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Photographer
JD Liddil
Posts: 98
North Haven, Connecticut, US


Dec 09 12 06:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DAN CRUIKSHANK
Posts: 1,786
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Give the model a reason to be excited about the shoot and they will always show up. Money works, but so does having creative, original ideas.
Dec 09 12 06:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,524
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


before going any further I think we need to know if this is a rant or not?

if it is, just say so and we will leave you alone or be appropriately sympathetic. if you are truly looking for help then...lead on
Dec 09 12 06:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
RacerXPhoto
Posts: 2,460
Brooklyn, New York, US


Just because somebody demands pay or you pay them
Doesnt make them
A real model
Reliable
Serious
Etc
Models I have traded with far outshine my paid model experiences in every way
Dec 09 12 08:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,215
Salem, Oregon, US


+1

i did a vargas homage shoot one time and got two nude models on trade who both drive 90 minutes to see me. i put a lot of work into those shoots and got them prints. so either you pay in money or hard work. the standard stuff like having the model stand in front of a paper backdrop can be done by a zillion guys so it's tough to compete just on that.

DAN CRUIKSHANK wrote:
Give the model a reason to be excited about the shoot and they will always show up. Money works, but so does having creative, original ideas.

Dec 09 12 09:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
liddellphoto
Posts: 1,800
London, England, United Kingdom


The problem with throwing money at the problem is you can find you get low investment in the results
Dec 10 12 04:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JD Liddil
Posts: 98
North Haven, Connecticut, US


AVD AlphaDuctions wrote:
before going any further I think we need to know if this is a rant or not?

if it is, just say so and we will leave you alone or be appropriately sympathetic. if you are truly looking for help then...lead on

Not trying to rant. And I am probably a bit naive. I responded to a TF request. Set things up. I asked specific questions and agreed to do the TFP to gain experience. Besides I am not doing this as a "job". The model had some poses that she wanted.

So I am trying to be "professional" as well as flexible and not tell the model get it together and decide on a specific data/time when you really can do this. They want an outdoor shoot but can't be bothered to look at the weather forecast?

So as others point out I need to put my creative hat on (scientist by training, so that is part of the issue) and then develop my own plan. I guess as someone new to shooting people I don't have enough self confidence to think a trained model would work TFP. Thus money will need to be spent but only if I have a decent idea.

Dec 10 12 06:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Kirk
Posts: 4,410
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


I have never paid models - not as a policy, but rather because I just haven't needed to so far (except the occasional gas money etc.).  When I was first starting I would search MM (and other similar sites) to find newer models who were keen to get shooting and in real need of some very simple photos for their portfolio.

Of course a model who already has a fantastic portfolio and gained tons of experience will be unlikely to agree to a TFP shoot with a photographer that can't offer something better than what's in her book (or at least something very different/interesting).  However, if you are just starting out (I haven't looked at your portfolio) then you don't need super experienced models.

Of course working with people requires some patience and flexibility.  Not everyone is going to be as keen or serious about shooting as you may be.  Try to determine that in the initial discussions with the model and schedule something with those that genuinely seem keen and interested in the concept you're wanting to shoot.
Dec 10 12 06:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,387
Seattle, Washington, US


David Kirk wrote:
I have never paid models - not as a policy, but rather because I just haven't needed to so far (except the occasional gas money etc.).  When I was first starting I would search MM (and other similar sites) to find newer models who were keen to get shooting and in real need of some very simple photos for their portfolio.

Of course a model who already has a fantastic portfolio and gained tons of experience will be unlikely to agree to a TFP shoot with a photographer that can't offer something better than what's in her book (or at least something very different/interesting).  However, if you are just starting out (I haven't looked at your portfolio) then you don't need super experienced models.

Of course working with people requires some patience and flexibility.  Not everyone is going to be as keen or serious about shooting as you may be.  Try to determine that in the initial discussions with the model and schedule something with those that genuinely seem keen and interested in the concept you're wanting to shoot.

+1

it's not about money.

browse model mayhem.  message 20 people about a possible photoshoot. keep your message short and sweet. something will turn up.

just keep building your portfolio. practice, practice, practice. and when all else fails, keep practicing.

Dec 10 12 07:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Abbitt Photography
Posts: 11,371
Oakland Acres, Iowa, US


I agree with you, that compared to many other subjects, models tend to be more expensive and have more logistics.  So you need to decide if that's worth your while or at what point that's worth your while compared to other things. 

