Growing Instagram Followers with Interaction

Let’s talk about why interaction is so important in building your social media presence by growing your followers.

It took me longer than it should have to realize that the content (photos, links, posts, etc) that was posted to my social media was only part of what I needed to do to gain followers. Great posts do help, but if no one is seeing them, they really do you very little good unfortunately.

Growing Instagram Followers with Interaction

Interaction is one of the best ways to build your audience.

I want to share a little insight on how you can use interaction to your advantage to gain more followers. If you do these things along with posting consistently, I think you’ll see both your followers and the amount of interaction on your own posts start to grow steadily.

Many of these examples are mostly centered around Instagram, but can be adapted to other platforms as well.

Find people to follow and interact with.

I suggest finding those who have a solid follower base meaning they have a decent amount of followers, but also that their posts are getting at least a few comments. You may come across people with 10k followers, but if they aren’t getting a dozen or so comments on most posts, it’s likely that a lot of their followers are fake or inactive.

Side Note: That last bit is why follow/unfollow and paying for followers isn’t useful. You need people who are genuinely interested in what you do and who are going to interact with you (comment and like your posts, and hopefully support you/hire you/purchase from you) and people who just follow you because you followed them or fake followers aren’t going to do that. 

Interact with those people in a genuine way.

Focus on leaving genuine, supportive comments and avoid trying to bring the focus to yourself (as in: “This photo is so hot! If you like hot ladies, check me out!” or “If you like this post, you should follow me!”).  Simply commenting will make you visible to their other followers looking at the post. You’re also giving a little back to the person you’re interacting with too because comments tend to boost posts a bit.

Keep in mind that it will take time to begin to see results in your followers number. Keep at it and you will almost definitely see results. I suggest setting aside a certain amount of time a day or a certain number of posts to comment on each time you check the app.

Interact with your followers.

So that’s how to start increasing your fan base with interaction with other accounts. However, you also need to make sure you interact with your followers as well. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Respond to as many comments as you can. At least respond to those that seem well thought out, those asking questions, and those who comment often.
  • Try to answer all of the messages you get unless they are inappropriate. I’ve gained quite a few loyal followers by simply responding to their initial messages to me. If it turns out that they’re looking for something inappropriate, you can always stop responding.
  • Like a few posts by those who comment on your posts, especially as you are starting to build your follower base. It keeps you in their mind and they might come back and comment again.

So there you have it, my tips on growing an organic follower base. I’m still working on mine, but I’ve seen steady, constant growth since I’ve been doing these things.

Do you have any other tips? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram here!

If you found this blog post helpful, please consider donating via the buttons at the bottom of the page. 

Why I Have Patreon

Why Patreon

If you’ve been following me for any time at all, you’ve probably seen me mention Patreon. Some of you have joined me there for which I am very grateful. However, I know there are others who are on the fence or who just don’t get it. This blog post is for you.

Why I Have Patreon

So first, I’d like to share somethings with you. I’m sure you do know that I’m a model and a self portraitist. You probably also know that I shoot a lot of nude and lingerie work. What you may not know is that there are costs associated with my work very similar to the investments needed for any job. And while modeling is a creative outlet and something I enjoy very much, it is also my job and how I earn my income.

There are definitely expenses to what I do. I feel that that some people don’t understand that it’s not just free for me to do. Wardrobe (lingerie, jewelry, shoes) isn’t cheap. I need to buy new pieces often, too. Even if you my fans don’t care, the photographers who I work with like to shoot me in different things. I also pay for Dropbox file storage, Photoshop & Lightroom, equipment for my self portraits, and various self care items.

How Does Patreon Work?

Patreon is a way for you to support the photos you like looking at. It’s a way for you to show that you really value what I do and the work I put into it. You get to choose the amount of your support. Even $1 a month can really help, especially when a lot of you pledge.

How Do You Benefit?

You’re not just handing me money. You know I would never ask you to do that because it would make me feel weird. You get so much in return! The rewards vary based on your pledge and include: topless vlogs, nude and sensual selfies, nude and sensual videos, photo galleries, behind the scenes, and my special thank you cards. Basically, I put a lot of effort into spoiling my Patrons with content and the vast majority is stuff you won’t find any where else. What you see on Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook is a very small percentage of the work I do.

