A girl recently asked me: "How can you best get great photographers to agree to shoot you for free?"
Here are my thoughts:
Getting something free can actually be a bad thing. Sometimes you do get what you pay for. Shooting with a professional photographer is best. To get good photography you need to work with good photographers. Plain and simple.
When I was trying to get the attention of a"better" photographer ( and it is great that you, aiming higher gets you better photos), I tried to bring something to the shoot that other models just didn't care to bring or offer...such as emailing and saying " I like your work...this certain shot intrigues me,( compliments can help) I know an owner at a lounge that would let us shoot there for free, would you be interested in shooting some jewelry or something there?"
I had a friend who was an aspiring handbag designer (her bags have been on Gossip Girl), I networked and met with local aspiring designers, I went to tradeshows or worked them and tried to meet aspiring jewelry and accessory and lingerie designers and I would tell the photographer "I can pull some accessory items from a few designers I know" and this usually helped. I think simply showing you are ambitious, that you have a clue, that you are not full of yourself, that you are seriously wanting to create great shots not just be infront of a camera can help too.
Over all to get better photos I really tried to go beyond just "can we shoot"- every girl asks that. I wanted to stand out a little and show I was not just a model but creative and had ambition. I also made bikini designs a few years ago and actually if you google me you could still find some photos of them out there. So I offered for the photographer to shoot me wearing the designs.