Hey Models! I have a new problem that I would love some advice on.
I have a shoot with a photographer who sounds genuinely intimidated and nervous about working with me. He hasn't done a lot of shoots with models, and I don't think he's ever hired a professional before.
I try to be personable and friendly with everyone that I shoot with, but I'm a natural introvert, and not the most sociable type. I'm excited to work with this gentleman, and I think it will overall be a great experience for him.
I know some photographers have an arsenal of techniques for getting new models to relax. Are there any particular pointers anyone has for the reverse situation? Anything to say or do to help put him at ease early in the shoot? Anything I should absolutely not do?
Sep 04 13 05:16 pm Link
Sacramento, California, US
Don't touch him, unless you ask permission first.
Tell him how big his lens looks.
Explain to him it's normal for the first time to be nervous.
Ask questions about his equipment and what he likes about it (seriously).
Talk about the food you like and ask him what he likes.
Ask him what music he likes and if you can listen while working.
Talk about the photographers/model they like.
Just the normal stuff to distract, if they like talking. Some photographers are quiet and just like to let you work. I've seen a few that never talk. See if they mind playing music. Just do your thing and tell them how much you enjoy working with them.
You can tell them a little about yourself. If they know you as a person, it helps them to relax. Just don't get too personal at first.
Sep 04 13 05:28 pm Link
Escondido, California, US
I have had a few photographers nervous about shoots, and all I did was just be myself. I am not one to talk much but sometimes I like to make small talk so it makes things easier if I feel the photographer is nervous.
I ask the usual things about like how long they have been shooting blah blah, It usually opens them up and they end up asking questions about me. If they don't ask I just get right down to what I was hired to do, and maybe ask how they wanted to shoot the first couple of shots, where they will be focusing, so on.
You just have to keep your professionalism is all really.
Sep 04 13 05:31 pm Link
Frederick, Maryland, US
Wear high heels and step on his toes. After he recovers he will have forgotten to be nervous.
On a serious note just follow the advice already given. Small talk until you figure out what he likes, then let him vent his nervousness by talking if that is what he uses to relieve stress.
Remind him to remove the lens cap... ;-)
Sep 04 13 05:34 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
Have sex with him. Wait, definitely do not have sex with him.
Sep 04 13 05:36 pm Link
Portland, Oregon, US
I've found the most important thing is for a model to show up.
Relax and be supportive, if you seem comfortable that will likely help the photographer feel more comfortable.
I know for myself sometimes when I am concentrating I will get even more quiet and introverted, so someone who is feeling nervous might take that the wrong way, so I do think it is helpful to try to be more aware of communicating and trying to keep things relaxed.
If he has never hired a model before, he is probably also nervous about not letting himself and you down with the photos, so it might be helpful to reduce expectations and have both of you thinking more about a fun learning experience than a paid working session.
Let me know if you need more thoughts.
PS: a nice smile goes a long way.
Sep 04 13 05:38 pm Link
Duvall, Washington, US
I don't photograph models all the time. So, I'm usually nervous will they show up will the photo shoot go good. I usually do fine once the photo shoot gets going. Especially if the model acts nice and eager to work. The only time I don't is when the model model acts kinda stuck up. Which thankfully hasn't happened much.
Talking to the photographer is good as well while he is setting up the lighting doing a test photo. Ask how his week has gone or whatever. Models I work with more then once we talk about all sorts of things.
Sep 04 13 05:47 pm Link
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US
Be early so he has less time to worry about stuff, then ask him where to put your clothes
Sep 04 13 05:53 pm Link
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
If he appears at all nervous before he starts taking pictures, slap him across the face hard and order him to start working. ;-)
Los Angeles, California, US
Greet him with a smile and a firm handshake. Tell him that you are really looking forward shooting with him.
Once you are in the photo area, tell him you know that it is common for people to be nervous at first and the best thing he can do is picture you naked. Then say, "This will help," and whip off your clothes. (this assumes he hired you as a nude model). Shoot a little and then get dressed and shoot some more and then return to the nude.
You guys are great! High heels and a slap across the face, and sleeping, not sleeping with him. Got it.
We're actually do a pretty casual shoot. It's a trade basis, he has a camera that I really want to get my paws on. So it doesn't have quite the same pressure as, 'omg, I have a model in my studio for two hours and I paid all this money and everything must be perfect.' We're shooting outdoors, at a couple of different locations, at a leisurely pace, which always makes me happier, which should help me make him more comfortable.
This is great, seriously, thank you so much!
Sep 04 13 06:03 pm Link
Alexandria, Virginia, US
this is why we have a meetup groups and workshops just for the purpose of introducing photographers to working with models, to get over the nerves and jitters as much as to learn how to interact with and direct a model.... not to mention details like lighting etc lol
Im a veteran but what I can say is that I prefer that a model be herself - if she's not doing so it does show and seems a bit stilted....
Sep 04 13 06:07 pm Link
Newark, Delaware, US
Do as we do when we are working with a new model, we lie. hahaha.
