Avoid These 8 Things When Working With A Photographer

Photo: Jamie Gasper

Photo: Jamie Gasper

By: Amy Cooper

In this day and age, there are tons -and I mean TONS of "photographers." It's the newest thing in everyone's mind that they can do to create something, without much in their minds to put into it. There are some of us, though, that study and try to perfect our crafts, and take it seriously, even as a business. 

We've all got some gripes when it comes to being in the business. So much so, I posed the question on Social Media to see what my "peers" would say. Especially for models starting out, here's some things you shouldn't do when you're hoping to get some work done. 

Politely Request Their Services

Do not automatically assume because you hit up a photographer, that they are going to want to take the time to shoot with you, or that you are owed a shoot because the photographer isn't as well known. We as photographers are able to pick and choose who we want to work with, and you're going to get less of a good reaction from most of us if you just DM us late at night, wondering when we're going to shoot, when we've never spoken, or aren't even acquaintances. Be professional, be up front, and please note whether you are looking to work with us on a "time for pictures" basis, or if you are going to be a paying client. Many of us don't accept "time for pictures" unless there's a benefit to us. Exposure does not pay our bills. 


Flaking Out, No Shows, Or Being Extremely Late

The number one comment I got when asking a big batch of photographers of what annoys them most were the following: 

  • Lack of response when a shoot was requested
  • Not showing up at the scheduled time / not showing up at all
  • Canceling last minute
  • Planning, renting studio space, organizing extras / models, etc, and then having the main artist / client / subject bail - otherwise, not taking into account the other people involved. 
  • Repeatedly doing any of these things after we give you a second (or even third chance)

There is absolutely no excuse to being this self-centered. Now granted, if your grandmother is being rushed to the hospital, or your car died on your way to a shoot, some of us are a little more lenient, but some of us may also charge you the cost of the shoot for not showing up.

Also, especially in communities where many models and photographers cross-pollinate or work around or together with each other, if you're known to flake, you get a reputation with most of us.  So you should probably not lie to us about why you're not showing up, because most of the time, we end up hearing why somewhere else, or find out that this is your M.O..


Lack Of Self Confidence When Modeling

We absolutely hate this! Whether it's before, during, or after shooting, hating on yourself is only going to make photos come out worse in your mind. 

  • When booking or scheduling with a photographer, saying things like "I mean I'm ugly, but I'll try" is not going to make us want to work with you.
  • Same with making the same type of comments during a shoot. If you're shooting with multiple people, and you keep comparing yourself to the other models, that will also be a huge turn off. 
  • Saying "I'm not very good at this" after initiating a shoot with a photographer, or placing your entire self worth and all your insecurities on the photographer to fix: "You can fix that in Photoshop, right?" Not your confidence, I can't.
  • When reviewing photos after the fact, saying repetitively how much you hate your face, the look you gave, etc. 

And here's the thing: some of you might be new models. That's what practice is for. I tell anyone new that I'm helping get started to look at themselves in the mirror and practice what expressions look good. Don't get stuck on one expression, that makes you have no range. Don't try to make the "sexy face" because chances are, what you think looks sexy is annoying to the rest of us looking at it if it's the only face you're willing to make. 

But the most important note to keep in mind is this: If you don't feel confident, you won't look confident. If you don't look confident, you're going to hate your photographs. 

Know The Scope Of What You're Shooting And Prepare Accordingly



Is it going to be super cold outside? Did you agree to shoot a set that requires a specific type of makeup, or requires to you to get a little messy? Know what you're shooting. One of the responses that came in when asking this question was "being a diva when it comes to getting a little dirty." 

Always talk over the concept with your photographer for the shoot beforehand and know what's expected of you, and if you're expected to bring anything or how you're supposed to dress. One of the biggest issues is coming unprepared. Models typically should come either with makeup and hair done, unless a stylist is being provided for them by the photographer / set. 

And if you discuss the concept thoroughly with your photographer, you'll know if you're supposed to be getting risque, if someone is going to put you in a bird bath full of milk and Froot Loops, or asks you to crawl into a marshy river in the woods on Belle Isle and lay your head back in the water, then you have no reason to complain. You signed up for this. 

Trust Your Photographer And Follow Our Directions

We're supposed to be the pros here. And even if some of us aren't 100% Annie Leibovitz, we should (in theory) be posing you the way that it is flattering. Now, I get into icy territory in the shade throwing department when I say many photographers, especially ones that are "self taught" or haven't been shooting for long haven't quite mastered this, but if you choose to work with them, then you should be liking their work, and how they potray their subjects. If you don't like the way they pose you (especially if they pose females in a more raunchy manner, or a manner you're uncomfortable with), then you should probably seek out a photographer that does the work you like, rather than try to force them to do a style they don't specialize in.  


Don't Edit The Photos We Give You

The photos we put out are a representation of our work and quality. We pick the way we want the photo colorized, how it's edited, where it's cropped, etc. Especially if you are a "time for pictures" client, please do not edit the photos we give you by slapping an Instagram filter on it, or putting it through some gaudy iPhone editing program where you make the photo quality diminish. When you do that to our photos, and then tag us in them, people think that we're the ones who made those edits, and we are not. We do not want our work represented that way. It's the same with the cropping of photographs. Many people will crop a photograph, especially when uploading to Instagram, and even though that's not nearly as much of a sin as putting a filter on it, it's still not as the picture was intended, and is very frustrating for us. 


Credit Your Photographer For Their Work

This one was so important to me that I wrote an entire blog on it, which you can read by clicking here. Especially if you are a person who did a "time for pictures" shoot with a photographer, the very least you can do is tag them in your photos that you post on Social Media and promote us. Not crediting us for the work we've done with you, even though you're in the photo and you feel you "put in the work" by modeling, you should 100% credit the photographer for what they did on their end. Hey, if Kim Kardashian can do it, so can you. 

Asking For The RAW Images

Now, this one isn't an issue for some photographers, but this one frustrates quite a few of us. We edited the photos for a reason. We don't want to hand over RAW Images. I honestly don't even like handing off proofs, I like giving final product and final product only. When you hand off a RAW image, first off, most people can't edit them unless they own Photoshop, which means then they might have someone else editing your work, which might be misrepresented later on with your name. 

Second, a lot of the time, especially with photographers who struggle with lighting or proper settings when learning, those images aren't good enough to share. We still need to change the lighting, see what it looks like in the computer, and tweak as we see fit. Even if it's for events, we don't want to just hand over a set of RAW files and have the client be unsatisfied or act like our work isn't good, because it's unedited. 

If it is a requirement for the shoot that the RAW images need to be handed over to the client, and you're not comfortable with that, you need to include that in your contract that you don't do that, or make sure that the client knows that is not part of your common practice so there isn't miscommunication.

Are there any peeves that I missed that you'd like to add? Sound off in the comments!

Like my articles? Come Support Me On Patreon!