edu LIBRARY

Model Safety


Model: Maria Eriksson; Photographer: David Hickey

One of the most important topics to discuss and tackle during these modern day times of the internet and huge social media world is model safety. Booking shoots online, bad press stories and the dangers of using the internet and how safe it is, are popular topics in the news and have been on and off for a decade. Pedophiles searching for potential victims using online chat rooms, social media sites, and other similar stories have appeared on numerous occasions in the news throughout the world. From the news stories one can deduce that it is not just children and teenagers who are at risk. Adults, both male and female, young and old, are also at risk from unscrupulous individuals who hide behind any facade they wish to choose using the internet and a computer as a smoke screen.

With this in mind I would like to discuss the topic of safety specifically for models and the dangers they could potentially face, alongside some basic safety advice when using sites such as Model Mayhem. This article of advice is by no means a fool proof guide to avoiding potentially dangerous people or situations after booking shoots online; nothing ever is guaranteed, and life is constantly full of surprises and risks. However, I do hope this article is circulated and passed on to new and aspiring models to help keep them a little bit safer and open their eyes to the potential dangers and pitfalls an inexperienced person could face when entering the modeling industry and gives them a few skills to exercise and hopefully avoid certain unsavory individuals and situations. As a new model you will be an easier target, and to keep oneself as safe as possible is an absolute necessity. I hope everyone reading this article will pass this information along and comment with other ideas and tips. Safety should be number one on your list of priorities.

Check References

The numbers of models now available has increased a thousand fold due to the internet. Sites like Model Mayhem attract millions of people from all around the world. The same goes for photographers. DSLR cameras are now readily available to anyone at reasonable prices, therefore many more people supplement their income, and/or have a creative outlet through photography, now than in the past. The result of these two issues combined, has meant that the number of potential issues with safety has also increased. The internet has also provided the means by which people can create false identities and become something, or someone, they are not, thus the safety risk is far greater for both the models, and indeed for the photographers than before the web.

Primarily your safety should be your priority: no job is EVER worth compromising your safety for. Due to the fact that the internet has meant you do not have proof of whom you are talking to I insist when you do book work online that you check out whom you are looking at working with before you agree to a shoot. If you have reservations; do not agree to the shoot in the first place. Do this by checking with other models how the person is to work with, and always ask the photographer for references so he/she knows you will be checking on them and their professionalism.

I cannot stress enough that if you do book a shoot with someone, and you do feel after getting there that you made a mistake, NEVER be too scared to walk out. Always make sure you have the means to leave in case of emergencies.


Model: Maria Eriksson; Photographer: TH Taylor

Escorts

The need for models to take escorts with them on photo shoots for safety is a direct result of the internet explosion of photographers and models, some of which can be individuals with ulterior motives than a shoot and use this world as an excuse for other behaviors. The internet growth of models and photographers has meant that a smaller industry has increased in popularity and the members are now unknown to each other. Back before the world wide web most photographers could only get models via an agency and most models could also only book in modeling jobs through their agent. Therefore this meant that both parties were somewhat known to each other, which added some level of security and safety. Taking an escort to a shoots for safety is the result of not knowing whom you are going to work with, so a second person with you offers some level of protection.

Despite what is meant to be a positive action to maintain safety, which should be a priority, taking an escort to a shoot is a controversial subject due to the fact that in a lot of situations an escort is completely unnecessary. The issue is caused by people being able to hide behind a computer and the fact that there are many mentally unstable people out there in the world whom have access to the internet, thus it has becomes difficult to know for a model if she will be safe or not. There are many cunning ways to get references to ‘check out’ as safe and professional such as fake profiles and email addresses, and stealing photographs and using them in profiles which the individual never took etc. So to a new model I have to recommend taking an escort on a shoot with you and discussing that with the photographer you will be working with, to act as a safety precaution, as well as checking references.

The problem with taking somebody with you to a photo shoot is that someone being present at a shoot can inhibit a models capabilities by being distracting; so I can see from a photographer’s point of view why one would not want a model to bring someone along with them, and especially a jealous boyfriend. However, if you do not feel safe on a shoot, if a photographer has an issue with you bringing someone and them being in the next room for example, then I do not think you should be doing the shoot at all as there is no trust on either part before the shoot has even begun.

It is also important to remember that photographers can also be at risk from models too. Models have rightfully, and wrongly, accused photographers of rape and sexual assault in the past. So trust goes both ways. Perhaps a model with an escort can become a two against one situation in an accusatory case and this can make photographers wary resulting in some wanting a makeup artist or art director present to prevent such situations. This show how important it is to meet in public places and using professional photography studios for first time shoots and meet ups.

It is actually really sad that either side of the camera have to feel the need to worry about this topic. I do not actually believe there is an answer to the ‘bring an escort to a shoot‘ debate. The only conclusion I can come to is that you have to be in control of your safety. Therefore, if you are at all unsure, do not do the shoot at all.


Model: Maria Eriksson; Photographer: Westby

Screening

Constant vigilance and screening of whom you work with as a freelancing model will never cease to exist. It is extremely important to be aware of the fact that even though you have worked with someone on several occasions, this does not mean that you will be OK a seventh, eighth or even on the hundredth shoot. Trust does build over time and there are many wonderful people out there whom you will be able to trust in and gain a bond with, which may grow into a long lasting friendship. However it is best to guard yourself and understand that there are many sad and sick individuals out there whom may react badly if things do not go their way, and that this could happen at any stage if you disagree over anything. That being said, one cannot presume one will be OK just because one has known someone for a year or so and worked with them on numerous occasions.

