Wednesday, 24 April 2013

FAQs Series: Modelling for Little Miss Delicious

I get a large amount of modelling enquiries on a daily basis, and it's becoming quite hard to sift through them all, so I thought I would do a little guide for models approaching Little Miss Delicious, and hopefully a lot of these pointers can also be applied to other small businesses too!

Lottie Talbot by Charis Talbot

Making contact

I'm getting more and more photoshoot requests via Facebook now that it allows people to send messages to fan pages, and while that's great, it's so easy for them to get lost there. I'll also point out that page admins can see who has recently liked their page, so if you send a generic message and I can see you just become a fan moments earlier, it's going to leave me a little disheartened!

I'd always recommend sending a professional email to the email address displayed on the website. It not only shows that you care enough to look on the website, it's also immediately more professional. Knowing the name of the person you're emailing is also a huge plus as it shows you've done a little work looking at the brand, but even just addressing it to the brand itself can be effective.

What to include in the initial email

I find it really helpful when the initial email outlines exactly what they are after, but who also manage to keep it to the point. I get emails that range from one line to essays, and both these extremes are really off putting. I like to know that you have more of an idea than 'luv ur stuff, let me no if u need models!', but at the same time I don't need to know your entire professional history, especially as it will make me think that it's just a generic template you send to all designers (especially if you then send me the same email months later!).

Ideally, the initial email will include your name, where you are from, an outline of what you have in mind (including who else you plan on working with for the shoot), what items you would like to loan, your availability and a link to your portfolio. I get so many messages that don't include links to portfolios or modelling names. It's really off putting having to put in extra work just to see your portfolio. If you are applying to model clothing, stats are also really important. Although I'll never pick models based on their size, I will need to know what items I have spare in stock that I can loan out!

I can't emphasise how important it is to have correct spelling and grammar right from the first email. Although I might have a more personal approach when it comes to business, at the end of the day it's still work, and even though you are only looking to loan jewellery, you are still applying for a job and your email should reflect that.

It's also important not to let your ego take over. You'd be surprised how many models email me with a very amateur portfolio and less than 100 fans on Facebook, yet tell me how they'll be doing me a favour shooting for me or that I should give them things for free. I have nothing against new models at all - I'll happily work with anyone as long as they're the right look for my brand and can guarantee high quality images, but if you make it seem like you're doing me a huge favour by offering to work me that will immediately make me say no (unless of course, you've earned that right!).

Ruby True by Justine Louise, MUA Tabitha Adams

Where it goes from there

As much as I'd love to work with everyone that approaches me, unfortunately I have to be selective. While you may see it as props for a shoot, it's my livelihood, and each person that models for LMD represents my company, so I want to make sure I have a streamline image and style.

If you do have the right look I'm after and seem genuinely interested in shooting with me, I'll be more than happy to loan items! This is where it helps to be organised - letting me know a date, arranging a team yourself and giving even just a vague idea about which items you would like to loan really help.

After a few bad experiences, I now have a Word Document which I send to be filled in by the interested party, so I can have all the details set out in writing. I think us small designers can get too trusting, so when we do get burned it hits us hard. It also helps me to have all the details set down so I can stay organised and keep track of what stock I have sent out and where it is. Organising shoots is just one of the hundred things I do on a daily basis, so it's one of those rare occasions where the more paper work, the better!

Costs

Everything so far has been in regards to TFP shoots, where models get pretty items for their shoot that they otherwise wouldn't have, and the designer gets pretty images that they otherwise wouldn't have. If you do require any form of payment, even travel costs or if you shoot in return for keeping items, please state this in the initial email.

I don't require any form of payment for loaning the items themselves, but if you approach me about a shoot I now require a non-refundable £10 deposit for postage. I think many people underestimate the costs involved, especially as they are often sent via the costly method of next day delivery. This £10 also helps cover packaging materials and having to make extra stock in case the items are purchased while they are still away being shot. However, it doesn't cover the cost of any lost or broken items, so please ensure you are careful when handling any loaned designs. They may be durable, but they aren't invincible! There are rare occasions where this charge won't apply, but unfortunately I'm just losing out on so much money for shoots that I can't risk it any more.

Betty D'Light by Loraine Ross

If you don't hear back

Although I will always try to get back to every enquiry, some days that can be up to 10 extra emails on top of my already growing amount, and with the increasing amount of messages via Facebook, it can be very hard to keep on top of them.

Don't be discouraged if you don't get a response from a designer. It's nothing personal at all, it honestly is a case of working 24/7 and still not managing to get enough done. It may simply be that companies use set people, have a set way of getting their own models, or they just don't arrange photoshoots at all!

One of the worst things to do would be to send a ridiculous amount of emails after the designer has said no/if they haven't replied. If you haven't got the right look, sending multiple emails isn't going to change that and instead is going to make you come across as rude and pushy.

If a model does contact me but they just don't have the right look or may not have the quality of images I'm after at the time, I do keep track of them and contact them at a later date if I think something has come up that they are right for, so it's not a case of only getting one chance with a company!

Ulorin Vex by Allan Amato
Providing useable images

This is just a little side point to address one of my biggest pet peeves - getting amazing images back that I just can't use. Unless the designer can attend the shoot themselves, it's really important to make sure you're displaying their items the best possible way you can. This means even doing small checks every so often to make sure charms are facing the right way, the jewellery isn't obscured by hair etc, and you can see it clearly. This doesn't mean it has to be the sole focus of every shot, just that it's important to keep in mind that you are modelling items for a brand, so if every shot they get back has the items obscured in some way, they might not be too happy!

What to do after the shoot

If items are broken or lost, it is the responsibility of the person that loaned them to cover the costs of this, as it can be really difficult for the designer to constantly lose stock this way. This means it's really important to make sure you return the items exactly as they were sent to you - I always ensure I use plenty of bubble wrap so it can be sent back in the same way. I always ask that items are returned to me as soon as possible, and sent via recorded delivery just so we can both have peace of mind.

I really appreciate being emailed to let me know approximately when I can expect the items back, and it's so great when people send me the images directly rather than me having to chase them up after seeing them online. Sending the images in an email is also really useful as if you include credits for all those involved, it gives me somewhere to refer back to if I need to remember someone from a certain shoot.

Similarly, I also think it's important to let every member of your team know which designers/brands contributed to the shoot too. I've often loaned items to models to then have photographers upload the images and not credit LMD. I will always, always credit every person involved, so I'd really appreciate the same respect back. 

Annalee Belle by Radiant Inc

And that's everything I can think of for now! Hopefully instead of reading like a giant rant, this helps give models, photographers, and any other creatives that approach designers/small brands some pointers about how to get the best out of it. Feel free to comment below with any other tips/feedback!





4 comments:

  1. Big thumbs up lovely, exactly what I want to say about it, but can never put it as eloquently as you. Bravo!
    I hope you don't mind me sharing <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. And not at all - I'm just so glad to know it's useful!

      Delete
  2. Great post! I basically have done everything you said which is why I have modelled for around 70 brands. I sometimes don't believe the emails that some girls send to designers...littered with spelling mistakes and over familiar. Great advice :)

    ReplyDelete

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