A photo from my Archive on Patreon. Self portrait.

So if you enjoy my work, I kindly ask you to check out my Patreon and consider pledging whatever you think is reasonable and fair for you.

Here is the link: www.patreon.com/dekilah

Patreon Is Making My Shoots Better

Patreon Is Making My Shoots Better

I know that some of you, especially photographers, probably get tired of hearing me talk about Patreon. While thinking about this it occurred to me that I don’t often mention the potential benefits to photographers. So I wanted to talk about that.

Why I Have Patreon

Not too long ago I was really struggling with the financial aspect of my modeling and feeling pretty crummy about it. I live in Detroit which has a beautiful artistic community. That community, sadly, cannot support my career as a model. Specifically, there is not enough paid work here to sustain me, much less allow me to grow. However, there is a wonderful abundance of photographers who are willing to shoot trade with me.

Trade (aka TF or TFP) is a useful arrangement for building a portfolio, but given the lack of paid work available here it doesn’t directly contribute to my financial success in the sense of portfolio building. Of course, I would love to be able to say that money doesn’t matter and I’ll just keep doing it for the love of it, but that’s not practical if I want to grow. I have to earn an income and if I can’t do that via modeling, then I have to cut on my shoots. I’ve done that and it was putting me in a creative depression. I’d rather find a way to do more shoots.

So in order to maintain my creativity and to see it grow, I decided to find a way that I can make this financially scarce, but collaboratively rich situation work for me. That is where Patreon comes in. I call these shoots trade for content, though either of us would be able to use the photos for our portfolios/social media/etc as well.

How My Patreon Benefits Photographers

The income I earn from Patreon directly benefits photographers who shoot with me. First, it allows me to shoot trade more openly. My Patreon income goes to replenishing and upgrading my wardrobe which is quite an expense. Of course some of the income goes to my bills and some of it goes to maintaining my skincare, both very important things.

A photo in one of the wardrobe additions funded by my Patreon. Self Portrait.

So if you’re a photographer who has been on the fence about allowing me to post our trade shoot photos to Patreon or you’ve just been wondering how it might be good for you, I hope this has clarified things a little bit. If you’re still not comfortable with our photos going on Patreon, that’s okay. I would never share photos there without the photographer’s permission.

If we’ve shot in the past and haven’t talked about posting the photos to Patreon and you’d be okay with it, it would make my day if you would let me know. You will be credited, of course.

What This Means for My Future Shoots

Going forward, I will be focusing my trade shoots on those I will be able to share to Patreon. I’m not looking for any specific styles. My Patrons have told me over and over that they enjoy seeing different styles. And I enjoy shooting so many different styles. I will be selective in terms of quality, but otherwise, if you have an idea, let’s talk! Here is my page detailing a bit more about my trade availability.

And although I’ve linked it already, here is the URL for my Patreon: www.patreon.com/dekilah

A couple of side notes:

  • I am still happy to consider paid shoots.
  • I won’t reject a quality trade shoot offer just because you’re not comfortable with me sharing the photos on Patreon.
  • I do still need a certain level of quality for trade for content shoots. The usual guidelines and such will apply (such as my travel radius). You can read more about that here on my trade shoot info page.

Be Honest When You Want to Shoot Nudes

Be Honest When You Want to Shoot Nudes

I think in the model and photographer world we’re all trying to avoid issues when ever we can. A lot of those issues are recurring. While I think some of the recurring issues really shouldn’t be so common, there are others that I feel pop up because they’re a bit counter intuitive in some ways. I’m going to cover one of those today.

Put simply, today’s topic is:

Just be straightforward and honest about what you want to shoot.

It sounds like common sense to me, especially when I put it that way, but over time I’ve figured out why this can be a difficult concept. Most often I come across this in the terms of a photographer wanting to shoot something with a model, but there are other cases as well.

I feel like we’re taught to dance around things because it makes us seem more polite and less aggressive. Sometimes I think that can be a good short term solution to things. That’s a whole thing in dating and relationships in general (not just the romantic sort). However, I feel like when it comes to business and working with people it’s a big time waster.

Save us both time and avoid missed opportunities.

