Tag Archives: model

What Models Should Know About Stock Photo Shoots

I am currently shooting a series of lifestyle images for my portfolio for iStockphoto and Getty Images. It is a fun and challenging project featuring parts of Melbourne, Australia. I am working with a wide range of models, and have put together this post for – What Models Should Know About Stock Photo Shoots.

What is stock photography? The concept of stock photography is that a person who needs an image can go to an existing library to find it, rather than commission a photographer to do a new shoot for them. A stock photo library offers choices of many, many images. The buyer can purchase a licence to use the image, and download it immediately. For the buyer, this is much quicker and cheaper than organizing a photo shoot themselves. For example, a magazine may be featuring a story about the rise in numbers of female pilots entering the aviation industry. They could commission a shoot if they had the time and money, or they could find an appropriate image from a stock photo library, purchase a licence to use the image, and download it immediately. (If you would like to visit a stock photo library and have a search through their images, have a look at iStockphoto).

Female pilot

Stock images are made available through stock photo libraries

How does the payment from stock photography work? When a buyer downloads an image they make payment to the stock photo library. The photographer then receives a percentage of this amount as a royalty payment. For the model, you need to be aware that the images you help to create are going to be used for commercial purposes, and so you should be paid. Most stock photographers (myself included) will pay the model at the beginning of the shoot based on an hourly rate. After the shoot, the photographer then takes all the financial risk. If the shots do not ever get downloaded, the photographer will make a loss. And if the images are very popular and are downloaded many times, the photographer will make a profit.


Stock photos are for commercial purposes and models should expect to be paid

What about model releases? When the photographer submits the images to the stock photo library they go through an inspection process. The library checks that the image meets its quality criteria and has all necessary releases.

A key element of this is the model release. A model release a legal document which provides permission from the model to use their likeness in the picture. The stock photo library will make sure that any image that has a recognizable human face, and is being sold with a royalty free licence, has a model release to go with it. The stock photo library does not want legal problems for themselves or the photographer if a model claims that their likeness is being used without their permission.

So, when you are doing a stock photo shoot, expect to sign a model release before the shoot begins. Ask the photographer for a copy, and keep it in your records.

What is the photographer trying to achieve? I try to explain to models that the emphasis in stock photography is slightly different to other types of photography. The photographer is trying to shoot images which communicate a message and will have broad commercial appeal. In that sense, it’s more about ‘useful images’ than it is about ‘beautiful images’.

So, how can the model help to make useful images? The images need to be realistic. So if you are doing a stock photo shoot about life on a college or university campus, make sure your wardrobe and makeup look realistic for that environment. Or if you are portraying a business person, make sure you have wardrobe and make up that suit that theme.


Models need to be realistic for the shoot concept

What is the photographer looking for in a model? First and foremost the photographer will be looking to work with models who are reliable. As a model you need to prepare well, and turn up on time, ready to shoot. Second, the photographer is looking for a model who appropriately matches the brief. For example, if I am shooting a series on retired couples planning their finances, I will be looking for models who look like they are in their sixties. If I am shooting a fitness series, I need models who are physically fit. Thirdly, the photographer will really appreciate a model who can both understand the brief, and bring a new dimension to it. A model who can understand and then extend the brief to create new images that I hadn’t thought of is a model I want to do further shoots with.

How long do stock photo shoots go for? This can vary and will depend on the photographer and concept. My own stock photo shoots normally go for 90 to 120 minutes depending on whether it is a studio or location shoot, and the concept we are shooting.

What about logos and trademarks? Logos and trademarks are not allowed in stock photography. Essentially the images need to be free of any corporate logos. Be sure to consider that when you are selecting wardrobe. The ideal is clothes which have no logos on them, while having small logos is ok (the photographer will edit them out in post production).

Key Points. Let’s recap:

  • Stock photos will be made available via a stock photo library
  • They are for commercial purposes, so the model should be paid
  • Models will be asked to sign a model release
  • Stock photography is more about ‘useful images’ than it is about ‘beautiful images’
  • Wardrobe and makeup need to be appropriate for the shoot concept
  • Logos and trademarked items are not allowed in stock images
  • Photographers will value the model being able to understand and extend a shoot concept

Questions? Please add a comment and I will do my best to answer.

