How to Be a Pro... or At Least Pretend to Be One


October 19, 2006

As a photographer, there are certain things we expect out of models when we hire them for a photography session.  Unlike popular belief, most photographers are not sleazy scum bags waiting to rape you, rip you off and will drug you to steal your kidneys...  Those of us who are in the business of creating images that sell expect a bit more from the models we hire.

Ok, fine, there are the obvious things like showing up on time.  Well, is simply showing up too much to ask?  Maybe I should add: show-up + on time + sober + leave your jealous boyfriend home + stop complaining that 10 am is too early.  We can also add to the equation, "you forgot to mention the photos you sent me were taken 3 years ago before you had the triplets and got that job at the pastry shop"  ...hmmm...  need I say more?

Getting the gig:  Nowadays, agencies are not the only source for models.  Especially alternative and glamour models.  It's extremely competitive and very frustrating for us to go over hundreds of online portfolios only to find nothing... it's kinda like dumpster diving... you never know what you're gonna get.

When corresponding with photographers/clients, keep it short and simple: stats, location, availability, experience, rates, and contact info.  That's it.  Save your sad story for your live journal.  3 small jpgs is all we need.  Stay away from sending heavily retouched artsy shots-- there's no way to tell what you really look like unless you're actually an alien with green spots and giant head.

And if photographers don't answer your emails, dont take it personally.  It's not you (I swear!).

Okay, this may kinda suck, but... a reality check once in a while won't hurt you.  If you're ugly, then there's not much you can do about it.  In that case you can become a photographer like the rest of us eyesores.

On a related issue: Have you noticed that on modeling sites, the model who has that sexy shot as her main thumbnail gets 10 times as many hits as the editorial prude in the sweater?  Hmmm, just a thought.

Here's a few things that can keep you working:

Attitude:  Being a Pro is all about attitude, whether its a part time gig or a full time career-- the right attitude will set you apart.  Modeling is a business and you should treat your persona as an asset to your company.  Staying healthy and in good shape is important.  A tired model is a useless model; hour after hour, models are expected to perform consistently.  Many times you will have 2 or 3 gigs in a day.  If I happen to be the last client of the day, you'll be expected to deliver as if it was the first gig of the morning.  A positive, teamwork attitude is important.  We can retouch a blemish, but it's hard to remove the bitch outta your photos.

Personality:  We like nice, positive people.  Yeah... we all have bad days.  But a paying client won't care that your dog had a stroke.  Having a good attitude is a winner, even if you're modeling a bikini on top of an iceberg during a snowstorm. 

Strike the pose:  Know your poses.  Stop, look, listen.  Study the magazines, see what others are doing.  There's nothing more frustrating than a "one pose" model.  Keep your chops current.  One good way is to test with promising students or good amateurs-- practice don't hurt nobody.   A photographer is as good as his last model and we all wanna be good photographers... dig?


Octavio started as an amateur photographer with no experience, but plenty of common sense.  That talent has placed him amongst the top pin-up and retro-intensive photographers in Los Angeles in just a few short years.  It is because of his frank, fun attitude that many of his past models beg to work with him again and again.  See his Winky Tiki babes at [a href=http://www.winkytiki.com target=_blank]winkytiki.com[/a].


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