Things to Think About Before You Shoot Posted on Tuesday 23rd of February 2016
Written by 165429
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Some may believe that all photographers are over the hill gentlemen in big rain coats, and only there for one thing, and one thing only. If you get passed this generalisation of all the sites, you will find there is both female and male photographers, of all ages on here, from all walks of life. All with different photographic experience, and all with different approaches to shoots, interactions and the such. The same as females are not the only models, and there are different levels to the shoots available and published.
Stepping back a bit, to 'Before you say yes to a shoot' it's important you have done your homework on the photographer and what is to be expected for everyone involved before the shoot day. Make it clear, and agree on it. That includes the shoot levels or style, location or studio, pay or tfp, travelling etc.
Nothing however, can replace common sense, and being aware of your own safety on shoot, or anywhere else for that matter. Every form available of checking out who you are working with does have its limitations, as well as their positives. That's why it's important to take a more rounded approach to the shoot offer, and to the shoot day itself. Public references? Great, now find some private references. Private references? Again, also great, but it's only the opinion of those that have worked with that person, at that time. Works both ways, for both models and photographers. Not everyone will have the same experience with that person. Verified? Then the person has provided Madcow Models with a photograph / upload of one form of photographic I.D, and a selfie image that matches the said I.D. They can also be verified by shooting with someone who has been verified. Therefore reducing the chances of the profile being a fake, and showing they are a real person.
So, onto the shoot day. All packed and ready to go. So, what can you do to try make yourself safer?
Let someone know where you are going.
You don't need to go into the ins and outs of what you are shooting or wearing. Letting a friend or family member know that you have a shoot, and the rough area of where you are travelling to, can make you feel a bit more comfortable. It gives you the chance to check in with someone when you have arrived, or on breaks on the shoot, or when travelling home.
Plan your journey.
Make the day and shoot less stressful for yourself, and plan the journey in advance so you know where you are going. Check with the photographer the address of where you will be shooting if it is not your own home. Can you get there and back easily on public transport, or can you drive there? Is there trains / buses at the time of day you will be travelling? Have you found a local taxi number for where you are travelling to, in case the photographer can't pick you up for any reason?
If you need to stay overnight, also try booking a hotel in advance, not only to know you have somewhere to go after the shoot, but to save money and time too.
Take a mobile phone with you.
Sounds silly writing that given it's 2016, but make sure you do have a mobile phone with you, and that it is fully charged before you leave for the shoot. Pay as you go? Make sure you have enough credit. If you're travelling far, or doing a tour, don't forget your phone charger. Make sure you have a contact number for the photographers you will be working with, as well as any hotels you will be staying in.
Agree shoot details before the day.
It's mentioned over and over again, but make sure your shoot, levels etc are discussed before the shoot day, and that everyone is happy. Do not feel pressurised to go past the agreed shoot or levels on any shoot, ever.
Considering having someone to drop you off.
Now, I'm, not getting into the chaperone debate. There's plenty of arguments that can be found elsewhere for and against chaperones, from both the models and photographers perspectives. As a rule of thumb, chaperones should be discussed before any shoot, or clearly mentioned your for / against position in your profile notes.
However, there is nothing stopping someone dropping you off / collecting you from a shoot. Not staying on the shoot, but someone to travel with or drive you there and back. Ok, the person will need to find a way to occupy themselves, somewhere other than the shot for the shoot duration. But, in my opinion, there is no reason for anyone to say you have to travel alone, especially if they aren't on set / in the studio.
Be prepared to say no.
In the ideal world, the word no would never have to be used. Although it's far better in the long run, to say a firm, no thank you, than to do anything in a shoot which you may feel uncomfortable with, forced into, higher than your preferred levels, or you could regret at a later point. If at any point, you aren't comfortable, then simply say no. If it's outside the agreed shoot plans, and pushing too far, say no. Even if the shoot is within the agreed pre-shoot communications, but something they are doing makes you feel uncomfortable - again say so.
