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Oil Cleansing Method – Part I

27 Feb
OCM Oil Cleansing Method

OCM Oil Cleansing Method (Photo credit: madaise)

I heard about the oil cleansing method as a method for facial cleansing via a thread on ModelMayhem and decided to research it a bit. Basically, you use a combination of castor oil and another oil called a carrier oil (often extra virgin olive oil aka EVOO) to cleanse your face. The idea is that the oils will help remove extra oils and other icky stuff from your face (mainly the castor oil) while still keeping skin moisturized (mainly the carrier oil). You can read more about the specifics on how it works at these two links:

So, after reading those two sources and a few others, and having noticed that both the models I spoke to about it do in fact appear to have lovely skin, I decided to try it. But, after hearing another  model describe her process, I decided to modify how I would use the OCM to something a bit easier, in my opinion, than the methods described in the two sources.

A Bit About Me

I’m a model, but I’m a model who doesn’t wear make-up very often, not even for shoots as most of what I do is focused on a natural look. Therefore it’s important to me that my skin looks pretty good. Before trying OCM, I was using what I call the “water method,” basically only rinsing my face with water. If my face was dry, I’d apply moisturizer. My skin is pretty decent, but I would have a breakout around my period every month. Other than that, no problems to speak of. However, I just recently moved to Detroit from East TN and my face was starting to be dry a lot, so I was looking for a solution that didn’t involve moisturizer multiple times a day as I don’t always remember to apply it and the smell, even though it’s light, kind of bothers me.

My Oils

I chose to use castor oil and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). The EVOO was some I already had in the kitchen cabinet. I purchased the castor oil in the personal care section of Walmart (with the laxatives).

My Process

The first part of the process is mixing the oils. It is generally recommended to start with 50% castor oil and 50% EVOO (although my first source says otherwise). I mixed one teaspoon of each the first time I tried it. I later found out this was causing a bit of drying, so I’ve switched to one third castor oil and two thirds EVOO. That seems to work pretty well for me.

Now comes the part I do a bit differently: I apply the oil to my face when I’m in the shower. Usually I wet down my hair and face first, and give my pores time to open up, then I massage the oil into my face for about 30 seconds. I then switch to the bathtub facet (instead of the shower head) and use a washcloth rinsed with the hot water to wipe the oil off my face. At first I tried leaving a bit of the oil on, but that caused a few minor spots, so now I make sure I wipe it all off.

And that’s pretty much it for my OCM process.

My Results So Far

My Face After About 2 Weeks of OCM, no editing or retouching of my skin, wearing no make-up other than lipstick

I’ve been doing my OCM the way I described every other day for about a month. I usually have at least one decent sized spot (aka pimple) some time around my period along with several smaller ones, mostly around my chin. This time after having used the OCM for about two weeks prior to the time I usually get the spots, I only had a few of the smaller ones. I haven’t been doing it long enough to know if this will become my new norm, or if I might even have less if I’m less stressed (as I was very stressed during that time frame this month).

There are a couple things that haven’t gone quite as described. First off, I haven’t noticed any change in the black heads on my nose and chin. I figure I’m going to have to find something else to get rid of those. That doesn’t surprise me. I also do notice that I do sometimes still have a bit of dryness. I tried the idea of massaging a bit of the EVOO into my skin in the problem areas. I massaged it in well, but it still caused a couple spots in the areas I put it, so that doesn’t work for me. Instead, I just apply a tiny bit of my inexpensive moisturizer.

I also tried sunflower seed oil in place of EVOO which is mentioned in the first source. I ended up with two spots at the top of my cheek just below one eye that seemed like an allergic reaction.

Final Notes

OCM isn’t for everyone, but according to the reading that I’ve done, it can work really well for people with some pretty icky skin conditions. It can also cause some people to break out. If you’re going to try it, I definitely encourage you to do your own research first and if you do have any serious skin conditioners, you should also discuss it with your doctor.

If you do decide to try it remember that sometimes skin care changes can take a couple weeks or even longer to sort of normalize with your skin. Plus it takes a time or two to learn what mix of oil you need, how to remove it all, etc. OCM isn’t a miracle solution, but I’ve found it to be good for me.

If you’ve tried it and you’d like to share your experience, please comment below. Try to include what oils and ratios you used, what type of skin you have, and what method you used.

Moving Soon

27 Feb

I will be continuing to use this blog for just a bit longer, but then I’ll be moving to my own domain and my blog, advice articles, and such will be going with me. The best way to stay in touch is to subscribe to this blog (via the field on the right) or to like my Facebook fan page:

But please continue to follow this blog until I do move, or you’ll miss out!