The internet makes it very easy to ‘hide’ for someone hell bent on seeing you or making your life hell. Internet stalking and cyber bullying are serious issues, and the problem with this is that anybody new contacting you could be the someone from your past you chose to stop communicating, working or seeing for whatever reason, thus you must be constantly on your guard.

Some people out there will go to great lengths to ‘mess’ with other peoples lives. New models are particularly at risk as they will not know who is well regarded and safe in the industry, and whom is not. A name and a portfolio of images or a website are the same as another name and portfolio of images to someone new and unfamiliar such as a novice model. One may be communicating with someone who is not who they say they are, nor may have taken the photographs you see in their portfolios as it is very easy to steal identities of others online. Stolen work of photographers is just a right click of a mouse button and email addresses can also be set up in any name. Therefore I do recommend searching IP addresses, looking at emails address and such like. Personally over the years I have had numerous people try contacting me with fake names, fake profiles, specifically built websites, fake Facebook pages, Model Mayhem profiles and stolen identities, to attempt to communicate with me, shoot with me or whatever. I think this will happen to every model at some stage in her career, whether highly successful within the industry or not, thus this illustrates how important it is to never stop checking on whom you are working with and always try to protect yourself before, as well as during shoots.


Model: Maria Eriksson; Photographer: Paulifornia

Safety Ideas to Take to Shoots

When you have booked a shoot with anyone online the basic information to gather and leave at home, as well as the things to take with you for your own safety include the following:

  • Leave information of your whereabouts with someone at home/whom you trust and can check in with. This should include the person’s name and cell number, as well as the shoot address, of whom you will be working with.
  • Leave the times you are expected back with someone at home/someone whom you can trust. It is a good idea to notify someone when you arrive at a shoot and when you leave and get home safely.
  • If you are flying out of state or country leave the flight number, times and dates, as well as any hotel information with someone at home and let them know when you will be arriving and leaving and when to expect to hear from you by.
  • Take your fully charged cell phone.
  • Take your cell phone and in-car chargers.
  • The color, make, model and car license plate of whom you will be working with if you are going to shoot on location.
  • Mace/pepper spray – and know how to use it.
  • Cash/working debit/credit card in case you need to grab a taxi at any stage or get out of a situation.
  • Take your own water with you, or only accept drinks which are clearly still sealed or from a faucet.
  • Do not drink alcohol at shoots.
  • Carry pain killers with you in case of headaches or menstrual cramps. It is better to not take prescription or over the counter drugs from people you do not know, no matter how honest, knowledgeable or nice they may appear.
  • Look at a map before the shoot so you are somewhat familiar with the area and know a little about where to go if you have to leave a shoot.

Summary

Sad is modern day society that unfortunately one does not know whom is behind a computer screen. You may get contacted by a photographer claiming to be a success, with paid work and promises of well paying jobs or published work, when in actual fact his profile is fake and he has stolen all the photographs in his portfolio. Do not let the allure of fame or fortune compromise your safety. It is really not worth it. Please use the above information and common sense in conjunction with trusting your own instincts. Be safe over anything else and good luck.

Maria Eriksson

Maria Eriksson is a three-time international Playboy centerfold (Croatia 2010, Singapore 2011 and South Africa 2013). She has appeared on magazine covers and billboards, walked in runway shows and appeared in both FHM and Playboy’s Top 100 lists. Maria used to be a high school science teacher and has a Master’s degree. She was born in the United Kingdom but currently lives in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in many countries working as a professional full-time model. Her articles have appeared in magazines around the world. For more information please visit www.mariaeriksson.com.

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67 Responses to “Model Safety”

  1. September 27, 2017 at 7:55 pm, Steve Summerell said:

    Another important point is models must take Photo ID with you. Photographers need to know you are of legal age to enter a contract. Read the contract and ensure you understand what you are signing. You must take a copy with you!

    Reply

  2. August 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm, tinynot said:

    after reading all posts i have come to one conclusion, most here seem to not be street wise! having been born and raised in NYC, i have known for many years there are ways to check someone out, and with the internet this is made even easier then it has ever been! I had a niece come to me one time, she handed me a business card her “new” boy friend gave her, after about an hour online, back in about 1988 or so. i found a few things and with that and a “gut feeling” i told her to tell “him” to hit the door and the road! she didnt listen, after a few days after i told her that, he raped her.
    point being, if anyone here does 2 simple things, like 100% of the time they will remain safe, and alive.
    1. the first shoot is at a PUBLIC place. beach, park, local strip mall, whatever. there are tons of public places.
    2. have the model/photgrapher email an image of any form of GOV. issued ID with an image of them. Also a selfie, with clothes, taken even with a smart phone.
    i am saying first shoot at a public place for one simple reason, most of us here are talking about one female/male photographer/nodel trying to do the pervert thing and getting models in his/her pursuit of this. we are not talking about NISSAN,FORD, SEARS,GM, CNN, COMCAST,FOXNEWS, DONALD TRUMP, trying to hire a model for what ever reason and the happen to have the needs and resources for a MODEL.
    we are all talking about a single person trying to commit a crime, and what “we” should and need to do to keep safe! right?
    i may have missed something, there may be some of us that could think of other things other then just the 2 i presented. i welcome others that could add to this, i challenge all others to give this some thought and help me and all of us remain safe because we learn from others what we may not have known otherwise!

    Reply

  3. February 17, 2015 at 9:15 am, Tori said:

    I think it’s fine to bring an escort to shoots. As long as they do not distract or get in the way–mine never do, they are there for me! It’s necessary to bring one to shoots with photographers etc. I’ve never met, and to people who want to to shoot at home studios, which can be okay, and also not okay. Any photographer who has never met me and is uncomfortable with an escort, doesn’t need to shoot with me. I’ve already blacklisted one photographer for unprofessional conduct at a shoot/not returning photos, and another for canceling a shoot due to being uncomfortable with an escort, at his home studio! If a photographer has had issues with escorts in the past, perhaps they should examine their own conduct.

