The Five Dos and Don'ts of Photographing Models

When you're working with models (or anyone really), there are certain things you should keep in mind, both to make the shoot go smoothly and successfully and to ensure that proper boundaries are established and everyone involved feels comfortable and respected. Here are five dos and don't of photographing models.

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this helpful video will give you a good foundation for shooting with models (most of the tips readily apply to normal clients as well). For me, one of the most helpful points was essentially creating a good, fun vibe while you're working. I'm almost always talking or conversing with the subject and trying to project good energy during a shoot. If conversation is tough, I always have a few canned topics or lines ready to liven the atmosphere a bit, and I find they make a big difference in getting the expressions I'm looking for, and they always make the experience more enjoyable for my subject. If you really want to perfect your interactions with models on set, be sure to check out "Peter Hurley: Perfecting the Headshot," where the master himself will walk you through the process.

[via DIY Photography]

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Elan Govan's picture

Enjoyed listening to those two.....

Alex Cooke's picture

Right!? They're great together.

Simon Patterson's picture

Sadly, although thankfully not the majority, many men *are* perverts. It seems to be an unfortunate reality the world over.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Oh, yes, please feel sorry and appologise for all MANkind... :)

Simon Patterson's picture

I'll pass, thanks. 😆

Anonymous's picture

Perversion aside, some people just don't like to be touched. I'm an older man and would never assume anyone was interested in me that way but, anyone touches me without permission... life will take a sudden, dramatic turn for the worse for them. I kid you not! :-/

Anonymous's picture

It's sadder that practically every working model I've ever worked with has had one or more negative experiences with photographers ranging from simply creepy to downright scary.

Anonymous's picture

Look at statistics of men who commit violence against women vs. women who commit violence against men and tell me if it's even close. (hint: it's not)

Anonymous's picture

Not necessarily. If I walk up to you on the street and caress your rear end I'm pretty sure you'd feel assaulted. There's a wide range.

There's two ways to look at it. We can blame the victims of sexual violence for not being more magnanimous or we can blame men for committing so much sexual violence.

Anonymous's picture

It happens far too much. You said you've had women grab your ass, but that's not a good comparison unless the women were 400lb weight lifters your mothers age. Then you might feel differently.

Most models are aged 18-22 and size 0-2. Most photographers are middle aged and quite often 50lbs overweight. The models don't want to be touched. If it's absolutely necessary, just ask first. Don't assume it's okay. That's all this is saying.

I saw a movie from the 80's where a guy gives his incoherently drunk girlfriend to another guy to have sex with in his dad's car. It was called Sixteen Candles.

We're learning to be better humans.

Anonymous's picture

Well that's something you as a person who doesn't wake up every day worrying about sex assault might naturally think. The stats are about 1 in 6 women in the US will be raped at least once in their lifetime. It's a very real anxiety for a lot of money. So out of politeness, the article is advocating we don't touch them without asking in acknowledgement of the realities of their lives. You feel more sorry for yourself than you do women who live with these realities. Think about that.

Anonymous's picture

I'm sure women will appreciate you telling them the best way to live as a woman. You should write a book.

Fritz Asuro's picture

The "always praise the model" thing. I guess it depends. I've met more models who prefer to know if they're doing it right. And you don't wanna spoil your model thinking he/she's doing alright even though they're not.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

I think "good, now let's try..." approach could be nice middle ground.

Le sashimi's picture

In my line of work, when the result is not up to standards (or just plain sh), you're just told so (and left happy you're not fired). Guess models are fragile drama queens...

Anonymous's picture

Nice video! I especially liked the point on not being so serious. When doing portraits, I get the subject laughing even before I pick up my camera. Fixing lights, moving background elements...everything is an opportunity to joke around. When doing my lighting tests, I purposely get them to goof off and make "faces". Even though it's not the goal, they often like these shots more than the real thing.

Derek Madge's picture

" I know I'm cute!". Lol, not going to disagree.

I am just an enthusiastic amateur and will never work with professional or semi professional models but it is interesting to see this back and forth between photographer and model and husband and wife.