it will be worth looking into getting yourself a model release form. Also, always give the model the option to bring a chaperone with them if they wish, to help put them at ease.
  • It’s essential to be clear and descriptive from the outset, including:
    • whether you want to operate on 'trade for pictures' (TFP) basis or will be paying them for their time.
    • what style is required from the model(s) such as fashion, beauty, glamour, lingerie, nude etc
    • outfit ideas, hair & makeup, any potential props that could be used.
    This helps avoid any misunderstandings and awkward situations arising from either you or the model making assumptions. That way everyone is working off the same hymn sheet.

Shoot day:

  • When meeting the model(s), it’s always beneficial to all parties to communicate with the subject during the session, to put them at their ease. It’s common courtesy to always treat the model politely and with respect, particularly regarding any poses or stances you would like them to adopt. Always keep your distance and under no circumstances touch the model, even to finesse a pose.
  • Make sure the model has their own personal space - this could be changing rooms or specific facilities. Avoid entering these areas or spaces between sets.
  • At the end of the shoot, it’s common to get the models contact details such as name, social media, instagram etc so that you can send them over some of your favourite images from the shoot to use in their own portfolios.
  • Always thank the model after the session - after all they are only human, and being a model requires a high level of skill and is both mentally and physically demanding.
  • At all times, remember it’s a creative, collaborative environment in which to learn new skills and ideas, but most of all - enjoy the experience and have fun.

Post shoot:

  • Leave appropriate references and feedback for the model and also think about how you plan to edit the images, and what editing you want to do to it. Last but not least, send them copies of your final edited images.