A Model Should Not Expect to Be Paid Because…

1 Feb

First off, for those of you who don’t understand sarcasm, this article is meant to be taken half sarcastically while still being as truthful as possible. Obviously there are exceptions. 

As a model who takes what I do as a model very seriously, it gets a teeny bit frustrating seeing new models pop up who think they should be paid at the drop of a hat just for saying they are a model and getting some photos taken. I have spent hours studying poses, invested in taking care of myself more than I would have otherwise, stayed out of the sun to keep my skin pretty, taken a very uncommon interest in my pubic hair’s appearance, spent hours upon hours networking and making connections, done at least 100 shoots, and spent a lot of my time preparing for and planning shoots. And you know what? I still don’t demand to be paid every time I shoot.

I’ve seen tons of girls (sorry, but it is usually girls I see, so I’m going to refer to models as feminine for this article) who whine and moan and carry on because they aren’t getting paid. Or because they think they should get paid but something is horribly wrong with the world and they aren’t. And so here I am to tell you some reasons why you shouldn’t expect to be paid as a model.

1. Just because you are willing to get naked.
It is more common for you average freelance model to be paid for being nude if she isn’t agency/fashion stats if she gets nude. That is true, but you still need to have some idea of how to pose and have a decent look. If you’re covered in 20 tattoos that don’t match or if you don’t take care of your skin and you went sunbathing and now you’re red and peeling or if you can’t pose to save your life or if you’re really uneasy about being seen naked… you probably shouldn’t expect to be paid for nude modeling. If you take pretty good care of yourself and you feel pretty comfortable in your skin, you can probably eventually get paid for nude modeling if you learn the poses and develop a decent portfolio.

2. Because you slap some rates on your profile.
Just because you demand a certain rate does not mean you are going to get paid that rate. And just because you see some other model post a rate on her profile doesn’t mean she’s actually making that rate. Your rates should be based on your market, what others in your area are charging, and what the budget of those hiring you is. Your rates should not be based on you wanting a new car or a vacation at the beach or something.

3. Because you are pretty/beautiful/gorgeous.
Contrary to the very misguided though somehow popular belief, modeling isn’t about standing around and looking pretty. Modeling is about having the right look and knowing how to pose/emote/express. You may be the prettiest girl in your town, but you probably can’t be a fashion model if you’re only 5 feet tall. Similarly, if you all you do is stand there and flash a smile to the camera, you aren’t likely to get really far. You need to know what angles and poses work for your body. You need to know what styles your look, stats and body type are suited for.

4. Because you’ve decided this is your job.
You can’t just wake up one day and magically decide, “Hmm, I think modeling is going to be my job now because I’m a model.” Modeling is just like any other job. You have to have skills and, in the case of modeling, you also have to have a marketable look. Models who model as a full time job have to put a ton of time and effort in modeling. Most of them travel a lot and don’t really get a lot of downtime. Just like any other job you can’t just walk into a business or whatever and say “I want to be a ________, now hire me.”

Again, this article is meant to be truthful, but also taken as sarcastic. And yes, your results may vary and there are exceptions to every rule.

My Ultra Helpful Guide to Approaching Models for TF

15 Jan

Okay, so here you are amateur photographer and you want to work with a model on a trade basis. Or maybe you’re an award-winning photographer who is new to working with models. Or maybe you’ve worked trade before and you’re having a hard time finding more models to work trade with. Or maybe you’re just reading this because you found it.

I wrote this in response to my time in MM forums and my own experiences being approached for trade work. A lot of photographers seem to have difficulty finding models to shoot trade with. Or maybe that have difficulty getting the models they want to work trade with to work trade with them. Of course, you can’t get every model to work trade with you. Maybe that specific model doesn’t shoot trade at all. Maybe you need to improve your style or skills before that model is comfortable shooting trade with you. So please don’t misunderstand and think I’m saying you can shoot trade with any model you happen to want to shoot trade with. I’m just trying to share some general guidelines for those who might be having difficulty.

So without further elaboration, let’s get started. And please don’t be offended with some of this. I’m taking what I’ve read (and experiences I’ve had and been told about by other models) into account here. Not everything here applies to everyone.

1. We really don’t care how awesome you say you are. But we do care about how awesome your work is. All most of us want is work we can put in our portfolios.

