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Monday, August 4, 2008

Beware the GWC!!!

You’re probably wondering what in the world a “GWC” is, right? This term simply stands for “Guy With a Camera.” If this doesn’t sound all that bad, trust me, the GWC is the scourge of the modeling industry—for the most part because he doesn’t even belong in the industry but pretends he does. Still not getting it? Then let me paint a picture of your typical GWC:

A guy goes into a store (sounds like the beginning of a funny bar joke, doesn’t it?) and buys a professional camera worth like $4,000. It’s super fancy, takes great digital photos and is truly a force to be reckoned with. Well, this GWC now thinks that because he’s got a hotshot camera, he’s qualified to take pictures of young, hot models.

So without taking photography classes, reading books about photography or taking any steps towards actually learning his craft, he goes on sites like Craigslist and posts that he’s a photographer looking for young, inexperienced models to shoot with.

His goal: to take pictures of young, unsuspecting girls for his own personal use. The GWC knows what with his fancy camera, he can take pictures of hot girls and hopefully get them to reveal more than just a smile (wink, wink).

Pretty gross, huh? Well, that’s what the GWC is basically. He’s a guy who thinks that his camera gives him the right to label himself a pro and start casting for models to shoot with no intention of building a portfolio or creating images that the model can benefit from. This type of person has no formal training and no actual body of work to showcase. His images are often very amateurish and done with cheesy poses with ugly backgrounds and settings.

Now before I proceed, I will say that there are a score of photographers who never set foot in a photography school/college but managed to learn their craft and make a great business for themselves (my boyfriend is such a photographer).

So be wary of unfairly labeling innocent photographers as GWCs. Because GWCs want to get close to hot girls, they’ll mostly specialize in glamour and lingerie photography. This means the models automatically have to be undressed in some shape or form, which is what the GWC wants.

So how can you avoid the GWC in your modeling endeavors? First off, look at their portfolio or body of work. If he doesn’t even have one to show, that’s the first major red flag. If the images in the portfolio are terrible (trust me, it doesn’t take much to know good photography from bad photography), then chances are his images won’t do anything for your portfolio. See if the models are posed really cheesy or borderline smutty and if the pictures all look like he took them inside of his house or garage.

Another quick sign that a so-called photographer is really a GWC is if he doesn’t know how to work his camera. Any photographer that doesn’t know how to use the functions on his pro camera is one to be suspicious of. GWCs don’t always know the lingo or how to use other photography equipment other than the camera itself (lighting, backdrops, etc.).

All legit photographers who do their craft full-time tend to have lists of past clients, tearsheets of previously published work and a roster of models that can serve as references. GWCs tend to not have any of this stuff and may get upset if you ask them to supply you with this information prior to shooting.

Because GWCs often target models that are trying to get into glamour or lingerie modeling, it is extremely important that those of you interested in this type of modeling only work with professional and seasoned photographers. No amateurs. When it comes to doing implied nudity, lingerie or Playboy style nudity, you should be working with a photographer who has plenty of credibility and experience under his belt.

You deserve to be treated with professionalism and respect, not have some GWC drooling on his camera while taking your photos. Professional glamour photographers are wonderful at what they do. I know a couple of photographers who regularly shoot for Playboy and other men’s magazines and their work is amazing. There is a difference between glamour photography and smut. You only want top quality pros for this type of work.

Don’t believe that if you’re new or inexperienced, you can’t work with professional photographers. It’s okay to test shoot with amateurs but at the same time, set your sights higher and seek out seasoned photographers who know what they’re doing. No one should fall prey to shooting with a GWC…his work won’t benefit you in any way and won’t get your work. All he wants is a cheap thrill and you don’t even want to begin to imagine what he does with the photos. Ewww.

Telling the difference between a GWC and a legit photographer is something that varies from situation to situation. That being said, as long as you are dealing with a photographer with a solid portfolio, list of clients and roster of models, you shouldn’t have to worry about a potential GWC.

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