As a model there will be times when you have to hire a photographer for a shoot. When this occurs it is usually because a model needs to update his/her portfolio or may need to have a certain type of photo/image in order to submit to castings. Whatever the reason is, I have decided to do a post to list some helpful tips to make your photographer search simpler and easier to handle. You definitely want to have a good experience so instead of searching blindly for someone, you'll want to make note of the following tips.
Know What You Want. Before even attempting to find a photographer you should know exactly what you want and that goes beyond just saying you need someone to take pictures for your portfolio. The more detail you can pass on to potential photographers, the better the odds are of you finding the right one for the job. Make sure you can answer the following questions:
* Who are you? (Potential photographers should know whether you are a freelance model, a new model in need of photos to send to agencies, or an agency represented model. Make sure to state whether you are underage age or not.)
* What is the shoot for? (Updating your portfolio? Creating a portfolio? Pictures to submit to an agency or specific client? Just for fun?)
* What kind of shoot is it? (Commercial/print? Boudoir? High fashion? Lingerie? Swimwear? Glamour?)
* What ideas do you have for the shoot? (Because you are the one in need of a photographer, you should have some idea of what images you want. If you're new and aren't sure, then state this in your casting and possibly find online images you can use as references for the type of pictures you would like.)
* What do you need from the photographer and what are you expecting afterwards? (Do they need to have a studio with lighting equipment? Are you shooting outdoors with natural lighting? Are you in need of a CD with all the images? Prints? Only certain, retouched images?)
* Are you paying the photographer or are you looking for a test shoot or TFP/TFCD? (You can worry about rates and how much to pay a photographer once you've started contacting them.)
* Date/Time/Location of the Shoot
When you have all this information sorted out, you'll be able to properly start looking for a photographer. You can worry about outfits, hair, and makeup after you've chosen a photographer. If you are underage, your parents need to help you with this part of the process for obvious reasons.
There are a few ways to go about finding a photographer. If you don't want to deal with the Internet just yet, look around you and see if there are any friends, family members or people local to you that are into photography. Stay away from places like Glamour Shots or The Picture People in the mall. Such companies are not appropriate for modeling shoots. Photography students are a possibility but you should stick to professional photographers with proven portfolios and an extensive amount of experience.
If you decide to search online for a local photographer, I would recommend avoiding anonymous sites like Craig's List. Period. Instead, do a search for photographers in your city and state. See what photographer websites come up and visit them to see if you like their work and if they have experience in the type of images you need (if you're looking for a fashion photographer, then don't consider photographer websites that specialize in lingerie or commercial/print). Get the contact information from the website and contact the photographer with your request for a shoot. Some photographers use social networking sites like Myspace or Facebook to showcase their photography business, which is also acceptable but official websites should definitely be considered before these.
Another way to find a photographer online is to post a casting on sites like Model Mayhem. I mention this site often in my blog because I've had really good experiences and so far find it much more user-friendly than other sites. Plus it's free, which is always nice. Sites like Model Mayhem have a casting section where you can not only look for modeling work, you can also post your own casting. This option will require you to write out your casting and state what you are looking for, as well as the nature of your shoot. If you're seeking out this option, answering the questions I listed earlier will be helpful in assisting you with writing the casting. Be professional and avoid typos, grammatical errors, etc. Please do not type with all caps or use slang or a crazy typing style LyKE tHiZ. It's annoying and a quick way to be disregarded by professional photographers. Fill out at much info as you can in the form fields and try to keep your casting call short. Instead of posting your phone number, use an email instead. Aside from the email address, photographers interested in your casting will automatically be able to reply to your casting directly so there will be ways they can reach you. For safety reasons, it's best to arrange a meeting before hiring them officially for your shoot. Always make sure you have viewed their portfolio and ask for model references if needed. These all help to make sure that you not only find the right photographer but that you'll have a good working relationship with him/her.
One thing you'll want to know and understand--this is mostly if you're new to the modeling industry--is that photography is a whole different beast than modeling. There are different requirements that photographers have to deal with than you as a model. Be respectful of their profession. They don't work for you, they work with you. Also, realize that it takes many photos to get just a handful of good ones. That's the truth. It amuses me to see people hiring photographers and state that they only want about 4-5 good pictures so they expect the shoot to take 30 minutes to one hour. That could be possible, if you wanted crappy pictures. When it comes to modeling shoots, there is no such thing. From test shoots to professional shoots for clients, it takes hundreds of images in order to find maybe 5-10 that are usable--seriously! So be realistic about the time commitment. Depending on how many outfits you have, locations, etc, you may need a photographer for 2 hours minimum. Photography is not about taking one picture per pose. In order to get the best results you have to take multiple pictures of the same pose. You'd be surprised by how the little changes in seemingly similar photos can make a difference.
When hiring a photographer you want to have not only a great experience but great photos. By taking the time to plan and search for the right photographer, you'll have excellent images for your portfolio every time.