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It can be a very rewarding experience working with models, both for the photographer and the model. But when things go wrong all too often I hear models complaining about their photographer or photographers complaining about their model and worse still photographers and models making these complaints in online forums or on Facebook which sometimes attract many thousands of views – sadly neither put the model or the photographer in good light.

All too often these complaints are borne out of frustration that the shoot didn’t go as planned, or that the model or the photographer didn’t get the pictures they wanted.

Its an old adage I know, but one which is very apt for those in the photographic industry, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

Here are my 5 steps for ensuring that your next photo shoot goes without a hitch and model and photographer come away happy

1) Plan, Plan, Plan – I cannot stress how important it is for the photographer to plan their shoot – now I’m not suggesting planning with military precision down to the minutest detail – although if that’s how you work that’s fine – just ensure you have a photographic concept in mind, the right model, the right location, the right clothes and or props, a hairstylist and or Make Up artist, an assistant and everyone knows how to get to the location and at what time. Even in the Summer months make sure you have a warm coat and umbrella in the car – your freezing cold swim ware model will thank you for it

2) Communicate – I see so many photographers who sit behind the lens of a camera and click away without saying a word. Communicate with your model, they are not mind readers, they don’t know what you want unless you tell them. If you want the model to put her hand on her hip a bit higher than she has, tell her! All people need words of encouragement, tell the model her smile is gorgeous and she will smile a gorgeous smile – listen to some of the pro fashion photographers – they spend the entire shoot directing, cajoling and complimenting their models. The same communication needs to be for any stylists and MUA’s too – they don’t know EXACTLY what you want unless you tell them.

3) Always have a Plan B – Sometimes the best laid plans fall apart – always have a plan B, even if that Plan B is “we can’t continue – lets all reschedule”

4) Take regular breaks – It’s tough being a photographer – it’s equally tough being a model – you try standing on the beach in sub zero temperatures for hours on end! Always plan to have regular breaks for a drink, comfort breaks or just to look at what you have done so far – you will get more out of the model and consequently out of your shoot if you take regular breaks

5) Know when to stop – Its easy to keep clicking away – especially with modern DSLR’s of today – but if you have followed the four previous steps you will probably have “got the shot” by now – so stop – thank the model and the rest of your creative team and go home happy