You might be thinking that this post will be more of a rant than anything else. In some ways it might be. I've spoken with a few photographers that feel exactly the same way and have experienced the same things.
Having worked with around 40 models at this stage in my "career", I've had to work out a lot. Figure out how to get models interested in concepts, plan a shoot with models and hair and makeup artists. There's a lot of work behind the scenes... learning, contacting and organising. Especially when there's a few models involved!
Because I'm still fairly new to the scene, I have tried to work with everyone that has approached me. I now have a few "regulars" - models I would indeed have time for again and again. These models are always willing to make the time for you... and as a photographer starting out and still nervous about approaching people, this is dearly appreciated!
I'm still a nervous wreck about approaching people. Some say they are interested, but you may never hear from them after that. I've learnt to just let those people go.
I don't know if some appreciate how much effort you put into organising shoots. Juggling clients, models and my full time job becomes an extreme circus act. With rampant lions and acrobats falling everywhere. Or at least that's how it feels sometimes.
What goes into a picture is more than 30 seconds and click the shutter. There's the preparation, planning, working with other people's ideas. After all that, the images still need to be edited and processed!
The above 4 pictures took 4 MONTHS OF PLANNING. When I first discussed the shoot and put out feelers for interested parties, I had 4 girls interested. Even after the volunteers putting their hands forward, I still had to go forth and contact someone (not of the original four) to make this happen.
Using this shoot as an example purely to show that YOU NEED to have motivation as a photographer. If you don't have that motivation, then you are going to be a long time without any work and inspiration. You might have the ideas, but they won't go any further than that. I know from experience how hard it is to find that motivation when people don't have the same enthusiasm as you do!
On another note, doing TFP (Time For Print aka freebies) with the vast majority of models I've worked with, has helped me express and find myself as a photographer. There also isn't that nagging feeling of "Please don't f this up" or a large amount of pressure. Whereas if you're paying a model, or vice versa, there is so much pressure and stress on the session. When you're learning, I would suggest going down the TFP route. There's heaps of TFP based Facebook groups in Christchurch at least. Courtney and myself organize some meet ups ourselves. A good, fun environment where models and photographers can just hang out and meet new people. Great opportunities to meet potential models for future ideas!
TIP - BE VERY STRICT WITH THE PHOTOS YOU HAND TO THE MODEL OR OTHER INVOLVED PARTIES.
Don't give the model everything. Only your best. Only the images you would be happy to share. I used to go through and love every image when I started out. But as I've learnt more and experienced more, I look back at some of the images I have given out, or that models have shared, and well..... sometimes I'm a little embarrassed. That embarrassment comes from knowledge though and I see it all as a massive learning curve.
MY FIRST BOUDOIR SHOOT
A RECENT BOUDOIR SHOOT
Not saying I hate all my past images, I don't. There's still a lot I'm proud of.
To see how far I've come over two years and how much I've learnt and grown as a photographer.... well, I owe that to my models. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. From the Facebook volunteers to model calls and the more professional models, everyone has helped me learn. And I'm pretty damn grateful to them.
Working mostly TFP has introduced me to a lot of incredible women. As I said earlier, there are models I would MAKE TIME for. It has helped me network and find more appropriate models. Some I work better with and get along with. It also helps you find the models you'd rather not work with again. This is why I suggest you always meet models first before working with them. There are a few out there that will be time wasters. At least you'll know what they'll be like to work with if you can't even get them organized for a coffee.
I have to laugh occasionally when I see models post on the Facebook groups complaining about photographers not contacting them and wasting their time... especially when one model has stuffed me around in particular haha . In the last few years, I find models 10x worse to organize than photographers. Sometimes the models just complain for the sake of complaining - a photographer might comment on a story going "oh that's a cool idea!" and the model takes it as "I'd like to work with you on that". No where near the same thing. Models and photographers, don't go making assumptions! It makes an ass of you and me :P
At the end of the day, you're going to experience a few eggs until you find the find models for you, your style and what your concepts are. But I promise this... when you find the good ones that will give you the time and energy, it's all worth it.