Trent Chau | Photographer and Instructor

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Models – What you need to know to get the most from your photographer

Models – What you need to know to get the most from your photographer

Bright ideas start when you put your hear into it - Okay this photo will probably be replaced later but I just had to start with a bad joke.

Bright ideas start when you put your heart into it – Okay this photo will probably be replaced later but I just had to start with a bad joke.

Successful photography is a team effort, and a great photographer can only do so much.  The hope of this blog post is to inform you, the talent, on what you should know about photographers so that you can make both your jobs easier.  The more you learn, the better you can expand your portfolio and even possibly get more paying work.  First a touch of honesty, and then let’s jump in into the meat of the post:

As a photographer I’ll admit we do sometimes have this feel of a sense of entitlement.  We spend a lot of our hard earn money on equipment such as cameras, lighting, props, and more.  The cost of all that said equipment can be staggering, ranging from the low thousands or even as much as the cost of a modern luxury sports sedan.  Photographers bicker among themselves about how models don’t “respect” our investment, and sadly when you are surrounded by your own kind it just turns into a (excuse the language) circle jerk of frustration.  I don’t agree with this point of view.  Personally as someone who’s spent years in corporate, I love working as a team, and realized long ago that your product can only be as good as your weakest member.  My investment in equipment is not to tell people how much I’ve spent,  or not to belittle people who haven’t invested as much as me, but it’s to take responsibility of not being the one to be the weakest chain in the link.  Any person who gives a damn about their product, results, will be willing to give the time, resources, and more to achieve better results.  Those results are even more amazing, and more stellar when you work as a team.

Successful models spend a huge amount of time, effort, and more to build their look and brand.  While it can be argued they don’t spend as much as photographers money wise for their clothing and material, they do spend a lot of personal time staying fit, looking great, shopping for the next look, and more.  So photographers reading this don’t worry too much about a model whom may not seem to spend too much on their clothing, it’s really outside your control.  What you need to do is make the decision as the business owner of your product if they are worth investing YOUR valuable time in.  Just be aware that it works both ways sometimes, models aren’t aware of what we spend, and we aren’t 100% aware what models/talent have spent also to get where they are.

Alright long diatribe over, models let’s talk about things that will make you get the most from your photographer!

Also big thank you to Vivian Kyle, Connie Felix, JJ Cirrus, and more to all the help you have given me in the models perspective.  You guys rock and obviously show respect and concern towards what you do.

Lighting is the start of everything great about photography.

Using a shallow DOF helps obscure a rather busy background.  Your mind is filling in the rest of the details, such as that siracha bottle on the left.

Lighting makes a photograph, and sometimes it’s extremely simple like this photo

No matter what your subject is, photography is defined by the light that hits it.  Why does this matter to you the model?  Well the perfect day to take photos might not be full daylight sun.  Depending on the skill level of your photographer he/she might be able to work with you outside on a really drab day.  A good photographer will invest more into lighting and understanding light.  If a photographer talks to you and says how much they spent on cameras, and lenses, and in no way talks about lighting to you, then you are pretty much working with a cook that’s about to give you micro waved pre prepped food.  Be aware that learning lighting isn’t always the easiest thing in the world, and there are many new photographers making an honest effort to learn, just don’t get caught in the web of a “Pro” photographer who thinks the only way to take photos is to have a $10,000 camera.

What’s important for you the model concerning lighting is to look at photos taken of you, and as your portfolio builds show photographers you will work with the photos that compliment your physicality the most.  As a photographer gets more experienced, they can use that as a Rosetta stone of sorts for their lighting to help you get killer photos.

Also lighting is light, no matter if you have $10,000 worth of lights or $1000.  A good photographer can easily manipulate any light source to their needs.  A better photographer can do it’s masterfully with whatever equipment they have.  But as a model if you see a photographer who does bring a lot of lights out, and a lot of devices used with those lights, and they do know how to use it well…you maybe be getting the 5 star treatment and potentially amazing photos.

Vivian using a 10 year old camera, a $40 lens, and extremely cheap lighting.  Showing what you can get if you mess with lighting, and not worrying about cost of equipment.

