Models' Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: 27 December 2010

This page provides information for prospective models.

The world of TomNine

What's in it for the model?

What is a shoot like?

What shows will TomNine attend?

Who is this TomNine character?

 I do not promote myself as a "professional photographer," whatever that means. This is a hobby for me, and my goal is to just have fun and cover my travel expenses and model fees. I try to deal with people professionally and produce the best images I can. I typically pay my models and recoup my expenses from the sites that use my photos. I am essentially a fan of athletic women who got his hands on a camera. There are some better photographers out there and some worse, you can look at my photo samples to decide if the quality meets your needs.

I have a regular job with the Department of Defense here in the Norfolk area. In 2001 I retired from the Navy after 20 years of active service. I am single, no children. If you want to see what I look like, I've assembled a few photos on my MySpace page.

I prefer to be identified online as "TomNine" but I will use my full name when dealing with you directly.

I attend a few major bodybuilding events each year, listed at the end of this FAQ

I live in Virginia Beach, and I can travel around the VA DC MD NC DE area if shoots justify it. I am always available for shoots in the Hampton Roads area and I am eager to lure more models to visit the area, especially during nice beach weather (May to September). Please let me know if you are considering a visit.

Do I have what it takes to be a TomNine model?

If you look at my photo samples page and you can picture yourself there, the odds are I'll be happy to work with you. If you aren't nearly as muscular as some of the women I have shot with, that is no problem. I expect the model to enjoy flexing and doing some bodybuilding poses, showing off some degree of muscular size or definition. Typical fitness/figure levels of muscularity are fine.

If you contact me about a shoot, I'd appreciate some photos or a link to where I can find some on the web. On season, off season, bodybuilder, figure, fitness, general athlete, non-competitor, it's all good.

If you have any special capabilities that might make for interesting photos or video (like gymnastic/strength moves, martial arts, good flexibility, etc.) please let me know.

I am NOT interested in working with models younger than 18.

I only shoot athletic females, not men, weddings, etc. This is a hobby I do for fun, I am not looking for paid assignments.

How much does the model pay TomNine for photo services?

A trick question!

I generally pay the models, at least for shoots over an hour long with both stills and video. I don't pay as much as some of the pros, but I hope to make it worth the woman's time.

I usually provide the material to the woman for her own use. If you have a pay site, I am typically successful in getting a quantity and quality of photos and video that paying members want to see.

If I have the time, I will accept most shorter "time for photos" shoots, and I will sometimes be willing to shoot a woman exclusively for her site as long as I can add a few samples to my portfolio.

I prefer to pay with a personal check at the end of the shoot. If you really need cash instead, please let me know before I leave home so I can plan for that.

Where will the material appear?

I recoup my expenses by sending the material to a website needing content for its members. I only send the material to one site. Most of my material has gone to TheValkyrie.com. Prior to a shoot I try to be clear about what site will receive the images, I encourage you to check it out if you have any concerns.

Some photos from each shoot may appear on my samples page and I may share those same samples on various online forums. I have a good relationship with Andy's Muscle Goddesses, providing photos for his great free site both on my own page and for individual models.Sheila Bleck

In recent years I have shot only for TheValkyrie.com (mostly) and Women's Physique World (maybe one or two shoots per trip). I am also repackaging the video from some past shoots for WPW DVD releases, I will always clear the terms for this with the model first.

Do I get any photos?

I usually send the content to the model, and you will have full commercial use of all the material. Some of the sites I've worked with expect exclusive content, or may have other restrictions on how the content can be used. This will be made clear before the shoot.

This is just a hobby and I have a full time job and other daily chores to attend to, so I am not the fastest in turning around material (though not the slowest either). I can usually get everything to the model within six months of the shoot.

I shoot stills and video, exclusively digital. If we do a shorter stills-only shoot, I might get the pics to you online. Otherwise, I'll get a disc to you in the mail. I assume everybody I work with can access some basic computer capabilities, please let me know if that is an issue. I am now shooting HD video and processing them in wmv format.

The stills are available when I send out the samples and if you don't want the disc with the video I can get a zip file to you, just ask. If you were in a contest I shot, feel free to ask for the stage stills and I can get you a zip file of those too, even if we didn't do a shoot.

I usually do not give the model any unprocessed photos or video. I do send her all the same material I submit for online galleries. If you have a few favorite stills and want to make prints of them let me know and I should be able to e-mail you a small number of original files, or large-format versions optimized for printing.

Why is TomNine such a cheap bastard?

