As a new model it can be hard to determine what is acceptable treatment in the industry and what is not appropriate. I remember first beginning modeling and thinking that the photographer had so much authority and control. I was always scared to say no and was terrified to insert my opinion in the conversation. Thinking I did not know what was best or was too inexperienced.  Inexperienced I may have been but there were plenty of times that a photographer asked me to do something I did not think was best or was uncomfortable with. But many times in the beginning I went with it anyway. Fearing that the photographer would ruin my newly forming reputation before it even had the chance.

I would like to emphasize that no single photographer holds this kind of control. If one photographer does not like you or decides to spread rumors about you it does not affect your career as a whole if at all. Not everyone is going to want to work with you in this industry or even like the work you do. That is all okay because there are countless number of creatives in the industry. All with different styles and tastes.

Allow me to take you back to specific scenario. I will leave names out of the equation out of respect though I do not think I was given any this day. I had planned a shoot with this one really talented photographer. He had even shot with one of my close friends before so I assumed that he would be respectful and safe. Due to the fact my friend loved and posted the pictures often from this photographer. So when they approached me to shoot I was thrilled.

The day of the shoot rolls around and I show up to the location we agreed on. I waited for about 45 minutes for him to even show up. Another thing I did not know about the industry is that it is unacceptable to be that late. The photographer shows up and we begin to work on the looks we had planned. We had planned for two looks. Both required me wearing nothing but a vest or jacket.

About halfway through the shoot the photographer is telling me to stop fixing my vest or jacket (in order to avoid a nip slip) because it was "ruining the shot." Even though the shots that we had planned and discussed would have been ruined by a nip slip. I did not say much and tried to laugh it off even though it made me uncomfortable. After we completed the two looks he told me he wanted to get a few more "magazine style shots." What he meant by this was he wanted to have me completely take off my jacket/vest.

I had nothing on underneath and had stressed multiple times that I did not want to shoot nude or implied in anyway. However he kept pushing and pushing. I was so new and so afraid to say no out of fear that he would spread rumors or do something with the pictures he had already gotten. He completely manipulated me into believing that he had some kind of creative authority over me and used it to get what he wanted. The interesting thing is he kept saying that the "magazine shot" he got would pay off and be "so amazing." I never ended up getting any of those shots back aside from the pre planned shots we had taken.

This is a small example of what can and does happen to many new models in the industry. Often times they are so excited to have been given an opportunity that they will do almost anything to please the photographer. Whether that be to get the shots back or get recommended in the future. I was guilty of this. I let them use my own fear of not succeeding to control me into getting shots that they wanted. All this to say, my advice for new models goes as follows.

Stick your ground. New or old they wanted to shoot with you for a reason. There was and is something about you that is so captivating that they want to include it in their portfolio. You get to choose what you want to do. I always recommend laying it all out at the beginning. This is important to start off though as you can tell with my story sometimes they will ignore that too. Next, when they suggest something outside of the vision if you do not feel comfortable straight up saying no.

Tell them that is a concept you can consider another time but you would like to stick to what was planned for this shoot. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to do something that you had not planned for. It is also an easier alternative than saying no sometimes. I just remember it being hard to say no. As you grow as a model and work with more people saying no and voicing your creative opinion will get easier. Eventually this will not be something you have to give as much thought to.

But when you're new and feeling something out for the first time it is important to be cautious.
Also know that if it is ever taken too far there is nothing, I REPEAT, nothing that should stop you from leaving. I know some models that will go as far as to make sure the pictures are destroyed before they leave but sometimes its best to just remove yourself entirely. Your safety and comfort should be the upmost importance. Professional photographers will NEVER put you in situation where you feel like you cannot speak up. Real professionals will always make sure you are comfortable first. And I am a firm believer in there are more good than bad.
So good luck and be careful out there!
Never stop creating.

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