New to Layers Magazine, the sporadic ‘Not A Photographer’ series examines how other professions work with and perceive photographers, perhaps helping us to improve our workflow and our interactions.
Megan Mackenzie is a model, working very hard at her craft, and she is guest number one in this series. Megan is Orlando, FL, based and some of you may recognise her from Photoshop World. I was able to interview her to get her take on us photographers and her objectives while she works, among other things.
Let’s start quite heavy! Amongst the photographic community it’s quite common to hear people say things like ‘exposure doesn’t pay the bills,’ but does that translate? Does TFP work actually help the model as much as the photographer expects it to?
For me TFP shoots are about action. You have to take action to become what you want. Also I love creating! It has become an outlet when everyday life gets heavy. However I am very choosy with who I will TFP. I usually have been watching their work for a while or get a recommendation from a photographer I have worked with or a fellow model. It’s always important to be aware of who you are working with in order to avoid uncomfortable situations. Always have a game plan before shooting TFP. It helps you feel out the person you’re going to work with and if something feels wrong then it almost always is. Don’t be afraid to speak up! Most TFP photographers I shoot with are kick ass people and we end up becoming great friends. I’m very thankful for how those friendships have blossomed.
What’s your favourite kind of shoot to do and why?
This is a pretty tough question for me. I love creating uniqueness with every shoot. When I’m building my portfolio I want a wide range of styles and feelings to be reflected. Every shoot must be fun with good energy! Of course over time I have to update some styles but its never been repetitive or boring to do so. I’d say it sharpens my skills.
Do you find yourself coaching photographers? That is to say, have you learned things through your work with other photographers that you share?
Absolutely, Isn’t this how we all learn? We feed off each other. The best way to create something beautiful is through communication.
Why did you choose to pursue a career as a model? What are your goals?
As a teen, modeling was more about fashion. I loved make up and clothes and wanted to be America’s Next Top Model. Wearing all the hottest designs and best make up. As I grew into a woman it became about art and connection, portraying stories and having a job that was fun. My goal now is to earn income modeling while making society better with honest stories, bringing awareness in things that matter, and brands that represent something meaningful. Fashion will still have a key to my heart, though. Its that part of my youth that desires to be seen as beautiful. Just as all human beings desire to feel beautiful and wanted.
Have you ever broken a contract, confidentiality agreement, or NDA?
Can’t say I have.
How do you handle a situation where a photographer doesn’t direct you properly? Do you have any tips for photographers to direct you better?
Haha, this is funny. Sometimes people don’t know how to say what they want or I have no idea what they’re asking so I typically make a joke out of it. Shrug it off like no big deal. It’s only life, right? Don’t sweat the small stuff.
The floor is open – what would you like to say?
So, if I could tell anyone starting out or struggling in modeling, or even photography at that matter, is something I’ve learned in this process of bettering myself. Rejection happens and it sucks! It crushes our ego and makes us scared to try again. I’ve wavered many times, questioning myself because of rejection. Be better at being resilient! Rejection is a part of the process. Once you acknowledge that it’s life and its a part of anything you try, then getting back up will become easier and easier. Don’t allow the opinions of others to give you worth. You give yourself worth! Keep focused on being the best you can be!
Great stuff! Thanks a lot, Megan!