Many times I’ve had photographers contact me and I feel like I have to pull teeth to get them to finally “admit” they want to shoot nudes or erotic work. Sometimes I don’t even bother, particularly if my time is limited. Sure, sometimes I may decline the shoot based on this information. However, I can assure you that I won’t even take the shoot if the person can’t tell me what they want to shoot. It feels like they’re trying to trick me or talk me into it or guilt me into it. Sometimes they’re probably just being shy and usually I can eventually figure that out. Other times the discussion never even gets that far.

Trust the Models

Photographers have to trust models to know their limits. Just be honest about what you want to shoot. I also suggest you focus your efforts on models who appear to shoot the sort of content you want to shoot. If you do this, it will save you a lot of time. You’ll also probably get more responses to your messages.

Models should take responsibility too.

And models, we need to be upfront, too. I think we often don’t share enough of what we have in mind or we just assume the photographer has the whole concept decided. Sometimes they do, but it’s our responsibility to ourselves to make sure we are clear on what that concept is before we agree to shoot.

Finally, a little tip…

Use photos when you need to talk about limits, particularly as they relate to nudity and erotic concepts. It’s much easier to show someone photos than it is to try to describe it. Many of the terms we use like “implied” or referring to different glamour/adult publications aren’t always set in stone. Photos are much more straightforward.

And for those of you who are trying to trick models…

Please stop wasting your time and ours. There are plenty of models out there who shoot every style from fully clothed to hardcore erotic and porn. You don’t need to try to trick models into shooting things. It makes you look creepy. It will earn you a bad reputation and then you won’t be shooting with anyone.

Edited to Add: This post seems to have been confusing for some. The take-away is supposed to be that you shouldn’t spring the fact that you want to shoot nudes on the model at the last minute and you shouldn’t try to trick models into posing nude. If you aren’t sure, you should be telling models the possibility is there. There is a difference in being unsure and being honest about that, and hiding things all together. 

A Little Photographer Appreciation

photographerappreciation

You know how people and memes and stuff tell you not to let little things that people say bother you? Well, I’m horrible at that. Sometimes people say things to me and I mull over them for months, sometimes longer. I am trying to work on it, but that’s not really the point of this post, the point of this post is something someone said to me. One time I made a post about models looking out for one another and someone said to me something like “You seem so anti-photographer.” My first instinct was “What the heck?” and how could someone think that about me. I still think that, but I also think that if that one person feels that I somehow don’t like photographers (again, how someone arrives to that conclusion I do not know), then maybe others do too. And, more importantly, I think it’s just good to show appreciation for people.

I do feel that sometimes photographers as a whole get a bad reputation from a couple bad apples, just as models get a reputation based on a few diva and flakey types. And if you stop reading this post right now, just know this: the vast majority of photographers I’ve ever worked with have been good people who were kind and respectful, patient, and very easy to work with.

I also feel that we as people tend to focus a lot on negative or bad things that happen to us, especially when we make posts or tell people about things. I don’t want to go into that a lot, but I think we do this because A) We feel like we’re bragging if we talk about positive experiences and B) We want validation that our feelings on the negative experiences are “right.” I’m not saying this is wrong, I do it, you probably do it, too. But it is something that I think we should be mindful of.

So with all of that said, let’s talk about some positive things. You all know that modeling has done good things for me, at least if you follow me for long you should. It’s given me contentment with my own body, it’s given me a way to contribute to the artistic community, and it’s, perhaps not quite so directly, improved my life so much. And while it has been a lot of hard work and dedication on my part, it has also been all of the wonderful people I’ve worked with. Let’s talk a walk through the swirly purple time tunnel of Dekilah’s positive experiences with photographers…

The first photographer I ever worked with on a real shoot happened to be very talented and very patient. He really guided me through our first shoot and he is a big part of why I took the step into nudes. Instead of pressuring me or even encouraging me more than just agreeing I could if I wanted to, he showed me a few of his photos and told me that if I ever wanted to shoot them, he’d be happy to shoot with me and he would let me review them all right after the shoot on his computer and we would delete anything I didn’t like. He also took some pretty amazing photos of my butt during that first shoot that started that whole saga ^_~

Many of the first photographers I worked with really helped me with my posing. I told them I needed help and instead of declining to work with me, they guided me through it. They taught me about finding and using pose inspiration (along with people in the MM forums).

One of them caught me mid motion with my head turned to profile one day and wiped out this ridiculous notion someone put in my head about my jaw being manly. Now I love my profile and perhaps favor it a bit too much (I’ve been working on that).

