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Monday, April 23, 2007

Playing it Safe

I can't stress enough how important it is to have an escort or friend along when going to a shoot. If you're underage, then obviously you'll need to have a parent or guardian present but this isn't always the case if you're older and/or freelancing.

As I've stated in a previous post, networking or corresponding with any photographer for shoots, tfps/tfcds is a necessary building block for your portfolio and career, but until you meet that person, he/she is a stranger.

It's always best to play it safe and arrange to meet with the photographer in person BEFORE you shoot together. Everyone has busy schedules and there will be times when this is not an option but I've found that making contact with a photographer beforehand really makes things go a lot smoother.

Get to know him/her and ask to look at past work and use that time to ask any questions, as well as to let the photographer know what you will and will not do and what your comfort zones are. You should always meet in a public setting, like a Starbucks or other cafe/restaurant type of setting (never meet a photographer in his/her house unless you have someone with you, but even then you should insist on meeting in a public place).

This will serve you especially well if you can't bring someone with you to the meeting. Ask if the shoot will be indoors, outdoors or a bit of both. If you'll be shooting in a studio, ask where the location of the studio is. It could be in a building with other studios or it could be in the photographer's house.

When it comes time for the actual shoot, have someone with you for safety's sake. When it comes to freelancing or working with people not booked by your agent, there is ample room for something bad to happen. I highly suggest bringing an escort with you if you are under 21...or any age for that matter, but photographers with bad intentions tend to prey on younger, more naive girls under 21.

If you are going alone, let someone close to you (parent, sibling boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend) know the exact address or location of where you'll be at, as well as the name of the photographer and the photographer's contact information.

Be sure to mention to the photographer ahead of time that you will be bringing someone along with you. Do not ask if they allow escorts, simply say in casual conversation that you will be bringing someone and see how they react. If the photographer has no problem with it, then you're good to go. But if he/she hesitates or tries to assure you that you don't need to bring anyone, be cautious.

Sometimes photographers have their own people present at the shoot, like a makeup artist or assistant and that's fine but even then, most won't have a problem with you having an escort. The best photographers encourage models to bring an extra person along. This also helps the shoot because having an extra set of hands makes things go a lot easier. So prepare your escort/companion by telling them they may be doing some hands on work, but nothing physically demanding.

If you are bringing a boyfriend or girlfriend, please be sure that they are not the jealous type who will be more of a distraction than an asset on a shoot. Sit him/her down and explain the concept of the shoot, the outfits you'll be wearing and what he/she should expect.

No matter who you bring along, make sure it is someone you trust. There is no such thing as being too careful. It's always better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. That's just the times we live in today, unfortunately.

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