August 3, 2016

So you want to hire a live Model ?, by Warren Brown

An article by Warren Brown,
Photographer from Australia.
Contributing Editor and Artist since a long long time ;)

" I sometimes get requests on how to go about finding and treating live models. So here's some (non exhaustive) advices on how to make things run smoother when you hire a live model."

"Stairway of Life"
Art Model Lady Sio

"Free Me"
Art Model Believe-Hope

" Some of you will know my work from the art nude photographic category. I sometimes get requests on how to go about finding, and treating, live models. So here's some advice on how to make things run smoother when you hire a live model.

Bear in mind that the following is offered as advice only.

I'll point out now that this isn't a guarantee of getting a model to work for you. These things have worked for me, and others, here in Australia. There may be local laws you should check in your area before asking a model to pose for you. This isn't legal advice, nor is it established practice. I'm not a lawyer, please don't treat this as advice from such.

"Inner Strength"

"I Want To Be Free"
Art Model Roxy

"Of Steel and Grace"
Art Model Roxy

First off, one of the things a model (and this applies to males and females) wants to know is WHO are you ?

Remember, many internet models get lots of sleazy enquiries, and there are some really weird folks out there who can pass themselves off as being semi-professional. Be prepared to say who you are, e.g. "I'm a part time photographer, but I work day to day as a pastry chef."

Next thing is how much are you paying ?

Most models have fixed rates that can vary from $50 to $200 per hour for artistic nude work if you've got that in mind. Will you be paying in cash ? Can the model cite or show your work in her portfolio ? Are you prepared to pay a deposit up front ? And no- you can't "owe it to them". Payment on the day BEFORE you start work is the norm.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find a model who may model just for the art, with just a few dollars to cover expenses… but this isn’t common, so don’t expect it. And don't offer them $200, and then decide to pay half that if you don't get what YOU want. Set a fee and stick to it.

"Kindred Spirit"
Art Model Niansa

"Force of Nature"
Art Model Ava Adorne

"Gaia Dreaming"
Art Model Niansa

"Time is Ours"
Art Model Niansa

Another thing that many will want to know is are you established ? Do you have a portfolio they can view ?

Are any of your works on exhibition, or have they won prizes ? What this means is basically are you serious about what you're doing, or are you just looking for an excuse to get the model alone somewhere ?

Don't blame the model for being cautious - most of them have been burned plenty of times by sleazebags. YOU have to prove you're NOT one of the sleazy characters.

If you don't have a portfolio, don't despair - say so ! Tell the model that you're new at photographing or sculpting from a real person. Many of the models I know are quite keen to help out folks if they can, but you must say what you expect them to do beforehand.

If you want the model to pose in a cloak with arms folded, say so ; if you want them to pose naked in a bathtub full of ice cream, tell them ! Above all, don't say beforehand "you'll be fully clothed, dressed as Batgirl" and when they arrive, say "Oh, I think this would work better with you in your underwear, would you mind ?" They'll walk out the door, and won't come back. Be prepared to give references as well. If you don't have any in the sculpting / modelling industry, try your boss at work !

" Blue Day"
Art Model Niansa

"Hommage to the Self"
Art Model Candace

Note of Chris : I love it !

" Equilibrium"
Art Model Niansa

"A Spirit At Rest"
Art Model Sutha

Give the model whatever safeguards they require.

For example, if they want to meet you a few days beforehand for coffee, why not ? It gives both of you a chance to say hi and discuss ideas. If they want to bring a chaperone or a friend, give it serious consideration ! I've worked with several models who have brought chaperones, and while they make some folks uncomfortable, I've never once had a problem.

Remember, a model who is relaxed and at ease will work so much better for you.

"World Of Tension"
Art Model Berenice Dorei

"Between the Light and Darkness"

Other things - Where will you be working ?

If it's your home studio, be prepared to give out your address before the day. I don't know of too many models who would agree to be picked up by someone then taken to a place where no-one knows where they are. Be prepared to provide a verifiable home or studio phone number and street address, regardless if you are working at home, studio, or out on location. If it’s a studio, make sure the studio / room is well heated - you don't want the models goosebumps to show on your shots, do you ? And a model who is freezing cold won't hold a pose for long. Likewise if it's a hot day, have the airconditioning going.

