Forums > Model Colloquy > Model Safety on Shoots

Model

Savannah Van Block

Posts: 6

Sedona, Arizona, US

Hey guys I'm pretty new to model mayhem and live in a small town so there aren't a lot of casting calls. I'm considering going to LA as there seems to be a lot of casting calls and free lance modeling work them. I just wanted to find out more about modeling safely through model mayhem. If I were to go to LA I would pretty much be on my own. Is it safe to go to shoots on your own? How do you make sure you get paid the agreed amount?

Jun 17 17 08:28 pm Link

Photographer

Rob Photosby

Posts: 4580

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Your best course of action is to check with models who have already worked with the photographer.  This is fairly easy to do on MM by contacting models credited to particular photos or via the verified credits.

Jun 17 17 09:24 pm Link

Photographer

Flex Photography

Posts: 6171

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Savannah Van Block wrote:
Hey guys I'm pretty new to model mayhem and live in a small town so there aren't a lot of casting calls. I'm considering going to LA as there seems to be a lot of casting calls and free lance modeling work them. I just wanted to find out more about modeling safely through model mayhem. If I were to go to LA I would pretty much be on my own. Is it safe to go to shoots on your own? How do you make sure you get paid the agreed amount?

You are only 17 so, until you are 18, be sure your parents are fully involved, and present at all meetings & shoots! They are responsible for you. Only they, legally, can sign any required releases/contracts. Show them all messages and offers. Choose photographers whose work is age-appropriate , and be sure all shoots are age-appropriate also. Avoid those wanting to shoot otherwise.

Try to determine if the information provided by the photographer is true & complete. Likewise,  your Details area needs to be complete with all your accurate information, so there is no misunderstanding! (You are not 1,200 pounds!)

Jun 17 17 09:42 pm Link

Photographer

Eye of the World

Posts: 1194

Corvallis, Oregon, US

In addition to the above, thoroughly read the pinned topics in the newbie forum. You will find answers t a lot of your questions there.

Jun 17 17 09:50 pm Link

Photographer

LA StarShooter

Posts: 2383

Los Angeles, California, US

Savannah Van Block wrote:
Hey guys I'm pretty new to model mayhem and live in a small town so there aren't a lot of casting calls. I'm considering going to LA as there seems to be a lot of casting calls and free lance modeling work them. I just wanted to find out more about modeling safely through model mayhem. If I were to go to LA I would pretty much be on my own. Is it safe to go to shoots on your own? How do you make sure you get paid the agreed amount?

I would recommend you take some digitals and visit agencies in L.A., given your impressive stats and your look.

Jun 17 17 10:27 pm Link

Photographer

L O C U T U S

Posts: 1746

Bangor, Maine, US

LA StarShooter wrote:

I would recommend you take some digitals and visit agencies in L.A., given your impressive stats and your look.

this

Jun 17 17 10:48 pm Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 9970

Olney, Maryland, US

Jun 18 17 08:35 am Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 9970

Olney, Maryland, US

Flex Photography wrote:
Try to determine if the information provided by the photographer is true & complete. Likewise,  your Details area needs to be complete with all your accurate information, so there is no misunderstanding! (You are not 1,200 pounds!)

+1

Jun 18 17 08:36 am Link

Photographer

Yosh Studio

Posts: 1517

Los Angeles, California, US

Your 17yr and tall. Dont waste your time her on MM.
Go here, they place models in LA  http://www.theagencyaz.com/

Jun 18 17 04:49 pm Link

Photographer

Tony Lawrence

Posts: 21128

Chicago, Illinois, US

Yosh is on point.   MM is fun but you stand a real chance of being signed.   Check which agencies have open calls.   Take some clear basic snaps:   http://laurensantoine.com/san-diego-pho … polaroids/    Take note.   Minimal to no make-up.  No jewelry.    Hair pulled back to show your entire face.   The good news is I suspect you will get accepted.   The bad is you will have to invest in your book.   Its not likely you'll be able to get the images you need through tests here.   Here is the level of work you will need on a LA agency website:   http://www.lamodels.com/    In general new models go into development.   This is where you build your book.

