Posts tagged ‘new models’

March 11, 2011

My Pre-Shoot Prep & Pep Routine

After so many years modeling (gosh, it feels weird saying it that way, but it’s true), I’ve gotten into, what I feel is, a great pre-shoot routine.  I’ve decided to take some time to share it with you, because a lot of new models have been asking about it.  I opted to start a few weeks out, instead of just the night before, because I do a lot of work for every shoot I do, and it’s generally much appreciated.

Few Weeks to 1 Week Out:

  • Work on getting a few basic ideas set with the photographer, to make sure we’re on the same page.
  • Once ideas are set, scan thru ideas folders for pose, wardrobe, and hair/makeup inspiration.
  • Put ideas into a separate folder and organize by look (using more folders).
  • Send a couple shots to the photographer as a “here’s what I’m thinking” kinda thing.  Generally it’s just hair, makeup and wardrobe ideas.  This concretes that we’re on the same page.

2 Days Before:

  • Print out all ideas, organized by look.
  • Gather up all wardrobe and accessories I plan on wearing, and try on all outfits.
  • Make adjustments as necessary (not everything looks as good on as it does in my head).
  • Any major adjustments to wardrobe get sent in a note to the photographer.  Minor changes are hand-written on printouts.
  • Make sure all wardrobe is clean, nicely hung, and pressed (if necessary).

The Night Before:

  • Get wardrobe/accessories and any hair/makeup products together.
  • Make a list of all items coming with me to the shoot (wardrobe, accessories, shoes, undergarments, etc.).
  • Make sure any ideas I have (printouts of poses, wardrobe ideas, etc.) are in bag.
  • Make sure everything that is coming with me is by front door so nothing gets forgotten. (Now that I have a garage, I could load up the car the night before instead, but some things might not be great exposed to heat/cold overnight, and others might be best left hanging as long as possible to prevent wrinkles.)
  • If, for whatever reason, something can’t be put by the front door, write a note and stick it to the doorknob.
  • Write down phone numbers, addresses and basic directions.  Make a second copy of same to have at home.
  • Create shoot playlist for iPod for drive to shoot. (I generally base this around the theme of the shoot, and vary it per shoot.)
  • Plug in cell next to bed to charge.
  • Set alarm for 2 hours prior to when I have to leave.  (I do this even if it’s a different alarm from my wake up, so I know when I need to start getting ready.)
  • Get in the shower to shave legs, do face mask, and deep condition hair.  Do not dry hair after shower–let air dry.
  • Take a hot bath with a glass of white wine, a few cubes of cheese, and good book.  (Remember to lock dog out of bathroom to avoid whining and/or nudging of wine glass into tub.)
  • Get to bed early enough to allow at least 7-8 hours of sleep.

The Morning Of:

  • Wake up, brush teeth, and shower (don’t condition hair, and shave pits in shower, just before hopping out).
  • Have a small bowl of cereal, or 2 scrambled eggs, and coffee.  Quick, easy breakfast that won’t make me bloat, and won’t have my tummy grumbling an hour into the shoot.
  • Brush teeth again.
  • Dress in loose fitting clothes to avoid lines, regardless of what I’m shooting.
  • Load up car.  Double check to make sure everything is in car.
  • Make sure I have purse, cell phone and iPod, as well as directions and photographer’s info.
  • Drop photographer a “leaving my place now” call or text.
  • Plug in iPod and start awesome playlist.
  • Head out.
  • If there’s time, swing by a gas station or Walgreens and grab a 20oz. bottle of Mountain Dew.  (Because I’m a caffeine addict.)

So there you have it.  Lots of work, and lots of little details, but it’s a routine I’ve gotten pretty familiar with now (hence why I’m calling it a routine) 🙂  Even after a break, I find myself falling naturally into it.

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February 9, 2011

Checking References

Often times, one of the first things a model is told when she asks “how do I know this guy is legit” or “how do I stay safe” is that she should check references.  While not foolproof or a 100% guarantee that the photographer won’t be a sleezebag and will get you images back, it’s a good starting point.  I check references on all photographers I’m working with for the first time.  Male or female.  Paid or trade.  Here’s how I go about doing it.

