As I’ve stated in the past, I live in Jacksonville, Fl, which is really not a fashion market at all. There may be some people here that will beg to differ, but it’s not – at least not the type of fashion I’m getting into. That being said, there aren’t a whole lot of models to choose from either.
Before any Jax natives jump down my throat, let me clarify. There are a lot of beautiful people here. However, beautiful people aren’t models. It’s not a default of some sort. Just because they can take a good selfie and they dress nice doesn’t translate to model. Now, I am most certainly not model material, but I do know that being a model is a lot harder than it seems.
So what am I getting at? Well for those of you, like me, who are living in a city that is not a fashion market, you’ll probably start your book by using your friends and family as models. This is perfectly ok because everyone starts somewhere. You can’t expect to walk into a good modeling agency with no work to show and have them say ‘sure! You can use our models!’ Doesn’t work that way. In fashion, time is money and they don’t want you to waste their time. If you’re anything like me, at this point you’re probably thinking “Ok… So how do I produce work if I can’t get models, and how do I get models if I don’t have work?” Catch 22, right? That’s what I thought, too.
You can use this to your advantage though. With agency models, you are working with a stranger. Sometimes they do exactly what you want and other times you have to coach them heavily. With friends and family, you know their personalities so you know what type of work you can get out of them. This will also help you know how to coach people who aren’t as comfortable in front of the camera. I have a friend that is very versatile. Her smile and laugh for lifestyle photography is great and her serious face is amazing for higher end things. On the other hand, I have friends who do well with lifestyle but have bad serious faces. I know that I can’t use them for certain shoots. I’ve only learned this by trial and error. This helps because when you do contact an agency you can request a model that is good for high end fashion or energetic shoots or whatever you’re looking for.
So don’t be discouraged when there isn’t a lot to choose from. Learn to work with what you do have because it will make you a better photographer when you have to work harder to acheive the look you want. Keep on shooting!