Model calls are a topic we often see discussed in the NewbornPosing Facebook Community. In this article, we’ll look at what model calls are, how to advertise and prepare for one, and best practices for dealing with your model.
WHAT ARE PHOTOGRAPHY MODEL CALLS?
In domestic photography, model calls are typically a method of finding subjects who are willing to be photographed, while the photographer practices their craft.
Models may also be sought by photographers in their artistic practice, or in the process of photographing their creative visions to enter into competitions.
In other words, model calls help you find subjects to work with while you develop your work, whether an artistic pursuit or practice with posing, communication, or technical skills.
HOW ARE MODELS COMPENSATED FOR THEIR TIME?
Commonly, models who give their time for a test shoot receive edited images from their session. These images could be print, digital or both. How you compensate your test models is entirely up to you of course. The most critical element is that you communicate what your model will receive upfront to avoid any misunderstandings.
Don’t over-promise. We often see 3 to 5 images offered by many newborn photographers. Sometimes less and sometimes many, many more. The number of images you deliver will depend on what you’re shooting and what you aim to achieve from the session.
A new photographer who is testing to build their skills may produce a very different number of images compared with a more experienced photographer experimenting with posing configurations. By contrast, a photographer whose goal is to create an elaborate artwork may end up with just one finished image. Offer what is realistic to your skill level and session goal. Again, be clear upfront.
Note, we are strictly referring to subjects who apply for your models calls for test shoots when we recommend compensation in the form of images. Professional models, especially those used in commercial pursuits, should be paid appropriately.
DO MODELS NEED TO PAY YOU?
No, it’s not common to charge a session fee to a model who is giving their time to sit for you. The difference between a paid client session and a model test session is that models aren’t offered many (if any) choices. Wardrobe, props, poses or configurations and so forth are commonly set by the photographer in a test shoot, to meet their goals for the session.
If you are concerned about cancellations or no-shows, make sure your communication is professional rather than casual, and sufficiently detailed. If you still wish to charge a booking fee, be prepared that your subject may expect to feel more like a client than a model. So, be clear to manage their expectations with regards to choices they will/won’t have during the session and delivery of images.
CAN MODELS BUY EXTRA FROM THEIR TEST SESSION?
Again, this is a personal business choice. If you wish to offer models the opportunity to purchase extra prints or additional images from their session, be clear upfront regarding product options and pricing.
It’s vital for the reputation of the whole industry that such transactions are transparent. None of us wants to hear about models feeling like they were lured into a sale. Be sure to let models know in advance if they will have the opportunity to purchase more items if they wish.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A MODEL CALL
A model call graphic is more than a pretty flyer. Instead, to be effective, the graphic needs to contain the right balance of information alongside attention-grabbing imagery. The choice of image/s needs to speak to your target audience – your prospective model. Any other relevant information should be placed in your post text and/or the contact page where people will apply.
PREPARING YOUR MODEL CALL GRAPHIC & POST
Less is more when it comes to text on a flyer.
- Write out all of your needs and information about your upcoming shoot.
- Highlight the key elements which are most relevant to the model – usually those briefly describing the demographic as well as date and location of the shoot.
- You want to attract the right people, and make sure they are in the right area for you.
- Add your key elements to the graphic. Leave all of the other information for the text of the post and/or contact page.
- DO include your business name and location, both to brand your graphic and in case it is shared without your post text.
- DO advise at an early stage – in your post and/or contact page – if you will require the models to sign a release/agreement/contract allowing you to use the images for the promotion of your business, etc.
- You will also need a “call to action” or contact method.
How you share your model call will determine whether your contact details are required on the graphic, or just included in the post text. Will you include your email address, a clickable link to your website/contact page or an online form?
Take a look at the above images from Kelly Brown’s “Model Call Templates collection”. Note the use of minimal, but essential text. It tells the viewer at a glance, the requirements of the model you’re looking for, the location which they’ll need to travel to, and your business name. It’s clear and concise, attracting the right audience while reducing the number of unsuitable enquiries.
HOW WILL YOUR PROSPECTIVE MODELS CONTACT YOU?
