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Model: An Open Letter to New Photographers

By Anthony Thurston on March 21st 2013

As a new photographer beyond the goal of learning photography better one of your likely goals (if you have not done so already) is to shoot with models. In years past it was harder for amateurs or semi-pros to work with models simply due to the fact that they had no way to find them easily. That has all changed since the dawn of internet marketing and sites such as Model Mayhem.


“I Chose To Be Happy” by Christian Scott

New Photographers are getting access to and trying to shoot with models much sooner in their careers than ever before. Overall this is great, but it has the added side effect of models constantly working with photographers that are very new to model photography or know very little about photography in general.

Jen Brook, a Model, has written an open letter to new photographers in the hope of educating them on shooting with models. I found all of the points she made in her article worthwhile and important to think of. The best part is that this is not just for new photographers, there are many experienced photographers who could learn a thing or two from this open letter.

Head over to her tumblr page and check it out, maybe you can learn a thing or two.


“Savouring of Loneliness” by Lauri Laukkanen

My Thoughts

I think that if you are interested in shooting with models that you really need to read this open letter and take it to heart. This sort of information is invaluable to learning how to properly act and run your modeling shoots. I never had the luxury of a photography education, I am completely self taught (something that is at times painfully obvious), and I would have killed to have had this sort of information when I was attempting my first model shoots.

That said, after reading this open letter I feel much better about my shoots and how I conduct them. Now I want to hit on a point that Jen touches on in her letter, and that is about being a  perv or creeper during the shoot. Sadly some people try to use the guise of being a photographer in order to get close to models in little to no clothing, others are simply oblivious to the fact that they are creepy. People, there is a difference between a compliment on how an outfit looks on the model and constantly telling the model how sexy she is while staring  her down.  Seriously, if you want to stare at half naked women go to a strip club.  /end rant

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Jen Brook

    Thank you for such positive comments :) I’m really touched that so many people have shared this and made it public knowledge…but most of all taken it in the respectful manner it was intended. I am considering a response blog to the model/client to be posted next week. Thanks again for your support, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to stay in touch! and @Jen_Brook_Model

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  3. Nick

    Dear Model,

    Please do not flake. A lot of time, money and energy went into setting up this shoot. It is not cool to leave the photographer, assistant and MUA hanging.

    If you do flake, do not contact me a week later asking if I’d like to reschedule. Sorry, I have a one strike policy.

    Thank you,

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    • Antonio Carrasco

      dude, yes!!! You said EXACTLY what was on my mind. So many flakes and non-models on model mayhem. And I hate it when they pull out their stupid cell phones and start instagramming the shoot.

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  4. Bj Del Rosario

    What a great article Anthony! I appreciate the share, and I completely agree with the things that were said. *Shared on FB and other Social media sites*

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  5. koferk

    all true and all but its the same as writing a letter for all people about how to be nice to each other, some people just aren’t..

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  6. Federico Guendel

    I completely agree with your rant, man, and this letter is a must for those who want to shoot models. I wish I would have read this a couple of years back.

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  7. Andre Goulet

    Very on-point and worth the read. Thanks!

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  8. Ryan Cooper

    Fantastic letter, I really like what she has put down there. And ironically enough I would love if other MODELS took it to heart too. My biggest pet pieve is getting a model into the studio that refuses to do anything other than play “doll”. I can give direction on posing but like the Jen says, I am not the one who has spent countless hours in front of the mirror practicing my poses. The images ALWAYS turn out better when it is a collaboration.

    Also I second the 35mm lens bit for head shots. In fact lets just extend that to 50mm. ;) 85mm and 135mm lenses make so much more flattering close up portraits.

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