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Model Files : How to find a photographer Pt. 1

So you're a model, or want to be a model and you want to be in a magazine. Let me first say that I am in no way an expert, agent, or criticizing anyone. What I want to do is make sure that if you're an aspiring model you have some direction on where to look when it comes to one of the key parts of marketing yourself - your photos.


As a model, your business is YOU. Specifically your image. That is what you're selling. Your look. Now, there are plenty of references to help you when your goal is to be published in a magazine. You can start with this helpful article by a published model over at Model Mayhem. For a good example of what magazines look for in terms of quality when accepting submissions, this article by respected and widely published (and hero of mine) photographer Lindsay Adler is a great look too.


So, let's talk pictures. There are several ways you can go about this, and you may have seen some of these around:

1. TF - Sometimes you will see "T/CD/P after this. It means "Trade-for". It basically means that in exchange for your time and modeling talent, you will receive SOMETHING - a CD, Prints, or something else from the session that you can use in your portfolio and marketing. This usually means that the photographer is also building their portfolio and looking to trade their talent as well.

2. Hiring a photographer. This is your normal deal where you find a photographer that you like and hire them for a photo session. Sometimes they may have discounts or a package made just for models - be sure to ask.

**Please, PLEASE, do not ever, EVER be one of the models that says "I don't pay photographers" and expects free work. This is not only rude, but is a good way to end up on with a bad rep among local photographers.  You can always look for a photographer that may be open to trade, but cold calling a photographer and then demanding that they trade with you is a BIG no-no. Imagine someone from a very popular magazine or agency calls you because they liked your look and want to work with you... You say "sure!" and you tell them your rates and fees. You're all ready to go and they say "Oh, sorry. We don't hire models." 


So, you've chosen option one or option two, what's the next step? You've found your photographer, next you need to look at their work. It seems like one of those obvious things, but sometimes when you're starting out and find a photographer, you may get excited and just set up a shoot without knowing what's in store. 


You need to look at their work, and you need to make sure that their work will benefit you. What does that mean? What that means is that YOU need to be in charge of your image. A VERY good image can have people beating down your door to work with you. A very bad image will probably cost you several jobs. As a model, you want to look your best in every image of you, and the last thing you want is for someone ELSE to make you look bad. 


Now, lest you think I'm saying not to work with an amateur photographer - not at all! Some amateurs make BEAUTIFUL work, and have no desire to do photography on a professional level. I'm also not saying not to work with new photographers. Being new does not mean being bad. What you DO want to watch for are bad PHOTOS. The definition of a bad photo is any photo that doesn't make you look your best. There is a difference between creative editing, and over editing.  In the Pt. 2 of this post, I'll show some examples of bad photos.