Some of the models ask for more money than I am interested in spending. It is great that so many ladies can demand a high modeling fee, they certainly deserve it.

I pay a good rate that I think most people would be happy to earn. I enjoy working with women who are motivated to generate some good material and have a fun shoot, not models who view me as a walking ATM.

If you don't like my original offer, please feel free to let me know what your terms are. I do not like to haggle much. If the model is "all about the money" I will usually just pass. I like to support the ladies and I know how expensive it is to compete, but I view a shoot as a partnership among myself, the model, and the site receiving the content, where everyone desires good images for agreeable terms.

Do you work in a studio, or what?

I try to use available lighting and simple locations whenever I can. I like to work outside when weather permits. Of course some outfits are better shot in a more intimate indoors location, and I seem to have some success with natural light indoors.

I do as little post-processing as I can get away with, and I am very unlikely to alter the photos to correct a model's flaws. 

Do you shoot nude/pornographic/erotic photos?

My entire purpose in a shoot is to make my models looks sexy, attractive, and feminine, but I like to keep things around the PG-13 level. I enjoy doing boudoir/lingerie shoots if the model is comfortable with that, and I try to bring a classic glamour/pin-up girl look to my work. What you see on my samples page is about as racy as it gets.

I appreciate that the models I work with are serious athletes and I will respect any limits you set. If you don't want to portray yourself in certain ways just let me know. I don't need to play any "oops, I forgot to pack my lingerie" games.  Let's just find some common ground about what sort of images we want to make, and do it.

I am not interested in nude pics, including the range of topless, implied, partial, artistic, and tasteful nudes. If a model desires photos like this I won't run from the room screaming, but I am kind of shy.

What is a TomNine shoot like?

I like to shoot a model for at least an hour, and I prefer 90 to 120 minute shoots when possible. I start my schedule on contest weekends by blocking out 90-minute slots with half-hour breaks, and adapt from there.

I try for a fairly high volume of stills and video in that time, as opposed to fussing a lot over getting one or two perfect images. I like to keep things simple with a few basic locations and some fast costume changes. I suppose in this regard at least I am a typical schmotographer.

During contest weekends I prefer to stay close to the host hotel or another central location. I like to start on time and use the full scheduled period. The last five minutes or so are devoted to filling out paperwork. I try not to book shoots back-to-back, but schedules often fall apart on these weekends. Please show up on time, and let me know as soon as possible if you can't. I try to be professional about this, and I expect the same from my models.

I am not a particularly demanding or high-energy photographer. I just suggest a place to stand/sit/lie and let you do your thing. I assume you know how to best present yourself though I will recommend poses or tweak them for best appearance. I devote some of each shoot to the usual flexing stuff, but my favorite images are where we try something different and the model and photographer work together to communicate something special to the viewer.

Can someone come with me for the shoot?

I'd rather work with a model by herself, but if it makes you more comfortable to have your husband, friend, whatever, at the shoot, that is fine. For various reasons, the fewer people at a shoot the better. Some thoughts on this subject (an many more subjects you might find interesting) appear on this Model Etiquette 101 page.

Shooting in a confined space or where there are lots of reflective surfaces can be difficult with extra people around, and I might suggest a specific place for them to watch from. I might also assign your escort some additional duties, usually crowd control or to keep an eye on our stuff.

On some message boards a common recommendation is to "never go to a shoot alone." My problem here is that it assumes a baseline of danger and distrust. Bringing along your husband is fine, but if you can't relax and trust the photographer it won't be a good shoot for anybody.

It is fine for someone you are with to take some photos during the shoot, as long as it doesn't distract you from my camera. I might ask to cut back on the flash while I am shooting video.

If you have another girl you want to shoot with, we can certainly discuss that. 

If your guy also competes or models and you want to take some pics with him that is fine, but my target audience really doesn't want to see much of that.

Sometimes a model will bring young children along to a shoot. I know you have to do something with them, but I can't see how this is a good idea for anybody.

What about clothes, jewelry, hair, and makeup?

I usually do not provide any costumes. I expect the model will bring a few options for me to pick from. I like to work with a few different outfits, at least one for each 30 minutes of shooting time. Mistress Treasure

I always like to see the model in a nice dress/skirt for part of the shoot.  Any other outfits you want to wear are welcome. I also like to do at least one segment of a shoot with the model in lingerie if you are comfortable with that. If you are in sharp contest condition we will want outfits that show it off, while a different approach will flatter an off-season physique.

