Let’s talk about the basic etiquette of freelance modeling.

  1. Be on time. One of the number one complaints photographers have about models is that they don’t show up on time. Don’t be one of those models. Be the one who shows up on time or at least text the photographer if you know you will be a few minutes late. Most photographers won’t get upset over 10 to 15 minutes if you let them know.
  2. Don’t be a flake/no call no show. A “flake” is a model who cancels at the very last minute (within hours of the shoot) or does a no call, no show. This is a huge no no and, aside from extreme emergencies (as in you are hospitalized) you should never, ever do this. I promise you that any photographer would rather you let them know, even if it’s late, than to not let them know at all and not show up.
  3. Be responsible for your time. Make sure you plan your shoots during times you know you are available (and that means you know you have off work for sure, for example). If you’re not reasonably sure you can make the shoot, don’t book it. It’s better to wait until you know you can make the shoot.

These first three tips are a big part of how I earned a good name for myself and how I keep one. So many models don’t follow these and they struggle to improve because the more skilled photographers don’t want to deal with them. Be the model that the photographers can count on to show up. You’ll open up a lot of opportunities for yourself this way.

Now let’s talk about the sort of stuff you probably expected to see here. These are my basic shoot tips that should apply for just about any shoot.

  • Take care of yourself. These means getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, and eating well, especially before shoots.
  • Take care of your appearance. Make sure your nails are clean and done with clear or neutral/nude polish (unless asked otherwise). This goes for fingers and toes! Chipped nail polish is awful and it’s not easy for most photographers to fix. Plus, even if they don’t care, you don’t want chipped polish in your photos. Make sure you keep your skin moisturized, that you use lip balm, and that you are well groomed (whatever that means for you).
  • Check the drive time and directions the day before the shoot. Make sure you’re clear on the type of location you’re going to as well. Some buildings may require you to park on the side, for example, or it may be a suite or studio inside a larger building. Just ask the photographer what type of location it is and where you should park as you book the shoot. Most of them are quite happy to give instructions.
  • Exchange phone numbers with the photographer once you book (or before if you prefer). If you have to get emergency directions, if either of you has an emergency, etc, it’s better to have a phone number to text/call.
  • Stay on top of communication. This means responding to shoot discussions in a timely manner. Don’t let those messages about shoots sit around if you want to book that shoot. I would recommend trying to answer within 24 to 36 hours, 48 hours at the latest.

And there you have it, my basic etiquette tips for models.

Go back to the main Michigan Model Resources Page or check out more of my New Model Guide.

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