Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking for Reasons to Say No

Displacement: V8 6.162 L w/ (Eaton) TVS Supercharger & Intercooler
Horsepower: 638 bhp at 6500 rpm
Torque: 604 ft·lb
Bore: 103.25 mm
Stroke: 92.0 mm
Compression: 9.1:1
Supercharger maximum boost: 10.5 psi (0.7 bar)
Redline: 6600 rpm
Brakes front: Brembo 15.5 in (390 mm)
Brakes rear: Brembo 15.0 in (380 mm)
Front/rear balance: 52/48
Curb weight: estimated 3,352 lb (1,520 kg)
0-60 mph: 3.3
Top speed: 205 mph (330 km/h)
Quarter mile time: 11.2
Quarter mile speed: est. 135 mph (217 km/h)
Production: 2000 units per year (estimated)
Price: US$111,120 to US$121,100
Lateral acceleration: 1.10 g
Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 specs

I thought this would be an interesting article to write. Not sure how much fun this will be to read because I already kinda know how this is going to sound, but I write these for myself so it doesn't bother me too much how it reads.

The question is, what makes me say "yes" to testing a model. Or more importantly what makes me say "no" to testing a model. We're talking unpaid tests. I don't shoot many unpaid tests anymore but when I do, I have to make my time count. So the question is what are the red flags?

1. Measurements. I work off of pretty strict industry guidelines. I think I wrote about this a while back. 5'9"+ 110lbs are typical measurements for me. Deviations from the rule make me say no.

2. Range of Expression. This is a big one for me. Sometimes, people suggest models for me to shoot. One time, my wife suggested a particular model who she thought was great. When I looked at her port, I cringed. Why? The expression (singular because there was only 1) across every image in her portfolio was the same. My wife didn't believe me. So I did what any rational person would do. I took 2 random images (from different shoots) in her portfolio and Photoshopped her face out from one and pasted it over the other. The before and after pictures were identical. Needless to say I won that argument. Additionally, I was very proud of myself for being able to demonstrate my point so poignantly.

3. Who have you worked with? If a model does well, she probably shoots with people I know. Take Kate Compton for instance. She went from oblivion to billboards in LA in only a couple of months. She's shot with most of the good LA photographers.

4. Experience. I don't like working with New Faces. That's the division of new models at an agency. These girls are usually too young, too green (inexperienced), too shy, the list continues. Additionally on certain websites like Model Mayhem, there's a "join date". Anything less than a year is usually a big red flag to me.

5. Escorts. I don't mind escorts. But real models don't bring escorts. Because real models trust the agents they work with and the jobs (and photographers) they are sent to.

6. Too many images from the same shoot. If you've done enough shoots, you won't need to pull 10 pictures from the same shoot to fill out your portfolio. This usually means you don't have enough experience.

6.1 Not enough images. This usually means you don't have enough experience. At least you're honest about it and aren't putting up 10 pictures from the same shoot.

7. Too many images from the same angle. What about the other side of your face? How do I know you don't look like Darkman from the other side? Or too many pictures of just your face but none of your body? How am I supposed to infer your actual measurements? I'm not just a beauty photographer ya know.

8. Won't shoot nudes. Sorry, but for me this is a red flag because the models I work with must be confident with nudity. I don't always shoot nudity but not having that option limits our overall styling options. One time a designer brought this great-looking model but she wouldn't shoot in lingerie (much less sheers) because she eventually wanted to be a politician and couldn't have those kind of pictures floating around. That's great for her. But that's a deal-breaker for me.

9. Generic messages. When I receive generic messages or messages that aren't specifically titled to "Charles or Lucima" I know that the model was simply too lazy to write a real message. I know cut and paste when I see it. I know because I do it all the time but at least I take the time to address the message specifically to my recipient. At least I give them the respect that I actually know their name or have taken the time to read their profile when there is one.

10. Padding your stats (or your bra). You think I can't deduce your measurements from looking at your pictures? :) I hate looking at measurements stats only to later look through your images and say, "That's bullshit, she can't be [fill in the blank]". I hate liars.

11. Too young or too old. Sure there are exceptions. But if you're not 18 we can't work together because you'll need a chaperone. If you're over 24 we can't work together because I don't want to spend all day retouching your skin.

12. Too many piercings/tattoos. This is fashion. When was the last time you opened an edition of W or V and saw models with full sleeves gracing the editorials? Too many permanent alterations means less "range of transformation". You're supposed to be a blank canvas. How am I supposed to paint something new on an existing painting?

13. Fake boobs. Again, this is fashion. Fake boobs are for glamour.

14. Genre differences. Does your port look chalk full of fetish, glamour, commercial, etc? If so, we're not even on the same page so to speak.

15. Are you a dude? Seriously. How many men do you see in my portfolio? The only guys I shoot are for paid work.

16. I don't like your look. I can't apologize for this. Sorry :)

Well that was fun for me! I'm sure I've offended a lot of models but you can't blame me for being honest. Truth is, I'm just looking for a reason to say no. I don't have enough time to work with all the models that are out there so I have to be extremely picky :)


  1. Not quite sure how the specs for a Vette fit in. Not a lambo... that's a different story ;)

  2. Hi Joseph,

    Those specs trump anything you can buy under $250,000. Probably up to $750,000 actually. Power-to-weight. 1/4 mile, Lateral g's you name it. I don't like American cars but the ZR1 is a hall-of-fame supercar. Oh and it ran the Nurburgring in 7:19. Here's a short list of calls that ran it fasterürburgring_Nordschleife_lap_times


  3. Hi Charles,

    I am wondering if you have time to share your opinion about this topic:
    Hairy models: I had to shoot beauty with agency represented model in London whose forearms were covered with stronger and more visible hair than an average male's. Another time a model had strong facial hair. She was also sent by an agency.
    Last time - during summer - I got a sunburnt model.
    My position is not as strong as your, and I know having body and facial hair is humanely naturally but how about fashion especially beauty models?
    Could I, should I warn them when we arrange the shooting?


  4. Wow, blast from the past. Gabor, I would say that you need to address this issue with the agency. It makes no sense from a beauty photography perspective to send models with incredibly hairy arms. You should make them aware of this situation.

    However it does seem like this agency is sub-par overall. You might want to consider not using this agency in the future altogether.