Vivian using a 10 year old camera, a $40 lens, and extremely cheap lighting. Showing what you can get if you mess with lighting, and not worrying about cost of equipment.

In this post I used a really cheap camera, an extremely cheap lens, with Cheap lighting.  The model Vivian was really happy with her photos.  The total cost was less than $550.

Do’s about lighting:

  • Do know that lighting is super important, and really dictates the mood and feel of a photograph
  • Do know that your photographer should be inspired by lighting, or at least begin understand it
  • Do know that lighting does take time to setup, it’s as important as makeup to a model.

Don’ts about lighting:

  • Don’t think the only good time to shoot is when it’s really bright outside, and sunny, even if you require being outside for the shoot
  • Don’t be afraid if the photographer is using home brew stuff to get lighting
  • Don’t just think that a expensive camera can fix everything.

Not all photographers know how to use Photoshop:

Photoshop - gift from the gods, but also a nightmare to learn

Photoshop – gift from the gods, but also a nightmare to learn

Models, not all photographers know how to use Photoshop.  Imagine photography as a college course.  It’s pretty easy for a select few, but annoying and difficult for a lot of people.  Now there’s a lot of photographers out there so you can imagine just taking photography itself is already hard for some.  Throwing Photoshop into the mix is like taking another college DEGREE at the same time.  Some people just can’t handle it, or they don’t even want to mess with it.  Photoshop is a very difficult program with a steep learning curve.  It’s more than just knowing the program for some photographers, some don’t even know how to use their computer right.

What you should take out of this as a model is some photographers will not do the same level of post processing on you as others.  You can’t rely on a photographer to make you look good and in turn should really take the steps needed to look your best.  Here’s some tips on how to achieve that.

  • (Advice sent in from Vivian)  Learn how to apply makeup thoroughly and properly. I’m not talking about just putting on a layer of foundation and translucent powder and calling it done. You need to start with a clean, washed face followed by a light and non-greasy moisturizer. It has to be light or it will make it through your foundation and make your face shiney. Next, you need to apply a primer to your face to a) act as a base for the foundation to adhere to, and b) create a smooth surface to work on. This step is especially crucial for those with any unevenness such as acne and acne scars.
  • (More advice from Vivian) Get your foundation matched to your skin by a professional. Drug store foundations have a tendency of changing color over time, so I highly recommend buying something a little bit higher end such as Make Up Forever (from Sephora), Clinique, MAC, etc. Do not skimp on the foundation. Your face is your number one asset.
  • (Advice from Holly) Ladies make sure to shave your face and various parts, photographers equipment is getting better and sharper, and it shows imperfections more.  You never know when a photographer wants to use a shot of your legs and shoes to put in a advertising portfolio. shave everything!! no photographer likes to get rid of your peach fuzz or stubble on legs.
  • Know your angles.  What side of your face looks better.  How to pose so your features are stronger (covered further below).  Avoid poses that make you look like you belong on Paranormal.
  • Don’t wear tight clothing if you are going to wear less later.  Lines show up, and they take forever to get away, this is important if you are going to wear a bikini for a shoot, well despite looking like a 10, your lines will be the only thing you will see later.

Here’s a piece of advice that might scare photographers, but it’s important to note.  Tell a photographer if their natural level of post processing might not be up to your expectations.  Photographers SHOULDN’T all know how to replace your parts to look like Heidi Klum at her prime, but they should make you naturally look better with lighting (yay), posing, and other forms of photography alchemy.  If a photographer can’t, maybe ask if you can get your photos edited by someone who is talented at photo manipulation.  NEVER do this without the photographers permission.  Most importantly this might light the fire under that photographers ass to raise their game, and that’s important.

So I love Vivian, she’s amazing.  I asked to chime in and she wrote an amazing epic response concerning makeup.  I want models to see it her until Viv can post it on her own blog and this links to it, so here it is cut and paste.

