10 Things Models hate about Photographers on Shoot

 In Front


For those not familiar with this term, it basically means a photographer who checks the LCD display on the back of the camera after every single shot. Why does it annoy your model, well, they are standing super still in a pose using muscles they didn’t know they had and there you are zooming in and out of every photo having a little think. The best thing to do is take about 5 shots and then quickly check through for composition and lighting.


Any good photographer will always give positive reinforcement comments to the model throughout the shoot. It helps the model relax, not feel like an idiot, not feel self-conscious and off course know the pose they are holding is looking good. “That’s great, hold that”, “Brilliant, that looks good” etc. Where it becomes creepy is when photographers comment way too much and worse still, comment on specific parts of the models’ body. Most photographers don’t intend for it to be creepy but if you have only just met one another it can be a little intimidating.

Talking to Much

There is nothing worse than a photographer that wants to have a chat about absolutely everything and put the world to rights when the model is posing and trying to be still. I once had a photographer that would ask me a question and then as I answered he was photographing me, mid talk, mouth wide open – very glamorous. He had more throwaway shots of me talking than posing. Models do tend to develop a ventriloquist skill after years of shooting but still the frustration is there.

Too Quiet

Equally, a photographer that doesn’t say a word for a 2-hour shoot is just as bad. Some people are just shy but being a photographer does require some people skills to get the best out of your model. A deadly silent photography studio is just awkward for all involved.

No Direction

No matter how experienced the model is they will ultimately always need direction from the photographer. They can’t see themselves and won’t know what is looking good through the camera lens. A shy photographer and a clueless model is the perfect combination for a disastrous shoot.

Messing about with the lighting too much

The lighting needs to be moved on shoots for sure. Whenever the model moves to a different level or turns to the side it will need adjusting. The annoying photographer is the one that spends the entire shoot taking a photo, looking at the LCD and then changing all the lighting over and over again after each click. If you are still getting to grips with studio lighting then perhaps use a mannequin or take a class until you know what your doing.

No Breaks

People who are not models often say “you’re just standing there and smiling, what an easy job” Wrong. Modelling can be pretty exhausting. Some poses require physical strength to hold, some poses look natural but are in fact being held with a models’ tensed body trying hard not to move. Now imagine flashing lights in your face. Sometimes it’s cold / too hot and sometimes we are wearing ridiculous heals or uncomfortable clothes. There is nothing worse than a photographer that expects a 4-hour shoot without stopping for a break.

Indecisive on Poses

Sit down, stand up, no… sit down, actually can you stand up and twist to the side…. whilst adjusting lighting on every instruction and taking only one or two shots. A good photographer will set up lighting for a standing model, take several photos, come in for portraits, shoot from above or below, from the side and with different poses…. Then switch it up to a seated pose and change the set up.

Unrealistic Brief

“I want you to look like superwoman, can you fly please”. Ok, that is an exaggeration, but some photographers know what they want to achieve in their head and don’t realise it is not possible with the model they have booked. I once had a photographer who booked me for a commercial shoot that was Jamaican themed. I have blonde hair, blue eyes and snow-white skin so unfortunately, I couldn’t pull off the traditional Jamaican look very well. He told me on the brief it was for fruit. I was recommended so he just booked me without checking out my portfolio. Had another customer that booked me for a clothing shoot and the clothes were quite frankly made for barbie dolls so that shoot didn’t go down too well either. Another customer saw me do the splits and assumed I could do a Yoga shoot. Oh I have hundreds of stories, you get the idea.

Increasing Levels

If I had £1 for every photographer that has booked me knowing I am a portrait, fashion and commercial model but then asked me to show more flesh or wear something revealing I would be a millionaire by now. This tactic has decreased over the years as the industry has become more professional and less sleazy but there are still photographers out there who will book a model and then not be happy they are wearing a polar neck jumper instead of a low cut top.

Extra Time

“Just one more set please and then we are done” No, I’m sorry mr / ms photographer but we were done 15 mins ago and I need to get this makeup off and get changed to go home. Some photographers do faff about so much and waste so much time on a shoot that they don’t realise they are overrunning. Some photographers ask the model for extra time and offer to pay. But then there are the photographers who do it on every single shoot and run over by 20 mins each time clocking up a whole load of free shots. This is one of the most annoying habits of all time.

After a decade of modelling I’ve personally experienced all these habits on more than one occasion and witnessed plenty of other models with similar frustrations over the last 6 years of running my photography studio in Birmingham. Photographers if you are guilty of any of the above you have now been notified. Anyone else have pet hates to add to this? Let us know in the comments section.

Sara Smith – SS Creative Photography

P.S. Check out my other blog where the roles are reversed “10 Things Photographers hate about Models on a shoot”

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