Submitting yourself for modeling gigs often requires you to email pictures of yourself--typically headshots, comp cards or other professional images that relate to the nature/theme of the modeling gig you are trying to get. However, in some cases the client might ask you to send additional photos that are candid and not professionally taken.
There are some instances where you will need to exercise good judgment and common sense to decide whether such a request is legitimate and related to the modeling gig or if it is a scammer or shady individual "fishing" for photos.
It is not uncommon for a client to ask a model to submit non professional pictures. Oftentimes this is done because they want to make sure that they know what you look like without the makeup, retouching and Photoshop tricks. The last thing they want is a person walking onto the set that looks nothing like their photo--this happens all too often in the industry.
Another reason is that the client may not be able to do a face-to-face meeting with you prior to booking you for the shoot and wants to make sure they know what you look like currently so that you are recognizable on the day of the shoot.
Unfortunately, there are people that take advantage of this and pretend to be a client casting models when in reality they are just collecting images for their own personal use. If you come across a client that asks you for non pro pictures, make sure they meet the following conditions:
- The poses are basic and do not suggest anything sexually. Full body frontal, back and profile poses are fine. If the client asks you to do anything like spreading your legs, posing suggestively, etc. this is not a good sign.
- The outfit they ask you to wear should require a swimsuit as the least amount of clothing to wear in the pictures--if it is fully clothed then you won't have a problem. You should NEVER be asked to submit non professional nude, semi nude or even implied nude photos to a client. If you are a glamour model this might be an exception to the rule but then again, they should be content with your professional images.
- There might be a time when you are asked to pose in a bra and underwear (clients request this sometimes in order to see how healthy/clear your skin is as well as the shape of your body). This is where you will need to exercise your own judgment. Try asking the client if you can pose in a bikini, which shows the same amount of skin as a bra and underwear. If you are an underage model, bra and panties are a no-no. If the client is legit, they will not ask this of an underage model anyway.
When it comes to submitting these kinds of pictures to clients, think before clicking "Send" on that email. Ask yourself whether you feel comfortable sending such photos to someone you don't know. Additionally, think about the modeling gig itself and if the nature of the pictures they are asking for relate to the project. For example, I submitted myself to a modeling gig on Craigslist that was looking for models for a drug-free advertisement shoot that was supposed to be used locally on buses and local magazines.
I sent my pictures and literally within less than one minute, got a reply saying I had a great look but that they needed snapshots of me...full body, front and back in bra and underwear. She said she needed the pictures so that she could see the shape of my body. That got me to thinking: what does my figure have to do with a commercial/print gig that is focused on being drug free? I Googled her email address and found out that she has posted similar gigs on Craigslist in various cities and states. That was pretty much a dead giveaway that this person wasn't really casting for any real modeling jobs and was simply collecting pictures of girls in their underwear. Yuck.
On the flip side, I submitted for a different modeling gig for an online catalog and they asked for snapshots of my face with no makeup on and a full body shot wearing a form fitting tank top, short shorts and heels. That didn't raise any red flags for me since obviously there was nothing sexual or suggestive about the poses they wanted or the outfits. I have included those pictures in this post.
So use common sense and good judgment each time a client asks you to send pictures. This is also why watermarking your images is a good habit to get into. I'll be doing a post about that very subject soon so stay tuned.