Working with me as a model

If you’re reading this, I might have approached you in public and invited you to do a photo-shoot with me. Thanks for coming and checking out my website! I approached you because I think you have a beautiful / interesting / amazing face, which I’d love to photograph and turn into beautiful images. I photograph a variety of different subjects (check out the image galleries here), but I'm best known for my portraits of women. I’m quite selective about who I photograph, and if I approached you it’s because I feel confident that together we can produce not only gorgeous photos, but genuine art.

You probably have lots of questions. You should! It isn’t often that one is approached by a complete stranger wanting to photograph you. Here, then, are answers to the kinds of questions you may have. If after reading this you have any further questions, or comments, I'd be happy to respond. Just use the form at the bottom of this page to contact me directly. 

So, let's start:

Q.  Who are you?

A.  I’m a fine art photographer, which means I’m an artist whose medium is photography. I’m in it not for the money, but for the purpose of creating something beautiful. I'm also a writer.

Q.  Where will the photo-shoot take place?

A.  At my comfortable home studio on a quiet suburban street in a nice neighborhood in Richmond, CA, where I live with my wife and friendly cat Misha.

Q.  How do I get there?

A.  I'm in the East Bay, just north of Berkeley, right off Hwy 80 (with plenty of free parking). Also, I live very close to the El Cerrito del Norte BART station, and I’m happy to pick you up there and drop you back after the shoot. I always reimburse for travel expenses.

Q.  How long does a shoot take?

A.  Generally 2-3 hours.

Q.   How do I schedule a shoot?

A.   Use the form at the bottom of the page (or, if you prefer, call me at 510-232-0756) and we’ll plan a time convenient for both of us.

Q.  Do I need to have any model skills?

A.  No skills or experience necessary. I actually prefer working with non-professionals because “professional” models tend to have a posing routine, and I prefer a more natural approach. I like to photograph people just being themselves.

Q.   Do I need to bring anything with me?

A.   You can bring anything you like, including any clothes or outfits that you think would add to the shoot. I have a pretty interesting and extensive wardrobe that we can use. Also, feel free to bring any of your favorite music (I have a whole music library here: rock, classical, alternative, ambient, etc.). I like having background music on during shoots.

Q.  Can I bring someone along with me?

A.  Absolutely - bring a friend, boyfriend, parent, bodyguard, mini-you, alter ego, higher self - anyone. I want you to feel comfortable. It’s also o.k. to come by yourself. (Note that if you are under eighteen, you must bring a parent or adult relative with you.)

Q.  What's it like working with you? What can I expect?

A.  Well, best to hear from models who have worked with me in the past.

Q.  What if I’m a little camera shy?

A.  Many people are in the beginning, but I’m told I’m very good at creating a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. I'll do everything I can to facilitate an experience where you can relax and be yourself.

Q.  Will I be expected to pose nude?

A.  Absolutely not. Nudity is never required, expected, or anticipated. Only about one in ten of my shoots involves any degree of nudity, and that happens only if we’ve worked together previously and have developed a very good rapport and a high degree of mutual comfort and trust.

Q.  What about hair and makeup?

A.  While I'm primarily interested in capturing natural beauty, most models will do a bit of their own makeup, especially for the eyes.

Q.  Will I receive copies of the pictures?

A.  Absolutely. Whichever images I end up printing (I choose from many), I will make an extra copy for you in the form of an 8x10 handmade (darkroom) print, ready to frame. In addition, I will send you (via email) masterfully edited, uploadable digital scans.

Q.  What use can I make of the photos I receive?

A.  Any use you wish (other than selling them commercially for profit). Many tell me that the photos they receive from me are the best anyone has ever taken of them (which I love to hear), and that they get lots of compliments from family and friends. Many models upload their new images to Facebook and other social media. Some people have used their photos to promote modeling and/or acting careers. Also, you may not think often about getting older, but I guarantee that as the years go by you’ll cherish your photos more and more.

Q.  How do you use the photos from our shoot?

A.  When I feel that a particular image stands out, I might do one or more of the following: 1. Upload it to this website; 2. Upload it to my photographer page on the website Modelmayhem; 3. Publish it in one of my photo books, 4. Occasionally one of my images (usually a female portrait) appears on the cover of a novel (principally European publishers).

Q.  Will there be a charge for any of this?

A.  No, you don’t pay a thing. It’s on me. The photo-shoot, the hardcopy prints, and the accompanying digital images are entirely free. The only exception is if you choose to order additional copies of any of the hardcopy (darkroom) prints, in which case I charge a minimal fee of $10 per print.

Q.  Will you pay me anything?

A.  Like many photographers, I work with models on a “trade” basis: your time for my expertise, labor, and the final photos. For a few pleasant hours of your time, you’ll receive 10-20 big beautiful photos of yourself. While I spend many hours processing, printing, scanning and editing the photos in the days following the shoot, you basically sit there comfortably being yourself and following some simple directions (look right, look left, tilt your head up a bit, smile, don't smile, etc.).

Q.  Will my name or any other information about me accompany any image of me you upload or publish?

A.  No, never. You will retain complete anonymity.


If you have any questions, or would like to go ahead and schedule your free photo-session, please use the form below.  [If instead you would like me to call you, just leave your number.]

I look forward to hearing from you!

Steve Gelberg


Name *