First Contact

A freelance figure model seeking paying artistic nude assignments should use the same techniques as models in the fashion world, especially promotion techniques, in order to make first contact with photographers.

Any model seeking new assignments will be expected to promote and market herself just as a professional agencies’ models are marketed. This includes sending out a composite card, a follow up phone call and sending a portfolio of images that will help book the assignment.

A good solid reference book on modeling is The Professional Model’s Handbook by Linda A. Balhorn. Applying the ideas and concepts will not guarantee work but will place you heads above the rest in most photographer’s minds.

When an assignment is accepted by a photographer, he will begin gathering the items needed to create the image. Part of his task involves model selection for the assignment. Factors that go into this decision may include type of model needed (fashion or glamour type?), physical characteristics such as hair color or height, and ethnicity can play a part as well.

A commercial assignment can also involve someone else making the final decision on model selection. A model’s composite card and portfolio are crucial at this step in securing the assignment. Additional assignments can come from working with photographers on their personal projects. For those types of assignments, you will be expected to first e-mail the photographer before expending time and money mailing cards or phoning.a_bm06If you have never worked with the photographer before then making a good first impression is crucial. Your first e-mail should state why you are emailing, what type of assignment you are seeking, where you are located, who you are and when you are free to shoot. Each photographer may have many projects in progress so explaining what you are interested in helps greatly. Two other important items are an e-composite card and a working e-mail address. The next step is to wait for a reply.

Don’t expect an immediate reply as there may not be a rush to shoot or other things may have to be set in motion. If no reply is received in two weeks do a follow-up e-mail with the same information but with a different e-composite card. If still no reply after seven days, place the photographer on your mailing list for possible future bookings then move on to the next thing on your to-do list.

When you are hired to pose for a project, get as much information as you possibly can before the day of the shoot. Try to view previous images that the photographer has created to gain a better insight of the project and to prepare yourself. You should get enough information to physically and mentally prepare yourself for the shoot. With additional information you will be able to plan your day and week efficiently. If you have a shoot the day before and the day after, you know you will need extra rest and you will be able to collect the items needed to go in your totebag for each shoot.

If it is a nonpaying photo assignment, it should be taken just as seriously as if it were for a major ad campaign. If you are working hard during the shoot, as well as enjoying being in front of the camera, the photographer will pick up on that mood. He will know that your actions and posing is strictly for the camera and to help him achieve the needed results on film. By giving 100% during the shoot, you will forced the photographer to work harder to capture all of the wonderful looks you are providing. You both will have gained more respect for the hard days work provided. You also will have a positive opinion of each other should a recommendation be needed for a future paying assignment.

Remember that professionalism, hard work and a great attitude will make you stand out from hundreds of other models which will result in additional paid assignments and can generate referrals for new work.

© 04/2003 W. Mackie, All Rights Reserved. Any republication, redistribution or copying of these articles and tips by any method whatsoever is prohibited without prior written permission.

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