A couple years ago, I got very frustrated with it all and gave up shooting models all together for 6 months or so to focus on other things.  Now I'm shooting models again, but have also decided what is worth my while to pay, and what I'm willing to put up with.  I decided that as a hobbyist or for shooting stock, paying $75+/hour is never worth my while.  I decided however, that as frustrating as it can be, I am willing to put up with the dropped communications and cancelations that come with newer models. If they cancel, well, I do something else with my time, which is what I'd be doing if I never booked them in the first place.

Only you can decide if paying for better models is worth your while, and only you can decide if spending a lot of time and effort to set up shoot and have half fall through is worth your while.  There's also nothing wrong with deciding you prefer to shoot landscapes, product or some other subject matter to models.
Dec 10 12 08:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


JD Liddil wrote:
Not trying to rant. And I am probably a bit naive. I responded to a TF request. Set things up. I asked specific questions and agreed to do the TFP to gain experience. Besides I am not doing this as a "job". The model had some poses that she wanted.

So I am trying to be "professional" as well as flexible and not tell the model get it together and decide on a specific data/time when you really can do this. They want an outdoor shoot but can't be bothered to look at the weather forecast?

So as others point out I need to put my creative hat on (scientist by training, so that is part of the issue) and then develop my own plan. I guess as someone new to shooting people I don't have enough self confidence to think a trained model would work TFP. Thus money will need to be spent but only if I have a decent idea.

The first thing I noticed that will always lead to problems is your approach to communicating and planning with the model. You're trying to accommodate and be flexible, which sounds nice, but is only going to lead to problems.

Don't ASK an open-ended question like, "So...what do you want to shoot and when are you available..." Ask, "I have  available on . Which works best for you." It usually will be perceived as you're not that organized and don't really know what you want. And that's not motivation for a model.

Like others have said, give them a reason to need to shoot with you. You can do that with creative concepts and ideas even when your portfolio isn't fully developed.

Dec 10 12 08:14 am  Link  Quote 
Model
MB Jen B
Posts: 2,863
Clarksville, Tennessee, US


JD Liddil wrote:
...

So as others point out I need to put my creative hat on (scientist by training, so that is part of the issue) and then develop my own plan. I guess as someone new to shooting people I don't have enough self confidence to think a trained llama would work TFP. Thus money will need to be spent but only if I have a decent idea.

Hello,

I think that science minds sometimes can also be very artistic/creative as well 'if' they allow themselves to be as creativity is intelligence but from the other part of the melon. Or maybe it is just like taking a vacation across our own corpus collosum. At least, that is one way to look at it! ;P

Jen
p.s. and I agree, throwing money at it may not completely be an answer but, might help with the llamas showing up, (yet, not all creatives are here for money necessarily.)

Dec 10 12 08:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mortonovich
Posts: 5,262
San Diego, California, US


JD Liddil wrote:
Not trying to rant. And I am probably a bit naive. I responded to a TF request. Set things up. I asked specific questions and agreed to do the TFP to gain experience. Besides I am not doing this as a "job". The model had some poses that she wanted.

So I am trying to be "professional" as well as flexible and not tell the model get it together and decide on a specific data/time when you really can do this. They want an outdoor shoot but can't be bothered to look at the weather forecast?

Hate to break it to you but the majority of the "models" on MM just have a profile so they can say they are a "model". They are not interested in actually shooting let alone working on the craft.

There are a lot of really wonderful models on MM but they are the minority and thus, harder to connect with.

Dec 10 12 08:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Warren Leimbach
Posts: 2,554
Tampa, Florida, US


JD Liddil wrote:
Inanimate objects show up on time and don't require multiple e-mails to figure out what they are getting at. :-)

Inanimate objects aren't nearly as responsive as people.  I have yet to find a product that could self-correct worth a d--n.  Even the highly paid mockups can't seem to stand up straight.


Me: (to packaged product)  Turn a little bit to the right for me?   And maybe - something's not square - maybe flatten your bottom panel a bit?

Package:  (blank look)  Que?

Me:  (Reaching for tacky wax with a sigh.) Never mind.  I will do it.

smile



You might have a good temperament for tabletop product work.  But the dirty secret of photography is that no matter what kind of photography you are in, you will probably spend way more time educating clients and organizing shoots than actually shooting.  You could hire a producer to do some of that emailing and scheduling, but that's big budget stuff.