  • (note two bullets above)
  • To apply, use a makeup sponge, brush or your fingers – but just make sure it’s even and full coverage. Makeup sponges or brushes are best for this, but if using tools you have to be extra stringent at blending in brush strokes. Continue your foundation a little ways down your neck so that you blend it in to the neck rather than having a hard line around your jaw and chin.
  • Apply concealer to under eye circles, around the edges of the nostrils, right under the lips in the dip of the chin, and to any areas of redness and blemishes and blend, blend, blend.
  • Finally, you finish with a powder. For photo shoots, I recommend a pressed powder to help with any shine. I actually use MAC Studio Fix press powdered foundation as my powder because a) it adds an extra level of coverage, and b) it has a great matte finish.
  • Think of your face like a painted wall. Walls that have dents and dings in them are generally painted with a flat paint to make the faults stand out less. High shine paints can only look appropriate on imperfection free sufaces. So make your foundation matte and save the sparkle and shine for a summer date night.

Good photographers might have absolutely no clue about what you like

JJ Cirrus - Steam Punk is a privilege not a right.

JJ Cirrus – Steam Punk is a privilege not a right.

JJ Cirrus brought up a great point to me when it comes to modelling.  While she hasn’t been doing it for long she found she was a lot more comfortable when a photographer knew about what she was going for, what she liked, and what inspired her on an artistic level.  JJ isn’t your typical model though, she likes doing Steam punk and various other artsy pieces.  That doesn’t make this point any less valid though, be aware that sometimes a great photographer has NO idea what you like, and finding a great one that does understand what you like can help create magic.  Being comfortable around a photographer really helps with getting great photos, but the person you are dealing with maybe shy or new.  I really suggest starting a dialog with them, so both of you get out of your shell.  Find a common ground and talk about that, or if more importantly if the photographer is interested in what you bring talk to them about that and vice versa.

Something I’ve seen a lot of as a photographer is models who love photography also, it really is a magical thing that makes people either feel better or it’s thought provoking.  Since I have a major passion for photography this is great for me because it allows me to talk to the model and create a friendly productive atmosphere.  Yet this isn’t a one way street, a model who create dialog and works together with the photographer is amazing.   This may sound a little metaphysical but there is an almost tangible creative cloud that you can feel when people are inspired and want to work.  You probably have sensed that energy at a really great shoot, whats important to know is that the photographer isn’t the only supplier, sometimes you are also.  Be ready to work the environment and shoot also with your enthusiasm.

Going back to the shoot above with JJ, I knew absolutely nothing about her and as of this post we still haven’t done more than a head shot.  What I did know was there was this person who was decked to the 9’s and really enjoying what she loved to do.  That’s the energy you want to capture, that’s the humanity behind the situation that makes capturing it in a photo just fun and outstanding.   Even though Steam punk isn’t exactly my thing, I really was inspired by her commitment to it.

What’s really important in a great portrait session is you have to be vocal about things you like and things that you might not like, don’t let assumptions run it’s course.  If a suggestion is made that makes you uncomfortable it will begin to show in your photos.  It starts on the subconscious level and than really shows in how you hold yourself and more.  This does not make great photos.  Also keep an open ear and mind at suggestions, and listen to the photographers ideas.  Explore them as they may deliver something you really didn’t expect, and just prove awesome.  This is great when that happens.

So top hint for this section: Photography showcases a person and an idea or theme.  The theme may not be fully understood by all parties involved.  Try your best to understand it, and make those photographs shine even brighter.  This matters too all parts of the team such as talent (model), photographer, make up artist, wardrobe, and more.

A lot of photographer have absolutely NO idea how to pose you

Posing in itself is an art

Posing in itself is an art

Posing is the number 2 thing I’m asked about when it comes to portrait photographer, right after lighting.  Posing in photography is epically important, and oddly enough a lot of models assume it’s the photographers job to know how to pose them.  Well here’s a hint to models, photographers as a whole, we kinda suck at posing.  Not to say all of us do, some photographers are amazing at getting the pose they want out of their model, but those people aren’t as common as they should be.  So what’s the solution?  Well know your poses! Practice, Practice, Practice posing.  Here’s a few hints for you to start out with. (For girls and guys)

  • Looking longer is better.  Point toes away from your calves (forward) instead of towards your calves (back).  This will flex your legs, and make you look longer.
  • Don’t squish things together.  Move your arms away from your body, put a little space between your legs.  When solids hit each other they have to spread out and go another way, this translates into instantly making you look bigger/fatter.
  • If you are lady, put your weight on one leg and pop that hip out.  This really gives you more feminine curves.
  • Fitness models, do a few reps and get oxygenated blood to engorge your muscles, you will thank me for this.
  • Avoid pointing your fingers towards the camera, or anything for that matter, it’s gonna make them look odd.  This is the nature of photography.

