Monday, July 25, 2016

Why hire a professional model for your next advertising campaign....

....The answer may surprise you.
I have an obvious interest in the topic of hiring a professional model for advertising vs using stock photography (or even clients or employees) but there are a lot of reasons to do this that you may not have entertained.
First- This is the most obvious, but if you thought it was a great photo, a lot of other people probably thought the very same thing. I would hate to be a fly on the wall when a client saw their “Perfect Health Care Family” in an ad for the perfect muffler…or worse: a competitor.
Second- HIPAA. What the heck has HIPAA got to do with it? When a doctor wants to use a real patient instead of hiring a model they risk that patient at some point invoking HIPAA and the ad being pulled. If the “Patient/Model” invokes their HIPAA rights- which they can do at any time even if they signed a release. HIPAA trumps a release and their image must be pulled. The reasons can run from they no longer see that doctor, they had a falling out with that doctor OR they just no longer want the world to know they SEE that doctor. The heart of HIPAA is to protect patient's privacy. I can't think of anything less private than my face on a billboard for my doctor.
Third- If your client decides to save a few bucks and use an employee, what happens when that employee leaves and goes to work for the competition? That is not at all farfetched- and people do tend to stay in their industry. Watching a TV ad while binge watching the Big Bang Theory that features an ex-employee who took a promotion for the competition seems a little stress inducing.

Lastly consider these restrictions from
Restrictions on the use of royalty free images vary in the details, but overall the following uses are standard restrictions:
  • Large distributions or print runs (numbers differ from stock photo company to stock photo company). An extended license is usually required for large use.
  • Cannot be resold or redistributed as is, or as used in a design theme, wallpaper, etc. intended for resale
  • Cannot be shared with other users or placed on a network, intranet, or drive with shared access
  • Cannot be used on print-on-demand products (t-shirts, mugs, calendars, mouse pads, etc.)
  • Cannot be sold as prints, posters, or used on greeting cards
  • Photos with people/models cannot be used in a way that depicts them as endorsing a product or business, or in a way that may be considered offensive
  • Cannot be used as part of a trademark, design-mark, or logo
  • Cannot be used for illegal, pornographic, malicious, or defamatory uses
  • When used for Editorial purposes, the stock photo supplier and artist/photographer must be credited
  • Cannot be used in unsolicited email marketing campaigns (ie, Spam)
  • Cannot post the image to be downloaded or accessed separately from its intended application
  • Other limits are defined by individual stock photo companies
There are often many usage restrictions for royalty free images, but they are in place to protect the rights of the image copyright holder. Be sure to read the Terms of Use for any royalty free image you wish to purchase. It is also important to know that copyright is NOT transferred with a royalty free license. The copyright remains with the artist or photographer who initially created the image.

The bottom line is that like anything, else hiring a professional model is like hiring any other professional and you get what you pay for. The Talent agent is your guide to how the model's image can be used etc. Always ask them questions. A knowledgeable agent will help you not only choose the right model but make sure that your client is covered for everything they need.

Ann Marie Stonecypher is a former Model and the owner of AMS Models and Talent and AMS Models South. She has over 35 years of industry experience in the model and talent industry. (Photo of AMS Model Joyce G courtesy of Dan Doyle Photography)

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

What kind of model do you want to be? YOU decide!

So what kind of model do you want to be? It seems like a simple enough question, but in fact it is not. Lately I have seen an unfortunate trend where models will offer up their image (and bodies) for whatever free photo shoots come their way and these shoots are FAR from free- there is most definitely a cost.

Deciding what kind of model you want to be is always in your control - always. If anyone tries to take that from you- another model, an agent or a photographer you need to take control and step away.
So think about it- do u want to be a Gisele, a Cara or an Adriana? Or do you want to start your career by taking all your clothes off for whatever photographer asks you to do so and THEN ask a legitimate agency to try to get you work with those photos floating around cyberspace? What if your new agent wants to book you on a great editorial or commercial job but you have just shot some scandalous photos shoot? What if the client sees them? How will your resolve that with your agency? AND Do you tell your agent that you have done it and the photos are published? YES.

So what kind of model do you want to be? A nicely paid commercial print model or an aspiring "adult" model? The two are NOT mutually inclusive.

Hear this: you don't need to build a portfolio of naked pictures, half naked pictures or sexually explicate photos to make it as a model in this market or ANY market. You know who will contradict me? The guys who want to see you naked. Oh yeah, but they are going to shoot you for free! Really? YOU take your clothes off, they take YOUR photo au natural, keep copies forever, and they are doing YOU a favor? Perhaps you need to read that again...slowly. If they are trying to tell you this will help your book and show your diversity (diverse and perverse are not the same thing), then tell them to take their clothes off and you will post their picture on the internet as it will help their photography career- one is just as ridiculous as the other.

