Interpreting Models (from a photographer’s perspective)

Posted on June 22, 2013


After dealing with models for quite some time, I have collected quite a few things models say to interpret models as a photographer. Keep in mind that I really have no clue what the model’s really mean, but this is how I interpret what is said. If you are a model, keep in mind that a typical photographer will probably interpret these in a similar way. I have added my comments to each of these. Some of these are meant to be funny, but all are things I have heard from models. These are in no particular order.  I am working on a list for photographers, too, so models can interpret what a photographer says. I have also edited the statements slightly for the audience reading them (it is obvious when they have been edited).

No call, No show – Unreliable, wannabee model. They won’t amount to much of a model. Never work with this model again. As a model, you should always call a photographer or producer when you have confirmed you will do a shoot even if you won’t show up. This kind of reputation will end you being a model.

I get paid $100/hr  (or more) – This is usually interpreted as  “I don’t want to work with you.” It is a way that the model says, “I don’t want to work with you, but if you pay me enough, I will.”  If paired with the model working with photographers who never pay then it is a “Get lost, I don’t want anything to do with you.” This is one of the biggest pet peeves I have because it is so insulting – models who ask to be paid an unreasonable amount without any real experience. It basically tells me to “flip off!” when I hear it (an insult).  Some photographers told me that it is the model saying, “I know more than you, have more experience, and have put more into the shoot than you” from a model who has little or no experience. Expect to be put on the no work list for the photographer – and don’t ever ask for a reference from them, either. Please note that there are those models who do get paid this amount and are well worth it – they are very few and far between and have LOTS of experience. They are not someone who has shot with one or two photographers doing TFP sessions and think they deserve this amount arbitrarily.  If a model has worked with me, they know why this is such an insult.  Even more insulting is when they ask for the RAW files and all rights to the images shot meaning the photographer is paying to just shoot the model – they get nothing from working with them at all.

The model never commits to a shoot or indicates an available time but shoots with several other photographers – I don’t want to work with you. If paired with “I expect to be paid $100/hr”, it means “You aren’t worth my time”.  When a photographer has spent the time to come up with a concept, then the model pushes them off and off, then the model is saying to the photographer that their ideas are stupid and that they won’t want to ever work with them. Expect to be put on the no work list for the photographer.

“I don’t like the makeup” (or outfit) then goes to the bathroom and changes it – I know more than the person who planned out the shoot or event.  The makeup and clothing are usually planned for you. As a model, your job is to wear and present. You aren’t there to make decisions. If you are producing and styling the shoot, then your say so means something. Changing your makeup or refusing to wear an outfit without a justified reason (ie-the outfit shows off more than I am willing to show) means that you don’t know your role or job as a model. Expect to be put on the no work list for the photographer and designer.

“That pose would  only look good if I was naked.” – I know more than you. You should do what I say. Again, it means you don’t know your role as a model.

“Can’t it be fixed with Photoshop?” – I don’t care enough about being a model to take reasonable care of myself as a model and I undervalue the time of the photographer and editors of the images. As a photographer, fixing something in Photoshop takes time and money.

No response to e-mail – You aren’t worth my time. I don’t want to work with you ever. Always be polite and don’t burn bridges. You never know who someone really is or who they know. Failing to get back with them makes you look unprofessional. If the e-mail was polite and professional, you should always return the message. Expect to be put on the no work list for the photographer. This will haunt the model if they are in the industry for very long.

I want to shoot with you and I get paid $X for that type of shoot – I am short $X for a bill, trip I want to take,  or clothing I want. You look like a chump that will pay for it.

“I’m broke. Take me and my girlfriend out to lunch (dinner).” – You look like a sugar daddy to me. Treat me special and buy me stuff to make me happy. I am a princess and want to be treated like one. As a photographer, this is an insult to me and tells me you are modeling for the wrong reasons. I put models on my no work list when they say this to me.

My escort flaked on me – There is a party or a group of models bar-hopping that is much more important for the model to attend.  They are also saying that they don’t trust the photographer.  Personally, I feel more comfortable with a model bringing an escort, but if you don’t trust the photographer, you shouldn’t be working with them.

I can’t be there until my boyfriend leaves – The model’s boyfriend doesn’t know she doing this and he will kill the model if he finds out.  You should always let your significant other know about what you are doing in modeling. I know many photographers think the session should only be between a photographer and the model. If they say that it is just between you and the photographer, red alarms should be going off like crazy.

I’m so hungover or I got into a fight last night and ended up with a black eye and lots of bruises – That party last night was way more important to the model than the shoot today (and the model thinks she kicked some behinds).

Yes, makeout and everything – The model wants someone to do her makeup and hair. The model has a dirty mind. Single photographers might take this a different way.

We need to go shopping when you are done – I need new clothes and you are going to buy them for me.  This usually happens when the model thinks they are going to keep the clothes used in a photo shoot and wants some accessories to go with the outfits.

I wouldn’t tell anyone if you sent me a pic of your (private part) either – The model will keep a secret (and wants something else other than a photo shoot). This is something a model should never tell a photographer who is married or in a serious relationship. This was a response to keeping a shoot concept private before discussing the shoot with the model.

Sure you aren’t gay? Kidding! – You are being too professional and serious – lighten up.

Ok, Sounds good. You’ll have to wait another 2-3 months as I have several shoots already lined up. – The model is hoping you forget and doesn’t want to shoot with you. Just another way to blow off a photographer. If this is someone who insists on getting paid, they _really_ don’t want to work with you.  As a photographer, saying this is a strong insult – even more when the model sets up other shoots with people who they didn’t have set up and shoot with them and don’t get paid. Expect to be put on the no work list for the photographer.

Posted in: Modeling