A few things.   How long can you stay in LA?   Do you have family or friends there?   Don't count on making enough as a freelancer.   Most agencies won't want you doing that anyway.

Jun 18 17 07:19 pm Link

guide forum

Model

Koryn

Posts: 39392

Boston, Massachusetts, US

I always went to shoots alone, and also flew, drove and traveled around the US to shoot... completely alone. I took a lot of risks, like staying in the homes of photographers who hosted models in exchange for shooting time (very commonplace in the early 2000s, but no so much these days). Random photographers picked me up in airports and parking lots. I met and shot with strange men in hotels beside the interstate, in national parks and mostly in their private home studios. It worked out fine for me, but there were some weirdos in there who'd make inappropriate requests or subtly suggest certain things; I learned how to shut that sort of stuff down and manage questionable situations. Honestly, I'm old enough to have a daughter your age, and I'd absolutely not feel comfortable with her doing it, certainly not at 17. I was 26 before I started actively traveling, had already been through two live-in relationships and one (short) marriage. I'd been on my own for almost a decade at that point, and I was old enough to know how to deal with and interact with older men (most of the photographers a model is going to interact with while shooting freelance are 50+ and almost exclusively male) in such a way that I was able to establish and enforce boundaries in a certain way. I did not have those skills or boundary awareness when I was 17 and 18 and just setting out in my life as an independent woman; had I begun modeling younger, I would have probably burned out quickly.

Jun 19 17 07:49 am Link

Model

Savannah Van Block

Posts: 6

Sedona, Arizona, US

Hey guys thanks so much for the advice. I really would like to join an agency but I am doing a lot of travel and am planning on going to Europe next spring and looking into agencies there. I just want to get some work before I go so I don't know how big of a commitment getting signed in LA would be. Also do you guys know what the average startup costs with a good agency are? I talked to Ford RBA in Phoenix and they liked my look but wanted me to pay for multiple test shoots, a lot of shoes, cutting my hair to my shoulders with their certain stylist and potentially doing all this and being placed in lifestyle instead of fashion. It didn't seem worth signing with them. Are these normal situations or are other agencies better?

Jun 19 17 12:36 pm Link

Photographer

Yosh Studio

Posts: 1517

Los Angeles, California, US

Savannah Van Block wrote:
Hey guys thanks so much for the advice. I really would like to join an agency but I am doing a lot of travel and am planning on going to Europe next spring and looking into agencies there. I just want to get some work before I go so I don't know how big of a commitment getting signed in LA would be. Also do you guys know what the average startup costs with a good agency are? I talked to Ford RBA in Phoenix and they liked my look but wanted me to pay for multiple test shoots, a lot of shoes, cutting my hair to my shoulders with their certain stylist and potentially doing all this and being placed in lifestyle instead of fashion. It didn't seem worth signing with them. Are these normal situations or are other agencies better?

No, thats is not how normal agencies work. Ford RBA is not connected with Ford NY/LA. 
TYou don't just go to Europe to "look" for an agency when you have a great potential mother agency in AZ, or LA. They can decided what direction is best for you.   
Stop wasting time on MM looking for paid gigs. All the money around here goes to the nakid models.

Jun 19 17 02:37 pm Link

Photographer

Tony Lawrence

Posts: 21128

Chicago, Illinois, US

I'm not familiar with  Ford RBA but I do know two of the models they have and they seem to work.   The problem for models coming from out of state is can you stick around for auditions.   Savannah, MM is a fun place and my guess is you'll find photographers willing to pay you but you stand in my view a real chance of being signed by a decent agency.   This may mean a investment in the kind of images that clients want to see.   You may find it difficult to get that through trade on MM.   So you are most likely going to have to pay for tests.   Not sure why anyone would expect you to buy a lot of shoes.   Perhaps you misunderstood the agent.   

