Getting into professional photography business is not easy task and model photography is no exception. You need to be very dedicated and hard working to reach to the top of the game.
It is important to be able shoot great photos to be a model photographer. It is also important for you to know how it feels to be a model, if you really want to get good at it. You need to know the challenges a model may need to face while shooting.
We would highly suggest you to spend time in front of the camera yourself and do some modeling for yourself or for someone else. We are not asking you to be a model, try to understand what it feels to be a model.
It will be well worth it.
We have compiled a list of great tips and suggestions that will help or guide you with your photography journey.
Cameras and Equipment
We would recommend you to carry a zoom lens and a prime lens with you on your shoot. You can do the complete shoot with just the prime lenses, but in case you need to shoot from a distance, having a zoom lens will definitely help.
Shooting with the camera on your hand can produce motion blur if your hand shakes, so having a tripod is also a great idea. It will help eliminate motion blur from your photos.
Always Shoot in RAW
We always recommend shooting in RAW. It will give a greater flexibility when you are editing the photo. You can adjust lighting, saturation, highlights and other adjustments in higher details than if you have shot them on JPEG.
The only problem with shooting RAW is that the image size tends to be a lot larger than JPEG.
Finding a Model
When you just starting out, it is likely that you will not be working with a professional model. They will charge money and can be a lot expensive.
Try looking at model websites that connects models, artists, photographers etc. There are many beginner models looking to build up their portfolio who are willing to trade time for pictures. You can also scour through some dedicated Facebook groups to find beginner models.
Another way is to ask someone from your family and friends to work for you. As you are already familiar with them, it will be easy to communicate.
After you found your model, be very clear and specific with them about the time place and environment that you will be shooting at.
Get a Model Release
If you intend to use the photo for commercial purpose, we would highly recommend you to get a model release form signed from the model.
Model release is a signed agreement between both the model and the photographer, which allows you to use it legally for any commercial work.
If you do not have model release signed and you are making money from that photo, then the model has the right to ask you to remove the photo or even sue you for it.
Choose the Right Location
After you have completed all preparations of finding the model, getting model release signed, and going over the details with the model, it is time to choose the right location.
Your location can be anywhere. You can shoot on the beach, inside a garden, abandoned building, park etc. Just keep in mind about the theme of your photoshoot.
Communicate with the Model
Even a professional model can feel uncomfortable in front of the camera if the environment and people are new. So, before the shoot, sit down with the person and talk about what your plan is.
Discuss what you want, what your goal is and what you want her to do. Remember to be very friendly and humble, it will help her get along with you better.
You can also ask the person for some suggestions. It will make your model feel like he/she is contributing to the work. Your aim should be to make the model more engaged to your work.
If you are working with someone who is good at modelling, then you do not need to do much work. The model will know how to pose and express emotion, you just need to give him/her the instructions on what you want. However, you may not always be lucky, you can be working with someone who is completely amateur, and so be cautious.
Environment and Comfort
Model shoots may involve dresses that may not be very suitable for the environment. Like, shooting in a swimsuit in winter. Your model may also need to change dress multiple times throughout the shoot, so be aware of it.
Always be aware of the environment and its temperature. Try to keep them comfortable as best as you can. It is always best to discuss the complete details of the environment before the shoot to be sure if he/she is comfortable with it or not.
Take multiple breaks throughout the shoot. Trying to shoot constantly for longer period can get very irritating and very tiring. Try to keep shooting time very short.
Explain the Pose
Give directions and feedbacks to your model on what poses look great and how it may be improved. Try not to frustrate the model with too much requests, keep it simple.
It is a good idea that you yourself get to the set and demonstrate how the pose should be instead of giving too many directions. Just show your model what you intend the shot to be.
You can also search online and look for interesting poses. Show them to your model, and ask him/her to try to replicate it.
Have Emotion to your Photos
Pictures that tells a story is likely to engage viewers more than pictures that look like a mannequin. Having emotions to your photos is very important. Just slightly changing facial and body expressions can easily achieve it.
A good model will know how to express themselves depending on the circumstance that is given to them, and that is how they are able to make some serious cash. However, not everyone can do such job on his or her own. So, as a photographer it is your job to direct your model on how to pose properly.
Talk your model through the concept of the shoot. Imaging a story on your mind and describe it the best you can to explain the emotion.
Remember to shoot candid
Candid shots are an excellent way to capture the model’s emotions. Do not turn of your camera when your model is done posing. Look for the moments when your model is not acting for the camera and when he or she is about to start laughing. When your subject is at a natural state, that is when you can possibly find the extra genuine shots
Always try to be humble and respectable with the person that you are working with. Give them their space and time to adjust with the environment. Be open and discuss everything with the person if you want to work with him/her. If model photography done right, can be very rewarding. Model photography is a great way of showing your work. It shows that you have good communication skills and you can work with a team.