    Reply

  4. September 13, 2014 at 7:23 am, tsigili said:

    While I understand the world is full of creeps……….most of the time, these are only issues, because models don;t bother to learn anything about the photographer, in advance.

    Models should try to be familiar with all of their local area reliable professional photographers. They should check on anyone they don’t know, yes.

    Being safe, doesn’t mean making yourself into a creep, to avoid the creeps.

    Reply

  5. July 15, 2014 at 8:55 am, Jay Douglas Anderson said:

    It is good that women have an escort with them at least on the first meeting photoshoot if it is to be held in a non-public area or there is some state of nudity is involved and the photographer is a male. Most of the really bad stuff unfortunately comes from male photographers. Sometimes even asking the photographer if you can bring a male escort with you can be revealing. If he doesn’t like the idea of it then that would raise my eyebrows a bit. Sure, the presence of he escort can inhibit the model but that is easy to solve — the escort can be waiting outside within hearing range but not looking on directly to prevent inhibition from being a factor.

    If the shoot is to include any degree of nudity the model should especially make sure they have a contract and get a copy by email in advance so that they can read it carefully to see if it is acceptable. I think the ground rules should be clear too. There should be a private place for the model to change costumes, clothing, etc. Also if the model it to be doing nude poses the photographer should NEVER touch her in anyway and should demonstrate the pose for her while the model wears a robe for cover. Then the photographer should turn his/her back and let the model get into the pose and tell the photographer when she is ready before the photographer resumes shooting.

    You should know if you are shooting against a “green screen” or other background the photographer plans to change out later what the possible backgrounds may be. It may be that the background places you in a location that you wouldn’t want to be seen in and so you got to know those things, have the right to disallow a background (in the contract), or have a trusting relationship with the photographer.

    You can also ask for a “Shoot Plan” which describes the location, scene, poses, etc. if the photographer does a “Shoot Plan” that will tell you right off if there is something in the shoot that you are comfortable doing. The contract should describes exactly how the photos will be used or not used. If you sign a model release the photos may be resold for advertising purposes and appear anywhere. Models can request copies of finished photos for use in their portfolios, etc. and that should be in the contract because the photographer generally retains the rights to those photos. I generally also provide the model with one printed finish copy photo of her choice (a 16×20″ or so).

    The photographer may say things to motivate you and guide you and make you feel good about yourself but NEVER should there be any sexually suggestive comments made. That is not a professional photographer.

    There was a case recently of a “photographer” in the city who had installed a hidden camera in the dressing room his model was to use to change her clothing in. She noticed it. I wonder how many times it may go un-noticed. Models should take caution to look around dressing areas for such things before they begin undressing. A box with a hole in it… towels or clutter stacked up could have a camera hidden it it. A pin-hole camera can be also almost impossible to spot so that puts even more importance on being able to trusting your photographer.

    References are good. Especially when you can actually call another model and talk to her and know she is for real (an email address could belong to the photographer himself). I think women have a 2nd sense and will know when there is some underlying nefarious purpose for the shoot (the photographer is actually a peeper, etc.) — they get the “heebie-jeebies.” Another woman model can tell you if she got any “bad vibes” from the photographer.

    You should see the photographer’s work too. They should have a portfolio to show and their work should look professional to you. Someone that is up to no good will not likely have a portfolio of truly professional looking photos to show you.

    I am an artist (oil painter) and photographer and it sort of reminds me of a bit of a joke that comes up in the life-drawing sessions I participate in. In “Life Drawing” we draw/sketch from life — from a nude model (maie/female). The model works through a number of poses over a couple of hours. A new artist joins the group and he is drawing stick figures! Then he is not at artist but a peeper! Hasn’t happened to use but I have heard of such things happening. I think a good analogy to apply here too. Someone that is a peeper (generally most exclusively men) would likely have a second rate portfolio if one at all.

    Reply

    • July 16, 2014 at 8:47 am, Gary Kilgore said:

      Great points Jay. And, I’m not surprised that those comments are from someone who displays his name, instead of hiding behind a pseudonym. Model Mayhem should require that artists use their legal name and supply MM with a government issued ID. Peepers are one issue, but my primary concern is psychopaths and pimps who want to disguise themselves as artists to lure girls into traps. That is the inevitable result of a human catalog and anonymity.

      Reply

    • February 15, 2015 at 5:55 pm, Interested Observer said:

      Good advice apart from someone like me, trying to find models to get started with a portfolio. Sometimes it’s the professional photographers causing all this drama for us newbies (Terry Richardson).
      ps. Gary, only using a pseudonym because I signed in with Disqus.

      Reply

      • February 16, 2015 at 9:27 am, Gary Kilgore said:

        This month, I found myself on the other side of this debate. I hired a young model whose mother tags along as her “escort”. I’m a sculptor, so I hire models for multiple sessions. I agreed to the mother tagging along, but the last 2 sessions, I had enough. The mother played games on her phone with the sound up, and would constantly distract my model. And, my model, who was nude in the first sessions, was no longer nude. When I fired her yesterday, I pointed out that she was no longer modeling, she was hanging out in my studio with her mother. I’ll never agree to that again!

        Reply

  6. July 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm, Kent Hepburn said:

    I’ve never had a problem with a model bringing an escort. I just require that the escort is seen and not heard unless a question is asked of that person.