"Lazy Days"
Art Model Zoe

"Shadow On The Wall"
Art Model Haywire C

" One World"

Most models advertise what services they offer

such as nude, lingerie, fashion, etc. ; ask them to do something they don't do, such as nude work, not only gets you a refusal, but gets you branded as sleazy. Word gets around very quickly - the rumour mill is faster than a broadband connection !

"Catch My Heart"
Art Model Niansa

Make sure the model has somewhere private to change,

and have a robe on hand for them to slip into when they're on breaks. You may be paying them to pose for you, but they aren't there for you to perve on, no matter how much you're offering them.

And bear in mind that unless you're working with "life models" who often pose for art classes, most models can't hold a pose for more than a few minutes.

Even with life models, give them a break every fifteen minutes, and have coffee / tea / cold drinks / juice etc. available for them. (Hint : I haven't met a model yet who didn't love chocolate !)

"Coming Out Of The Dark"

"The Escape"
Art Model Roxy


Important : don’t offer your model alcohol !

It will probably give the impression that you’re trying to get them drunk, which will brand you as a sleazebag.

Do NOT engage a model who is under legal age in your area !

And if you're not sure, check the model's ID to ensure this ! Regardless of how many friends / chaperones, etc. they say they'll bring, DON'T DO IT !

" Shame On You"
Art Model Audrey Lynn

"Into The Mist"

If you're engaging a model to pose as Lara Croft or Dracula, tell them how many people they'll be posing for.

If you lead them to believe it's just you, and they turn up to find seven people in the room, don't be surprised if they refuse to work, and hand your money back. Let them know if you're holding a class, or it's just for your own work.

Art Model Sutha

Finally, if the face of the model is going to be recognisable in the work you're doing, you may need a Model Release

which both of you sign otherwise trying to sell your work, or exhibit it anywhere other than in your portfolio, may be illegal ! Again, check your local laws. Samples of these model releases are available on the Internet, use your favourite search engine and type in "model release" to get a few. If you're going to adopt a model release, get it checked over by a good lawyer first. Laws in Australia differ from other countries, and they vary from state to state.

Oh yeah - make sure the name the model puts on the release is her real and legal name. Many models (quite sensibly) use a pseudonym for dealing with people over the internet.

"Worship of the Sun"
Art Model Anj

I suppose what all of this boils down to is BE HONEST AND OPEN in your dealings with models, and TREAT THEM DECENTLY.

"A Last Goodbye"
Art Model Zoe

If you hit on the model, embarrass them, ridicule them, or act sleazy, you not only may never get another one to work with you (the grapevine among models is incredible) but you may also get a visit from the local Police, and deservedly so.

REMEMBER : To have someone turn up and pose for a total stranger is a very courageous act.

If you're a relative unknown, the first time most models work with you, many will want to bring a friend or chaperone, or will ask for references to make sure you're on the level. Be ready to provide them !

I hope this is of some use to folks out there.
Like I said, this should be taken as a guide only !"

"Time after Time"
Art Model Nsaia

"The Colour Of Life"


Anonymous said...

I think paying a model up front, as in giving a deposit, is fine if you know them and have maybe worked with them before. But, if you don't, don't be surprised when they take your deposit and never show up for your session. This has actually been happening with someone who keeps trying to hit the road to Australia giving a lot of models who depend on deposits to pay their flights to other countries or across state lines a very bad name! It is unfortunate also that this model is featured on this blog as a contributing artist!

Chris St James said...

I publish your comment because Warren and I are for the discussion. But why do you make it anonymously ?... We can't answer you. And who are you talking about ?! Maybe it can be interesting for other photographers ?...

TARACHIN said...

I find this writeup to be of utmost importance, not only for photographers but also for models who might be starting out with nudes.

I do agree though with the anonymous comment above; that paying an upfront fee to a model whom you have never met can be very risky, unless of cause she has a good reputation with solid references to back her up. And for the model, she should do her homework on the photographers too... if either one are flakes then their references will make that known.

Beautiful writeup and very helpful to both parties..

Thank you:)

Warren B. said...

Thanks very much for the comment. As Chris said, the more discussion on this matter the better.

I've had models who have asked for a deposit up-front, andf I must say that from my personal experience I've never had one of these models fail to show. You make a valid point, though.

Like I said though, pay the model BEFORE you start shooting, even if it's when they turn up on the door!

Credibility is an important issue these days, for both models and photographers. The more a photographer can do to establish credibility and provide a safe working environment for the model, the better.