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Senior Model Program

Dear Parent,
I am often asked, “George, do you have a ‘senior model program’? I really want you to be my photographer.”

In good conscience, I can not offer a model program. I think ‘model programs’, aka ‘studio ambassadors’, is simply a bad deal (almost to the point of being a scam) for parents & seniors in many cases.

These ‘model programs’, invented by photographers starving for clients, is creating a bad name in our industry.

Let me explain….

You see, if a photographer really wants “models” for their marketing, they should PAY YOU for the shoot! If a photographer is wanting money ‘up front’ to call you a ‘model’, RUN.

ON TOP OF THAT…. they’ll make you to sign a document stating you won’t go to ANOTHER photographer during your senior year thus forcing you to come back to them even if the pictures were horrible!

If it sounds scammy, it probably is! It reminds me of those traveling ‘modeling companies” who come to town with commercials all over to radio asking if you want your child to be a model. They fail to mention, “oh by the way, bring your checkbook.”

Many NEW photographers with NO experience is begging you to be their ‘model’. Be careful. If you are confident enough to be a model, make sure you select a photographer whose pictures look like they should be on the cover of a magazine.

You see, the REALITY is this…. the photographer makes the girl THINK she is a ‘real model’ while telling mom ‘you get to earn free senior pictures’. The problem is, hardly anyone earns free pictures, no one is really a model, and mom leaves with a bad taste in her mouth!

So, the payoff for the photographer is… “well, at least I got to do her senior pictures”. I hear that line all the time from photographers. It is a little “scammy” feeling if you ask me.

What’s worse is this…. photographers are now approaching 9th and 10th graders to be ‘models’. They are said to be ‘grooming them’. It kinda makes my stomach turn to think about it. That actually sounds ‘creepy’!

I can ask nearly any photographer, “who is your model program going?”. “Well, not great” is the most common response. “Then, why do you keep offering it every year?” “Well George, I am afraid I wouldn’t have any business if I stopped offering it!”.

This kinda reminds of the cheerleading industry where ANYONE can be a cheerleader. Now, ANYONE can be a model – just ask a photographer.

The truth is, I can not offer a model program in good conscience. My business grows because my clients tell everyone they know about me and their experience. People even fly in from all over the country to be photographed by me. I do not feel the need to throw out such promises of free pictures to get clients in the door.

Here is MY advice…. if a photographer really wants “models”, they should PAY YOU for the shoot! If a photographer is wanting money ‘up front’ to call you a ‘model’ RUN. If it sounds scammy, it probably is!

There are a few great photographers with very good model programs, unfortunately they are the exception, not the rule. Just remember, it if sounds too good to be true, it probably is.