Another Bad Experience with a Model

Posted on February 26, 2013


Continuing on the theme of what not to do as a model taken from my own experiences, I want to bring up that first impressions are very important.

I start this post about who is a very popular model in the Indiana area. I was working with another photographer who shoots New York Fashion Week and has shot for a few publications. I was showing him some of the models in the area, and he noticed there was one who stood out. I only worked with this model at fashion shows. She was always on time, great personality, and never a problem with working with her. I checked with a few people who had worked with her, and all gave her flowing recommendations. My biggest concern was her height, as she was shorter than the New York requirements for models but she was well in proportion for her height. The more we talked about her, the more he was interested in doing a test shoot for preparation for a publication shoot and her height was less and less of an issue. I introduced the two together, both were very interested with working together, and I waited to see the resulting magazine spread. Instead, something totally different occurred.

A week later, at the test shoot, she flakes or so it seems from my end. At a half hour, the MUA and hair stylist were told that we wouldn’t be shooting. Two and a half hours later, the photographer receives a message that she had been shooting with another photographer, and he made her over run her time. She would be there as soon as she could. She finally showed up three and a half hours late. The model was told to come with clean and unstyled hair for the shoot, no makeup, and be ready to be styled. For lack of a better description, her hair and outfit was something you would see on an 1980s porn star after they took off their clothes and were ready to go home. Her escort was her mom, and she was tired and it looked like her nerves were frayed from the whole day of shooting. The model acted like this was perfectly normal and that there wasn’t a problem in being three and a half hours late. In the 15 years I have known this photographer, no one has ever done this to him and shown him this total and lack of respect. The model was told to go home, and that there may be a reschedule at a later date. The photographer was a lot nicer about this than I would have been. By the end of the next week, all hope of a shoot occurring between them was gone and it was apparent that the model was fighting with him. I haven’t been privy to the conversations between her and this photographer, but it is apparent that they will never ever work, and the model’s reputation is tarnished for what happened. Everyone who I have recommended has worked with this photographer and been very happy with the outcome of their images and would gladly work with him again. Even my reputation has been tarnished, and I doubt I will ever be able to shoot with this model in the future because of what has happened.

Let’s talk about some of the things that went on. As a model, you alone are responsible for keeping your schedule. If your scheduled time is up, it is your responsibility to make it on-time for your next shoot. This also means that you schedule your shoots in a manner that you won’t be late to any of the shoots. Only you are responsible for your schedule. If you are late, you should let anyone know immediately that you are running late even before you are supposed to be there. While there is a no cell phone policy at shoots, your escort can keep people updated on how things are going and your ETA. If you don’t have an escort, you should take the time and periodically stop the current shoot to let future appointments know you are running late. If you are always running late, then you are over booking the work for yourself. While some photographers don’t mind people running late, the majority of them do. Frequently, a location is booked for a specific amount of time. Sometimes the makeup artist and hair stylist are there for only the start of the shoot. Their time is money – some are paid by their time spent on location. Actually, everyone’s time is money. Being late makes the expenses for the shoot to always go up. The longer time elapses from the original set shoot time, the less likely that a shoot will occur. And, even if their work isn’t used, makeup and hair stylist must still be paid.

Also, as a model, you are expected to listen to instructions and show up as indicated in the pre-shoot discussions. If they say they are making you up and styling your hair, then you come with clean face and unstyled hair. If you are supposed to be made up before you get there, you will have been told how your makeup should be and how your hair styled. If you don’t know, then ask in the pre-shoot discussions prior to the shoot.

As a model, you aren’t the only one who determines who you shoot. If you think you can just say “You will shoot me” and that photographer will magically shoot you on your demanded time, then you have become a “Diva”. Just as any photographer can’t say “You will shoot with me” and you magically will shoot with them, the same applies with photographers. Both have to agree to shoot. Never think you are so important that you dictate the people who you shoot and expect them to shoot with you. They have free will and their own mind. In this situation, the bad feelings will need to subside and go away. I suspect that the model involved expected to set up another time immediately to shoot again and then wouldn’t back down. By pushing to reschedule after misunderstandings like this example, the model is telling the photographer that they are more important and that they don’t understand what happened. Again, this screams “Diva”. No one wants to work with a Diva.

Finally, as I indicated above, this is a good example of what not to do. I hope you can see how this first impression has impacted this model. As a photographer, I have to assume that all future shoots with a particular model will be like the first time I shoot with that model. If they are late, they will always be late. If they don’t follow directions, they never will follow directions. This is why most photographers won’t shoot with a model who doesn’t show up or doesn’t show up on time. With models who have a longer and established reputation with them, most give the benefit of that relationship. Still, some are put on warning even with this established relationship because of the costs to the photographer.

Posted in: Modeling