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Giving the right impression in your profile

By John at Tina Spice, written 1436524350.

It's hard to know with any precision how many users of Purpleport see their profile as a tool for finding or providing paid work but I would assume that the majority at least have that as a consideration even if it is, at the moment, still a dream rather than a reality. So, when I subsequently use the word "professional", I am referring to an approach and an attitude and not necessarily to the exchange of hard cash.

Professional communication is essential in achieving success in almost any field but never more so than one like ours where good results depend on building a rapport between model and photographer. Ever worked with a model with the sulks? Or a photographer who's got the hump? I'd lay you odds that it showed in the pictures. Nobody can get on with everybody so pre-shoot communication is, for me, vital in discovering if we are going to work well together.

OK so we work in a visual medium but just having some nice pictures on your portfolio doesn't do it for me. Actually that should be good news for those just starting out because you probably won't have many nice pictures yet. I look at what you say about yourself and also how you say it. And that's where we come to professional communication.

Now you have to temper the following by the fact that I am now fully qualified as a Grumpy Old Man, but these are a few things I look for (and things I loath) in a profile. To me they make the difference between someone who has a professional approach and someone who doesn't.

1. Succinct and factual. What always impresses me is a well written, factual profile that doesn't waste my time with irrelevant detail and hyperbole. Best ever example of irrelevance, "my sister is a former beauty contest winner". And that's important, why?

2. Nothing, zilch, zip. Please tell me something about yourself. A blank or minimal profile always makes me wonder how serious you are that you can't be bothered to write more than a few words. I appreciate that writing isn't everyone's forte and that it can be awkward to write about yourself but it's essential to be able to sell yourself. Get help from someone else if you need to.

3. When will it all end? The total reverse of the above. A profile that goes on and on and on and on...There isn't any need to list every person you shared the same room with in your whole working life. Just the highlights please. Learn to edit. Put the most impressive and recent stuff at the top.

4. I have no experience but I'm prepared to make demands. Models need a certain level of assertiveness to survive the pit-falls and knock-backs that come their way but it's not such a great idea to be openly aggressive in your profile text. We have all heard the horror stories of shoots gone bad, the weirdos, the creeps etc. Making demands and threats about what you'll do to photographers who transgress your rules isn't the way to encourage people to work with you when you're new and have no feedback (or even when you are not). Have those rules, do all those things if people transgress - just don't put it in your profile.

5. I'm totally bonkers, me. Really? Are you? Why is this a selling point? There's a line between presenting yourself as fun and easy to work with and being a total pain in the bum! I'm not so grumpy as to think that all shoots must be conducted in an atmosphere of reverential seriousness but I would like feel that you have a diary, remember we have a shoot today, remember where it is, you know, all that boring detail stuff. And please don't describe yourself as "bubbly". Champagne is bubbly. An Aero is bubbly. If you are bubbly you need urgent medical attention.

6. cu at the shoot babe. We are now deep into Grumpy OM territory. If you filled in a application form for a proper job (remember jobs? They were big in the 60s) using txt spk you wouldn't be surprised if you got politely turned down. Similarly if your spelling and punctuation was all to hell. It's no different here people. I'm not criticising standards of literacy just pointing out that spelling and grammar checkers exist. So if you want to impress, use them.

And, straying away from profiles for moment into general communication, it's really not a great idea to address someone you don't know and have never met as either "babe" or "mate". Just saying.