Monday, June 6, 2011

Starting Modeling : Staying Safe

Getting into modeling
Modeling can be fun, and potentially earn you extra pennies. You can meet some great people and have an amazing amount of fun. But make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, have a good think before you do your first shoot. Why are you doing this? If it's for any of the reasons below I'd seriously suggest you think twice:
- You want to tell your friends your a model - If this is your sole reason for wanting to do some shoots I'd suggest finding a professional photographer and booking in a shoot. Do your research, have fun, learn and get some cool images for your portfolio. A pro photographer should be able to guide you with posing and explain how the industry works.

- You want to gain confidence - Modeling can give you an ego boost, people telling you that you look pretty etc. But be aware that there are going to be people that don't like your look. If you aren't thick skinned and prepared to take the good with the bad this isn't the place to gain confidence.

-  You want a model boyfriend/girlfriend - Modeling websites are definitely not the place to go looking. You will get reported and booted off the site. It isn't a dating service. Go looking elsewhere ;) Flirting online isn't professional and people will soon get wise to your antics.

- Earn Cash Quick - Really? Sell a few things at cash converters, it's safer. You can earn some money from modeling, but it won't necessarily be quickly or more importantly safely. Don't dive in head first just cause some one is offering you money.

Reasons to pursue modeling:
- To meet people who are creative - There are lots of creative people for you to work with. Lots of them are very good at what they do. It's quite easy after a bit of research to identify the wheat from the chaff to help create the 'art' you aspire to be a part of. 

- You've done your research, you want the money - You know it won't be easy, but you have decided what levels of modeling you want to target and know you will have to work hard for it.

- You want to have fun and get some nice images along the way - Fair enough. Again, do your research. Stay safe and there is plenty of fun to be had.

Doing your research
When you start modeling, or thinking about starting there are some things you need to ask yourself:
- Why am I doing this?
- What am I happy to do and not do? [levels]
- Am I happy to travel?
- Do I want to spend money, just get photos or earn money?

Fashion - In internet land that means wearing clothes. In the agency world this can mean some nudity. The 'fashion tit' making a regualar appearance in vogue. Make sure you are clear on what you are happy to do.
Beauty - It's a headshot but with a team on board to do your make up and hair. Chances are you will be told you can't have straps covering your shoulders. You may be asked to pose topless to achieve this, but it doesn't mean your boobies will be on show. Again, be clear when arranging a shoot what is expected of you.
Lingerie - Lingerie to me, is the commercial style stuff. It's not particularly sexy, although it might be a little sensual. Generally it's quite innocent but you will be in just your bra and pants.
Glamour - The sexed up version of lingerie. Anything from bra and pants to just pants! This is not the 1950's. Most people now see glamour to be page 3 style work. It's sexy and meant to titillate the viewer.
Implied Nude - You will be naked. But you won't see anything 'rude'. But you will be naked. I can't say this enough times. Some photographers may allow you to wear a flesh coloured thong, but this isn't something you should assume. You may pose with material etc to help cover you or just use your body. Chances are the photographer will see you naked.
Fashion Nude - This means you will be at least partly nude. You will be using clothes or jewelery and exposing parts of your body.  This is not implied. Make sure you discuss with the photographer the amount of nudity involved and what you are happy with.
Art Nude - This often includes 'full frontal nude'. This means you can see everything. Many art nude models have some pubic hair to make sure nothing is on show that they don't want to be. Others don't. It's up to you as the model to decide. I have pubic hair as it means I can pose and know I'm not showing anything I don't want to. You will be naked, the photographer will see your body and take photos of it. Art nude isn't necessarily sexy, it's about the light on your body and the poses you make to create shapes with your body.
Glamour Nude - This often includes full frontal nude. This is alot sexier then art nude. You'll see alot more eye contact with glamour nude than art nude. It's about the female form looking sexy. Again, the photographer will see you naked and take photos of you naked.

