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 in 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.
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 previous if I’m excited about the shoot. But they are just between you and I. This shows the images in an unfinished state that they are probably not intended to be seen by the public. It can also jeopardize any possible publication of the images.
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 not 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.
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!