What Makes a Good Model

Yes models do have to be beautiful but for photographers a model’s beauty must be more than skin deep. A good model must have certain qualities that will help create and promote stunning images.

A recent photo of Anna who is a very good model. She worked really hard to help capture this shot.

1. A model must want to be photographed. This seems obvious. But not everyone really enjoys this process. Photographers should look to work with models that enjoy the photographic experience and want to participate in creative photography shoots.

2. A model must want to be published. Again this is another quality that seems obvious, but some models can be very controlling when it comes to their image. Recently I had a falling out with a model who insulted my photography and claimed that this blog was not good enough to feature her image. Again, look to choose a model who wants to have their image on display.

3. A model must have a good attitude and be receptive to the photographic process. This is another essential. It can take a lot of hard work to capture the right image and it makes a big difference if you work with someone who is creative and wants to experiment to get the right shot. The final result will be much better and their experience can be a great collaboration. On the flip side. A bad model can treat you like the hired help and have an ego bigger than the Himalayas.

4. A model must be professional and respect you as a professional. In the creative industries there are a lot of actors, writers, artists, photographers, and models. Basically you are lucky if you are working and should be respectful to anyone who is helping you through that process. I am very thankful towards my editor Kym for giving me such wonderful assignments at Discover Taipei and towards anyone else who has helped my photography succeed. Models in turn should treat photographers with the same respect.

5. Always use a model release form. This is to protect yourself. A model may agree to be photographed and published but then go back on their word the next day. Use a model release form to clarify that the images are for publication and that you have the right to display them on your blog.

6. The best models are friends. Most photographers have a few friends that are models that they photograph over the years. This summer I can’t thank my friend Carrie enough for coming through for me at Discover Taipei. Moreover, it is a wonderful feeling to look at images of a friends that you have grown and matured with through undergrad, weddings, and into adulthood. I can’t help but think of my friend Rachelle as I write this.

7. The best models enjoy the final product. They thank you for capturing a beautiful portrait and want to go through the process again. To me this what portraiture is. To capture someone’s face, essence, personality, and soul. Ultimately a good model appreciates and understands your art.


19 Responses to “What Makes a Good Model”

  1. August 21, 2007 at 11:31 am

    …and a good photographer, like you, makes even the most amateur and inexperienced model comfortable and at ease while having their picture taken!
    I always enjoy having my photo taken by you, Joanna, because I know that you have an artistic vision and that, for you, it is a fun experience, which makes it fun for me, too!

    🙂 Rachelle.

  2. August 22, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Nice post. I don’t shoot models – possibly because I absolutely hate having my own photo taken.

  3. 3 globetrotteri
    August 26, 2007 at 2:31 am

    The photographer makes the model in my case Jo. I always feel really nervous when you ask me to model and then once we get started, it actually ends up being a whole lot of fun. You are gifted at making your subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera.

    I am always impressed by you whenever you’re working. You really take command of a scene you are about to shoot and you make it completely your own. You exude energy even when you are looking through the lens of a camera. The thought and care you put into taking each photo is what makes your art so special and unique.

  4. 4 globetrotteri
    August 26, 2007 at 2:32 am

    Oh, and by the way. That picture of Anna ROCKS!

  5. 5 Aasha
    April 4, 2008 at 6:32 am

    nice photo of Anna… I want to model one day, however I am a bigger girl and would love to know tips on how else I can improve my shots and be comfortable doing so… any suggestions?

  6. April 6, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Aasha modeling is as much about inner beauty as it is about physical beauty. Being confident and happy are elements of what make a good model and picture over just surface physical beauty.

  7. May 2, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    My dream is to be a model and your tips were good

  8. June 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    June 24,, 2009

    Hi Joanna i viewed Anna’s photo and i think Anna is a very good model. I see so much work in Anna. And i wonder if she knows who’s treasure chest she could open.

  9. 9 Mia-Ashley
    August 24, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Modeling is not about “wanting to be photographed”. Obviously if your a model that is your main focus – getting shoots.

    You have to have not only inner beauty but physical beauty. Someone who is not attractive to look at will not get modeling work. Photographers don’t want to waste their time re-touching every aspect of the image into a different person.

    Aasha, plus size models are amazing. I think in some aspects they are better than regular models and I have high respect for any plus size model.

  10. 10 Doreen chime
    December 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Am a 23yr old nigerian girl,very beautiful bt i v strech marks on my hips,nd legs, i v dark spot on my body as a result of acident scar nd sun fly bite hw do i erase dis marks nd b a gud model,i love ur encouragement nd write ups,love ur photography tank u so much 4 bin my confidence.

  11. 11 Ocean Kenny Symbol
    December 13, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I admire Anna’s good prospect. She’s a good Model. . & thanks for ur Help.

  12. January 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    i will like too chat with u, so that i will learn more on shooting snap.

  13. 13 Kristen
    February 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

    wht if i have dark underarms? what am i gonna do?

  14. March 25, 2011 at 7:41 am

    thanks with the tips.Is true that a model should work happily with other people.With respect,listening understanding and and being patient

  15. 15 Dais' x
    April 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Hello This is Such Great Information I have been Looking All Over the internet to Find A good Modeling Agency I have Finally Found one and this has helped me alot i am 11 years old i wish i could be a fantastic and Beautifall Model thanks,,

    Dais’ xx


  16. April 15, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Nice info! All in all photography closely connected with psychology. My psychological skills help me in my photo work. Its a work with a person first of all i think. I live in Russia and work with russian models mostly. They are very expressive!

  17. 17 ABIGAIL
    August 25, 2011 at 7:43 am

    hello am 20 years old am is my dream to be a model in future. but my problem is, i am a little bit fat and my breast are also little fat. i realy wish to be one of the great models, please i need your tips. thank you.

  18. October 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    modeling is sth dat intrest me alot and i wil really appreciate it if, someone can make my dream of being a great model cum tru….am 19

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