Guide: What makes a serious photo model stand out?

By Laura Buschmann
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Guide: What makes a serious photo model stand out?
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If you call yourself a model, you should also behave as follows

A serious photo model follows unwritten rules on the set

“How do I know a frivolous photographer?” We already answered this question in another article about the machinations of nasty fellow photographers. But are there any models that are anything but professional? I’m afraid so. We would like to illuminate here how a serious photo model behaves and why there is every reason to avoid models with certain – let’s say – “peculiarities”.

Serious photo models - What distinguishes professionalism | AdviserA photographer speaks plainly

Clemens R. (47) is a professional photographer and primarily photographs cars. With a daily commitment of kapp 3,400 euros, he works about eight days a month for an automobile manufacturer, the rest of the time he uses for his own advanced training and teaches at a university. He has trained in the classical way and has always been allowed to call himself a master photographer. According to him, “training in the craft of photography from the ground up is enormously important”. If a typical side novice is interested in the matter and has a good eye, Clemens likes to support him or her. He only has reservations about dubious business practices.

In his spare time he is engaged in model photography. Professionally, he would not work this segment, which he believes cars his “far more reliable than models of flesh and blood”. Nevertheless, he was particularly taken with portraits and partial acts. Here he tries to put the models in the right light and to stage them accordingly.

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Clemens has now agreed to tell us a little bit about his everyday work with respectable photo models and to tell us how to recognize the black sheep. He also uncovers the most audacious lies and excuses of photo models who would not have lost anything in the industry.

Finding a serious photo model can be easy

When both photographers and make-up artists keep their eyes and ears open, they recognize who has established themselves on the market and which newcomers have what it takes to become a serious photo model. Unprofessional ladies are quickly sorted out.

In my opinion every model should show a certain amount of professionalism. This makes it easier for all involved and a better photographic result is the success of this collaboration.

But how difficult is it really to distinguish and sort out a serious photo model from a dubious one? How can you protect yourself from throwing money and time out the window and being disappointed by the models?

  1. The classic – moving without canceling
    Who doesn’t know it: the appointment has been arranged, the details have been discussed and the day of the photo shoot is here – but not the model. It shines with absence. Calls are not answered, on WhatsApp the double hook is suddenly missing – blocked! Attempts to reach the model elsewhere fail. The bird ostrich method (“head in the sand”) seems to be very popular here. Of course there was no rejection. Who pays the costs for the location, the make-up artist and the time of the photographer? That’s right, I did. Nobody. And certainly not the model, who seems to be swallowed up by the ground.
  2. The stupid excuses – “I’m in the hospital”
    The way to a shooting must be fucking dangerous. This is where most accidents happen. Of course the model is so badly injured that she can’t even cancel. Afterwards it is explained that one had a serious accident, the car had a total loss and the model suffered a concussion. In the evening, however, photos appear of the model smiling her way into the camera at a party with the many Selfies. A rogue who thinks evil. But sometimes the grandmother dies, the guinea pig or the mobile phone falls into the toilet.

Serious photo models - What distinguishes professionalism | Adviser

Can someone please watch my pit bull?

It’s the unusual things that the photographer’s life writes. Thus each photographer experiences different situations and interprets the behaviour of his model in different ways. What they all have in common, however, is a fixed code, a kind of code of honour for photographers. However, this also includes the fact that serious photo models adhere to certain rules.  To follow these should be a matter of course in one’s own professional ethos. That this is different is unfortunately a sad reality and almost every photographer will be able to sing an unspeakable song about it. We report on particularly blatant cases here in the guide “What makes a serious photo model stand out?”.

  1. The animal lover – dogs at the photoset
    Meanwhile my model contracts state that the protagonist is not allowed to bring any animals to the set. What’s the matter with you? Not because Clemens doesn’t like animals, but from experience: at one of his shootings the model brought a pit bull with her and asked if “someone couldn’t watch out” for the cute little animal during work. Not that there wasn’t any staff for that. With an unknown fighting dog probably the least six hours would like to go for a walk. No pay, of course.
  2. The Drinkers – Drugs and Alcohol
    Even if it may seem strange, there are models who appear more or less drunk on the set – especially at evening shootings. Clemens has already met even smoked-up photo models at work. “They were so broad that they could hardly reasonably implement an instruction,” reports the professional photographer. Especially audacious ladies consume the mind-expanding remedies directly at the photoset without a guilty conscience.

