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How to Work With Models

By Michelle Ecker on September 18, 2018

How to Work With Models

The relatively solitude nature of photography is arguably one of the things that draws so many creatives to the field. For many, spending the day in nature taking wonderful photographs is a very relaxing personal exercise and a way to slow down and unwind. That being said, when it comes time to transition your photography talent from hobby to career, people skills are one of the most important facets of your workflow worth spending time on.

Working one-on-one with models and clients can be a little uncomfortable, especially if you’re a beginner. While you want to help your clients pose and work towards the most flattering shot, it can be hard to communicate instructions and advice in the middle of the session if you’re worried about saying the wrong thing or embarrassing/ offending the models.

While professional models might be more prepared and comfortable with a photographer-subject dynamic, regular clients are probably going to look to you to lead the session.

To put things at ease right off the bat, start by sharing your concept and ‘ideal shot’ goals with your subject(s). For example, if you’re doing a maternity shoot with a couple- but what you’re looking for is a more candid, intimate mood, let them know. That way, they’ll probably dive into the session with that in mind, and consciously pose less stiffly for example, as they try to contribute to that candid look you’ve already told them you want. The more you can communicate your ideas with them before you actually get behind the lens, the less correcting and directing you’ll have to do once things get underway.

How to Work With Models

Beyond that, it’s important to make sure your clients are as comfortable as possible before you begin. Let’s say you have your own personal studio for example, and the shoot in question is taking place there. When you’re chatting with your clients before getting started, ask them basic, courteous things such as if the temperature is comfortable.

While you might like the heat turned up on chilly autumn days inside, if your clients are uncomfortably warm and sweaty, they’re not going to feel (and consequentially look) their best as a result. Be mindful of the environment and adjust whatever necessary to prioritize the comfort of the ones being photographed.