4 Tips for Choosing the Best Photographers and Models to Test With

Jun 14, 2022
Best Tips for Choosing the Photographers Crystal Wright

Is it possible to work with the wrong photographers and models? Yes. Makeup, hair and fashion stylists do it every day.

On the surface it seems like you should just be able to pick a photographer, gather a couple of your salon or beauty bar clients together as your models and go for it––Not so.

If you want to work for high end advertisers and magazines like Nordstrom, Maybelline, Pantene, Nike, Allure, Essence, and Glamour, you will have to prepare like a pro, and part of that preparation is choosing good photographers with which to build your portfolio, and great models who can work the camera.

Here are a few tips that you can use to improve the choices that you are making when working on your book.

#1        Make good choices about who to work with.

You make good choices about which photographer to work with by training your eye to recognize good photography. How do you do that? Here’s a secret. There is no bad photography in Allure. There is no bad photography in Vogue, or Glamour, RollingStone or Essence. If your dream is to work for top beauty and fashion brands and magazines, or the faces of the celebrities then study them as if your life depended on it.

Looking at the photography in the best magazines provides you with a benchmark by which you measure all of the photographers that you are or will consider working with now or in the future. After doing that exercise for a few months, you will find that you have developed a more discerning eye toward photography.

With that new eye, you will be looking for something else when a photographer shows you his or her portfolio. You will be searching for a new aesthetic and feeling about the work that comes from the inside out, because photography is art and a love of art comes from inside you. You may not know exactly what it is that makes you say no to one photographer and YES to another, but your yes’ will produce better pictures, and your no’s will save you time and money.

When a photographer’s work astounds you and a little voice in your head says, “this photographer reminds me of X (one of the photographers whose work you fell in love with while doing your research in top magazines), that’s the photographer you want to work with.

#2        See the whole picture.

As you study the editorial pages and the advertisements  in the magazines, look at more than just your specific discipline––hair or makeup or clothes. It’s not just about the hair, or the makeup, or the clothes, it’s about six key elements that when put together make a great image. Those six elements are hair, makeup, fashion styling, photography, environment and the model.

It’s important to study the entire image and all of its subtleties, because if one of those elements is out of place, the photograph is ruined. The team creates that beautiful image. Lebron did not win the NBA championship all by himself and neither will you create great pictures without 100% effort from the entire team.

Have you ever walked into a room and seen an ugly chair in a really great room. When one element is out of place in a photograph, it’s like the ugly chair. Once you leave the room, it’s all you can think about.

#3        Use real models!

Your clients are beautiful, but most are not professional models, and paying clients can tell the difference when they see those pictures in your portfolio.

Modeling agencies need great hair, makeup and clothes to make their models look good. That’s where you come in. Do your research and begin approaching them to work with their girls.

#4        Focus is the new black.

None of this matters unless you have a goal for the kind of work you want to produce, and the right answer is not, “I want to do everything”. Agents and most clients are not looking for, nor are they going to pay upwards of $500 per day to the artist who does everything.



Choose 2 magazines and study the photography. Put real or electronic post-it notes on the pages of the photographers whose work moves you and put words to the thoughts you have about the work. Have an opinion and a perspective. This exercise is the first step to becoming a collaborator with the photographer instead of a worker bee on the shoot.


If working in print, video, film and television is something that you just might want to get serious about, visit CrystalWrightLive.com, where you can take advantage of educational opportunities that will help you get to the next level in your career.


You can also grab a copy of Crystal Wright’s book,
The Hair Makeup & fashion Styling Career Guide.


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