Photo Credit: Locke Photography

First off, what even is a model call?

A model call is a free or deeply discounted session in exchange for your time. Many photographers do model calls when they are hosting a shootout or retreat to educate other photographers, and many offer them as a way to build their portfolio / showcase a type of photography they want to shoot more of.

What Your Photographer Wants You To Know

Before you apply, understand the ask

Most photographers will outline their requirements in their model call. This typically includes things like the date, location, and who they are looking for (a couple, a pregnant mama, family with 2+ kids, no grumpy dads.) Must be willing to be styled (this is a big one) and willing to purchase the wardrobe. If you only meet a few of those requirements, that isn’t the model call for you. Keep an eye out for a different one! If you feel really urged to apply anyway be completely Transparents with what requirements you don’t meet. Be available for the specific dates and time before applying. You’d be surprised how many times a family gets picked and then they aren’t actually available for the date and time … or not all of their family members ever are available for the dates and time. Triple check before committing! 

See the value in what you’re receiving

Photography is a luxury, and a well honed craft, getting a session for free or for a deep discount is a huge value. Go to the photographers website and see how much a session similar to the one you’re modeling for would cost to understand the monetary value in these sessions (although they are worth much more than a price tag).

Some ways you can show your photogragher that you appreciate being chosen as their model: Quick respond times when coordinating details & styling, being a team player in their vision for the shoot, thanking them and tagging them whenever you use their photos. 

There’s a lot on the line

DO NOT FLAKE! Many photographers charge a depo deposit (some refundable, some not) to ensure their models show up (on time and in the outfits styled for them) – Flaking on a model shoot can cost the photographer a lot more than the time and effort spend to coordinating. Many pay a stylist, order some of the wardrobe, props, pay for permits and the biggest factor is if they have other photographers paying to shadow them. A lot of times photographers are traveling for this session and educational opportunity. Being late, being difficult or flaking can significantly impact the host photographers business. 

Trust their vision

If you want to apply to a model call be open to someone else’s vision. Yes, the photographer wants you to love the photos and feel incredible in whatever you’re wearing but at the end of the day, it’s for their business and needs to be on par with their brand and vision. Styling is incredibly important, especially in a model session. Often the photographer will style you and ask you purchase some or all of the wardrobe for your session to elevate the session. Be prepared to purchase wardrobe that may cost more than typical street clothes. Clarification if any/all wardrobe is provided/what you are responsible for prior to committing is a good idea. 

Communication is key

If something changes let the photographer know asap so they can be part of the solution. If someone gets sick, tell the photographer! If something from your wardrobe comes in and doesn’t fit correctly tell them, don’t just swap it for something else. If members of your family suddenly can’t come for whatever reason, this has to be communicated so the photographer can plan accordingly. If styling budget is a concern, communicate that before committing. Ask what brands they tend to pull from to get an idea of wardrobe cost. Please order the exact item the photographer styles you in, if you want to try and find an alternative or already own something similar run that by then first.