8 Tips for Models to Make Photographers Love Working with Them

Being a model is a high pressure job. You’re constantly being judged based on your looks, your body, your performance, your personality, and just about any other personal trait imaginable. It can be overwhelming. Here are 8 very easy tips that will automatically make the photographers you shoot with love working with you.

Model: Chrissy Blair; Photographer: Dana Pennington

1. Don’t Wear Tight Clothes to Your Shoot

If the clothing you are shooting reveals any amount of skin, you should NOT wear tight clothes to your shoot. Leave your skinniest of skinny jeans at home. They will leave impressions on your skin along the seams and waistband. That’s just one more thing we have to retouch. Showing up in yoga pants is perfectly acceptable. I promise.

2. Do Your Research

I realize many of you are only finding out about test shoots shortly before the shoot is to happen, but try to do at least a little research on the person you are shooting with. Ask your booker who the photographer is. Look at some of their work. Even if it’s just on your phone. Read the bio on their website. Taking some initiative and looking into the photographers you are shooting with is beneficial on multiple levels. First and foremost, it helps you be a safe, aware model. If you are uncomfortable with provocative images and you’re being sent to test with a photographer that likes to push boundaries, it’s a recipe for disaster. It also shows a bit of respect to the photographers who are shooting you. Their time is just as valuable as yours. They saw something in your book that they liked, you should at least take the time to check out their work as well.

Model: Chrissy Blair; Photographer: Dana Pennington

3. Have a Little Imagination

Some photographers want a completely blank canvas that they can mold into whatever their vision is. However, having some imagination in front of the camera will almost always be a total hit. You’ll know almost immediately which side of this coin the photographer lies on. If he or she meticulously poses your every shot, just go with it. Some people prefer to work that way. But if they are a little more open minded, try different things. Move. The model 101 poses get boring really fast. Bring some of your own creativity to the table. Experiment. Again, MOVE!

4. Don’t Post RAWs

If a photographer sends you some preview images, don’t post them without permission. Sometimes, as a photographer, I like to send the model a few raw previews if I’m excited about the shoot. But they are just between you and me. This shows the images in an unfinished state, which are probably not intended to be seen by the public. It can also jeopardize any possible publication of the images.

Model: Chrissy Blair; Photographer: Dana Pennington

5. Learn Where Your Light Is

Good models understand where their light is coming from. If you’re shooting in a studio, pay attention to where the photographer puts their lights. If you’re shooting outside, take note of where the sun is. USE THIS INFORMATION! Avoid turning completely away from your light. Avoid putting things in between the light and your face. It will cast a shadow on you. If you don’t know where your main light is coming from, ask! It shows initiative and helps you better understand your range of movement and how free you can be with your poses.

6. Be Punctual

Try your best to show up on time. Or at least be close to it. We get it. You just came from a casting in Soho and now you have to get to an obscure studio in Brooklyn and the train isn’t running on time. Just do your best to be punctual. If you have to get from West Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles, don’t leave your apartment 15 minutes before your call time. That’s just common sense. If you are going to be late, send a quick text or call to the photographer saying “Sorry! I’m running a little late. I’ll be there as soon as possible.” For some reason this common courtesy seems lost on our industry sometimes.

Model: Chrissy Blair; Photographer: Dana Pennington

7. Tag Your Team

If you’re posting your images on social media, it’s common courtesy to tag the people who contributed to making the image happen. Tag the photographer, stylist, makeup artist, and anybody else who contributed. I’m not saying you need to tag the photographer’s 4th assistant and the stylist’s dog walker. But the main creative team all worked hard. Share the limelight with you. It goes a long way to make friends and you never know when someone might come in handy to you later on down the road.

Last but certainly not least…..

8. Don’t Put Filters on Our Pictures

We spend years honing our skills by studying and learning Photoshop and other software(or developing and printing film in some cases), taking color theory classes, and developing our skills. When we send you a final edit of an image, that’s how we’ve intended for it to be seen. Don’t cover that up with a stupid filter. It’s annoying and disrespectful. If you REALLY hate the way a photographer has processed an image, respectfully talk to them about it. Just don’t go out and throw X-Pro II on it because you think it looks cool.

These are all very simple things you can do as a model that will make photographers love you. They’re all courteous things that will greatly put you in their favor. And you never know, maybe they’ll recommend you or book you on their next job. Word of mouth goes a very long way in this industry!

This article originally featured on Breed.

