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Worst photoshoot casting ever !!!

A few weeks ago, I got some changes in my life, and I decided to travel a little bit more than usual. I deciced to move for a few weeks in Australia, because I have a good friend there, she’s a successful Wedding Photographer in Sydney, and I m more active in Photoshoot and photography work.

I was so interested to make a few photoshoots with models of different countries, various reasons for that.. I have the time, it makes me work in english ( directing, giving instructions ), the weather and place to make outdoor photo session are amazing, with symbolic building ( sky tower in Auckland, Opera House in Sydney ) and lovely beaches.

How to find models when you are not from the country ? It was especially frustrating for me as I m managing a Facebook group of Photographers, Models and Make Up Artist in Toulouse, with more than 600 members now. so I have already my own network.

So .. how to find a models when you are photographer coming in a new country or new city ? I knew ModelMayhem to be an international directory, so for a few weeks, I tried to browse and request proposal to Models in Sydney. With a quite low read confirmation level ( when you post a message to a ModelMayhem member, you can check if he/she reads it. Fair enough, I didnt have myself the most professional portfolio even if my recent session were quite good. I finally succeeded to make 2 photoshoots ( one as a Paid Assignement , and another as TFP ) in Sydney.

What is a TFP ? 

TFP is a new vocabulary in english than I didn’t know. it means Trade For Print. You exchange your time as a photograph with the time of the model, and in exchange, you are providing the pictures of the session ( edited, sorted etc.. ). Actually it doesn’t mean you have really to print the pictures, only provide them to the model. so the both parties can add new pictures in their book and portfolio. Of course TFP ( free photoshoot session ) doesn’t attract the best models who has already some work paid, and will not need extra pictures… UNLESS.. you can provide some style and pictures they don’t already have. So if you are good, ( or famous ) , you could get some interest even for better models. In my personal case, I like more the portraits, and close up also named headshot. It’s something models rarely have, as more photographer prefers artistic, nude ( of course ) , or fashion shoots. the kind of shoots which doesn’t reveal the true “face” of the model. Anyway, it’s another article.
In Short, TFP is free job for both parties, and sure you can expect less replies and less motivation.. we will confirm this later but not only.

ModelMayhem vs StarNow !

I didn’t know ModelMayhem very well but I had an account in 2009, I find the directory and web site very ugly, but at least, the directory and database is big. My concern is the email notification, I had the feeling people weren’t receiving my messages. The quality of the directory is uneven some very good profil and some very lame .. but it is like that for any directory. For my short trip in New Zealand, I was using for the first time the travel notice, and I got an answer in 30 minutes, I was just amazed… at the end, this person didn’t show up, we were txting and whatever at the end the result is the same.
Now, about the website looks more modern, with a better looking model profil page, and a good casting management. Actually once I launched my first casting (with some strategic mistake as any first time ). I did it for New Zealand ( Auckland ) and for Australia ( Sydney ) , I got in a few hours 40 applications, ( I reached in total 65 applications ) , what a difference. I was really happy and started to select models and communicate. I got some unbelievable request for my casting about ) , for exemple from Miss New Zealand 2012 !

In a casting in Starnow, you can define different roles, due to the number of requests I received, I quickly add a new role as TFP ( my first guess was to make paid assignement , that’s what I put in my project description )
Whatever the models receive the notification I got some request in the TFP category too. so I decided to focus on the free collaboration for sure. I got some exchanges with some people, but my first conclusion is : People don’t read !

As it looks like a casting and contest, people just apply. some of them add a description which shows they read about your project. but they just don’t follow up, or too slowly ( more than 2 days for a casting planned for a few days later , it’s just toooooo slow ! ). I don’t know how it works for girls and teenagers in NZ ! but they don’t seem to be concerned to have their email and notification on their phone.. while I got a micro sim at the airport for a decent price.. I still don’t understand.
At the end, I tried to organize 2 photoshoots session, one sunday ( for people which have their week end ) and another monday just before my departure.
I received a total of 23 applications for the NZ ( around 500 views ) , I selected half of the participants, and try to focus on a few of them. I didn’t have a crush on a single one, or at least it wasn’t a person interested in TFP. I selected some beginners, just to be kind, and because I was sure to be able to help them in their portfolio ( my exchange spirit.. )

Whatever Starnow is a wonderful platform for the contacts ( at the opposite of ModelMayhem, you have really a good visibility and volume of models ), the result is the same.. even with phone number and txting to be sure they will have the message, I got 2 times 2 models .. and at the end.. nobody came. Some of them just gave some lame excuses before ( a couple of hours and because i was doing a follow up before the session ), some just didn’t reply.

Models stood me up

In french we have an expression “poser un lapin”, when someone is not coming, it could be badly translated as ” put a rabbit ” that’s why I added a rabbit picture in the article.
I m mad, I never seen such a result, on 4 models who confirmed to come. none came.. and even one was promised to be paid. it was only 2 hours photoshoots, in the easiest part of the city to access ( close to the downtown with all the train stations and bus stations )  in Albert Park. The weather was better than expected in the 2 days with wonderful light. It was planned for the end of the afternoon and even people working could have come after their work or the school for the students.
So I was like an idiot waiting for a while, then I left.. I paid the parking, came from 30 km away for nothing… 2 times in a raw ! I m cursed ? well. At least I got the 100% success rate in Sydney, models were on time, professionnal, sweet, no issues on this ( only some problem with the follow up to choose the pictures and validate the best one to go public )

Why they didn’t come ?

Some reasons ( and I won’t have the truth )  :

– Too young
– Too Lazy
– Cursed and unlucky
– no Free job
– Intimidated
– Idiots

all the reasons would need to be developped, it could be a little of several factors. at least, one of the models was paid, and she didn’t came either, so… the money wasn’t the limitation.

And what about a model agencies ?

Well the funny part, before starting to use Starnow, I was looking by google if such my facebook group equivalent was existing, or any other models group )
I ended up with a model agency, so I placed an enquiry.
Well, I got a reply but it wasn’t very fast and it was like if my english wasn’t good. with a minimum of 3 hours at  85$ NZD ( around 50€ per hour ) it wasn’t so bad. but I was thinking it would have been fine to use Starnow with 20ish requests received  in a few hours. The guy wasn’t responsive enough to make it happens. 2 or 3 models he sent me , would have been good for my project. The web site was :

Definitely in a next trip I would try this option again just to be sure to have at least a model from the agency.

TO BE CONTINUED.. with the Sydney casting, trying to learn from the mistakes, but what mistakes I did :) that’s the question.

Conclusion  : well, too soon, i will continue to investigate.