I prefer simple, "classy but sexy" outfits over something overtly slutty. I trust that the models know best about how to look good and how they want to display themselves. 

The model should bring shoes appropriate to the outfit: sneakers with workout wear, nice heels with a dress, etc. There might be some walking between locations, so casual shoes or sandals might be useful.

I'm not a big fan of accessories like hats, scarves, etc. If you have some fun props or costumes in mind that is great.

I like to see jewelry appropriate for the outfit, not too much though. I don't really like non-ear piercings and feel they detract from most women's appearance, but you should show up however you want to present yourself.

I expect the model to arrive at the shoot with her hair and makeup prepared. I do not usually provide anyone to help with this. 

If you anticipate any complications in how I propose a shoot (for example: work-out photos early in the shoot will ruin your makeup, humidity outside will do crazy things to your hair, etc.) let me know and we can work around it.

Some points you should consider:

I'm a tomboy and don't know about posing, any suggestions?

I am terrible about suggesting how to be a good model. This article has some ideas. This clip from the Ford Agency is totally applicable to the shoots I do.

You should practice in front of the mirror, and be aware of how your face looks from different angles, how to best place your feet and hands, that sort of stuff. Look at photos you like of other women and see how the model presents herself.

It might help to watch America's Next Top Model for ideas about presenting yourself and working with photographers.

The main thing is to relax, have fun, and let your personality shine through. Try to understand where the light is coming from and what the camera can see.

Presenting yourself to the camera dead-on is usually a mistake.  I want to see as much of you as possible, so don't hide one leg behind the other or one arm behind your body.

Will I need to sign a release form?

At the end of the shoot I will ask you to sign a model's release form, and sometimes a second form for the site receiving the material. I will be happy to forward a Word version of my release prior to the shoot if you wish to review it, and if you prefer to sign it before the shoot that is fine as well.

I use a very simple form, free of complex language, stating clearly that I, and the named site I represent, own the material and can use it as we please, plus defining any obligations I have to provide you with material. The form also collects all contact information I might need to send you the material and some optional personal information. 

I appreciate that a lot of trust is involved to sign such a form. I hope that the number of women I have worked with many times shows that I am worthy of that trust.

I don't want to do any video, is that a problem?

If I have time, I will usually be happy to do a brief (15-30 minutes) TFP stills only shoot. No money will change hands, I'll just send you the material online. I can usually only justify a longer or paid shoot if the model is comfortable doing video

I like to get some posing, flexing, and working out video, and also try to get some interview material if the model is up for that. If it isn't your cup of tea I understand, just let me know when we book the shoot.

Didn't you used to have a YouTube channel?

Yes, I had a pretty popular channel but after four years and 72 million views they terminated my account. I wrote about the experience in my blog. I hope to return to YouTube or perhaps another video sharing site soon.

I'm still nervous about working with you, can I talk to any previous models about their experiences?

Kate BairdI have no problem if you contact any of my past models. You can't please everybody, but most of the women I have worked with are eager to pose for me again. If you look through my samples from recent shoots you might see someone you know well enough to contact for a reference. (Links to older shoots are at the bottom of the page.) I also know quite a few of the other photographers on the scene, you can ask what they think if you like. A good shoot is all about the model and photographer trusting each other.

We've discussed working together but you never got back to me or always say your schedule is full. What's with that?

I prefer longer shoots (60-120 minutes) and only work during daylight hours, so during a contest weekend I rarely get to work with more than a dozen models. 

Kelly Dobbins Katka KyptovaMy first priority is usually new models, or ladies I haven't worked with recently. I also try to achieve some diversity among my models. Ethnicity and age are factors, but it also includes getting a good mix between bodybuilders and figure competitors, in contest shape and off season.

I am usually pretty good at getting back to people who contact me but it is easy to let things fall through the cracks. Contacting me through e-mail (TomNine@gmail.com) is always best. 

Please do not take it personally if I can't fit you into my schedule. There is only so much TomNine to go around.

What shows are you attending?

Here is my tentative 2011 travel schedule.

EventCity Dates Status
ArnoldColumbus3-7 MarchTravel booked
NPC Jr USAsCharleston20-23 MayProbable
NPC Jr NationalsChicago16-20 JuneProbable
NPC Masters NationalsPittsburgh21-25 JulyProbable
IFBB North AmericansCleveland1-5 SeptemberProbable
IFBB OlympiaLas Vegas22-26 SeptemberProbable
NPC NationalsFlorida17-21 NovemberProbable