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There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Meeting with Photographers & Clients for the First Time
(This post will best serve freelance models without agency representation)
When you’re a freelance model, you’ll have to go out, network and submit yourself for castings. This means you’ll be meeting people in the industry who are also strangers to you.
Without the protection of an agent you do open yourself up for some shady characters. However, there is a way to conduct your business without putting your personal safety at risk.
If you are trying to build your portfolio and are contacting photographers, I highly suggest the following tips:
1. Look at their portfolio before even contacting them. You want to work with photographers whose work reflects the type you’re trying to do. If their photos are impressive and they have a list of past models they’ve worked with, that’s great. Go ahead and contact him/her.
2. Set up an in-person meeting before shooting together. This saves a lot of time and energy. There is such a thing as a model and photographer not having good chemistry together. Unless you both feel comfortable with one another, the results won’t translate well in the photographs.
It’s okay to say to a photographer that you don’t think you should work together. It’s strictly business, so as long as you carry yourself as such, there should be no hard feelings…and if there is, well that’s not your problem.
3. Ask the photographer what they are like on shoots. Do they like their models to come ready with poses and ideas or do they like to collaborate and create on the spot? Knowing how a photographer operates will help you decide if the two of you would work well together. Discuss concepts, themes, outfits, and make it clear what you’re looking for.
When it comes to meeting with clients, the process is slightly different but not much. Say you get contacted by a company that potentially wants to hire you for their next modeling gig. Chances are they may ask you to interview with them. There will be some clients who are fine with hiring you on the spot without meeting you first but it helps to be prepared for all situations.
The client will inform you of the details of their project, what they expect out of their model(s) and to see what your personality is like. Make sure to ask what you should wear to the interview and if you should bring anything like a headshot or resume.
Regardless of whether you are meeting with a photographer for a shoot or a client for a gig, it’s all about safety. Arrange the meeting in a public place: café, bookstore, park, etc. Clients tend to choose cafes or their offices for meetings. If the office is in a public area and not some seedy, rundown little complex by the wayside, chances are you’ll be okay.
For photographers who suggest meeting in their studio, it will be up to your personal preference whether you’d feel comfortable doing that or not. When I arrange in-person meetings, I make sure to be the first to mention location and I always offer a nearby coffee shop in the area. This tends to influence the client or photographer to agree to meeting in a public place.
If you leave it up to them, they’ll more than likely make it convenient for themselves by offering to meet in their office or studio. If the photographer’s studio is in his/her home/personal residence, you may want to politely request to meet in a public area. If they have a problem with this, then move on.
If you are underage, a parent or guardian must accompany you to all meetings and shoots thereafter. No exceptions. Any photographer or client who is not okay with this should be avoided at all costs. Just know ahead of time that this industry is filled with so many different types of people…some are pretty crass and rude and will let you know right away that if you don’t work according to their rules and preferences, then scram. And that’s okay…clearly you know not to work with that person again.
For each person in the industry who acts like that, there will be others who don’t so find comfort in that. Many photographers or clients believe that if you are 18 and older, you don’t need an escort to come with you to the meeting. However, if you don’t feel comfortable meeting with someone by yourself, you’ll have a decision to make.
Clients more often than not won’t welcome an escort to the interview. It is business and additional people are distractions. Photographers often get tired of dealing with models’ boyfriends, husbands, etc. and because of this, generally do not do well with inviting escorts to your meetings. Notice I’m not talking about the shoot itself, just the meeting.
There are a lot of decisions you’ll have to make when it comes to meeting photographers and clients on your own. As long as you stick to public places and conduct yourself in a professional manner, you shouldn’t have any problems. It also helps to make sure that someone knows where you are going, what the meeting is for and who you’ll be meeting with. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Each photographer/client is different so there are no hard rules for what to do each time. Each situation will be different so take it for what it is and do what works for you. There is so much more I want to say on this topic so don’t worry, there is more to come but if you have specific situations you’re wondering about, drop me an email and I’ll help you out.