And even outside of modeling, probably half of the photographers I’ve shot with have ended up being friends. They come help at events, they listen to my rants in PM and give me advice when I ask, they give me support when I need it. When I got evicted years ago (long story), I called a photographer friend to ask for advice/help. When I went through a horrible break up and was having issues living back at home a photographer offered me a rental home to stay in free of charge (I ended up not needing it, but the offer was priceless to me at the time). And there were other more specific situations that I won’t mention here, but that I am still very grateful for.

So to say that I’m anti-photographer… no. Just no. And you know what else? I’ve actually stood up for photographers when I felt they were being wrongfully accused or a model was blowing something out of proportion. At times I’ve felt like I was being the model version of a “white knight” for photographers.

Oh, and because I know someone will bring it up… yes, I am also married to a photographer. And no, he didn’t hit on me and I eventually fell for it. We were friends on MM and FB for at least a couple years before we considered dating. He was actually the first photographer whose work I came across on MM that was in a style I really wanted to shoot. It took a couple years, but it happened ^_~

So yeah, I’d say I’m pretty pro-photographer. Not pro the bad behavior and I absolutely know there are bad apples and yes I will speak up about and sometimes to those people, but I think that most photographers are good people and I’m happy to have so many as friends.

The Building and Rewards of a Positive Reputation

A Positive Reputation

Today I’ve found quite a few posts from models and photographers that left me shaking my head. In some cases, I was frustrated that these various behaviors are being supported instead of kindly corrected.

I am living proof that being nice and acting professionally can get you pretty far.

I started out shy, crummy at posing, confused, and with only my common sense to guide me.

A couple wonderful models on ModelMayhem shared some advice with me. I also met photographers who were patient with me and let me know when I was going against accepted practices. I didn’t butt heads with them and say “well, this is how I’m going to do it!” I examined their point, sometimes I asked around about it, and then I adapted.

Most of all, I was honest.

I told photographers up front that I was crummy at posing and that I would need some guidance. Some of them turned me down and that’s okay. But I also started sketching out poses and bringing those sketches with me. Eventually, I developed a posing style, but that was at least a couple years in as I learn physical things very slowly.

When I started posing for hire…

I knew that my job was to get photos that fit what the photographer wanted. I liked many of them, but I kept my focus on what the photographer’s goal was most of all. I never demanded photos on top of being paid. Over the years many photographers who have paid me have also given me photos. I’m very grateful for that, but I never expect it. I certainly never demand it.

I worked with my limitations.

Let’s not forget that I’m all of 4’10”. I learned early that I would likely not be a fashion model. I needed to look for opportunities that were suitable for me and my look. I also learned that the market I was in (East TN) wasn’t really that diverse. Many of the things I wanted to do just weren’t possible there. But I found things that I did enjoy and people to work with who helped me grow, who explored concepts with me, and who introduced me to other people. It happened all over again when I moved to Detroit as well. I didn’t come barreling in expecting everyone to know me. I took the time to get to know people, to show them my portfolio, and to meet all of the wonderful people I now know here.

It takes time and dedication.

It takes time to build a positive reputation. It takes learning when to keep your mouth shut and when to speak up. But it’s worth it. My reputation is something I’ve put a lot of care, effort, and time into building. I’ve slipped up, especially in online discussions or my own posts, but I try to move on (and apologize if necessary). And now that I have found my place in this community, I try to use my voice to help others, to educate them, and to build our community into a more positive and productive place. I use my modeling skills not just as a “job” but also to create art and to help teach others too.

My positive reputation absolutely benefits me as well. I have been able to work with talented people who have flat out told me that my reputation and my positive presence online and in the community were strong factors in their working with me.

I am so glad I have put effort into creating and maintaining, a strong, positive reputation. I don’t think I’d be here like I am if I had chosen another path.