Outside of the larger markets its lifestyle or commercial that agencies tend to book their models for.   AZ isn't a fashion market.   So again listen to Yosh.    You will mostly waste your time here looking for paid gigs.   LA is full of great agencies but also a LOT of beautiful women.    The kind of book you need won't be free.   Clothes you may be able to hook up from thrift stores or local stylists.

Jun 19 17 03:43 pm Link

Model

Laura UnBound

Posts: 28348

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mark Salo wrote:
Sedona is a great location for artists.  You should be able to find some activity.

There are 27 photographers within 50 miles of Sedona and 27 within 50 miles of Flagstaff. I think that several are not serious and of course, there is some duplication between the two lists.

These photographers should be able to tell you about the Arizona Shootout and other opportunities:

http://www.modelmayhem.com/AZShoots
John Jebbia

http://www.modelmayhem.com/jnemeth
Jerry Nemeth

http://www.modelmayhem.com/cosplaycreatives
Gryph B

The AZ shootout is basically softcore G/G porn... I dont think thats really appropriate for a 17yo.

OP: You've been told youre not going to get many if any serious offers for paid work for fashion/commercial on MM and that's probably pretty true, the brunt of the paid work around here is for nude and glamour stuff which isnt appropriate given your age. Your honest to goodness best bet is to get in with a (real) agency.

But if you do want to keep looking on MM, theres some pretty simple things you can do to help protect yourself.

-check references. Dont just go with the names the photographer provides for you, pick some random ones out of their portfolio/credited images and contact them. Dont schedule anything definite until those references get back to you so you dont have to feel guilty about cancelling later. Dont assume that just because you see a lot of people/experienced people working with this person that it means theyre "safe", we've all worked with people we wouldnt recommend, my picture is in the portfolios of people I would not recommend. I never want people seeing that and thinking "oh well laura is really experienced, if she worked with them then they must be okay", you HAVE to actually ask people about their experiences.
-google them, you might references that werent showing up in your MM search, especially on FB and Tumblr.
-make connections with other models in the area youre going to or have traveled there much themselves, you're bolstering your support network.
-check out their social media profiles, see if anything feels 'off' (are they making gross comments on things, writing inappropriate posts about people, is their feed full of drama that is somehow NEVER their fault, is their blacklist a mile long, etc)

I really dont suggest that kind of travel alone at your age but if you must

-do regular check-ins with someone you trust.
-let them know what time youre supposed to be away at a shoot and when youre supposed to be done by. REMEMBER to keep in touch with them. Let them know where exactly you are going. Give them instructions on what to do if they dont hear from you (wait and hour and call again because you're forgetful, or should they immediately call in a SWAT team)
-if you drive, drive yourself when possible rather than catching rides with the photographer, so that if you want/need to leave you can any time you want.
-if you are sharing a ride, scope the destination out on google beforehand so you know if theres somewhere you can walk to if you need to get somewhere youre more comfortable and you can settle and figure out what to do from there.
-keep your phone charged, keep some change on you for payphones
-have enough money in your savings that you dont NEED to do a shoot in order to survive. Nobody likes to miss out on getting paid but its no fun to compromise your safety or mental/emotional wellbeing because you're worried about paying a bill or not being able to afford a ticket home or feed yourself that night or whatever. If you do find yourself in a situation you dont want to be in you need to be able to say "fuck it" and just walk out without fighting over getting paid. Dont let shitty people hold that money over your head to get you to do things you dont want to.


As for getting paid

-reference checks arent just for finding out if someones a weirdo. ask other models if they had any trouble getting paid, if the person tried to underpay them or haggle or act like they "forgot" or whatever.
-dont take personal checks
-confirm the amount of money when you're finalizing your last-minute details
-get all your shoot communication in writing so no one can claim they never agreed to whatever it is you agreed to - you have written proof.
-everyone has different opinions on whether or not payment should happen before or after, and nobody is "right" or "wrong". In my decade or so of modeling I can count on one hand how many issues I had with payment after the shoot and most of them got resolved. However you want to handle it is your business, just tell them before scheduling the shoot what you expect so nobody freaks out later. My advice, and you can take it or leave it, is to at least not sign the release until they're ready to pay you and there is cash about to go into your hands.



