As a professional, or semi pro in the modeling and photography business, a potential client may approach you and ask you to work on a project for them. It may be initially paid, or may lead to paid commissions in the future. Clients may be anyone including fellow photographers and models. Some things to think about include:
As the client explains what he or she wants, start thinking to yourself, have I ever done something like this before? A simple request for a head shot within an office may be doable with little prior experience, however shooting a large wedding for the first time where you may only get one chance for a particular picture may be a little problematic. Hopefully the client has seen some of your work in the past and that is what drew them to you. It is certainly ok to review of couple of images that you shot and ask the client if this is the look that he or she is looking for in their images. For a model, does he/she have experience or feel comfortable in that style of modeling? A makeup artist may be great with beauty makeup, but can he/she do theatrical makeup?
What time frame is the client looking for? Is this a time time frame generous and are you as the professional have tons of free time? Will there be travel time to and from the shooting site? If the shoot requires significant lighting equipment the photographer may have to take into time setup and tear down time. A model who is hired to be body painted, will probably have to wash the body paint off at some point which will take time after the shoot. A makeup artist will need to know when the subject of the shoot needs to be camera ready (ready to be on set).
What props, resources or other people may need to be involved to make the concept happen? Is the client providing anything or does it potentially have to be purchased? Again, depending upon the nature of the concept, resources may be limited or difficult to obtain. Do you need permits to shoot at a particular location. Does a client want a model to dye her hair green?
What are the clients final expectations for the end product? Is he she looking for social media images or looking for poster sized prints? For the photographer- can your camera shoot poster sized prints at good quality? A model may want absolute rights to her images so that she can sell them. How may images are expected from the concept? Is there special processing that needs to occur with each image prior to release to meet the clients expectations. Remember, image editing programs such as Photoshop are great, but there are limitations. Will the client want to see images and request re-edits? Remember that you may not always be the right person for a job, but potentially could recommend someone else. If a client wants a model for an underwater shoot, hopefully the model knows how to swim. Does that client want sharks in the same underwater shoot?!
Sometimes, with the notable exception of a wedding, it may be possible to do a test shoot or "proof of concept" for a client particularly when one or more members of the team are inexperienced. The model may want to 'try' an underwater shoot. These "tests" are often confidence boosters for everyone involved including the client.
In the end, its about managing the expectations of the client. If it is a paid shoot, what budget is available and terms of payment? Asking plenty of questions and getting the answers that you need will often make for a great experience.
-Bob Barford is a published photographer based out of southern Pennsylvania.