Many aspiring male models get excited by the thought of getting to pose with beautiful female models. However, there is more to this part of the industry than the mere fantasy of the situation. For male models, having strong shots in your portfolio showcasing your ability to pose with a female model plays a crucial part in the strength of your modeling work. Having the right couple images will make you stand out among the competition and show clients that you are capable of delivering the pictures they want for their product, whatever that may be. But how do you go about initiating the steps towards not only working with a female model but ensuring that the experience is a positive one that you will both benefit from?
There are a couple of ways to go about this and while there are always the exceptions to the rule, horror stories and other uncommon occurrences, I am going to talk in general terms about the process. If you happen to have specific questions or concerns about working with a female model, please send me an email so that I can assist you personally with your situation. This particular post is to address the general topic so I don’t want to go into too much detail about the “what if” type of stuff.
Agency represented male models will more than likely be submitted to modeling gigs that require them to work with female models so those images are taken care of in that respect for their portfolios. Freelance male models, on the other hand, will have to be hands on when arranging test shoots in order to get couple images for their portfolio. That means contacting not only the photographer but the female model as well. Do you happen to already know a female model (or a few) that you’ve worked with before or know personally that you feel would help you get the job done? Then congrats, you’re in the best case scenario and more than likely don’t have to read the rest of this post! Having familiarity and previous working experience with a female model will help greatly in achieving the shots you’ll need for your portfolio—not to mention the two of you will not have to worry about being uncomfortable with each other.
If you don’t happen to be in this fortunate situation, don’t fret…you’ve got options. You will have to do some networking/searching in order to find the right female model. But before you even involve another model or photographer in your project, do some planning and know what you want to shoot. By the time you start contacting people to set up the test shoot, you should have a good idea of the theme, style, clothing and location you want. Let the people you are working with know that you’re looking for shots to update your portfolio and that the theme involves posing as a couple with a female model. It is ideal to have reference images so that the photographer and female model know what type of look you are going for (such images include advertisements in high fashion magazines or ads from a brochure or catalog). By knowing what you want ahead of time, the smoother the process will be and the more likely you’ll be to get exactly what you want.
Now on to finding your female model. It is best to find a female model that physically works well with your current look. Of course it is important that you not have all of your couple images in your portfolio with the same female model. As you get more experience working with a female counterpart, you’ll want to set up more shoots down the line with other female models to show your diversity. But for now, choose a female model that complements your style, height, appearance, etc. for your first couple shoot. She doesn’t necessarily have to be the same ethnicity as you but having such images is helpful (many clients only want to cast couples that physically appear to be of the same ethnic background to target their particular audience, although there are others that have no problem hiring models that would qualify as an interracial couple—it’s up to what the client wants). The bottom line is that the first set of shots you should have as a couple in your portfolio should include a female model that appears to be the same ethnicity as you (notice I said “appears”…that means she doesn’t have to literally be the same ethnicity as you). Your next couple shoots afterwards can have female models from various ethnic backgrounds if you want.
I would advise against choosing a blind casting method like Craigslist—you have no idea who you are going to get. Instead, you’ll want to turn to a social networking site that allows you to view the female model’s professional portfolio. This can include online modeling communities like Model Mayhem, One Model Place or even Facebook. Seeing her professional work will allow you firsthand to see her potential, abilities and if she would be a good fit for you. Don’t feel like browsing through hundreds of model profiles? Then you also have the option of posting your own casting call through the site—this method is available if you are using an online modeling community…Facebook does not apply unless you choose to pose your casting as your status or something similar. Posting your own casting call for your project will allow you to state the nature of your shoot, the type of female model you are looking for (you can list specifics if you want: height, stats, hair length, ethnicity, etc.) and how potential models can contact you with their interest. From there all you have to do is browse through the models that have submitted themselves to your casting and then choose the one that you want to work with.
From this point on the process is similar to setting up a test shoot with the photographer. It is helpful if the female model is local so that you can meet up in a public place prior to setting a shoot date. Use this face-to-face time to discuss your ideas, talk about outfits and locations and to see how the two of you interact with each other in general. Also bring along your reference images so that she can see what you have in mind. If you feel comfortable with the female model and she seems to have no problem interacting with you, that is a good sign that the both of you will work well together in front of the camera.