Dec 10 12 08:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
udor
Posts: 21,819
New York, New York, US


JD Liddil wrote:
Now I see that until I have killer portfolio the only way to go is to pay real models or try to find a person to work with who is of the same mind set as me.

I think that you do have some nice shots in your portfolio... although I would edit them a little bit different... more contrast, a little bit more punch with color... but that's only my own taste.

You've made a good observation... paying a good (real) model will make a huge difference in your portfolio, not only for the look, but for YOU to gain experience with a real model.

You will see how a pro moves around and how many good shots you can get... and this will help you with newer, inexperienced models in directing them.

We all have to pay our dues... smile

Good luck JD!

Dec 10 12 09:04 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Rays Fine Art
Posts: 5,941
New York, New York, US


May I suggest that it's not so much about money or portfolio or equipment, etc. as it is about understanding models.  And I don't mean models in general, because there is no such thing.  I mean specific models, Mary or Harry, Ginny or Jerry. They're all different--Some will plow through snow three feet deep to get to the shoot and some won't be there if you send a cab to pick them up.

FWIW, I almost never book a shoot without meeting the model first and I always try to have them meet at one particular place that just happens to be near my bank, a supermarket that I use, a movie theater, a book store, etc.  That way the time isn't wasted if she flakes.  If she doesn't flake, just showing up is a greater commitment to the shoot than replying to a PM, and by making specific plans for a specific shoot, the liklihood of a flake goes down to almost nothing.

But the main thing is that at that point you're no longer dealing with a model, you're dealing with Mary or Suzie, a person who you've begun to know and understand and who is no longer dealing with a photographer, but is now dealing with You, again, a person, and that makes all the difference in the world.

All IMHO, as always, and with full recognition that this is easier in New York than in many places and not at all doable in a full studio with an agency model situation.
Dec 10 12 11:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DAN CRUIKSHANK
Posts: 1,786
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


David Kirk wrote:
I have never paid models - not as a policy, but rather because I just haven't needed to so far (except the occasional gas money etc.).  When I was first starting I would search MM (and other similar sites) to find newer models who were keen to get shooting and in real need of some very simple photos for their portfolio.

Of course a model who already has a fantastic portfolio and gained tons of experience will be unlikely to agree to a TFP shoot with a photographer that can't offer something better than what's in her book (or at least something very different/interesting).  However, if you are just starting out (I haven't looked at your portfolio) then you don't need super experienced models.

Of course working with people requires some patience and flexibility.  Not everyone is going to be as keen or serious about shooting as you may be.  Try to determine that in the initial discussions with the model and schedule something with those that genuinely seem keen and interested in the concept you're wanting to shoot.

+1 this is how it's done.

Dec 10 12 11:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JD Liddil
Posts: 98
North Haven, Connecticut, US


Dec 10 12 11:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chris Maxwell
Posts: 680
Sterling, Virginia, US


udor wrote:

I think that you do have some nice shots in your portfolio... although I would edit them a little bit different... more contrast, a little bit more punch with color... but that's only my own taste.

You've made a good observation... paying a good (real) model will make a huge difference in your portfolio, not only for the look, but for YOU to gain experience with a real model.

You will see how a pro moves around and how many good shots you can get... and this will help you with newer, inexperienced models in directing them.

We all have to pay our dues... smile

Good luck JD!

I agree fully with Udor.  Your work shows sophistication and is beyond most GWCs.  I would add, be honest with the models you are contacting and put together specific ideas that you want to shoot.  Create a list or two of the type of picture you want to create.  I also agree with other responses about providing a short list of possible dates.  Get a commitment.  Don't keep it open ended.

You probably would gain considerably working with or hiring a highly experienced model.  It makes it much easier to learn if the person on the other side of the camera is experienced.  You don't have to worry about the poses and you can focus on what you are trying to achieve.

Good luck!

Dec 10 12 11:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GD Whalen
Posts: 1,880
Asheville, North Carolina, US


My father taught me something at a very young age:

"be careful who you ask advice from."

I have changed it around a little.  Be careful who you take advice from.
Dec 10 12 11:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Mark Laubenheimer wrote:

+1

it's not about money.

browse model mayhem.  message 20 people about a possible photoshoot. keep your message short and sweet. something will turn up.

just keep building your portfolio. practice, practice, practice. and when all else fails, keep practicing.