Marissa, a local Atlanta model, was absolutely stellar at her ability to pose, but most important she did the due diligence and research on how to pose for her body type (Long and lithe) and she constantly floors the photographers she works with.  She credits this to modelling school and though she dropped out before the whole schooling was done, this stood out as extremely important to her and has made her good money as a model.  Photographers WILL PAY to shoot a model who knows how to pose themselves.

Understand TFP, TFCD, Print releases and more

Meet and Shoot Workshop

This was a paid shoot for Sadie, she was being compensated with money for her time and skills.

Now that the photo shoot is going to happen, do you know how you are going to get the photos, and how?  We all want to make money, we need it to be able to do what we want, or hell just eat.  As a model you are trading a specific set of skills for someone else who has a specific set of skills (I bet you read that in Liam Neeson’s voice) and it’s important to recognize how everyone is being compensated.  Compensation can be varied.  It’s important to know what to expect so you don’t get caught with a bad taste in your mouth.

  • IMPORTANT: As soon as you let someone take a photograph of you, they own it.  They cannot sell it without a proper release (though this is debatable) they do own it though and you cannot take it from them legally.
  • Model pays Photographer:  A starting model may find a photographer that just does ABSOLUTELY stunning work, and would really like to use that photographer to help update their portfolio.  You want to do this as an investment into yourself.  A great photographer can make you look like a million dollars, and in turn your value increases and you can charge other photographers to photograph you.  Expect to pay as little as $100 and upwards to $1000 for this, but it can be worth it. Results from these shoots have a high chance of being a guaranteed success. End Results : You get photos from photographer, photographer get money.  You DO NOT get all photos unless an agreement has been reached by both parties.  You can use these photos for personal promotion, and depending on the photographers agreement commercial sale.
  • Model and Photographer agree to equal exchange (TFP/TFCD/TF Something): To start off, the TFXX stands for Time for, in this case TFP is Time for Prints or Portfolio, TFCD is Time for CD.  With this situation the model sees that the photographer can potentially benefit them, but not enough that they want to pay for the photographers service.  This is important because it goes both ways, a photographer may not see you as someone they should give time and effort towards.  TFP arrangements require some negotiations.  You want to be clear in what you get and ALWAYS get it written down in email, text message, or so on.  ALWAYS get it written down.  Also TFP IS A GAMBLE, you are hoping something good comes out of it, there are no guaranteed results   End results : You get photos portfolio, photographer gets photos for their portfolio.  You DO NOT get all photos unless an agreement has been reached by both parties.  You can use these photos for personal promotion, but probably not sales.
  • Model is paid by photographer: You are so FIERCE (Sorry had too) and amazing that photographers are dying to work with you.  Welcome, you’ve hit the big time.  You can charge photographers and the money starts to kinda trickle in (like a clogged pipe for a little, than it burst open).  Expect to earn a little here and there, or even up to $10,000 a day (remember me, I love you, please buy me something).  What’s really important is you’ve made a massive significant investment into your self through self sacrifice, augmentation, hard work, and more that you DESERVE to be paid. You don’t care about guarantees as much, you got paid! End results: You get money, photographer gets awesome photos.  You may get photos but you are NOT inclined to receive any.  Actually if the shoot is so awesome that you want to use the photos, it might be right to charge even less for it.  The photographer probably purchased a release from you with their payment, so they CAN sell the photos without you earning a buck from it.
  • Model makes money selling commercial release: Unless you sign a release away, a photographer CANNOT sell your photos.  So if a photographer ask you for a release make sure you know what the purpose of it is.  If they are going to make money on your photos, and you aren’t compensated in anyway money wise, that’s a beating.  YOU SHOULD NOT sell your release unless you are comfortable with the idea that the photographs can be potentially sold (Nude models take note).  End results: You get money from release sales, photographer gets photos.  You potentially get no photos at all, but you get paid.
  • Model does PRO BONO Workshop (TFP+) : Instead of one photographer, a workshop consist of many photographers wanting to work with the model.  This potentially has a high chance for great exposure and because of that a model may agree to do it TFP (see above).  Well this is TFP per photographer, and the level of photographers may vary.  One might have outstanding work, while the others you wouldn’t even share the photos with your momma.  As mentioned before TFP is a gamble, but you do have a higher chance of winning with a Workshop environment.  Plus you may get tips  End Results: You get photos, photographers get photos.  You probably will not get all photos, but you really probably don’t want them.  You can use these photos for personal promotion, and depending on your agreement with the photographer sales.
  • Model does Paid Workshops: Welcome to the big leagues.  This is your chance to make a lot of money, and also have a good chance of getting portfolio pieces.  Workshops with a lot of photographers require a special type of model, one that can work their skills in front of a lot of people.  It can be overwhelming with 20+ photographers taking photos of you, but each of them have paid to be able to shoot with you, and you will probably see a percentage of the take.  Paid workshops should be awesome for you.  End Results : You probably will get photos, but most important you get paid.  You will get paid even more for selling your commercial release.  Photographers are happy because they got to work a A class model.  You probably will get photos, Class A models always do, but you cannot sell them without the photographers permission.

