Choosing the Right Photographer For Your Modeling Portfolio is not an easy task. The first thing one must identify is results. There are many people claiming to be professional photographer today. With the accessibility of digital cameras and $100 websites it is easy for models to get lost in a world of mediocre people claiming to be professional photographers only to find themselves with bad images and hundreds of dollars gone from their pockets. The first thing I would tell you to do is check their work out. Does it look like the work you want to get. Does it look like the pages in a magazine or does it look like something your mother could have shot. Do the models in their portfolios look like professional models or like a kid they shot from a mall. Is the lighting flat or harsh or does it exude the qualities of the top photographers whose work is showcased each month in magazines and advertisements. Has any of the prospective photographers work been published and where. Published works are called “tearsheets” and are very important indicators of true professionalism. They show a concept was agreed upon, conceived, and completed in an exceptional way. Finally chosen for publication. How long they have been shooting has some to bear but I have seen photographers who have been working for 20+ years whose work is no better than someone who picked up a camera 2 weeks ago.
Your common sense usually can tell you all you need to know when looking for a photographer but beware, there are many more salesmen out there than talented photographers. Many of which should be selling used cars since they could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves in August. Look at the work and that should tell you volumes. Also look at the quality of their website as this is generally the most important showcase they have for their work. A Model Mayhem post or One Model Place does not count. Having those isn’t bad but need to point you to their “real” website. If they only have a Model Mayhem or OMP site BEWARE!!! Most of the talented photographers I know really aren’t salespeople. They are artists and love and are passionate about what they do and take tremendous pride in making beautiful images. They also know the elements that must be present to create beautiful images consistently.
Have they worked with top model agencies and if so which ones. Top model agencies include IMG, Next, Elite,Mega,Ford, Wilhelmina, Women,MC2 ect. Look at the work! You should be able to tell of they are shooting top talent. How is the styling?; how is the hair and makeup? Did the model do their own or was it done professionally. That is another big clue for you who are looking for great results from a photo shoot. Top hair and makeup artists will rarely work with inexperienced photographers since they won’t receive anything for their work. Top stylists generally want to work with great photographers and talent so they can upgrade their books with new images of their makeup and hair styles on beautiful people.
Don’t fall into the trap of free photographs or TFP(Test for Prints) or TFCD(Test for CD of the images) These photographers are starting out and unless you are willing to waste much of your time for the hope of a few “maybe” images you should pass. This really is a place where you get what you pay for. I do photograph some models for free but I am generally trying out a new concept or new piece of equipment or maybe just trying out a model before I use them on a big job. Low prices can mean much of the same as a free photographer. Photographers, in general, know what they are worth in the marketplace. Most of the best photographers will charge by the “Look” which means per outfit. I charge between $450 and $550 per three look test. The price variance is based on location. I ALWAYS use professional hair and makeup artists and they will charge $150 plus depending on their skill level.
Ask other models of their dealings as well. Was the photographer polite, on-time, prepared? Did he problem solve easily? Did he give you what he promised? Ask them about the effectiveness of their images with this photographer they recently shot with. Any new jobs since the new photos? Any new client interest? Has anyone in the fashion business made mention of them(wow those are really beautiful ect)? It is very important to have a barometer on how the new images have helped or hurt your book. Does the agency like them and put them in your book? I have had the pleasure of shooting models from every top agency in the world and am proud to say that my images have been used to promote them successfully.
Be careful out there!!! With all the kids running around with cameras they bought off Ebay of got as a gift from their parents, it is hard to separate the real from the pretenders. Hope I gave you some ways to do so. Feel free to call me directly for a quote or any questions you may have. My cellular number is (954)529-1390