+1

Dec 10 12 12:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
- BP Photo -
Posts: 206
Cincinnati, Ohio, US


I got started shooting trains.  If you think models are difficult, spend an hour in a snowstorm waiting for a train to show up that never does.
Dec 10 12 06:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SPierce Photography
Posts: 19,581
Amherst, Massachusetts, US


JD Liddil wrote:

Not trying to rant. And I am probably a bit naive. I responded to a TF request. Set things up. I asked specific questions and agreed to do the TFP to gain experience. Besides I am not doing this as a "job". The model had some poses that she wanted.

So I am trying to be "professional" as well as flexible and not tell the model get it together and decide on a specific data/time when you really can do this. They want an outdoor shoot but can't be bothered to look at the weather forecast?

So as others point out I need to put my creative hat on (scientist by training, so that is part of the issue) and then develop my own plan. I guess as someone new to shooting people I don't have enough self confidence to think a trained model would work TFP. Thus money will need to be spent but only if I have a decent idea.

Some models still like outdoors, even if it's cold. Tell them to bring sweaters, etc big_smile Have you thought about traveling one way or another? Sometimes some areas have better luck with models that show than others...

Dec 10 12 06:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Karl JW Johnston
Posts: 9,400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Sounds like communication & logistic failure to me
Dec 10 12 10:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fullmetalphotographer
Posts: 2,692
Fresno, California, US


JD Liddil wrote:
After a week end of back and forth on a TFP shoot I am beginning to see how hard shooting models is. As I've seen posted here many "models" are part time and they seem to think that keeping to a schedule is such is not that important.

Now I see that until I have killer portfolio the only way to go is to pay real models or try to find a person to work with who is of the same mind set as me.

Inanimate objects show up on time and don't require multiple e-mails to figure out what they are getting at. :-)

What I found was easy was photographing people Nature and Landscapes now that is a nightmare. As far as finding models I always recommend hiring good pro models if you lack experience. You can learn a lot from them. Depending on the project I like hiring pro models for the productivity, because you can get a greater amount of quality work out of them compared to amateurs.

With the quality of your work you should not have much trouble tracking down good amateur models.

Dec 10 12 10:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
LA StarShooter
Posts: 1,766
Los Angeles, California, US


JD Liddil wrote:
After a week end of back and forth on a TFP shoot I am beginning to see how hard shooting models is. As I've seen posted here many "models" are part time and they seem to think that keeping to a schedule is such is not that important.

Now I see that until I have killer portfolio the only way to go is to pay real models or try to find a person to work with who is of the same mind set as me.

Inanimate objects show up on time and don't require multiple e-mails to figure out what they are getting at. :-)

TF can be tough in arranging things, but even paying for a model is no guarantee that she'll show up.

A lot of the posters have made good points. I have my own checklist for TFs and I have built my portfolio and most importantly my book on . . .TF.

I always talk to the model before planning the shoot.

Why? Bonding for a common purpose: to create a great shoot. 

I have a clear concept for the shoot.  Once we are locked in and Houston says we have ignition, I send the model the following things: a guide for posing, a guide for looks for the shoot, and poses in particular for the shoot. There is a section on naturalistic posing.

My guide explains the importance of practicing poses and expressions in a mirror, about fifteen minutes a day.

I can get out of inexperienced models top-notch performances. I can do it without preparation by the models, however, I find that they get really very excited by the preparation.

Next month I going down to San Deigo to shoot because I want to market my work there. Tomorrow, I will converse with one beginner who has a fabulous lean build, a remarkably gorgeous face, and we will talk first about what she is hoping to achieve. This is important. If she just wants to do it for fun, it means there isn't the ambition that I hope to find. I want a model, who wants to achieve.

I have advanced to asking models if they know anyone who owns a clothing line, or a store, or manufactures and this can lead to some new connections.

For yourself: you need a clear mission statement. Do you want to do it professionally? Do you want to do art nudes? What is it that you want to achieve?

I hope this is helpful to you.

Dec 10 12 11:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chris David Photography
Posts: 421
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Even with a good portfolio you still get plenty of model problems.
I get plenty of messages from models wanting to shoot but never follow through to a shoot. I've had models booked for paid work by a client that have never showed up for shoots and also ones on a TF based shoot who claim to be extremely reliable not show either. Some of new models I've photographed managed to be naturals and get the look/shot quickly while some experienced ones took a lot of work. It just seems things can go any direction in this industry - sometimes you feel like you get a sense for things like flaky models and then get surprised.
Dec 11 12 05:19 am  Link  Quote 
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