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Don’t Be a Flake

There’s something I’ve never been able to understand: where this thing we call flakes came from.

We all know what a flake is and we’ve all experienced it at some point in time.  Some of us never flake.  Some do.  Lots do actually…

Now some may say that it’s my fault for being in a business that has a lot of people that flake.  Maybe so…maybe so.  Thing is, I don’t flake.  Very seldom have I ever had to not show up to a meeting, a shoot/session, or whatever else for reasons that are not dire in circumstance.  I think I can actually count every time on one hand and only use 3-4 fingers.

So here’s a tip for those of you that want to model:

DON’T FLAKE!

Seriously though, if you never take anything away from these blogs, this is the most important.  It doesn’t matter if it’s with me or with other photographers, don’t flake.  The truth of the matter is you may never have a second chance!  That goes for both photographers and models/talent alike.

Think about it, you do not like it when people promise or commit to you for something, so why do it to someone else?  The reality is that you aren’t aware of what this does to your reputation.  So, let me enlighten you…

Models

As a photographer, this is my income.  This is how I pay the bills and I, personally, do not take many models.  I spend a good bit of my time 90%+ working on images, shooting, and prepping things for paid clients that I provide a service to.  So, when I do have the occasional need for a model to help me learn something, take my work to a new level, or accent my portfolio, I put a lot of thought into what I want to do.  I spend hours that I could spend working, coming up with designs for sets, maybe some hair and makeup, and maybe some wardrobe.

This runs into time.  Time = money.

So, when you decide that it’s not worth your time to show up, you haven’t lined up a sitter to watch your kids, or you decide that you don’t want to drive more than an hour away from home, then you’ve taken money out of my pocket that I spent to make you look good.

How would YOU, as a model feel, if you had to line up hair, makeup, wardrobe, location, etc and then have a photographer call you 2 hours before or 30 mins before and say “I can’t make it”?  Better yet, they TEXT you and say, “I didn’t realize how far I had to drive to the shoot.  I’m not going to make it.  You can hate me.  But come to me!”

Let me think about this a second…you can’t make a drive to my set, where you were going to be reimbursed for gas ($$$) and wardrobe was being provided ($$$), and you want me to now drive to YOU ($$$) and shoot for free ($$$)?  You just wasted my time and my connections and you want me to give you MORE time and opportunity later?  Yeah, right.  OK.  Fail.  GTFO.

Tell you what, go ahead, drive the two hours to me, buy your own clothes, and do your own makeup and I’ll text you an hour beforehand and say that I cannot make the shoot.  Tell me how you’d feel then.

Photographers

Those of you that flake give us bad names.  Why are you doing that?  Seriously…think about it.  You have people go through the work of prepping for you, for your shoot, and then you decide that it’s not worth your time or you’re not prepared enough so you cancel.  The worst part is, let’s say you have a serious, SERIOUS model and they cut a little weight, workout, and put time in learning poses, makeup, and hair, and then you cancel.  You’ve just made yourself and every person in this professional look bad.

There are other ways for photographers to flake though.  Let’s talk about those…

You shoot, everything is awesome, and your model was a dream.  You go home and you’re just not feeling it.  So you let the photos fall through the cracks.  Then, when the model emails you or texts you in about a week (we all know they’re impatient…especially for free shoots) and they keep asking, over and over, when their photos will be done, you tell them “well, I’m too busy working on paid work right now.  I’m _______ so I’ll get to them soon!  Sorry!”  Whatever.  That’s just as bad as the woman that can’t find a baby sitter on any day that ends in “Y”.

If you don’t want to think about your profession or the professionals in it, then stop doing what you’re doing and advertising as a professional.

Model/Photographers

There are some models out there that have turned into photographers and in some ways, these are the worst.  They still have that model mentality in what they do.  They won’t prep for shoots and they want everything to be given to them.  Then they turn around and they won’t give images in a timely manner when a model does exactly what they do in return.

This, in my opinion, is the worst kind of flake.  I’ve seen it happen over and over from guys and gals that used to be on one side of the camera but are now on the other (or sometimes both sides).  I’ve seen it happen at local levels and on national levels.  It’s common in the fitness industry to find this.

The truth is, the creativity that they can bring to the table because they understand both sides of the game is astounding.  They understand so much and they can communicate so much…but for some reason, they can’t seem to get it into their heads that they are professionals and professionals need to act a certain way when it comes to business.  Otherwise, they’re just burning bridges that people will want to cross later.

Repercussions

You’ve been black listed.  It’s pretty simple.  You burn me once, I’ll not allow you to burn me again.  I expect the same from you.  Unless the circumstances are dire and I truly have proof that something terrible happened, I’ll be there.  I mean it.  I expect the same from my co-workers and the talent I work with.

Case in point – I shot a wedding about a month ago and I hired another photographer to come help me.  He shows up to the wedding with a leg brace on, taking pain meds, and he shot the full day with no questions asked.  Period.  Exceptional worker.  You can bet I’ll hire him again and give him more money the next time around.

Unless you are dying, and someone in your family has passed or ready to pass because of some unknown or even known circumstances, show up.  It could be the shoot that gets you published.

Same with photographers!  Do what you say you’re going to do.  Even if it means working them in with paid work, do it.  You committed and when you committed you set yourself up for success or failure.  It’s no one’s fault in the end but yours.  So make sure you make the most of it.

I’ll guarantee you this…both sides of the lens are so competitive with people now.  You flake once, you’re easy to replace.  Plain and simple.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a photographer or a model or whatever.  There is someone within an hour, sometimes two hours, that can do as good of a job as you do or better.  So don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

This has been a Gustavo Alfaro Photography PSA.  Now you know and knowing is half the battle.

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