📸 Skai Chan Photography

How to Judge a Model

Just like anyone who owns a set of camera can call himself a photographer, anyone standing in front of the camera can also call herself a model. Both are not in the wrong. Technically, an amateur model or aspiring model is also considered as a model; she does not need to be good in modelling and this is why the better models are labelled professional models.

Somehow, it is a trend for young girls to proclaim themselves as "model". Simply explore Instagram and you can see many girls putting "model" in their short biographies. This can cause frustration to professional models for it really blurs out the line between professional and amateur models.

I have experienced random girls approaching me and I initially thought they wanted to seek my help to build up their portfolios. Suddenly, they started asking me how much I was going to pay them. After I offered them to go through my profile to understand that professional photographers were being paid to photograph people, they probably felt too embarrassed to reply. Perhaps, these desperate girls with low IQ and EQ would never make it in the real modelling world; I could not even remember their names and normal looks.

There are all sorts of people in this world and there are also many people who are boastful and would amplify their worth.

Therefore, if you are looking to work with a model, you should learn to judge her.

  1. See her portfolio
    Portfolio determines almost everything. Having a pretty face or big boobs does not necessary make a girl a good model who can perform in front of the camera. Of course, if you are just looking at her looks and do not mind about her modelling skill and attitude, you can go ahead and shoot with her; perhaps, you will not be even reading this.

    Let's not talk about amateurs who are very talented and may happen to perform unexpectedly well like professional models during their first job. If a model is very experienced, she should have very decent photographs in her portfolio because of her vast experiences working with many photographers, including not just one but a few very good photographers. If more than half of her portfolio is mostly done by amateur photographers who are probably shooting with just a DSLR, she is very likely not as good as her confidence. Perhaps, a good model will know how to judge photographs and upload only the best albums to her portfolio.

    I have seen uncountable number of so-called models spamming in Facebook, boasting about their experience in order to attract photographers to approach them for shoot. A look at their portfolios can tell that they are simply empty shells. There are many freelance models who are able to attract hobbyist photographers to pay them to shoot. The fact that these photographers are paying for models means that they are likely not able to produce very professional work in the first case; in fact, many are paying for "dating" with models. Therefore, I have seen quite a number of freelance models with substandard portfolios. Most of their main incomes probably come from doing event jobs.

    From my experience, models with substandard portfolios are much likely unable to differentiate between good and bad photographs. They may approach professional and sing compliments, but they can also praise amateur work done by new photographers.
  2. See her social media photos and post
    Many "models" do not own a proper portfolio. They get to do photoshoot every now and then, paid or unpaid, and they simply post the photographs into their social media accounts without proper organisation. From these photographs, you can judge them.

    There was an extreme case of a girl whose Facebook photographs were all badly edited in a disgusting way. Although she had shown a lot of skin, her photographs were torturous to be looked at. I noticed some of the photographs had watermarks and it was obvious that she had added in her own filters even to the work done by other photographers. Unless she had sought approval, it was illegal and definitely tarnishing to the photographers' reputation. This type of "model" should be avoided at all cost, not even if she is going to pay the photographer for doing nude shoot.

    The models' casual photographs, such as selfie, can determine their character and their sense of art.
  3. Observe her speed of replies
    If a model is very interested in working with a photographer, she should be quite prompt in her replies. Everyone is busy in Singapore and it is about priority.

    I have vast experience of aspiring models approaching me and many do have problems getting back fast. There was once when a girl replying me a few lines every three to four days and I ignored her weeks later.
  4. Check her taste
    Give her the benefits of doubt that she is just unlucky that she cannot get to work with good photographers to get a good portfolio. Explore photographs with her and seek her opinions. If she thinks that some bad or normal work is nice, you should be prepared that she may not appreciate your work if you are a good photographer.
  5. See her willingness to discuss and prepare for the shoot
    For most of the shoot, you probably do not have a sponsor for wardrobe and therefore, the model has to supply the outfit(s) to be worn during the shoot. If you are simply doing a Garden shoot with her, there is minimum planning. However, if you do not want to solely depend on luck, you have to confirm everything, including the exact outfit(s). This will require the model to at least take a photo of the outfit(s) to send you. Many models are lazy and have too high confidence that they do not see a need to do it and they will simply say "I will just bring along two-three sets of clothes on that day". From my experience, most models are over-confident in their fashion sense, or at least, there are times they cause fashion disaster.

    I have also experienced dealing with "models" who are very "private" people. For example, a Caucasian approached me through a website/forum to collaborate with me. I directed her to my TFCD page and she praised me. Having indicated on the same page that I would use Whatsapp for discussion, she turned me down, stating that she wanted to keep "work" apart. Putting aside the fact that she did not read my terms and conditions well, it was ridiculous for her to insist in discussing through the platform that was not even well designed for the purpose, unlike a instant messenger like Whatsapp, which also allowed sharing of images easily. She later proposed using email but I ignored her for I could sense upcoming issues and she did not respect me enough by assuming I would pester her once I had her number.

You may be interested in:
- Talents you should avoid working with
- How to judge a photographer
- How to become a model in Singapore
- Things that models have been doing terribly wrong
- How to tell if someone truly appreciates a photographer's work
- Reasons why models shouldn't bring their partners along for photoshoots

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