Working TF and Unrealistic Expectations from Models


I need people in the North to really understand this. I am not a rich photographer either (who is in all seriousness) but in order to get to the epicentre of where we all can mutually meet (Newcastle or Durham) it can cost me up to £10 a journey that can take almost two hours if you include metros/buses to surrounding locations. If I have agreed to do a “test” with you, then you must be very special. The reasons I do tests is for personal benefit obviously, and too see who is out there, who is new, and will do quick casting shoots like “tests”, to see if your beneficial and might be good in a bigger shoot with a client or even a designer in the future. There is no point in me investing my time and money in a “big shoot” FOR a model iv never seen work before in case they are useless! It’s all very harsh but its the reality! Also, since it costs an take so long for me to get to the city, I am going to want to shoot as many different people as are available on my chosen list, so don’t ask me for a full days test – not gonna happen.

Just getting a little irate because I am constantly approached by people for free elaborate, extravagantly planned, designer shoots for publication before they have even said hello, or even worse, before they even look like the standard of model I would use, sometimes I am flattered that I get this from agency models, but RUDE agency models are no exception to manners and you’d think would know how to act, approach and what is expected from a casting.

I am all for the mutual benefit of every team member on a shoot, but there is a level of decorum to be had. If I say I am doing quick, hour length only location city central shoots for casting and networking purposes (the point of which is that no planning is required, just meet and shoot, nothing fancy), I am not about the bend over backwards to organise some Broadway length glittering production. If I like you when we meet, then I might afterwards, but not before!


Below are three images, one TF/Casting, one collaborative and one paid. All may look impressive, but its what goes on behind the image that makes TF and Paid worth what the title suggests.

Blossom Rain

Twig was a professionally hired model from London. I travelled too London with all of my photographic equipment, the Kimono, specifically commissioned accessories and corset, all the clothes essentially and we even had an assistant. Twig’s life is modelling, it is her job, therefore she looks after herself appropriately, even down to the nails and keeping fit, someone who shows up to a shoot with an out of proportion body (from lack of working out), untended, dyed or rooted hair or chipped nail varnish wont be considered again.  Before the shoot I sought through London both in person and on line for an appropriate location, this included contacting the councils for press releases and permissions. We didn’t have a Hair and Make up artist, but we could have.

You should already be able to see the amount of preparation and effort that goes into a paid shoot, and the high standards you have to meet.


Emilia is a friend of mine who is naturally model standard thin and has interests in something I wanted to shoot and practice. This time, Emilia brought everything and did her own make up and costume, I just had to think about a suitable location and bring the correct equipment. This was a mutual collaboration – what I do most of the time to make things interesting, such as bring some wigs or piece of clothing from a designer that they can use, but very rarely with first time shoot a model, what is important to note here is that I was only able to do a mutual collaboration with Emilia because I had shot her in the past and knew from experience what she could do and how she photographed.

This photo shoot was much more relaxed, though I had a few hissy fits trying to meet a certain level of expectation of myself, I had an image I wanted to achieve.

This is an image of Sarah from years ago. This was a test/casting, like what I will be carrying out in and around Newcastle. Sarah sorted her own hair and make up and clothes, turned up, we shot where I said (because as a photographer, I can read light and location a lot better than most models) and went from there, Sarah knew I knew what I was talking about and accepted that, though of course we played with each others ideas and experimented. It wasn’t a long shoot, but we got some great images, I found a new model in the area, Sarah had some photos for her portfolio, the whole day hadn’t been used up and no ones energy had been sapped from organisation – and that’s the whole point of a test casting, shoot shoot bang done. Oh, and don’t expect to get any photos immediately, the photographer will do them in order of highest importance paying clients being top priority.

This photoshoot is what I want from you lot in Newcastle in castings – no high expectations or sought after images or outcomes, no need to bring elaborate equipment or clothing, just the model, in their clothes, in their own style how they are comfortable.  And as you can see, images from unelaborate shoots can still be amazing.

The point is: She respected me as the photographer to be in charge of the shoot. She did not question or insult my ideas but rather offered her own to support me and did as she was told. 

This may sound oppressive and mean, in reality its not, but it’s very annoying when someone doesn’t do what she did and just makes me not want to work with you.

I’m not gagging on saying that I will only do paid work because that is not true or feasible. Even models have to do occasional free work in order to expand their connections., what I am saying is show respect and know your level in the profession, because as a woman once said:

More people need to wrap their heads around what TF is.

It’s MEANT to be mutually beneficial. Shocking news, eh. 

This means that if you’re new and inexperienced, either as a photographer or a model, you really can’t expect someone who is very good at what they do, to work TF with you. 

What, exactly, do they stand to gain from this?!

-Bekah TwistedPix

//Rant Over//

Comments and Discussion Welcome

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