When I am asked what the most important part of setting up a shoot is, I always say “communication.” As far as I’m concerned, nothing can be more frustrating during the preparation, actual shooting, or post shoot than poor communication. Everyone ends up confused, it can contribute to drama usually through misunderstanding, and is simply not in any way helpful to anyone in the industry.
Note: While this is written from the perspective of a model, it can be helpful for photographers too.
Practicing good communication is one of the best things you can do for your modeling. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, which seems to be a common concern for many people. It might be as simple as one or two extra messages or e-mails before a shoot. When I am booking a shoot with someone who doesn’t know me, and often even if they do, I like to send them a little confirmation message. I cover things like:
- the date, time and location of the shoot
- what I’ll be bringing (wardrobe, props, etc)
- hair and make-up
- recap of the concepts we’ll be shooting
- my phone number (it’s very important to exchange numbers)
Sometimes I also add in a short bit about how my nails will be done, personal grooming (if relevant), and any other concerns I might have. Anything I can do to eliminate confusion, especially on common issues, I will try to cover.
Another very important thing to communicate about is the product of the shoot, particularly if you have specific expectations. A few things you may want to discuss are the number of photos you will receive, how will the photos be delivered, how long does the photographer expect they will need before they can deliver photos, etc. Many photographers will give this information on their MM profiles or in initial messages, but, if not, it should perfectly acceptable for you to ask prior to the shoot. And please do ask before the day of the shoot if this is a concern or if you have any questions.
Communication after the shoot can be important too. I try to send them a message within a couple days of the shoot if they don’t contact me first.
Models, if you’d like to check in on your photos after a week or so, you can send a nice, upbeat message saying again how much you enjoyed the shoot and that you can’t wait to see the photos. Don’t be pushy, be friendly. It takes a while even to do simple work on just a few photos. And chances are yours isn’t the only photo shoot they have to edit.
Obviously, all models & photographers are different and some of us like to communicate more than others. Some people like to keep it short and sweet, some (like me) prefer to discuss things to make sure the details are covered. I think the key is to find out what works for you.
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