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As a model photographer, getting the perfect shot may be the most important thing on your mind, but it’s very important to remember that you’re working alongside human beings with both feelings and needs. There are many shoulds and should-nots when it comes to photographing people, and adhering to these rules will help you build a lasting rapport with your subjects as well as get you the best possible photographs.

Always Be Positive

It’s very easy to become so entrenched in the technical aspects of photography that you forget to compliment your models. Even if you are dissatisfied with the progress of a photoshoot, it’s important to keep up a steady stream of positive comments so the models don’t think they are doing something wrong.

Always Communicate

Models aren’t mind readers. If you want them to dress a certain way, tell them in advance so they wear the right clothing to the shoot. If you want their hair or makeup done specifically to depict a certain mood, tell them. Likewise with poses. If there is a certain vibe you are trying to achieve, don’t assume your model knows what that is. You need to communicate every step of the way. It isn’t just for the model’s benefit, it’s for yours as well. Time and money and stress can all be saved by good communication. It’s common knowledge that everyone runs out of ideas from time to time, but don’t expect your models to come up with new poses if you are growing listless with a shoot. Speed things along and keep everyone happy by referring to a premade backup list of poses and other ideas saved to your phone.

Be Respectful

Never touch a model unless you ask permission first, and only as a last resort. If you want a model to fix their hair or adjust their clothing, you should describe to them what you want and have them do it. If you absolutely must do it yourself, ask permission and then wait for their blessing. If you want a certain body feature enhanced, make sure you use proper terminology, such as “pull your shoulders back”, in lieu of “push your chest forward”. You never want your models to feel uncomfortable.

Keep Models Safe

Never put your models deliberately in harm’s way. If you are aiming for a challenging location shoot, ask the models for their permission first. Once they’ve agreed, you can assume they are fully aware of the risks involved. Even after all parties are on board however, it’s still important to keep their best interests in mind.

Provide Good Music

Nowadays, accessing music is effortless, so find out what type of music gets your model enthusiastic or relaxes them, and then play it during the shoot. Nothing gets a good vibe going like the right soundtrack, and asking their opinion can go a long way towards making your model feel important and valued.

Show Them Pictures

Speaking of validation, remember that people love the feeling of instant gratification. If there’s a photo you especially love, feel free to share it with your models right on the spot. Once they get a glimpse of the end result, it can provide them with a new sense of motivation to continue doing a good job.