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Model
Rachel-Elise
Posts: 1,650
Grand Rapids, Michigan, US


Hey there, ladies and gents, 

How many of you models go beyond the usual "references" when checking out someone who is interested in working with you? I don't mean just anyone, but, for example, people who are offering much larger payment than usual, international trips for work, expensive gifts, etc. You know--things that could, theoretically, be "suspicious," if only because the actions are outside the norm.

I like to "do a google" on whomever I am thinking of working with for the first time, just to be smart, but that's usually enough for me. Does anyone else do more? Am I maybe just being paranoid? Not paranoid enough? wink
Feb 06 13 03:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Boreal Photography
Posts: 292
Duluth, Minnesota, US


Long story short-- I once did a free background check (criminal history gov website) on someone who was to come to my house for a gig and learned that person had a lengthy criminal background including larceny, stabbing someone, possession of stolen goods, about a dozen aliases. End of story. One can not be paranoid enough when one's safety and home and possessions are in question. As you said, minimally google, but I also suggest a first meet over coffee somewhere public and then validate the person's ID and then check out their background for anything suspicious or criminal.
Feb 06 13 06:04 am  Link  Quote 
Model
angel emily
Posts: 1,020
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Rachel-Elise  wrote:
I don't mean just anyone, but, for example, people who are offering much larger payment than usual, international trips for work, expensive gifts, etc. You know--things that could, theoretically, be "suspicious," if only because the actions are outside the norm.

Hrm.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is -- IMO.

I don't do reference checks on these things, because they're almost always scams.  I suppose my view is pessimistic, but I would argue it's realistic.   I look at my height, location, etc and I have to say, "What is it about me that they would want?"

Any legit business will be handled by my agency, and these people never seem to contact my agency - huh, strange. Probably because anyone of legit business isn't truly going to offer me an international modeling gig.  These types of things go to major agency models, which I'm not and will never be.

One story I can share, though -- a client contacted my agency and wanted to book me for a $500 job to appear in a commercial for their "lingerie boutique", they told my agency I'd need to be in lingerie.  Sure, I said, sounds great, find out more info.  Turns out the client was really running an adult toy shop and the agency put the kabosh on that.  So yeah, clients lie and can just in general try to be sneaky and it's good to check them out.

Feb 06 13 07:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NC Art Photos
Posts: 557
Raleigh, North Carolina, US


Rachel-Elise  wrote:
Hey there, ladies and gents, 

How many of you models go beyond the usual "references" when checking out someone who is interested in working with you? I don't mean just anyone, but, for example, people who are offering much larger payment than usual, international trips for work, expensive gifts, etc. You know--things that could, theoretically, be "suspicious," if only because the actions are outside the norm.

I like to "do a google" on whomever I am thinking of working with for the first time, just to be smart, but that's usually enough for me. Does anyone else do more? Am I maybe just being paranoid? Not paranoid enough? wink

I check out everyone.  I want to make sure I get paid for jobs I do for clients who claim to want to pay me to make sure I don't front lots of money I'll never see.  I want to make sure I am not shooting for some skeevy company that's a front for businesses whose practices I object to (like any Wall Street brokerage firm or bankster), or Monsanto. 

I also want to make sure I'm not being set up to be ripped off of my equipment.  So yes I check everyone out.  Including models.

Feb 06 13 07:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


Randall_Oelerich wrote:
Long story short-- I once did a free background check (criminal history gov website) on someone who was to come to my house for a gig and learned that person had a lengthy criminal background including larceny, stabbing someone, possession of stolen goods, about a dozen aliases. End of story. One can not be paranoid enough when one's safety and home and possessions are in question. As you said, minimally google, but I also suggest a first meet over coffee somewhere public and then validate the person's ID and then check out their background for anything suspicious or criminal.

How can you verify the info you were given was even correct ??? Those companies connect data purchased from shady ass people ... hell, I have at least six Doppelgängers that are routinely "connected" to me in various states ... one is a friggin bank robber out of Atlanta, how do I know; had the friggin FBI show up at my work ... I play hell with these companies trying to get them to remove the connections. It's worse with CC companies ... took me years, $$$$$ and lawyers to get them to remove the connections ... and shit still shows up in checks ...

Feb 06 13 08:07 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Rachel-Elise
Posts: 1,650
Grand Rapids, Michigan, US


NC Art Photos wrote:
...or Monsanto.

I love you.

Feb 06 13 09:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Boreal Photography
Posts: 292
Duluth, Minnesota, US


Hero Foto wrote:
...How can you verify the info you were given was even correct ??? .....

