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Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


So I've booked four models to shoot in the last 7 days and had four flakes. These are for TFP creative shoots. I'm not really appreciating the fact that I spend time getting a MUA artist, booking and paying for the studio then having the model cancel last minute, flushing money down the drain.

How should I handle flakes? Should I have a black list policy? Like people who flake on me without a good reason get black listed in my book?

Should I start charging a studio sitting fee or a deposit so at least I'm not eating the full cost of the time wasted?

Should I just overbook multiple models and hope one shows up?

Any advice?

Thanks,
Avery
Jun 19 10 04:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,062
Orlando, Florida, US


I need to hear more about how you scheduled these models.  What kind of communication did you have?  Was the concept explained well to them?  Did you confirm the shoots the day before?  Were they MM models, craigslist?  Did you check any references on them?

I'm learning that it's what WE as photographers are doing that encourages the flakes.
Jun 19 10 04:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Nature Coast Lightworks
Posts: 1,855
Yeehaw Junction, Florida, US


http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog/archives/corn-flakes-box.gif

Get over it and find better models.


jf
Jun 19 10 04:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


Black lists just make you look like you have too much time on your hands.

We all get flakes, even those of us with paying Clients.
You can get paying clients to give you a deposit, models not so much.

Try looking at how you recruit models and narrow down where things go wrong for you.

Work repeatedly with models that you worked well with in the past.

Work with models who have an established non flake track record, (most of these girls charge because they are in high demand because they for one, do not flake)
Jun 19 10 04:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gaze at Photography
Posts: 4,371
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, US


You don't handle them.  You note it and move on.
Jun 19 10 04:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Nicely Disturbed
Posts: 1,765
New York, New York, US


just overbook multiple models and hope one shows up
Jun 19 10 04:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kelly Watkins
Posts: 4,144
San Diego, California, US


100% flake rate is not a very good track record. So what are you doing that's scaring them off?
Jun 19 10 04:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


The photographers who I know who have the most flakes are the ones who do the chasing of models, they are the new guys who do everything to get models to work with them, the models have nothing invested and do not care about these guys, to them shopping might be more important that day.

The photographers who seem to have the fewest flakes are the ones who make the model work to get the shoots, they have strict requirements, they turn down models for shoots, they have limited availability, the models are chasing them for shoots.

The BEST thing you can do when models flake is shoot still life.
You still get to use the studio, you still get to learn you craft, and you still get to improve. The guys who refuse to shoot with no model are the ones who never seem to improve past begging models to shoot and models flaking on them.

You will get past the flake cycle in time most of us have had to go through it.
Jun 19 10 04:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


Good Egg Productions wrote:
I need to hear more about how you scheduled these models.  What kind of communication did you have?  Was the concept explained well to them?  Did you confirm the shoots the day before?  Were they MM models, craigslist?  Did you check any references on them?

I'm learning that it's what WE as photographers are doing that encourages the flakes.

The latest one was through Model Mayhem, sent out a casting call for a Pin Up shoot last Thursday, got a bunch of models interested and a couple of MUA interested, chose one that was available to shoot this Sunday (tomorrow). Talked with the model via messages on model mayhem then via email. Confirmed everything, exchanged numbers on Friday. I was going to give her a call today to make sure everything was good. Checked my email and got a message saying she can't make it and wants to reschedule. Normally I would, but this was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back, because of the three earlier cancels. I basically told her this: Unless she has a really good reason for canceling, I will not be working with her anymore. I didn't feel like she valued the time and effort and money I put forward to get this to happen.

The model before that one, was someone I met on the street, took a photo of her and asked if she wanted to model (keep in mind I'm normally really shy so it was a lot of effort for me to just ask someone this). We set up a shoot date (last Sunday) and she cancels the night before and wants to reschedule. No reason given.

And before that one was actually my friend, she had a hang over and canceled the day of then stopped answering text messages from me. Not sure what's going on there.

and finally the one before that was a girl who canceled because her parrot died that day, she was the only one who had a good valid reason. But still I feel like crap when someone cancels on me. (I've got issues with abandonment from a bad childhood)

Jun 19 10 04:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Images by MR
Posts: 7,455
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Avery Wong Photography wrote:
So I've booked four models to shoot in the last 7 days and had four flakes. These are for TFP creative shoots. I'm not really appreciating the fact that I spend time getting a MUA artist, booking and paying for the studio then having the model cancel last minute, flushing money down the drain.

How should I handle flakes? Should I have a black list policy? Like people who flake on me without a good reason get black listed in my book?

