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The Stages of Recruiting a Figure Model

Recruiting a model for figure work can be tricky, even for someone who has been photographing artistic nudes for a long time. To better introduce the concept of recruiting, I explain the core recruiting activity in terms of five stages. They are:

  1. Establishing contact
  2. Building interest
  3. Overcoming objections
  4. Getting commitment

If you skip or rush through any step, you risk not getting the booking. This happens to many photographers and they wonder if it has something to do with the model. In many cases it is a matter of not completing the process. Many photographers fail to secure bookings because the skip directly from establishing contact to getting commitment.

Establishing contact means meeting the prospective model and exchanging contact information. Just handing out a business card is not establishing contact. It is important to have the model’s contact information so that you do not have to rely on her to retain your information and follow up. If you make contact online, the exchange of a return email address is usually automatic.

Building interest is an often overlooked step. This can be as simple as showing some portfolio pieces to the model but it should involve more. You need to let the model get to know you a little bit. Nobody wants to work with someone until they gain a comfort level.

Overcoming objections is something photographers often engage in, but seldom in the right way. Objections are usually requests for more information or confusion about what you are proposing. The faster you attempt to get a model to commit, the more confusion you will encounter. The first step to overcoming an objection is to recognize it. Then you need to let the model know that other models had the same question. Finally, you need to explain how you will make things work out.

For example, a model might object because she does not feel she would know what to do as a model. If a model says this to me, I let her know that this is common among many new models and more than half of the models she sees on my website expressed the exact same concern. However, once they did a photoshoot, they found that it was easier than they thought it would be.

Finally, you must ask a model to commit to booking a specific time and location. If you rush the model to commit, she may agree just to delay having to deal with you. You want a true commitment. A good first step in getting a commitment is to ask the prospect to come to a face-to-face interview.

I hope to write more on the above four steps in the future.