One thing that I can’t emphasize enough to models and fellow photographers is that your actions say so much more about you than anything you can say to someone. Here are a few things to keep in mind if things aren’t going as you planned. Actions, statuses on social networks, forgetting long term goals, looking strictly at numbers, and getting upset with your clients are things that impact how people view you.
First, your actions say a lot about you. There are some models who are _always_ at a session right when I get there or shortly after. As a photographer, I am usually on set at least an hour before anyone else. I do this to clean up, get the set ready, take a stroll around to see if there might be a better location or angle to shoot, etc. But, what does that tell you about a model who is there that early and ready to go? Compare that to the model who is _always_ five to ten minutes late, who isn’t dependable to show up for a shoot, who never really pays attention once they are there, and who texts or talks on the phone even while shooting. Would you want to continue working with that model? If they were a photographer, would you want them to shoot your images? You want to be that person who is on time and ready to work. I know I do.
Second, think about what you blog or put on social networks for statuses. While it is easy to put things like “FML” or similar with how awful life is going for a little support, if this is your professional page or you have a lot of your professional people on your page, think about what you put up before you post it. Being negative, saying you need to learn something for a session, or similar type of post doesn’t need to be posted. If you attack people or post something like “U dat B who…” aren’t appropriate for professional people and it makes you look uneducated. Think before you post something like that. If you must post something like that, restrict it to only certain people to see – specifically the people who are your close friends and not the general public. I can’t emphasize that image is everything, especially for a model.
Think about everything you do and focus on longer term goals. One of the biggest problems I see are people who are looking for short term gains without looking at the consequences of the longer term. Always keep the longer term goals in mind = and I mean goals for five years out. There are things people do that will give them short term gains and be very positive, but it locks them into more of those patterns — and in the long term, that can be very detrimental to their business or career as a model. For example, it may be one photographer is “in the rumor mill” for whatever reason, but they may be someone who you will need to work with again and again. Don’t do things that alienate or aggravate that person even more. Be polite and courteous when around that person. Other ways are doing things that will damage your reputation – getting drunk with the girls and posting images, shoplifting something, and the like. Think about your longer term future before doing something that will haunt you the rest of your life and make it impossible to accomplish your long term goals.
One of the biggest things I hear from models is that they need to be paid more. There is nothing that upsets me more than hearing from a relatively new model who has done a shoot or two, then demands being paid $100+ an hour plus all rights to the images that are captured. For me, it marks the person as someone who I won’t work as a model because they are saying “I don’t want to work with you, but if you want to work with me, I will tolerate it for…” Yes, your goal should be to get paid, but you also have to be reasonable in what you say. While you are focused on numbers here and the business, you have lost touch with your clients. Always stay in touch and listen to your clients – be reasonable. When you lose touch, you will lose clients. For me, once I am burned, it makes it much more difficult to get back “in” with me. There will be those people who you don’t want to work, ever, but as I stated in the past paragraph, stay friendly and don’t burn bridges. You never know where they will come back and haunt you. The same for focusing strictly on numbers. Remember that you are dealing with people and not a computer program.
Finally, don’t let your anger make your decisions for you. While you may be upset with someone for whatever reason, don’t let this run your decisions. As stated previously, you never want to burn bridges with people. It will always come back and bite you in the rear end. Try to always stay reasonable and focused on what you need to be doing for your goals. If you do get upset, don’t talk with that person until you are calmed down. It may take a few months to get to that point. You should never have to take any form of abuse from anyone – photographer or client. If it means that you need to walk away from something, do it as best you can without burning any bridges. Don’t put up with being treated poorly. But, also don’t snap back and say something that you will regret the next day.