In general, try to have reasonable expectations and look at situations rationally and objectively. The reality is that people will try to take advantage of your age and inexperience (protip: stomping your feet and insisting youre an adult who knows everything there is to know about everything just makes you more of a target...I've been there done that.)  If someone is trying to promise you a "big break" of "fame and stardom" cuz theyve got a "best friend who owns this agency and theyre going to fly you to Milan next tuesday".... they are fucking lying to you. You've been told by some actual industry professionals here you have potential but dont let that sweep you off your feet. Potential is not a synonym for guarantee. If its "everything you ever dreamed of" its probably not real and someones trying to pull one over on you. Dont rush into anything, nothing is SO time sensitive that you cant run it by someone else more knowledgable for a second opinion before making a decision. Lastly, be prepared for an onslaught of people insisting you have to do nudes or send them naked snapshots so they "know what theyre working with" in order to work in fashion (or any other category). Theyre gross, lying, and if theyre doing it through MM should be reported.

Jun 19 17 08:52 pm Link

Photographer

Herman Surkis

Posts: 10546

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Lots of good advice already.

However, "Age Appropriate" ???
What is that?
I have shot young agency models here, and pushed my limits a little, and then found images in their books that made me uncomfortable to see, much less shoot.
Look at the mags and some of the risque fashion shots are done with very young models.
Not recommending it, but just pointing out with happens out there.

As suggested at 17, if you like the idea of modeling, take a shot at it now, even if it is only for a short time for fun. It can be glamorous, but mostly it is hard work if you are going to be a success. As pointed out if an agency starts trying to get you to pay for photos, runway training etc... run. And if you are serious, be aware that 9 out of 10 agencies will turn you down (usually), unless you are lucky and you have what the first agency needs.

Also you can get the few shots you need on MM. I am not the only one who has shot a new face, or a potential new face and done a series of Polaroid style in exchange for some interesting stuff for me. As Tony and others suggested, all an agency needs are simple straight forward images to decide. Images that show you are comfortable with your body (meaning body aware, not showing anything) and have an inherent grace of movement are great, but NOT needed. At 17 gawky and awkward can be a look.

Also high fashion which is the most glamorous is also the hardest to get in, and the worst paying (except for the top). Lifestyle etc. is the bread and butter of most models.

And as mentioned, MM is not where you will make any money,especially now. Sadly it has changed. A few years ago I would occasionally find local agency models on here looking to make a couple of bucks, expand their portfolio and gain experience. Lately the agency has been telling models to stay away. This place has changed again.

There are a number of threads here that discuss this at length.
However it is not for ANY of us to tell you what you should or should not do...
Other than to say Be Safe, and Have Fun.

Jun 20 17 01:02 am Link

Retoucher

anchev

Posts: 1074

Sofia, Sofija grad, Bulgaria

Savannah Van Block wrote:
Is it safe to go to shoots on your own?

No, you may get shot smile

Jun 20 17 01:45 am Link

Model

Laura UnBound

Posts: 28348

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Herman Surkis wrote:
Lots of good advice already.

However, "Age Appropriate" ???
What is that?
I have shot young agency models here, and pushed my limits a little, and then found images in their books that made me uncomfortable to see, much less shoot.
Look at the mags and some of the risque fashion shots are done with very young models.
Not recommending it, but just pointing out with happens out there.

