I am writing this as a fashion designer ( http://www.anatomicbomb.com ) who works with models regularly and who is often asked to lend clothes for shoot. I’m not saying I’m an expert on modeling by any means, but here are a few points which will be important to you at some time.
I am aiming this mainly at amateur/ alternative/ pin-up/ fetish models.
BE COPYRIGHT AND CREDITS SAVVY
Remember that the copyright of photos always belong to the photographer unless written otherwise in a contract.
You can pay for the studio, models, clothes, stylists, even the photographer himself but unless you have a contract saying that you will own or part own the copyright, it will still automatically belong to him (unfair as this may seem).
A contract to change this can be written even in email form which states that the copyright will be shared equally between eg photographer/ model/ clothes designer etc. or solely for eg model/ clothes designer only.
If you agreed to always give the photographer/ clothing company/ make-up artist, etc a credit when using the photos then you must always do this. If you give the pictures to a eg website/ magazine and they don’t want to give these people credits then the website/ magazine cannot use the pictures- simple. Magazines will more than likely say no to credits when you first ask for them but you must insist on them or else legally the magazine should not be using the pictures.
You must abide by the contract you agreed whether you are disgruntled by this later on or not. Even an agreement by email can be used as a legal document and you are breaking a contract by not abiding by its terms.
I know clothing companies/ photographers/ make-up artists etc who look at models’ portfolios and if they see the models are lax on giving credits on their pictures then they have nothing to do with them. It isn’t worth their time and money making you look good only to be given no acknowledgement afterwards.
Some models complain “But they don’t give me a credit!” The answers to this are:
1) Your face is in the picture. It’s easy to see it is you.
2) If it wasn’t agreed in the initial contract they don’t have to. If it was agreed in the contract they do have to.
You may be asked to sign a release form by the photographer. Don’t blindly sign this as they all have different terms. This should say who can use the photos after the shoot and under what conditions (eg model can use photos but only on her own website. They are not to be to be used on any other website).
It may also say if they are going to be sold on later and who earns the money from these.
It may be best to ask the photographer before the shoot day whether there will be a release form to sign and ask to see a copy so you can go over it and thrash out terms and conditions before the day of the shoot.
Aim for perfection in your appearance. I know this may sound obvious to most but some models will even do a shoot with a hole in their stockings or their hair roots need dyed. Maybe they don’t think it matters or hope the photographer will do photo-shop on it after wards but this is a very bad attitude.
If you can do your own make-up and hair, photographers will love you. Practice a few make-up looks to perfection. Have at least 1 properly styled hairdo in your repertoire (not just a ponytail).
Bring along a few pairs of shoes which will match different outfits (especially if you have smaller or bigger feet than average).
If your skin is not perfect then use body make-up. (allow body make-up time to dry thoroughly before putting on your clothes or it might stain). Nude tights are a good cover-up.
If you are wearing stockings or tights bring a few pairs in case of runs.
If you are having a bad facial skin day consider that it may be better to call off or postpone the shoot. (discuss it with your photographer first) People can be understanding that way so don’t be embarrassed.
If you change your hair colour or style you MUST let the team you are working with know.
-I have made whole sets of clothes to suit a blonde only to find she has changed her hair to pink.I didn’t want a pink haired model- I wanted a blonde for that particular shoot. This kind of scenario has happened a few times to me and is a real waste of time.
-some backgrounds don’t suit certain hair colours eg it’s not great to shoot black hair against a black backdrop.
PHOTO SIZES & QUALITY
When you are sending out photos by email to tout yourself make sure they are low resolution and medium sized. I have had photos sent to me which take about 10 minutes to download because the file sizes are huge. Also, I’ve received pictures where I need to scroll down 2 screens to see the top to the bottom of the photo.
If you don’t understand about this subject then learn. You don’t want to irritate people as soon as they have clicked on your email.
Often emails will be the only point of contact between me and a model. Try to come across well in these.
If you have written an email which is 10 lines long, consider the fact you may need a full stop or a comma at some point. Please use Spellcheck and grammar check when sending emails. Some native english speaking models send emails that look like they only know Swahili. It doesn’t make a good impression. I’m not being a snob but it makes the model look stupid or she is not that bovvered. Stupid, unbovvered models don’t look after clothes, don’t read contracts etc.
Equally, don’t sign emails with nonsense like “Sparkles and Glitter’. Save that for your audience. I am thinking of entering into a contract with you or sending expensive clothes to you. I don’t want to do this with a bimbo.
Change the subject line of the email when you change the subject of the email. No-one I correspond with does this but it is really irritiating.
Photographers, fashion designers, etc can be busy people and receive loads of emails every day. If you don’t receive a reply don’t be disheartened. I think it is fair to send another email in a few months time to jolt their memory if they haven’t responded or have shown some interest but with no follow-up.
Don’t also bombard them with messages on Facebook, myspace, twitter etc. If they haven’t got time to answer 1 email, they won’t have time to answer 1 email and several messages on networking sites and your calls and text messages.
Don’t make people have to log into myspace, join a new website, etc to be able to see pictures of you. Make it super easy for them to do so.
Don’t set your social networking sites to private !!! (why do models do this? If you don’t want your day job or your parents or whatever to find your profile then keep it public but keep your real name off it)
BORROWING CLOTHES FROM SHOPS OR DESIGNERS
If you want to borrow clothes for a shoot then here are a few recommendations:
1) Give the company enough time to source them/ make them. Keep in mind the time for postage or courier.
2) Generally the clothing company pays for postage to you and you pay for postage back. (especially if you asked to borrow them in the first place). Don’t be asking them to pay for taxes incurred at your end if you asked for the clothes.
3) Save the fantasy vital statistics for your website and give us your correct measurements please.
4) Don’t be greedy. Don’t send a page long shopping list of items you want for free. Don’t be asking for the most expensive things they sell or for new designs to be made for you until you have developed a good relationship with the designer or shop.
5) Be careful with make-up/ hairsprays/ food etc getting on the clothes and ruining them. If the make-up artist is not taking care of the clothes then you have to. Wear a cape or towel over your shoulders while doing make-up.
6) If you ruin the clothes or lose them you have to pay for them. The companies may not ask for full payment but they are within their rights to ask so don’t get angry with them if they do so. If you can’t afford to pay to replace them an offer to make it up somehow and a genuine apology can go a long way.
Don’t say to the photographer “How shall I stand? What shall I do with my hands?” It annoys them and quite rightly so. He can guide you but he needs some starting positions from you.
Yes, it’s cheesy and you don’t have to let anyone know but you should practice your poses in a mirror before shoots. Practice your body poses and facial expressions.
If people don’t want to work with you please don’t take this is a personal insult. It may just be that they don’t have appropriate shoots coming up for you or your look doesn’t suit their style. It doesn’t mean they think you have a bad look, it just isn’t a suitable look for them at that time.
Or, as is often the case with alternative models, they are not a standard size for clothing samples and the company are too busy to make new samples for models they don’t know for pictures they may never receive.
Or you may have a look which distracts from the clothes (eg tattoos, too outrageous a hairstyle, boobs too big) which some companies deem to be not good attributes for a fashion model. Companies want their products to shine through the most.
I know it can be upsetting to get a ‘No Thanks’ email but instead of using your energies to get upset, use them to spur you on to get great pictures elsewhere and make them eat their ‘No Thanks’!
HAPPY MODELING! xxx