From time to time, friends ask me about various modeling offers they have received.
They usually want to know the following:
Is it a real offer?
Do I think it's safe?
Is it a scam?
I can't know all of these answers for each time I'm asked, but I do have two thoughts on photo shoots and personal safety:
1) You should always bring a chaperon/friend (male, strong, with a mind for protection) to photo shoots with a photographer you don't know personally. If the photographer resists you bringing a friend... then he is probably a creepy person.
A professional photographer will understand that this is your first time working with him. He will want you to be as comfortable as possible, otherwise the shoot will be a failure. If he doesn't know this, then he is not a professional photographer.
Knowing a photographer personally and knowing of him are not the same. If 30 of your friends know the photographer, but you have never worked with him or had a lengthy conversation with him, in person. Then you do not know him personally. You should bring a friend or two. Your friends can help you carry your bags into the studio or onto location. Your friends can also help you with hair and makeup. Manage you facebook and twitter updates during the shoot. There are many benefits to bringing friends to a photo shoot. The most important benefit is your personal safety!
(Parents and friends are invited to all of my shoots, the more the merrier.)
2) An audition or job offer for professional modeling (and cosplay modeling) should not include requests for nude photos. Nor should they ask to see you nude. This is a dead giveaway that you are not entering into standard commercial modeling, and that you are not dealing with an industry professional.
You may be saying, "Oh! But I know this guy, and he said I could make a ton of money…." Yup, I know him too… He's full of S#*&. He is a smooth talking creepy guy with no commercial clients, or he's a well-intentioned fool. You should politely decline the offer, and seek work elsewhere.
There is no BS'ing around these two points of safety.
1) Always bring a chaperon/friend when working with a new photographer.
2) Say no to all requests for nudity.
That's the heart of the message friends. I care about the people I photograph. The friendships I've made in the cosplay community are special to me, and I cherish my friends. I want you all to have fun at your photo shoots, and to be safe.
I welcome your continued questions about modeling and photo shoot opportunities as they come your way.
Be Safe & Be Smart!