Someone always makes the "look at what kids are doing in europe! america is so uptight!" argument. Yes, technically, you can shoot topless/nudes of minors and yes technically nudity is not inherently sexual and yes lots of young runway models are walking in sheer or falling off clothing...


but the reality of MM - which is what we're discussing here - is that predators use that shit to talk kids into getting naked for their personal spank banks. It was a long time ago now but I still remember the usernames of the people who tried to convince me they were the next fuckin Jock Sturges or Sally Mann (and they were absolutely not), or the people who contacted me before my 18th birthday just to inform me that they were "waiting" but we should start planning my first nude shoots early just so I'd be "ready" and wanted to have snapshots of my body so they "knew what they were working with and could plan the shoot out". Thats the kind of gross shit you get as a minor on MM, so yes, while technically legal and technically part of the fashion world, I'm still gonna advise that if youve got some shmuck on MM trying to get a minor naked playing the "but in fashion!!!" card....you should avoid them.


Its not even all on the up and up in the fashion world either, we've had handfuls of agency models come into the forums throughout the years to say that some of the worst abuses they've faced have been with their "top" agencies and on professional sets. Kids and young adults getting abused in the industry has been a story since the industry came into existence, they're not all sensational rumours or clickbait headlines.


As for the first time I used the term "age appropriate", the AZ shootout is not fashion, it's softcore glamour nudes, if you want to make the case that thats appropriate for minors....well go ahead but I'm going to think you're pretty fucking gross.

Jun 20 17 08:58 am Link

Photographer

Tony Lawrence

Posts: 21128

Chicago, Illinois, US

Savannah, I re-read your OP and you said you'll be on your own.   LA is a city where you really need a car.   Will you have one?   Uber is a option but you really need a car.   I would suggest reaching out to models here who live in LA for advice.  Use the browse search and the zip code of where you'll be staying to search for some.   Rather then a hotel if you are paying to stay look for a Airbnb or extended stay motel.   There are members who may trade shoots for letting you crash on their couch.   Check which LA agencies have open calls but try and mail your Polaroids before you go.  LA has a lot of agencies.   You need to go to as many as you can.   Members like Laura UnBound and Koryn and others have great insight.   Make friends with them here.

As for safety.   I think 99% of the photographers on this site are cool and that includes off of MM.   Some may try and date you, just say no.   If you are going with limited money and hoping you'll make enough for food and hotel.  Don't go.   Again, browse female members here:  http://www.modelmayhem.com/browse    Acting is another idea.   Go with a good looking head shot.   Extras average $100.00 per day.   Not a lot but its easy work.   Some of the extra agencies require models are 18 or older.   Do a google search for casting agencies.   In other words do your homework before you go.

Jun 20 17 09:05 am Link

Photographer

Ken Marcus Studios

Posts: 8919

Los Angeles, California, US

I agree with the idea of extra work in the movies & TV

I've known many models that supported themselves by doing extra work while developing their modeling careers.

Not only is it easy work, but it's an excellent source for networking, observing professionals work, and free food and coffee.

KM

Jun 20 17 10:34 am Link

Photographer

Herman Surkis

Posts: 10546

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Laura UnBound wrote:
As for the first time I used the term "age appropriate", the AZ shootout is not fashion, it's softcore glamour nudes, if you want to make the case that thats appropriate for minors....well go ahead but I'm going to think you're pretty fucking gross.

Not defending, or justifying. Your points are appropriate and sadly correct.
Just trying to point out that age appropriate is a somewhat meaningless term.
What is age appropriate in NYC, LA etc. may not be in the bible belt.
Or what is age appropriate in TO may not be in Grimsby.
I would not ask a young model to wear what is considered pubbing gear hear in Victoria. It makes me cringe.
How about "Babies in Tiaras" or whatever those things are called?
And "everybody does it" has been the biggest con used on young models and by young people on parents.

Never could figure out the point of a nude model with a Gucci bag. 'All you need is a Gucci Bag to feel dressed'????

But this is an old discussion with many threads.

Point, if it makes you uncomfortable, don't, whether you are 16 or 60. And the worst offenses seem to relate to physical safety. (here climb out on that ledge for a cool shot.)

