I kid you not when I say that modeling is not always glamorous–whether it is high fashion or a commercial/print shoot. For those that have never been on the set of a photoshoot before, there may be some things that surprise you, namely how long and boring the down time in between shooting can be.
If you think that a modeling shoot means arriving, getting hair and makeup done, getting dressed, posing for the camera and then going home…that’s only the bare bones. Most don’t account for the time it takes for the crew to get the location setup, the time needed to change looks and other factors. For many shoots the actual time spent in front of the camera is less than the time you spend standing around waiting for everything to be ready.
For those that have zero patience and/or expect things to happen right away so that you can be somewhere else, this aspect of being a model will greatly disappoint you. Even for shoots that are typically shorter in nature, you can still expect to have some down time where you aren’t able to do anything. Even if you arrive early and are ready with your hair, makeup and outfit, if the photographer isn’t ready or if the location or set isn’t just right, guess what? You’ll have to wait.
Signs of experienced models on set include those that are tucked away in corners reading a book, surfing the Web on their phones or even doing homework. While such activities are typically not recommended for attending go-sees and castings, photoshoots are a different story. It is always a good idea to bring something that will occupy your time while waiting for the action to start.
I often have friends express interest in tagging along to one of my shoots and I have to explain to them that my reason for not allowing it isn’t personal…I’m truly saving them from dying of boredom! Sure, in the beginning it is cool and enticing to witness but after a while, especially in between shooting, the experience is anything but fun. I once had my cousin fall asleep in the corner of the studio during the entire shoot!
It is important to realize that photoshoots are not just for the purpose of having fun in front of the camera. It is a business process for all those involved. It takes time to get a studio setup just right. It takes time to make sure all of the equipment is functioning properly and accounted for. It takes time to test the lights and make sure that it is producing just the right look that the client wants.
It takes time to get a model ready for hair, makeup and wardrobe–especially if the next look is completely different. For shoots on-location it takes even more time and waiting around to get the ideal conditions, lighting, weather and element needed for the shoot to go off without a hitch.
So what is a model that is eager to get to work supposed to do in this situation? Find something to occupy yourself with while keeping an eye on what’s going on. If there are other models on set, that’s a plus because then at least you’ll have someone to talk to to pass the time. I love being able to make new friends with the models I’m working with or if I’m solo, I’ll get a good book or word search to keep me busy. Even during the times when I should be or am a little bored, I’m still excited because, hey, I’m still getting paid for it!
The biggest “don’t” in this situation is to complain. “Hurry up and wait” is a saying that is commonly used in both the acting and modeling field and the sooner you come to accept what that means, the easier your job will be (even if you’re bored in the process lol).