Since I began my creative journey of photography last spring, I focused heavily on emulating photographers @RyanMillier and @Kosten, but realized overtime that It's not possible to emulate those who are outside of Detroit. Having a girlfriend last year, I would practice my portrait photography, but was never considered a portrait photographer. My love for portraiture didn't arise until early 2017 when I realized how universally different a photographers work can be when your create art that isn't easily replicated. Of course, a great looking sunset shedding it's last light between the One World Trade Center and the rest of the New York skyline may be a candid shot with the addition of post-production, but the chance of witnessing that last light is inevitable.
Besides photographing my girlfriend at the time last summer, since January, I would be cruising Instagram profiles to find new "models" to utilize in my creative field. After limited success, I developed a love for photographing my friends.
Contacting others who were featured on local photographers Instagram portfolios may be the way to go, but the communication is limited. The situation of communicating to someone you don't know is equivalent to receiving a text message from a someone you met at the bar, while sipping more than a few drinks, exchanging phone numbers and receiving the text the next morning only to be limited in motivation to text back. Maybe you don't know what he/she looks like, or realized how unlikely it is the situation would amount to anything. You ignore, and move on. Others aren't as receptive to establishing a set time and date to create, and therefore, waste your time with the constant back and fourth. I don't waste my time anymore, and neither should you. If a "model" replied back, and she agrees to a date and time, but changes plans last minute...ditch the Instagram "model" and photograph your friends instead.
My friends that I create with are easy to talk to, understand and communicate with, due to creating a comfort with one another, and just, well...being friends.
Working with "models" I don't know can be draw a sense of nervousness. First of all, strangers don't know your creative levels, and therefore, can be frustrating to direct in a photo op. Being with friends, I tell them all to be themselves. Capturing candid and organic moments of my friends' smiles, sadness and neutral facial expressions is what I believe makes my photography unique from those who create with strangers, or people you're somewhat familiar with.
I feel more prideful when giving my friends my edits so that they can share them with their friends, rather than a stranger sharing their photos with more strangers. I believe in keeping a small social circle, as it creates a more unified and dynamic way of approaching scenarios. Of course, photographing a "model" from Instagram that has thousands of followers might be the better option for your own expansion, but for me as a photographer, it doesn't capture the aura when I'm with my friends.