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How to put models at ease

How well your photoshoot goes will often depend on how well you can work with and relate to others around you. For some working and directing professional models can be intimidating so to help anyone out there, here are a few hints and tips for making your shoots fun and friendly.

1. Good pre shoot communications

They say first impressions count and it’s really true. In order to organise a good photoshoot good pre shoot communications are vital. Introducing yourself, what the shoot is about and keeping in touch with the model all the way until the shoot day should ensure that the shoot runs as smoothly as it can. Lay out all the details of the shoot, styles, inspiration moodboards, location venues, dates and times and keep them up to date with any changes.

2. Music

Music is by far the best way to set the mood and tempo of the shoot. It takes the silence out the room and is an easy way for everyone to relax. If possible try to subtly find out what kind of music the model before the shoot, this will not only make the model relax around you but the minute they hear one of their favourite songs they are more likely to enjoy themselves.

3. Food and drink

It’s no secret that people are far more malleable when they are fed and watered so it’s best to have some snacks in hand. Models tend to pick between different things and it can vary. Some like to eat very healthily so having some fruit or light snacking vegetables like carrot sticks and humus around is always a good idea. Others will prefer some fast sugar to make it through the day and so having some sweets around is also a good idea. Waters and fruit juices are worth considering as option for drinks too, with many models leaning towards the healthier diets.

In my experience with crews, photographers and assistants will usually eat anything and I mean anything. Just make sure there are biscuits in the cupboard and tea and coffee always on the boil and most people will be happy.

Having a local café nearby that serves a mixture of sandwiches and salads is also something that is worth noting as they can supply you with something made to order with very little hassle to the working photographer.

4. The art of small talk.

This is an important piece of advise, talk to the model as much as you can to make them feel at ease as soon as they arrive. No one is going perform at their best if there is awkward silence and the photographer is just barking orders at the model. As the photographer it is your duty to make them feel at ease and relaxed. Talk to them about what’s to come with the shoot, involve them in the creative process, discuss clothing options and try and get to know who they are outside of modelling. Ask them questions about music or hobbies and continue to break up the shoot with little bits of conversation. It’ll really help break the ice and will get the shoot off to a good start. The art of small talk is definitely one to master working with any form of model.

5. Be polite, respectful and work with them

At the end of the day a photoshoot is a collaboration between model and photographer so work with them the whole way through. Be polite and curtious and friendly.

Respect whatever boundaries or levels they are working to and do not under any circumstances try and force them to do something they do not what to do. If they have ideas, try and incorporate them in to the shoot, even if they don’t work or are not what you’d want as a photographer you can easily suggest ‘ok great, now I’ve got an idea..’ and move on after shooting their ideas. It will make them feel really involved in the shoot and continue to offer up poses or suggestions.


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