Models, this week I have a bit of a PSA for you. You know when you’re watching a horror movie, and that dumb girl character keeps doing exactly the opposite of a sensible thing? Don’t go towards the noise, you try to tell her. Don’t turn around. Run away! Of course, they never do listen.
Sometimes life is a little bit like that too. If I could see you, I’d be warning you not to reply to that email. Not to agree to meet that shady photographer. Not to get in his car when he says the location has changed…
Here are the top warning signs you should be looking out for before and during a shoot to make sure that you are always safe.
1. They aren’t a real photographer
No portfolio, no experience… this creep might not even have a camera. If you’re thinking this sounds a bit far-fetched, believe me: I’ve had models I know who got approached by someone who wanted a nude photoshoot, but turned out not to be a photographer at all - just someone who wanted to see them naked. Thankfully, they checked out his background and weren’t fooled.
2. They have bad reviews
If a lot of different models are going around saying that this guy makes them uncomfortable, pushes them too far, or doesn’t get great shots, it’s a warning sign. Don’t ignore it.
3. They have a bad portfolio
Aside from anything else, if you hate their portfolio, it’s not worth the effort. Plus, if their whole portfolio is nudes and you only do fully clothed work, you can probably already sense that they will be pressuring you to get naked. Politely decline.
4. The location is very remote
It’s not always a flag that you’re going to be in danger, but it is something to think about. In a remote location shoot, you might want to bring along a friend or manager - even your agent. Someone you can trust to keep you safe.
5. They change the rules on the day
Changing the location, the style of the shoot, or the wardrobe is not a good start on the day of the shoot. Don’t get into someone’s car alone to be driven elsewhere, and certainly make sure someone from home knows where you are at all times. If you are uncomfortable, voice your concerns, and pull out of the shoot if you have to.
6. They keep pushing
If the photographer keeps nagging you to do something you have already said you won’t, it’s time to pull out. Wish them look with finding someone who will fit their needs better.
7. They insist you come alone
If you’re in the habit of having a chaperone, there should never be a problem with that. Why would there be? Even in a confidential situation, your chaperone can sign the same non-disclosure agreement. If someone insists you come alone, tell them you aren’t coming at all.
8. Their quirky behaviour oversteps the mark
There’s one well-known photographer who is said to take his own clothes off in order to persuade the models to do the same, against their wishes. That’s not quirky. That’s bullying, sexually aggressive, and uncomfortable for everyone. That’s when it’s time to walk out - and since you’re not in a remote area, people know where you are, and you have your own transport or know the public transport options, you’ll be safe to do so.
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