Know what to expect on shoot.
Especially if it's your first shoot. So basic rule of thumb here - no, no one has to do anything other than model on a shoot. No 'extras', 'favours' or illicit contact has to take place. Doesn't matter who the shoot is with, how much they are paying, or how swanky the venue. Touching, is also a big no no. Some debate over whether to move hairs or not, to not break the models' pose. But otherwise, no. A model is quite capable of moving their own clothes, doing their own make-up either themselves or with an mua, and certainly does not need someone to move their legs / arms for them to show them how to pose. You should expect some form of privacy to get changed in between sets, and most certainly no one should be trying to record you getting changed, or still shooting when you're lingerie needs adjusting to maintain any modesty needed.
Expect to take your parent / guardian with you to every shoot until you are 18. They will probably be also asked to sign a consent form for the photoshoot. This is not just for the safety of the model, it can also help to safeguard the photographer about any issues that may arise at a later point.
Under 18's should not be expected or asked to shoot any adult level work.
Shooting adult content?
Make sure it is very clear before the shoot day, what adult levels you are shooting, and what will be expected of you. Find out who the content is being made for, and where it will be published, or available to view / buy. If there are other adult performers involved, find out who they are, check out their references too, as well as the photographer. Find out whether the content is being shot with or without any protection, and if any health checks are required or have been undertaken by the other parties before the day. Also check the laws in the country where you will be shooting, for example spanking is currently banned by the British Board of Film Censors for video-on-demand and dvd porn shot within the U.K.
Very obvious, but drinking doesn't just effect your judgements, but also your ability to pose and emote as well as what you can when you're sober. Drinking the night before a shoot can also effect the outcome of the shoot, especially if you turn up still reeling from your big night out. In summary, stay sober whenever it's a shoot day, plenty of other days to get merry on.
Meet in a public place.
This will depend on the shoot details and whether there is a studio or location involved. Although you would (or should have) done your research by checking public and private references, their portfolios, any verification, the fact is you still have not met this person before.
Studios are not so problematic, in that real studios (not curtains set up in a spare bedroom..) are in a fixed place, with an address and contact number you can pass onto a friend. However, if you find your first shoot with someone being on location, I would recommend meeting in a more public place, like the train station first, before continuing onto your chosen shoot place. Perhaps it's just me, but if you suggest our first shoot is to be in the woods that look like Blair Witch project, then yes I would be suggesting to meet somewhere more public first, or I would reserve the right to change my usual chaperone / travelling companion policy.
Consider a personal alarm.
These are not crime proof, and won't deter everyone. They are certainly not just recommended for shoots, but anytime travelling alone (unless you have some kick ass karate moves hidden in your repertoire...). Most personal alarms are now small and discreet, and can be tied onto your handbag, with some even been worn in the same way as watches. The sound is typically as loud as a house alarm, so if triggered, should draw people to your general direction. With personal alarms starting from less than two pounds in price on Amazon, it's hardly dipping into your pockets for a little extra piece of mind.
Lastly, your gut instinct.
Everyone will have different ideas of what they will and won't be comfortable with on a shoot, or in real life. Models work different levels, and some are perhaps more comfortable with some forms of banter that may arise, or situations than others. Just because one person has a great shoot, doesn't mean all will.
If you're not comfortable, say so. If something doesn't feel right, for whatever reason, before or during a shoot, then no one is twisting your arm to continue shooting. Any messages that start to edge on the creepy side can be reported to the site admin. If something happens on the shoot day, and everyone hopes it doesn't, then you can stop the shoot. You may not walk out with the full pay or images, but then you have to debate what is more important in the long run. Issues on shoot (other than a photographer telling bad jokes!) can also be reported to site admin.
Hopefully, this is all common sense, and that no one reading this, should ever need this advice. Far better to read and ponder if only for a couple of minutes, than to walk around with rose tinted glasses in my opinion.