Thanks for reading What Models Should Know About Stock Photo Shoots. I hope it has been useful to you and can have a positive impact on your next stock photo shoot. If you have questions, please add a comment on this post and I will do my best to answer it.

How to Find Models to Work With

Making the step from working with friends and family, to photographing clients, through to working with models are big steps in a photographers career. They are also challenging steps unless you have a network of appropriate people to shoot with. This post – How to Find Models to Work With – details ways for you to source models for your shoot.


Facebook groups and specialist sites are great places to connect with other creatives

Facebook. If you are a Facebook user and live in a place with a reasonable population, there is likely to already be a Facebook group set up which will help you.

As I’m writing this post I’ve gone to the Facebook search field and entered “Sydney models” and it has proposed a series of relevant groups.

As I scan down them I can see one called ‘Sydney Models / Photographers / HMUA’ which currently has 3716 members. So what is this? It is a group of models, photographers, and hair and make up artists (HMUA) who participate together in the group.

They make requests for relevant services, share work, put forward their name for shoots, and use the Facebook group as a place to find other creatives to work with.

Specialist Sites. There are also specialist web sites which create communities of creatives. The two that I am most familiar with are Model Mayhem and StarNow. Go ahead and check them out. It is free to set up a profile on each of them, and like the Facebook groups, they are a place for creatives to come together.

How should a photographer use these communities? Start by setting up a profile and include details of what you are looking for from people visiting your profile. I am a stock photographer, so my profile includes details to let people know the projects I am working on, and the type of creatives I would like to contact me.

Secondly, there is the opportunity to share your work. Add images to your profile so visitors can assess the style and quality of your work.

Thirdly, each of these communities have the ability to post a ‘casting call’. That is, you put forward details of your shoot, and ask people who are interested to get in contact with you.


Include all relevant information in your casting call to help get qualified responses

What information should you include in a casting call? The short answer is – as much information as possible. Consider these points as a minimum:

  • when is the shoot? Include the date and time
  • where is the shoot? Be specific. A suburb is better than just the city name.
  • how long do you anticipate the shoot will go for?
  • is it indoor or outdoor? Studio or natural light?
  • is the shoot paid or TFP (time for print, or time for portfolio)?
  • what is the shoot concept?
  • what special requirements do you have? (for example, if you are looking for a model of specific cultural background and with long hair, be sure to specify that in the casting call)
  • who is doing hair and makeup? A HMUA? or do you want the model to do their own?

If you were not sure how to find models to work with, I hope this post has helped you.

If you already use these sites or others, what is your experience? Which sites generate the best response for you?

Thanks for reading – how to find models to shoot with. Happy shooting.

5 Tips for Photographing Models

Working with models is different to working with non models. Models are used to being in front of camera, and have often worked with a wide variety of people. They are generally not self conscious or shy, and they want to keep shooting until the right look has been captured. It is very different to shooting portraits or weddings for non models. Here are 5 tips for photographing models.

Tip 1 – Provide a Pre-Shoot Briefing. The model wants and expects to be a part of a creative team fulfilling a brief. Don’t expect the model to understand the look you are trying to achieve without discussing it with them first. Take time to explain the shoot and the desired outcome, and be open to input from the model.

Business Woman

Providing a briefing about the look you are trying to achieve

How do we do this? If this is self commissioned work, its about being able to explain the look you are wanting to capture. If it is client work, it is about being able to translate the clients brief into a vision for the model to understand. Take your time. Share sample images. Discuss what you are, and aren’t looking for. Allow time and space for discussion.

Photographing models is different than photographing non models. Tip number one, provide a pre-shoot briefing to the model. Share your vision with them. Let them add their good ideas to yours.


A relaxed and confident persona will be picked up by the model

Tip 2 – Be Confident and Genuine. Reality check! This tip is the same whether you are working with models or non models. Being confident means being well prepared. Your gear is in order. You equipment is laid out near the shooting area. You have practiced before the shoot and are not making it up as you go. You know what you are doing, and the shoot is going to be a success.

Being genuine is about treating people with respect. If you are starting out and have limited experience, don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Tell your model. We have all been in the same position and 99% of people will treat you well. Some will even go out of their way to help. Be confident. Be genuine. People respond well to these traits.

Tip 3 – Work in a Collaborative Way. Working with a model is having a partner in a shoot. It’s about working together to achieve strong images. It’s not about you working alone and achieving results despite your model.

