Glamour by Dave
Now you have looked around this site and, hopefully, had many of your questions answered. You've decided to go for it, or at least give modeling a try on a part time basis. Good! You can't wait to get out there, find a good photographer, and get some photo's for your portfolio - but, you become rapidly discouraged after calling a few professional photographers and finding it is going to cost you a substantial sum for enough photo's for a portfolio.
The first thing to realize is that these photographers, like anyone else, have to keep food on the table, and their bills paid. Overhead for a a photography business is quite high. The equipment is very expensive, as is film, processing, printing, and so on. Add to that the monthly lease or rent on a decent sized studio, and you can see why it costs so much to have photos done.
So what are you going to do? You can't afford hundreds of dollars right now! Don't give up!! There is a way to get some photos, and as a bonus, some practice in front of a camera. There are many "semipro" photographers that are very good - and many will do test shots with you on a time-for-print basis (TAP). You pose for them, and they provide you with prints for your portfolio.
The best way to find a photographer willing to do this is through a local photography club or organization. Many of these will have several members that are interested in working with models, and will be happy to provide you with prints in return for your modeling. Another good source is your local camera store. In addition, you can do a search for photographers in your area on the internet.
Once you find a photographer, it's always a good idea to meet with him/her before setting up a shoot. I recommend a public place - when I meet a new model for the first time, I like to use a place like Denny's or Ihop. You can sit down, and enjoy a cup of coffee or soda while you talk and go over portfolios. This is the time to get all the details worked out (What you would be comfortable wearing, what you can do with the photos (remember the photographer owns the copyright to the photos unless you worked out other arrangements), and what the photographer can use the photos for. Though, releases are not usually signed for a test shoot, it is still a god idea to get that worked out as well.
When the time comes for the shoot, there are a few things you should do to prepare. Loosen up a little before going to the studio or shoot location - stretching exercises are a good. Make sure you have all the clothing you plan to wear, as well as, your favorite makeup and if desired, any wigs you may plan to use. Above all - BE ON TIME!!!! Photographers get very annoyed at taking the time to set everything up and then have to wait (especially if renting a studio by the hour).
When shooting with a new photographer for the first time it's always advisable to take a friend along. Ask the photographer about this at your first meeting. A legitimate photographer will have no problem with this request...BUT - it is NOT a good idea to bring a boyfriend/husband along. Why? Because both the model and the photographer will be a little more tense with someone sitting there, arms crossed, perhaps commenting on the photographers instructions or glaring at the photographer during the entire session. Also, do not bring along a mother (unless you are a minor), little brother, niece, son or daughter. Get a baby-sitter! You wouldn't bring your children to a job interview would you?
Finally, have fun!! A good photographer will put his/her model at ease and try to bring out all of your various qualities, and if something makes you laugh, go ahead. You can not be serious 100% of the time and expect to be a good model. Let the various sides of your personality come out and trust the photographer to capture those that will tell the world (and potential employers/clients) who you are and what you have that will cause them to choose you over, possibly, thousands of other models.