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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Outing" a Photographer or Model

Okay, it's time for me to stop talking on and on about my shoots and get down to educating people about modeling! LOL.

What do I mean by "outing," you ask? Simply put, "outing" is a term used in the modeling industry for publicly stating something bad about someone. This situation is the most common among photographers and models.

It is a reality that not all photogs and models will get along during a shoot. Both are guilty of being flakes, showing up late to shoots, being unprofessional and even downright rude or disrespectful.

But regardless of this, the modeling industry is one that stresses the importance of not "outing" ANYONE, no matter how badly that person has been treated by the other. For example, Model A shoots with Photographer B. Photographer B is a jerk, is rude, and tries to cop a feel on Model A throughout the shoot. But that's as far as it goes.

After the shoot, Model A is so upset with Photographer B that when Model C asks her what her experience was with Photographer B because she is interested in shooting with him, Model A replies with, "He's an absolute jerk, do not work with him!" Model A then goes on to publicly tell any model who will listen what a jerk Photographer B is and how no one should work with him. Model A has officially "outed" Photographer B.

No, it is not okay for a photographer to try and take advantage of his model or try to feel her up, but unfortunately, there is an unwritten rule that states it is not professional for a model to "out" a photographer to other models or to badmouth that photographer in a public setting or forum.

Of course, this is different if the model has been physically threatened...but that's where the police come in. For this reason alone, having an escort present can eliminate or lessen the chances of something like that happening.

The concept of "outing" goes for photographers badmouthing a model, too. Models won't always be great to work with and if a photographer and model have no chemistry or communication, the shoot will not turn out good. And that's okay. It is a reality that you as a photographer will have to accept. Just because you've had one bad experience with Model A doesn't mean that the next photographer will.

Maybe it was just a bad pairing. It is unprofessional for you to slander a model's reputation because you're unhappy with her/him...especially if that model has had successful shoots with other photogs before. Chalk it up as a loss and move on.

Now, I am not saying this is right or that it is far. Because it isn't. And of course there are extreme exceptions to the rule, like if the photographer gets physically violent with you, has a criminal past that involves sexual acts, especially if they target minors. But hopefully that particular individual is behind bars or not allowed to pursue photography...so those cases are rare.

If you just have a really bad experience with a photographer or a model, the best thing to do if you are asked about your experience with that person is to say something along the lines of, "you know, I didn't work too well with him/her...we just didn't click or have chemistry, but hopefully that won't happen with you." That's it. To say anything beyond that would be "outing" and could make you unpopular among the modeling industry.

This may not be true if you are modeling locally but trust me, there have been models and photographers online who have gone out of their way to badmouth or "out" someone through online modeling communities, networks, websites, etc. It is when people take it to the next level that "outing" is strictly banned and with good reason.

The modeling industry has its bad seeds. There will be models and photographers who will be slimy and use sex as a tool. But not all of us are like that. If you plan on getting upset or want to take legal action everytime you work with someone you had a bad experience with, then maybe the modeling industry isn't for you. There is a dark side to it and that comes with the territory. As long as you play it safe and do your research and really communicate with a photographer or model, none of what I've stated in this post will be an issue to deal with.

If you are determined to warn others about a particular individual, do it discreetly through an email or phone call. "Outing" usually involves badmouthing someone very publicly and trying to inform as many people as you can about that person. That will get you in trouble and even though you have good intentions, it can potentially make others not want to work with you. As a model, photographers may not feel comfortable shooting with you if they know you have "outed" another photographer. What's to stop them from thinking you won't do the same to them? And vice-versa for photogs who "out" models.

Keep it discreet, keep it professional and cut your ties with the person you are having issues with. Not every photo shoot will produce a great working relationship so keep that in mind and keep it moving. There are so many wonderful photographers and models out there that one sour apple shouldn't spoil the whole bunch.

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