Professional Courtesy

In a business of entertainment and art, it is difficult to know who truly has your best interests at heart.  You meet someone through networking who appears to have their stuff together because their portfolio looks good, could be a predator.  You see someone in passing and you want to introduce yourself for a potential model, but they probably see you as someone trying to hit on them, especially if they have not been a model nor ever thought about it.  There is no real equation that allows two people to come together and collaborate on beautiful art.

I am not going to sit here and say that everyone you meet will turn out with good intentions.  I have tried multiple times to contact people I feel would be a great model for some aspect of them I want to capture.  I can probably count on one hand how many agreed to work with me from a cold contact.  Just because you are a photographer, or claim to be one, it is not automatic that people will work with you.

If you are lucky enough to find models online, let’s say from Facebook, I can guarantee you can tell the difference between the ones who are hungry to work and the ones who only care about collecting “likes” in order to make themselves seem more important than they truly are.  If you are lucky enough to cold contact someone face-to-face and they agree to work with you, they actually have a desire to see themselves outside of their normal skin.  One out of ten people you approach will actually take you up on your offer.

Entertainment business is fickle.  Most of the business isn’t about making friends, it is about networking with those who make your career prosper.  To date, my Facebook page has a little over 2K followers or likes.  I like working with people who have an interest in learning about creating art and have a willingness to do what is necessary for the right shot.  I have been in water that is cold to get a shot, I have hiked up mountains for a shot, and I have stood in the middle of roads.  (I do not advocate any of that unless you are sure it is safe.)

Standing in Water (Models: Paul and Devon)
Shooting from the Street (Model: Tia)
Hiking up Mountains (Model: Nazlee)

The point of that, besides showing off my work and the incredible models, is that these are people who have taken a chance by working with me and I like to believe I can call on them at any time to work with them again.  (Tia, by the way, is a very talented makeup artist and available for weddings.)  I have met these three in three different ways.  Devon and Paul, I met because they hired me for their engagement and wedding shots.  I also met them from a successful campaign by the bride’s father for Circuit Court Judge.  Tia I met on Facebook due to multiple mutual friends.  When I say multiple, I mean more than 10 people, all from the same business.  Nazlee I met through a workshop event from a very talented photographer, Kelly Schneider.  So, political contacts, Facebook, and networking are all ways of meeting models.

There are a lot of photographers who care more about the art of the image rather than “likes” or collecting friends on Facebook.  There are a lot of professionals who would love to collaborate on a shoot because of the art.  I want more out of this field than being famous or being rich.  I want to work with people who enjoy the finished artwork.  The ones who love just being in front of a camera and showing the emotion needed to convey a message or tell a story.  In the spirit of being interactive, can you place a story to the images above or below?  I would love to hear what you think…

Model: David
I Honestly Forget Her Name
Lauren Alaina “In The Streets”

Wait, how did that get in there?  No, she was not my model, I just happened to be In the Streets and she was performing for 99.9 WFRE and everyone else.

I say all this above to say that, if you treat (potential) models with respect and courtesy, they will continually want to work with you.  Especially if the art you create together is memorable.  Let your work speak for itself and in time, relationships will be built.  This profession is bigger than just “me” and I intend to keep it that way by doing my part and being professional at all times.  I look forward to your responses of the stories.


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