My Connection to My Hair

myconnectiontomyhair

I’ve had long hair since I can remember. The only photos I’ve ever seen of me without it are baby photos and even in those of me at 4 or 5 I already have long hair. I did have bangs as a kid and I don’t remember exactly when they grew out, but it was before I was a teenager. So the hair you see me with now is the (style) of hair I have always had, perhaps with a different part occasionally. That may not really sink in for some of you, but this is something I’ve wanted to blog about for a while, so here goes…

Let’s start with a little perspective as far as what I think must be a very common thing for so many women (and men). No one has cut my hair in the last 20 years of my life, probably longer. My mother trimmed it for me until I moved to Detroit and now my husband trims it once every few months. I’ve never had my hair done in a salon aside from one time when I was a little kid (5 or 6) and my mother booked my birthday at a salon and they curled my hair. I’ve had my hair done for shoots, but maybe only 10 times in the 7 years I’ve been modeling.

Tendrils -  self portrait Buy a print
Tendrils – self portraitBuy a print

I think my hair has factored into my modeling quite a bit, mostly in a positive way. But I remember the first time a photographer told me to “just put it up, get it out of the way, I don’t want to have to retouch all of that.” I want to say it was my first year modeling and after that I actually started to worry that my hair was in the way during shoots, so I would often put it up or at least try to keep it back so as not to inconvenience photographers. And then came the day I shot this self portrait about 2 years ago. After that, I was actually being asked to feature my hair and to “do that thing” with it. Now my normal is having it down and doing its thing, and if I put it up that’s more unusual (though I don’t mind that, and I think it’s preferable for certain things). I often say my hair is its own entity because it tends to take on a life of its own. It creates patterns and swirls and such that I can’t really control.

On a more personal side… I grew up with long hair because my mother had long hair and my father always expressed that women should have long hair. Despite this, I didn’t grow up in a particularly conservative household and I probably could have cut it any time I wanted. My sister cut her hair at least a few years ago now and my mother cut hers a few years ago too and there wasn’t too much fuss I remember over either of those. I think I kept my hair as a teenager and in college because I felt like it set me apart. I met very few other young women or teenagers with hair as long as mine. Now, of course, I know a few others, but it’s still less common and I think it makes it easier to spot and describe me.

However, as I’ve gotten older, being different isn’t really why I keep my hair any more. I keep it now because it’s familiar, it’s comforting, and, honestly, I feel like it’s a deeper part of me. I know that not everyone has that connection with their hair and I don’t expect them to. But mine has been with me for so long. It’s one of the ways I cope with anxiety and stress. And if you’ve ever seen me working events, you know that I’m what people like to call “high strung” on many things (though I try to hide it sometimes). It’s also part of my rituals. I pull my hair back into a half pony tail when I’m cleaning, working out, or working on events.

Photographer: DVS
Photographer: DVS

On a more practical note… I also feel like my hair is incredibly low maintenance. I see others complain about long hair and I’m curious as to what they do. I wash mine with an all natural shampoo bar once or twice a week, I condition the ends with a similar conditioner, and I use water or a bit of lotion or conditioner to smooth the fly-aways if I need to, though I usually just let them go. I don’t use heat on my hair, I don’t curl it or straighten it, and I don’t style it. Once in a while I’ll henndigo it to darken the color and that is a long process, but it’s not something I do often and it’s a ritual I enjoy. Sure it can get in the way sometimes and the wind plays with it a lot, but I love that feeling of wind really whipping it around. And it really only gets in the way if I should have put it up and I didn’t.

Can you tell I love my hair? I feel like it defines part of me in some ways and I really can’t imagine myself without it, even though I’ve had people tell me I should shave it or cut it really short. I have to check myself before I respond because I can get rather defensive. I love other styles on other people, but I don’t want anything else for myself.

Not all nude/erotic photographers are bad…

nudeeroticphotographers

I shoot nudes. Pretty much everybody who has ever seen my work, who is my friend, and even most of my immediate family know this. I believe that what I do is my art form and I enjoy expressing my creativity. It took me a little while to find my style though. I prefer a more sensual, elegant type of “sexiness” to the smiling, flirty style and I think the former suits me better. But along my journey I’ve shot a ton of different styles. I look back on some of it now and wrinkle my nose a little bit at some of what I did, not because I was talked into doing “bad” things or whatever, but because I just don’t care for some of it. I might even go so far as to say some of it was a mistake. Not a huge one, mind you, but stuff I wouldn’t shoot now. And I believe that’s okay. I believe that as long as I shot everything willingly, and I did, that it was my own choice and I was exploring myself and my art form. That’s part of growing as a creative and an artist. You explore things. You do things and sometimes you love them and sometimes you look back and you’re not so fond of them. And before anyone misunderstands… I still like or even love almost everything I’ve ever shot. Of course I can see flaws or things I would change and of course I feel my more recent work is better work (as far as my parts are concerned), but I’m not ashamed of any of it. And you can go ahead and wish mercy on the soul of anyone who tells me I should be because they’re going to need it. Anyway, moving on…

