I’m a model and photographer. If you didn’t already know that, you probably don’t know me, or you’re one of my lifestyle clients (lol). Whether I’m creating for fun, to refine my skills, or to test some new techniques, I am regularly collaborating with other creatives. If you want some tips on reaching out to other creatives, check out my previous blog post!
Also, shout out to Andrea Ball for the awesome BTS shot that’s featured at the top of this post!
Okay, now that we have that out of the way: LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT A COLLABORATIVE SHOOT WITH ME IS LIKE. With me as your photographer, there are a few different perspectives you may be in. You’re either a designer, stylist, or model.
With a designer or stylist, I will usually go into detail about what I’m looking to accomplish, share my plan for styling (if I have one), and ask about what they are looking for. Out of gratitude and respect, I ALWAYS provide clear detail shots of whatever it is that they’ve provided for the shoot. Designers get images showcasing their garment construction. Makeup artists get close up images of the model’s face. Hairstylists get hair focused photos from the back, sides, or any other area that characterize the styling. It’s not fair to designers to do a shoot where the garment is hard to see, or to provide full body photos to makeup artists who then have to crop in all the way and pixelate the heck out of an image to try and showcase their work. If they’re going to contribute their time and use their resources for one of my projects, they’re going to get images back that focus on their contribution.
If you’re a model, you’ll find that I do whatever I can to set you up for success at our shoot and beyond. From providing specific help to sharing more general tips, I typically explain my choices so that you can gain an understanding of my reasoning. I’ll look through my models feeds to see what kind of looks I can help add to their portfolio that doesn’t stray too much from their personal aesthetic. Ideally, that way they’re excited about the shoot and it still stands out on their page.
One of the most important things for my models tends to be wardrobe. For this, I either provide specific instructions on styling yourself, or provide the wardrobe myself. Sometimes, both! While it’s fun to go improv at a shoot, this gives me the opportunity to visualize shots and best prepare myself for the situation we’ll be shooting in. Knowing your outfit ahead of time helps you visualize some poses that you could do, and it helps me communicate better with stylists. During the shoot, I’ll often help you refine your posing and provide thorough feedback. I even try to share tips whenever possible. Whether it’s making suggestions on how to move, adjustments to certain angles, or even putting the camera down to model a pose for you myself. The photos we create together will have the most value to me if you are able to use them in your portfolio and you’re excited about sharing them.
Again, these photos have the most value to me if you are enthusiastic about sharing them. This goes for me as a model and a photographer.
With me as your model: you can fully expect me to be a chatty pain in the ass. JUST KIDDING! I like to be thorough in my communications and make sure we have an understanding. If you, the photographer, have a specific plan, it helps me mentally prepare myself to be the best model I can be for you. This typically involves me looking at your work, getting a sense of who you are, and asking what inspires you. From there, I take that information and style myself according to what I think you would love to shoot. For some photographers, I can tell they’re fashion forward and down for interesting, quirky things. Other photographers love earth tones, indie music, and natural images. Some people don’t care about anything, they just want to shoot something. Everyone has their own style, and that’s totally okay!
I usually ask for some feedback during the shoot. Things I’ll ask about include the kind of gear you’re using (if I can’t tell by looking) and how you’re framing the shot. If the photographer is open to suggestions, I’ll recommend specific shots as I flow through poses. If they don’t share freely, I’ll prompt photographers throughout the shoot to see how they’re feeling about specific poses, how the styling is working with the location, and how they’re doing in general.
I am always, always patient about having photos turned back to me. So much so that there are probably photos of me that exist that I have not seen yet and may never see. For shoots where the photographer paid me, that’s fine. This does not apply at all for TFP. I don’t care if I have to wait two months, it’s an expectation that you return at least some photos for TFP shoots. It’s literally in the agreement. Trade For Photos. Of course, I am a busy person and sometimes I’ll forget about things… but if you ever reach out again, I’ll remember. ಠ╭╮ಠ
Now, as much as I hate to admit it, I was not always the greatest of people to collaborate with. It took me a few years of doing what I do and trading complaints with a ton of people to learn how to be great to everyone I work with. Sure, sometimes a shoot is a letdown. Maybe your vision didn’t play out, the model wasn’t receptive, your photographer heard “you should work with a makeup artist!” and didn’t think to shoot any closeups. Stuff happens, and as creatives, we adapt. All I can do now is be the best photographer/model that I can be when I am working with other creatives, and that’s something I strive to maintain.
If you’ve worked with me, you know how I do, and I would love for you to share your experiences with me by writing a review. It really does help when people are considering booking me!