Good point. Two things-- the info ended up being correct, as verified by someone close to the person in question. If I recall, there was also a photo of the person on the site. It was a MN criminal background check site, put up by the MN government.  Second, I guess with such a criminal background, better to be safe than sorry; this involved someone potentially coming to my home, and I sure did not want my equipment tempting a former felon and ending up with a home burglary.  Was just easier to avoid a potential problem.

Feb 06 13 11:46 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Marlow Rae
Posts: 107
Seattle, Washington, US


As someone who enjoys hunting down such information, I often go all-out in terms of background checks - it borders on hacking at times, but I want to make absolutely sure that I'm safe if I'm going to be meeting up with someone I don't know.

Sometimes I uncover suspicious things, like the one photographer who had made absolutely sure he had no paper trail: no online profiles of any kind, dead phone numbers, rerouted IP addresses, weird stuff. I don't follow through with those people.
Feb 12 13 09:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David M Russell
Posts: 1,053
New York, New York, US


Rachel-Elise  wrote:
offering much larger payment than usual, international trips for work, expensive gifts, etc.

Any of this would make me beyond suspicious.

Personally -- and no offense to anyone in particular -- I'm amazed at how many truly creepy people hover around this site and this business.

Check EVERYTHING.

And if the photographer has a client, I'd definitely need in writing who the client is and the intended use of the photos. Not only do you want to get paid what you deserve, but you don't want your face attached to an ad campaign that might embarrass or humiliate you.

Good luck.

Feb 13 13 04:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Glenn Hall - Fine Art
Posts: 397
Townsville, Queensland, Australia


I do background checks on all my clients. Saves me time, as some competitors my end of town like making bogus phone bookings.
Feb 13 13 04:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kyle T Edwards
Posts: 409
St Catharines, Ontario, Canada


I agree; check everything you can.  Yes, there will always be some measure of trust required on both sides, but reasonable trust and absolute blind trust, especially in someone you've never met before, are two different things.

Now having said that, I just googled myself.  I am going by my real name here, but I was unable to find any other reference to me on google.  Granted, I didn't run my nickname or the name I often use on forums, as no one but me would know the correlation.  I guess my nickname does still hold true! smile

David M Russell wrote:
Personally -- and no offense to anyone in particular -- I'm amazed at how many truly creepy people hover around this site and this business.

You know what?  I'm not.  Being new to photography and working hard to become good at it, I'm still going through this event.  My friends comment how jealous they are because of all the beautiful women I'm around, and how often I get to photograph them wearing very little, or even nothing.  I'm more concerned about what angle or uniqueness I'm going to bring, in order to get the shot that's worthy of her, rather than the fact that I'll be staring at a pretty, naked girl for the next few hours.  Usually, it's the models telling me to relax!

Nowadays, it's so easy to buy a camera and call yourself a photographer.  Put out a casting call for a nude shoot, pay some rookie a hundred bucks, and take all the naked pictures of her that you want, while telling her to stand in all sorts of lewd positions.  That's all they see, though.  They don't see the business, they don't see the art.  They just see T&A.  It's sad that people like that exist, but the reality is, they do.

They not only make models feel unsafe (or heaven forbid, worse), but on a much lesser note, they damage the rep of the rest of us, who are simply trying to take good photographs.  They ruin it for everyone.

Feb 13 13 09:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,075
Salem, Oregon, US


people don't usually give out money for no reason. there has to be something in it for them whether that's attention from the model or satisfying some fetish or whatever. if you get into accepting large gifts just make sure it's not pre-payment on escort-type services (unless you're fine with that). sometimes gifts have strings attached even though the strings may not become obvious until later. it's one thing to feel obligated to stay in touch, another to feel obligated to (well you get the picture).

i'm lazy. i've never even checked references on a model.
Feb 13 13 09:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Silver Mirage
Posts: 1,524
Plainview, Texas, US


As someone already said, "If it sounds to good to be true ..."

I ignore the more blatant ones. On things that might be true I check as much as seems appropriate - usually just a quick look at their online presence or a Google search. If a quick Google or Facebook check doesn't confirm who they are I'll go on to the next offer.
Feb 18 13 02:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photographe
Posts: 2,350
Bristol, England, United Kingdom


Not sure google is the best tool, unless you are looking just for a general overview that the person is a photographer. For example, I rarely ever shoot twice with a model, but if you google me and click on discussions, "clingy photographers" is associated with my name. However if you look further, I am actually giving advice to models in that thread, not am I the subject of that thread. So google schmoogle in my opinion, it can be very misleading and depends entirely on how far you delve.

Also the same with google images, only about half the images are mine. The rest are glamour and lingerie pics from other photographers on MM, but because I have commented in their threads, their pictures come up in a search under my name.

