Model’s Flake: FML
Yes, model’s FLAKE! Paid or TFP, It happens to all of us photographers whether we admit it or not. Sure, every model can have an honest excuse, but when the same excuse keeps turning up and being repeated from photog to photog, that’s when it starts to make me wonder. I’m not saying be more elaborate with your excuses either. Be reliable…as it’s been said, “your word is your bond.”
But first off, I want to thank all of the model’s that I have had the privilege of working with and have not flaked on me! The pictures displayed in this post are some, not all, of the models that are RELIABLE and haven’t cancelled once. They even showed up on time. Thank you!
Flaky models are probably one of my biggest frustrations with photography. To spend a lot of time planning a concept, scouting a location, gathering props, mulling over ideas, investing valuable time into trying to create art that is unique, stands out, makes the model look her best, gives her something to be proud of, gives us both a sense of accomplishment…only to have the model text you a couple of days before (sometimes the day of) and cancel. It’s happened to me more times than I like to keep count! And what do we say in response? “Oh that’s cool, we can plan for another day…I understand…smooch smooch, kiss kiss.” It’s almost like we are making them think it’s ok, when what we really want to say is, “That really sucks, I spent all of this time thinking of an awesome concept for us, and preparing for the shoot and you’re going to tell me two days before that you forgot about plans you made with someone else? I’ll be sure to NOT invest my time in you again, and I’ll tell my photographer friends how unreliable and flaky you are.” My photog friend suggested we start a shampoo company for those extra flaky models! I think he’s onto something! Haha! I would love to rely on the model to take part in this and to look at a photoshoot more than just a day at the beach. Yes, it is usually more fun than a day at the beach and you are being creative in the process. But if they don’t have much value invested in the photoshoot, then it is easy to cancel without considering how much time you’ve already invested in the whole process. This is why I think I found a solution!
I think I’ve thought of a way to show the model’s that there might be some cancellation risks involved. This new solution will also keep the photographer from being frustrated with the model and stop the thoughts of quitting photography altogether. Yes, the honest truth, it is frustrating and if you’ve cancelled on me then it makes me not want to try and plan another shoot with you because I’m afraid I’ll get the same results. So, we create a list.
Yes, make a list of all of the models you plan to work with. Fill in dates if necessary, but start a list. When you get this list, post it publicly, or during the planning of your shoot, mention it to the model and make her aware of it. Basically this will show her that there are models lined up, wanting to shoot with you, and it’s not fair for you to reschedule another shoot ahead of theirs. Well, am I wrong? It’s not fair. So, if you cancel on our shoot….”Damn, you know, I spent all of this time planning, but now I have everyone waiting in line that I’ve already committed to in the future. I want to collaborate with you, so if you like I can put you on the list after all of the models I’ve already planned with”. Now, this will do a few things: It will show her that, yeah, maybe there are consequences to canceling last minute. By “last minute” I mean anything that doesn’t give us enough time to plan someone to fill your spot. A week is a good heads up I think. Having this list will also add value to your photography…there’s no lying. These models want to work with you…period. You’ve committed to this list of models as well, so you can’t cancel on them, and shuffle everyone around just because one model flakes. And if some of you only do a shoot twice a month, it may be a year before you make it back around to the model that cancelled on you.
Attention Models: we love you, we need you, we depend on you to create our photography, but please don’t cancel on us. Yes, there are plenty of photogs in the sea, but they can’t do what I do, what he does, what she does. We are all unique, and if you like our style of photography, don’t miss your window.
So, back to the list…
Creating this list will also give you a backup plan for when a model does cancel. What you do is just go down the list and see if anyone is available to fill the spot. See if they would like to do their concept earlier than planned. Oh, that reminds me of another thing. If we already planned a concept, and you cancel, then you can’t rightfully expect me to save this concept for the hopes of eventually shooting with you. That’s not fair to me, and shouldn’t be expected. But anyway, not to get side tracked, go down your list if you are cancelled on and you will surely be able to bump up a model to the open slot. Then you bump a new model in hers, etc. You can even give the next model in line a heads up a couple weeks ahead of time, “Hey, I have a shoot planned for next Saturday, but if she flakes would you be available to do the concept we had planned?” As the model excitingly replies, “Sure, that would be awesome…please flake, please flake!” You get the point.
So, instead of letting this unfortunate part of photography bring you down, start a list and make it public. If the model expresses her willingness to collaborate with you, but you can’t nail down an exact date and time, then feel free to open the slot to the next model…it’s only fair. I hope by creating a list for yourself you will be more organized for your shoots, happy, and on your way to creating the art in your head!
PS. This post might offend some of the model’s out there, but it’s not meant to offend you. It’s meant to point out some frustrations that haven’t really come to the surface and that need to be worked out. I’m sure you have issues with photographers, but for now, we’ll eat this big meal one bite at a time.
PSS. I will call out one flaw of mine: I don’t edit all of the pictures all at the same time before I upload some pictures from another shoot. Why? Sometimes I spend 8 hours alone editing one image. I need a break, I need to add some variety. This nurtures the creative process believe it or not. The picture marinates. Sometimes I will sit on an image for month’s and finally get a spark of inspiration that will guide me on how to edit it. No sense in rushing through the images. I usually get one good picture from each scene, so if we setup a few different scenes, then you will see at least one picture per scene, I promise! Yes, I invest a ton of time planning for our photo session, and I invest a lot of time editing our session, this is my passion!