Serious models do not pay with sex

  1. Constantly postponing appointments – How serious is the model?
    It is particularly popular for home shoots in the model’s own apartment to simply leave the photographer and make-up artist standing in front of a locked door. Of course the model cannot be reached by telephone at this time. The date was postponed several times before, but here too the pool of excuses seems to be almost inexhaustible. How serious are the intentions of a professional cooperation for the model?
  2. Payment in kind – Sexual advances
    If no TFP-Shooting is agreed upon, a return service in the form of payment must be offered. That means money. For a certain photographic achievement – and Clemens knows what he can do – the man behind the camera calls up a prize and communicates it in advance. If a model then suddenly chummyizes to provide sexual services in order to pay for the photos, this is less evidence of professionalism. “At a photo shoot in an old workshop with valuable vintage cars, a model offered me a blunt blow job for the photos – and meant it seriously, too,” Clemens echauffiert himself. Certainly some photographers will get involved, but professionalism looks different.

Serious photo models - What distinguishes professionalism | AdviserAn erotic photographer wants independent models

A contract is a contract is a contract. If professional soccer players with valid and current contracts don’t take it too seriously, many a supposedly serious photo model seems to join this credo. This becomes particularly noticeable when the girl has a new boyfriend who also “advises” her in professional matters – of course without any special qualifications, but with all the more persuasiveness that can have an effect on the model. A lifestyle consultant, as he says in the book. And how no one needs him. He is superfluous like a goiter, but unfortunately he is too often present. Many serious photo models should work more independently or look for a real agency, which can represent them reasonably, especially in salary negotiations and also get orders.

  1. Agreements are not kept – The Lifestyle Consultant
    Especially on the set, when the lifestyle consultant is constantly talking in and wants to prohibit the model from taking one or the other action agreed in advance, a self-proclaimed “consultant” is completely out of place. There is nothing wrong with an accompanying person, but he or she should remain discreetly in the background and not act as a “manager”, destroying the relaxed or family atmosphere. Often enough Clemens has already experienced that his own friend “markets” his life partner in such a way that only one of them works: the model.
  2. The Thieving Magpie – And suddenly something is missing
    During a shooting, equipment, clothes, accessories and props are often confused, there is an orderly chaos. Especially with many changes of clothes or location it can sometimes go a bit wilder. Outrageous – even punishable – when the model or her companion takes advantage of the hullabaloo to steal something. Clemens himself was even affected by a theft, an expensive lens worth almost 1,800 euros was lost. When the police reported the crime to the model, the lens reappeared as if by magic. Nobody can use people like that!

A serious model knows document forgery only from the TV

  1. The trustworthy one – Never work without a model contract!
    Why do some people do it? Nobody really knows. This refers to working without a model contract. Good for the numerous lawyers who are just waiting to earn a golden nose in disputes between model and photographer. Anyone who works professionally only does so with a contract that regulates mutual rights. Of course, this is especially important for partial nude or nude shots, because nobody wants these pictures to appear anywhere on the Internet. Therefore, all contingencies, areas of admission, publication rights and fees should be recorded in writing. The “right to one’s own image” is only of limited help without a contract and no one can prove what was agreed!
  2. The creative ones – Check the personal data!
    Sometimes it happened that a serious photo model forged his own signature. What’s the matter with you? Because the other dates weren’t true either, and were fictitious. Clemens therefore advises every colleague to check their personal details on the basis of their identity card and preferably to make a copy or photo of the card. Afterwards you have something in your hand, should there be discrepancies or irregularities!

So arbeiten professionelle FotomodelleGood virtues are the be-all and end-all

They were once regarded as “typically German virtues”, diligence, punctuality, reliability and correct, ambitious work. But not every German model stands for professionalism anymore. The attitude to work leaves something to be desired, which is probably due to the general decline in the values of today’s society as a whole. Being a serious photo model sometimes means hard work! Young women often want to earn a lot of money, but do as little as possible in return. So-called “influencers” such as Katja Krasavice speak a clear language here. It is modern to want to earn your money through Youtube or other social media channels. Sure, some make it, but they’re certainly highly professional.

  1. The model who is only interested in cheap photos
    Honestly: Shootings on TFP basis (or TFCD) are of no use to a professional photographer. No, he doesn’t want to expand his portfolio. He sells a service and demands a reasonable price for it. Should he nevertheless work on a TFP basis, he must be extremely convinced of the model or the proposed project. If the photographer has no added value, such a photo shooting is of no use to him. On the other hand, not every model wants to work for free permanently. Understandable. The site that “wants something” should also be willing to pay reasonably for a good service. Like everywhere else.
  2. Reliability, punctuality, diligence
    These should not be just words, but the attitude of every model who wants to work professionally and seriously. Of course, these virtues also apply to every photographer! The chemistry between model and photographer is very important and sloppiness or unreliability only complicate the formation of those. A good photo model is spontaneous, uncomplicated, changeable and flexible. Then the photos will be good, too, if everything is right.t!

By the way: When it says professional model on it, there is not always a professional way of working behind it. There are hobby models that work far more professionally than so-called “professionals”. It’s your attitude that counts!

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