I am extremely put off by the “witch hunt” mentality that seems to surface around photographers who shoot nude or, horror of horrors, erotic content. I’ve seen photographers who were creepy or who were inappropriate being called out or whatnot, but instead of focusing on the inappropriate behavior, everyone jumps on the fact that they shoot nudes or erotic content. That is not the problem! The problem is their behavior! I have posed nude for a whole bunch of photographers. A lot of them were men, some much older than me, a few younger, and never, ever has one of them molested me, said gross things to me while we shooting, etc. What this means to me is not that models never get molested or that they never have gross things said to them (because sadly those things do happen), but that it’s not normal behavior or general behavior for nude or erotic photographers or even photographers in general. Bad behavior is bad behavior and it has to do with that person. Don’t let a few bad apples make you negatively judge a whole group. Many of the nude and erotic photographers I know are some of the nicest, most supportive people I’ve ever met. They don’t pressure models, but they are happy to shoot nudes and erotic work with models who are also willing to shoot those things. I can stand nude in front of them talking before or after a shoot and they don’t act any different than they do when I’m clothed. I often undress in front of them and they never say anything rude and they don’t stare.

So please don’t judge these good people on the actions of a few icky ones. And if a photographer who shoots nudes or erotic work does something stupid, remember that the person did something stupid, not the group, and that there are plenty of photographers out there who work with nude models all the time who never do anything wrong.

Shifts in the Model & Photographer Community

shifts

Social media has led to a lot of very interesting trends and I think it’s affected the model and photographer community quite a bit, too. I think it may also be the reason for this very unfortunate shift in terms of freelance models and how they operate. I’ll get to that second bit in a moment.

Social media gives us a voice that can be heard much further than used to be the case and unfortunately sometimes we use that voice for very negative, self-serving purposes. If you’re part of the model/photographer community and you’re active on Facebook, you’ve probably seen someone outing someone else. Sometimes I do feel these cases are just (particularly when they relate to safety), but other times they seem like a thinly veiled attempt to shame someone to make the poster look better. Photographers talking down about those who shoot different styles, models shaming other models for posing nude or scantily clad, etc. These are things that are NOT bad, just different. Yes, of course anyone will get a few people who will agree with anything they say, but in the end I feel it just exposes their insecurities. Overall the community can seem very hostile with models constantly being warned about this photographer or that photographer, rarely for a solid reason (particularly when it’s another photographer doing the warning) and photographers speaking badly about models because the model wants to be paid.

And I think these hostilities are strongly affecting our community. I see new models abruptly stop because of mean-spirited unsolicited critiques, because of the few bad apple photographers who can’t respect limits or who aren’t really photographers at all but just guys looking to be around nude models, or because they’re fed unrealistic expectations about being paid or getting published or becoming famous. I’ve been seeing more and more experienced models who no longer travel or who travel much less or who end up leaving modeling altogether because they’re treated with such hostility when they try to speak up, or they’re low-balled on their rates by photographers, or they’re told they’re not worth being paid. These things make me sad because eventually there may be far fewer freelance models pursuing this creation of art and that will eventually affect those photographers who shoot art nudes and glamour, especially.

This negativity spreads to photographers too. I’ve seen photographers who seclude themselves from the community because they’re accused of awful things if they shoot nudes or lingerie (even though these are often some of the sweetest, most respectful people I’ve worked with), because they can’t afford a ton of equipment or multiple cameras and high dollar lenses, or because every time they share a photo it’s picked apart even though they didn’t ask for critique. I find it saddening that there are so many photographers out there who can’t just sit back and enjoy an image without picking apart technical details.

