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Tuesday, 14 February 2012 23:58

Meet and Greet Etiquette: How to Treat a Model

by Roxana Hire on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 4:56pm ·

Photography Meet and Greets offer wonderful opportunities for networking between models and photographers. These events are also great for beginner photographers and models to practice and learn from the pros.

After one of the recent events I attended, I was sitting around with other models talking about how the day had gone. Many of them had the same complaints about how they had been treated. They were shy about speaking up about this behavior because they were new to modeling and thought that "that is just the way things are' in "the industry." Honestly, I do not know about "the industry" but I DO know how I want to be treated at a Meet and Greet, AND I know how I DO NOT want to be treated. To this end I have written an etiquette primer for new photographers.

If you follow these rules you will have a very good reputation with models and we will be happy to work with you again.
If you do not follow these rules, we will do our best to avoid you and tell our model friends to do the same.

First: A M&G is like an interview for both model and photographer: be clean, sober, and professional.

What A Photographer should Bring (aside from a camera):

1) A portfolio: To show models the kind of work you have done and your style of photography.

2) Business cards: This should go without saying at a networking event

3) Model Releases: This shows that you respect the model enough to write a legally binding contract telling her how you will use her photos. Note: if you take photos without a release you are putting yourself/company in jeopardy of lawsuit. At the very least taking photos of a model without her permission is a violation of her trust, and will not make her more inclined to want to work with you again

 

Second: First impressions are very important. Nothing is more offensive to me, as a model, than being photographed by someone who then walks away without introducing themselves or offering contact information

How to Treat a model:

1) Introduce yourself. Just saying "wanna shoot?" is not an appropriate introduction.

2) Treat us as you would want someone close to you (parent, sibling, child, partner) treated. I recently had a photographer show me pics he had taken of a young woman, and he preceded to comment on who 'moist' he thought her private areas must have been. If I had not been a lady I would have slapped him... I did, however, make sure to tell all my friends to avoid him for the rest of the day. If I had learned his name I would have had him black listed from the event altogether.

3) Ask permission: If we are on a canvas, or in a pose, do not come and start taking photographs without first asking BOTH model and other photographer for permission. Also do not presume that all the rooms with open doors are available for your use... when in doubt, ask! Reputation is everything and if you offend a photographer that we models love dearly it is as bad as if you offended us, personally.

4) Speak respectfully: We are doing this for you for free. Some of us command hourly rates of $100 or more, and take offense at being ordered around like a dog. "Please lower your arm and rest it on your lap" is preferable to "Get your arm out of the way." "That pose isn't working in this light" is preferable to "Stop that, it looks bad," etc

5) Ask a model about comfort zones. Do not ask a model to take off articles of clothing without first asking her if she is comfortable with nudes/implied nudes. A photographer who gets the reputation as a 'Perv' will not get repeat models no matter HOW good him final images.
Note: #5 also includes putting models in poses with other models. For instance, do not try to create your girl-on-girl fantasy shot or a boudoir shot without FIRST asking the model if she is ok with being intimate in that way.

6) Respect the models time. Some of us may have multiple shoots planned at an event. Generally it would be a good rule to not spend more than 15 minutes with a model unless you have booked that time with her before hand.

7) A model has the right to say "No". We do not have to work with everyone.

8) Contact all the new models you work with promptly after the shoot to let them know when you will have their photos ready.You should have cards and release information on you so you will have their contact information as well.

9) 'This pose is not for free': Recently I saw an internet post that went around FB in which a photographer details how much it cost him to take a picture that magazines want to use for free. Well, looking this good costs a lot too. We come to these M&G to network, and we put a lot of time and money into these 'looks'. If we have 'interviewed' with you at the last M&G and you did not contact us with pictures or job offers, do not be surprised if we do not wish to work with you again for free (you wouldn't show up to work for a company you never called you back after an interview would you?). Some of use are happy to do TFP, but we ask that you respect our working sisters.
Note: this goes for make-up as well! If you want your model in make-up please be willing to pay the $10-$20 to 'interview' the MUA at the M&G as well. A good MAU will cost at least $50 per look, so if you are only paying $10-20 you are only reimbursing her/him for their supplies and not their artistry.

10) M&G are often very loud and confused. It may be better to contact a model later about private shoots you have in mind. We models are in high demand, and it may be difficult to give your idea the attention it deserves because we are trying to prepare for the next shoot, or you are trying to talk to us while we are in a pose for someone else.

 

Again, if you follow these rule, you will have a wonderful reputation amongst us models and well will be happy to work with you again and again. We will also be more willing to work with you TFP, because we know we will enjoy the experience!

Note: I used female pronouns because I am a woman, this advice applies equally to male and female models.  Everyone should be treated respectfully.