By Michele Smith
Facebook – MicheleSmithMarketing

For any photographer, working on a photo shoot with models can be exhilarating, but at the same time, the countless phone calls, comp cards and last minute changes can send any photographer into a panic. The key here is to effectively prep for the photo shoot and be prepared to expect the unexpected. After all, this is all part of the fun and exciting world of working with models.

The first step every photographer needs to take is create a realistic plan and this means a realistic timeline leading up to the photo shoot. Allow for plenty of time to select the models and if working for a team, securing team approval. When working with a modeling agency, ask for comp cards and then make an appointment to go see the models you are considering for the shoot prior to the scheduled day. All photographers should tell the models what they should specifically wear the day of the shoot, as well as specify if they need a couple of changes of clothing. Also, it is very important to inform the models to arrive at the photo shoot “clean”, meaning no makeup and clean hair.  If you are a photographer working with a designer who is providing clothing, you need to ask the designer to bring back up wardrobe choices.

It is also important to always have a backup plan (this is where expecting the unexpected comes into play). Unfortunately, sometimes models just do not show up for whatever reason and to save the shoot you need to have backup models on standby. When working with children, it is very important to have two backups on set for each of your first choices. Children can be unpredictable and have short attention spans, so it is important to plan for breaks every 20-30 minutes. This way you will not lose the interest of the child talent.

Using professional agencies is also a way to expedite prep time before your photoshoot, however you will be looking at a charge anywhere between 20-25% for the talent and services. The benefit of working with an agency is that you are working with a pre-vetted group of talent and as a photographer you simply need to tell the agency what you are looking for (height, weight, age, etc.). The agency will also save time for photographers, as they will contact the talent, schedule and make sure that the models are professionally trained.

Another route some photographers take to prep for a model shoot is to find talent on their own. While this can be a time-consuming process, there are choices in lieu of using a professional agency. If you are a photographer in a major metropolitan area, you have an even better chance of finding models who are eager to work. Options include calling local modeling schools, placing an ad on an online platform like Craigslist, or even scouting on your own. Kate Moss was actually discovered in JFK airport.