Keeping your models and clients happy on set is vital to creating images that evoke the full range of emotion. Part of your job as a photographer is to bring everyone on set to a mind space that is calm and comfortable. Here are a few tips on how you can play the good host.
Food And Beverages
Hungry people are cranky people and we need to avoid that. You don’t need to serve a four course meal, but some light snacks are a sure-fire way to keep everyone very happy. It is always best to consult with your team as far as allergies go, but in general, these are some popular options:
- Veggie Platters
- Fruit Platters
- Cheese Platters
Don’t forget the beverages! It is always a good idea to play it safe and offer bottled water. Many models we have spoken to have raised concerns about being offered drinks in an open glass, especially if you are a new photographer without too many references, so keep that in mind. If you are shooting first thing in the morning, consider grabbing some coffee for the team. The smell alone is enough to perk some people up.
Although most shoots will have a pre-planned wardrobe, or lack thereof, it is always a good idea to have a “tickle-trunk.” A collection of unique and random pieces that can be pulled at will just in case something isn’t working on set. Models like to play dress up and having them browse through your collection to see if anything inspires is often a great way to grab some fun and candid shots. Consider adding a robe and some slippers to your collection and offer it to nude models so they have something to slip in and out of quickly during breaks. Not everyone feels comfortable just standing around naked eating your cookies.
“Music can alter moods, and talk to you.” Eminem said it, and he was right. Music can build up confidence, it can remind you of a happy time, or it can completely bring you to tears. Based on the look you are after you can design a small playlist with your model that will help her bring to life the emotions you want her to put on display. Music is also a great conversation starter, so when you are working with a new model, you can quickly swap stories that the song reminds you of. It’s a great way to keep the conversation flowing.
Speaking of conversation, as a good host, you should be upbeat and enthusiastic about the work you are about to create. Models, especially newer ones, can be a little nervous when working with someone they don’t know. A positive attitude and good outlook on the day’s project will further boost their confidence and make you look like a supportive and well intentioned photographer. Greet everyone with a large smile, a firm handshake, and a great opener.
Ever walk into a cluttered space and get an overwhelming feeling of discomfort? We all do. So as a photographer keep your work space clean! A model doesn’t want to walk into your studio space and see clothes on the floor, garbage from 3 weeks ago, or yesterdays half eaten pizza with fruit flies buzzing around. Cleanliness goes beyond just what we can see however. A funky smell can be off-putting and will kill any focus a model needs to have. Grab a light potpourri or some other mild air freshener to put a models nose at ease.
As safe and predictable as we try and make every photoshoot life does like to throw a curveball here and there. It is a good idea to keep a first aid kit around including bandaids and gauzes. Most times it will be for the photographer and not even the model. The amount of paper cuts and splinters I have had is proof of this.
It’s always a good idea to keep some tampons, nail polish remover, ear swabs, and other essentials on hand. If you work with a lot of travelling models then you will know that most of them don’t pack heavy. By having an assortment of these every day essentials you can ensure you are the day’s hero and the shoot can chug along without any interruptions.
Whether you work in a studio or on location taking the extra steps to ensure a models personal belongings stay safe will make you a memorable host. As photographers we often make sure our own equipment stays safe under lock and key, but set aside some space for a models purse, phone, or any clothes or jewellery they might bring on set. It will give the model peace of mind to know their belongings are safe in a crowded room where hands can wander and feet can trample.
You don’t want your models to get tired so providing them with a comfortable place to sit during their breaks is going to keep them happy. Especially if they were just rocking a 50 pound haute couture gown on some heels thinner then toothpicks. This isn’t just a consideration for in studio shoots. If you travel on location bring a few foldable chairs. They won’t take up much space, or even add much weight, but will be GREATLY appreciated by everyone there.
Last, but not least, be prepared. No model or client likes to arrive on set and have to wait around for an hour while you “finish” setting up. Get that model into make-up, then off to wardrobe, and be ready to shoot right when they come out. Have your snacks set up, your music ready to go, and all the props and clothes you will be using neatly organized by look. Don’t forget to prepare any model releases you might need and have them available to sign on the spot.
Models are our guests so as photographers we need to remember our manners and create a comfortable environment that let’s them relax and act out the role they are asked to play. Being a good host is just a part of the equation to building a good rapport, but a part that can’t be overlooked. So take a little extra time when preparing your shoot to ensure you’ve got the things listed here under control, and you’ll be getting positive reviews from all your model friends!
Feel free to visit me anytime at Peter House – Commercial Photographer to follow our work. Till next time.
I once helped a friend shoot a small amateur designer and we were shooting at here place (large loft with white walls. Bingo!
But she was SO dirty... didn't even showered or changed from her jammies all day (from 9 to 5!) and there was dried food on plates everywhere in the appartment...
At least all the models were nice and social otherwise we'd have bailed out of there... yurk!
Good info in there!
I always set out candy bars(in wrappers) fresh fruit(health minded clients and models), an an array of sodas and bottled water. Usually anything more than that I send out an email asking for likes and dislikes for snacks. I'll then have them delivered like pizzas, subs, and actually a big hit has always been soup. Why soup? No idea but it seems to work. I tend to restrict alcoholic beverages as it usually makes the models face flush.
Soup doesn't cause bloating. It's a perfect meal/snack while modeling. :)
Music is definitely an important part of a photo shoot.
Sorry but one more thing. You probably know this but: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling