Why Every Photographer Should Know These Common Mistakes Made By Models

Common Mistakes Made By Models
Image by Lando

Modelling…In A Nutshell

Being a model is far from an easy job and today we're going to look at some of the most common mistakes made by models or misconceptions that models make, from a photographer's point of view.

Even though to the rest of the world it basically looks like “just be pretty and stand in front of the camera” kind of job, it is far more than that. Just as for the rest of the world, photographers are usually just seen as “point the camera and press the button, the $3000 camera does the job itself anyway” too, so there are misconceptions on both sides.

Many people are overconfident and think that good looks will make them models instantly. That is a misconception as well. Beauty (even though subjective) is mere 20% of the modeling job. A good model should work in unison with the photographer and vice versa.

There is no hierarchy there. It is like tango; the photographer takes the lead, but it takes two to dance.

Portrait photography is a genre in itself and so it requires an understanding to achieve the results that you're really after. That's where this GuideThe Art Of Portrait Photography” comes in. Here's your chance to produce your own inspiring, memorable images that convey real meaning and emotion.

When Models Overcompensate

It happens to beginner models, it happens to experienced models. There is basically no running away from it. When the photographer or any other person responsible for the looks of the model points that out to you (the model), you need to be able to correct it. That's the trick.
Gina by Natalia Fadejeva on 500px.com

Photo by Natalia Fadejeva

The problem is, when somebody tells you that you are overcompensating a certain feature in your gait, pose, or anything along those lines, it is hard to picture it.

This is where experience and self-awareness come to play, plus mirrors. It is good to write down the remarks you get after a shoot or set and have them reflected upon when you start practising again. You’ll get better and better that way.

Not Having Enough Practice

Models need practice. Just as actors do.

Modeling requires knowing your body much better than any other normal person. Practising for some time each day gives you enough experience and body control to do your job. As with any other profession.

Take a look at some behind the scenes videos from high-end shoots, and see how the models behave and what poses they often strike, and practise some of those. You don’t have to copy them, but when you are able to do a variety of poses, it is easy to mix and match between those in order to create something unique.

tess rose by Luca Iafrate on 500px.com

Photo by Luca Iafrate

Lack Of Body Control

As mentioned before, the model needs to have complete control of the body. You might think that “yes, I can move my limbs, I guess it qualifies as having complete body control”, but no, that is basically enough to get you from point A to point B and do your normal daily tasks.

Complete Body Control means:

  • Being aware of the facial expressions you are making,
  • Making slight changes to them,
  • Being able to hold still in weird poses,
  • And avoiding involuntary muscle movements. Basically, acting/dancing classes or practical experience helps quite a lot in this area.

Ebony portrait beauty #2 by Mr.G. Photoimaging on 500px.com

Photo by Mr. G. Photoimaging

Possessing A Lack Of Character

Being just like everybody else probably won’t land you tons of jobs. Being unique however will prove to be better. Not having character, basically blending in with the crowd keeps you in the mediocre range.

It is decent enough but hardly something that most photographers/magazines would want. Develop your own character, offer something that the others won’t be able to do. You don’t have to go to extremes, but then again, if it's too subtle it won’t be as impactful.

The last cigarette by Matteo Kutufa on 500px.com

Photo by Matteo Kutufa

Not Being Professional Enough

The final “mistake” made by many models, centers around any other profession in that it requires “professionalism”. Simple as that.

When you are on a set, you are there for just that. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they stay at home, unless they are part of the job. Additionally, as mentioned before, the model works in unison with the photographer, along with the crew responsible for the general scene.

That means being able to work with the makeup artist, hair dresser, clothes designer, and so forth. You can make suggestions from time to time, but basically making demands or declining is quite rude.


Modeling, as any other job requires devotion, skill, and experience. Do your research, practice as much as possible, and be professional – always. There is nothing better than a model that knows what they are doing, which is efficient and creative.

The better the job is done, the better the final result will be. Better pictures = better feedback. Good feedback means more work, and that is the way to success.

But, before you head off, check this out,
Portrait photography being a genre in itself requires an understanding to achieve the results that you're really after. That's where this GuideThe Art Of Portrait Photography” comes in. Here's your chance to produce your own inspiring, memorable images that convey real meaning and emotion. Click on the link to see more!

Further Resources

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Photographer who loves challenging and experimental photography and loves sharing his knowledge about it.

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