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5 Things Models Should Stop Doing and Start Doing Instead

Like mentioned in my last blog post, everyone has to start somewhere, so I'm sure everyone (including myself) are guilty of doing these things. Hey, we're not perfect! And that's okay! But at some point, we have to draw the line to better ourselves and our careers, and create a brand for ourselves. So here are five things that I believe models should stop doing and start doing instead.

1. STOP shooting with just everyone who asks!

In the beginning when you're starting off, it can be tempting to keep shooting with anyone and everyone in order to build up your portfolio in hopes of getting noticed by either clients or better photographers. Well, truth is, if you are doing that, then most of the shots in your portfolio probably aren't portfolio-worthy shots. This in turn means that the chances of that happening are very slim. So what should you do instead?

START being more selective or hire a photographer to get your portfolio going in the right direction.

Look at someone's portfolio in length. Is their style something you'd like to see within your portfolio? Is it going to help you get booked? Is it marketable? If the answer is yes, then great! Go for it! If you're struggling to find someone to test with, then it'd be best to hire a photographer to get you started. Even if you already have photos, there's no better time to re-brand yourself like the present. Other brands do it; why can't you?

2. STOP agreeing to group shoots without knowing anything else besides the theme.

Group shoots can be a hit or miss. There can be great photographers, and there can be not so great photographers. Group shoots can be great to network with other creative industry professionals, but when you go to one, you're expected to shoot with everybody. That can make it really hard to control what photos of you come out of the shoot (good or bad), and remember, your photos are your brand.

START becoming aware of the group shoots you're attending or avoid them altogether.

Group shoots can be great when done well. When you know ahead of time who's shooting ( as well as who will be doing make-up, hair, and styling as well!) you can decide for yourself whether or not it's worth your time to attend. If you're participating in a group workshop, you can also discuss with the host how images should be used (i.e. letting them run it by you first, for example). Professionals will understand, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask. And remember if you're uneasy about it, then it might be best for you to just avoid it altogether.

3. STOP shooting product for nothing.

When you agree to shoot someone's products, that person will be making money off your images. Shouldn't that mean you should get something out of it, since it's your face and body helping make that product look great? When you work for free, you're not only robbing yourself of a paycheck, but you're also helping someone believe that models shouldn't really be compensated for their time. It's not helping anyone out.

*Important note: This does not pertain to fashion shows.

START asking to be compensated, whether it's monetary, product, or anything else they could offer you, or politely decline.

Not everyone might have the financial means to pay you, especially when their company is starting out, but they could at least offer you some of their products, store credit, or anything else of value to show you their appreciation of your time. Work something out. Maybe you need some new images for your portfolio. I've worked for money, and I've also worked for product and pictures. It really depends on what you're shooting and what is of value to you, but by not shooting for free, you're establishing yourself as a working professional and helping the next person along.

4. STOP shooting without contracts and model releases.

This is something even I need to get better about, as I've been burned recently, but it is so important. When you test shoot with someone, model releases help both parties understand what the photos are being used for and what they can't be used for. Contracts do that as well, but they also define the payment between the two parties and when you're going to get it.

START every shoot by signing a release/contract.

Before the camera clicks, be sure to have it signed. It wouldn't be a bad idea to create your own release and carry a couple on you, just incase the photographer doesn't have one.

5. STOP shooting with your friends as a favor.

At some point, the line between friend and "fellow creative who just picked up a camera" might blur. Your friend might need someone to practice with their camera and remember that you're a model, so of course they're going to ask you. As friends, it might be tempting to say yes. But remember your friend might have no idea about lighting or how photoshop works and lo and behold, they post photos of you you're not particularly fond of, and because it's their photos, you might not be able to do much without hurting their feelings.

START shooting with your friends under an agreement.

Friendships have benefits, and those benefits usually include helping each other out. However, it's important to sit down with your friend before shooting and explain to them how important your image is to you getting work and that even something perhaps in a slightly less favorable light might hurt your chances. If they're really your friend, they'll understand that. Create an agreement between yourselves on how the photos will be used and where they'll be used, preferably on paper. Yes, you're friends, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

I hope this list has helped! Thanks for reading! Want me to write about a certain topic? Please leave your suggestions in the comments! - Gabija

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