As an aspiring fashion photographer, you need a portfolio, as specifically explained in these PhotographyTalk.com articles:
Aspiring models also need portfolios…and a photographer to shoot those images. Even working models must refresh their portfolios regularly and as often as a few times a week. This is a mutually beneficial opportunity.
As part of becoming a fashion photographer, you should already be learning about the local network of fashion photographers and models. This is an excellent method to find models in your area that would agree to work with you. You can also use various Web sites, such as Model Mayhem and One Model Place to contact local models.
When you do find a model willing to pose for you, make sure you prepare two copies of a simple written agreement and models’ release for her or him to sign. All the details of what each of you are contributing to the shoot should be clearly noted: how much time; the location; multiple locations; who’s responsible for clothing, makeup, etc.; and what each receives in terms of prints, media.
One of the model’s primary concerns will be his or her safety during the shoot, especially if he or she doesn’t know you. You’ll be recognized as a professional if you suggest a few public places for the shoot and invite the model to bring an escort (Try to dissuade him or her from bring a spouse, significant other or family member).
Then, you want to plan the shoot thoroughly. Scout various locations during the time you expect to shoot to know in advance the lighting conditions, backgrounds and any public traffic that may interrupt your shoot.
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Once all these details are agreeable to the model, ask him or her to sign the agreement and release, prior to meeting at the location.
The shoot is more than an opportunity to improve your technical skills. You can also practice the proper interaction with the model. Learn how to be relaxed during the shoot, which will help the model relax.
Don’t just instruct the model, but praise what he or she is contributing to the shoot. Learn also how to provide the right level of encouragement.
As long as the model responds positively to the location, continue to shoot. If a location is not working for either of you, then suggest a change or be ready to change the location, so the model feels comfortable.
In most cases, models will agree to a maximum of a two-hour shoot, but if you’re both satisfied with the results in a shorter amount of time, then call it a day. It’s also a good idea to keep the model informed as to how much time has passed as you shoot.
Following the shoot, thank the model (repeatedly) for his or her time and review the agreement one last time. Delivering your end of the bargain (and maybe a little extra) will demonstrate your professionalism and integrity and cause more models to recommend you to photo editors and others who control assignments.
If the model is pleased with the experience of working with you and likes the photographic results, then don’t hesitate to schedule additional shoots. As he or she comes to know you better, he or she may agree to a shoot in your home studio, so you can add those types of images to both of your portfolios.
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You and a model plan a photo shoot that provides both of you with images for your portfolios. In some cases, the model may be willing to pay a nominal fee to cover a bit of your time and/or pay for any hard costs, such as a CD or DVD. It’s unlikely any working model that agrees to work with a beginner fashion photographer will pay a fee; so consider your time an investment in learning during these occasions.
The optimum time period is late in the day, during sundown, dusk, when the light is softer. Suggesting this time period to the model will also reveal your professionalism.
If the model is only willing to shoot at one location, then make sure it offers you a variety of lighting conditions and backgrounds. As you find possible locations, snap a few reference shots, so you can show the model where you would like to shoot and why. Ask him or her for suggestions and ideas too. It’s important that you make him or her part of this process.
Image credit: phartisan / 123RF Stock Photo
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