The Model-Photographer Relationship

Relationships are a wonderful thing to have but require a fair bit of work on each persons side and this absolutely applies to a working relationship. Communication between model and photographer is vital to producing images that conveys what the photographer wants, but is beautifully executed by the input of the model. So here is my advice on the model-photographer relationship for those who are new to the model/photographer job, composed of tips that I personally find useful:

  • Get to know each other! You don’t need to be best buddies, but it helps to chat beforehand and recognise that you are going to need to get on well to work together.
  • Research the other person. As mentioned above, you will be working together so getting an idea of what the photographer or model has previously worked on is useful for determining what their skill level is and if you can work with their style. You might both have a passion for black and white photography or the model might have a particular pose you’d like them to use.
  • Portfolio as visual communication of ideas. If you have read my previous blog post, you’ll know I am a fan of portfolio’s, but it not to be left to gather dust as you’d expect because it is useful to have one. I myself have a basic A4 leather Prat Pampa Portfolio Display Book from Graphics Direct that I use to hold some quality (and spare) prints for myself and clients to look at for inspiration. Like me, the photographer should carry some prints to show their model the typical poses they might try to follow. This works best for more basic photoshoots but can be reliable for almost any shoot. The model should gather together a portfolio of their previous shoots or even just some headshots to show the photographer so they can see what you are capable of doing, almost like a catalogue. Remember, they might not have researched beforehand and not every wear has internet connection so it’s not always possible to show you internet profile on your phone or laptop.
  • Music and chill? I love to listen to music on my phone or laptop when I am working or cleaning as background sounds fill the room with a sense of emotion and belonging. Playing music in the background of a photoshoot can be a great way to put you both at ease and get into the swing of the job ahead, provided you are playing something thats appropriate for the job at hand. If it’s some shots for the models portfolio then stick on a bit of Ed Sheeran to get you both feeling chilled or maybe some Lady Gaga if it’s quite a fashionable photoshoot? Play what you like as long as you are both agreeable, you’ll find that this fills any awkward moments and provides good communication to get the shots you need.
  • Be honest with each other, please! Models, if the photographer is asking you to do something you can’t or don’t want to do then tell them politely (but confidently) how you feel; the model shouldn’t be uncomfortable as it really shows in the end result and then you might never want to work with this person again. Photographers can be demanding sometimes but we are all human at the end of the day and no one is the perfect so just suggest another idea. Photographers, if you aren’t getting what you want out of the model then show them what you need. Stand in their place and be a friendly guide so you can both do the best of your jobs and perhaps even learn something from exploring each others point of view.
  • Don’t leave in a hurry. Once a shoot has passed, perhaps you’ve got some spare time to wind down with the model and give feedback to each other on how the session went, you can pass on advice to each other or even discuss current events in your life over a cup of tea. You’ve just created something new and exciting together so it really is a shame when the photographer or model quickly packs up and leaves.

That’s all my advice for now and as always I want to remind you that these are my opinions and what has worked for me, so if you are working with a model or photographer for the first time or just want to browse for ideas on other ways of working then I hope this will be an informative read. You are welcome to inbox me or comment below with your own questions and I will respond as best as I can.

Enjoy the next photoshoot!


Photography: Fyson Photography

Model: Nicole Slaverse


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