Dana Pennington

Dana Pennington is a fashion, editorial, beauty, and commercial photographer from Denver, Colorado, where he studied photography at Metropolitan State College of Denver and The Art Institute of Colorado. So far in his short career, he has worked with a wide variety of magazines, clothing designers, commercial clients, modeling agencies, music videos, and become a part of the Breed team. You can view his work on his website

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

10 Responses to “8 Tips for Models to Make Photographers Love Working with Them”

  1. October 14, 2016 at 9:41 am, morganrmay said:

    Good notes here! Thank you for the post!


  2. October 09, 2015 at 4:47 am, Alessandro Pelosi said:

    I would add another: feel free to ask additional photos that you like to the photographer and agree with him about where they go, but NEVER ask a photographer to withdraw an image simply because you appear not at your best, it is the photographer responsibility to choose images for the project HE has in mind.


  3. June 23, 2015 at 5:02 pm, Photography Studies said:

    Some really good pointers in this article.


  4. May 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm, Angela Kupietz said:

    Thank you for this post! Very helpful and I’ll be sure to keep these 8 tips in mind each time I go to a shoot.


  5. April 25, 2015 at 9:33 pm, Timothy Jenkins said:

    Hi, Thank you for the tips. I am an artist and also photograph the women I draw. I use the photos I take to work from (the photos are amature at best because they are earier to draw from). It is much easier taking a photo than posing someone like they had to do in the early days. That could take several days to finish a drawing or painting. My problem is this. Most if not all models I see lately are not what I can use for my artwork. And if I do find someone that I like they think I am just a guy with a camera because I work out of my apartment. Models have this crazy idea that you have to have a camera with a 50 foot lense and a 1000 foot studio with lights that are brighter than the sun. I use a Nikon L320 16 megapixel digital as I like the way the photos look. I also have several drawings I have done for magazines as well as private collectors. I do portrait style pinup art. I pose the women like you would pose fruit in a bowl. Once I get the right angle I take a photo. That is the way I will do the drawing. I see the image in my head then I have to find a woman that looks kind of like the image in my head. It is getting models to take me seriously. Every great artist or photographer had to start from somewhere, they were not famous all their lives. I need some tips or help. . .Most models do not get what I am trying to do. I also get models that want to be artistic and some can’t take direction they just move around and do that classic model posing that you see in the b rated movies all of the time, you know the ones where the photographer just goes “Yea thats it and Give the camera a big smile sweetheart”
    Thank you for your time and for taking this message,
    Timothy Jenkins artist/photographer


  6. April 24, 2015 at 8:49 am, Ruud van Gaal said:

    Nice tips, very recognizable. 😉 I am a bit lighter on point #8, if the models are also relatively ok with Photoshop themselves. I don’t want to stop creativity in that case. And some post images anyway, but I’m not that strict there as well. But then I again, I photograph only as a hobby.


    • July 31, 2015 at 12:40 pm, Ben McBroom said:

      It may actually be unlawful, under VARA (visual artists’ rights act) and similar laws, to modify an artist’s work for presentation without permission. This is because the modification of my work could reflect poorly on me as a photographer. See 17 U.S.C. § 106A or consult an attorney for more information.


  7. April 23, 2015 at 5:34 pm, AMaginations Photography said:

    Hey Dana,

    Thanks for sharing these Great 8 pointers for models to impress their photographers. Well done.

    As a natural light photographer, I cannot stress hard enough tip #6. In fact, there’s a saying I like to live by and that is, “don’t be on time, be early”. After all, Mother Nature is never late with her sunrises and sunsets so it’s not like I have the power to ask her to wait while my model shows up. This is why I have learned to cushion the booking a solid 30-60 minutes earlier than I really need the model to arrive because of this issue.

    A model that shows up earlier than the agreed up on time is the one thing that impresses me more than anything these days. That puts me in the right mood the rest of the day. I would say maybe 20-25% of the models I work with are early or on time. It’s a very bad trait and very disrespectful for a model to be late to her shoot – or for anyone involved in the shoot for that matter.

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    AMaginations Photography


  8. April 22, 2015 at 6:50 pm, r c said:

    some good suggestions, but reference to “raw” imaging just adds to the confusion. most seasoned shooters work in the raw format, thus the more proper term would be “proof” copies to avoid models thinking they are getting (mostly useless for them) raw images.

    also, it is the photographer who controls the light, not the model. it’s called direction. if shadows are cast or the lights aren’t properly pointed the model more often than not isn’t aware, nor has a complete understanding of the vision. input is always welcome, but it is always up to the photographer to guide how the light will hit the subject.

    the most simple way to avoid filter-fodder is to only send tear-sheets, including but not limited to client work and gallery presentation tears. most everything else is just playing for both parties to create their own personal unique vision.


  9. April 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm, hermano selencio said:

    I love the fact that you are honest and i can use these tips as model to ghet better


Leave a Reply