    Reply

  7. July 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm, Steve Tolevski said:

    I use to let models bring escort. Now I don’t. I’m tired of things missing when models bring escorts and many times the escorts get in the way and affect the quality of the shoot . An other problem. Sometimes we will have up to 20 models at a shoot, if everyone brings an escort, that’s 40 people. I understand for a model to bring an escort when shooting for a hobby photographer (photographers taking photos of pretty girls for no reason) , but when you shoot for a fashion company, no escorts. It’s a job. Do you bring escorts to your job?
    I know many photographers that use their Garage as a studio. Where would you rather shoot? In a studio in a sleazy neighborhood, or a bug infested building that is a fire hazard, or in a nice garage in a nice house in a nice neighborhood..

    Reply

  8. July 13, 2014 at 9:13 am, Terry Brown said:

    I have been lucky in the choice of the models I have worked with so far. However, I usually suggest that a new visitor to my studio check with a random selection of the models in the Tags section on my profile. This would allow them to get a reference direct from previous ladies I have worked with.
    To date, I have not found one model who will admit to doing this.
    If I am to collect a model from the train station, I will always have my wife with me to act as chaperone for the model. It is not unusual for the girl to query why I would do this. They would gladly climb into a car with someone they have never met before!!
    My primary concern is for the safety of the models I wish to employ. As a retired police officer, I am appalled at the naivety of some of these girls.
    Come on Girls, wake up and smell the coffee.
    Terry.

    Reply

    • July 18, 2014 at 7:16 am, Gary Kilgore said:

      Agree 100%!

      Reply

  9. July 12, 2014 at 8:08 pm, r c said:

    articles such as this are useless for models. the benefit of the information goes to those who want to “play” being a model.

    if one truly aspires to be a model they would first learn an integral part of the craft is to use a make-up artist. that is the “escort” portion of the equation. without the benefit of that professional component it’s just an exercise in taking pictures and pretending to be a model.

    as the author points out regarding booking through agencies as a primary source in years past, the one constant then, as it is now, is the environment included other professionals on the set which brought a “professional” aspect to modeling. my guess in viewing the images contained within the article the author had a combination or full support network of stylists, make-up artists and clients present at the photo shoots.

    so instead of recommending “escorts” why wasn’t the bar raised to aspirants that if you want to present yourself as a model then act like one. in other words, the modeling landscape goes well beyond just getting some pictures taken…and doing so without having to bring someone along that won’t do a thing for creating the strongest possible imaging.

    Reply

  10. July 11, 2014 at 12:48 am, Tony Hicks said:

    I’m quite new to mm so what do I know, but I think the escort idea is a great one for the following reasons: a) for the safety of models it’s a real necessity. My background is real estate sales and there have been some terrible attacks on lone female agents showing vacant houses. Even as a male realtor I had a very creepy encounter in a big old vacant house I had listed. Not fun at all — thought I was going to be robbed and locked in the basement by two scary dudes, but I kept my head and my distance and got out okay. b) it might very well help put the model at ease — especially if she’s new to the business — and that will make the shoot go better. c) I’m going to get the escort to hold a reflector or keep a hand on a light stand in a windy location, thus avoiding the cost of an assistant. :)

    Reply

  11. July 10, 2014 at 6:36 pm, kelev said:

    If a model feels she needs an escort I don’t shoot with her. Simple. My last escorted shoot I ended up with a missing Manfrotto head. So now I need an escort for the escort? Easier for me to pass. Far too many fish in the sea. I’ve shot well over 100 models and they are all still alive and kicking and relatively unscathed.

    Reply

  12. July 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm, Steve Dycus said:

    I agree the article clearly points out behaviors that would be well adopted by both model and photographer. I do find it intereting that the bulk of the focus in the comments center around escorts. I specifically request a model bring an escort the first time I work with him/her, whether it’s in the studio or on location. Once that expectation is established it can then be worked out in the future if one or both of us continue to feel one is necessary. This is in contrast, I recognize, to one of the points made in the article. But it has worked well for me and those I work with. I also make it abundantly clear that the escort is NOT there to ‘make suggestions’. This is where I have had, in the past, the few minor issues that have arisen. I think it’s fine for those who find an escort to be helpful, but I find having someone I am not familiar with working in the confines of a shoot more distracting for me than it is for the model. I always keep an escort within earshot of the model and often in the same space though I may have a screen up between to retain the model’s focus and reduce ‘my’ distraction of having them there. Regarding escorts in general, I find more often than not that models I am shooting with the first time do not want to bring an escort and I find I have to tell them “I’m sorry, but I insist”. As a photographer I always have MY escort available and close at hand and as mentioned by others they are the MUA, the clothing designer, etc. I wholeheartedly agree… safety first… for everyone.

    Reply

  13. July 10, 2014 at 4:20 am, Matches Malone said:

    A well thought out article. I would add something about knowing the particular location as well, as all beaches, streets, studios, etc. are NOT created equal.

    Reply

  14. July 09, 2014 at 9:59 pm, Gary Kilgore said:

    Maria has made a number of thoughtful comments to encourage models to exercise caution with respect to profiles that profess to be photographers, warning that can be illusory. A predator pretending to be a photographer to gain access to unwitting victims. In response, a number of photographers have posted whinning, self serving complaints that they might be victimized by models…..Seriously! You are so self absorbed that you don’t recognize that abduction is a more serious concern than the highly improbable possibility that some might steal your 1968 TV or your collection of Star Wars Memorabilia!? Move out of your parents basement and wake up to the real world!
    If it doesn’t take you away from your World of Warcraft too long, please read my comments below…..not that it would mean anything to you.

