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Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 12:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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After the experience I had yesterday, I fully understand why some of you no longer do TFP/CD shoots.

Grab your preferred frosty beverage and pull up a chair. This one's a little long.

Yesterday I had my first studio environment shoot with a model who wanted to try doing some 40's style glamour photos. When I initially talked to her, she said that she had a particular look she was going for (side-lit w/ deep shadows), and I figured it'd be a good opportunity for me to get some experience. I did some research on the style (can't remember the name at the moment... my brain's fried from my day job), and I bought a book on 40's Noir style films to get a better feel for the look.

We originally were scheduled to work together on Monday, August 15. I even took the day off of work specifically to accomodate her. The night before the shoot, she called me to ask if we can reschedule since she didn't have a moment to pick up the outfit that she had in mind, and that her hair was a mess. At this point, I should have gotten the hint that she wasn't very serious about working together. But, me being the nice guy that I am, I reschedule with her for 2PM on August 28.

I call her they day before the shoot to confirm that she can make it, and I give her specific directions on how to get to my studio. She says she's all set, and that she'll use Mapquest in addition to the directions I gave her.

Fast foward to August 28th @ 2PM. Here I am in the studio with all my equipment set up, but no model to shoot. Humm.. I figure she's probably running late, so I do a few test shots to get a hang of the lighting, using some silk flowers I had on hand. I leave her a voicemail message on her answering machine to see if she's on her way. At 2:30PM I get a voicemail message from the model saying that she's running late (church got out late), and that she's going to be another 20 minutes.

While doing my test shots, I discovered that my sync cable is a tad too short (next purchase, POCKETWIZARD!), but thankfully there's a Radio Shack about a mile away that I can get an extension at. At 3PM the model still hasn't shown up, so I leave her another voicemail message letting her know that I had to run to the store really quick.

I get back in 15 minutes, and the model's nowhere to be seen. I wait until 20 minutes of 4PM, and she STILL hasn't either shown up, or called me to let me know what's going on. At this point, I figure that this model is stringing me along and has no intention of actually showing up. I leave another message on her voicemail and tell her that if she doesn't arrive or call me by 4PM, not to even bother calling me to apologize.

Figuring that she's not going to show, I start breaking down my equipment. At 3:59 she calls me and tells me that she got lost. Apparently the MapQuest directions she got sent her in completely the wrong direction (and she completely ignored the directions I gave her). She has no idea where she was, except that she's parked at a Shell station that's across the street from an Applebees on Rt-1A, and she wants me to find her (???!?!?). When I asked her why she didn't call me sooner, she first told me that she did try, but she kept getting a message about my number not being valid. She then told me that she didn't have a cell phone, and asked a guy at the gas station to borrow his phone. She first called her home number and listened to her voicemail messages, and when she heard how annoyed I was, she figured that she should try and call me.

I wanted to salvage the shoot if I could, so I figure I'll try to find her. Without much to go on, I tell her TO STAY WHERE SHE IS, and I'll be over there as soon as I can. I punch the highway into my Nav system in my car and set out to try and find her. Well, she wasn't in the town she thought she was in. Long story short, my Nav system actually took me AWAY from where she was, mainly because she told me she was in another town than where she actually was. I make an educated guess and figure that she's in the next town over. Just as I pull into the gas station I thought she was at, she was PULLING OUT of it, getting ready to leave. She then sees me and pulls up along side. Because of the wrong info she gave me, it took me an extra 20 minutes to get to her, and she thought I just gave up on her.

Having found her, I instruct her to follow me in her car to the studio, and I purposely drive a lot slower than I normally would so she can't lose me.

We arrive at the studio, and I give her a hand bringing in her items. We get into the studio, and she shows me what she brought along for the shoot. Now remember that we had agreed on doing a 40's style glamour shoot. Well the outfits she brought along were anything BUT from that time period. :\

By the time I get my equipment set back up, it's almost 6PM. I change my lighting around to accomodate the outfit change, and make the best of a poor situation.

500 shots later, we finished up at 11PM. In the end, I did end up with some really good shots, but not necessarily of the style I was looking for.

Thankfully I can say that this list doesn't apply to all models, but I did learn a few valuable lessons:

1) Some models will think nothing of wasting your time.
2) It's OK to be flexible, but don't bend over backwards.
3) It doesn't always pay to be overly nice, even if you are the new guy trying to get a foothold.
4) Make sure that the model has a cell phone that you can reach her at if she's running late.

Am I soured from this experience? Nahh. A touch annoyed, but not soured in the least. Thankfully I know this experience is the exception and not the rule.

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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 01:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not sure from your story why you're so sure she was stringing you along. It seems to me that she was just mixed up. I know lots of people, both models and photographers that have great difficulty following directions. It is quite easy to also get totally misdirected by some of these online Maps, because I've had it happened. You can actually end up somewhere and not know where you are.
As for the outfits, you be surprised at how different some peoples ideas will be about what works for an era and what doesn't. If I'm working with a new model that I feel might not know for sure how to get to the studio I'm using, and when I have time in advance, I send a JPG of a map with the essential core information to getting to my site. Had she really been trying to string you along I don't think you would have found her at all.
Is Hurrell who you were thinking about?
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 06:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I see your point. It's more how I felt, since we already rescheduled the shoot once at the last moment. Don't ask me why, but when I didn't hear from her (and I couldn't get ahold of her) I had a bad feeling that she was going to be a no-show.

While I was waiting, I talked to my girlfriend and she said to me "You want to bet that she got lost?". Of course, here I am thinking that if she did she'd call me on her cell (I didn't know she didn't have a cell).

