Model safety, not bringing a stooge

Now that the title got your attention 🙂 This pertains more to independent freelance models as opposed to commercial / agency models but the process is the same when it comes to safety and diligence. In the commercial or fashion world where the models are booked through agencies, it’s up to the agency to do the vetting of any prospective client and negotiate the terms and usage of the shoot. It’s called common sense and diligence. A freelance / nude model has to do the same thing.

Sometimes when young ladies first start out with freelance or nude modeling, their first reaction is to insist on bringing an escort or chaperone to the shoot to ensure their safety. From a layman’s standpoint, it makes sense doesn’t it? They are shooting with a photographer they don’t really know, and they are taking precautions to remain safe. Right? Rubbish! I will explain why it’s the lazy and detrimental approach. The best way to check someone’s credibility is to look at their work first. Looking at their work and how it presents, logic should prevail and tell you a lot about that photographer. Also how they conduct themselves during the communication / messaging process. Seeing who they have worked with, and checking references if you still aren’t sure never hurts.

You should communicate clearly about the terms of the shoot, compensation or photos provided, locations and time frames of the shoot as well as time frame of image delivery if applicable. Be friendly but stay on point and on topic. Telling someone close to you where you will be and having the photographer’s information is a wise move. Now I will get into why escorts and boyfriends being brought to the shoot are not the solution, and will cost you opportunities. Many of the better photographers don’t put up with it, because they know the potential pitfalls.

-You can verify me. If you don’t feel safe shooting with me, save us both a headache and stay home.

-We cannot verify your escort who is brought into our home or commercial studios. Is he a thief, of a jealous violent thug? Drama we don’t need.

-It doubles the risk of a cancellation if the escort cannot make it.

-They really don’t want to be there, and the model can become occupied with entertaining them or having to leave to accommodate them.

-Even if a female escort, I’ve had some who don’t know when to shut up. It’s my set. Their opinions aren’t needed unless I ask. Some don’t understand that lol.

-Jealous boyfriends etc. can ruin the mood of the shoot, and really prevent the model (especially an inexperienced model) from forming a good working bond with the photographer.

-Those outside the industry don’t know how to behave on set. Behavior or vibes can ruin the creative process of the shoot.

-I don’t need the model worrying about their boyfriend or looking to them for approval as I direct them. Leave your insecure relationship issues at home, this is my time you are wasting with this crap. Would you want me arguing or paying attention to my girlfriend when I am supposed to be photographing you? You get the point.

Here is a good article written by an experienced traveling model, Madame Bink. It’s better to research instead of making your own rules when you don’t know how a business operates. http://madamebink.co.uk/?p=450 Good luck!

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Wonderful private photoshoot

I recently did a lovely private photoshoot of a young lady that would be an anniversary gift to her husband. They are an out of town couple so I feel very blessed that they found me when they were looking for a photographer who specialized in lingerie and nude photography!  Once we talked and discussed their needs, and we had all the particulars sorted out, her and her husband decided to make a trek to Nashville when we set a date! The first order of business we discussed was that because they are business professionals, they needed to take all precautions to ensure that the photoshoot stays very discreet, and that the photos would never be published or seen anywhere. The photos were to remain private only for their use. I definitely understand their concern and agreed to do just that. It’s in my interest to protect my clients and make sure they are happy with the end product!

The couple rented a vacation rental downtown Nashville condo to relax for the weekend, and use it’s ambiance for the photoshoot, great plan! We had discussed the project in thorough detail by the time we all first met, so everyone was comfortable and at ease, and we knew what we set out to do. She had several lingerie and costume / fantasy outfits we would capture in various locations of the richly furnished condo. We used a mixture of natural window light as well as studio lighting I had with me, to create the most intimate and dramatic mood in the photos! We also photographed her nude in both classical art poses, and candid moods. The music played softly and really kept the mood going throughout the photoshoot. She felt comfortable and beautiful, as she should. There was no butter knife needed to cut through the air, we were all having a great time and making sure I captured all the looks they wanted. Lots of preparation went into it on their end, I really admired their creativity and appreciated the trust they placed in me.

Once we uploaded the photos I was ecstatic to know how pleased they were with the final product. At that point, they realized that sure, many people would have been glad to take on this project. But not choosing their photographer wisely could be costly and damaging to her self esteem, if they lack the technical photography knowledge or compositional knowledge. It takes more than a good camera to photograph quality nudes and figure study of the female body. It’s the “little details” such as twists and arches of the body, stretches, flattering angles, using the right lens for each angle and capture of the body, placement of fingers and hands, etc. Not to mention use of light, and knowledge of studio lighting, and how to make the subject comfortable. Perhaps, most important to them, discretion and being trustworthy. I am honored to know they have images they will treasure and that I have formed a great relationship with them. I look forward to doing this for others, and appreciate having their business, and trust. Sorry there will be no photos, but the narrative was too good for me not to share. 🙂

 

Intimate capture of the face

I enjoy some mystique in my fine art photography, and perhaps not enough attention goes to the woman’s face. The implication of vulnerability and nudity, but seeing the features of her face are a special combination. Fine art headshots are different from commercial or modeling headshots because they capture features and mood and are not meant to be used for any corporate or practical purpose except to accentuate beauty. The beauty of the woman. Simple. Unabashed. Intimate. Mysterious.

The setting could be in a dark room with a narrow passage of light from another room where you see this moment come to life. It could be at daybreak, where the room is still mostly dark, but the window light illuminates her face and creates a nice brush light on her shoulder blades or collar bone. And you see her in a different light than you usually see her in. It’s moments like that, where the beauty draws you in and it spiritually fills you.

This was created in my studio with 2 monolights using spot grids, to control the light and encourage shadow play. The simplicity brings out her facial features and the mood and expression, soft hair and skin, and mood the lighting creates makes it as a photo, whole.

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Does the gender of your photographer matter?

When it comes to choosing a photographer for your nude / implied nude, or other intimate photography needs, does it matter if the photographer is male or female? It’s a common thought amongst first time intimate photography clients, and newer models pursuing a nude portfolio. I specify new, because once they gain some experience and have a more discerning eye, they realize that gender has zip, nada, zilch, zero, nothing to do with the qualification of the photographer. So, there’s your answer, a big fat no. LOL. I will elaborate more in detail. Although I can understand the initial thought and the comfort level some subjects may have. Think about this….are female dentists better than male dentists? Or male chefs better than female chefs? Impossible to come up with an answer since it’s a blanket comparison and generalization. The truth is, there are good and bad in every field, either gender, any race, etc. Photography is no different. And photographing the nude body or any well done sexy photoshoot narrows the list.

Sure, a woman photographer who is skilled with nude / intimate photography knows the female body by photographing it, but not as much because she knows her own body, unless she photographs herself. A woman photographer who is not experienced with that type of photography can butcher it as bad as a male photographer who is poor at it. There are men and women photographers alike who are great at what they do, and some not so good. So, a woman knowing what it’s like to have the same body, and knowing exactly how a woman thinks and feels can provide an advantage. BUT….the score can be evened, because as a man, I also know what men find sexy and appealing about the female body, know how to create intimate moods as well, etc, and know and appreciate the female body well. So it boils down to the customer’s preference of any given photographer’s style and skill set. Gender should not matter. You can tell by viewing their work and talking to them how they respect the female body and capture it in a flattering way, and respect people as a whole. That is what matters most. Some women feel more comfortable nude in front of another woman. But remember, it’s a job. We’re not there to ogle over nudity. Like a doctor, it’s a job. It boils down to preference of work and personality, and who can complete your vision best. Hope this helps 🙂

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