Most photographers are lovely. We will welcome you into our place of shooting, make you cups of tea & send you on your way feeling fabulous about yourself. However, there are inevitably one or two guys with cameras out there who may not have the best intentions, so just because someone is offering you free pictures, or even paying you, don’t forget to follow basic safety rules.
1) Check someone out before shooting. Google them & get a reference from someone they’ve shot. It only takes five minutes.
2) Always let someone know where you are. Let the photographer know you have to check in from time to time.
3) Be very wary of offers that seem too good to be true. If you’re stopped in the street & offered a free shoot, check the small print; often the shoot is free but you have to pay for any photos you want from it.
4) No good agency charges models to join. Ever.
5) Agree before the shoot what level you’re comfortable shooting to. Don’t be shy about saying no very firmly if someone tries to push you beyond your limits.
6) If you feel uncomfortable, say so. Some photographers are better at communicating than others, & a quick explanation can help enormously.
7) Model Releases. If a photographer is paying you for a shoot, he’ll probably be planning on using the pictures somewhere. With all artistic works, the creator owns copyright, so if you’d like the use of the photos to be restricted, get it in writing beforehand. Agree this before the shoot, don’t just turn up with a list of conditions you hadn’t previously mentioned & expect the photographer to be happy to sign it.
A note about chaperones: It seems an obvious thing to do (to bring one), but the truth is I don’t work well with someone there who’s not part of the shoot. I need to focus on you, & it’s hard-wired into me not to ignore people so they end up distracting both of us. Plus it’s not usual to take someone to work with you. I’d suggest taking the above steps instead, & if you’re really worried, let someone drop you off & meet the photographer at the beginning. I also always have a make-up artist on set. If you really feel so concerned about a particular shoot that you feel like you need a chaperone, maybe you shouldn’t be accepting that shoot.
If all this sounds alarming, don’t worry, most of you will sail through your modelling careers without a hitch, but it’s always better to take precautions.