TFP is a an interesting subject among models I’ve talked to, so to help you make a decision about here here’s some quick opinions from several models I’ve worked with in the past.  These models are of various skill levels working in the Atlanta market..  (Big thank you to all those who provided valuable insight, they are great Atlanta models so please feel free to click on their name and contact them to work together).

  • Vivian Kyle – “I’ve had some good experiences with TFP…many mediocre ones, but none really bad. Just do your research on the photographer first- look him/her up online not just on the page(s) he/she shares with you to get a more complete idea of what you can get out of it, check references, and use your gut. There’s nothing wrong with being picky and TF shoots allow you to choose not only who you want to work with, but what you want to work on.”
  • Sarah Quackenbush – “I feel like if both the photographer and model are on the same level, meaning both parties will be able to use the image for self promotion then it’s great! If the photographer or model is on a higher standard and the photos are only usable for one party then it’s not really worth it. However if the person who is far better at their side of the situation doesn’t mind helping out then that’s great too.”
  • Christelle Kim – “I think that tfc is great for models that are just starting off and want to get experience in the modeling world. It allows many talents to come together for a common interest and have fun. However, that doesn’t mean that you will always get quality. There is a certain point in time where tfc won’t benefit the models’ portfolio as much as a well established photographer.”
  • Elizabeth Jones – “To gain the most from time for print as a model, be prepared. Try on outfits ahead of time… and bring a variety…a suitcase if need be. Bring good shoes. Black, nude, white… and have groomed nails… Your hair and makeup should already be done at a TFP shoot. This is not the photographer’s responsibility. If you want hair and makeup artists, bring them…but pay them and allow time ahead of the shoot time for preparation. Be comfortable with your photographer. If you feel you need an escort, bring one. Great photos arise when a photographer and model are in sync. Relax and have fun! Remember your photographer is taking hundreds of photos. Slight changes in facial expression are key. Go with your gut… pose, avert your eyes…smile… twist… and COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER! The best photos come from brainstorms… communication. TFP is a learning experience. With respect and communication, it can be enjoyable!”
  • Sophia Filipelli – “As a photographer gone model, I’ve seen the results of a TFP shoot from both sides of the spectrum. TFP is a fantastic way to get a portfolio started! However, said shoots are really hit or miss when it comes to the quality of work and what you may be looking for as both photographer and model. As a photographer, I love doing TFP work for the fact that it’s cost efficient and typically more laid back. Just remember, you usually get what you pay for… Or don’t pay for, for that matter. As a model, I would never pose nude for free. I hate to touch the deep dark side of the matter, but you never know where the pictures may end up. Be absolutely sure you want to take your clothes off with the possibility of getting nothing out of it. Posing nude isn’t for everyone, I understand this. I only did TFP work when I was just getting started or if it is a new client who’s work I know is great and they are offering because they feel the same way about me! You make a lot of friends in the industry that way, and it’s great for networking as well.”
  • Connie Felix – “If a collaboration is mutually and equally beneficial for model and photographer (and whoever else is involved), TFP is great. The underlying thought process should be something along the lines of “if this shoot isn’t tfp, would I be willing to pay the photographer/model for his/her time?” if one is shooting tfp șimply because it’s free, then that’s just boring and pointless.”

