Meetups vs Solo Modeling Shoots

I’ve been to several Meetup.com meetups to practice shooting models. There’s a difference when shooting models through meetup vs shooting them one-on-one. Both have pros and cons, and here’s what I’ve discovered so  far.

Meetups Pros

  • Great way to meet and network with a lot of people trying to get into the industry like photographers, MUAs, hair stylists, models, etc.
  • You get to shoot a lot of models
  • You can bounce ideas off other photographers, ask them for help, etc. Sometimes they have a guru photographer to guide everyone who isn’t as experienced. 
  • You don’t need to worry about having hair, makeup, wardrobe, creative direction, etc. All these should be taken care for you.
  • If the other photographers suck, your stuff looks better compared to them, even though you suck too. You just happen to suck less. 
  • Awesome for beginners who need to start shooting fashion, beauty, models, etc. 

Meetup Cons

  • There are too many photographers. You won’t be able to get good 1-on-1 time with models. The ratio of photographers to models range from 2:1 to 10:1. Once you get over that 3:1 ratio, you end up doing paparazzi style, which sucks. 
  • Some of these meetups are expensive. They can cost from $20-$200 to shoot. That’s a lot of money to do paparazzi style shoots. You can use that money to hire a model for an hour or 2 and get all the shots you need. 
  • Having everything done for you is also a bad thing. On some of the meetups where everything is laid out for you, I feel all I’m doing is pressing the shutter button. I feel these aren’t my pictures because I had no input in them. I feel more and more guilty when I post them up.
  • Sometimes, at these meetups, you get no feedback. You don’t know if the models hated your pictures or liked them. It’s understandable. They probably get contacted by creeper photographers every day. So it doesn’t bother me too much if they don’t say anything about my photos or reply to my emails. Usually, if I don’t hear anything from the models, I just assume they hated my pics and move on. 

One on One Pros

  • You get to have the models all to yourself.
  • No other photographers to “steal” your shot or get in your way. Also, dealing with other ego-manic photographers is a pain. Besides, I can’t stand people with egos big as mine. 
  • You get complete creative control.
  • They’re very educational. If you’re starting out, you’ll make a lot of mistakes. There’s no one to blame but yourself. You’re the one who set the lights wrong. You’re the one that composed the image wrong. There were no other photographers rushing you or getting in your way. You have no excuse. This helps you to learn fast and hard. 
  • You can actually create rapport with the models, depending on their personality (and yours). This makes the shoot fun. 

One on One Cons

  • Models can flake
  • You need to provide Hair, Makeup, and wardrobe. You can get models to do their own hair and makeup. You can get the models to bring their own clothes too. But sometimes, the models can’t do hair and makeup themselves. 
  • Models are expensive. They range from about $50-$200++ hour. And you would need about 2-4 hours of shooting time. You can do TFP of course, if they like you enough.
  • You’re all alone. Sometimes you get stuck and have no idea what you’re doing. You can’t “steal” from other photographer’s idea or poses. It’s all you. I feel nervous every time I get a model alone because I have no idea what to do. 
  • There’s more administrative and prep you need to do. You should get a model release written up. You should scout the location. You should make story boards and notes on what you want to cover. 

Overall, I like one on ones. They are nerve-wracking and most of the time, I don’t deliver the quality the model wants. But I like the bootcamp feel and the creative control I have.

Also, I like to make fun of the models one-on-one. I can’t do that when there’s 10 other photographers trying to get the model’s attention. 

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