Tips on Making Models Comfortable and Breaking the Ice

Screenshot taken from the video

UK based Imogen, of the popular Youtube Channel, WeeklyImogen, discusses tips and techniques to help you make models more comfortable during your shoots. Using her many years of experience as a model, and lessons learned from working alongside photographer Mark Wilkinson, Imogen covers everything from shoot planning, first impressions, judging the model’s natural comfort level, and more. Particularly of note, she discusses building a rapport by simply chatting and getting to know the person you’re working with.

One of the first tips Imogen recommends is communicating with your model beforehand. Making sure that both you and the model are clear on shoot details such as locations, wardrobe, and any items that may need to be provided by the model. Doing so will put both of you at ease since you’ll feel more in control of the process and can mentally prepare much more easily. Another tip she suggests is having a chat before the shoot. This helps to build a rapport, help the person settle, and also show that you care about them.

Building on that tip, Imogen also recommends chatting with the model during the shoot so they’ll feel comfortable and confident they’re delivering what you need. Encouragement goes a long way in making the model feel confident which often results in stronger photographs. Ultimately, her biggest tip is to remember you’re working with another human being and that you break the ice as you would in any other normal context. Make the model feel comfortable, communicate beforehand, talk during the shoot, and build a real human relationship.

As a beauty photographer, I work with a lot of models. Imogen offers very solid tips which will definitely help your shoot go smoothly. My approach is very similar. Communication beforehand goes a long way. I create a moodboard of images that I share with the model so they’re aware of the style I’m going for as well as makeup, hair, and wardrobe considerations (esp. if the model is providing those).

When the model arrives, we talk for a bit, discuss the direction of the shoot, and I go out of my way to ensure they’re comfortable and feel at ease. I’ll often offer them a glass of water or cup of coffee, show them where the bathroom is, and ask if they have any particular music they like to listen to. Music is a huge help if you’re working indoors and keeps shoots from being these awkward, silent affairs. Overall be polite, encouraging, enthusiastic, and most importantly, respectful. You’re working with another human being and establishing a great working relationship will undoubtedly have an impact on the final results.

To see more videos like this one, check out WeeklyImogen on Youtube here.