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PHOTOGRAPHER CREEP

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PHOTOGRAPHY by KRISS on 06 march 2016

PHOTOGRAPHER CREEP This one is quite easy for us because as you notice I speak about US, my wife and myself.
Being a married couple doing photography together has lots of advantages including helping building trust with models we have never worked with us.
Of course they could always assume we are a creepy couple looking for a threesome but that is a lot less likely than assuming a single male photographer can represent some danger for their safety, because it can actually be true !

So we are going to tell you how to install trust with a model even before the shooting in order to build a reputation that will be beneficial and necessary for the rest of your career as a photographer.

First of all, we are assuming you are a male photographer, single, working on his own and with little to no portfolio to show your future models.
Understandably, any model you will contact to arrange a photoshoot may have suspicions about your intentions and you want to reassure them you are not ill minded.

1 - Be professional

Understand what you are going to offer is nothing more than a business relationship.
It might be unpaid work, modeling in exchange for photos as it is the norm when models and photographers want to build a portfolio and are not rich and famous.
It still remains a formal business arrangement and you have to prospect models in a professional manner, with a professional vocabulary etc… I will take a very extreme example, setting the bar as high as it can get, imagining you want to make a series of black and white nudes, which by essence you are not very likely to find any model for if you don’t have any experience and reputation.
But still, this is what you don’t want to write :

Hello sexy, I think you are gorgeous and I would really love to make a series of black and white nudes with that awesome body of yours…

Ok let’s be serious for a minute.
Whichever type of shoot you are model shopping for, you need to be professional and come across as a professional.
This include expressing yourself in a formal natural and neutral manner.

2 - Never compliment

Ok, this is not actually true, you can compliment someone for some work or performance they did but certainly not for their good looks.
Be serious for a minute, if they are modeling this is because of their looks, there is absolutely no need to reassure a model about their looks, or at least this is certainly not a photographer’s job.
You can explain to a model why you are choosing her particularly because her looks match the images you want to realize but you have to be extremely clear and neutral in doing so.
« I thought you would be perfect because you’ve got huge titties and I want a series with lots of cleavage » won’t get you anywhere.
Neither will « You are so gorgeous » or any other compliment that will sound like you want to get in your model’s pants.

3 - Explain the shoot you have in mind thoroughly.

Start by explaining the general idea you have for the shoot and why, this is always reassuring to know you are going to work with someone who knows what they are doing.
Explain in details the settings of the shoot, location, duration, equipment used more or less etc… While your model doesn’t care about you’re telling her which apertures you plan to try, knowing you are going to try 3 different light techniques for your shoot and each might approximately require 10 minutes setting and 15 minutes shooting is reassuring.
It helps anticipating what is going to happen, and the human brain loves that.
Also explain what is your intent with the photos.
Are you going to use one for a flyer, or simply to add to your portfolio, in which section etc…

4 - Always offer the possibility for your model to bring someone along

You can offer to provide a make up artist (preferably a female make up artist) it will be very reassuring for your model.
You can also let them bring their own if they will.
For a few shoots we allowed models to bring their boyfriends.
The only thing you have to bear in mind is that this is a trust relationship that works both ways.
I always told the models I let on with a boyfriend on a shoot that they were at no time to interfere with the shoot and that I wanted to know who the guy was because my studio happened to be at the bottom floor of my house where my family lives and I didn’t want to take the risk to let anyone on my premises without a checkup.
Long time boyfriend was ok if not a gangster.
Last Friday’s shag was off limits !

5 - Never insist if turned down.

Remain professional, thank the model for her time responding to you and let the door opened by simply stating you may perhaps contact her in the future with some other ideas.
Don’t come up with another idea the next day of course ! Wait for you to have many more shootings up your sleeve and a lot more credibility to contact models who once turned you down again.
Some will always turn you down (perhaps for some because they are so pissed off they missed the opportunity to shoot with you before all the models in your area wanted to shoot with you), and some will finally accept if they feel they can trust you.

6 - Build yourself a reputation through social media.

Don’t be afraid to thank any model working with you at your beginnings for doing so.
Explain simply to them that building trust for a male photographer is not an easy thing and that you would very much appreciate if they reviewed your attitude as well as your performance on their social medias since they will surely post the photos, or even a backstage from their iphone or whatever.
A « very cool photographer to work with, very professional and kind » will do you wonders when shared around on social medias.
The word professional is actually the one that will help you best.
It really translates into « the guy kept his distance, didn’t look at me in a weird way, I felt safe and respected ».

Now of course during the shoot there are a few do and don’t which could be :

1 - Work tethered if you can.

If you have any means to work tethered to a computer so that the model can see what you are doing, this is excellent, they will not fear you are shooting the wrong things at the wrong places because they can’t really judge what you are doing.

2 - Never touch a model.

Even if you need to fix hair or anything on the set, always ask the model to do it herself or your make up artist assistant to do it for you.
Consider yourself as a robot who’s only here to press on the shutter and give directions.
If your model really can’t fix that bloody string of hair herself the way you want it ask permission to do it yourself but this is really something you want to avoid.
Have a mirror handy or better, a mirror in your studio, they will fix it themselves.

3 - Keep your remarks to yourself.

« Good, you’re doing good » is OK to say.
« You look so beautiful » is not.
Why ? Well, because one is pro and formal and the other one sounds at best too familiar at worst like you’re coming on to the model.

4 - Work in a tidy place.

Keep your studio extra clean and tidy where nothing feels threatening.
The state of your studio and your own appearance will reflect on the idea the model gets about your state of mind.
A messy look in a messy studio doesn’t inspire trust.

5 - Never go out with a model.

This is one I cannot really relate to because I am married and no model has ever made any advance to me.
Besides, I have been told a few times I was by far the most professional photographer they had ever worked with.
Your models will trust you if they feel you are into your photoshoot and not into them.

Ok, I think this is a pretty good list to start with, and following these simple common sense rules should get you a few models to start working with and build yourself a portfolio that will hap you get billable shootings soon.

I have decided to illustrate this post with a photo we realized in a supermarket with a model we had never ever worked with before.
She contacted us in the first place to ask if she could do something with us and my answer was this :

« Thank you very much for your message and wanting to work with us.
Right now, we are working on only two types of projects.
1) The milk dresses series which implies nudity and being splashed milk for about an hour while remaining still as a statue.
The splashing is realized by my wife and a female assistant.
This is a very demanding task that requires patience, ability to stay still and be comfortable with the smell of milk which can be sickening even if we add some essential oils in it to make the experience more pleasant for our models. 2) We are realizing a series of scenes that depicts colloquials, common puns or play on words, mockery of society’s standards etc… The next image we want to realize is called Geting one’s ass in pasta (this is actually a saying that exists in french).
We want a model lying naked amongst a large number of boxes of pasta in a supermarket alley.
We do have the venue and you could fit for that project.
In both cases (milk dress and pasta) the final images will show little nudity or at least covered with milk splashes or pasta boxes.
If you are interested, these are shootings we can only organize after closing hours for the supermarket, for obvious reasons, and the available dates are… »

She accepted to work with us and actually shot both projects.
As you can see, even the weirdest demands can be done as long as the description is thorough and professional.
The model looked comfortable at all times and asked to work with us again although by then we had already moved away.

#creepy #photographer #perv #dosanddonts

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