The People Around Us = Our (Free) Models
I am a cheapskate! My daughter groans every time we drive past a house on our street because she knows if I see the car parked there (a red, low riding, ridiculously expensive sport’s car) that I will launch into my “what a waste of money” lecture. I also have no trouble telling my kids to put on a sweater when they are cold so they won’t turn up the thermostat. I’m pretty sure my cheapskate trait is genetic and therefore isn’t my fault, but that’s a story for another time.
I carry this cheapskate mentality into my photography and have to admit that when I bought my Nikon D200 I nearly choked on the price. But I bought it anyway and though I put on a seriously sour scowl and hunch my eyebrows together when I talk about the purchase, I am actually really glad I did it. The scowl and eyebrows are mainly for my kids so I can maintain consistency with my cheapskate persona, but I love this camera and all it is capable of.
I’ve been submitting to microstock for nearly 5 years and have come to realize the importance of using models in stock photos. However, I cannot bring myself to hire any. For some reason I am convinced that if I spend any money on a model a black hole will suddenly appear and suck me into oblivion. To keep myself safe from any galactic doom I simply use the people around me as my models. I start with family.
Like many of you I have kids, sisters, a spouse, cousins, in-laws, and an uncle or two that I may or may not claim to be related to, that I use as models.
I’ve found that my family are, strangely enough, normal looking people whose photographs sell pretty well in microstock.
Sometimes, when desperate, I even use myself as a model. I know it's not pretty but it works.
I also rely on willing friends. Well, some are more willing than others. I had a couple of friends who were reluctant to have any picture of them uploaded as stock until they started competing with each other on how many times their pictures sold. (I might have planted the seed of competition, but it was all in good fun, and because I wanted to divert my friends’ attention away from the lunch bill that had just come on a day when I forgot to bring my wallet.) Anyway, the bottom line is I have semi-willing models all around me that generally cost me nothing and who look good at the same time. Ahhh, the cheapskate in me can rest easy.
So if your microstock portfolio needs a little boost, try using family, friends, and even yourself as a model. Believe me, your wallet will thank you. Good luck and I hope to see you out shooting.