How do you make models comfortable?
I have a few photoshoots lined up with models and I'm a little nervous. They don't have much experience modelling so I know there will be a lot of direction needed. Are there any tips you can give to make the model feel more comfortable? Any specific things to do or say? I dunno...maybe tell them a joke so they can laugh a certain way? Please share your ideas!..

Comments (7)

Never had the oportunity to shoot with a live model outside of a class. Dying to hear what folks with some experience have to say .

If you go the joke route, make sure it's actually funny. Sense of humor varies a lot - particularly across genders......

Comment #1

I have done a fair amount of modeling of various types, so maybe I can give you some advice..

1. BE RESPECTFUL. The model deserves respect, whether being paid or just doing it for fun or experience. I assume you are male and the model will be female. A respectful attitude will go a long way toward making the model feel secure and relaxed and will contribute greatly to a successful shoot. Watch your language.

Forget the "jokes." If the model objects to a particular pose, for any reason, honor her wishes. If there is need for several changes of costume, have an appropriate area where the model may change..

2. HANDS OFF. You can give directions to the model without touching her..

3. BE HONEST. If you are new at what you are doing, do not try to hide it. Be honest and enlist the help of the model. She may have good ideas of her own..

4. BE PREPARED. Have your equipment ready and in good order. If you fumble around, it will tend to make the model nervous and insecure..

5. BE BUSINESSLIKE. The model is devoting her time and you should use that time efficiently. The more planning and thought you give to the session, the smoother it will go. Have a good idea of the types of poses you want before you begin. At some point, ask the model if she has any ideas of her own as to poses she would like.

Do not show irritation, or lose your temper, no matter what. If you are not getting the photos you want, end the session..

6. BE KIND. You are dealing with a human being. Be concerned with her comfort. Take a ten minute break after a fifty minute session. Let the model relax, visit the restroom, have some refreshment.

During the break, you may discuss further poses. Never allow the total shoot run for more than four hours, breaks included..

7. BE LEGAL. Make sure the model is of legal age, no matter what kind of photos you are making, OR, if she is underage, make sure her parent or guardian is present. If you intend to sell the photos or even if you want to post them on the web, get a model's release signed by the model and by a disinterested witness. A model's release is always a good idea in any event.That might save you a lot of grief in the future.Judy.

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Comment #2

Telling a joke is correct, friendly communication in general works - but be prepaired to have to take lots of pictures knowing in advance that the first batch will go to rubbish - just warming them up, so to speak, till they become inspired by your excitement and photos start to happen..


Comment #3

How do you make models comfortable?.

Get them drunk ....

Just kidding..

People are comfortable when you observe their space, communicate WITH them, find things to agree on, maybe find out what their goal is with the shoot and discuss your vision and hopefully build something with them based on that..

If you have any time to spend with them before the shooting begins, just talking, then that might even work, unless you are naturally rude or uncommunicative or put out creepy vibes...

Comment #4

That helps me out a lot. I guess all the communication between the photographer and model is direction for poses during the shoot...

Comment #5

One thing I was told by a mentor that has stuck with me, is not to say or do anything negative when a pose isnt working out and not to take too long in between a pose and a shot, just snap off a frame even if you know it is bad and then re-pose or make corrections. So if you are not feeling the pose, dont say things like that isnt working or dont make eehh sounds, or dont just keep making small adjustments but not taking any photos, just take a shot and move on. The model is probably already feeling self-conscious enough without you making eehh noises at her and when you say things like that isnt working she hears youre doing it wrong. Also, if you are taking a long time trying to perfect the pose she will sense that you are not satisfied with what you are looking at and that could make her feel self-conscious as well. So if you find yourself making a lot of little corrections and havent taken a shot for some time, go ahead and snap of a frame and then continue with the corrections. My mentor would always say, Film is cheap better to make the model comfortable and waste a few frames then to have them uptight and blow the whole shoot.


But just not being negative isnt enough; you should give a LOT of positive feed back. You dont have to get carried away with it like they do on TV, but I try to throw out things like Great! or Perfect! or very nice every few shots. Women always complain that guys dont communicate enough in relationships, and it is really no different in photography. They like to HEAR reassurances that they are doing good..

They seem like small things, but they have had a large impact for me when working with models, especially ones with little or no experience..

Good luck, let us know how it turns out..


Comment #6

That was well said, Doug. I've only shot a couple of models and I've had to learn a few of those things as I went along..

Dpreview & pbase supporter

Comment #7

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