Depending on the size of your audience, you may receive many responses to your model call. How do you want to receive these applications? By email? By facebook message? Or via a form on your website?
Using a form can help you gather additional information about your potential models. For example, you might like to know:
- Are there are other family members, such as siblings of a newborn?
- If you’re looking for a family group, you probably want to know age, gender and number of family members
- Where are they located?
- Do you want them to upload a photo of themselves if you have a particular look in mind for your model?
- Have you given a choice of dates for the session and need to know their preferred availability?
YOUR MODEL CALL GRAPHIC AND POST TEXT ARE READY. WHAT NEXT?
Next, prepare the copy for your response emails. You’ll likely receive applications which are both suitable and unsuitable for your needs. It’s good manners and good for your brand image to respond politely to all. These same people may enquire to become a client in the future.
If it’s a no:
If you don’t wish to work with the applicant, let them know. Keep it simple. Thank them for their time and advise that the position is filled.
If it’s a yes:
If you’d like to work with the applicant, let them know as soon as practical.
- Give them more information and any follow-up questions.
- Reconfirm the location they’d need to travel to;
- Let them know how long you’d need them on the day;
- Advise them of any wardrobe preferences or questions if they’ll be wearing their clothing; You might ask for a photo of their options;
- If you are supplying wardrobe, ask their sizings;
- Advise whether they’ll need to do their hair and makeup (and how) or if it’s provided;
- Remind them that they will be required to sign a model release/agreement/contract allowing you to use the images in the promotion of your business (or whatever arrangements are appropriate to your purpose)
- Ask if they’re still interested in participating after seeing this additional information.
- Invite any queries they may have, by phone or email. Remember, it’s often quicker to discuss things over the phone, and it helps build your relationship.
Confirming the Session:
- Once you are ready to confirm the session, reconfirm the time, location, and rough duration.
- Provide a rough run sheet of the day, especially if they will be in hair and makeup for a period before the session.
- Advise if they need to bring anything extra, such as snacks, or change of footwear in the case of an outdoor session.
- Ensure you have each other’s contact details.
Send your model a reminder within 48 hours of the session. Let them know you’re looking forward to meeting them, at the time and location.
WHERE TO SHARE YOUR MODEL CALL
As with all promotions, share your model call in the places your prospective models consume their media. Ask yourself WHERE and HOW does your model consume media. Consider both online and offline media and places, as appropriate.
For example, if your ideal model is an older person, you might use a combination of social media for those who are online, as well as print media for those who are not or are only infrequently. Consider dropping flyers or posters to community and sports centres where your target audience frequents.
If your target model is a new parent, you’re likely to find them in various online groups and forums. Check the rules before sharing your post in any group. You might also consider negotiating a reciprocal arrangement with a local newborn retailer in exchange for being allowed to share your advertisement to their online community.
These same principles apply to paid ads online. If you’d like to boost your model call graphic, refine your audience to the specific demographics and online interests your models (or their guardians) fall into.
DESIGNING MODEL CALL GRAPHICS
To take the work out of creating graphics from scratch, we have a selection of model call templates for Photoshop available in the NewbornPosing store. These templates have been designed and tested with Facebook’s sponsored ad criteria in mind, to help you achieve optimum results.
Have any questions about creating model calls? Ask them in the comments below or over in the Newborn Posing community on Facebook.
Janice B Butler says
Thank you so much for this information, I’ve never seen anyone put it in writing about doing Model Calls, I’m going to be preparing a Model Call soon, so I was very happy to read this article. I’m going read thru this before I set up my model call.
Rachel Garafola says
What do you recommend we use in your image template if we are just starting out and need images, and do not have any, specifically for a Newborn portfolio?
Michelle K says
Great question, Rachel! You could work with your throws/wraps/outfits to put together some nicely styled images displaying the colour palettes and/or sets you’d like to work with with your model. Spend a morning creating a nice range of these with different combinations, so you’ll have a number of assets to use in the future.
vicki Long says
Thank you Kelly for sharing in detail about a model call!
vicki Long says
This is excellent information! Thank you so much for sharing.
Great post, Thanks. Lots of helpful information to guide us.