Internet modelling is normally safe. The VAST majority of photographers are non-creepy, perfectly willing to make you a cuppa, have a laugh, and interact with models as adults working in a professional environment. Then again, occasionally photographers are none of the above and it can badly wrong. Very quickly. To avoid this as much as humanly possible (hopefully, it'll never happen), some of the below might be useful.
(The information below was originally posted in a different thread and has been copy pasted. Each comment is attributed to the appropriate member. Advice sometimes comes from multiple different posts. Individual circumstance may make not all of this necessary all of the time; but some of it will be necessary almost all of the time.)
Always do research on your photographer.
Everyone knows that you can look at reviews within a profile, but sometimes they may not tell the whole story. A model may leave a good review for various reasons, including not wanting bad feed back in return. Try to contact the models by PM who have left feedback to see what they REALLY think about the photographer. They may tell you different in PMs.
Go with you gut instinct.
Some people and their profiles or their messages are sometimes 'not quite right', and an alarm bell starts to ring in your head. This is a 'gut feeling' and should NOT be ignored. Only shoot with those who you are 100% happy with.
Find out where you are shooting.
Find out the exact location and print it off from google maps. Tell people where it is going to be and give them the map so they know. Dont deviate from this location without telling someone. Tell them when you expect it to end.
Keep your phone with you.
Always keep your phone with you, make sure its fully charged and has credit, just in case you need to make a call.
30 minute life line.
If your shoot is at 2pm, then get someone to ring you 30 minutes or so into the shoot. You can use this call as an excuse to leave if you are not totally comfortable with your surroundings. Answer the call and either say that the shoot is going well and your ok, or that the caller has told you that your budgie is ill (or something similar) and you need to leave now, and that you are sorry. Its quite hard to make excuses when your not happy with a shoot, but this can be your get out clause.
Ok, you don't have to use your personal account, but a modelling one. That way you can get a little more of an idea of what the person is like. You can see them on a more personal level You can see what kind of posts they make. If they make rude remarks about their photos then it's not a very professional attitude to have. Be aware though that they can't help what they friends say (I offered a TF shoot and my friend asked if it meant Tits and Fanny. He has now been deleted as it may give the wrong impression). Keep correspondence here on PureStorm though, at least until you are quite happy with them.
Always have enough cash with you for a taxi and the number of a licensed one local to where the shoot is being held. That means you can leave without having to rely on the photographer for a lift.
Try and make deals with your local studios. That way if a photographer with no references contacts you, you can ask for the shoot to be held there where the studio owner will keep an eye on you.
If a model is unsure of working with anyone, especially if they are asking for a location shoot then ask them if they will be happy working with you in a studio first.
Also remember just because someone doesn't have references it doesn't mean they are bad people. I have worked with a few people who have had no references what so ever but they generally have other styles of pictures non-model related and they are usually very open and honest about their lack of experience and everyone has to start somewhere right?
Be careful with sudden location changes! When meeting the photographer and he just out of the blue says ` we are not shooting at a studio after all, just get in my car, I have this great little location in a derelict building in the middle of nowhere an hours drive away` and you dont feel safe and have a bad feeling in your gut, you have the right to cancel the shoot. Again, I know that 99% of people are genuine, but it is better to be careful than sorry.
-checking a photographer out before the shoot
-ALWAYS tell someone where I am going to be.
-make sure i regularly check in with said person so they know when to start worrying if something has gone wrong.
-ALWAYS have phone, topped up and ready.
- if for whatever reason I feel uncomfortable I get out of their ASAP (follow my gut instinct 100%)
- always make sure I have other means of transport and don't have to rely on the photographer.
Great thread - I would urge models to contact models directly instead of relying on references on the profile. There is a culture of 'having' to leave positive feedbacks if you want to avoid retaliatory feedback and being labelled as a troublemaker. Also keep a schedule at home with addresses of shoots etc in it, so that whoever you live with can check it to see where you are.
I also agree to be wary of sudden location changes.
I don't do chaperones - ever (except for mum when it's an under 18 ), and I often pick up models I've never met and drive them off into the wilderness to model nude but:
- I always tell models to text my name and car registration number to a friend before they get into it;
- I offer to show them my driving licence so they can check I'm who I say I am (I'm always going to check the model is 18 from their driving licence/passport, and take a snap of them holding it - seems only fair to do the same in return).
- I always suggest they check some references beforehand.
- When you are arranging a shoot, put the photographer's (or model's) name into Google, and look for examples of their work to see if they match their portfolio on Purestorm
As Vas says, contact models directly - the feedback system is inherently flawed
- because of the fear of negative consequences,
- because there is a (significant?) minority here - both models and photographers - who regard sexual contact as part of the deal - and hence leave each other positive references.
I think it is important that models message prolific/professional models in their area to see who they would not recommend. I have personally found this very useful.
When I am picked up by a photographer, or when I get to the studio/location, I call someone to let them know I got there safely. Beforehand I will have let them know where I'm going to be and who with. Later on, if there's a natural break in the shoot, I'll give that person a text to let them know how things are going. Once I'm on the train back home, I'll call them again to let them know I'm on my way and safe. I don't ask permission to do this. I'm an adult and if I want to let someone know where I am and how the shoot is going, I will do. I just tell the photographer I will be doing it. Or I just do it without mentioning it. I've never met opposition from a photographer yet. If I did, I'd stand my ground and do it - and to me, that would be an alarm bell. Raise enough of a fuss and I'll leave. No arguments.
