Photo Credit: Briana Rambo
Hello! I have been an artistic model since 2012. Almost a decade later, not only is modeling my passion, but my profession as well! I’m here to share with you what I consider to be the most important things I’ve learned about being a model in the hopes that others will benefit from what I have learned.
CHOOSING PEOPLE TO WORK WITH
Photo Credit: Anna Jaskolska
When it comes to choosing the right photographers and models to work with, a lot of learning takes place in getting out there and experiencing the community in your area. That said, I want to share some pointers and red flags for selecting people to work with that I have learned from my own experience and that of others. I want to preface the following section with the statement that harm is the fault of the person who chooses to inflict the harm, not the person who experiences it. There is no infallible way to prevent all harm and bad intention, all we can do is our best to stay safe. Without further ado, here are my guidelines for selecting photographers to work with.
Whenever I consider a new photographer, particularly if they approach me first, I always ask them for references I can contact personally. I need to be able to speak directly to people who have worked with the photographer so I can ask how they felt about their work as well as their conduct. Another very important topic I discuss with any photographer I consider working with is that I want to bring a person I know and trust to any shoot I do with them. Generally, this person is referred to as a chaperone. Please note! If a photographer has a problem with providing references or bringing a chaperone, that is a MAJOR RED FLAG. There is no good reason to have a problem with either of those requirements. NONE. For safety’s sake, always bring a chaperone when you are in a new modeling situation, as well as letting people know where you are going and who will be involved, especially in a new modeling situation.
On a less dire note, I also always look through a photographer’s previous work before I agree to work with them because I want to make sure I like their editing and their style. Furthermore, if they credit their models in their portfolio, which they should, you will also be able to find references as well as fellow models that are likely in your area this way, which is a great way to network.
Once you have found people to work with, both photographers and models, it is important to set forth some agreed terms such as where and how photos will be used, who will have access to raw and edited photos, how photos will be credited by those who use them, and any fees anyone desires to charge. I recommend setting these terms in writing unless you are working with trusted friends.
PLANNING A PHOTOSHOOT
Photo credit: Anna Jaskolska
Every great piece of art starts with an idea, but anyone who has created knows that the idea is the easiest part. The real challenge comes with bringing that idea to life. When you are planning a shoot, you need a few key elements to be successful; a photographer able to capture the vision, a setting with props, the right outfit, and of course, the model(s). I know all of that may sound overwhelming, particularly if you are on a budget, but take heart. Creativity and resourcefulness go a long way. The following are some basic tips for making your photoshoot ideas into realities:
- Learn to sew! Being able to alter or even make your own outfit and set pieces will not only save you money, but enable you to get closer to your vision
- Don’t underestimate the great outdoors. Sunlight and outdoor settings make shooting a breeze, but make sure you visit your desired location before the shoot so you know what time of day you want to be shooting
- It doesn’t have to be real, it just has to look real in the photo. Get creative when it comes to building sets and props. Use things you have on hand and bust out the glue gun and the paintbrush!
- Networking is your friend and a great way to make friends. From finding other models to work with to accessing shoot locations, connecting with other people in your industry will help you succeed!
PREPARATION FOR A SHOOT
Photo Credit: Tygerheart
- Eat healthily! I eat salads, fruits like apples, oranges, and avocados, and proteins like chicken, fish, and nuts! I also avoid highly greasy, salty, or sugary foods and things that make me feel bloated
- Drink plenty of water
- Beauty maintenance like getting your hair trimmed or nails done
- Makeup and outfit tests for my shoot idea
- Get good sleep
- Maintain my workout routine
- DON’T starve yourself. Please!!!! You are perfect as you are and you know very well that any weight you lose by starving yourself is going to come back with a vengeance as your body panics and starts to store to offset the deprivation. I know self-love is easier said than done, and if you are struggling with body image issues, I hope you find that modeling makes you feel beautiful inside and out just as you are.
- Don’t make drastic changes to your skincare routine in the weeks before a shoot
- Don’t pick at your acne!! Editing can easily remove a pimple but not always a huge swollen mess, and you’ll only make it worse!
- Don’t get sunburned! You don’t want to have to deal with tanlines and peeling skin during a shoot.
PACKING FOR A SHOOT
The following is my basic go-to list for what I bring to a shoot! I have a special small suitcase I use for shoots. It is easy to move around without struggle due to the wheels, and it keeps my things safe and secure instead of risking getting squished.
- After shoot snack
- Baby wipes, Q-tips, paper towels, tissues
- Makeup kit, generally all makeup I used just in case but at the very least lipstick and concealer
- Outfits for the shoot, generally 2-4 with backup panties
- Accessories like petplay gear, jewelry, and shoes
- Small mirror
- Comfortable clothes to wear to and from the shoot
- Climate prep items for outdoor shoots, such as an umbrella
- Medicine you may need such as an inhaler or pain reliever
- Small beauty failsafes such as pasties, beauty tape, and safety pins
- Deodorant and/or perfume
DURING THE SHOOT
Your first couple of shoots may feel awkward, but don’t worry! It’s okay to need to get used to being in front of the camera. The best photographers coach you while shooting, and even as an experienced model I gratefully accept coaching to make sure I get the best photos. Do your best to relax and focus so that tension doesn’t show in your face and body, and have fun! The following tips are very valuable, but I want to stress that the best thing you can do is get yourself out there and try it!
Photo credit: Anna Jaskolska
- During a shoot, try to move slightly every few shots to make sure to get a variety of photos from your shoot. That can mean trying a new expression, angling your head differently, moving your legs, arms, and hands, or fully changing your pose.
- Pointing your feet does wonders to make your legs look amazing and elevate your pose!
- Be conscious of how you are holding your shoulders and back, as your posture will set the tone of your entire pose
- Practice in front of a mirror to see what poses you like and how they feel so you can replicate them later
Photo credit: Anna Jaskolska
- Don’t stick to just one expression! Bust out of your comfort zone!
- Instead of thinking about trying to make a specific face, do your best to think of the feeling you’re trying to express itself. For example, if you want to make a sensual expression, think of a sexual experience you enjoyed or a person you want to seduce. This will really take your facial expressions to the next level!
- Just like with poses, practice facial expressions in the mirror so you know what you like and how it feels
- If you feel awkward or stumped, be silly! Make a silly face at the camera to help yourself loosen up and bring out some giggles and genuine smiles!
Photo Credit: Anna Jaskolska
In my near decade of modeling, these are the basics I have personally found to be the most valuable and applicable to most of my shoots. I’m still learning more all the time! I love talking with my fellow models and sharing our knowledge and experiences, working together to bring each other up and create amazing artwork. In the spirit of that goal, I am happy to share these tips with my fellow kittens and our lovely Chateau patrons in the hopes that I can help other models create and achieve!