    Reply

    • July 11, 2014 at 11:38 am, Margaret Antill said:

      Or they could steal your $1000 equipment…. I agree that both ends have to be cautious. I’m a petite, 22 year old and I have $1000 of dollars worth of equipment with me when I shoot, not all photographers are bald, star wars loving, men, who live in the basement of their mothers house.

      Reply

      • July 11, 2014 at 11:53 am, Gary Kilgore said:

        Margaret, this article is about the inherent dangers to young women meeting men in intimate or secluded places. I have one friend who was abducted by a pimp, drugged, and sold for over a year.
        And, last month that almost (apparently) happened to another friend who is always too busy to check references. If you google MM there’s a local news segment from the Midwest about a dozen girls have gone missing when they responded to ads posted on MM. I’m saying, as a community, we need to address this serious issue! Of course, the first line of defense is that girls must check references!
        Additionally, Model Mayhem should create predator traps, and when a predator surfaces, turn him in to law enforcement.

        Whinning about the risk of theft in response to this article is really offensive, and really is revealing.

        Reply

        • July 11, 2014 at 7:34 pm, kelev said:

          Was the pimp on MM? The rate of assault on models by photographers is below the rate of assault on models by the significant others, their friends or random strangers. Saying a photographer does not have a right to feel worried when they cannot check references of whoever is coming as an escort is offensive and revealing. Go feed your horse.

          Reply

          • July 11, 2014 at 9:02 pm, Gary Kilgore said:

            I have no idea if her abductor posed as a photographer on MM or not, however, she was a model and on MM before her abduction. I met her after she returned home, an emotional wreck, and with a huge drug problem (that’s how a pimp controls a girl). She told me about her ordeal, but I didn’t ask questions, I just listened and consoled. But, some of the photographers posting comments to this article can’t seem to appreciate the value of and frailty of life. Kelev, I would ask you if anyone has ever attempted to take your life, but we wouldn’t be having this discourse if you had that experience. It permanently alters your perspective. Maria’s very thoughtful article is specifically about model safety, it’s not about photographers, who are afraid that a woman will take advantage of them. If that sounded sarcastic, it was meant to. I’m sure you are correct that more women who model are assaulted by people they met outside MM or other model websites. However, that doesn’t mean that this community doesn’t need to address this issue. Kelev, I am going to assume you are very young, haven’t had children, and that is why you are oblivious to the fact that there are predators who have the intelligence to quietly slip into a community setting, like this, and exploit it to satisfy their disgusting appetite. For your information, I don’t like escorts hanging around either (for the same reason as you), but this article isn’t about escorts or anything else, except model safety. My big concern is that girls check references. A predator isn’t going to have any references! And since you finished your comment with “Go feed your horse”, you obviously either went to my MM page, FB page, or googled my name. Any of which tell you exactly who I am, where I am, and what I’m all about. I am an open book. I am not embarrassed that I sculpt women nude. The human body is a beautiful vehicle for artistic expression. I live in a socially oppressive town, where everyone thinks and acts in lock step or they (we) are ostracized. But, I put out there who I am and what I am about. If someone doesn’t like it, good riddance. I don’t hide behind a pseudonym, and I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t ashamed of being an artist. If you are ashamed, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

          • July 12, 2014 at 12:39 am, kelev said:

            I’m 48 and have been shooting for 12 years. I am sorry this young lady had a horrendous ordeal..but it had nothing to do with photography. It is just as easy for an escort to be a lunatic as it is a photographer. Moreseo because we have NO IDEA who this person may be, no references to check..no MM Escort profile or references. People face assault in every day jobs and none of them have escorts. Women face sexual harassment in offices far more often than photoshoots. And if you really run up against a photographer as crazy as the guy who abducted your friend..an escort will not effect the outcome. We have 99.99999% safe shoots on MM. You are hundreds of times more likely to get hurt on the way to the shoot than at it. Yet we make it sound like there is a potential rapist behind every lens.
            I have a right to be concerned for my safety as well. I do not shoot with escorts…period. You want to bring a certified MUA? thats awesome…please do. But your bf, husband, brother…no chance. Be robbed once..not happening again. And is there is comparison between losing property or getting hurt…well what would have happened had I caught the guy stealing? You think that would have ended well for me? probably not.

          • July 12, 2014 at 12:49 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            For the last time, this article isn’t about YOU, it’s about model safety. I have never been more disgusted with the human race than I am at this point. There are more important things in this world than YOU, got it. And, please quit responding, you make me want to puke.

          • July 12, 2014 at 12:53 am, kelev said:

            Model safety has nothing to do with escorts and you know it. Model safety is about working with established professionals with a track record and sold references. I will respond as long as you keep espousing that escorts are the key to model safety. It isn’t.

          • July 12, 2014 at 1:00 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            This conversation is over. I would rather drowned myself in a toilet than continue a conversation with you.

          • July 13, 2014 at 1:05 am, kelev said:

            Don’t forget to flush. BTW..you see the model who killed those two guys? Maybe they should have had escorts.

          • July 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm, Ada Black said:

            I don’t want to post this to scare anyone.. It wouldn’t hurt though. If I didn’t have my escort with me the one time. I’m 100% sure I would have been molested. The photographer was a little to touchy and asked for a blow job. Plain as day. Had I not been able to text my escort to come to the door and get me I really don’t know what would have happened considering telling him I had a boyfriend only went over as “Oh well I’m married.” I didn’t check for references and this was one of my first shoots. I did not see a need for safety. I’m actually going through this now taking notes. You are correct escorts are safety. Probably the biggest part of safety. Some photographers are not ok with that, that’s fine. But most I have worked with are understanding. I’m sorry your post had to be trolled with such ignorance. And also the photographer did have a name for himself.. (so not every photographer that has REFERENCES is safe, we live in a dangerous world not some candy land) My escort saved the day end of story.

