I think in the model and photographer world we’re all trying to avoid issues when ever we can. A lot of those issues are recurring. While I think some of the recurring issues really shouldn’t be so common, there are others that I feel pop up because they’re a bit counter intuitive in some ways. I’m going to cover one of those today.
Put simply, today’s topic is:
Just be straightforward and honest about what you want to shoot.
It sounds like common sense to me, especially when I put it that way, but over time I’ve figured out why this can be a difficult concept. Most often I come across this in the terms of a photographer wanting to shoot something with a model, but there are other cases as well.
I feel like we’re taught to dance around things because it makes us seem more polite and less aggressive. Sometimes I think that can be a good short term solution to things. That’s a whole thing in dating and relationships in general (not just the romantic sort). However, I feel like when it comes to business and working with people it’s a big time waster.
Save us both time and avoid missed opportunities.
Many times I’ve had photographers contact me and I feel like I have to pull teeth to get them to finally “admit” they want to shoot nudes or erotic work. Sometimes I don’t even bother, particularly if my time is limited. Sure, sometimes I may decline the shoot based on this information. However, I can assure you that I won’t even take the shoot if the person can’t tell me what they want to shoot. It feels like they’re trying to trick me or talk me into it or guilt me into it. Sometimes they’re probably just being shy and usually I can eventually figure that out. Other times the discussion never even gets that far.
Trust the Models
Photographers have to trust models to know their limits. Just be honest about what you want to shoot. I also suggest you focus your efforts on models who appear to shoot the sort of content you want to shoot. If you do this, it will save you a lot of time. You’ll also probably get more responses to your messages.
Models should take responsibility too.
And models, we need to be upfront, too. I think we often don’t share enough of what we have in mind or we just assume the photographer has the whole concept decided. Sometimes they do, but it’s our responsibility to ourselves to make sure we are clear on what that concept is before we agree to shoot.
Finally, a little tip…
Use photos when you need to talk about limits, particularly as they relate to nudity and erotic concepts. It’s much easier to show someone photos than it is to try to describe it. Many of the terms we use like “implied” or referring to different glamour/adult publications aren’t always set in stone. Photos are much more straightforward.
And for those of you who are trying to trick models…
Please stop wasting your time and ours. There are plenty of models out there who shoot every style from fully clothed to hardcore erotic and porn. You don’t need to try to trick models into shooting things. It makes you look creepy. It will earn you a bad reputation and then you won’t be shooting with anyone.
Edited to Add: This post seems to have been confusing for some. The take-away is supposed to be that you shouldn’t spring the fact that you want to shoot nudes on the model at the last minute and you shouldn’t try to trick models into posing nude. If you aren’t sure, you should be telling models the possibility is there. There is a difference in being unsure and being honest about that, and hiding things all together.