2. Don’t be a dick/ass/bitch to us. Period. At all. Ever. We tend to respond poorly to this and nobody likes a condescending attitude. Don’t tell us that we should feel lucky to work with you. Chances are if that’s true, we already feel that way.

3. Don’t lecture us on escorts. If you have an escort policy, it shouldn’t take more than a couple sentences to explain. Please don’t tell us what type of man we should date. Please don’t give us examples of other situations that we wouldn’t bring an escort to and try to relate it to modeling. While some of it may be true, you really aren’t likely to change our minds.

4. Many of us have circumstances listed in which we will in fact shoot trade, even if we generally shoot only paid work. Some of us will trade or barter for various things. Wardrobe and shoes are a common one, but there are many of them and they vary greatly depending on the model. There is a group shoot event called DEAC where I shoot trade, and only trade, for example.

5. Tell us why you want to work with us (in a non-creepy way). Maybe you like our posing style. Maybe your like our face or our eyes. You don’t have to say a lot, but something that lets us know you aren’t just droning through a ton of models sending them the same message over and over.

6. Pretty please read our profile/website. Many of the questions I get asked by photographers are already answered there and while I don’t mind answering them again, if the photographer doesn’t like my answer sometimes they seem to feel like they wasted their time contacting me and that’s not helpful for anybody.

7. Give us at least a brief little outline of what style(s) or genre(s) you want to shoot with us. It’s a bit confusing for us to try to figure out what you might like, especially if your portfolio is full of different styles.

8. If our profile says we don’t do something, or don’t do something for trade please don’t ask us to do it for trade. Or if you absolutely must ask, please do so nicely and don’t be offended when we decline.

9. Don’t talk us out of working with you. Don’t tell us that you should be paying us or that you’re not that good, but maybe we’ll be nice enough to shoot with you. Tell us what you have to offer. Maybe you’re a student and you’re working on a project, maybe the images will be in a gallery, maybe you think you have a really cool style or concept.

10. Don’t expect us to travel long distances for a trade shoot. Some of us will, but it’s not a given.

Hopefully my list will help you and, if nothing else, perhaps at least amused you a bit. Hopefully you picked up on the slightly sarcastic tone. And while this was written in a slightly sarcastic manner, it was meant to be truthful.

When & Why Should A Model Be Paid

11 Oct

One of the first questions I’ve seen new models ask over and over is “When am I going to get paid?” and one of the questions I see a lot of photographers posing over and over is “Why should I pay a model?” I’m going to do my best to answer both of these questions based on my past experience, and advice and experiences shared with me by other models and photographers. I recommend everyone read both sections because they really do have a lot to do with each other. I’ll also be adding a section at the very end for some amusement at a later time 😉

Why should a photographer pay a model?

I’m going to answer this one first because I think it will make the second question make a lot more sense.

The simple answer to this question is: A photographer should consider paying a model when the model offers something the photographer cannot get via trade (TF).

Sometimes this might be as simple as the fact that the photographer requires a certain type of model for a project being paid for by a client. This is probably the most commonly cited example via the phrase (used by photographers): “I only pay models when a client is paying me.” Paying an appropriate model for a client’s shoot is a good reason to pay a model, but it isn’t the only reason.

Photographers who are just beginning or who want to improve their portfolios also very often hire a model that fits the style of shoot they are looking to do. Maybe the photographer wants to get into shooting fashion. It would certainly make sense for them to find a model with the appropriate stats who knows how to pose for fashion. However, it is very likely that a model with these characteristics is not going to offer a trade shoot to a photographer who isn’t likely to be able to give them any photos they can use from the shoot. Therefore, the photographer will mostly likely have to hire the model.

Similarly, perhaps a photographer would like to work with a model who has an extensive wardrobe of some sort, let’s say latex. Latex wardrobe is expensive so that model, once again, is likely to expect compensation. She has invested in the wardrobe, hopefully learned how to put it on and take care of it, and know how to pose in it, etc.

What about nude models? Nude models are this really cool, really simple example of supply and demand (although the others are examples too). Nude models apparently represent a very small portion of all the models available. Small supply. However, a lot of photographers want to shoot nudes (of varying styles and levels). Relatively high demand. Therefore, nude models often charge. There are other reasons (real/experienced/serious) nude models charge as well, but in general it is still supply and demand. Obviously, the really talented, skilled nude models will charge more and some nude models will offer trade, of course.

When can a model expect to be paid?

The simple answer to this question is: When the model can offer something a photographer cannot get via trade (TF).

