Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Yasmine Lewis

There I said it. And yeah, I mean it. Don’t shoot with me (or any other photographer for that matter). If you hire a photographer there should a reason. We are in the customer service business. It is our job to produce a photographic product for you. If we don’t do our job (or can’t do our job), don’t shoot with us.

In my history of dealing with models, I am seeing an alarming trend. Models shooting indiscriminately with just anyone and everyone, for no apparent reason, just to gather photos and bragging rights. Why? Just so you can say, “I shot with Dallas.” And then what?


Then there is a problem. Being a model, there is really only one reason you should be shooting with a photographer. Because it needs to get you somewhere. Because it needs to get you into a door that was previously closed to you. Because it needs to assist you in booking a job that wasn’t available before. Because it needs to get you in the public’s eye in a way the public has never seen you.

But what do YOU do? Take "hot ass" photos that you post on FaceBook to get accolades or use it to get dates. Or better yet, you shoot with substandard photographers that produce garbage images. Or even better still, you shoot with a photographer that shows you no love. If you approach a photographer and they aren’t excited about shooting with you, LEAVE THEM ALONE. Because they have no interest in working with you, it will show in the work. You WANT a photographer to be excited about shooting you, just as much as you are excited about shooting with them. It shouldn’t always be about the money, there should also be some sort of love involved. But you shoot anyway, and if you’re lucky, you get some hot photos, but did the photo do its job? No? Then guess what? The photographer didn’t do their job.

When models approach me about work, my first question is always: “how did you find out about me?” The usual answer is: “I’ve seen your work/I’ve been following you for years/You shot a friend of mine.”

The second question is always more telling. “Why do you want to shoot with me?” The answer to this question is paramount, because it will immediately determine if we are going to work together. If you come to me and say: “because I think your work is hot!” Most likely we won’t be working together. Thank you for the compliment, but no. Why? Because you are taking an opportunity to advance your career and you are approaching it in a very cavalier fashion. You are hiring me for a job. That means I have to produce something that is going to work for you. I approach your photo shoot just like I would approach any other paying job. We map out a course of action in order to give you what you need. You need beauty shots in your book, let’s do beauty. You need editorial fashion in your book, let’s do fashion. You need body photos, let’s do body. These are the reasons why photographers ask you what is your book lacking (or better yet, we ask to see your book). We want to give you what you need. Anyone can take a hot photo (New York is filled with some of the greatest photographers in the world). But if we take that hot ass photo, and it doesn’t do its job, it’s really not a hot ass photo. Do you see where this is going?

Understand the business for what it is worth and understand YOUR worth as it pertains to the business. We can shoot all day long everyday, and I can continue to take your money. I can continue to give you photographs, but they have to do their job.

Remember… They have to do their job.

Think about it.


  1. Gorgeous picture....I want an Afro wig NOW! Thanks for sharing your valuable opinion and information. The best....

  2. really on point DJL you are so wise

  3. Thank you for your truth and wisdom.
    I will apply this to my growth.