Not all models flake. In fact, most don’t. But the flake rate with nudes can be higher than most, especially if you’re recruiting your models online. Sometimes it’s the photographer’s fault, for instance, for not giving enough details about the shoot until the last minute.
No matter where you recruit your models, a significant number of photographers complain about no-show models. I used to have the same problem, but not in the last several years.
In my experience, the following nine yellow flags precede 90% of all flaky models. By avoiding these situations you can avoid waiting for a model that never shows up. It’s been ages since I’ve had a no-show; more than 95% of my models show up.
- No phone contact. Attempt a phone interview as soon as possible. If you can’t make a phone call happen, chances are a shoot is not going to happen either. Reduce flake risk by 15%
- Model doesn’t have any photos from the last 6 months. If she hasn’t shot anything recently, good luck with that changing. Reduce flake risk by 15%
- Slow e-mail response. Are e-mails returned within 48 hours? 24 hours is standard – 48 hours is unprofessional (excluding weekends, holidays, and vacations.) Reduce flake risk by 15%
- Shotgunned. The model sent identical emails to you and every other photographer in your area. Identifying a shotgun email takes some skill, but with some practice you’ll start to notice suspects. Reduce flake risk by 10%
- Model booked multiple shoots the same day. It can happen where a model can do two or even three shoots in the same day, but more likely she’ll only make it to one. Ask her if she has other things keeping her busy on the day you want to shoot. Reduce flake risk by 10%
- She’s not a morning person. You’re expecting her at 8 AM. She’d have to get up at 6AM to get ready in time. She partied until 2 AM last night. Guess what’s going to happen. Ask your model if she’s a morning person or plans to party the night before the shoot, especially if you want to shoot on a weekend morning. Reduce flake risk by 10%
- Too small a target. Model contacts you, she’s traveling hundreds of miles to your area for just a short period of time. What she didn’t tell you is she emailed every photographer within 50 miles and will rebook if she gets a better offer (similar to shotgun e-mail). Additionally, if anything goes wrong with her trip, she won’t show. Reduce flake risk by 5%
- Model didn’t view your work. Ask the model what shots she likes. If she didn’t bother to look at your work, she’s not serious. Reduce flake risk by 5%
- Talking in circles. Model asks questions, you answer; then asks a variation of the same question… Reduce flake risk by 5%
Caveats: Of course, these yellow flags don’t necessarily mean the model won’t show, just that there is a reason for concern. For this reason you may not always want to avoid these situations, but at least you’ll know you’re taking a risk.