Unfortunately, a lot of models enter into modeling expecting to be paid almost instantly. The truth is that if you are a freelance (non-agency represented) model who doesn’t shoot nudes or fetish and just want photographers to pay you because you are pretty, you may never get paid.

The best way to increase your chances to get paid are to offer as many benefits to shoot with you as possible. Here are a few common ones that are likely to increase your chances of being paid:
– being able to do your own hair and/or make-up
– having a collection of unique wardrobe (latex, Gothic lolita, costumes, Victorian, vintage clothing, etc)
– having excellent references
– having a strong portfolio showing that you can shoot the styles you want to be paid for a.k.a. experience
– having a look that fits the styles you want to shoot (for example, being 5’10” and slender if you want to shoot fashion)
You don’t have to have all of these things. You may only need one or two. And there are other things, these are just examples.

Notice that I did not mention shooting nudes on this list. Simply shooting nudes is in no way a reason for you to expect to be paid. You still need to be able to pose and have a look that is suitable for the type of nude modeling you’d like to do.

Getting paid also depends on what other models are available in your area and what they can offer. If you’re in an area with a lot of models, you may find it more difficult to find paid work just because photographers have so many options. Similarly, if you live in an area where photographers aren’t really looking to pay models of your type, even if you are really good, you may have a hard time finding paid work.

I won’t go into detail here about exactly how you decide on what your rates should be, but I do recommend you read my article called: Rates & TF.

Being paid isn’t really so much a matter of time as a matter of skill, experience, look, and/or what you can offer.

Having a Professional Attitude

2 Aug

I don’t care if you plan to model once in your life, you just picked up a camera, or you just randomly decided five minutes ago to get into this, you can (and should) be professional in how you act.

The word professional in the model photography “industry” has two general meanings:
1. Professional as in someone who does this as their job and usually they’re fairly good at it.
2. Professional as in acting like a mature, responsible person, in other words having a professional attitude.
I’m talking about #2 in this article.

I’d like you to think about all those times you were out at a store or at work or where ever and you thought “Gee, that person is so unprofessional” or “Wow, that person must really just not care what people about their work/their business/etc.” You don’t want to be that person, particularly since model photography tends to be a very networked, social field. It’s okay if this is a hobby for you, it is for me too, and it’s great if you’re lucky enough to model or photograph for a living. We’re all into the same thing, maybe different styles and aspects, but it’s the same nonetheless.

Now, let’s look at some basic ideas to help us on our way to being professional.

1. Everybody starts somewhere. Don’t look down on others or trash talk about them just because they’re not as “good” as you. Photography (and modeling) are forms of art and we are all entitled to our own opinions. Some of us are slower to learn. Some of us simply like different styles. Some of us can afford better equipment or wardrobe or whatever else.

2. People talk. As I said before, model photography is a very social field. If you do something unkind, or irresponsible, or just plain out of line, people are going to hear about it. The same goes for if you do a fantastic job and you’re great to work with.

3. You aren’t going to work well or “click” with everyone. It happens. Not everybody’s personalities are compatible and that’s okay. You don’t have to work with anyone you don’t want to. However, if and when you are around people you don’t click with, the professional thing to do is to remain civil and simply avoid any tension if at all possible.

4. We all like different styles. Some of us shoot nudes, some wouldn’t dream of it. Some of us shoot for publication, some don’t. Some of us shoot weddings or portraits or animals or whatever else. Some of us shoot glamour, or fashion, or fetish, or casual, or whatever else. You won’t like everything I shoot, and I won’t like everything you shoot. We must agree to disagree sometimes.

Your attitude, both in text and in person or on the phone, can play a fairly large part in your modeling or photography. It’s very, very easy, particularly in forums on modeling sites, to get carried away and make a very poor impression. The important thing to remember is that people do remember, they do notice and they do talk to each other.

For example, if you post on a forum and you act like a diva or you’re rude or otherwise unsavory, you may lose potential shoots. ‘Well, nobody in my area uses the forums’ you may say. And while that may be true, never discount those that don’t live near you. I’ve had several photographers from other states/cities contact me for work after having seen some forum post I made that they liked or found insightful.

If you come across as fun to work with or as having a really good attitude, photographers may be much more inclined to find a way to shoot with you. This might be via them traveling to you, offering you paid work in their area, etc.

But forums always carry a certain amount of drama, right? No kidding. However, you as a mature, professional model (or photographer or whatever for that matter) are there to network, share ideas, and talk about relevant things. You are not there for petty arguments over where tattoos are good or bad, whether so and so should or shouldn’t be there, or anything else. You should offer your insight if you feel so inclined, but don’t get in arguments if you can help it. If something is starting to irk you, walk away. Go comment some photos, practice your poses, or find another topic to discuss.