So how do I approach the TFP situation as a photographer?  Well I think models are humans and they need to eat, but I do recognize my skill sets are on the higher levels of the playing field.  With that I don’t like charging models for their time.  Photography to me is a job, but more importantly it’s a passion and a love, and I feel if you commercialize too much of it you will start seeing money signs rather than art.  So after careful analysis I personally reached a path that was 100% right for me. I started teaching and hosting workshops.  I meet new models and this is the MO.

  1. You (the model) and I will shoot for free, it’s TFP and yes it doesn’t matter if you are new to this.  You get to use the photos for your port
  2. I evaluate your potential to model in a group environment, if your look can be marketed to the masses and they pay for it
  3. If needed I begin to train you for anything that needs to be fixed (things that will help the workshop)
  4. I inform you about the workshops, and tell you this is how you can get paid.  I’m NOT interested in paying to shoot with you.
  5. If you like the idea of the workshops, I book you for one
  6. To compensate for what’s pretty much double time, models at our Meet and Shoot workshops make on average more than market value due to our marketing and expectations from our attending photographers.  Meet and Shoot has a reputation of honesty toward it’s talents and also respect.  Models respond well to it.

This solution has created a win/win solution for me for 3 years now, and it’s been absolutely outstanding to get a large stable of awesome models and also compensate them for their deserved worth.  Models like what you just read above?  Please apply to be one of our models here.

Watermarked Photos – What they mean to you


Savannah – See the water mark on the bottom right?

A watermarked photo is how a Photographer brands their photo.  Not all photographers have a watermark, but many do.  Normally watermarks are unobtrusive and in the corner.  Many times a model loves the photo but a social media site like facebook will ask for the files to be cropped and the watermark will be removed, if this happens credit the photographer who shot it by tagging them.  Watermarking is used to part to protect the image, but mostly it’s used to advertise the image to people interested in working with that photographer in the future.  It’s proper to share it.  If you PAID for your images they should not be watermarked at all, that’s just uncool on the photographers part.

Who’s responsibility is what? – Getting extra talent

Assistants should know where to point the light...Tim

Assistants should know where to point the light…Tim

As your portfolio gets more and more complex you will sometimes it takes more than just a good model and a good photographer to do photos, you will start involving others into the creative process.  This is when make up artist, wardrobe artist, body painters, something something-artist comes in.  The big issue is who’s responsibility is it to corral that talent together?   Well here’s the easiest way to break it down.

Only photographer is responsible to book/contact/arrange the following talent:  This is talent photographers should be booking, or should be made aware of WELL in advance.

Photography Grip/Assistant : Assistant to the photographer, puts up equipment, tapes stuff down, gets things out of the way and in general just move, setup, take down lighting and more.  Assistants vary in experience and maybe another photographer, or someone who is completely new and just want to experience something different.  If an assistant is a photographer, they SHOULD not give you their information unless you know they have talked to the main photographer about it.  Great assistants also take care of the model’s needs.  Assistants don’t require a lot of experience, so a boyfriend/girlfriend can be a great assistant but PLEASE tell the photographer well ahead of time.  Some photographers do not like having a SO of the model around, do not be offended by this but do ask for an explanation.

Photography Lighting Director: While really rare to see, sometimes the photographer really needs help with lighting so they bring in Lighting Directors (Flash of light, loud noise).  Lighting directors are kinda like magic unicorns of light that come in, setup everything, and sometimes vanish.  These guys aren’t really assistants, they don’t do much lifting, and occasionally after setting up they sit in the corner and nod at their work or go off and help another photographer.  If you see one take an instagram with them.

Extra Photographers : Extra photographers on set can happen, it might be a friend of the photographer or your sister who is trying out her new camera.  The head photographer should be aware of another photographer there.  Another photographer isn’t a bad thing, but the main photographer IS the decision maker, and that decision can be “No I don’t want you here”.