          • July 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm, Gary Kilgore said:

            Yep, some people think that if a woman will take her clothes off, then she must be up for anything. Case in point: the post immediately above you. The guy is apparently referring to the recent national news piece about a hooker who overdosed a guy with heroin. Presumably, he sees no distinction between artists models and hookers. I know a model who has been attacked by photographers in several states, reported the crimes to the police, and the police refused to arrest the guy in every case. That is really egregious! The implication to me is: she was a hooker, which is bad enough; but not only that, that a hooker doesn’t have protection from assault.

          • July 21, 2014 at 6:09 pm, Ada Black said:

            I also agree with photographers home and item protection. If you see my post down below I have my escort stay outside of their home. Just having him on speed dial knowing hes in the area is enough to make me feel safe. I also dont think you should be using that story with modeling in any sense.. Id love to know the whole story. Who shoots a hooker off of the street?

          • July 22, 2014 at 5:59 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            First, I agree, I’m not anymore comfortable with some random dude hanging in my house, than anyone else. And actually, with a single exception, the models who have brought an escort for the first meeting, have told them that they could leave after we met. The one escort who stayed for the first visit, simply dropped off the model after that. Regarding the recent news piece about a hooker who overdosed some dudes, I’m not bringing it up, the person in the previous comment brought it up. I was merely pointing out that it was inappropriate. And, that’s the point, the news piece has absolutely nothing to do with modeling. She was not a model at all, that’s my point. Bringing her up in this dialog was as ridiculous and inappropriate as bringing up a little green men from Mars. Google the news piece and you will understand.

          • July 22, 2014 at 6:18 am, Ada Black said:

            I know what you meant. I read up on everything before I posted haha. Yeah.. If you go and shoot some random hooker who you can probably tell she deals with heroin.. that says things. Lol. I’m guessing it was a craigslist modeling ad she responded to or he picked her off the street. All I know is it all sounds sketchy. Enough of that cray cray bs. :0

          • July 22, 2014 at 6:48 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            No, no Ada, she didn’t meet the guy for a modeling gig, she was just a hooker doing her biz. No connection to modeling whatsoever. That’s why I was criticizing the previous commentor linking that news story to modeling. There is no connection except in his mind, which to me demonstrates an unhealthy attitude toward women in general. If a guy can’t distinguish between an artists model and a hooker, well, there’s the seed for a serious misunderstanding of bounds.

          • July 22, 2014 at 6:53 am, Ada Black said:

            WHAAAAAT?! I hope he’s a troll and not a photographer who is on MM. Thats disrespectful on a huge level.

          • July 22, 2014 at 7:04 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            Look at the string, I think he’s a photographer. He and I really got into it, I was absolutely disgusted.

          • July 12, 2014 at 11:36 pm, Margaret Antill said:

            Thank you. :)

        • July 12, 2014 at 11:40 pm, Margaret Antill said:

          You are really judgemental…. I’m a 90 pound asian girl, I worry about my safety all the time, I wasn’t trying to undermine the subject of the article. I really didn’t mean to, I know how horrible human trafficking is…. I was just trying to express that there are two sides to everything.

          Reply

          • July 13, 2014 at 12:03 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            Margaret, I apologize for being, admittedly, judgmental, harsh, and truly angry. I’ve been worried for a long time that our community was ripe for exploitation. I’m 60 years old, and over my lifetime have witnessed communities that were safe and civilized be invaded, over time, by psychopaths. When I was your age, pot was a gentlemen’s game. No violence, none of the things it turned in to. Over time the scum infiltrated. As Warren Buffet put it: first come the innovators, the imitators, then the idiots who undo the whole thing. WE, AS A COMMUNITY, need to get a handle on this, we have to keep the psychopaths out. Again, I apologize, I obviously hurt your feelings.
            When a friend who I love very much came close to falling into, what was apparently, a sex slave trap(I refuse to sanitize it by calling it “trafficking”), I was stabbed in the heart.

        • July 12, 2014 at 11:42 pm, Margaret Antill said:

          And while I agree that this is a serious crime I take issue with your profiling, “…steal your 1968 TV or your collection of Star Wars Memorabilia!? Move out of your parents basement and wake up to the real world!
          If it doesn’t take you away from your World of Warcraft too long, please read my comments below…..not that it would mean anything to you.”

          I mean I don’t even think that fits a proper stereotype lol.

          Reply

          • July 13, 2014 at 12:41 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            Touche!

        • July 12, 2014 at 11:59 pm, Margaret Antill said:

          And btw how is your friend doing? I’m glad she got out, it’s funny how most people I know think that human trafficking occurs in different countries. I’m rooting for her, and you for helping her out.

          Reply

          • July 13, 2014 at 12:16 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            Margaret, I’m assuming you’ve read my apology below by now. I will be happy to discuss this with you in private, but when I plugged your name into MM browse, it didn’t take me to you (not unusual). My name appears on my MM account, which is 637532.

