Here's one for all the pretty girls that are thinking about modeling. There's going to be some hate coming my way from some photographers, but I could really care less about those offended by what I'm about to say. Safety first.
So you want to be a model?
Step 1: Decide what type of modeling you want to do. Decide your boundaries, and write them down. I say this, because the industry has a bad habit of tainting your ideas of what is and is not for you.
Step 2: Find a reputable photographer. It's not hard to find a photographer these days with Facebook and other social media. The easiest way is just to post a status asking if anyone knows a good photographer. Your friends won't steer you wrong. They will genuinely want to help, and you will be bombarded with more names than you care to look through depending on how many connections you have online. Some may suggest photographers they haven't shot with, so they can't give a reliable character reference which is important. There's no worse enemy to a good photo than awkwardness, and just as important, you don't want to shoot with a creepy photographer.
Step 3: Once you've chosen a photographer, ask if they do TFT shoots. (Trade for Time portfolio building shoots) Most good photographers won't unless you're a bombshell, and even then most photographers only shoot TF with certain people, and people they contact first. (A friend request counts as first contact by the way!) Don't get your feelings hurt if you get told no. You have to remember, that photography is our way of making money, if we did TFT shoots for everybody who asked, we'd never make a dime. As well, there's a lot of post processing WORK that has to be done for portfolio shoots. This is on top of thousands of dollars worth of photography equipment, lighting, nice computers, and time spent learning to do what we do best. If you end up paying for your shoot, remember that you're making an investment in yourself, and shooting with a photographer well above anything you've earned as a model yet. Their experience working with people will seriously help you out in your first shoot. Never pay more than a few hundred. Companies that require you pay thousands, then take modeling classes, then shoot with their photographers, and promise the world are a huge waste of your money. They prey on the naive, and you're better off without them. They would tell Quasimoto he had a chance to be a fashion model for that check.
Once you have your portfolio shots done...
People are going to say make a model mayhem account. If you want to do lingerie or nude, go right ahead. Otherwise, skip this step for now, and here's why. Model Mayhem has a search feature that allows people to search for new members. In other words naive, eager-to-make-it, attractive girls. There are people who have many ulterior motives including check-cashing fraud, convincing you to do things you normally wouldn't, promising you the world for a free shoot, promising you a magazine cover in a non-porn skin magazine, but only if you shoot ______. Fill that blank with anything that's beyond what you should be shooting for free, or at all if it beyond what you wrote down as your boundaries. Not all jobs that come from model mayhem are a scam, but if it sounds too good to be true, then it's fake. Point blank, there's no, "It might be legit." It's straight up a waste of your time. If their first message requires you to read an entire page, it's so that you have already invested so much time into them, that you feel obligated for your own sake. Almost anyone who legitimately does this for a living, will keep it short enough for a twitter post.
Try to get with an agency. It's not a must, but they will take you in a good direction. Click, AM&T, and Factor Atlanta are some reputable agencies for those of you in Georgia. There are others, but no matter who you decide to go with, do your own research. This is your career, reputation, and life at stake here.
Realize that you will do a lot of free work before you get paid. You'll probably do anywhere from 10-20 shoots before you ever make a dime. Anything you make in the first 10 shoots, you can consider yourself in the right place at the right time and lucky. After you have your portfolio shots done, your chances of getting TFT shoots with better photographers goes up. Work your way up. As more photographers get to know you, and enjoy working with you, you'll have good references, as well as more photos to show your abilities.
The references I listed above, are just like job references. If you're late or no show at a job, what happens? You get a bad review or get fired. If you're difficult to work with or come unprepared, it's the same thing. My best suggestion to you is bring a big bag full of everything you could possibly need, and be at least 15 minutes early. Come in a good mood, ready to have fun. Real smiles speak volumes over fake ones. A big topic of concern among photographers is cancellations. Canceling same day is unacceptable in most cases. Sometimes real stuff does comes up, but if it's a TF shoot you probably won't get another chance with that photographer. Just keep that in mind when scheduling.
Some people will say, "Only nude models get paid." What they're really saying is, "I'll only pay you if you get naked." Fully clothed models make money all the time for being good at what they do, and having a look that people like. This is one way people use to talk you into getting naked. You can almost guarantee they will try to get you to shoot past your comfort zone. If their work is worth being pressed, do a TFT shoot, but remember your boundaries. It is okay to say no, just like if you were on a date, and a guy tried to do something you didn't want to do. This is your body, your face, your reputation, and your career. Once you shoot nudes, there's no going back. It's also good to know that unless you pay for the photos, the photographer owns the copyright and can do as he/she wishes with the photos regardless of what you say. Most will respect your wishes, but not because it's the law.
