How to cover your bases before, during and even after the shoot
Recently I was stood up by a new and inexperienced model. I had drive two hours to her remote town to test with her. Her lack of communication and decision to not follow through with the shoot left me frustrated. This is not a unique thing, for any photographer.
To be clear, the young lady had every right to walk away because the situation felt strange and uncomfortable. However, she had utterly failed to communicate, even after she’d decided not to attend. For me, this meant I invested time, money and effort and had nothing to show for it–not even the experience.
To help avoid this kind of situation and the ill-will it generates, here are a handful of tips that will help you stay safe and confident, not just during your first photo-shoot, but in every one that follows.
BEFORE YOU SAY YES TO THE SHOOT
Search for the Photographer On-Line
Get a good solid idea of what they like to shoot. Does it overlap with what you want to do? Are there reviews, comments about this person?
If their material makes you feel uncomfortable, working with them will probably make you feel uncomfortable.
Does the photographer credit their models? Is the photographer new? Do they have much of a following? Are there reviews or comments about other models’ experience with this photographer?
Get in Contact with Former Models
Don’t just ask for references… Contact the credited models to ask for their opinions. Believe me, the other models will be glad to share their experience, good or bad.
ONCE YOU’VE DECIDED TO DO IT…
Tell Someone What You’re Doing
Tell someone you’re going to a photo-shoot. Give them all the information you have from the photographer.
Control Some of the Shoot Conditions
If shoot constraints permit, agree to meet in a public place, or even to shoot in a public place. But it’s not just location. You need to talk with the photographer to arrange what you’re going to shoot.
If you have specific boundaries, you need to communicate those too. The photographer doesn’t want you nervous and uncomfortable–that shows up in the image.
Bring an Escort or Arrange for Timed Call-Ins
Ask the photographer if you can bring someone along to act as an escort. Different photographers have different takes on the presence of an escort. Many don’t like the idea of multiple strangers in their studio with unsupervised access to their equipment. It’s always good to ask.
If an escort isn’t an option, then arrange to call someone you trust at specific times. Say, every hour, to say you’re okay and this is where you’re at…
IF YOU DECIDE NOT TO GO
If, for whatever reason, you decide you don’t want to go through with things, tell the photographer! The sooner the better! You want to minimize the photographer’s investment of time and–potentially–money invested in this.
It’s also possible that other people might need to be informed, Makeup artist, hair-stylist, and other support personnel might be investing their time and money in this, too.
If you don’t tell them that you’re not coming, they will see this at best as flakiness, at worst as an insult. And it’s possible the photographer may still have to pay the makeup-artist, hairdresser, support-personnel. The sooner you tell them, the better!
DOING YOUR HOMEWORK PAYS OFF
I recently shot with a lovely young lady. I approached her on the street, looking to fill a spot left by a last-minute cancellation. The concept I pitched was “under the covers making faces”… This involved the dubious-sounding situation of her coming to my hotel room for the shoot.
But she did her homework. She checked out my facebook page, my website, and other sources. She got a feel for who I am and what I shoot. We set a time-limit and she called a contact at specified intervals.
Because she had her safety protocols in place, she didn’t seem at all nervous. Shooting with her was fun and relaxed. I’m hoping to arrange another shoot with her the next time I’m in her city.
EVERYONE GETS FIRST TIME JITTERS
It doesn’t matter who you shoot with. If you’re new to modeling, you’re going to have to deal with nervousness and discomfort. You’re doing something new. But if this is something you really want, you’re going to have to push through it.
Discomfort shows that you’re pushing your boundaries. A lot of discomfort shows that you should probably get out of there. You have to take care of yourself. But it is respectful to make sure the others involved in this know what’s going on. Once you’re safe, of course.
For more discussion on model safety, check out:
Model Mayhem Education Page – http://www.modelmayhem.com/education