Best Tips for Beginner Photographers to Work with Models

Learn to communicate effectively.

Effective communication means that you are listening closely to what your model is saying and how they are saying it, using open body language (not clenching your fists, crossing your legs, sticking out your tongue etc.), facial expressions and gestures, eye contact and tone of voice. This enables you to interpret your model’s words accurately. It means also making sure that you are not interrupting and not making comments that could be interpreted as criticism.

Remember your role.

You should not be trying to make the model behave in a particular way; instead, you are there to observe and learn. You might have been asked to come along as a favor, to support your colleague or friend or maybe you just want to meet a model. Whatever the reason, remember to act respectfully and quietly. You will be able to assess whether a model is working with you more effectively if they have an engaging personality and are easy to talk to.

Be attentive.

Look your model in the eye and smile if you want to encourage them to be more open. Give them your full attention and try to respond in a way that shows you understand what they are saying and are interested in what they are telling you. Avoid looking distracted or bored.

Be relaxed and friendly

Models should relax, smile and enjoy themselves as much as possible. Be friendly and offer them a drink or food when they need it.

Make sure you have their consent before shooting pictures.

Show interest

Ask your model if they are comfortable with you, and if not, ask permission. Models often enjoy chatting to new people and being photographed, but they may not feel comfortable with a stranger taking photographs. Explain that you are interested in the kind of pictures they are modelling for, and show some examples if you are unsure how they look.

Remember, models may ask you not to use pictures for advertising purposes or sell to magazines, newspapers or websites.

Make sure you know what you want

The model is there to be photographed. They may be nervous about their appearance, so they may need some help to make them look their best. It’s important to know what kind of pictures you are looking for before you meet the model.