I like to make sure the model is well briefed and it is clear we are working as a team – one (or more) in front of the camera, and one behind the camera. I like to share images during the shoot. That’s reviewing images together and discussing what’s working well and why, and what’s not working well and how to fix it. This works really well when we have ‘nearly’ got the look we want and just need some minor adjustments.

It’s a team effort. It’s about achieving strong images together. Tip number 3 work collaboratively.

Female portrait

Provide sincere feedback about what is working and what’s not

Tip 4 – Provide Sincere Feedback. Tip 4 goes along with tip 2. It’s about the relationship of different parties working together for a common goal. Models are not camera shy and don’t need insincere praise of everything they are doing. Everyone enjoys some positive feedback, but remember you are working with a professional. Give feedback on what’s working well and what’s not. Be specific. Work together to achieve the results you are looking for. You’re there to achieve a result, not to be a cheerleader. Tip number 4, provide sincere feedback.

Tip 5 – Relax. All people being photographed will be influenced by the mood and behavior of the photographer. If you are uptight, tense and irritable – expect the model to pick up on that. Your model will feel and look uncomfortable. If you are positive, confident and relaxed that will also translate to your model. Work on preparing well, so  that everyone can relax and enjoy the shoot. You’ll produce better work this way.

Thanks for reading 5 tips for photographing models. Happy shooting!



From Start to Finish

One of the unexpected benefits I have gained from Beyond Here has been the diverse range of creative people I have met or have swapped messages with. It has been inspiring to see the range of projects people are tackling all around the world. I recently met Rebecca McIntosh. Rebecca is a model based in Melbourne, Australia where we were able to meet face to face. She kindly contributed this post for Beyond Here – A Model’s Tips for a Successful TFP Photo Shoot – and she is a contestant in Miss World Australia. In this post, Rebecca shares an exciting project she is working on and outlines how you can be involved. It is called “From Start to Finish”. Let’s hear more from Rebecca.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credit. Model Rebecca McIntosh. Photography Vispenn Photography

Rebecca, tell us about your experience participating in Miss World Australia.

Hi Craig! For those who don’t know, Miss World is the longest-running international beauty pageant, which focuses not only on external beauty, but more importantly, on character. Dedication, motivation, and generosity are all assessed in the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ program whereby contestants are encouraged to raise funds for the allocated charity.

This is my first time competing in the Miss World Australia pageant, so to be honest, it can be a bit daunting! Every contestant has her advantages; some have been competing in pageants for years, some are professional models, and some have professional experience with marketing. However, I love the challenge because I know it will make me develop into an even better person. Miss World Australia has been a journey that has pushed my boundaries and made me reach out to do things that I have never tried before, especially with regards to raising money for charity.

Which charity are you raising money for?

Miss World Australia is a registered fundraising organisation raising funds for Variety – the Children’s Charity. Variety Australia is a not-for-profit non-government organisation that thrives on the generosity of the community to provide equipment and experiences to Australian children who suffer from disability, serious illness, or disadvantage. Variety basically does anything it can to enrich the lives of children, be it through providing medical apparatus, organizing outings, or granting scholarships.

What is the major fund raising activity you are planning?

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model, Rebecca McIntosh. Photography, Tacitic Photography

To raise funds for Variety, I have organised a photography workshop entitled ‘From Start to Finish’, to take place on Friday 7th August at the venue ‘Quat Quatta’ in Ripponlea (Melbourne, Australia). This day events comprises three parts: an informative photography seminar, a photo shoot, and a retouching seminar. It’s essentially an all-encompassing workshop demonstrating what you can improve on as a photographer from the start to the finish of the shoot. I’ve been lucky enough to make an arrangement with Social Value – Mark Scott Photography to sponsor the workshop, and I’ve brought together a teams of models, make up artists, hairstylist / hair extensions provider, and designer who are all sponsoring the event. I’m particularly excited for the photo shoot – our designer Vicoola Fashionista has the most gorgeous gowns!

What do photographers need to do to participate?

Interested photographers can email me at missworldvictoria@gmail.com for the comprehensive information booklet, and to make a booking. The event, which goes from 11am to 4pm, costs $80, and requires full payment to secure the place.