New models are probably better off not specifying topless and nude levels on their profile until they have been here a while. These levels attract a lot of GWCs. Keep your profile notes looking professional (spell check) and avoid comments like "I am willing to try anything" as this may be misinterpreted. Don't cut and paste comments from your Facebook page as some model profiles do read a bit like what you may find on a dating site. Having a model experience level of "No experience" is likely to attract a lot more problem photographers than "Experienced".
Always use PMs on Purestorm to arrange shoots rather than Email or MSN/webcams. This will avoid you getting lots of dodgy requests from dodgy togs. If someone asks you to contact them by Email/MSN then don't bother shooting with them. If you want to leave a photographer bad feedback there needs to be proof that the shoot was booked via Private Messages on Purestorm. Replying to messages on Purestorm does not use up any of your message quota, so there is no reason not to use it to arrange shoots. Not using PMs to arrange a shoot leaves you more open to bad behaviour from photographers.
Work with photographers who have plenty of references that you can check by contacting the models they have worked with. I have heard new models complain of bad experienced after working with photographers from sites like StarNow. Best to stick with sites such as Purestorm and Net-Model where you can check references properly. If you upgrade to Silver Membership then you will have a much larger daily quota of PMs. If you have a free account then don't rush to book lots of shoots without checking references first.
Don't assume that a professional photographer will act professionally. Check references for everyone. Some of the worst instances I have heard involve new models doing TF shoots with "professional" photographers.
A shoot in a studio where the studio owner will be present in addition to the photographer should be relatively safe. As a new model, if you are going to some remote location then consider bringing someone else along to the shoot.
In general, most of the better more experienced photographers dislike chaperones. If you do want to bring someone along to a shoot, don't suggest your boyfriend (manager) or mother. A female friend is likely to be more acceptable, especially if they also model.
If you have any doubts, get a landline home telephone contact number for the photographer as well as a mobile telephone number. If they are legit then they should have no problem contacting them at home. Some photographers do shoot models on a covert basis because their wife/girlfriends do not approve. The reason they do not approve maybe because the photographer can't be trusted with other women. Avoid shoots which have to be arranged surreptitiously.
Contact other, more experienced models in your area. They can advise you who to work with and who to avoid.
If you do have a bad experience then report it and leave the appropriate feedback so other models do not suffer the same.
One of the common training aids to police officers is the colour conditioning. This is nothing to do with hair dye, but is a useful description of a person's state of mind in relation to safety. It goes something like this.
Condition White: Thumb up bum, brain in neutral. Daydreaming, not concentrating on anything at all.
Condition Yellow: Relaxed but alert. Calm, normal.
Condition orange: Reacting to a specific potential threat, planning, whether it's just crossing the road or looking for a weapon.
Condition Red: You're fighting, or about to. Prepared for imminent attack.
OK, I post this because I think it reflects this thread. Most people drift along in condition white. Not a Problem for most, unless they are about to become a victim, which is surprisingly rare. A police officer's normal state on duty should. be condition yellow. It's not a problem, it's not stressful, it's not even taxing. It just requires upping the attention levels a little.
Off site links to other useful advice
A great post by Madame Bink about model safety: http://madamebink.co.uk/?p=450
What is due diligence in internet modelling?: http://www.modelinsider.com/content/articles/duediligence
The entire modelbitch.blogspot.com site, but particularly the following articles:
Why do I keep having bad experiences?: http://modelbitch.blogspot.com/2011/05/guest-post-why-do-i-keep-having-bad.html
Should I have a chaperone?: http://modelbitch.blogspot.com/2011/04/should-i-have-chaperone.html
When to leave a shoot: http://modelbitch.blogspot.com/2011/05/when-to-leave-shoot.html
ONE MORE POST FROM ME
PLEASE POST ON THIS THREAD IF...
- You have a useful resource to share that is relevant to model safety
- You have your advice to offer that is, again, relevant to model safety
PLEASE DO NOT POST ON THIS THREAD IF...
- You want to say "great idea" - let's keep it a fairly easy to use directory
- You think I or any of the quoted people are idiots and the offered advice is ridiculous, and wish to talk about this
- You wish to share an experience positive or negative
- You have something that you think *might* be relevant here, but you're not sure
- You like jaffa cakes
This is a very good thread, thank you Tansy for starting it. I would like to add the following.
Most models are unwilling to point their finger at a particular photographer if he - usually a he - has behaved in an untoward manner. Sometimes it is just the word of the model against that of the photographer and unless something quite extreme has happened it is very difficult to report things that can be upsetting, from groping to being short changed. So I would advise to do what a handful of models has started doing. On your profile make a list of all the photographers you have worked with, then next to the one you would like to flag up as being somewhat 'difficult' for whatever reason put the sentence, in brackets, "please contact me for a reference if you are considering any work with him". It is a warning to other models that they really need to check the photographer's references without relying only on the feedback that is publicly given on this site and which is always positive, regardless of what actually happened. It is a very safe way of doing it, you cannot be accused of slandering anyone, it is perfectly reasonable and legal to do so and you will be alerting other models of the fact that something needs to be discussed in private with you before any arrangement is finalised.
I have one addition - avoid alcohol on a shoot. This may sound simple, but I have heard first hand several stories of models being offered a glass of wine (which can be tempting to accept particularly if you are nervous), which has led to 2 and then 3 and then images which have been later regretted. . We all know that alcohol lowers inhibitions and you might find yourself more easily coerced into higher levels of work, or in a more vulnerable position with a less than respectable character. It's an easy and simple piece of advice to follow, and might seem like a no-brainer, but I still thought it deserved a mention.