Modeling Safety and Photographers Who Play By The Rules
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
There are many who are attracted to either side of the lens - here's how both can stay safe.
When I finally filled my first 4TB hard drive with photos from modeling portfolio and fashion industry gigs, I thought back on all the editing, the time spent shooting the session, the sore shoulders, the late nights, and the discovery of what that person needed (or when my needs were being discussed). Those time consuming memories built my photography experience in Colorado and beyond. I've been a photographer for over half my life and surmounted some difficult hurdles which I have encountered on various shoots.
"Model safety is a huge deal. The amount of horror stories I've heard make me cringe when thinking of someone representing themselves as a credible photographer."
There are many photographers, or rather, GWCs (guy with a camera). A GWC is an individual who purchases a camera for the sake of shooting models as an excuse to see young ladies or males in various states of undress. The composition and art form are not present. Many young people have experienced predatory messages on social media or that 'friend of a friend' who can help with their modeling aspirations. These are people who should be avoided at all costs. The quickest way a young model can research a photographer is to look up their website. Is this a credible site? Are there links to contact them as well as a valid phone number or address? Are the portfolio items only sexualizing the subject? There are many photographers who shoot artistic nude and implied images - it should be easy to tell the difference in how the photograph (and model) are formed in an artistic setting. Another valuable tool for young folks trying to get involved with the right community are viable social media channels. If the photographer has a decent presence on the social media sites they use to promote their work, I can guarantee one could easily find some sort of review presence from their peers and fans.
A reputable photographer would never bat an eye at hearing about the chaperone who will be tagging along. I often suggest someone bring a chaperone when shooting with first time clients. Why? Simple - it's an objective party who can also offer assistance for wardrobe changes, water breaks, comfort, etc. There is absolutely NO reason a photographer should deny any form of chaperone. It is also the responsibility of the model to choose appropriately. Having a demeaning boyfriend on the shoot who wants to direct or snicker isn't ideal for the creation of great art.
In the last month I have shot sessions in Buena Vista, Colorado Springs, Greeley, Ault, Windsor, Denver, Fort Collins, and Wellington. Each of these sessions went off without a hiccup. I was delighted to meet various people from different walks of life who all were excited about what I could accomplish for their vision. Respect on both sides of the lens is key. Communication is the best way everyone can stay safe and to ensure everyone's needs and preferences are being met.
Stay safe, Colorado.