This is a repost from a blog post I put up over a year ago on my old site, yet I still think it will always be relevant.
I saw a news article a while back about a young lady in France, who had been assaulted whilst on a modelling photo shoot. It was sickening in every sense of the word. The man taking the photos, had told the girl that it was a simple fashion shoot. Shortly after the woman arrived at his studio, he then proclaimed that it was a topless shoot. The young lady was adamant that there was no prior discussion to this being the case and refused to go along with the shoot all together. At that point the man started to turn aggressive towards the lady. As the lady went to collect her stuff and leave, she was assaulted. She was seriously beaten and knocked unconscious. Many hours later when she awoke, she found herself in an ally way in a unfamiliar town. Thankfully she was able to find help and was rushed to the nearest hospital to be looked after. After talking to the police as to what had happened, she was asked by a nurse if they should contact anyone on her behalf. She then realised that no one had known about her photo shoot at all, not her parents, not even her friends. No one would have noticed her missing or gone for any length of time, until it could have been too late to possible have done something. She had a lucky a escape, considering what could have happened.
This article led me to thinking about the safety precautions that all models and photographers alike should really follow religiously, to ensure the wellbeing and safety for both parties. Especially if you both do not know each other very well.
I have detailed the things I have thought of, and things that I have picked up whilst undertaking photo shoots with my models. I'm sure there are lots of precautions but I chosen the best possible ones to stay safe.
- If you plan on going to a shoot alone, tell some one where you are going. Make sure that person has detailed instructions as to where the job is, like the full address and any telephone numbers you may have. Have your phone close to hand just in case of emergencies.
- Give the person a time of roughly when you aim to be finished and tell them you will contact them the second it's finished and your on the way home. If they don't hear from you, they are to try and contact you.
- If you are meeting a photographer for the first time, get someone to come along to the shoot with you. A parent, partner, friend, sibling. There is safety in numbers. Plus extra pair of hands can be really helpful to the photographer.
- If you are unsure of the photographer always seek direct references from previous models they have worked with. The modelling community is a very well connected and they will offer true honest references if you ask.
- Make a clear plan for the shoot, make sure all details are covered before you arrive for the shoot. discuss the levels of which you will work to. If you asked to do anything else then what was discussed like art nude, topless etc, then don't do it. Nor do not put up with someone who constantly tries to persuade you into doing it. This person is not a photographer, they are a chancer and up to something dodgy in my opinion.
- If you asked to do something that you are uncomfortable with, or not happy to do, then you are well within your rights to decline to do it. It doesn't matter if you are being paid to be there or not, if you don't feel comfortable doing something, don't do it.
- If at any point of a shoot, you refuse to do anything the person has asked and they respond in either a threatening or intimidating manner, be polite and tell them you are calling an end to the shoot, and that you are not there to be treated in such a way, then grab your stuff and leave.
Those are some of the tips I have thought of, and learnt from a selection of models I have worked with, over my time as a photographer. Unfortunately there are people in this world that do have ulterior motives, and aren't genuine photographers, thankfully it is only a small percentage. Thankfully the majority of the photographers out there are probably the friendliest, funniest, kind hearted, kookiest, understanding people you will ever meet.
Any genuine photographer worth their weight in gold will understand the points above and provide you with a warm, friendly, and most of all safe environment to work in. They should all be aiming to make this their number one goal. As reputations mean everything to us.
Feel free to share this as many times over as you wish to anyone that you may think could be helpful to. I never want to read another story like the one I read at the start of this post.
Be smart guys and gals and stay safe.