Hi Dania! I recently opened a profile on modelmayhem.com and I've been getting offers from photographers to shoot. How can I tell which ones are legitimate and which ones might be a bit sketchy?
Hi, Anonymous! Great question, thanks for asking it!
When dealing with photographers on Model Mayhem, commonly known as MM, the following are factors that you should consider to try and see who is for real and who is not (being a member of MM myself, I also follow these same guidelines):
- Strength of Their Portfolio: Nothing shows a photographer's talents like the images displayed in their portfolio. Check out their MM portfolio to see what kinds of models they shoot, the quality of the images and their style. It's pretty easy to tell the difference between a photographer with a great "eye" and one whose style is amateurish. It also helps if they have photos that reflect the type of modeling shots you want in your portfolio. For example, if you need swimwear shots, choose a photographer with swimwear models in his/her portfolio, not someone who only has bridal images.
- Level of Experience: Check what the photographer lists his/her level of experience as on their MM profile. There are new photographers who have amazing work in their portfolios, so don't count out someone just because they haven't been professionally shooting for a long time. However, you may have a different experience shooting with someone that's just starting out, compared to a pro that's been doing it for years.
- Read Their MM Profile Description: Before I shoot with a photographer from MM, I always read their "About Me" on their profile. You can tell a lot about a person based on what he/she writes. See what vibes you get based on how they describe themselves and their work. This is also the area where they'll list their shooting style, rates, policies and other information dealing with how they work with models. It is very important to know this info beforehand. If you read something you don't like, disagree with or get a bad feeling, then move on to someone else. Additionally, their profile will sometimes state the publications they've worked with or other credits. This is a great way to know whether that photographer has had work published locally, nationally or even internationally. It helps if they have samples of their work from those publications in their portfolio for you to look at.
- Ask for References: Oftentimes MM photographers will put a list of the models they have worked with, as well as those models' MM profile #s. If they have such info on their profile, shoot the models a message and ask what their experience was working with that photog, as well as if she/he would recommend that you work with that person. If they don't have names listed, then message the photographer and ask for model references. No two photographers are the same, however--there may be some that will gladly give you this info, while others may be nasty about it and give you an attitude. Obviously stay away from the latter and don't take it personally. I find that any photographer who gets bent out of shape about a professional request like references probably should be avoided anyway.