Thursday, August 01, 2013

Can't Even Give Photography Away

The photography biz, at least from my perspective, has gotten so bad, is so in the toilet, you can't even give it away. I don't know if that's true for wedding shooters or those people photographing babies, kids, and seniors -- I rarely shoot that stuff -- but for a lot of other genres, perhaps most of them, things aren't looking rosy. In fact, if it was ever rosy, the metaphorical roses haven't simply wilted, they've dried and rotted.

Here's why I'm on a rant about this subject today: I need a few models for my next eBook. They don't need to be experienced. They don't need to be super-model material. They don't need to get undressed for my camera. (In fact, they won't be getting undressed for my camera. My next eBook, like the one I recently released, will be G-rated.) They just have to be willing to invest a few hours of their time in exchange for some pics. Probably some good pics. Possibly even a few of those Facebook "Amazing!" pics. Oh. Wait. Facebook "Amazing!" pics might not even be good pics. So, make that "Possibly even some terrific pics!"

I've tried contacting numerous "models" on Model Mayhem. I mean a bunch of them. Generally, I choose "models" who live fairly close to my home, within a 10 mile radius. (There's plenty of them on MM who list their locations within 10 miles of where I live. I mean plenty!)

I sometimes choose models who have photos in their MM portfolios that mostly suck or are "selfies" or whatever. That accounts for a lot of models, by the way. That criteria doesn't reduce my choices a whole lot.  Anyway, I often choose models with little to no experience -- not always but often enough -- and those who state they will pose for TFP or for "any" compensation. I choose models who claim they are really interested in adding to or building their portfolios. Apparently, I also choose models who aren't interested in responding to messages.

I would chalk this lack of responsiveness up to a few dipshit wannabees who are in love with the idea of saying they're models rather than doing anything that actually makes that self-adhered label true, but the thing is I've sent a lot of messages to a lot of models and out of all them, only two responded. Their responses claimed they were "very interested" in shooting with me... and that's the last time I heard from them in spite of me responding to their responses.

Okay. Fair enough. Fuck Model Mayhem's models. I'll look elsewhere.

So, I posted ads on Craigslist offering free head shots to actors or free portfolio shots for just about any other group of people whose career-hopes have something to do with getting in front of a camera at some point or another. I posted these ads in Craigslist's "Creative Services" section. Responses = Zero.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong? (I have no idea what that might be, but maybe I'm doing it... whatever "it" is.)  I think I'm going to resort to simply approaching total strangers. I'll bet that will yield better results than the internet. Either that or I'll pay a few models some minimum rate. Course, if I do that I won't share the images and, when we're shooting, I'll work them like they're model versions of Tennessee plow mules. Trust me. I know how to do that. Plenty of experience doing that.

The pretty girl at the top is Jennifer. (Click to enlarge.)  No problem getting Jennifer in front of my camera. She was getting paid to be a glamour model version of a Tennessee plow mule. (Actually, Jennifer is Hungarian, not a Tennessean, mule or otherwise... like that matters much.) 

ISO was 100, aperture f/8, shutter 1/85th sec. I was shooting with a couple of strobes, three of them actually, but I slowed my shutter down a bit to reveal more of what was outside the window.  For those of you still learning, not that we're all not still learning, remember this: When mixing daylight with flash, aperture controls the exposure from your flash and shutter controls the amount of ambient reaching the sensor. Shutter has no effect on the exposure generated by your strobe(s).

13 comments:

Jay Terry said...

It's the same everywhere, Jimmy, but it's also cyclical. Given the quality of your work, it's not you - it's them. The "pros and joes" argument applies across the board, especially with models. Cheers!

Unknown said...

As I was leaving I was getting a lot of that. I'd get a model 'VERY interested', talk to her a few times and make the appointment, drive from Northridge to Palmdale at the appointed time for her to not be home or tell me, oh, I didn't know you wanted stills and video....

Yippeee....


I feel your pain......

jimmyd said...

@unknown: Palmdale should have been your warning sign. ;-)

Anonymous said...

It's so wide spread! I think you are right - they want to say they are a model but do none.

Ed Selby said...

Same goddamn boat! I have been shooting for a regional biker/hot rod magazine, and I've been looking for models for a guaranteed photo feature in the magazine. Published! Tear sheet! Using the same resource as you I have posted a casting notice as well as trying to contact models directly only to have either no reply or replies from females who have been grossly misled about their photogenic level.

Of course, the level of talent on Model Mayhem hasn't been impressive lately either. And in the girls' defense, they do get hammered with requests from every jackass with a camera. It can become extraordinarily difficult to weed the scammers from the photographers.

Ashley Karyl said...

I reckon at least 95% of the girls on Model Mayhem aren't models in any real sense and have no real interest in becoming one. It's all a big ego trip so they can just point to a webpage...

In reality these sites are largely a waste of time for any professional photographer but I understand the frustration of dealing with that attitude.

Bill Giles said...

Pretty much the same thing that everyone else has said. The online modeling sites are full of people who don't even respond to possible jobs. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare.

Anonymous said...

You have access to countless models that have been nude in front of your camera. Won't any of them keep their clothes on for you?

jimmyd said...

@Anonymous: I ask myself the same question. But here's the rub: My access to them is contingent on paying them and they generally want to be paid a fair amount. Sure, I could ask a favor but, without money changing hands, my experience tells me the odds of them flaking grows exponentially. There are also some factors (I don't really want to get into) other than business or favors that make me hesitant to use adult industry models/performers, leastwise for this eBook.

jimmyd said...

P.S. I should mention that my Craigslist ad has produced one model whom I will be shooting ni the near future. She's a p/t promo model who needs some new pics. So, there's one. :-)

Derrek said...

After reading all the posts here I feel a lot better about my situation. Try finding "models" in Alaska.

Drake said...

Model Mayhem has NOT changed. I now use MM to speak/communicate with models that I've already met.

Perhaps there are a few meetup groups in your area. I found it's much easier to meet a model in person within a group setting. The personal exchange of contact information actually lessens the chance of non response/flaking. She knows who you are, you know she's legit. Just a thought.

randallstudios said...

I laughed aloud reading this... it is SO like my experiences. That said, I keep sending out messages for that less than 1% return because there are gold nuggets out there that I will miss if I don't keep mining. Easier for me to say because I don't sell my work ( I have no clue where I would even begin to try) but I do need models who are willing to trade in order to get anything done. Here's one of my favorites from a tiny town in the Central Valley you've never heard of... they are out there.
https://vimeo.com/72227061

Thanks again for the humorous take on a difficult topic. =)