Over the past year ive had a few of those 'eek' moments, and I wish I had had the advice of others to help me deal with the situations.
So I've decided to write a news article on what I've learnt, and hopefully it will help you too
please note, this is is solely from personal experience. I am not telling you what to expect, or how to act, im merely letting you know how I dealed with these situations.
A photographer calls you to shoot. You arrange everything, you turn up, shoot, recieve payment and go home. Maybe email/sms a 'thanks for a great shoot!' to the photographer that evening. Fine and dandy. A bit of polite chit chat never goes amiss when you cross paths either.
But there are some people who think a first shoot is similar to a first date. I've had a photographer suddenly think we were bestest buddies after we have shot for the first time, suddenly thinking I need to know every detail of their life, and that I must indulge them with every minute detail of mine in return. After a little while, they started to try and run my life, even going as far as tracking my movements online. Friendly? No. Stalkerish? Yes.
What about internet over-friendliness? What do you need to know about me? My name is (name), I am (age) old, I live in (city) and I am interested in (type of modelling). Its as simple as that. You dont need to know know my exact address, the names of all my immediate family members or my favourite childhood pasttime.
What To Do
This was a really invasive problem, and took alot to sort out. The solution? Cut all contact with the person. Block their phone number, delete the emails and make sure your passwords are safe. Make sure you keep a copy of the emails incase it gets serious.
But what if you cant ignore it? If you're being pressured or threatened, a simple, straight-to-the-point email saying 'I'm uncomfortable with the way you are acting, please dont contact me anymore' will suffice. Any more contact from them should be promptly ignored. It doesnt matter how good their photos were, or how much they paid, this is instantly made redundant once they start acting creepy.
If you start to recieve emails or phonecalls that are threatening in anyway, its time to get the big guns involved.
As for 'overly chummy' people (an internet frequent) if its nothing short of annoying when people use your real name to pretend they know you properly. Many models use false names or nicknames to hide their identity. If you manage to come across a model's real name, good for you, but a lot of models are uncomfortable with people knowing their real names. The pseudonyms help us keep the different aspects of our lives seperate! if you've just came across a model's pictures and didnt even know they existed until 5 minutes ago, dont try to get too friendly. Chances are the model will feel uncomfortable with you using their real name, or doesnt want people to know who they really are . Who a model presents to the camera is completely different to the model on her days off. Models give themselves nicknames for safety reasons, not just for giggles.
No Release Form
The model-release form. A written agreement between model and photographer regarding where photos go, how much is paid, copyright, etc. All good for all parties involved.
But what happens when a photographer doesnt supply a release form, and then starts to submit your work to galleries/sells it on to other people?I've found some of my photos in the most obscure places, some which would make even me blush! But without an agreement signed beforehand, who gets what?
What To Do
if you find that a photographer is making a profit off your work, and a release hasnt been signed, speak up! Without a release signed, technically you own half the rights to the photos, meaning half of the profit (i've spoken to a lawyer-friend of mine, and this is the answer they gave me). Of course, you may all have different opinions of the outcome of this scenario, this is merely my personal experience.
Now, this may simply be a case of 'silly me, I forgot the release forms, my mistake' and everything gets sorted and everyone is happy, or it may be a case where the photographer blatently refuses to hand over your share of the rights. In this case, if stating what rightfully belongs to you doesnt get you anywhere, then its time to get a lawyer involved. Its always a good idea to ask the photographer about model releases before every shoot, so you know up front what to expect.
Pressure To Put Mediocre Pictures In Your Gallery
some seasoned models will happily tell you of shoots where the product has failed to meet standards. It doesnt mean we're being snooty, we just dont believe our portfolio will benefit from your style. But what if you do a mediocre shoot, and find yourself being pressured to put these pictures in your portfolio?
Ive had emails and messages, sent only moments after ive even received the image itself, saying 'why havent you put the picture up?', 'not even a thank you?!' or 'I cant believe how rude you are being'. What the hell? Eventually you find yourself posting the picture, much to your regrets, and even receive notes complaining about how its 'dragging your portfolio down'. You risk taking it down, and once again, receive a barrage of angry emails. Its a frustrating situation, but also a familiar one.
What To Do
normally a note, politely saying 'im sorry, but your style doesnt really match what im looking for' before a shoot is organised will help nip it in the bud. But if you cant turn people down, or the end result is not what you expected and end up in this situation, then once again, being polite yet to-the-point is the best tactic. 'im sorry, but im not sure these photos are strong enough for my portfolio'. At the end of the day, models get work based on their portfolio, and if your photo doesnt end up in the final cut, deal with it. It doesnt mean we dont like the photo, we just dont feel it is strong enough to nab us possible work. No offense, but thats how the cookie bounces. If we choose to post only one shot from the shoot, dont get angry, but we're more likely to get work if our portfolio shows diversity, than if all twenty photos are of the same rock in the same sepia tones.
Photographers Behaving Badly
Nearly every model you speak to will have had one bad experience at some point in their modelling career. Dont get me wrong, there are alot of fantastic and genuine photographers out there, but once in a blue moon, you come across a photographer who is less than savoury. Im the past year, I have been touched inappropriately, expected to think up concepts on the spot after travelling several hours to get the the shoot in the first place, expected to pay after the shoot has been organised, and been made out to be a liar. There isnt enough space on DA to go into detail, but if you're super nosey, note me and I'll spin you the yarn.
What To Do
In the case of photographers being too touchy feely, leave. No matter what the circumstances, tell them they have crossed a line, demand your pay and leave. You have no obligation whatsoever to stay. Simple as that. Make sure you warn other models too.
If you end up in a sticky situation, where you have hair and makeup but no concept whatsoever, politely remind the photographer that they were the ones to organise the shoot in the first place and it was their responsibility. You travelled to the shoot and prepared for it in order to shoot some content for you portfolio/their portofolio, etc. you didnt travel to the shoot or prepare for itall just to be put on the spot. Hastily thought-up concepts tend to produce less than acceptable photos, and neither party will benefit.If you turn up and find that the photographer expects you to pull concepts out of thin air, let them know that you paid for travel/hair and makeup, and they have failed to deliver on their part, and leave. There is probably something more productive to do at home.
Surprises arent always pleasant, especially if it involves details surrounding a shoot. I've organised a shoot, only to be told casually 'cool, these are my rates'. Woah woah woah, back it up...you contacted me about shooting, not the other way around! Simply let the photographer know that you cant afford to pay them, and they should have been up front about the rates in the first place, and not lead you on to believe it was a TF* deal.
I've also been unfortunate enough to work with a photographer who completely strung me out and made me seem to be a liar (for full story, here you go - [link] the photographer made it seem like I was the one who had failed to meet the brief, and let the client label me 'unworkable'. Because of that, I now have no chance of working with this client in the future.
So what do you do? Completely cut the photographer out of the picture. Cancel any organised shoots with them and let them know that you dont intend on working with them again. If they are low enough to leave you stranded to save their own skin, chances are they will do it again. A leopard doesnt change its spots.
I'm not trying to say that something is guarenteed to go wrong with a shoot, or that you should expect the worst. I'm saying, be safe, and most of all, enjoy yourself!
Now please, I am not 'outing' anyone, nor am I bitching. I am merely passing on my personal experiences in the hope that others will find it useful.
If you are at all offended by anything in this article, I'm sorry, no offense was intentional. If you have any problems with this article at all, note me and I will be happy to discuss it with you.
Feel free to add to the list, i'm hoping to write up a second part to this article soon I look forward to hearing your feedback!