Oh yes, you look great. Nice smile, I love the way you move. Keep it coming, beautiful.
Sep 04 13 06:08 pm Link
Connor Photography wrote:
Actually that is good advice...
Sep 04 13 06:11 pm Link
Salt Lake City, Utah, US
Bring home made cookies. It may or may not make them less nervous, but who doesn't like cookies?
Sep 04 13 06:13 pm Link
West Paterson, New Jersey, US
I'm Done Being Nosy.... haha... you guys are hilarious!
Sep 04 13 06:16 pm Link
New York, New York, US
Put your underwear on your head and dance around with no clothes on. That should be a real crowd pleaser!
Sep 04 13 06:17 pm Link
New York, New York, US
Wait! I have a better idea!
Have sex with me the night before, then tell him that you banged the last photographer you saw, and, if he's lucky, ....!
Sep 04 13 06:22 pm Link
Salem, Oregon, US
i remember my first nude model. she was posing in a sundress and then i asked "would it be ok for you to take that off?" and she threw it in a corner and i thought "this photography thing is going to work for me" lol
she was really sweet and gentle. it wasn't what she said so much as just her calm and friendly demeanor. and she didn't stress when a cat showed up on set uninvited.
sometimes we have paying boudoir clients who are freaking out and i just try to stay calm and listen to their concerns while working to get them on set as soon as possible (once we start shooting their nerves usually calm down). when there's a MUA that helps a lot because it gives them a buffer time before shooting plus they can do girl talk with the MUA.
worst-case maybe suggest he have a bourbon.
Sep 04 13 06:29 pm Link
Ah bourbon. How did you know that's my favorite?
Sep 04 13 06:42 pm Link
Vineland, New Jersey, US
Being a photographer, I don't see many nervous photographers. I do see many nervous models. It doesn't seem to matter how experienced they are. To me, it makes sense on a lot of levels because they are going somewhere to meet someone they didn't previously know. No matter how brazen they are, there has to be some fear lurking in their mind somewhere. I take it upon myself to get them to relax just a little bit. Once they relax a little bit, it's only a matter of time before they relax a lot.
My secret to doing this is talk to them. Keep them talking. Ask them about things that are personal but not ultra personal. For instance, I'll ask them how long they've been modeling, if they're married or dating someone, what types of cars they like, if they're into sports at all, etc. When that round of questioning is done, we can go to the next level if they're into it. If they're not into it, they usually don't get into it and it's just another shoot. If they are into it, we can get into all types of conversations.
I can't help imagining it's the same in reverse. I'd be nervous about shooting some super model ... even if she's only a super model in my own mind. Believe it or not, every model I meet is a super model in my mind. I just have to act like I'm not nervous. Once she starts answering questions and doesn't snap at me, I'm able to relax a bit, too. Before long, there is either no conversation or we talk as if we've known each other for years. My best shoots have been with models who are so comfortable and relaxed that I don't have to ask them anything. They tell me all sorts of things.
Some of them get so comfortable that they start asking me things. I do the best job I can of answering their questions. So ... if I were the model and was shooting with an obviously nervous photographer, I'd just ask them questions about them. Someone said ask them about their equipment. I'd also ask about how long they've been shooting, what some of their most memorable things are, etc.
Keep things as light and fun as possible. Even if all or most of the pictures are crappy and you have or want to shoot again, you'll spend less time getting over nervousness and more time talking about how to make better pictures this time.
Sep 04 13 06:51 pm Link
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
If he really is inexperienced, offer to direct the shoot a little bit, posing especially. Tactfully, of course. When I don't have to worry about posing the model except for small variations, I'm able to hold a conversation quite a bit better.
Sep 04 13 06:57 pm Link
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
He could bring an escort, like his mommy.
Sep 04 13 08:07 pm Link
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Since the shoot is outdoors, bring some snacks and drinks for both. Nothing big, just small amenities that anyone would buy casually while hanging out.
When you arrive, say "hi!" with a big and honest smile and make a short comment about the location, the weather or your trip. Anything positive that says something about you. Do not ask lots of questions that can be answered "yes" or "no", but rather one that can be answered with a long story.
Let him know that since it is a trade shoot, time is not that big of an issue. Ask him how would he like to work: If he wants to direct your posing or if he would rather want you to pose freely while he focuses on taking pictures. If the shoot includes nudes do not wait for him to ask you to take your clothes off. You are very experienced, you will know when to do it.
Overall, smile a lot, communicate, laugh and enjoy yourself.
Sep 04 13 08:16 pm Link
Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
The first time I worked with a model way further up the experience chain than I, there were nerves-a-go-go.
Then she mentioned some of my work that she liked and, during the first sets, complimented my ideas for the shots, gave me a "Wow, that looks cool!" on first look at the back of the camera and that gave me confidence that I 'deserved' to be in the same room and I found I relaxed a lot after that.