To make the workshop more intimate, I have limited bookings to thirty places, so I’d recommend all interested photographers to contact me as soon as possible!

Beyond Here has readers all around the world. How can Beyond Here readers who can’t come to the event, contribute to your fund raising efforts?

Anyone can donate directly to Variety – the Children’s Charity, through my EverydayHero page https://missworldaustralia2015.everydayhero.com/au/rebecca-mcintosh

If this event goes well enough, I’m hoping to organize another one on a weekend!

Beyond Here readers will be interested in how to organize an event like this. What are your top three pieces of advice to people wanting to organize similar events?

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model, Rebecca McIntosh. Photography, Tacitic Photography

1) Find a great venue, not just any venue. If you’re organizing a fundraiser photo shoot, you need to find a place that is happy either to give you a discount or to sponsor you the area. Keep your charity and your plan in focus. While I could have written up a generic email to send to all the venues I know, I instead specifically targeted Quat Quatta; they were the first and only venue I contacted. I knew that Quat Quatta would be the ideal workspace for such an event, because it has multiple places to shoot, is located in a prestigious area, and allows for a seminar setup in the dining room. I told the Quat Quatta staff all of this, so they knew that I was considering them specifically to help me with Variety – the Children’s Charity. Don’t settle for anything; and aim high and precisely.

2) Use your network. Everyone who has a common interest is useful. While I was compiling images from Mark Scott’s latest shoots for the information pack, I saw a photo of a model with amazingly luscious hair. I contacted the hairstylist with a proposal to join the group, and was delightfully surprised that she wanted to help! She even offered to bring hair extensions to style with! People are quite generous when it comes to working towards a fundraising event, especially as it helps get their name out in a positive light. I trust the people on my team because I know that they want to be part of the event, and they trust me because they know me through their network (and I, too, obviously want to be part of the event).

3) Be organised but flexible. Be prepared to spend many hours composing, formatting, and updating documents. I have everything documented: from each model’s hair length, to the last person who commented on my ‘From Start to Finish’ Facebook post. At the same time, remember that everyone has their own lives, and that volunteering is not going to be everyone’s top priority. Nobody is going to be constantly available for your plans. Some people may take weeks to confirm a detail, some people may pull out abruptly. All you can do is try your best to accommodate the changes and be patient with the whole process. Enjoy it! You’re doing a great thing for the world.

Rebecca, thank you very much for sharing about the ‘From Start to Finish’ event. Best wishes for the event and for your participation in Miss World Australia. Readers who would like to see more of Rebecca’s work, please see Rebecca McIntosh’s Facebook Page

A Model’s Tips for a Successful TFP Photo Shoot

This post comes from Rebecca McIntosh – a Melbourne, Australia based model. Rebecca is currently a contestant in Miss World Australia. In this post on Beyond Here we discussed TFP (time for portfolio) shoots being an excellent way for a photographer to build their portfolio. Rebecca outlines a model’s tips for a successful TFP photo shoot.

You have a great photo shoot idea. A model is happy to collaborate with you. You speak to a make up artist, a hair stylist, and have a stylist on the team who all want to work on your photo shoot. They are so keen to work on your photo shoot that they are happy to do it without monetary compensation – as long as they receive photos for their time. This is called a TFP arrangement (time-for-portfolio). These unpaid collaborations can be extremely useful for enriching your folio, building your reputation, and challenging your skill set as a photographer – organisational skills, social skills, technical skills etc.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model Rebecca McIntosh, photography Alchemy Designs, clothing Casey Marie Demko

However, when photos are the only compensation it can be difficult to please the team, especially the model, who is probably a harsher critic than you are when it comes to her image*. (*I refer to the model as female, simply because I am speaking from a female model’s perspective. The same advice applies for male models too.)