Check the web sites and Instagram feeds of the models above or other top earners. If you want to be like them then emulate them. If you want to be a porn star, emulate them. You decide. (remember these models are all at the pinnacle of their careers- they CAN do some tasteful nudes but they are done very carefully- VERY different from this trend I am talking about.

I have seen some photos of beautiful girls who aspire to do legitimate modeling work and the photos are beyond tasteless. To be clear- these aren't tasteful nudes- these photos have a specific purpose and they are not for a PG audience. NOTE- if the name of the site is degrading and the tone of the photos are degrading then your image will probably be degraded. Period. If that is okay with you then you have already read to much of what I have written.

We live in a DIGITAL age. When a photographer puts his finger on that little button and takes your image- he has TAKEN your image. It is now belongs to him (or her) and once it has then gone to the web you can pretty much imagine every person you know including your grandpa, your un-borns,  your future bosses and any one who may want to vote for you should you run for office perusing your private parts. Who is actually "liking" your photos anyway? A random dude from across the country? Or an agent, commercial photographer or creative director?

Again- your career is ultimately in your control, which is where it belongs. YOU are the one who decides what kind of model or anything else you want to be. YOU.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Do you have what it takes to be a model?

Do you have what it takes to be a model?
The answer maybe be a little different that you think. Some of the people who think they do, don't-and a lot of people who don't think they could - DO!
Why, you ask? Because we aren't splitting the atom here. We are selling a product and the product is a person SELLING a product. The reason that some people have no success as a model, especially in a relatively small market is they are too busy selling themselves (their pouty lips, their large breasts, their six pack etc etc) and they have taken no time to listen to their agent tell them about the market and what the clients are looking for.
Knowing and understanding the market is paramount to being a successful model.
If you live in NYC, your portfolio has to have a certain look- same with LA or Miami. If you live in Syracuse or Buffalo that portfolio will probably not work no matter how hard you try to cram that square peg into the round hole.
If you just want sexy/pretty/funky/wild photos of yourself to put on Facebook or Instagram I say have a ball. If you want to get modeling work you MUST listen to your agent. Your agent should know the market and be able to look at you and tell you the kind of work they are going to get for you. To do that you need a certain type of photo.
If a 45 year old woman joins my agency I am not putting her in a bustier and black leather pants (no matter how good she may look in them!) to sell her to my upstate NY clients.
Back to my original thought. The people that think they would make good models often think that because they get a lot of LIKES on FB with their selfies. When I try to tell them to stop pouting and start smiling we stop communicating. Its the sharp looking 50 year old guy I meet at Lord and Taylor or the fit 60 year old woman who I bump into at Wegmans, who thinks that they could never be a model (and asks me if I am crazy) that make the best models. They don't know anything about the business so they LISTEN, follow directions and they make GREAT models. Which one are you?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Curb the BIG small talk...

Curb the BIG small talk....
We all know that person- the "one upper", the bragger, the person that no one wants to talk to or listen to because they always have something to brag about. Basically, the person that is the center of the universe? Well, when that person is on someone else's set, what are really doing is sabotaging themselves.
The worst thing that you can do on the set of any type of commercial shoot is constantly brag about yourself (and lets face it folks, in a market this small you need to keep your perspective- it IS Upstate NY.)
Everyone on the set is on the same job and at that point are equal. Whatever got you there is dandy- but let it go. Don't bore your com padres and especially the CLIENT with your life story, your previous work, your last 73 indie films, your high school blue ribbons etc etc. In addition to making yourself seem like a big boastful talking head you could also be accomplishing the following:
A. Freaking out a newer talent who is buying into your braggadocios blustering. (and that just isn't nice)
B. Making yourself look ridiculous (and perhaps even mildly amusing) to seriously experienced talent who are quietly doing their job and counting backwards from 1000 in their head in an attempt to drown you out.
C. Making the client regret hiring you because you are disruptive, lack humility and have only a slight foothold in reality.
Yes, I am being humorous and somewhat hyperbolic but there is a serious lesson here. These comments come from over 30 years of experience in this industry as talent and an agent, as well as conversations with clients (including a really funny one just last night!)
It is truly meant to educate talent on how to behave on set and at auditions. Remember-if you are good- people will know.
"Posers scream, Talent whispers." - Ann Marie Stonecypher

Copyright Ann Marie Stonecypher. no portion of this may be copied or reproduced without expressed permission from the author.