By Claire Quirk
I've been modelling for about 8 years and I participated in my first shoot when I was 13 years old. I was lucky to start my modelling career in Singapore, where I found a nurturing and encouraging industry that helped to train me on the job. Over the years, I have had some fantastic experiences. On the most enjoyable and productive shoots, I find that the team (client, stylist, production house, etc.) builds supportive and caring relationships in a very short amount of time. But over the years, I've noted some factors that always help a shoot go better that clients and photographers should be made aware of - especially when it comes to the model's welfare.
Get to know one another - It's important to learn the name of the model (and for the model to learn the names of the crew members) as this makes him/her feel valued and respected. As a result of this, the model is often encouraged to work harder for the team, will feel comfortable on set, and will move more naturally when they're posing.
Make your objective known - I always ask the members of a team what they're aiming for before starting a shoot. Informing the model of your goals for the job and your vision is a positive step to take. Showing a model reference photographs for the shoot will also increase the likelihood of them nailing the desired look and feel of the job. This will make you happy as well as the model.
Don't make assumptions - Never assume the model you're working with has high self-esteem. Most models (even those who act like they have big egos) are sensitive about their appearance. Making the model feel valued and special will encourage them to perform well - whether in front of the camera or on the runway. Confidence is something that's exuded through the eyes and posture, and cannot be easily turned on if the model doesn't feel comfortable or respected.
Be considerate - Providing a comfortable environment for the model (where possible) is very important. If you're shooting in a cold environment, make sure that you're trying to keep the model warm either by offering a jacket or by providing a space heater in a cold studio. They will appreciate it.
Also, offering the model a drink (non-alcoholic) throughout the duration of the shoot is important too in order to keep them hydrated.
Break for lunch - On full day shoots, it's important to break for lunch. Energy is crucial while shooting, and although time is always valuable, a meal will increase productivity.
Engage the model - Further engage your model by showing them the images you're capturing so they can monitor their progress. If you like the way some shots are looking over others, point this out to the model. If you feel the model is tilting her head up too much, for example, show this to them on the monitor, instead of just calling it out to him/her or discussing it amongst the rest of the team. Sometimes it's difficult for the model to imagine how the angle of the camera and the lighting is effecting the image, so it's best to show them so they can work more efficiently.
Positive reinforcement - As the shoot progresses, always encourage the model by giving them positive feedback. Be careful not to be too over the top. Some models will shy away from comments like, "You're so sexy." Using the model's name while giving positive feedback during the shoot is also important and will help to keep them engaged.
Claire Quirk is an Australian model currently represented by Chadwick Models. She has been based out of Singapore and Hong Kong, while also working for international clients. Her work as a model has also led her to branch out into film where she most recently played a role in the Chinese drama, “American Dreams in China” (2013).
Claire is currently undertaking year two of her Communication Design Degree through the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Along with her studies, she recently just spent two weeks in Vietnam working on a project for an NGO through the university.