September 27, 2009

The story of my model search

I thought I'd share the story of how I found my new model for my Etsy pictures with you all. I think it'll be of interest either to other Etsy sellers or designers who are looking for someone to model their work, or just to anyone who needs a little inspiration when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone. Here's how it happened...

Last weekend I had arranged to take some pictures of my new knitted items with my best friend, who has been kind enough to model some of my gloves in the past. When the day that we'd arranged to take the pictures came around she seemed like she wasn't feeling up to it, putting it off until it was too late, and I ended up leaving without any pictures. She told me later that she just really doesn't like having her picture taken (at least right now) and although I think she's beautiful, I completely understand how that feels. So, not wanting to pressure I decided I wouldn't even ask again, and would only have her model if she approaches me about it. But, I found myself without anyone to help me photograph my new items, and I was very discouraged because I'd been working so hard to get pieces ready but now I had no way to get them up in my shop.

My boyfriend had suggested a few times before that I should put an ad on Craigslist for a model. I'd been reluctant to do it because I was afraid people would think I was a creep, or worse, that they wouldn't think my work was good enough and no one would respond. But, with no other options, I swallowed my insecurities and put the ad out there. I was shocked by the response I got! Within an hour or so I had an inbox full of headshots and resumes from local girls ranging to absolute beginners looking to build their portfolios, to experienced models whose photos were amazing and very professional. And they were all interested in working with me! One of the first people to respond to the ad was Isis Wright, who I ended up meeting and shooting for my first batch of items. When I first saw her picture I was so excited. Here was someone who had the exact looking I was hoping for. After a few emails back and forth, we set up a time to meet only a few days after I'd placed the ad. I was a little nervous about meeting with a stranger off Craigslist (we've all heard the stories) but I'd gotten a really good vibe from her and vice versa.

We met down on Granville Island on Tuesday and we had a great time shooting. She was kind enough to bring all kinds of clothes for us to use, and she was so enthusiastic about my pieces, it was extremely encouraging for me. It was amazing to photo a so-called "real model". Every time the shutter would click she'd move into another awesome pose, and I got so many great shots. And it was nice to see that she really seemed to enjoy wearing my pieces, and was very comfortable having her picture taken. That's the one difference I found between working with her and working with my friends as I have in the past. I think the pictures really reflect when someone is kind of uncomfortable being photographed, and I've always felt a little bad for having to ask that of my friends, even though they were all very gracious about it. But with that awkwardness gone, we could both have fun with it, and I was able to get some amazing pictures!

This whole experience has given my confidence and enthusiasm a much needed boost. I never expected when I placed my Craigslist ad that I would get the kind of positive response I did, or that someone I didn't even know would be willing to donate their time and talents to work with me. I am so glad that I put myself out there, even though it was uncomfortable to do at first. It was incredibly validating to have so many people come forward to work with me. I've gone from having no options and no momentum to having an amazing model and a renewed dedication to my shop and my work. I'm very grateful to Isis, and to my boyfriend for the idea. If anyone is interested in placing a similar ad would like to know what I said in mine, feel free to contact me! This has really shown me that great things can happen when you take a bit of a risk, and I'm so glad I did this!

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Anonymous said...

Awwww Jo I love working for you! I can't wait for our next photo shoot! Thank you for all your kind words - you're amazing!

blackmustard said...

Thanks Isis! You rock :)