Once at a hairstylist’s salon I saw a sign that read: “I’m a beautician, not a magician.” Ever since that, I’ve wanted to create a similar saying for photographers, but so far, I haven’t been able to devise one that is filled with the same rhyme and eloquence. However, here are 10 things models should know about photographers — and it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional model or just starting out:

Body Weight

Photographers can make you look slimmer in photographs with the right lighting, lenses, angles, posing, styling, and a few other things, but nothing like what’s found with a proper diet and a fitness routine. Consult with the proper licensed professionals and remember, we’re not sorcerers that can remove body weight with the wave of a wand.

10 things models should know about photographers

When a subject knows the 10 things models should know about photographers, there’s a high probability the photo shoot will produce some great results.

However, please understand, there is nothing wrong with a healthy body either. Plus-size models are in and as photographers we’re not there to judge your weight, we exist to capture your beauty. The weight of a model should never be an issue for a great photographer.

Fake Tans

Most photographers hate it when a model shows up with a sprayed-on tan — you know, the ones that make you look orange and streaky in your photos because the human eye sees one thing and our brain connects the dots. Cameras don’t connect dots, they capture the exact dots your skin reflects into pixels.

Digital cameras are tack sharp, sometimes too sharp, so all the imperfections with sprayed on tans, or worse, the self-applied instant tans, photograph like crap and give us more work to do in postproduction. Great photographers can give you an instant tan through white-balance that can even make an albino look tanned, now that’s one of the few forms of magic we can do.

Arrive on Time

Of the 10 things models should know about photographers is we don’t like to wait. Please arrive on time. It’s not unusual for a seasoned photographer to tell you to arrive 30 minutes before they really need you because they understand, without being chauvinistic here, that women can run late.

Whether it’s kids, traffic, make-up, or Murphy, veteran photographers understand the life of a lady is impacted by life — we get it. That said, 30 minutes late is max, our time is valuable, and chances are, we have another client or shoot after you. Not to mention, photographers have lives too and if you’re running late, chances are you’ve impacted our day in some negative manner.

Roller Skates Neon Photo

When a model and photographer are on time, expect a smoother photo shoot.

Don’t Rush

Photographers don’t like being rushed. When you rush into something, the chances are greater you’ll ruin it. Don’t arrive for a shoot and say, “I’ve only got ‘X’ amount of time because I have other plans or things to do after the shoot.”

Photographers don’t like being rushed anymore than you and the last thing we want in the middle of the momentum of the shoot, for it to stop. Great things come in time, so give us that time, heck, give yourself that time especially if you want us to capture you at your best. It’s like sex, no one likes an interruption before the climax.

Don’t Alter Photos

One of the 10 things models should know about photographers, don’t ask to do your own postproduction and don’t alter our finished photos. If you’re that good in postproduction, take a selfie and have at it. Now that’s magic on your part if you can achieve great results and you should think about changing careers.

Makeup

In photography, what is light will go lighter, what is dark will go darker. It’s called the 90-Percent Rule of Reflectance. What is pure white will reflect 90-percent of the light that strikes it, what is pure black, will absorb 90-percent of the light that strikes it. Simply said, darks go darker and lights go lighter.

So, barring a licensed makeup artist or cosmetologist, models should show up with very little makeup and bring your makeup with you. Great photographers normally provide feedback as you apply your makeup. However, if you can budget for a professional makeup artist, do so.

Outfits

Photographers prefer choices, so don’t show up with a limited wardrobe, though don’t show up with the entire store either.  Arrive with various outfits, give us choices and remember, what looked great on the mannequin the night before, might not look so great on you today.

Clothes that are “wore out” because they are your favorites can and probably will photograph better than something brand new, and provides for less uncertainty — ultimately, it’s about your face and an uncertain face never beats a face with confidence. Your favorite clothes are your favorite because you know you look great in them. Bring your favorites to the shoot and let us know they are your favorites.

Guests, Escorts

Guests and escorts on a photo shoot are always a controversial topic, but only for those that don’t know and want to annoy of us that that do know the industry professionally. Professional photographers don’t like onlookers no more than art directors do, in other words, if you must bring someone to the shoot, make sure they are aware they can’t watch the shoot. They can stay somewhere nearby but not on set as they become a distraction with every breathe they take.

While professional photographers are more than happy to meet your chaperone, we don’t like anyone looking over our shoulders any more than most people. Besides, chances are, you’ll be distracted by your own guest, or worried about what they think about you during your shoot. Without the face, we have nothing and the last thing we want is a face filled with worry or looking the other way because your guest coughed or sneezed right before the shutter would’ve been released.

Model Photo Ocean view

Great model photography starts with great choices, from locations to clothing.

Money

Of the 10 things models should know about photographers, this is my favorite, money. Professional photographers normally don’t work for free. Time is money and credentials carry value. We all deserve compensation for our talents. Unless we ask you personally for a “promotional shoot” where we both work for free, you pay for the value you get from an experienced photographer.

While we know it takes you time to get ready for the shoot, and time is consumed during the shoot, please understand, the same applies to us plus the cost of our equipment, the cost it took to gain our experience, and the time of photo editing, then editing the photos in postproduction.  The latter comes long after you’ve left the shoot — when you leave, we still have hours of work, oh, and besides photo editing and postproduction, we also have to tear down our gear too.

No-Show

Finally, the last of the 10 things models should know about photographers, we don’t like no-shows! If you no-show a photographer, you demonstrate unprofessionalism. If you have to cancel, give us plenty of notice, and that act alone might allow you to reschedule with us. Photographers have busy schedules too, so please understand that a no-show is like getting all ready for a movie, you arrive at the theater, purchase your popcorn and soda, and after you take your seat, the projectionist tells the show is cancelled.

So, there you have it, the 10 things models should know about photographers. Use this advice and your photographer will love you as one of their clients, plus, it’s a better guarantee you’ll get great photographs. Photographers are not magicians and our goal is not to make you disappear, but to present you in the best manner possible.


Rolando Gomez is a professional photographer and author of five photography books that has traveled to 45 countries for assignments. The former soldier and U.S. Army combat photographer has taught hundreds of photography workshops for almost two decades. A 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Writer for Quora, his partial credits include Newsweek, Parade, Playboy, Rangefinder, Maxim, Rangefinder, New York Times, Stars & Stripes, and various other publications.
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