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I Don’t Want to Photograph Models

I don’t want to photograph models. They are lovely and beautiful and work with you and do what you ask and most are a dream to photograph, resulting in beautiful images. All this is true, but… I don’t want to photograph them. I don’t.

See, I don’t want models to be representations of my work. I don’t want hand-picked human beings of all ages outfitted in custom clothing with hair and makeup done professionally to be what people see when they peruse my portfolio. Or look at my website. Or walk by my many displays. Or look at my social media sites.

Because it’s not real. Sure, I might take the photograph, but how hard is it to make a model look good?

“Ohhhh… you made a gorgeous girl look pretty. How hard that must’ve been for you!”

It’s like those funhouse mirrors that elongate your body. It’s still “you” in that reflection, but the mirror makes you look better than you really are. Yeah, that’s not for me. I want real clients.

Real clients are different. Photograph a family and odds are good you’ll find at least one member who is less-than-thrilled to be there and someone else who showed up wearing the “Hello Kitty” t-shirt everyone told her not to wear. It happens with real clients.

And real clients have real bodies: poochy tummies, wide hips, double chins. I mean, hello? And they bring a whole host of insecurities along with those tummies and hips and chins. The confident stance of a model is a lot different than the mama who just had her third child and is nervously trying to adjust her dress, the buttons on which are puckering because she’s a mama who just had her third child.

You know, real clients.

The stubborn toddler; the teen brothers who won’t stop goofing around; the dad who is missing the game because of this session; the mom who has wanted a family picture forever and is worried that it won’t all turn out; the high school senior with a head of unruly hair and a heart that wants to love her pictures.

THESE are my people.

THESE are the people I will bend over backwards to please.

THESE are the wonderful, everyday, anything-but-ordinary people who place their hopes and dreams and fears and insecurities in my hands, trusting me to treat them well and create images they will love.

So keep your models. In fact, keep using the same ones over and over again. God bless.

I’ll just be over here doing what I love with the real clients I prefer to photograph.


About the author: Missy Mwac is a photography satirist, a lover of bacon, a drinker of vodka, a lover of sparkle, and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can connect with her on her website, Tumblr, and Facebook. This article was also published here.


Image credits: Header photo by cottonbro via Pexels, CC0

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