You're right about about these mapping services stinking. I'll never forget the time I used MapQuest to get directions to a house in Narragansett, RI. The directions literally had me go in the opposite direction, RUN AROUND A ROTARY ONCE, and then backtrack the way I just came.

Anyways, as I said, I was more annoyed at the whole situation than anything. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I chalked up this whole situation as a learning experience.

Oh yeah... the last thing I learned?

PATIENCE! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]



and THANK YOU! Hurrell's who I was thinking about.
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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 07:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with Roger...she may have not been strong on directions and her time management could be much better, but she wasn't stringing you along. If you want stung along...I've got stories...TOO many stories...

I have actually changed my "day of shoot communication process"...I let EVERY model know that if I do not hear from them 2 hours prior to the shoot...I WILL NOT BE AT THE STUDIO...I explain to them what has happened in the past and most are understanding and call. I have found this works great for me.

As for directions, I have a Direction document I email to the models. It will get them there from most major freeways in and around Houston...saves me time and gives them clear and concise directions with landmarks along the way....

MAPQUEST is a joke in my opinion...it inhales vigorously... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 08:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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"inhales vigorously" - ROFLMAO

I actually have a printable map on my website. No one has an excuse to get lost finding my office.
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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 08:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It's not only stories like this that would make someone not want to shoot TFP's but, there also comes a time when you have to say to yourself - "I'm worth being PAID". The next time one of your "regular" models (one that you have shot in the past and whom you've done TFP) contacts you about shooting tell her that you no longer shoot TFP's but that if she could throw you a nominal buck or two you will do it. Chances are she'll BALK and go someplace else. That's when you realize that she only shoots with you because you are FREE ... unfortunately, it's a rude awakening but one worth trying just to see your REAL worth to some of these so-called "models". A truly devoted model realizes that it takes money to pay for photographers that are going to get the images SHE needs to make money as a model. Those models aren't along for a free ride.

Of course, this is just my opinion ... since the subject has been brought up.

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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 09:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree with him too. "Stringing along" is probably the wrong word for how I felt at that moment.

Feel free to share your stories. I'd be interested in hearing them anytime. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

And again, another reason why I'm glad I found Garage Glamour. Thanks for the very good tips on your communication process Bobby. I won't go as far as put a map up on my web page like you did CyberCowboy, but I definitely will be creating a PDF with a map and directions for future use. Now if I didn't just drop almost $500 to fix the blasted O2 sensor on my car, I'd become a lifetime member this month. Oh well, there's always next month. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

[ QUOTE ]
MAPQUEST is a joke in my opinion...it inhales vigorously... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

That explains that whooshing sound I heard. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 10:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You may be right about the models balking at paying a photographer that has typically been TFP/TFCD, but I don't think that it makes them the user that you portray. I'm not a "real" model, I am in it for the fun and the experience and friends that I have made. I have the experience to be paid (and have been), and many of the photographers I work with are often paid for their services, so neither of us is lacking experience. If these photographers decided to start charging for these sessions, then yes, I would quit working with that photographer. But the thing is, it's not because I was using them or I'm just looking for a hand out. Since I'm not a "working" model, I don't NEED any of these photos, and it doesn't make sense for me to put out money. The photographers know that if they have a new idea, or lighting, or just need some new content to update their portfolio then I'm the one to call because I'm always open to new ideas and don't freak out if things don't come out as planned. My relationships with these photographers has always been one of mutual respect and they know I'll show up and try new things.

I suppose I'm rambling a bit, but hopefully I got my point across in a round-a-bout sort of way.

Toni
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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 10:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Good points. I for one get it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] There is a balance that can be found. For everyone its a bit different. My philosophy is more similar to yours Brattitude - I do TFCD when I want to explore an idea or push my portfolio. That doesn't work for everybody though.

To each their own path I guess.
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Re: Learned my lesson...
Old 08-30-2005, 10:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My take on this is that if it's abused (for example, we agree on a TFP+CD shoot), and the model is a no-show (without a very good reason), THEN in the future I would request that they pay me for my time. Notice I didn't specify only female models. I'm sure that there's quite a few photographers who've had male models pull no-shows too. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I'm agnostic when it comes to the model's gender, and I work with them the same way.

If I've done a TFP+CD shoot in the past with a model who then requests a specific shoot, I *MAY* ask them to help cover any expenses I might incur. For example, props. If it's a cheap prop, then I'll just cover the expense myself. If it's something more elaborate that has to be rented, then I'd ask.

Otherwise, the pictures I get from doing a TFP shoot usually help get paying jobs from other prospective models. I showed three of the pictures I took on Sunday to a woman I work with, and she's really eager to hire me to do some pictures for her. So in the end, any frustation I felt on Sunday was worth it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]



[ QUOTE ]
It's not only stories like this that would make someone not want to shoot TFP's but, there also comes a time when you have to say to yourself - "I'm worth being PAID". The next time one of your "regular" models (one that you have shot in the past and whom you've done TFP) contacts you about shooting tell her that you no longer shoot TFP's but that if she could throw you a nominal buck or two you will do it. Chances are she'll BALK and go someplace else. That's when you realize that she only shoots with you because you are FREE ... unfortunately, it's a rude awakening but one worth trying just to see your REAL worth to some of these so-called "models". A truly devoted model realizes that it takes money to pay for photographers that are going to get the images SHE needs to make money as a model. Those models aren't along for a free ride.

Of course, this is just my opinion ... since the subject has been brought up.



[/ QUOTE ]
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