Glamour Photography by Jay Kilgore

The risk of working with wannabe models.

There are risks in everything we do. A cognitive decision I’ve made was to work primarily with “wannabe”  models vs the professional, established model. This is a choice late in to my career, I’m starting to regret. Note not all the “wannabe” models I’ve worked with have been disastrous, but a good chunk/majority of them are. The risk of working with wannabe models can exact a tolling effect on you and your career.

Back in 2010 when I got serious about shooting people, I was living in northern, MN and reaching out to more established credible models. Most were very polite and open to the ideal, but wanted me to get more experience. This made no sense to me. How am I to get more experience if I’m not working with those who have the experience? This was the same reaction I was getting from most photographers that I respected. Get more experience then come talk to them. At about the same time I decided to teach what I learned, I decided that there wasn’t fun in working with the established or well known model. That I wanted people who wanted to learn with me, working with me. Therein lies the problem.

As my skills grew, I continued working with the new model. It got to the point to where I preferred a new model over an experienced one. I didn’t turn down the opportunity to work with an advanced or experienced model, I just sought out the inexperienced model. I had the mindset that if I found someone that was equally as excited to work with me as I them, we could produce amazing work. I found this to be more of an uphill struggle than anything as the wannabe models were more of the flakes and trouble causers. Every now and then, I would find a wannabe model that stepped above the line and really wanted to be a model. Some went on to become models or became models, seen what the career here in CO could offer and stopped. As my skills grew, my selection didn’t and as a result, I’ve had a whole new outlook on photography.

One of the biggest discussions in the modeling world is to bring an escort or not. When you work with a professional model, this isn’t a discussion you have. Here in CO, Becca is one of the most professional models I’ve had the pleasure of working with. With Becca, there is no discussion about escorts. There is no complaints of “I know I shot nude but my boyfriend doesn’t like it” or anything unprofessional and dramatic as that. Becca shows up to shoot, moves with out being told and has more looks and expressions than can be shot. Once she’s reached the end of her posing limit, she says ” I’ve got nothing, you want anything? Or should I change?” When I have suggestions for her to fine tune a pose, she takes it and builds a whole new look from it. Working with Becca is a pleasure and I enjoy it all the time.


There are many downsides to working with wannabe models. Everyone has their own list and that list is valid to them for their own reasons. For me, my biggest reason is the boyfriend factor. Lots of wannabe models love the ideal of being a model, yet they don’t want to work for it. They want the title but not the professionalism of it. They try to make it in our career and want us to do all the work for them. They refuse to use common sense and expect everything free. They expect because the guys in the clubs tell them they’re hot and they should model, that everyone wants them and is unable to control themselves. That they can set a shoot time and show up when ever they want. The ideal of you telling them “No” is unheard of and you owe them for the simple fact of knowing them.  It may have taken me 14 years, but I’ve tired of it and almost to the point of refusing to work with wannabe models.


Do you find enjoyment from working with wannabe models?



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