One of the things I really urge new models (and all models) to do is to take responsibility for themselves and their modeling. You need to do your very best to be in control of your limits, what you choose to shoot, and who you choose to shoot with as well as being responsible for your own safety.
Too often I see models being treated as helpless young women and I think it can rub off on us and make us sort of push off the responsibilities of being a model. You really need to avoid this as best you can. We all have different limits and styles, so I can’t give you specific advice on that, but I can give you a few guidelines as well as some tips that will be relevant from pretty much any model, but especially for freelance models.
First, let’s look at some of the things you can do to keep yourself safe and to avoid those less than pleasant situations. This is very, very important and it’s not an exhaustive list, nor are these tips hard and fast rules, but rather guidelines (at least in most cases).
- Follow your instincts. It doesn’t matter how talented someone is, how highly recommended they come, or how much they are offering to pay you. If you feel uncomfortable shooting with them, don’t book the shoot.
- While I don’t advocate taking every rumor you hear to heart, I do advise you to consider that a rumor might actually be valid if you’re hearing it from multiple sources based on accounts from multiple models.
- Similarly, one relatively minor negative rumor from a single source might simply be a case of miscommunication or an example of people who don’t “click,” particularly if no real specifics are given.
- I strongly suggest having a network of other local models who you can ask for references. Focus on references from models who have actually worked with the photographer or who have had some sort of personal experience (such as PMs, etc) versus the “Well, my friend said…” or “This model I know said…”
Click here a few more tips on avoiding scams that you might find useful.
Now, let’s talk about some basic tips on how can take responsibility for your actions to get the most out of modeling.
- Be professional. This means not cancelling last minute or flaking, showing up on time, being prepared, and so on.
- Learn to be assertive and how to say no without being rude. This simple thing has come to be quite useful for me and has helped me avoid things I don’t want to do as well without causing a huge fuss.
- Good communication skills are so, so important. Please take a few minutes to read my article on communication when you have time.
- Set your limits and stick to them. Don’t take offense when you’re simply asked to pose outside of them, just say no and move on. Here is my article on limits if you’d like to read it.
- Learn to do basic makeup for the styles you want to shoot. I suggest at least a good basic “natural” look and a good smokey eye that works for you. You can find tons and tons of tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube. Makeup doesn’t have to be expensive and you can find brushes quite inexpensively as well. The one thing I recommend investing in is a good foundation that has been matched to your skin tone.
- Learn to do styling for the types of shoots you want to do. Lingerie is pretty easy, but if you want to shoot other things like vintage, fashion, or stylized things like goth and cosplay, you’ll probably need to start putting your own outfits together. Again, Pinterest is a great resource.
- Be honest about what you can and cannot do. We all have different skill sets, limits, resources, etc. If you can’t do something, let the photographer know.
A few final notes…
Please don’t allow yourself to be bullied or influenced by a single person. There are a few photographers who seem to feel it’s their job to “protect” models by telling the model not to shoot with anyone else or by scaring them with horror stories. These photographers may mean well, but they are not benefiting you. You, and only you, should be deciding who you want to work with. It’s fine to choose not to work with someone based on a negative reference or because you don’t want to shoot what they have in mind, but not just because you are blindly following what someone else tells you to do. And the same goes with people telling you to shoot with someone. If you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t shoot with them. Remember, you need to be responsible for yourself.
I know this particular article has been a bit blunt, but I hope that you find it helpful and useful.
Some other articles you might find quite helpful:
- Dekilah’s Guide to Your Online Presence
- New Model Guide: Your Modeling Goals
- New Model Guide: Finding Photographers for Trade Shoots
- New Model Guide: Paying Photographers & Who to Trade With
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