Sunday saw me attending the latest (6th) installment of the Sydney Strobist events, SYD-SA6.
For those that aren't in the know, many moons ago a guy called David Hobby aka Strobist started a blog called Strobist. This was a place where people could learn to use inexpensive flashes ("strobes") to acheive studio-like lighting results.
Little did David know, this blog would spiral ever and ever bigger, gathering dust along the way, pulling in people from all continents. Groups all over the world now organize events where budding "strobists" can meet, greet, practice their lighting and share their knowledge with others.
From my experience with these, you can't go there expecting to take a killer shot. Even if you do, you'll probably end up with at least 5 other people who have exactly the same killer shot (I've heard plenty of comments like "can you do that pose you were doing before for him" and "how were the other guys lighting you?").
As a photographer, what you CAN expect is to be able to chat with like-minded individuals... have a beer at the pub afterwards, learn something, get a chance to practice, and maybe get to play with extra gear you'd have to rent otherwise.
As a model, you can expect to spend a lot of time waiting for people to set up lights around you, but at the end of it, you can expect a lot of good shots of you... many almost the same, but on a proper shoot, you'll end up with tons of shots almost the same, just from one photographer instead of 30.
On both sides, you might just find that person who's perfect for an idea you've got in mind, and you can arrange another shoot afterwards... and who knows, you might just end up with that killer shot!