And you mentioned AZ shootout, but did anyone else suggest it?

Jun 20 17 02:34 pm Link

Model

Rachel Jay

Posts: 20390

Knoxville, Tennessee, US

Some good advice here already. I wrote a blog about checking references, which you may also find helpful: https://racheljay.wordpress.com/2011/02 … eferences/

Jun 29 17 07:52 am Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 12856

Des Moines, Iowa, US

A year or so ago there was a thread about potentially dangerous incidents that happened to models on shoots.  Incidents included everything from light stands falling on models, to animal encounters, to physically dangerous environments to extreme temperatures.   Very few of the incidents reported were caused by a human intending to do harm.   

Every activity has risk.  Good risk management includes objectively identifying and assessing all potential risks associated with that activity, rather than obsessing over a single risk which is usually what happens here.  I know for example that with college sports and recreation more people are killed in transit than in the activity itself.   While I've never seen any statistics, I'd be willing to bet the same is true of modeling.   Overall, driving to and from a shoot is probably more dangerous than anything at the shoot itself.   Consider not just the people present, but things like props, the physical setting, environmental factors and transportation.

Jun 29 17 10:25 am Link

Photographer

Eagle Rock Photographer

Posts: 999

Los Angeles, California, US

LA StarShooter wrote:
I would recommend you take some digitals and visit agencies in L.A., given your impressive stats and your look.

I agree. in addition, many of the agencies let you submit photos and yourself through their websites.

Jun 29 17 11:15 am Link

Photographer

Flex Photography

Posts: 6171

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Rachel Jay wrote:
Some good advice here already. I wrote a blog about checking references, which you may also find helpful: https://racheljay.wordpress.com/2011/02 … eferences/

Listen to Rachel!!

Jul 05 17 06:18 pm Link

Photographer

Natural Means

Posts: 848

Uralla, New South Wales, Australia

Savannah Van Block wrote:
Hey guys I'm pretty new to model mayhem and live in a small town so there aren't a lot of casting calls. I'm considering going to LA as there seems to be a lot of casting calls and free lance modeling work them. I just wanted to find out more about modeling safely through model mayhem. If I were to go to LA I would pretty much be on my own. Is it safe to go to shoots on your own? How do you make sure you get paid the agreed amount?

Consider seeking experienced models for mentoring. Message say 6-8 experienced models near home, or LA and ask if can buy them coffee in exchange for half and our of advice. Might get 2-3 yeses and some advice.

Jul 09 17 10:35 pm Link

Photographer

the lonely photographer

Posts: 2081

Beverly Hills, California, US

If you planning to come to LA, we have few shows coming up, these are for up and coming designers, the models we cast are local to S.Cal. One of  our casting people have connection to Wilhelmina.  Shoot me a message if you are looking to check out the landscape here. I shoot  pageants, headshots, red carpets, for fun. I'm part of a group the designs manufactures clothing. I handle the catalog shoots.

Jul 23 17 10:33 am Link

Photographer

crx studios

Posts: 357

Los Angeles, California, US

If you want to come to Los Angeles for a week to meet with the legitimate modeling agencies, that will give you a lot of real world information. The key word here is "legitimate”.

Legitimate agencies make their money by booking models out to proper clients for paying jobs. If they think you will make them money, they will sign you. If they don’t, they won’t. It’s nothing personal.

Scam agencies make their money from young small town girls who dream of being famous, and they will literally “sign” anyone who pays them money, regardless of talent.

And yes, your parents need to be, and should be, involved.

Jul 24 17 01:05 pm Link

Photographer

Rick Davis Photography

Posts: 3733

San Antonio, Texas, US

I sent you a message, Savannah.  You don't need to go to LA to be repped by a good agency.  There are probably some in your area that can get you started.  I would avoid Wilhelmina.  I have a good friend that shot for them in Kansas City and they were nothing more than a portfolio mill.  wink

Jul 24 17 06:12 pm Link