      • August 13, 2015 at 11:36 am, tinynot said:

        your totally on point, and i would add. for me the answer is simple. have the first shoot at a park, beach, where ever others chill and of course are very public. as was mentioned by others, at least for the first shoot, etc. there is always a risk in life doing things and interacting with others, and in this industry this has always been the case, and with the internet, it has made it easier to prey on some of us that are not street wise! if anyone is in a position where they feel threatened, then of course they should get out asap. having a mom is also a legal issue, if the model is 18 and below? is it not? i would never shoot an underage alone, never. it is true, most of the problems come from a male shooting a female model.
        [ask everyone here a question or two, how many here has ever done aNY oneONONE shoots of females in the nude in public? is it a paid shoot? where are some of your public locations you do nude shoots? has anyone here done a shoot while nude, yes i mean were the photographer was nude? please give any comments on this you may have even though you cannot answer any of the questions, HOWARD]

        Reply

  15. July 09, 2014 at 7:50 pm, Merlin 702 said:

    I’ve had escorts that I have wound up doing shoots with, I’ve had a couple of escorts that turned out to be excellent set designers, but I love the ones that sit back in a corner, and never say a word Forgot they were there. I did have to tell one guy to stop taking pictures ( he asked, wifey ), because his flash kept triggering my strobes. Wound up doing a photo shoot with him and her a few weeks later.
    I’ve had one photographer ask me for references on a model. Wasn’t really comfortable with it. Asked too many questions. She told me later, she got a bad vibe off of him.

    Reply

  16. July 09, 2014 at 7:48 pm, Patrick Gary Montgomery said:

    There is too much insecurity. I only book through agencies now. I will not hire freelancers. I tried that with a freelance photographer, and got an agency really mad. The best way is to really know who your going to work with. If its for a commercial on TV , for example, ask for the TV stations salesperson whom the videographer is working for or the client. Call the station, ask if in fact there is a TV contract for that client. Don’t be spooked at meeting at a private residence, if you can be shown its a real home studio. Or Home radio station. If its an online radio station ask for the web address. Its important to be careful, but not so much that you can’t get booked by anyone. Being cautious is important, but being too cautious can get you a bad reputation and being black balled by all indy producers. I know as I am one.

    Reply

  17. July 09, 2014 at 4:48 pm, dgcasey0325 said:

    My only problem with an escort came when doing a shoot to get some reference photos for my paintings. I had a nice enough young lady coming and she said she really felt the need to bring an escort and I said fine, as long as they stay out of the way and quiet. So, she shows up with her boyfriend, who she somehow neglected to tell that she would be posing “sans apparel.” He acted like a complete jerk about it and needless to say, there was no shoot that day.

    Reply

  18. July 09, 2014 at 4:23 pm, Paulifornia said:

    All this is just the same for photographers as well. We need to be responsible with who we’re shooting. I’ve heard of photographers getting gear stolen by models and guests as well. References and a body of work speak volumes.. Great Article Maria. I always hear stories of models pulling up to a shoot and the studio is some guys dirty living room with a backdrop. I understand not everyone can afford a photo studio but your home speaks volume of the type of person you are… and I always recommend that models leave a shoot if it seems at all sketchy. If they don’t have time to clean and maintain their live/ work area who knows whats in the other room. Escorts are fine and yes sometimes a distraction but they’re also not running the show… they should be like a security guard.. there in case of trouble. I always tell the escort where to sit and wait. I never let them shoot directly with me and the model and if it’s an issue therm I’ll “escort” them out of my work place. (like what i did there?) Maria’s points are awesome.. just use common sense.

    Reply

    • July 09, 2014 at 7:31 pm, Marc Esadrian said:

      @Paulifornia Dead spot on, and THANK YOU for flipping this around. All too often we hear about dangers to models, but hardly ever of the dangers unwary photographers may encounter. Not all the creeps are behind the camera. Theft and false rape or assault charges come to mind off the top of my head as things a shady overnight “model” might attempt.

      Reply

  19. July 09, 2014 at 3:55 pm, PeteX said:

    I can completely understand why models want to bring an escort, but I wonder if anyone has any suggestions about a problem it always causes me. First of all, if the escort is in the same room as the model, they tend to be a distraction. On the other hand, if I ask the escort to wait in another room, I’m allowing someone I don’t know to wander around my house. Perhaps I’m paranoid but I worry that the escort could be stealing things while I’m doing the shoot. (I say ‘house’ because I don’t have a separate studio space, but if I did, I wouldn’t want people stealing from there either.)

    I suppose I could insist that the escort leaves completely during the shoot, but then the model might be worried because there isn’t anyone with her any more.

    Reply

    • July 11, 2014 at 11:41 am, Margaret Antill said:

      Sometimes I just try to provide them a chair facing a wall if they are making the model nervous.

      Reply

    • July 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm, Ada Black said:

      I have my escort go for a walk and stay in the area. I tell photographers that he does not need to be in the shooting area or your house. They distract me as well. I prefer shooting nudity. I don’t want my escort making me nervous and or distracted with that going on. It puts me and the photographer at ease. Having him on speed dial and knowing (if something really was going to go wrong) hes only kick in the door away makes me comfortable.

      Reply

  20. July 09, 2014 at 2:45 pm, John_E_Canuck said:

    Well written, informative and truthful. Should be required reading for every aspiring model AND photographer (aspiring or not)

    Reply

  21. July 09, 2014 at 2:17 pm, Gary Kilgore said:

    God bless you for sharing this information, Maria. I have one friend, who in spite of being a seasoned traveling model, constantly breaks all of the common sense rules you list (yes, you know I’m talking about you). Recently, she nearly walked into an apparent abduction trap. As Maria pointed out, just because someone has a profile on Model Mayhem and/or other model sites, doesn’t mean that he is a photographer. I’m afraid the underworld has discovered our little slice of paradise. Don’t risk becoming a statistic, it can happen to you, please check references!

