(Opinion) 10 Safety Tips (for models) From a Nude Art Photographer
10 Safety Tips (For Models) From an Experienced Nude Art Photographer
This could be considered part 2 to my article, Before Your First Nude Shoot.
It breaks my heart every time a model tells me about bad experiences like the ones below. This advice comes from an experienced nude art photographer aware of much of the unfortunate underbelly of this industry. This advice is for models who are concerned about their safety, their reputation, of being exploited, manipulated, or taken advantage of, during photo shoots – especially as it pertains to issues of nudity.
1. Know your boundaries (and stick to them)!! Far and away, this is the most important piece of advice I can give you!
In speaking with models over the years, by far one of the most common bad experiences they have is that they feel pressured during some shoots to do more revealing photos than discussed or planned. As such, it is important to know – in detail – before any shoot – what you are comfortable with in terms of nudity.
But you’re just going for a dress shoot, this shouldn’t be an issue, right? Wrong! What do you do if you arrive on set and the dress is see-through, or it is suggested that it would look very “high-fashion” to shoot this fancy dress topless? What if the photographer is a well-connected “big name”? Maybe there’s a whole team involved (hair, make up, dress maker, assistants) all standing around waiting for you to put this see-through thing on, and you feel a lot of pressure to go through with it… Know your boundaries and stick to them!
2. Beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing – such as the webcam-pimps and other unsavoury characters. Know their tricks. Know your boundaries.
There are a lot more of these out there than you probably care to know about, and you may be surprised at the side businesses of some photographers with relatively innocuous portfolios. Some people will use shoots as a way of getting their foot in the door to convince models to do other, non-agreed upon, kinds of shoots/activities. It is well researched phenomena that if you get someone to agree to something (nice weather today, don’t you think?), the person is more likely to agree to the next request, and on and on. You agree to a fashion shoot, next thing you know they are requesting implied nudes, partial nudes, nudes, … and if you really want to make some money…. Think you are immune to that kind of trick? Think again!
For some reason, these scumbags aren’t usually upfront about their connections to the porn industry, webcam sites, or escort agencies on their facebook pages, or when you first meet them. Somehow this information only comes out once you’re in the middle of a shoot and you’ve already invested a bunch of time and energy in to the endeavor, and they’ve convinced you they are really nice guys with your best interests at heart. They are, in short, manipulative scumbags. (Likewise, the escort agencies fronting as modeling agencies).
Did I mention, that you should know your boundaries before the shoot begins (and stick to them)?
3. You should never need to say ‘no’ more than once! In fact, you should not really need to say no even once at a shoot. It is not ok for a photographer to “forget” to mention they were looking to take implied, topless, or nude photos when planning the shoot with you. You should be given time (and not a few minutes the day of the shoot) to consider if it is something you want to do. A segue to #4…
4. Never let someone talk you in to shooting nudes!
Do nudes with someone because a) you want to do nudes, b) because you love the photographer’s nude photos, and c) only after thoughtful consideration
(see my article: Before Your First Nude Shoot).
5. Do not decide to shoot nudes impulsively. These photos could stick around and could haunt you if done carelessly or with the wrong photographer.
6. Anyone who tries to tell you that “you need nudes in your portfolio to be successful” is full of s–t. It’s simply not true.
Like a politician who makes up foreign policy based on a bunch of bs instead of facts, a photographer who is trying to convince you that you won’t succeed in the modeling world without nudes in your portfolio is trying to manipulate you, is unethical, disrespectful, and a form of predator.
Indeed, nudes in your portfolio are as likely to hurt your modelling career as they are to help you. Nudes with a C-rated creep “fauxtographer” will almost certainly hurt, if not kill, a legit modeling career (that is, unless you are looking for a career posing for this market).
So, how do you know which photographers are just pervy creeps? For starters, pretty much anyone who would tell you that you need nudes in your portfolio to be successful.
7. Make a contract you are comfortable with, which ensures your boundaries will be respected. Don’t count on the photographer providing a contract that will give you peace of mind. Know what you need in your contracts for you to be comfortable. This is not a game of trust. You shouldn’t feel like you are gambling on the photographer’s good character. Any respectful, upfront, photographer will put their promises in writing.
8. Avoid nudes with certain photographers:
- Ones who won’t sign your contract.
- Ones who won’t respect that it is probably a big decision for you. This lack of respect may come out in a number of ways – they won’t meet you ahead of time, they won’t accommodate reasonable requests, they try to coerce or rush you…
Also, be cautious of photographers who don’t have nudes in their portfolio. Can they give you a good reason why they want to shoot you nude when it’s not a genre they seem to be involved in (seems fishy)?
9. In my opinion, you should know the difference between nude art and porn before agreeing to shoot nude. There is a world of difference. If you don’t know the difference, or can’t tell them apart, you are probably not ready to shoot nudes! To be sure you don’t regret your decision, do some homework (see this article for starters: Do You Know The Difference Between Nude Art and Porn?).
10. Imposters are way more common than you would think. Be cautious.
People will try to trick you to send them nude photos, or to trick you in to posing nude for them.
I have discovered a bunch of people claiming to be me in the last few years! I can only assume there are probably a bunch more I’ve not learned about. It is insane that this happens!! And it’s insane that you need to watch out for this – but you do!
How do you avoid this?
– Check references! Always! Very few models do this. You should! You really should!
– Fact check a little. For example, a look at my website and facebook page will readily tell you a few things: Blue Muse Fine Art is based out of Edmonton, not LA (like one of my imposters – who now has at least one legal complaint against him). Blue Muse Fine Art is male, unlike my kijiji imposter (who is at least pretending to be female – but probably isn’t). “Blue Muse” is one person, not a team or an agency…
– If nothing else… do the pictures on the back of the camera at the start of the shoot look like the photos you’re expecting? (What’s that? The photographer does not want to show you the photos as you go? Are you kidding? Run!)
Good nude art is awesome! It is expressive in ways no other genres can rival. It can be amazing to be a part of it. Unfortunately, as a genre, it probably has a higher than average ratio of predators and exploiters looking to take advantage of your dreams. Good news is if 1) you know your boundaries, 2) you stick to your boundaries, 3) you check references, and 4) you are thoughtful about your decision to become involved in nude art, you are much more likely to have a good experience.