I work with a wide variety of models, professional, amateur and accidental (friends who happen to fit some idea of mine). This is directed primarily towards the amateur models who are interested in becoming professional.
The crucial qualities for a successful model are the following
- Reliability: if you aren’t at the shoot when you promise to show up, then it doesn’t matter how good you are. Be reliable and prompt. Communicate any delays or changes as far in advance as possible.
- Amiability: be personable and friendly. Irritable or standoffish personalities make for unpleasant and unproductive photo shoots. The reason I like working with my friends is that this issue is automatically resolved.
- Skills: any additional aptitude — such as riding on horseback, fencing, gymnastic, making historic costumes or playing a musical instrument — make a model much more useful. Acting ability is the most useful skill of all — can you be convincingly stern, puzzled, angry, scared or entertained on cue?
- Assertiveness: know what you like and don’t like. Communicate that information readily and clearly. I want my models to be comfortable and happy but need input of what makes them comfortable and happy.
Avoid tattoos, scars and other permanent modifications to your face and body. Such modification are seldom relevant to the topic of the photo shoot and drastically reduce model’s usefulness for my projects.
Stay in good physical shape. I’ve had to quit working with several models whose age caught up with them mainly for lack of exercise aggravated by overindulgence in alcohol. They were aged 20 to 29! On the other hand, one of my all time favorite models is 58 and most are over 35.
I love working with military veterans. Most of them are easy-going and show commendable initiative whenever problems come up. They also know proper uniform details better than I do.
I like working with kids, too. Most of my friends home school and raise really well socialized, bright and personable children. Those qualities make for great photo shoots.
“Good looking” and “photogenic” are not synonyms. Some people are both, some are neither — but most are one or the other. I am always looking for fresh faces, both for variety and to replace those models who move to other states.