And what about interactions in person? Those are important too. I’m not going to go too deep into how you should act while shooting right now, but I will say that your attitude during a shoot can be so much more than just a one time, in the moment thing. Photographers and models talk to each other. I have gotten a fair amount of paid and solid trade work just by being a good model, having a good personality and being fun to work with. Photographers I worked with talked to others and there is no local photographer I’ve worked with recently who hasn’t said they’ve heard great things about me. I’ve even worked with photographers from out of state who have friend here who knew about me. And it wasn’t hard at all. I just did what I’m supposed to do. I’ve had my share of issues as well, but I handled them to the best of my ability and moved on.

A good attitude can be a powerful thing. A bad attitude can ruin your reputation. Besides, you’ll feel better and be more confident if you’re honest, friendly, and professional. You’ll probably have setbacks, we’re all human, but try to keep the drama to a minimum.

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11 Nov

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Master List of My Shoots

30 Sep

This is a mostly complete list of everyone I’ve worked with. If I’ve worked with them more than once, it is denoted in parentheses, and if they are from out of Tennessee I’ve also listed that. I am also doing my best to give at least one link for each person. The links will be either websites, or links to model photography site accounts.


aglet photography – 4x+
ALE Photo
Andy Armstrong
Aronsha Photography – 4x
Art of the Nude
Bartolomeo Photography
Blue Dauphin Studios
Bob Edens
BRC Photo Services
Candid Vision
Chryseis Dawn – 4x
Dave Senn – 2x
David Carroll
Douglas Hubbard
Dustin Patrick
GDE Photography
Goldblade Photos
Hal Wade
Hank Shiffman
HM Photography/H Photos
Jennifer Brown Photography
John Wilson – 2x
Joiful Memories – 2x
Joshua Winstead
Justin Acuff Photography
Larry Curless
Larry Perry
Lewchin Studios – 3x
Lisa Marie Photography
Mark Rathbone
Marvin Dockery
Matt Cary
MD Photography
Michael Broyles – 2x
MPT Photography
Neil Schulman – 2x
Noelle Belle Photography
Oleg Volk
Overlook Photography
RWhittin/Richard Whittington
Roger Whitaker
Saja Angel Memories
Sam Comer – 3x
Scott Quammen – 2x
Shannon Kelley
Shelb UpChurch – 3x
st Newmann
Steve Kinsey
Studio 44-1
TAG Photography
Todd Reinerio Photography
Trinity Art
VU Images

Make-up Artists

Barnes & Barnes Salon
Ligeas Look – 3x
Monica Making Faces
Stephen Mee

Hair Stylists

Barnes & Barnes Salon
The Chop Shop

Clothing Designers

Donovan Swick
Shadow Oak Maille – 4x+

Events & Group Shoots

Fight Trash Fashion Show with Donovan Swick & Shadow Oak Maille – Dec 2010
University of TN Portrait Class taught by Ron McConathy of Aronsha Photography
Photography Class taught by Jennifer Brown Photography
Knoxville Photog Meetup Bridal Shootout

What to Expect with a TF Shoot

25 Sep

You’ve read all those little modeling guides, but if you’re like I was when I first started this whole TF thing isn’t always explained very well. Those of us who have been doing this for a while just take it as every day, run of the mill dealings, no great elaboration needed. If you’re new, you may feel very different. I feel a Q & A format will be helpful helpful here.

What is TF anyway? How about TFCD, TF*, TFP?
First I will tell you that you may get a few answers on this, but in general the idea is the same. TF stands for “trade for” and thus each person involved in the TF shoot is trading their services in exchange for the services of the others in involved. If it’s just a model and photographer then you are trading your modeling services for the photographer’s photography services (and likely some retouch). Sometimes an MUA or stylist might also be involved.

TFCD means “trade for CD (of images).” Usually the photographer will give you a CD of the agreed upon number of images that have been retouched. Sometimes this term is used a little more loosely and the photographer may deliver images via a website for download or e-mail. You may also see the term TFP which can mean Trade for Prints or Trade for Photos (this could be in the form of a CD, prints, etc). Obviously, that makes TFP a slightly more ambiguous term. You’ll want to clarify exactly what you’re getting if you’re unsure. I will tell you that in my experience most photographers give a CD or other digital copies of photos, not prints (since many models don’t use them).

