Models: Why Photographers Won’t Work With You

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Models: Why Photographers Won’t Work With You

Let’s touch on the hard topic of rejection. Over the years, I have heard and seen a variety of complaints from models trying to find a photographer. They all boil down to one statement: “Photographers won’t work with me.” If you are saying this, your next step should be to ask yourself, “Why?”

Photographers Won’t Work With New Models

Aspiring models post selfies, senior photos, or images a friend took. They find industry-related groups looking for collaborators. Yet, they can’t find a photographer willing to work with them. Often, the aspiring model attributes this to the demand for a certain body types or looking for models willing to pose nude. While this may narrow the field, it is likely not the problem.

Photographers Won’t Work With Experienced Models

Experienced models, those who have a few years under their belt, sometimes struggle as well. They have a portfolio. They may have publications. Yet, when they reach out to photographers, they don’t get the responses they once commanded.

Photographers Won’t Work With Paid Models

Some models demand payment. There are traveling models and even local, very experienced models who seem to find regular, paid work. Perhaps your rates are in line or even lower, but photographers just show no interest in working with you on a paid basis.

Consider These Obstacles

Regardless of your experience or genres you will shot, you may be putting up obstacles. These are a few recurring items that have personally turned me away from working with a model:

  • Lack of Communication – Asking potential collaborators to message you and never responding, even to say, “No thank you.”
  • Discernment – Citing a desire to work with me simply because you haven’t yet as the only reason you want to collaborate.
  • Lack of Focus – Being willing to “shoot anything” may seem like a great way to keep your options open. Identifying a favorite genre or two or, at the very least, what you will not shoot will be more helpful.
  • Lack of Research – Check the photographer’s work before having a conversation about shooting together. Asking someone if they shoot a genre that is all over their website and social media pages is a dead giveaway that you’re not taking them seriously.
  • Crazy Rates – Unless you have an amazing track record, you shouldn’t be asking rates equivalent to what a Playboy model asks for full nudes to pose in a local designer’s dresses. Avoid telling an experienced, reputable, published photographer that they need to pay when you don’t have a portfolio to share.
  • Trade is Trade – Asking photographers to recreate their existing work for you while offering nothing new in exchange will not win fans.

The most important thing to remember is that word travels. If you cop an unreasonable attitude with one person, there are probably ten others who will know about it within the day. Be polite, respectful, and honest. Don’t be afraid to simply explain that you are simply not interested at this time.

This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but I hope it will help you consider what you may be doing to undermine your own efforts. Let’s start with returning those private messages and see what happens next.


Are you a model? I would love to hear your thoughts on things photographers do to undermine their efforts. Reach out and let’s talk about offering similar advice from your perspective!

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