Looking at Credited Models & Sending Messages
I go through the photographer’s portfolio and look at their recent photos.  Provided they’ve credited the models on their photos, I send a message to 3-5 models they’ve recently worked with (using the photo upload date as a gauge).  From there, I move to their profile and look at the credits section, and randomly choose an additional 3-5 models and message them (I have, lately, been making sure the models have been active within the last month, preferably the last week).  If there are any models I know personally, I will send them a note in addition to the other notes I’ve sent out, though I don’t send more than 4 of these out.  This means, I’m sending no less than 6 messages out, and sometimes as many as 12.

I send so many messages out because I find that often, models don’t get back on reference checks.  I’m not sure why, but that seems to be the case.  I like to have at least 3 models let me know how their experience was with a photographer, so the more messages I send out, the higher my chances of getting the feedback I need.

When There Are No Credits
In the event a photographer has zero credits listed, things get a little trickier.  Occasionally, I’ve matched up a model to her photo, but that’s rare.  I ask the photographer directly for a list of references to contact via whatever site I’m on, though I prefer not to leave it just at that.  I also spend some time looking through the photographer’s tags and see if there are any “great shoot” type tags.  If so, I’ll message those models.  I’ve even messaged a MUA I’ve worked with in the past, for her take on things.

Another thing I’ve done in the event of zero credits is drop a line to a few of the other experienced models in the area, asking if they know anything about the photographer or who he might have worked with.

There’s also been a rare case where I’ve used www.tfp.me to search for forum posts by that member.  I do this either to gauge attitude, or because I’ve felt that “hey, why do I feel like I’ve talked to this guy before” feeling.

The Actual Message
When I send my messages out, I make it clear what I’m looking for in the subject of my message.  Often, it’s something like, “Reference Check: [Photographer Name]”.  I make sure I use the name they list themselves as on whatever site I’m using, at least in the subject, so there’s less confusion.

In the body of the message, I keep it as brief as possible, just letting them know that [Photographer Name] is interested in working with me, and noting that I saw they had worked together.  I often give a link to the photographer’s profile on that site, again to help lessen confusion.   I politely ask them if they’d take a minute or two to answer a few quick questions, so that I can be sure I want to work with them.  I make sure to not disclose what arrangement the photographer has contacted me for (paid or TF*), or to color the waters with any initial impressions I may have.  I also make sure to thank them for their time.

The Questions
I have come up with a list of specific questions regarding what I want to know about a photographer prior to working with them.  I modify the list every so often, adding questions as situations arise (or as references come back) that make me think “huh, I would have liked to have known that in advance” or “well, knowing that would certainly have changed things”.  Here is my list of questions I ask models when I check a photographer’s references.

  • Was it your first time working with [Photographer Name]?
  • If not, how many times did you work together?
  • Did you work directly with [Photographer Name], or someone else?
  • Was there a MUA, assistant, or other industry-related person on set?
  • If so, were they there the whole time?
  • Was anyone present on set that you were not aware would be there?
  • Did you bring someone along with you that wasn’t related to the shoot?
  • Where did you shoot (i.e. location, studio, home)?
  • Was the photographer on time, and was he ready to shoot when you were?
  • Was the shoot paid or trade?
  • If the shoot was trade, did you receive portfolio-ready images in the time frame promised?
  • Was the photographer generally courteous and professional?
  • Did anything happen that would cause you to not shoot with the photographer again?

I duplicate some of these if I need to check a MUA’s reference, though I haven’t done that in awhile because I have found a few select MUAs I enjoy working with, and opt to work with them regularly instead of dealing with finding new people and risking them not showing up, being unsanitary, whatever.  In the rare case that I’m booking a model for something, I use many of the same questions as well.

Making It Easy For Others
I have discovered that sometimes, photographers don’t credit models on photos, and sometimes type numbers into their lists correctly (I imagine this isn’t exclusive to photographers either, but I’m going by what I’ve found).  This makes it difficult to check references.  So, whenever possible, credit the people you’ve worked with, and make sure that if you’re keeping a list of people you’ve worked with by member number, that you correctly note that number.