Should I start charging a studio sitting fee or a deposit so at least I'm not eating the full cost of the time wasted?

Should I just overbook multiple models and hope one shows up?

Any advice?

Thanks,
Avery

I would never invest in hiring a MUA or studio rent when working with
a model for the first time.   I'd do a simple outdoor location project.

~ MR

Jun 19 10 04:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
dms graphix
Posts: 1,079
Wayne, Pennsylvania, US


This topic has been covered extensively on MM -- and for good reason.  Many MM models flake and we've all seen it happen.  If someone says nobody flaked on them before, they're probably lying or have not shot much.  You've got a pretty bad batting average right now, though it's not unusual to bat around 500 early on if dealing with random models.  You can drastically improve your odds by being more selective.  By the way, models are not the only ones to flake -- so do some photographers and stylists.

As for blacklists, I think that they specifically are not allowed on this site and are considered a form of "outing."

As for avoiding future problems:

1.  Only use models you know to be reliable when time, money or additional people are involved.  If traveling, building sets, renting a studio, using MUAs or stylists, stick with models you can count on rather than the anonymous TFP.
2.  Paying cuts down on flakes, but it cuts down on your bank account balance, too.
3. Double booking works when you definitely need a model, but some models handle that better than others.
4.  Getting a down payment or retainer from the model helps, but I doubt you'll get that from TFP or paid models!

Do a search in the forums and you will find tons of rants on this subject -- as well as plenty of company.
Jun 19 10 04:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


Death of Field wrote:
The photographers who I know who have the most flakes are the ones who do the chasing of models, they are the new guys who do everything to get models to work with them, the models have nothing invested and do not care about these guys, to them shopping might be more important that day.

The photographers who seem to have the fewest flakes are the ones who make the model work to get the shoots, they have strict requirements, they turn down models for shoots, they have limited availability, the models are chasing them for shoots.

The BEST thing you can do when models flake is shoot still life.
You still get to use the studio, you still get to learn you craft, and you still get to improve. The guys who refuse to shoot with no model are the ones who never seem to improve past begging models to shoot and models flaking on them.

You will get past the flake cycle in time most of us have had to go through it.

Thanks for your advice. Last time I had someone flake, I actually did self portraits. I actually did turn down a few models for this shoot, but not sure how that can be made known.

Jun 19 10 04:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


You can't make it "known"

You just have to get to a point where you can supply images that the local girls want to badly they are willing to give up a sunday shopping spree to shoot.

Supply and demand...
Jun 19 10 04:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


Images by MR wrote:
I would never invest in hiring a MUA or studio rent when working with
a model for the first time.   I'd do a simple outdoor location project.

~ MR

Well, the MUA wasn't someone who is being paid, she wants to improve her portfolio as well by doing TFP. The studio, I rent monthly and share between other photographers, but I want to keep my studio usage high to get the most out of my money. When someone flakes on me, I have that time blocked out so I other photographers can't use it. Plus its hard to find a replacement model in such a short period of time. Bottom line though it is a waste of money and time.

Jun 19 10 04:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,062
Orlando, Florida, US


Avery Wong Photography wrote:
*paraphrase -- you gave the reasons people canceled/flaked on you**

Ok.  1.  The MM girl gave you 24+ hours notice.  You over reacted based on your past experiences, but that's your deal.

2.  "street" models are probably not the best hope for actual shoots.  People are a lot nicer to your face than they are when they get home.

3.  Your friend is pretty irresponsible and that's between you and this friend.

4.  A parrot dying isn't a valid reason.  Bird people are weird. (unnecessary social commentary)

If you have problems getting your feelings hurt, then this hobby of yours will tear you apart.  Grow some thicker skin, get over your childhood issues, or abandon a hobby that REQUIRES other people to enjoy.

I don't like it when people cancel on me either.  I fight the urge to think that my time is more important than theirs or that they don't take this hobby of mine as seriously as I do.

Well, of COURSE they don't.  It's MY hobby.  Not theirs.  Theirs is probably shoe shopping, which I couldn't care less about.

Sorry for your string of bad luck.  GET PHONE NUMBERS.  Stay in communication about the shoots.  If THEY know how serious you are about it, it may encourage them to not find something more important (for them) to do instead of shooting with you.

Jun 19 10 04:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
c_d_s
Posts: 7,771
Lubbock, Texas, US


It helps if you hum along and pretend Frank Sinatra is singing:

"Flakes, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention."
Jun 19 10 04:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


Also a big part of the situation is who knows you locally.