I’ve stuck with this because I love it. I cherish the friendships I’ve made through my modeling and what I create makes me happy. Of course I always strive to improve, and I feel we all should, but I also feel that it should be okay to feel good about something you create. And if you’re going to critique someone, I feel you need to do your research first: what are their goals, how much experience do they have, what are they working with, what are their challenges and strengths. I rarely speak this strongly, but I feel that if you don’t know these things you have no business giving someone your unsolicited critique. If you can’t be constructive and helpful, than it’s not a critique, it’s just you picking at someone and that’s a lot like bullying. It’s ugly and it makes you look bad.

I need your help, the community needs your help to change this negative shift. We all need to work on being more positive. Share about the great shoots you have instead of only posting about the negative. Instead of feeling threatened by others and trying to bring them down, push those thoughts aside and focus on your own creativity. If you see an image you don’t like, move on without making some negative comment. If someone asks for critique, offer helpful, constructive thoughts, don’t just point out what you don’t like. And if you like an image, say so! You may think it’s no big deal to push that like button or to leave a nice comments, but people do notice and it’s a good way to get a positive association instead of a negative one.

Do you have tips for how we can be more positive? Share them below! And please share this blog post if you agree with the message ^_^

How Modeling Made Me A People Person

I never would have imagined I would become a people person, and certainly not as comfortable in public situation as I am now. That’s not to say that I don’t still experience anxiety or that I’ve changed from being quiet and introverted in many situations. But as a model there is a big social aspect and quite a lot of dealing with people. I thought I’d share some thoughts on that today.

One of the most obvious aspects of modeling is working with photographers, MUAs, and other creatives that I come across during a shoot. Photographers can run the spectrum from confident to self conscious, personable to abrasive, very organized to scattered. As the model, part of my job is to work with them, no matter what their personality is, and to create the best photos possible. I’ve developed the ability to work with, and sometimes around, so many personalities since I started modeling. This wasn’t something I came to modeling with, it’s a skill I’ve developed because of it.

The vast majority of photographers I’ve worked with have been pretty easy to work with and quite pleasant. I consider many of them friends and I think it’s fun getting to know them in the time we spend shooting. But there have been those who have been difficult. I had one photographer, early on, before I started posing nude, who told me I was lumpy, who got mad at me for not catching his equipment when it fell (I was on a table a few feet away), and who was just generally unpleasant. I had another photographer who got frustrated with me because his lighting wasn’t working the way he wanted. Thankfully nothing too bad, but it can be challenging to get good photos when someone is throwing a really negative vibe at you.

And that’s why I’m thankful for the connection I’ve been able to find with almost everyone I’ve worked with. Having that connection really helps with photos. Part of it is much like being good at small talk and the other part, for me, is being somewhat intuitive. That part is extra fun because it’s seems a lot like reading their minds and it’s a valuable skill when you’re working with someone who isn’t able to convey exactly what they are thinking.

Another aspect to the people skills for modeling has been networking. As a freelance model I’m my own manager/booker and promoter as well as doing the other things you probably associate with modeling like posing, makeup, etc. Part of being a good manager/booker for myself means I have learn to recognize red flags, to communicate with a variety of people (including those not good with text communication or those for whom English is a secondary language), and to express myself clearly. And yes, it also means dealing with pervy messages, rude photographers, and those who don’t like what I say (when I decline a shoot, for example).

Promoting myself is another interesting facet to modeling. I prefer to promote myself as myself. I don’t really alter my personality for my social presence, but the challenge is to convey what I want to say in text format where I don’t have body language or tone to qualify what I’m saying. That means my little sarcasms or things that would normally have hand motions (and anyone who has seen my videos knows I talk with my hands a lot). This is something that we all have to deal with in social media, but as a model it’s part of my “brand” so it’s part of how I make my money. I love the challenge, though. Writing is something I really enjoy, so that part of it is really fun, even when it’s challenging. I don’t mind people not following me because they don’t like something I meant to say, but I try to avoid them not following me because of a misunderstanding, if that makes sense. The same goes for photographers. I’m not going to click with every photographer, no matter how much I might try to, and sometimes it’s better for me to decline a shoot than to work with someone who clashes badly with me.

So somehow, I went from a painfully shy, quiet person, to one who somehow has found confidence and enjoyment in a very people-related job. I think that’s what sort of prepared me for what I do in art events coordination/production, too. But what is sort of amusing is that if I’m not modeling, and I’m not in charge of the event, I tend to still be more quiet. Thankfully I also enjoy people watching ^_~

How Modeling Made Me A People Person - by Dekilah