"People envy the job of model and fashion photographers. Is not taking
pictures of beautiful, glamorous models the ideal way of earning a living?"
Malta's Kevin Casha takes us through the minefield of model photography. He
should know! Malta is populated with a seemingly endless variety of
beautiful girls, who all dream of being models. However, there are
well-established rules of behaviour for carrying out this type of work and
he tells us all about it, mainly from the male perspective.
Alas, reality is not always like that. Getting to the top of this profession
is far from easy. The competition is murderous and you have to keep your
feet solidly on the ground.
Consider some facts:
Every amateur photographer wants to take model pictures, so finding paying
clients is not that easy.
The bulk of a model photographer’s work comes from young hopefuls wanting to
make a mark in the glamorous model world. Most of these would-be models do
not enjoy good financial situations, so their spending power on photography
is limited – the money they have needs to stretch a long way – clothes,
hair, make-up, etc.
Few models are physically perfect, so the photographer has to really tune up
his skills in order to be able to hide defects and bring out the good
features of the 'model'. A photographer must be capable of handling the good
with the bad.
So how does a photographer try to break into this area of photography
Start with some solid homework. Buy, and study in detail, all the fashion
magazines you can lay your hands on. There is nothing more instructive than
studying images and trying to analyse why you like them or not. Most people
just look fleetingly at images but don’t delve deeper into what really makes
a photograph tick. This simple analytical exercise will serve very well when
building up your own picture portfolio. Due attention should be taken of
poses, props, composition, lighting, mood, and colour, as well as
backgrounds. The list is endless but regular practice at this will help you
to plan better images.
A photographer has to remember that a model, especially a goodlooking one,
can take her pick of photographers to make her portfolio – mostly for free.
Keep foremost in your mind that the quality and creativity of your images
must be really special to get clients willing to pay good money for their
portfolio pictures. If you want to be noticed by agencies and win fashion
and advertising contracts, your work must really stand out.
Dealing with models needs tact and diplomacy. Reputation is crucial in this
line and a photographer should not be pushy. Your initial aim is to build a
strong portfolio and you must make contacts with models and do as many photo
shoots as possible. This not only gives you valuable experience in handling
models and refining your photographic skills and technique but also enables
you to build up a body of images for showing to prospective clients.
Someone who doesn’t personally know the photographer may not be very keen to
pose for pictures for a stranger. If the model is hesitant, the photographer
can always suggest that a friend comes along to the session – but beware of
boyfriends or mums! They will inhibit both the model and the photographer
during the shoot. Giving your card, contact numbers, website and any
references one might have, shows that you are bona fide. Eventually, when
you have some published work and a striking portfolio this will help
convince prospective models. An attractive and effective way of promoting
yourself is by having some personal cards made. These could be ordinary
business cards, but a postcard containing some impressive photographs of
your work, along with your name, address and phone number makes a much
better impression. Having an active website will also go a long way in
convincing models to sit for you.
It is also vital to operate a fair deal. As a starting photographer, you
will not be able to afford professional models, so an agreement can be
struck with amateur models. Keen amateurs are usually happy to work for a
good set of pictures. This way of working is called 'time for prints'. Agree
ahead of a shoot that the pictures you give the model will have your name on
them. These can be used by the model as long as she credits you. Give her a
CD with images but make sure the photos all have your logo or name (your
domain name is best) and that they are all edited to the best of your
Remember that it will be your work which will make or break you. To avoid
complications, use models who are over the age of consent and have them sign
a model release form giving you the right to use their images. Outline
clearly what happens if the images are going to be used commercially.
Working with amateur models will also help to teach you better posing
techniques. Amateur models are usually inexperienced in posing, so it is the
photographer, from the camera position, who has to guide the model into
A photographer should know how to get the best out of a model. They must
decide which is the model’s most attractive side, best look or pose for the
specific photographs. The model only has to concentrate on getting over to
the camera what the photographer is asking for.
Page 1 -
Page 2 -
Page 3 - Page 4 -
Join today and receive a fantastic free gift: Apply