Working With Inexperienced Models

As a photographer, I try to be as prepared as possible for the next shoot. I scout locations and make sure the lighting is the best I can get. I have the habit of making mood boards on Pinterest. I find the mood boards very useful as they help me stay as close to my plan as possible. During the shoot, it is my responsibility to guide the models and get the most out of them. 

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Working with seasoned models is a blessing as minimal guidance is required from me. Truth be told, luck does not always favor the photographer. Sometimes you have to work with fresh faces, and fresh faces usually come without experience. My first shoot with a model was at the beginning of this year and she happened to be my friend. I am surrounded by experienced models and that helps, especially when I need a model to do a shoot with. But, what if? What if you suddenly have to work with an inexperienced model?

The first, and actually most important thing to do is to make the environment comfortable enough for your model. That does not necessarily mean that you have to shoot in a deserted field. I tell my models up front what I'm trying to get as the result, why I chose that location, how long we'll be working and what I expect from them.

Most new models fear the eyes of bypassers. What I also do is try to connect with the model. Start a conversation about life, his/her career, fears, dreams, interests. During my shoots, the goal is to get all shots in an hour, maximally extendable with 30 minutes. And in that hour I have to establish a relationship with the model. Once there is a connection, the model feels a bit more relaxed and has a lot more trust in you as a guide. 

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I had two separate shoots with two male acquaintances not long ago. They have none or minimal experience as models but were willing to try it. I vaguely described to them what I planned a few days up front, no details. At the day of the shoot, I told them in details what, why and how.


During the post-processing, I used my own developed Lightroom Presets. There are inspired by the styles of Brandon WoelfelMango Street Lab and Peter McKinnon. This Lightroom Preset pack will soon be available on the Tools page