    Reply

  22. July 09, 2014 at 2:10 pm, Anthony Woodruffe said:

    I can’t help thinking that accepting work from a stranger is on it’s way out. Although I’m new to Photography and could be considered just a GWC. For a model; I feel that work should be considered if they either know the photographer personally, has been recommended by another model or with a photographer who is distinguished enough that even with just a little internet research the model can feel safe enough to work with them.

    Reply

  23. July 09, 2014 at 2:00 pm, Alejandro Cervantes said:

    Great advice!

    Reply

  24. July 09, 2014 at 1:56 pm, Marc Medios said:

    Excellent points all

    Reply

  25. July 09, 2014 at 10:36 am, Andrew said:

    Fantastic article. I agree with Zed that an escort maybe required for a first time shoot depending on the photographer. One should always have them atleast walk in the door to scope things out because you just never know the situation. I’ve heard of some bad stuff happening to people i know and your safety should always come first. Nice work Maria

    Reply

  26. July 08, 2014 at 8:54 pm, Zed Saeed said:

    Great article Maria. Very helpful. Virtually every model I have ever worked with has at least one story of a creepy encounter, some crazier than others.

    I agree with you about the escorts. They are good idea in this day and age. My feeling isthat it may be a requirement for a first-time shoot with an unfamiliar photographer. I also agree with you that the escorts should be present nearby and not right at the shooting area. I have had numerous models bring escorts and I have never had a problem with that. There have even been times when I have used the escorts as assistants!

    I hope models on MM will read this article and take all of its lessons to heart.

    Thanks for such a wonderful write up.

    Reply

  27. July 08, 2014 at 4:40 pm, DKProPhotography said:

    Very well written article. You can never be too safe these days. I also agree with the precious commenter…the only bad experience that I have had with an escort was when the model and my self were not on the same page or she didn’t tell her escort..usually when it’s a significant other…what the shoot was going to be. Safety above all else is the number one priority. For both parties. If I’m working with a new model I always have a female mua/assistant at the shoot. It tends to make the model more comfortable and it protects the photog from any wrongful accusations. Kudos to Ms. Erikson on writing this article.

    Reply

  28. July 08, 2014 at 3:49 pm, mpernal said:

    I have never had an issue with a model bringing an escort as long as we all have an understanding that the model and I are working on a professional basis and no interference will be tolerated. I understand Maria’s point that in this day and age, you never know whom you can trust; and that is from both perspectives, the model’s and the photographers. I make sure I have either an assistant or makeup artist with myself also. Bottom line, be safe! If either party feels uncomfortable for some reason, then just call it off and move on.
    Overall, great advice for people who are new to the business/industry.

    Reply

  29. July 08, 2014 at 12:05 pm, Merlin 702 said:

    As far as escorts, my experience has been that 90% have been a distraction to the models concentration during a shoot. Most of the newer models have a tendency to keep looking at the escort for approval while doing a shoot I prefer an escort that comes in, meets with you a few moments to get a feel for you, and then excuses themselves until the shoot is over.
    I did a shoot with a young lady, that I strongly suspect, had smoked something in the changing room while she was getting prepared. I came pretty close to asking her to leave. After about 45 mins of nonstop movement, she suddenly crashed. Should have gone with my gut, and asked her to leave.

    Reply

    • July 09, 2014 at 2:37 pm, Jim Irwin, Intimate Memories said:

      I agree that escorts can be interfering and distracting. However having said that, I agree that a model/prospective model has to be extremely cautious, and, SHOULD check references if available.

      I would have no problem with the things stated in the article. The model should feel free to contact anyone to let them know where she is, when she’s expected to finish etc.

      As for the escort, he can pass his/her time at a local coffee shop,or whatever. The model can phone that person when she’s finished and the shoot is over.

      As a new photographer from Canada, where my references are, I’m trying my darndest to do a couple of local shoots in order to establish some “creds” in the Bradenton/Tampa area…….

      Reply

      • July 15, 2014 at 10:55 am, Rebus Imagery said:

        Great article and aspects of the issues listed can easily apply to both sides of the camera. One aspect I think missing from the discussion, although I may have missed it in the comments, is the issue of deterrence. Maria referenced several great safety tips at the end of the article about letting someone know where you’ll be and who you’ll be with. Just as importantly, ensure the individual, or group, that you’re with are fully aware you have left that info with a third party.

        Reply

        • July 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm, PeteX said:

          You talking of deterrence gave me an idea. Perhaps it would be worth photographers showing ID like a driving licence at the start of the shoot, and then allowing the model to text details to anyone she wants.

          No one who intended to assault the model would be willing to do that, because obviously they would get arrested straight away.

          Reply

          • July 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm, Rebus Imagery said:

            Although I understand this is model mayhem, I don’t even look at this issue as a photographer-model topic. To me it’s a safety issue but those involved in this discussion happen to be photographers and models.

            I’ve had models snap a shot of me on their phone and send it to their friend. At the end of the shoot, I’ve taken a shot of the model getting into their car.

            There is no perfect answer but having a plan for your safety, or at least a plan to narrow down the potential search area is always a good idea.

          • July 17, 2014 at 7:11 am, Gary Kilgore said:

            That is a very good idea! I would like to see that become common practice!

    • July 18, 2014 at 6:57 pm, Bobbie Blue said:

      I always allow escorts…no questions asked. However, I also tell the model that I may, and usually do, ask the escort to step out for a portion of the shoot. This is because I want the model’s trust…it has never been an issue once everyone sees I’m not a creep, or worse. And, as you say, the escorts are distractions so I’ve already made the agreement that I may ask escorts to leave. I have in fact asked escorts to leave because they are distractions and that’s always worked, too. Models, if you want an escort, bring one or move on to a photographer who doesn’t care.

      Reply

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