Sunday, September 05, 2010

Photographer/Model Etiquette

Etiquette is a code of social behavior generally accepted by a society, a social class, or a group.

Photographers constitute a group and, as such, have additional codes of acceptable behaviors. It includes many of the same ideas about acceptable social behaviors as put forth by society at large -- although it's not always evident when reading through more than a few photography forum threads -- and also includes a few unique codes, i.e., unique to photographers.

Glamour photographers are, of course, a smaller group within the group known as photographers. Glamour photographers, like all groups, have a few more codes of behavior that are considered acceptable by the overall group. Much like the acceptable behaviors of many groups, codes of etiquette amongst photographers, glam shooters or otherwise, are not strictly adhered to by everyone.

I'm not going to get preachy. I'm not going to go all "P-C" on everyone. I'm not going to pretend I've never broken the acceptable rules of etiquette amongst photographers, pretty girl shooters or otherwise. But I am aware of these "rules" and I try to regularly practice them, especially when working with models.

My ebook, Guerrilla Glamour, in the chapter I called "Glamour Girls," talks about "Model Etiquette." Actually, it talks about a whole lot of things as they pertain to working with models -- finding models, directing models, interacting with models, posing them, getting attitude and expression out of them and more -- "etiquette" is just one of them.

In addition to the simple appropriateness of engaging in acceptable social behaviors when working with models, engaging in proper etiquette often yields dividends: When models are relaxed and aren't wondering what's really going on in a shooter's head, they work harder at giving you more of what you need to snap killer shots!

Since lists seem to be so popular on many photography blogs, especially those that include tips on capturing better images, I thought I'd steal from my ebook and post a few of those photographer/model rules of etiquette -- leastwise, abbreviated versions of them -- here for this update.

1. Don't Touch the Models: Like signs at zoos that read, “Don't Feed the Animals,” I sometimes think there should be signs on sets that read, “Don't Touch the Models.” Just because you might be paying a model to pose for you doesn't mean she's agreed to let you get all touchy-feely with her.

2. Avoid Intimate Talk: While photographing glamour might sometimes feel somewhat intimate, perhaps more so when the model is naked, it's not an intimate situation in the normal sense of the word. Just because you're comfortable speaking in a fairly intimate way with models doesn't mean they are comfortable hearing it.

3. Give Models Their Space: Violating people's air space makes many of them uncomfortable. Models are people. Give them their space. Don't hover or intrude too closely. If you need to get in close to get the shot, do so, then back away.

4. Shooting Sets Aren't Libraries or Funeral Parlors: Keeping things too quiet, whether it's a result of your silence or a lack of music or ambient noise, tends to make models less than comfy.

5. Be Aware of Your Demeanor: When your demeanor appears low-key or noticeably less than up-beat, many models, perhaps most, will assume, right or wrong, it has something to do with them.

If you want to read more about working with models, as well as a whole lot more about shooting glamour photography in general, you can purchase and instantly download my ebook, "Guerrilla Glamour," by clicking HERE.

The pretty girl at the top, hiding a few of her assets, is Jayme.


Kari Marie said...

Straightforward, and well-said. Speaking as a nude model, I appreciate you putting forth these general guidelines.

Michael Alphonse said...

Great advice ... love your work, style and advise! Peace ... Mike ... stop by sometime ...

John said...

More good advice - think I'm goin' have to break down and buy that ebook.