Between pressures to shoot as many times as possible, building your book, and wanting to never miss an opportunity, it’s a balancing act. As a model, there’s a fear you’re going to be missing out on shooting with a future super star photographer or that you’ll be missing out on some cool images and potential jobs–trust me, I’ve been there. While there are benefits for shooting with a plethora of photographers all the time, it’s important to keep your career goal as the center of your planning for who you will shoot with. Saying no and being selective on your crew is actually more beneficial than meets the eye.
Before moving forward, it’s important to figure out where you want your career to go and to set goals for companies you’d like to work with and photographers/creatives you aspire to be on set with. Once you figure out where you want to take your career, it’ll be easier to figure out who will help you reach your goals and begin screening those who you are unsure will aid in your career.
As you start to sift through photographers and opportunities that come your way, look at their previous work and their growth leading up until today. Has there been a significant and constant growth? Are they working with professionals and creating a professional environment? Do you see them taking off in the future? How do you see them fitting into your career? Make sure that working with one photographer will not prohibit you from participating in other opportunities. The best way to make sure of this is understanding your local industry’s political climate, i.e. tensions between photographers and harassment accusations. Staying neutral will benefit you in the long run and show you don’t get involved in dicey situations, making you more appealing to companies and won’t stick you to one side of the issue.
When you’re selective you free up more time to work with people and companies who you genuinely want to work with. When you create a standard and make the process to shoot more selective, you can reach out to more people who you’d like to shoot with as you will have more free time. With that extra time you can network more and meet people in your desired circles to further your career.
The biggest benefit to being selective in who you shoot with is more people will want to work with you! Being more selective creates a higher standard for people who you will work with. It sets a precedent that you have high standards for who you work with and your time is important.
At the end of the day, it’s your career and you need to decide where you want to take your career and who you want to shoot with. Since each person’s career is so different, unless they are your agent or manager, no one can tell you what path you should take or who you should work with. Being nice, even when rejecting people, is a must. Regardless of what you think of their work, they’re people who just want to further their career too. Never forget that everyone starts from the same position and has to learn and grow. Even when your career is taking off more than someone else’s you never know what they’re going through or where their career will go. While saying no to working with people who you don’t feel fit into your standard, keep the door open for future opportunities with that person.