Here are seven tips from my experience to holding a successful TFP photo shoot. From my point of view, a successful TFP shoot will never only result in good photos, but also in establishing positive relationships, and pleasant experiences.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model Rebecca McIntosh, photography Mariana Navarro, hair, styling and makeup Victoria Marie

1. Check out the model’s folio. It’s not creepy to look at her work, as long as you are looking at her StarNow / Model Mayhem / Facebook page that she has provided specifically for her modelling work. See her good angles, and generate a realistic idea of how you can cooperate. If she has shown interest in your casting call, it is most likely that she wants to add that concept to her folio regardless of her experience with that theme. Nevertheless, it is beneficial for you to see what poses, angles, and facial expressions she chooses to put in her portfolio. If the photos that make it to her folio often include a catwalk sultry pout, she may not be the bubbly, surprised pin-up model you’re looking for. That does not mean you should rule her out straight away; consider asking her what she thinks of your casting call in relation to her style. Perhaps she has misinterpreted your casting call and is not really interested, or perhaps she has interpreted it correctly and simply wants to branch out into that field. It is a portfolio building experience for her as well. Knowing your model’s capabilities and motivations makes it much easier to coordinate a shoot to please both parties.

2. Create a concept board. Pinterest boards are a convenient (and free!) way of putting together inspirational images that constitute the atmosphere you are trying to achieve in your photo shoot, to share with your model. Alternatively, consider making a document with inspirational photos to give to your model at least a week before the shoot. When you and your team members have the same images it is easier to achieve the desired result. At the same time, be honest with the model about your experience and expectations and provide her a link to your portfolio.

3. Agree on the compensation before the shoot, in writing, in detail. Frustration arises from TFP shoots where compensation is ill defined. Try to address all points:

  • How many edited, high resolution photos will the model receive? Will she only receive edited photos? What do you consider to be high resolution?
  • Who will select the photos for editing? Will the model have choice in which photos are edited?
  • Will there be proofs for the model to look at? To save? How soon until these will be available? Can she upload these anywhere as teasers?
  • Will the model have any say in how the images are edited? If she is unhappy with how you have edited the photo, will you have the time and motivation to alter it for her?
  • How long will it take you to return usable photos after the shoot? Will you be watermarking the images?
  • What can the model use the images for?
  • How will you transfer the images to the model? Dropbox, CD, USB, Facebook, email? Keep in mind how the web can compress images.
  • Write up or find a relevant model release form to provide models at the shoot to legalize your specific agreement.

Try to remember that your model, make up artist, hair stylist etc are only involved in this shoot because they believe it can help their folio. If you want total creative freedom and exclusive rights to the images, pay the people you are working with.

In my experience, one method which pleases everyone is that the photographer uploads all of the low resolution, unedited proofs for the team to see, and then they choose which images they want edited. Of that choice pool, the photographer edits which ones he likes best, as well as any additional images he feels will be useful for his portfolio. Whatever method you decide on, make the whole selection process and compensation details as clear and comprehensive as possible to the model before the shoot.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credit. Model Rebecca McIntosh

4. Respect each other at the shoot. Never touch a model unless you have her permission. If you think she should do one pose instead of another, try to explain why. For example, I recently had one photographer suggest that I raise my chin while posing, which went totally against what another photographer was saying the previous week at another shoot. However, this photographer patiently explained how raising my chin elongates my neck, and took comparison photos on the spot to show me the difference, so I respected his opinion and him as a photographer, even though it differed to the popular opinion.

5. Let your model move! It can look unnatural if you try to stage one particular pose. Encourage your model to fluidly move into the pose, even if means repeating the movement multiple times.

6. Communicate and credit as arranged. Follow up the agreement. If something has happened which prevents you from returning the photos in the arranged time, tell your team. Even if they say nothing, they are most likely wondering what you are doing with the photos and when they will receive them. In a TFP agreement, withholding photos is like withholding money.

7. Don’t expect the shoot to be perfect. This is the worst injustice you can do to anyone, including yourself. A TFP shoot will never look exactly like the concept image on page or in your head. If you are disappointed in the photos, ask yourself what exactly you could do to make it better. Satisfaction has more to do with attitude than outcome.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model Rebecca McIntosh, photography Alchemy Designs

As you can tell from these tips, a successful TFP shoot does not just have to do with producing good photos, but assessing your team, assessing your team’s needs, and assessing what you can realistically offer and expect of yourself. TFP arrangements can require a lot of effort, patience, and personality to satisfy your team as there is no instant monetary guarantee. Nevertheless, it is worth taking these measures to build a strong network, upscale your reputation, improve your folio, and challenge yourself as a photographer.

Thank you for your post Rebecca – a model’s tips for a successful TFP photo shoot. If you would like to follow more of Rebecca’s work, follow this link to Rebecca McIntosh’s Facebook page.