She could've been lying, of course, but it worked in any case!
Sep 04 13 08:28 pm Link
Sun City, California, US
M Barnes Photography wrote:
^^^ this is a lot like my first nude shoot - her helpful and confident demeanor made my job a lot easier. (She was pretty experienced - I was a stuttering newb)
Sep 04 13 08:47 pm Link
Orlando, Florida, US
I'll come along to hold his hand.
and shoot you with my other hand!
Sep 04 13 08:52 pm Link
Nashotah, Wisconsin, US
Photographers with little experience working with models do not always realize that they are the director of the shoot. If he just kind of stands there waiting for something to happen, then you may need to do some directing yourself. Take the lead and then try to move him along.
He also may not be prepared with a "vision" of what he wants to accomplish. Just be patient.
His training wheels are coming off so he may need a push, move along slowly, and wobble a lot.
Sep 04 13 08:54 pm Link
Salem, Oregon, US
it takes one to know one. i just wish my Knob Creek bottle wasn't empty. and that i could still afford to hire traveling models such as yourself!
Sep 04 13 09:09 pm Link
Sacramento, California, US
Good Egg Productions wrote:
You can shoot with one hand?
Sep 04 13 09:27 pm Link
Imperial, California, US
Have you tried Jim Beam's Devil's Cut!!! Smooth & Tastey
Sep 04 13 09:34 pm Link
Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Innovative Imagery wrote:
He could get even more nervous...not recommended.
Sep 04 13 09:35 pm Link
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, California, US
I would say just act natural. Don't try to make a big issue of taking your clothes off or doing anything that might make him think that you are embarassed around him. Just be matter of fact and professional and I think that he will will just naturally follow your lead. Once he starts getting involved in taking pictures, his mind will be on that and any tension should disappear.
Best of luck and thanks for being so considerate with a newbie.
Sep 04 13 09:44 pm Link
GER Photography wrote:
Oh my that's sounds dangerously tasty. I just looked up the description too, and the story behind it. I'm already Jim Beam girl. I might just have to give this a whirl!
Sep 04 13 10:00 pm Link
Portland, Oregon, US
Next up, lenses, and then lighting... I hate to tell you, photography is a dangerous addiction
Sep 04 13 10:02 pm Link
It comes with two lenses! And thank goodness, I've been trained to appreciate natural light. Thank goodness for fine art nudes out in nature and working that available light!
Part of why I held off for so long was because I was afraid of how time consuming photography could be.
Sep 04 13 10:13 pm Link
Uralla, New South Wales, Australia
Have some example shots and poses in you phone or tablet and make it a joint problem solving exercise to achieve similar.
Sep 05 13 03:26 am Link
Wilmington, Delaware, US
Frankly... I don't ever want to be fully comfortable... I hire models to knock me off balance. I put that feeling and emotion into my work. If I wanted comfortable I wouldn't work. I'd lay in a hammock somewhere. The model is as much part of the process as all the experience and talent I bring to the table.
The more tension the better for me. Now I'm a painter not a photographer.
Sep 05 13 04:04 am Link
Vineland, New Jersey, US
Two Pears Studio wrote:
I agree with this on many levels. Comfortable is boring. Landscape photography is legitimate and all, but there is no stress in comparison to shooting a model. Shooting a model is "easy" in comparison to shooting a wedding. With a model, one has time to ask them to turn to the left just a little bit. At a wedding, shoot or the moment is gone and never coming back.
Sep 05 13 04:10 am Link
Detroit, Michigan, US
I have worked with a lot of very new (or new to models) photographers as well as a lot who had never shot a nude model before. I always feel very honored that they want me to be their first nude model, and I know that sounds cheesy, but I think it can be a big deal given the stigma around nudes for some people. I have also done workshops where a lot of the photographers were new to models or nudes. And these are always some of my favorite shoots and I really enjoy them, despite the fact that I most often do not even see the photos.
If I can here are some of the things I do:
- ask them to show me some photos they like before the shoot to get an idea of what they like in terms of posing
- guide them into giving me direction, like "Would you like me to be sitting or standing?" or "Do you prefer I look at the camera or not?" Giving them a choice allows them to guide me to what they want without just saying "Give me some direction." If they tell me to do what I think looks good, I do, but I try to mix in as much as I can and try to read what they like.
- do classical poses and let them let you know if they want something more unique, I think a lot of times they are more focused on getting the lighting and tech stuff right than getting a super unique photo with a crazy pose.
- be friendly and nice, I am an introvert too, but I have learned how to make relatively painless small talk even if I am just asking them about how they got started in photography and such.
- I also show an interest in the photos and ask to see them if they get one they really like, then I praise the shot if I like it or make some mental notes on changes I can make to make it look better (or how to work with what they are doing) and still try to find something to make a positive comment about. If they do not seem to want to show me, I just brush it off and say something like "Okay, no worries, but I cannot wait to see them after the shoot!"
Sep 05 13 12:59 pm Link