Be just as weary of girl photographers as guy photographers. Once a photo is shot, it has been done. Period. Girls like girls too you know, and some are more heartless and pervy than any guy you've ever met.
Escorts. A touchy subject for some. There are two types that don't like escorts. Really good photographers that find it an insult or inconvenience, and creeps that want to pressure you or proposition you. My thoughts... Bring one, and not one that will go down as easy as you. If you have to bring a girl, bring your mom. She'll die before she lets anything happen to you, and the photographer knows it. On the flip-side, escorts can seriously get in the way. Especially jealous boyfriends. A big part of what a photographer has to do to get good pictures, is to produce natural reactions and emotions. Flirting may occur. In most cases it's harmless, and just a way the photographer has found to get good shots. If they haven't pressured you to take off cloths, or made sexual comments, you can almost guarantee it's harmless. Jealousy blinds, and you can't possibly have a good time if your boyfriend's being a douche. If you're having a bad time, your photos suck, and you may as well have not come. If you're going to a group event, escorts aren't as important. Especially when in a public place. Open calls do not count as group events. You should be especially weary of any open call you find on Craigslist at a residence.
Know that depending on the photographers skill, your ability and looks, and most importantly the chemistry between you and the photographer all affect the photo quality. Even after shooting well over 100 shoots, I've had some where I'll take 1200 photos, and use 3. Opposite end of the spectrum, I've had shoots where I take 50, and use 10, or 800, and only don't like 5. You probably won't get all the photos from any shoot, and if you do they won't be high rez. Every photographer takes photos they wouldn't release, it's the super picky ones that you want to shoot with. Would you rather the photographer release bad photos of you, or only awesome ones?
I could go on and on about this subject, but I feel like I've covered most things a newb might need to know before starting on their journey. If you would like to know more, or schedule a portfolio building shoot then get in touch with me. My contact info is available here. I keep a short list of models that I do TFT shoots with, and that list only has room for a celebrity at this time. My rates are very fair, and my finished product is well worth the money.
God Bless, and Good Luck! :D
If a photographer tells you he can make money selling your photos, promises you money AFTER the shoot, a magazine spot, or anything of the sorts, he is usually full of it especially if you don't have a portfolio. Magazine submissions are done by photographers, and are only picked by the magazine. Big names like Maxim and FHM will not pick your shoot before it's shot, so anyone who promises this stuff, is filling your head with false hopes in order to get something for free from you.
If a photographer ever starts to get weird, then there is an emotional involvement, and red flags should be raised.
Even if you don't plan on bringing an escort, which I don't recommend on first time shoots, make the photographer believe you are going to bring an escort.
DO YOUR RESEARCH. Google is your friend! If you've never heard of a photographer or they don't have hundreds of tagged models in their social media portfolios, find out why. The best publicity is to tag people. The ones that don't, don't want you contacting these girls for one of many reasons. Some being legit, but others being vile and deceiving.
Predators are smarter than you. Or at least they think so. The game they play, is one they play over and over and over. They're good at it, and have failed enough to know what works, and what doesn't. Again, I stress... If it seems too good to be true, or fishy in the least... IT IS!
Touching is never okay! Those who say it is, are self serving perverts! You draw the line on what you are comfortable with, and you should NEVER let someone push your boundaries in order to "make it."
I wrote this addendum because I heard some alarming information about a local photographer who's contacted quite a few ladies I know. He hides behind a false persona of a gay foreigner. He preys on the inexperienced, and pushes for what he wants with a complete disregard for the girl's wishes. He builds the girls up for a month or so making sure they've put a lot of thought into the shoot. Then at the last minute, when he has them one on one, springs things on them in a way that makes it hard and very awkward to say no. All the while making empty promises, and building up false hopes. He shows images he promised would be private in an effort to talk others into doing the same things he pushed for with the model before. This is the kind of predatory behavior that gives all photographers a bad reputation, and people like him make me sick to my stomach. I feel it necessary to do something about it, but am unsure of what. I hate that he is taking advantage of inexperienced girls with a dream to make it big.
The photos below are people I had never worked with prior to the shoot these were taken in. A little of what you can expect in a portfolio session.