The Model/Photographer Relationship

  • Freya Hill

Getting on with an entire team is crucial but there’s no relationship quite as important as the photographer and model’s. Despite the hair-stylists, make-up artists, set designers etc playing a vital role in the production of a photo, if a model and photographer don’t respect one another, the pictures will be weak. Trust us when we say this, we’ve seen it happen many times over our twelve years of practice.

In this blog we want to cover some of the basics rules of working with a photographer, what you can do to make your pictures better and what we don’t recommend you do until you get back home!

photographer 1

As soon as you arrive on set, make sure you introduce yourself to the photographer (if someone hasn’t already organised the introductions). Remember this is the person who will be taking your photographs so act positive, engage with them and smile. Try and catch their name so if you need to get their attention on set you can, and listen closely to what they say as they (along with the creative director, if there is one) will be the one all-knowledgeable about the day. If it is their own shoot they will have ideas they want to explore and if they are working for someone else they will have been briefed and given targets to meet. On the day of the shoot the photographer is your boss so listening and taking on board what they say is really important.

It’s easy for us to list lots of dos and don’ts but we need to remember that all photographers are human so each one will have a slightly different working style. It’s for that reason that we say if you can mirror your photographer’s approach you are more likely to create great pictures together. We’re not expecting you to change your personality depending on who you’re working with but if you sense your photographer is a really chatty worker, talk to them as they are to you, have fun and let your personality shine. If they’re a serious photographer, think about toning it down a little. They key here is to work with the photographer, not against them.

photographer 2

As the model, we must also emphasize how important it is to trust the eye of a photographer. We appreciate that you are the person practicing poses every day and who knows your body better than anyone, but the photographer is the one at the end of the camera who can see what the picture will look like. If you are told to tilt your head slightly, to move your left leg in front of the other, to look lustfully into the camera, do so. They are telling you to do this because it will work. Trust in their skill and work with them.

photographer 3

The final aspect of a photographer-model relationship is based on each other’s commitment to the job. If a photographer has working kit, a professional attitude and is confident photographing models, it will put you at ease and help you to relax. If you arrive on set with your hair and skin ready to be worked on, a good set of pose ideas in your head and an enthusiastic mindset, you will be a joy for the photographer. If you are both taking the job seriously, the results are set to be good.

photographer 4

On a slightly negative note, it goes without saying that photographers and models should never express their dislike for one another on set. If you are finding a particular person hard to work with, try to grin and bare it and next time you are offered work with them, politely turn it down.

The rules broken down

  • Be positive. After all, first impressions are everything.
  • Engage. Act interested. Look like you want to be there!
  • Relax. Work with the photographer and trust what they are telling you.
  • Respect the photographer’s judgement and be happy to take their advice.
  • A committed model and photographer will make a great team.
  • Don’t let a bad relationship affect the shot.

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Posted by Freya Hill

Freya is been writing for many years on fashion and modelling. Her hands are a bit too wrinkly for a 23 year old and she has worked with MTV, New Look and Vauxhall Fashion Scout.