Anything above this is definitely straying into the 'adult' industry. Some people would class some of the glamour & nude levels as adult. This is your decision. And make sure you've thought it through, and googled imagery of the levels you are considering doing. Once photos of you are online there ain't nothing going to get them to go away. After the listed levels above you can expect to start seeing terms such as:

G/G - This is girl girl work. You will be posing with another female model in a sexy way. This may include kissing and other 'softer' levels of work.
B/G - This is boy girl work. You will be posing with a male model in a sexy way. This may include kissing and other 'softer' levels of work.
Hardcore g/g or b/g - This is much less subtle. Sexual acts are performed.
Video work - This isn't just 'stills' or photos now, you will be being filmed.

Whatever levels you think you are happy with, research them. Speak to models that work to those levels and get all the advice you can. The more time you spend researching the options now, the more likely you will be happy at shoots. Always clarify with the photographer what you are shooting, always. Check his portfolio, does his/her art nude category show more then what you are willing to? Take your time, ask questions be safe. 

Investing in your modeling
Decide how much time you are happy to spend modeling. It's very easy to get sucked in and addicted. Your time is worth something, so make sure you are investing enough time to achieve your goals without making sacrifices else where in your life. This might change if you start earning money but don't loose sight as to why you started this in the first place.

Travelling to shoots is not uncommon. As a professional model I travel all over the place, this can mean staying away from home overnight, if not longer. If this is something you are not happy to do, work out what places are within the radius you are happy to travel before you start looking to shoot. When accepting bookings make sure you know how long it will take you to travel each way.

Spending/TF*/Earning from modeling
Payment for modeling boils down to 3 basic descriptions, the model pays, you trade, or you get paid.
Paying a photographer - If you are happy to pay to kick start your portfolio make sure you know exactly what images you want and don't go with the cheapest offer. A professional photographer isn't going to take amazing photos of you for 15.
TF* - 'Trade For*' often TFCD [Time for CD of images] or TFP [Time for Print]. Unless you really want prints of yourself, or want a 'book' to go to an agency with TFP isn't always the best option. TFCD I feel is more benificial. Make sure you know in advance what the agreement is. 4 hours modeling, you see all the photos and get to choose 4 images etc
Getting paid - Unless you launch straight into adult levels chances are you won't get paid straight away. You need to build up a portfolio demonstrating your abilities to pose/do your own make up etc. Modeling isn't just standing infront of a camera ;) See the above two options for doing this.

You'll be able to find examples of most levels on the following websites. Be aware that when you join, you can't see 'adult' images. So no nudity, you'll have to disable the work safe mode. Joining these websites will enable to find people to work with of all levels.

Safety should be your number one priority at all times. Always. You don't cross the street without looking for cars, and you don't just walk into strangers homes. Staying safe is easy as long as you keep up some basic steps:
- Make sure you and the photographer are on the same page in regards to levels
- Check references, email other models and ask about their experiences
- Ask questions. Make sure you know where the shoot will be, at what times.
- Tell some one where you are going.

For example, my partner knows the address of the studio/home studio, photographers telephone number, name and what time I'm due back. If I'm not in a studio and on location I always ask for the rough area and also the photographers car details. If I'm not on the train I'm meant to be home on, and he can't reach me he's got an excellent starting point for finding out whats going on.

I am always happy to give references. You can email me any time about any one. If I haven't worked with them I will ask trusted pro models if they have and get back to you. Talk to your model colleagues working at the same levels as you are. Keep each other safe.


Denis said...

This is a great post for would be models. I'd like to point aspiring models who I meet at this - says everything and much more convincingly than I could (being a man!).

And thanks for the great group shoot at BSG on Wednesday evening.


Bear said...

What a great post. I try to warn young models about the dangers of modeling, but this explains it much better than I can.

Anna/Moonstream said...

Well Said Binky :)

MadameBink said...

Thanks for the feedback, feel free to share the link to this with new models etc Let's keep everyone safe and happy :)