MODELS & RED FLAGS
You post a photo of yourself and tell everyone you want to model – and the flood gates open up! In pours the offers, emails, IG and FB messages – everyone wants to shoot with you – TFP shoots, maybe a couple of paid shoots, and certainly a few scams. Who do you shoot with? Why? And is it safe???
FIRST!!! Do your homework!
#1 Work with a photographer that shoots in a style you want! Don’t work with someone that says I am a boudoir photographer, when you want fashion images. Don’t work with a photographer that posts all outdoor images, when you want something in studio. Find who shoots what you want to shoot. And graciously decline all the other offers.
#2 Talk to people that have worked with the photographer you want to work with. One of the reasons I credit all my models is so other models can contact them. Ask how the shoot went, ask them if they had any issues, was there good communication, did they get their images back – how many, and how long did it take? Ask about the location where they shot, if in studio, how was the studio? Clean? Smelly? Cold? Hot? Was there a dressing area?
#3 Talk to photographers you trust. Ask them if they have heard anything about this person. Personally, I keep a list of photographers and models that I recommend and the ones I do not recommend.
#4 Google them! Just that simple, Google the person you want to work with and see what kind of reviews they have.
#5 Go with your Gut!!! Seriously, can’t stress this enough – better safe than sorry. Don’t do it if you don’t feel safe.
#1 Very little Communication! You and the photographer need to be very clear on when, where, and what you are shooting. Good communication is a must. You don’t want to show up to a fashion shoot and the photographer brings out ropes for a bondage shoot. LOL Now, this is not to say you both can’t be flexible and come up with new ideas during a shoot. Honestly, I do that all the time. I start working with a model and see what direction they want to go in and I start pushing in that direction if I am comfortable with it.
#2 On-Line Presence! In this day and age, photography is 99.9% digital, and marketing is probably 70% digital/online. If a photographer doesn’t have much of an on-line presence, they are either too old to hold up a camera or they may have a sketchy past. Photographers that change their name/on-line presence could easily be a red flag. Work with people that have a strong portfolio of a style you want in your book.
#3 Specializes in Everything! When a photographer has been shooting for a couple of years and they are expert in everything – pretty much a Red Flag. I have been shooting professionally for 35 years and I suck at architecture and landscape photography and I am sure several other genres.. LOL
#4 Speaking in Absolutes! Weird? I know, but it’s true! Photography is art…art is a fluid thing. It’s subjective and is liked and disliked based soley on the individual. If a photographer tells you a photo is bad, or if a photographer tells you they are the best. It’s simply not true. The photo is bad to them, they are the best photographer in their mind. Even when I critique a photo and tell people what I feel could have been done better in a different way, I am always careful to say in my opinon.
#5 Toxicity! Pretty simple, avoid working with someone that publicly slams other people. When I see a model openly slam/insult a photographer or another model – I put them on my “DO NOT WORK WITH” list. I don’t care how good that model is, I don’t want to accidentally offend/insult them and have them publicly slamming me online or posting bad reviews about me.
Since I get models who ask me about this person or that person, I keep a list of questionable photographers. I don’t talk bad about other photographers, so when I hear things, I write down the photographer’s name, the offense or action, and the model that worked with them. When someone ask me about a certain photographer, if they are on the list, I tell them to contact this model.
NOT RED FLAGS!!!
#1 Being offended is NOT a red flag!!! I knew a model that accused a photographer of being creepy cause he used the word “Ass”. I knew the photographer – outstanding work, solid, never heard anything bad about him. Yet, he used that word and she tagged him as creepy! I DESPISE how easy it is to offend someone these days – it’s a freakin joke. Being offended is NOT a red flag on anyone (except maybe yourself). And there is a difference between being offended, being insulted, or being harassed. In context – the photographer said something and used that word at a group shoot – not directed at the model. It just offended her delicate ears.
#2 A photographer’s work is NOT a red flag! Photos are art – art is subjective! There is no good or bad photo. I took a photo of an elephant’s trunk one time and a model called me creepy because she did not like that photo. Seriously!!! Now, if you don’t like a photographer’s work – don’t work with them – but it’s not a RED FLAG.
#3 When I say better safe than sorry – I mean it! BUT, doubt is NOT a Red Flag!! The day before a shoot is when you will have the most doubts about that shoot – doubt is generally when you are feeling the least self confidence in your appearance and ability. It really has nothing to do with the photographer and is NOT a red flag.
Again, this is my opinion based on what I have seen and learned the last 35 years as a photographer