I realize it is a bit of a chicken and egg problem but the more models who you do manage to shoot and keep happy, the more that will start to come to you. The truly odd thing is that at some point the quality matters less then your reputation, I know photographers who can't shoot if they have someone else programing the camera, yet they somehow managed to make a name for themselves with their unique "style" and are loved by many.

All this does is dovetail into just shake it off, shoot some apples in the empty studio, and schedule yet another shoot next week, with more models.
Jun 19 10 04:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R Michael Walker
Posts: 11,957
Costa Mesa, California, US


Avery Wong Photography wrote:
So I've booked four models to shoot in the last 7 days and had four flakes. These are for TFP creative shoots. I'm not really appreciating the fact that I spend time getting a MUA artist, booking and paying for the studio then having the model cancel last minute, flushing money down the drain.

How should I handle flakes? Should I have a black list policy? Like people who flake on me without a good reason get black listed in my book?

Should I start charging a studio sitting fee or a deposit so at least I'm not eating the full cost of the time wasted?

Should I just overbook multiple models and hope one shows up?

Any advice?

Thanks,
Avery

Over book..need one model..book 4..then they will likely all show up and work you and your team to death. LOL!

Jun 19 10 04:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Duane Allen
Posts: 1,000
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US


head and Shoulders with Menthol???
Jun 19 10 04:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


R Michael Walker wrote:
Over book..need one model..book 4..then they will likely all show up and work you and your team to death. LOL!

Haha, with my luck that sounds like what will end up happening.

Jun 19 10 04:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ruben Sanchez
Posts: 3,416
San Antonio, Texas, US


Avery Wong Photography wrote:
I'm not really appreciating the fact that I spend time getting a MUA artist, booking and paying for the studio then having the model cancel last minute, flushing money down the drain.

How should I handle flakes? Should I have a black list policy? Like people who flake on me without

Any advice?

If you're willing to pay for a studio, muas (kits fees), hair stylists, and flushing money down the drain, then you should be willing to pay the models to show up.  I think paying the models, will stop the no-shows.

Jun 19 10 04:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


Over lapping the bookings helps with burnout.

I used to hold open shoots in local parks and overlap that way even if a few don't show I still had models to shoot.

10-1
11-2
12-3

and so on.
It gets you oodles of models in one day, and none of them have to wait to be the last one to be photographed is you schedule all of them for the same 3 hour period.
Jun 19 10 04:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Miracle_Man
Posts: 789
Cary, North Carolina, US


There is a lot of good advice here.

1.  Don't work with them again, and move on.  No need to make a list that could get out to the public.

2.  Get email and phone numbers.

3.  Network with other local models, see if your MUA has a short list of people who they can call in an emergency.

4.  Find a way to shoot with out spending money on models you have no experience with.  Do some location work or something until they prove they are not flakes.
Jun 19 10 04:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


Death of Field wrote:
Over lapping the bookings helps with burnout.

I used to hold open shoots in local parks and overlap that way even if a few don't show I still had models to shoot.

10-1
11-2
12-3

and so on.
It gets you oodles of models in one day, and none of them have to wait to be the last one to be photographed is you schedule all of them for the same 3 hour period.

Thats a great idea. I will have to try this.

Jun 19 10 05:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


i've had my share of frustration.

i'm working on three things:

* choosing models more cautiously
* getting better so better models want to work with me
* and making sure there's confirmation by text/phone the day before the shoot (this part has really helped because it gives them an easy way out)

paying models can work out well, too. i paid some very experienced travelling models to help get my portfolio jumpstarted.

i've pretty much stopped using MUAs because of the model flaking (i even almost had a MUA flake once). and as someone else said, it's not just models that flake. i've had paying customers flake and now charge them an upfront fee.

i've had a string of great shoots recently (no flakes) so i'm on a bit of a roll now. knock on wood.

don't give up. but re-evaluate your strategy and be more cautious moving forward. just looked at your port and i like your work. the models lost out. but you're in a tough spot having to rent a studio. we shoot out of our house. if i had to rent a studio i might be inclined to double or triple book.
Jun 19 10 05:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


Miracle_Man wrote:
There is a lot of good advice here.

1.  Don't work with them again, and move on.  No need to make a list that could get out to the public.

2.  Get email and phone numbers.

3.  Network with other local models, see if your MUA has a short list of people who they can call in an emergency.

4.  Find a way to shoot with out spending money on models you have no experience with.  Do some location work or something until they prove they are not flakes.

Thank you for the advice, I'm currently trying to build up a strong consistent relationship with one or two good MUA. They seem to be very valuable people to work with. Models come and go but good MUA are hard to come by. They are truly undervalued.