Photography Studio (Not location):  If a photography studio (not an on location shoot) is required it’s best to let the photographer decide where to shoot.  This is due to equipment, and more than the photographer will have experience for.

Photographers/Models can be responsible for booking/contacting/arranging the following talent: Though the photographer should be made aware of others well in advance.
These are all things that can be arranged by either photographer or model.  If the Photographer is being paid by a magazine/website/agency to produce these photos He/She SHOULD handle all of the following talent.

Make Up Artist (MUA): A makeup artist really can add a level of awesomeness to a shoot, but please refer to the post above that a photographer may not know what a model likes.  MUA are artist also and their work may not be what you like, even if they are known to be really good.  If you have a makeup artist that knows how to make you look good inform the photographer.  The photographer has final say in the matter, but if the relationship is good the MUA will probably get some great before and afters of their work to use for their portfolio.  If a MUA is involved, try priming your face with a simple quality foundation to save them a little work.
Wardrobe Stylist:  While not as common as a MUA, a wardrobe stylist can really provide a great look, mostly if they are able to work with your physical features to make you stand out.  Like did you know pin stripes make you look taller, ahem 5’1″ models.  If the shoot is booked for a boutique, or a fashion magazine, more than likely the photographer will have to make contact.  It is possible though that you the model can get a Boutique owner interested in lending their clothing out for you, so do network around also.
Hair Dresser: Hair can make or break a photo shoot as much as a make up can.  Photographers NOTE : Make Up Artist aren’t all hair dressers.  Hair dressers are fun and awesome, and can be booked by photographer or model.
On Location Venue:  This is wear a model can really help a photographer.  Know a guy who has a boat and you want to shoot on a boat?  Tell your photographer.  Models so network out and see modelling location opportunities are LOVED by photographers.
Props (Alive and Non): Props can really help photos.  Not just locations, but things like horses, cars, and more can be great.  This is something models can help with also, and it’s much appreciated by photographers.

Conclusion and Thank yous

On a personal note, here's a picture of my daughter.  She's gonna have to read this one day also.

On a personal note, here’s a picture of my daughter. She’s gonna have to read this one day also.

Well look in the future guys for potentially more additions to this post, and please feel free to share it.

I want to thank the following people for their contribution to this post, you guys are absolutely awesome.


Vivian Kyle
Connie Felix
Sarah Quackenbush
Sophia Filipelli
Elizabeth Jones
Holly Schumacher
Christelle Kim
Savannah Stewart
Marissa Bennett
JJ Cirrus
Christina Cline
Elizabeth Holliday
Jeannette Kunitz
Sadie Hawkins

Timothy Fox
Paul Hu
Marc Turnley
Richard Talamantez
Dino Cardelli
Chris Warrick



Howdy, thanks for looking at the site.  I’ve been doing photography for a decade now, and teaching photography for over half a decade.  This photo blog will always be free; this is a passion of mine.  I do have a little daughter to feed though and whatever extra that this blog can make is always appreciated and applied to either my family, or to further improve my photography and share what’s been learned.  Thank you for anything you can contribute either via using the affiliate links located below, or even straight donation (please mark it as such) to my paypal at  It’s really an honor and a privilege to share this information and more about my life and love with you guys.

Thank you so much.

About trentchau

Photographer, videographer, and photography instructor in Atlanta. Born in New Orleans. I love food more than photography, but do love photography quite a bit.

5 comments on “Models – What you need to know to get the most from your photographer

  1. Emma
    February 26, 2013

    Very Awsome, very informative!

  2. Tobias Roybal
    March 4, 2013

    Nice post Trent! We all can learn from this!

    • trentchau
      March 5, 2013

      Thank you T, and Emma. Lol I think hell it will help me in the future.

      Model has questions – Please read here, k thanks 🙂

  3. Lisa Duncan aka Archen
    March 23, 2013

    Thanks. Good stuff.

  4. Dean
    November 12, 2013

    I have skipped over it before but this time I read it all , well almost all , that thing about applying even makeup does not apply to me right?
    Thanks for posting it Trent . He covered it all ..

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2013 by in Techniques for photography, Uncategorized and tagged , , .

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