More You Can Do
If a model wants to expand on checking references (or is using, say CraigsList to book and there’s no network or profile to help find people they’ve worked with), these 2 articles give some great pointers.

February 3, 2011

Trade vs. Free vs. Paid

Trade.
There are many ways to arrange a TF* shoot, but to avoid over-complicating the situation, let’s just stick with Trade For Images/CD/Prints, because that’s the most common form of TF*.  Working trade, or TF*, means that the parties who agree to work on a trade basis are both going to benefit from the shoot.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they are benefiting from the same shots from the same set they shoot, but regardless, they are both getting work they can use for their portfolios.

In the case of working trade, the photos received after the shoot are viewed as fair and equal compensation.  They may not have specific monetary value (meaning you can’t pay your water bill with a photo you receive from a trade shoot), but they have value in the sense that they can be used to improve portfolios and (hopefully) further careers.  In theory, if you wanted to attach a dollar value to a trade shoot, you could say the model posed for $50/hour, and the photographer charged $50/hour for the studio session and retouching services combined, so the two values canceled each other out.

Trade agreements are often individual things, and vary per shoot, per person.  There are largely no rules when it comes to trade shoots.  That is, discuss all trade agreements in advance prior to working with someone, even if it’s someone you’ve worked with before, to ensure you are properly compensated for your time, and vice versa.

Free.
Typically, if one party cannot benefit from working with the other, it is such that they ask to be paid in order to be properly compensated for their time.  If, for whatever reason that person chooses, they opt to not have money exchange hands, they would then be working for free.  The party who will not benefit from the shoot, but is not asking for monetary compensation in exchange for their time, is donating their time and experience, knowing full well that they will not benefit from the shoot, nor will they receive fair compensation for their time.

Now, it’s possible that someone who works for free can benefit from the arrangement.  After all, it’s likely they will get a positive review from the person they worked with, and might therefore have others interested in hiring them.  But generally, those who work for free do not count on this happening.  Which is largely why many do not work for free, but instead opt to trade with parties that will benefit their books.

“Free” is not the same as donating time to a charitable cause.  That’s entirely different, and not something I’m discussing now.

Paid.
More often than not, when one party will not benefit from working with the other, the non-benefiting party will send rates.  By applying their rates to the shoot, the non-benefiting party is receiving fair compensation for their time, since they will not benefit from the images they receive from it.

If someone quotes you a rate, it’s not cute to quote them a higher rate back and say “ha, look at that, my rates are higher, so you pay me”.  Chances are, they sent you rates because don’t think you’re worth working trade with.  If working trade with you won’t benefit them, chances are, they’re not interested in paying you.

Note.
Let’s note that I haven’t once mentioned the amount of money any of the involved parties spent on gear, training, gym memberships, wardrobe, or any of that BS.  It’s not relevant.

January 20, 2011

Back To Where It All Began…

Come on out to an old fashioned M&G.  A chance to network with other like-minded folks, all for no charge (unless you decided to order food from the restaurant, and then you’re on your own)!  In the past, these events were a blast… let’s make the first one in well over a year be even better!

RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/chicagomodelphotographyinsiders/calendar/16113156/

Check out our awesome venue here: http://www.mrbeefpizza.com/

January 4, 2011

Great Opportunity for New Models

Intro to Modeling: Learn the basics from an experienced model while building your modeling portfolio with one of the most talented local photographers.

Workshop Date: Saturday, January 22, 2011
Workshop Length: 3 Hours (12P to 3P)

Limited Space: 6 Models
Cost: $75

Hosted By: Studio 2 Imaging in Lake Zurich, IL
Instructed By: Rachel Jay
Photography By: Walter Bilinski

Details & RSVP: CLICK HERE

What You’ll Get: In addition to learning valuable information from experienced hobbyist model Rachel Jay, you’ll get one-on-one pose coaching from her while you shoot with Walter. You’ll receive 5 to 7 edited photos from Walter on a CD approximately 2 weeks after the workshop. You can use these to start your online portfolio. We’ll also provide you with a list of resources to check out, as well as some articles to read later on.

