In the past, I've had a few questions about my modeling, especially how I started.
Quite often, I get asked if Craigslist is a good place to find photographers, or if Model Mayhem can get you noticed by serious industry professionals.
I heard about Craigslist when I first moved to Victoria. I was told that it was a site where people can place ads for free, which I thought was awesome =) With that in mind, I decided to give it a try, and see if any photographer would be interested in doing a photoshoot with me.
It all started when I posted an ad on craigslist...
The ad read something like this:
I am an 18 year old girl who is looking for a photographer to trade portfolio images with. I am 5'6" and 118 lbs. I would like to do some fitness & bikini shots. Please let me know if this is of interest to you. If so, please email me with samples of your work and your availability and I send you some photos of myself. Looking forward to hearing from you.
When I wrote this ad, simplicity and honesty were key. I knew that when I was a first year university student I could not really afford to be spending $300+ on a photoshoot so I thought that if a photographer saw potential, he/she would work with me on the basis that he/she too would be able to use the photos.
I got quite a few replies, about 20-25 in total. The majority of photographers were hobbyists, amateurs, or stated that they were "just starting out". I did not have a problem with those people, since they were honest, and hey, I was starting out too, so I couldn't be too picky and I was fully aware of it.
I replied to everyone, because I think that it's the proper way to conduct yourself when you do business. If I knew then, what I know now, I probably would not have responded to many of the amateurs or anyone "just starting out", except to say "Thank you, but I've found who I'm looking for", just to be polite & professional.
However, I also got a few perverts who knew nothing about photography, and sent me photos which they obviously did not take. For example, one guy sent me photos that were taken by Richard Simonsen, a well-known photographer.
Another guy offered me to take some nude photos, but I wasn't comfortable doing that as a first shoot. I've also had a few creepy messages from guys who were obviously not looking for models, but they were looking for sex providers. Thanks, but "no thanks". I've dealt with a lot of sleezebags through craigslist...
However, there was one AMAZING local photographer whose images were outstanding. They were properly lit, well-composed, and colour balanced. In addition, he shot the style that I was interested in. To this day, I shoot with him on a regular basis because he is professional, knows how to properly use the equipment, and is fast at getting the images finished. Additionally, he is an incredible retoucher and is very creative. He studied art, photography, and photoshop for many years. His name is Ian and he owns IMS FotoGrafix. You can see his work here
He is the person who got me a great portfolio at the very beginning of my career. As a result of his photos, I was able to apply to several modeling jobs and book some paid work.
I'll definitely do an more detailed article/interview on IMS FotoGrafix.
If you would like to book a shoot with him, please let me know (you can message me through my website) and I will get in touch with him for you or give you his contact info. His rates are very reasonable and shooting with him will save you a lot of time and trouble.
As far as Model Mayhem goes, the forums are interesting, and you can definitely meet some very good people there, as well as book some paid work. At the same time, there are several people that you wouldn't want to meet. Just like with any other tool, you have to use Model Mayhem in order to yield any results from it. So, seek out your connections and pursue them. I'll leave it at that for now.
Have a great day and good luck with everything =)