So google is useful, but do verify the information it gives you, or cross reference it with the photographer's own pages, it's only accurate to a certain degree.
Feb 25 13 02:11 am  Link  Quote 
Model
MCastle
Posts: 27
Virginia Beach, Virginia, US


Rollo David Snook wrote:
Not sure google is the best tool, unless you are looking just for a general overview that the person is a photographer. For example, I rarely ever shoot twice with a llama, but if you google me and click on discussions, "clingy photographers" is associated with my name. However if you look further, I am actually giving advice to llamas in that thread, not am I the subject of that thread. So google schmoogle in my opinion, it can be very misleading and depends entirely on how far you delve.

When things like this come up, I don't take them at face value, I definitely read into the topic, and I would certainly HOPE that most llamas do.



For the most part, I check a little bit.  the only time I check into someone A LOT is if I'm planning swimsuit/lingerie and it is taking place at a "studio".  I've had someone try and convince me I could come to his house and shoot with him, and "don't worry my parents would be fine with it".   I'm sorry, I understand people are down on their luck, some live with their parents, some parents are nice enough to let you shoot at their house, but this was sketchy to go from, we can shoot at a studio, to or you could cross state lines and come to my house.

Mar 11 13 03:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image K
Posts: 23,343
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Lee N wrote:
As someone who enjoys hunting down such information, I often go all-out in terms of background checks - it borders on hacking at times, but I want to make absolutely sure that I'm safe if I'm going to be meeting up with someone I don't know.

Sometimes I uncover suspicious things, like the one photographer who had made absolutely sure he had no paper trail: no online profiles of any kind, dead phone numbers, rerouted IP addresses, weird stuff. I don't follow through with those people.

Highly recommended.

Mar 11 13 07:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bolo Paolo
Posts: 22
Aix-en-Provence, Provence-Alpes-CĂ´te-d'Azur, France


NC Art Photos wrote:
I want to make sure I am not shooting for some skeevy company that's a front for businesses whose practices I object to (like any Wall Street brokerage firm or bankster), or Monsanto.

I love that !

Mar 19 13 09:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carle Photography
Posts: 9,227
Oakland, California, US


Glenn Hall - Fine Art wrote:
I do background checks on all my clients. Saves me time, as some competitors my end of town like making bogus phone bookings.

How do you people have tome for all this extra paperwork?
What do you tell the clients?

"I'm sorry I can't take your deposit right now.  I however need some info from you and I'll get back to you in 24-48 hours after your background check clears"

Mar 19 13 11:24 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Danielle Reid
Posts: 3,001
Little Rock, Arkansas, US


EMILY  C wrote:
One story I can share, though -- a client contacted my agency and wanted to book me for a $500 job to appear in a commercial for their "lingerie boutique", they told my agency I'd need to be in lingerie.  Sure, I said, sounds great, find out more info.  Turns out the client was really running an adult toy shop and the agency put the kabosh on that.  So yeah, clients lie and can just in general try to be sneaky and it's good to check them out.

Off topic, but down here as far as I know, all "lingerie boutiques" are adult toy shops that sell lingerie. It goes hand in hand. Unless they're Victoria Secret, I don't see the difference.

Mar 19 13 11:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Art of the nude
Posts: 11,748
Olivet, Michigan, US


Leeta wrote:
For the most part, I check a little bit.  the only time I check into someone A LOT is if I'm planning swimsuit/lingerie and it is taking place at a "studio".  I've had someone try and convince me I could come to his house and shoot with him, and "don't worry my parents would be fine with it".   I'm sorry, I understand people are down on their luck, some live with their parents, some parents are nice enough to let you shoot at their house, but this was sketchy to go from, we can shoot at a studio, to or you could cross state lines and come to my house.

I almost never shoot swimsuits, and the vast majority of the time that I shoot lingerie, it is as part of a nude shoot, but then again, I shoot in my own house, which includes a studio.  My parents are both deceased, so I don't think they object much.

My wife is also fine with what I shoot, especially if the models say nice things about her decorating.  smile

Mar 20 13 05:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
IMnPhoto
Posts: 2,178
New York, New York, US


Rachel-Elise  wrote:
Hey there, ladies and gents, 

How many of you models go beyond the usual "references" when checking out someone who is interested in working with you? I don't mean just anyone, but, for example, people who are offering much larger payment than usual, international trips for work, expensive gifts, etc. You know--things that could, theoretically, be "suspicious," if only because the actions are outside the norm.

I like to "do a google" on whomever I am thinking of working with for the first time, just to be smart, but that's usually enough for me. Does anyone else do more? Am I maybe just being paranoid? Not paranoid enough? wink

Doing "a google" is a good start.
Although "Nigerian Scam" is now part of our lexicon, some people still fall for very similar variations.

Mar 27 13 06:25 am  Link  Quote 
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