Photographers, please do not RSVP “Yes” for this workshop. This workshop is for models only!

Feel free to pass along this link, repost the banner, etc!

December 14, 2010

Random Advice for New Models

Discuss every detail with each photographer you’ll be working with prior to shooting. Every.  Detail.

Don’t book without getting a phone number.

Invest in several thongs that match your skin tone, to wear on shoots.

Spend a lot of time practicing, reading, researching, and looking for ideas.  You’ll never stop learning, coming up with ideas, or growing as a model.

Be realistic in your goals.

Realize that sometimes, your views on certain things might change.  That’s ok.

If you have certain things you’re not interested in doing, don’t do them.  Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into doing them.

And be aware that not being willing to do some things may hinder your success as a model.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a hobbyist model.  You will, however, likely model at a loss.  But if you enjoy it… don’t let that hold you too far back.

Be reliable, honest, and accountable.  It will go a long way to building a solid reputation for yourself.  In other words, don’t be a flake or a diva.

December 3, 2010

Now on Examiner: Shoot-Friendly Snacks

I wrote the original article ages ago, but thought it would be a good one to add to Examiner.  Basically, it’s a list, compiled with the help of numerous other models, of food and drinks that are relatively easy to bring along to a shoot, as well as fairly easy to nosh on while shooting (er, in between sets and all that, that is).  Enjoy!

Shoot-Friendly Snacks

November 24, 2010

Warning: Suspected Sexual Predator Al Carter is Seeking Models

The following is from Renee Blaine, also known as The Original Sin.  She’s a nude and fetish model who, to put it bluntly, really knows her shit.  She’s been modeling professionally for quite some time now, and does a lot of mentoring on various modeling sites.  Renee has stumbled across something very serious, thanks to a new model who asked her about this scumbag.  A known predator is looking for more victims…

Heads up for the mentors AND those in need of mentoring.  I got an email from one of the girls I’ve been mentoring last night, had to wait until I was out of the brig to post.

Al Carter, the infamous Conglomarattii Entertainment scammer, is out there and back in business, calling himself “Brian” now.  I’m happy to share all details I have, you can do a Google search, or you can simply contact the Leon County Sherriff’s Office (LCSO) in Tallahassee, FL for information.

Folks, this guy IS a danger to women.  I’ve personally nearly fallen for his scam- I was lucky that I had a concussion from a fall off a horse that day.  Otherwise I would have gone alone, and been assaulted as others have been.  As it was, I had to threaten to stab him with my shoe before he would step aside and let me pass to leave.  He has been removed from MM repeatedly.

His MO is simple- he offers good money for glamour nude/implied nude or urban glamour work.  You get there, he rushes you to sign the contract before the shoot. MOST don’t read the release.  Inserted in the release is a clause stating that you have been told and agree to all content shot.

He proceeds to rape on camera.  This is verifiable- he showed the tapes to LCSO, called the girls “stupid bitches” and laughed, because he has the release, signed before the shoot, that makes everything legal.  He usually just tosses the girls out with a few threats afterwards, occasionally he gives them bad checks.

He tried to get me to sign a release for him before the shoot.  I refused, he got insulting.  He then tried to get me to shoot “implied” sexual nudes (at a time I did not shoot nude) with him as the “male model”.  When I refused, he started getting loud, my driver banged on the door, and I got out of there.  That was three years and a bit ago.

If he contacts you, contact LCSO.  Let them know he is doing this, and encourage them to stop him.  He mainly focuses on FL/GA/AL models, new to MM, who have email addresses on their profiles, but he has gone further afield in the past- I know one girl was from NC.

First, and most importantly, this is a perfect example of why models must read releases before they sign them and why models should not sign releases prior to shooting.  Please please please don’t sign before you shoot, and read everything you are signing!  Because he has signed releases, it seems it doesn’t matter what he’s doing to the models he manages to lure in, which is scary as hell!

Edit, Jan 3, 2011: A friend of mine brought up a couple very valid points regarding the above paragraph.  Here’s what he said:

1. It is quite common for releases to be signed before a shoot, and in fact many commercial clients and ad agencies insist on it. Lots of MM photographers do also, although they generally have BS reasons for it. If a model reflexively refuses to sign a release pre-shoot, or takes it as a sign of some kind of predator or scam, it could cause her to lose real opportunities.

2. Although I think it’s a worthless procedure and do not recommend it, a lot of photographers have paragraphs in their releases in which the model states that she willingly posed as she did and the shoot was conducted in a professional manner. Those that have these clauses invariably get all emotional about them if asked to take them out, and mostly they are perfectly harmless people who just have gotten some bad advice.

So perhaps I should amend my above statement to read, “Models, always read releases before you sign them, and if you have questions about parts of them, ask.  You can also ask to see the release ahead of time and review it prior to the shoot date, which gives you ample time to ask questions about it as well.  And of course, if you’re not comfortable signing something, don’t sign it, but be aware that this may cause you to miss out on opportunities.”

Second, here is some more information on him, as well as links to stories others have of him:

And finally, here’s the Leon County Sheriff’s Office contact information. I urge you to call if you have any information on this guy, or if you are contacted by him. You should also call if you are in this guy’s area (typically FL, GA and AL) and want more information.

  • Phone: 1.850.922.3300
  • www.lcso.leonfl.org
  • Address: 2825 Municipal Way, Tallahassee, FL 32304-3807

EDIT (12/6/2010): I have been contacted via comment on this blog (which remains in “approve me” suspended animation) by a Howard Cook ESQ, claiming to be Al Carter’s lawyer.  The comment asks me to remove the post, or I’ll be sued for “malicious slander” (exact wording).  I did a little bit of research, with the help of a friend, and discovered that the only Howard Cook ESQ currently practicing law is in North Haledon, NJ.  He does not know anything about Al Carter, and is not representing him.  There is no Howard Cook, or even H. Cook, practicing law in the state of FL.

That said, unless I receive an official letter from Mr. Carter’s real lawyer, at the very least to my inbox at blog@modelracheljay.com, I will not be removing the above information.  I will verify any letter I get with the party who sends it, and will be contacting the LCSO to verify the information as well.  So please feel free to email me at the address above.  Comments from “lawyers” will be ignored… largely because I know that’s not how lawyers do things.  Thanks!

November 3, 2010

Modeling is Easy!

Modeling is hard work.  I love when people think it’s easy (insert eye-roll here).  Many models hear it a lot too. I can come from anyone–photographers, friends, significant others, parents, even new models and photographers–and chances are, every model has heard it at least once.

The problem is, it’s not true. Sure, it might be easy to stand in front of a camera and have your picture taken, and if the person taking the pictures knows what they’re doing, it might end up being an ok picture. But there’s more involved in modeling than just standing there and looking pretty, and that’s what makes modeling not-so-easy.

Properly posing and emoting to convey exactly what the photographer/client wants is hard to do.  And I’m not just talking “get bendy” or “look happy”.  A model can move, sure, but making it look effortless, without obvious discomfort, is hard.  Doing that while keeping your hands and feet in check and posed is also hard, but add in a face to work with, and it’s even harder.  Making sure your expression is dead on and your eyes aren’t dead takes a lot of practice.  Factor in learning how to find your light, and it’s even harder.  Now take all of that, and be able to do it fluidly, on demand, and rapidly… or hold complicated poses for an extended period of time.  There’s a good reason many models are sore after shoots–it’s hard work.

Oh, but wait!  That’s not even taking into account posing in harsh environments (and doing it without complaint and making it look good and effortless), uncomfortable clothing and shoes, and dealing with the effects crazy hair styles and a shitton of makeup have on their hair and skin.

And that’s not even taking into account how long models practice poses, or how many take dance classes, yoga, martial arts and/or acting classes to improve their posing and emotion skills.  Or the fact that many models eventually branch out into makeup artistry, photography, or wardrobe styling.

I would love someone who thinks modeling is easy to try keep up with an experienced professional model (or even an experienced hobbyist like me) on a shoot.

October 19, 2010

New article!

I’ve taken my “Comfort While Shooting” blog and made it an Examiner article.  Check it out: http://www.examiner.com/modeling-in-chicago/comfort-while-shooting

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