I regularly get asked for references regarding other photographers.
Because I don’t know many of my peers, I often give some common sense advice I’ve picked up over the years.
A few simple practices when considering hiring a photographer, or agreeing to work with one.
- Do they have a website? Not just a WWW, but a full site with contact info, galleries with samples of their work? A “Coming Soon”, or no page doesn’t count. In this day and age, you can’t call yourself a professional without one.
- Google their name, if there have been any sexual charges against them, you’ll find them. Make yourself aware before deciding.
- Obtain in wrirting exactly what you’re going to shoot, what the purpose of the shoot is and what promises are being made. ANYONE with a camera on their phone can submit to magazines, test for Playboy, and promise to get you seen by the right people. You need to be certain they can deliver what they are promising and more importantly, what you are paying for. I have heard stories where photographers promise to get models into magazines or even win contests, if hired. This is illegal. Wikipedia says the following on the subject: Misrepresentation is a contract law concept. It means a false statement of fact made by one party to another party, which has the effect of inducing that party into the contract. For example, under certain circumstances, false statements or promises made by a seller of goods regarding the quality or nature of the product that the seller has may constitute misrepresentation. A finding of misrepresentation allows for a remedy of rescission and sometimes damages depending on the type of misrepresentation. If you feel, you’ve been a victim of this, obtain legal advice.
- Be a big girl. If a photographer asks to see nude pics of you before shooting, use your head. Unless you are doing a nude shoot, there is no reason for it.
- If you are unsure, or even want to take a chaperone with you, do so. RUN from any photographer that doesn’t allow it.
- Don’t be fooled by online testimonials. Contact the models the photographer has worked with and talk to them personally. Even ask them how the photographer stacks up to their peers. You might find yourself a better one!
- Don’t be afraid to leave. Walk away from the shoot if you feel compromised in any way.
- Be careful of lofty promises, hard sales, and PLEASE, follow your gut. Most models I have spoken with which have had bad experiences all share the same feeling of, “I should have listened to my gut”
- SHARE! If a photographer steps out of line, and by this I mean crosses the boundaries of your rights. Make it known. We are all in this together and are all responsible to ensure we maintain the credibility of our professions. We have a moral obligation to each other to prevent, this behavior from continuing.
- Write a review about your experience. Good or bad. This way others can see what to expect. Trends will show after a while. Don’t let the photographer write the review for you – if offered, while difficult to do, decline it. Don’t be a tool. Write your own.
- Unless a photographer is paying you for exclusivity, it is unprofessional for them to ask, or expect you NOT to work with other photographers. If you want to work with a photographer but are hesitant because a prior one asked you not to, request the new photographer to contact the last one asking why? This will certainly prevent them from acting this way again.
- If you have SERIOUS concerns, please feel free to contact me for advice. I’ve been at this for a while now and might be able to help. Please keep in mind, I get numerous emails per day so expect some delayed responses.
This was a quick list off the top of my head. If you have other ideas, please feel free to comment below.
Here’s another post I wrote to help fitness models (And photographers as well) - I Feel Sorry for Fitness Models Today.
Since I wrote this, Stacy Rinella, Oxygen’s Editor-In-Chief had followed up with an article in Oxygen referencing this post. You can read her Editor’s letter here.
This post is for everyone’s well-being – It’s in all our best interests. Share it on Facebook, Tweet it, forward it to models and photographers you may know. Let’s help make our community a safe and reputable one – It’s our moral obligation to do so.