• MWP | Malta Wedding Photo

Cooperation with a model

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Today Malta wedding photographer will present to you my view of cooperation with the model. Probably many of you, reading this post, are wondering how to start your career in this type of photography. How to encourage a model to work with a beginner photographer? At the beginning I would like to point out that in my opinion TFP (Time for photo) sessions are not the best idea for beginners in photography and modelling. TFP sessions and session free of charge are two different concepts for me. By offering a model the TFP photoshoot, I always sign a contract and the model can count on enrichment of her portfolio. So there is no room for learning the basics. This works, of course, in both directions. The model must also have mastered the basics of her work. Of course, it sometimes happens to me that I suggest such sessions to beginners, but only if I am sure that even if it is a beginner, I will be able to do the good job.

Conversation before and during the session

I never focus solely on work and its technical aspects. With such a rigid approach, effects are usually artificial and forced. The conversation before the start of the session and a short description of the action plan always work. The best way is to start the conversation with things that are not related to photography. Such conversation makes the photographed person feel more relaxed. Then we can slowly move to the subject of photography. Of course, I do not end my conversation when I start working. It should be continued throughout the session, it allows you to keep your mind fresh and prevents tiredness. During the photoshoot, always when I change the equipment, add another lamp or blend, I explain to the model what I do and what I want to achieve through this effect.

Atmosphere during the photoshoot

Remember to ensure the right atmosphere and comfort during the session. During my shootings, the atmosphere is usually very easy-going and relaxed. Too much seriousness and the atmosphere is a guarantee of unsatisfying photographs. Conversation, coffee, good music will surely result in better cooperation. I usually take my iPad with a huge music library, so that every model can find something for themselves. If the model does not feel fully self-conscious and does not have the awareness of her own body or needs some advice if she looks good in a certain position, I assure her about it in conversation and show her the shots. If the model does not feel comfortable being photographed from a small distance, for example with a 56 mm lens, I assume a longer one. This technique should help, over time you will change for the target lens.

I present my vision to the model

I always show the model the idea of what I want to achieve, what effect I would like to have in the picture. An experienced model knows exactly how to show happiness, sadness, fear, interest, attractiveness, etc. After such a conversation, it is much easier to convey a specific message together. If I know exactly which poses and emotions I want to include in the photographs, I talk about it with the model before the session, online. I consult the whole idea with a make-up artist. Of course, all the time during the photoshoot, I give the photographed person my remarks. You need to remember one thing, you can never come for the photoshoot unprepared. I always have everything planned, however there is also a small margin for improvisation, which grows if I photograph a model who works with me not for the first time. Experienced photographers often show a given pose by themselves, I also sometimes do it but I often have an assistant, if the model does not mind the presence of two people during the photoshoot.

Analysis and selection of poses

Let's move to posing as such. Learning this art by heart is, in my opinion, pointless and kills creativity. I never try to adjust the mode’s pose with centimetre precision. It gives me more freedom, the more experienced a model is, the more room I leave for her. I also do not learn by heart, but it is worth knowing, in which poses a model with a certain body shape looks good. If I have already chosen the type of session and a model, I start searching for poses, which in my opinion, will work in this project. I always show the model how she should pose and the rest depends on her creativity and my possible hints. During the shooting it often happens that even if I plan a certain pose, it turns out that in this particular situation it just does not look good. I do not insist then that everything looks great. I admit my mistake and look for a different solution. Remember that the problem with the frame does not always lie in a pose, often the change of perspective changes the picture diametrically. When looking for a solution I always start with a change of perspective. It's much easier than changing the position of a model.

Choosing a pose for a model

This point is going to be a visual guide. I am not going to elaborate on why the given pose looks good to me and is very universal. I put an example photo with each pose, you need to take a look, evaluate it and test it in your projects.

Crossed legs

Crossed hands

Hands on the head, in the hair

Self confidence

Wind in the hair

Perspective from above



The introduction was long, so I will try to sum it up shortly. You need to remember the most important things about cooperation. Both sides must respect each other and their time. Always sign a contract, even for TFP session and I am addressing these words especially to models. It's completely irrelevant whether you have 10 years of experience or are just a beginner. You should sign a contract that will protect you from the publication of "unwanted" shots that violate your reputation. Yes, such situations happen too often. Especially considering that today every buyer of "SLR" in the store under the letter "M" is called a photographer. For me it is all simple, the contract can be modified by e-mail attachments, I give the model a set of photographs that I intend to publish. It is very important and crucial for the comfort of work, that not every picture that I like makes you feel satisfied. I also follow one rule that I have learned working in the UK. The contract has a provision concerning the commercial use of photographs, e.g. sales in photo banks. I always consult such a possibility with a model who is a co-author of the photo and I offer to share the possibile income. I think it's a fair solution and as I mentioned, the basis is respect for the other side.

If you are interested in some more information, feel free to leave a comment, I will answer asap!

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