The modeling websites out there right now, like ModelMayhem.com and others came out as great ideas. They were a way to network with other photographers, make up artists, models, etc… However like most good things, people make them a play ground for all things bad and there are something you need to be aware of. I want to discuss safety as I see many models walking into situations unaware of the dangers. I’ll probably get a nice letter from modelmayhem after this, but it’s not them. It’s the creeps that use the site for bad.
Nudity: unless you want a career in porn or hot rod magazines, please do not take your clothes off. In most cases you DO NOT own the images. Unless you know for certain it’s part of a larger project, such as a coffee table book you cannot do any sort of nude work. There is implied nudity, you can use your discretion for that.
Men: Yes you are harder to rape, but anything can happen. If you are from out of town ask to bring a friend. Make sure you are not taken to a private location, desert or anywhere away from the public unless you bring a friend with you. I don’t care how tough you are, don’t do it. Do not drink with your photographer, because decisions will be affected. Come on….we’ve all drank one too many and had a regret the next day. This is your image, it’s how the world will see you. Just be smart. Use your instincts. If something feels wrong, speak up.
Ladies: Please do not be stupid and think you can handle yourself alone. I am sure you are a big girl, and know how think ahead but when it comes to physical strength you are not equal. This is not the time for equal rights, it’s time for reality and the reality is you need to come with a friend AT ALL TIMES. I’ve had many models ask to shoot with me and when I see them, I look behind them. When I don’t see anyone, I ask where her friend is. Maybe he/she is parking the car or talking on the phone outside. Most of the time the model will say, “It’s just me today”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!?!?!?!? You don’t know me! Please be smarter than that.
Authenticity: If a photographer wants to shoot with you and they were not recommended by your agent, you should check up their background. Right now anyone can copy my images off my website, start a profile page and say they did all of this work. Make sure you see a copy of the model release ahead of time, before you arrive at the location. Follow your instincts and walk out if you feel something is wrong. Listen to yourself, pay attention to the signs.
I think sites like ModelMayhem.com are great. They can give you great exposure and bring you together with amazing talent but it is also easy for anyone to open a profile with them or any other competing website. You need to be smarter and do your homework before you put your life or image in danger.