10 Ways to Improve Your Model Photography pt1

December 15, 2016  •  2 Comments

10 Ways to Improve Your Model Photography Pt1

By Sveinn Kjartansson


I’ve been shooting models and portrait clients for 5 years now (2011). Through that time, I have really put a lot of energy into being the best photographer that I can be. Photography is so much more than just taking a photo; it’s the planning, the communication, and, well, just read below! Honestly, each number can be its own article, but for now, let’s just summarize! Look for future posts about each one in depth!

Part 1, Professionalism, Knowing your client, Planning, Styling Collaboration and Location


  1. Professionalism


I can’t stress how important it is to come across with professionalism. Now mind you, this is not the same as being a  professional. I’m talking about how you behave, how you present yourself, and how you communicate. It’s important to communicate well and have a strong work ethic. Many models will refuse to work with you again (or at all) when you talk behind their backs about other models ,or bad mouth other people in the industry, or constantly make fun of other people- they will think you will do the same to them!

One of the biggest qualms models will have is a sense of personal space you give them. They are people too, ya know! Don’t touch or handle people without some communication and ground work on comfort level first.

Kali Feline in PhiladelphiaKali Feline in PhiladelphiaKali Feline in Philadelphia, Sveinn Photography

  1. Know your client

Does your client want to pick their own edits or want softer images? Did they pick you because of your specific style? Getting to know who you are shooting is crucial to getting photos that they will love. You are, after all, the artist that creates the final image! Getting to know your client is also super helpful to capture who they are and their essence, if you will. Clients love that. They love seeing a part of themselves in the photos that they can identify with. Everyone wants something personal to them! Get to know them and let them get to you know you! I promise that the photos will look much better if they are more comfortable with you!

Miss Margaux Madness PinUp with cloak by The Wishmaster's Capes & Costumes shot in Tennessee Miss Margaux Madness in Tennessee Miss Margaux Madness PinUp with cloak by The Wishmaster's Capes & Costumes shot in Tennessee , Sveinn Photography Jenna Beth in FloridaJenna Beth in FloridaJenna Beth in Florida, Sveinn Photography

  1. Planning

You know what makes a great photo? Everything. That’s what. Planning your shoot before hand is going to be the difference between MEH and AMAZING. Plan where to shoot, plan what is going to be worn, plan what the looks are, plan what poses, and most important- plan the frame. Think about what will be behind them, what will be the focus of the photo,and what will draw people to look at it longer. Consider the environment and what will clash or mesh with your model/client and what they are wearing!

El Costurero Real, FloridaEl Costurero Real, FloridaLuna Marie with wings from El Costurero Real shot in Florida, Sveinn Photography

  1. Styling Collaboration

Sometimes bringing in a makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, hair stylist, and even a set designer to your shoot could boost the overall quality of your photos. ALSO the more people that collaborate with you, the more people will see the project! The people you bring into your shoot, consider them a part of the project, let them have a voice, take in ideas and let it be the best that it can be.

Soley IcelandSoley IcelandSoley with wardrobe by Mister Pierre, styling by Jana Rut Magnúsdóttir, Makeup by Vigdís Hallgrímsdóttir, assisted by Stephanie Zakas. Shot in Iceland, Sveinn Photography

  1. Location Location Location

Location scouting is gold. I say it all the time! Great locations can bring your photos to a new level. It could be a cool cliff, a neat spot in the forest, a friends garage, or even inside a restaurant! Knowing your location and scouting it before your shoot will help a lot when you actually get there with your client. I mean, nobody wants to see you flounder like, “Oh I didn’t realize that building was there, now we have to go elsewhere”. Spend a few hours a month checking out your locations, finding new ones and keeping your contacts!

Lola van Dee in SwedenLola van Dee in SwedenLola van Dee in cloak by The Wishmaster's Capes & Costumes, shot in Sweden, Sveinn Photography Aurora Fable in FloridaAurora Fable in FloridaAurora Fable in swimsuit by Red Dolly Swimwear and hair creation by CoCreations shot in Florida, Sveinn Photography

Look for part 2 soon!

6. Ice Breakers
7. More light is better except when it's not
8. Art vs Portrait
9. Angle and Height
10. Framing/Composition 


Sveinn Kjartansson Photographer
Charles, I couldn't agree more! Knowing who you're working with improves so much! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Too many people spend too little time with item 2!
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