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A Glimpse at Modelling and Glamour

The world of modelling and glamour photography can often be daunting to the amateur, or even the professional who is not used to the subject matter. Contrary to what modern society would have us believe to the life of many models is hard work and very tedious, and aspiring models have to be very careful to avoid the scams and fraudulent “modelling schools” and “agents” who will take their money without so much as a second glance. Traversing this minefield is a way of life for many professional and semi-professional models and the same can be said for modelling and glamour photographers; you must be very careful at all times lest you step on someone's toes (metaphorically speaking, of course) and find yourself isolated from the business.

As with any kind of photography it is important that you have a direction, something you want to be known for and a subject matter that interests you in particular. It may be art, fetish, glamour, erotica, study of the human form, but you must have a focus in your work. If you are simply looking to expand your portfolio then simply be honest, approach an agency or browse the web and look for a model to hire for a photo-shoot. It is up to you to set up the photo shoot and if this is your first time photographing a model remember that they are not simply an item to be photographed; the worst mistake you can make as a budding photographer of models is to not talk to your subject, this will not only make the experience far more enjoyable for both yourself and your model but also produce far better images.

If you are a photographer with an established portfolio then you should have no trouble getting newer models to pose for you in exchange for some prints for their portfolio (known as “time for prints” or TFP); this is a good avenue to go down however you should expect to spend some time getting to know the model as they will often have little modelling experience and will need help being motivated for the photographs; if you fail to motivate your subject then the photographs will be of no use to either you. Both photographers and models need to take test shots sometimes, perhaps the photographer wants to try some new lenses or experiment with techniques, whereas the model may wish to try modelling with a new hairstyle, a new style of make-up, or a new clothing style. This allows the photographer and model to both get their test pictures at the same time, both parties can leave the photo-shoot satisfied after a good days test shooting and gain something from the experience.

This mutual bartering occurs often in the world of modelling and glamour photography and is beneficial to the industry. However it can be corrupted, if you as a photographer attempt to sell a model pictures that were from a test shoot then the system begins to fall down and you will find yourself alienating both models and their agents very quickly. Likewise if a photographer is out for a test shoot and the model attempts to buy the pictures to update her portfolio they are also corrupting the system of mutual respect. Often it can be beneficial for a new photographer to team up with a more experienced model , conversely a more experienced photographer will be able to work easier with a newer model and offer them hints and advice to build up their experience. The TFP barter system is a product of the world wide web and demonstrates how much of an impact it has had on modelling , and it is a useful system because it re-enforces the collaborate nature of modelling and glamour photography, without a successful synergy between the model and the photographer the photographs will always be substandard and will lack the extra factor that makes them truly unique.