Modeling Frustrations as a Photographer

Posted on August 17, 2013


One thing that I find frustrating as a photographer is that most non-signed modeling agent models: they think modeling is dating. “Wait”, you say, “I am a model and I am not signed, and I don’t treat it like I am dating. I am very professional.” Stop and think very carefully about this.

Do you expect a photographer to chase after you as a model – if they aren’t constantly in contact with you and often talking about things other than the job you are needed to do as a model? Are you trying to get the photographer to do what you want to do and not what the photographer has planned? Do you send messages a half hour before you are available and say something to the effect of “I am bored, let’s shoot!” or “I need to shoot now!”? Or, if the photographer doesn’t talk to you about how pretty you are or how cute you are or “like” your images on the social networks, are you discouraged with shooting with that photographer? If a project takes a little bit of time, do you lose interest in two weeks? Do you expect that the photographer meet you several times at Starbucks or another coffee shop prior to the shoot? Do you expect the photographer to go to movies with you? Do you not want to message about what is going to happen at the shoot and would rather talk about personal things? Do you send very personal images of yourself to the photographer even though that isn’t what this shoot is about? Think about what others see of you and how you come across.

With the exception of a very few models, I have most shoots planned explicitly with what I expect to capture except the initial test shoots I do with a model. Even with the test shoots, there is a routine I have and I have goals of what needs to be captured. Many models that I work with are used to my “chicken scratches” that I put down with concepts.  This is how I plan a shoot. A model should know fairly well what is expected of them from me prior to showing up for the shoot. To me, this is key for the artwork I shoot. I don’t just “shoot” a few images, or “see where a shoot will go” prior to doing a shoot. There are specific things in my mind that I want to capture.

Sometimes, getting things arranged takes time and delays happen. The longest time to shoot a concept was three and a half years. Both the model and I wanted to shoot this long before we did – but there were constraints on locations to shoot, the right weather, both our schedules, and several other issues that needed to line up to shoot. This took time to get everything right. A typical shoot from concept to shoot takes me about four months. Most people who are models lose interest about a month after committing to the shoot or they have “life” happen so the concept is put on the back burner and must start over again from when the model was contacted. Frequently when this happens, other models or support people like hair stylists or makeup artists, need to change because of the delay.  Delays happen.

My point in writing this is to basically gripe that as a photographer, I would like to shoot pictures. I am happily married and not looking for a romantic interest. I am not a sugar daddy who is out to buy clothes and expensive makeup for you. I am not here to have sex with you – on a fling or in a committed relationship. I am a photographer with one thing on my mind: capturing the images and concepts I have in my mind and making them the best they can be. I am not someone who has a love interest with each and every model who wants to be photographed. I don’t have time to spend forever talking about your life (or mine), how beautiful you are, or how you will take the modeling world by storm. I am not here to date you or form an emotional attachment. I am not out to have sex with you. Some models become close personal friends – that happens when you work with people.

I can’t speak for other photographers, but I would think that all professional photographers are the same way.

Posted in: Modeling