I rent the studio on a monthly basis, so regardless if I shoot there or not it'll cost me the same money. I just want to keep my studio usage high to get my moneys worth.

Jun 19 10 05:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hanigoshi
Posts: 1,205
Modesto, California, US


David Gaze wrote:
You don't handle them.  You note it and move on.

+1

I've learned to get over it quickly and not let it effect my progress.

Good luck to you....

Jun 19 10 05:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


Good Egg Productions wrote:

Ok.  1.  The MM girl gave you 24+ hours notice.  You over reacted based on your past experiences, but that's your deal.

You're right, I'm overacting, she gave me 24 hour notice. She model emailed me back and was very sincere, she got called into work, that is why she canceled.

I suppose it's a bit of a relief to find that many many other photographers here have to deal with the same problems.

Jun 19 10 05:05 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
PashaPhoto
Posts: 9,726
Brooklyn, New York, US


if you have good looking friends, or friends of friends, shoot them... friends don't flake smile
Jun 19 10 05:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Brightonian
Posts: 779
Brighton, England, United Kingdom


How should I handle flakes?

Forget them, make a note not to ever book them again - and then move on
Jun 19 10 05:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dan Gregory Photography
Posts: 775
DEPTFORD, New Jersey, US


Yeah it stinks, I had a model 545am Fri morn flake on me, and msg me on here about it. It's so annoying, especially for someone like me starting off, how can I improve my port and my skill when I can't even get a model to show up to a shoot?
Jun 19 10 05:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jay Farrell
Posts: 12,983
Nashville, Tennessee, US


Have more stringent booking criteria to start with.
Jun 19 10 05:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
-WB-
Posts: 499
Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands


Ah, shooting on sundays..... some people seem to realise on saturdaynight they'd rather go out late than getting up early the next day.

If they say on a too short notice they want to reschedule, just reply asking why and tell them you spent money on a studio.
Jun 19 10 05:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TaylorScott Photography
Posts: 624
WITTMANN, Arizona, US


Avery Wong Photography wrote:
You're right, I'm overacting, she gave me 24 hour notice. She model emailed me back and was very sincere, she got called into work, that is why she canceled.

I suppose it's a bit of a relief to find that many many other photographers here have to deal with the same problems.

You are lucky. The model I was working with was in contact with me until 7:00am . We were to meet at 12:30 the same day. 30 minutes before we were to meet at the pick-up location(after I drove an hour) I receive a message that her BF of 2 years just dumpped her and her best friend of many years, mother was very ill. I was going to be paying $100 an hour plus still had to drive another hour to the shoot location.

During several casting calls had models that I was in contact with, within a 24 hour period cancel out. Then there is the ones who are interested in the amount of pay, hours and day, give you a phone number and and it is there work number and the place they work is closed on those days of the shoot.

It not always about the pay, hours or days, these models are flakes from the get go.

Jun 19 10 05:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Retired Account
Posts: 618
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


With milk of course tongue
Jun 19 10 05:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


gotta pay the bills. that one could be ok. it's more the stuff with relatives and transportation that makes one wonder sometimes.

part of it is how you define a flake. some say it's when they don't show and you never hear from them again (fortunately this has never happened to me). for others, it's just a shoot that's scheduled but doesn't happen for some reason.

Avery Wong Photography wrote:
You're right, I'm overacting, she gave me 24 hour notice. She model emailed me back and was very sincere, she got called into work, that is why she canceled.

Jun 19 10 05:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


i used to do morning shoots and have problems but now i try to start around 1pm for the studio and 3pm for outdoors which seems to work better.

-WB- wrote:
Ah, shooting on sundays..... some people seem to realise on saturdaynight they'd rather go out late than getting up early the next day.

Jun 19 10 05:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Wandering Eyebubble
Posts: 70
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Reschedule and then express your disappointment Michael Corleone style:

http://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad47/okami-san1/fredo.jpg
You flaked on me, Tiffany. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!
Jun 19 10 05:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
May Sinclair
Posts: 1,146
Los Angeles, California, US


Always, always, always reconfirm the day before.
Jun 19 10 05:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avery Wong Photography
Posts: 18
San Jose, California, US


Bruce Hart wrote:
i used to do morning shoots and have problems but now i try to start around 1pm for the studio and 3pm for outdoors which seems to work better.


Yeah I'm not a morning person either, all my shoots are in the afternoon or night.

Here's some interesting words from Jay Farrell's blog, a fellow MMer. The last three most recent posts is about this subject.

http://blog.jayfarrellphotography.com/

Jun 19 10 05:45 pm  Link  Quote 
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