GWC vs. Budding Photographer - Presenting Professionalism to Models!
This one is more so aimed at the photographers out there, specifically photographers who want to get started with shooting nude models. Because of the gush of new photographers lately, it is easy to get pigeon holed into a 'GWC' role, just because you are starting out. If you are looking to avoid that label and you are just not sure how to do that, we hope the following will help!
Our recommendation would be first and foremost, the same recommendation we gave to models starting out. If you want to prove that you are worth working with, you need to have the work to prove it. Find a model that inspires you, whose work is something you would love to see in your portfolio. Find out their rates and pay them to do a shoot with you. If you plan it right, you can get some really diverse work out of just one shoot. Realistically, when a photographer is asking a model to do a TFCD shoot, the first thing the model will do is look at the photographer's work. All you need is that one amazing photo in your portfolio to convince a model that it's worth it! Once you have those amazing images, then it's time to work an industry networking site, such as Model Mayhem, to secure TFCD shoots and further build your portfolio.
Another recommendation, especially when working with a nude model, would be to propose a clothed shoot first. This gives you the chance to build a working relationship with the model and to get comfortable with each other. A clothed shoot is a lot less intimidating when working with a new photographer and a model may be more open to shooting nude once the model knows you.
We recommend that you plan the shoot out ahead of time with the model. Instead of just saying "Bring a ton of sexy bathing suits, lingerie and short skirts", discuss what you and the model both have available. Come up with a concept and discuss what wardrobe will add to it! This will help your model to both feel more invested in the shoot as well as having a feeling of comfort in knowing that you care about the end result.
Some models that are just starting out are extremely self conscious and nervous about the legitimacy of the photographer. To ease the self consciousness, many photographers will tell the model how hot and sexy the model's body parts are. To some people, this is a pervy move and it will turn them off. We definitely recommend complimenting the model, however until you have built a relationship with them, it may be best to not make comments about their body specifically.
It's always great if you can team up with a hair stylist, makeup artist or assistant so that you can have a team behind you. Knowing that there is a team of people at the shoot immediately quashes any fears of being put in a precarious situation, when you are one on one with the photographer.
Many photographers will offer new models liquor to 'loosen them up'. Keeping in mind that everyone is different, some people would take offense to that. It can come across as having ulterior motives, beyond shooting, in getting the model drunk and taking advantage of the situation. We recommend again, that you build relationships before making that suggestion!
Another fantastic idea, when first starting out and looking to build your portfolio, is partaking in workshops! Most workshops include a shooting portion, where you have the opportunity to not only work with an amazing model, but have an amazing photographer sharing tips and advice along the way!
Finally, we could not write this particular blog without mentioning modeling coaching. If you can find a fantastic model coach in your area and offer their services during the shoot, it is money well spent. Sometimes the photographer pays for the model coach, sometimes it is the model who pays. Everyone involved, however, greatly benefits from having one there! We can definitely delve further into the benefits of working with a model coach in another blog if there is interest, let us know by leaving a comment below!
We hope that this is helpful information and please bear in mind that these are our personal opinions, based off the different personalities we've experienced along the years. Some of the best photographers out there have completely unscrupulous methods and some of the best photographers to actually work with, produce terrible work. Ultimately you are going to find your own methods but we think, starting off, it's best to play it safe when dealing with young, impressionable models! We welcome you to leave your feedback, comments and questions below!!
Andree & Sarah
Model: Andree de Villers. Photo: SVphotography. Circa: 2010.
Shot on location during a photography workshop with 10 photographers present.