Another term you may hear is trade shoot. This is generally the same as TFCD. TF* can mean a variety of things, also a trade shoot. The important thing here is to make sure you understand what you will be getting before the shoot.

Why would a model do a TF shoot?
A TF shoot is generally seen as one of the good ways to build your portfolio. If you are being paid to shoot, the photographer is not required to give you any images, the payment was your compensation. In a TF shoot, the images are your compensation (and the compensation for all others involved).

A TF shoot is generally reviewed as a collaborative effort. That means you get photos you want and so does everyone else involved. Sometimes you both want the same type of photos. Sometimes if you want two different things you can shoot a little of what you want and a little of what the other person wants. Maybe you want some shots of you in a cute bikini, but the photographer wants some casual portraits. Or maybe you want fashion and the photographer wants fine art. As long as you agree, pretty much anything goes.

One other thing that needs to be clear is that a TF shoot is not a free shoot. While you may see it as free because no money is changing hands, the term “free shoot” tends to be frowned upon. The shoot is in fact offering compensation to all involved in the form of images, as I said above.

Is there anything different during a TF shoot versus any other photo shoot?
In general, no. However, most TF shoots are a collaborative effort. For example, if you’re shooting paid work, it is likely that the concept, choice of wardrobe, make-up, etc. will already be decided. A TF shoot should be for concepts/styles everyone involved wants to shoot. You may find the photographer allows you more freedom in posing, or asks you for your input more.

However, you should be aware that you are still expected to act professionally and appropriately. Sometimes TF shoots can be more laid back, but this is totally dependent on who you are shooting with. I’ve shot TF shoots that were totally serious, and TF shoots that were very relaxed, almost more social (these were with friends).

Are there any other differences with TF shoots?
Another difference may be in the delivery of the images. Most photographers take a little longer to edit photos from TF shoots because they edit photos from paid shoots first. My recommendation is to get a time frame before the shoot for delivery of images similar to how I recommended clarifying the delivery method and type of photos above. Communication is key here.

When the Pictures Don’t Turn Out

17 Jul

Everyone is going to get photos they don’t like. It’s disappointing, particularly if you put a lot of effort or time into them. It happens to models, photographers, and everyone else involved. There are things you can do to increase your chances of getting good photos, but there are no guarantees.

Also, please be aware that I am speaking in terms of photos in which your opinion matters. As in collaborations, TF, you’re paying the other person. If you aren’t supposed to have control or the photos aren’t for your book, it’s a little different.

Look at the Problem

If you do get photos that don’t turn out the way you wanted, look at them and decide what it is that you don’t like. Looking at it from a model’s standpoint:

  • Is it the posing?
  • Is it the lighting?
  • Is it the wardrobe or make-up or hair?
  • Is it the setting?
  • Are the photos technically poor (blurry, for example)?

Look at where the problems were occurring and then figure what you can do better next time. If you didn’t like the poses, then mark those off your list of poses or alter them to be more flattering. Once you’ve been modeling for a while you’ll start to know what types of poses work for you and what types don’t in general. If it’s something that has to do with the styling (make-up, hair, wardrobe), then you know whatever that was didn’t work for you. Look at the things you had some control over and remember those for next time.

Now, what about the issues that you don’t have control over? As a model, I can’t change the fact that the photographer took a blurry photo (or 50 blurry photos) and chances are I’m not in control of the lighting, angle of the shot, etc either. This is where you’re going to have to go with prevention versus just about anything else.

Prevention & What to Do Next Time

Look at the photographer’s work when you are choosing who to work with. If you don’t like their work, then working with them probably isn’t a good idea. If they have a lot of lower quality photos in their port, or lighting you don’t like or everything is shot in a studio, but you want outdoors, then you might want to consider working with someone else. If you do decide to work with someone who has work you don’t really like, then be aware that you may not like the results. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised, but don’t expect it.

Also, don’t forget that most people tend to put their best work in their portfolio. The general rule that I go by is to assume that I will probably get photos at least as good as the worst photo in the other person’s port.

The Aftermath

Now, back to what the heck you do after you get those disappointing photos.

Do not, I repeat do not, make a huge issue out of how horrible they are. If you believe you were not the cause of the problems and paid for the photos or there was a specific agreement that was not met, then you should bring this up professionally to the other person. Explain to them what you think the issue might have been and ask nicely to shoot again. Again, you should only do this if you feel it is absolutely necessary because, quite honestly, it is likely to cause some tension and the chances of the problem actually being fixed is quite slim.

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