I know I’ve not posted in the last couple of weeks and that’s just been because I’ve not been motivated to write anything and just been concentrating on getting some portrait shoots done.
I feel in the mood now to write again, and while I have been getting shoots booked in and completed I thought it would be a good topic to talk about. I struggled to get regular shoots booked to build up my portfolio and I gathering that you have struggled or are currently struggling too
Asking someone to model
The first step is asking someone to model for you, when I first started I really struggled in this area, I think everyone does. Yes you can get friends and family and that’s very important but there comes a time when you need todo shoots with complete strangers. Thats how paid shoots will be and not only that from my experience so far I’ve learnt a lot more during these shoots than with people I already knew as I feel I have to deliver, so I concentrate and try harder subconsciously.
So what is currently working for me to get models? I just DM people on Instagram that are in my area and that I think might be up for doing a shoot. Don’t just message anyone and everyone. Be selective and then it will work better for both parties involved if it comes to happen.
After finding someone I would like to shoot I’ll just send a polite message asking how they are and if they would be interested in collaborating. For your first shoots and especially if your approaching them first then you shouldn’t be asking for money in my opinion. If someone approaches you or when you have a big enough and good enough portfolio then that’s a different matter. But we are on about the “first” shoot. So if they respond and are interested let them know what it is that you exactly want and that it is all free.
Being a collaboration the only thing I ask for is that I can use the images on my website and social media accounts. They get all the final edited images for free in return. That way both you and the model are getting something valuable out of this. Not just practice.
Carry a little diary around with you or use the one that’s in your phone. If and when you get someone who agrees to model for you then try and book them in for the golden hour times or atleast in a time that the light will be what you want. Then write it down in your calendar so that you don’t forget and can keep track of your shoots. I have only recently been doing this and I wish I was from the start. It’s such a help and keeps you in order.
This one for me is abit easier than it might be for you, depending on what sort of portraits you want todo? For me I want it to be a “true” portrait of the model. So I let them dress and do there make up how they want as that’s how they naturally would do it and that suits me. So I just let them know this before hand so they can decide for themselves. If you want to style the model more then make sure you get this done and planned out ahead of time so your not rushing around on the shoot.
Find a location that challenges you but not too much for your first time. I started of at a place I knew well so I could flow through the shots more seamlessly and easier. But I try not to shoot in the same location more than once. Atleast until you’ve done a few shoots. I find that choosing a challenging location makes me be more creative and makes me work harder for the shot. Which is very good in the long run as you wont always have that much control over the location you’re shooting in.
So for your first shoot, chose a location you know well and are confident you can get a few decent spots to shoot.
I mainly use Instagram to get my inspiration. I only follow people who’s work I really like and then when I’ve chosen my location I’ll scroll through my feed and if I see a certain pose or something that would suit my location then I’ll save that to a collection for that particular location. Sometimes I’ll read books or listen to music too but most of my portrait inspiration comes from Instagram.
This is one of my favourite and biggest tips.
When you have made a collection of poses for inspiration you can use this to show to the model when on location too. This not only triggers your creativity but it helps illustrate how you want them to pose too. Which is a big help especially if they have little to no experience modelling. Try this one out. You will love it and use it forever!
When you’re on the shoot my biggest tip is to just chat and make you and the model comfortable with each other. This will help break down any walls or nerves that there will be. Just go with the flow and how you both feel. Don’t rush through shots. Take your time, don’t worry if you only end up getting a few good shots. It’s better to only shoot a few frames but get it right then shoots loads that are all wrong.
Most importantly just have FUN!
Lately review how the shoot went and where you did well and where you could improve. Remember this is a journey. So always be looking at what you can improve on but don’t forget to look back at what you did well as that will help spur you on to the next one and so on.
I hope this helps you.
If it does let me know what you found most helpful in the comments below?
Don’t Follow paths, Create Them!