The Dark Side of Nude Modelling

I get messages daily asking me about information on Suicide Girls, booking in with me or tips in general – too often, though, I am receiving messages from girls hurt, angry and upset with how they’ve been treated on a photoshoot by a creepy photographer. Too many times I have photographed someone after years of hiatus with their modelling ambitions because of something nasty or disgusting someone has said or done to them. Just today, someone who was interested in shooting with me finally got back to me to let me know she’d changed her mind, she just couldn’t deal with the gross, ‘perverted men’ disguised as photographers that this industry invites.

I do question why so many male photographer get into shooting ‘glamour’, especially when there’s no money in it any more (most of these photographers work for free) and no Lads Mags to get published in. Nude photography is something I fell into and slowly my work progressed into what it is now – it just so happened that that journey  led me to Suicide Girls. However, I regularly have men contact me either totally out of the blue, or they currently shoot landscapes and they want to get into shooting for SG or nudes in general….Why? Where did you make the link from landscapes to nude women? I can’t help but think it’s often just an excuse to get to be around nude women.

This acceptance of inappropriate behaviour has been going on for far too long and it’s not just nude modelling – we all know the stories that have received coverage in the media with photographers over-stepping the boundaries, harassing and even raping, kidnapping and murdering young women and yet, sometimes, these warnings make no difference. People still want to work with those photographers because their work is good – people still want to see Chris Brown perform because they like his songs. Why do we constantly excuse men for their crimes because of their talent in other areas? You only have to look into cases like Brock Turner and see that men with talent are allowed to do as they please with women because we are less important, as human beings, than their skills are.

This is an open letter to new models, experienced models who have learned to keep quiet and women in general. I’m not saying this to scare you. I’m saying this to educate you, be aware of the darkness that surrounds the industry so you can stay out of the shadows and make intelligent, careful decisions about who you work with. Know yourself and what you want before you allow others to decide those things for you. I work pretty exclusively with Suicide Girls these days and there is an amazing support network there – even though SG is a submissions based site and usually have nothing to do with the shoot process until after it’s done, if you have issues with a photographer you’ve shot with please do tell them. Whether they’re new, established or even Staff they will listen to you. Whether you paid the photographer or not, they will listen to you. Even if nothing comes of it, speak up. You don’t have to put this out publicly – I know lots of you are scared of the backlash from photographers, their supporters and fellow models that have had different experiences but maybe your complaint isn’t the first. Even if it is, maybe it won’t be the last, but without your story no one will be any wiser.

If you’re new to modelling, please, please, please do your research about who you want to shoot with. This is particularly important when you start out as many girls fall into these traps and put up with things they shouldn’t because they wrongly think its the way things are. These types of abusers prey on the vulnerable, they know who to push and who not to and hopefully after a couple good shoots behind you, you’ll be able to spot the ones you should avoid. Word of mouth reviews are probably going to be your best friend and whilst you shouldn’t believe everything you hear, please do be aware that if someone has ten good reviews and ten bad reviews that, you should still consider where these bad reviews have come from and what the pattern is. A lot of photographers will have raving reviews from experienced, well known models (those which the photographer thinks they’re lucky to work with so won’t push their luck because they know they would be shut down if they even tried) but riddled with negative reviews from first timers (those they think are below them, don’t know any better, easier to persuade with less understanding of the industry) and I just think that’s really shitty. It reminds me of the typical situation with someone being nice to you on a date where they’re trying to impress you but an asshole to the waiter, it shows their true colours and speaks volumes. Respect is respect and everyone deserves it.

So many girls have suffered the same bad experiences, some multiple times, and many of them have never spoken up because they didn’t want to cause drama so here’s a few ground rules of what is or isn’t normal on a photoshoot, including real-life examples from models:

Your photographer should not make you feel uncomfortable in any way.
Anything you wouldn’t be expected to deal with in a normal working environment is not normal to deal with on shoot. There’s a certain etiquette that comes natural to most good photographers and they should enable you to feel completely comfortable – most girls work with me again and again not because of my technical skill being above anyone else (far from it) but because I make them feel comfortable. I’m friendly, personable and flexible to different personalities. There may have been one or two girls where conversation hasn’t flowed, (maybe they were nervous or maybe they just didn’t like me) but I have always done my best to make them feel comfortable, safe and relaxed. I always let the model know she is in control, it’s her shoot, she calls the shots – I just take them.

“The photographer sat directly next to me the whole time I touched up make up and then tried to stay in the room whilst I undressed stating he would be seeing it all anyway.”
This is not normal. There are girls I’ve shot completely nude several times and I will still allow them the privacy to get changed, or at least not stare at the whilst they do it. Sometimes there isn’t the space or a model just really doesn’t care and will strip off there and then but modelling nude is very, very different to the intimacy of getting undressed in front of someone in close proximity. Nude modelling is showing a version of yourself you’re allowing people to see, someone catching you getting undressed is very different and often very uncomfortable for most. Spacial awareness is always important – you wouldn’t expect to have someone squashed up next to you in the office, breathing over you, looking over your shoulder so imagine how much more uncomfortable that is when you’re nude or scantily clad with a photographer you don’t know. Allow models their personal space.

“I’ve had a photographer on a boudoir shoot (I work up to implied) wait till I was in position (on all fours, head down) to then go directly behind me so that with the flash my underwear went see through. He uploaded these open leg images online and resurfaces them on new websites. He also undressed and got changed on the shoot directly in front of me, walking around topless for a while stating he was as comfortable being naked as me.”
This is just fucking weird. Models don’t want to see their photographers naked and don’t care how comfortable they are naked…It’s irrelevant and unnecessary.

“I once worked with a photographer who approached me, he had a great portfolio full of glamour images and I was flattered. This was only my second shoot ever, so I was very naive. He shot at my house, and as soon as I met him I felt uncomfortable. He had very sinister eyes, which sounds ridiculous but sometimes you just get this feeling. The shoot was awkward, uncomfortable and all he did was criticise me throughout, saying he preferred to work with blonde, tanned fake breasted women. I just wanted him to leave. After, he blocked me on all social media and I had to contact another photographer who was a mutual friend who managed to coax about 6 images from the shoot that were roughly edited and poor quality. I never heard from him again.’

Your photographer should not sexualise you for themselves. This includes speaking to you in a sexually explicit manner.
In an industry where it’s normal to tell someone you’ve just met that they have an amazing bum or you love their underwear it really does come down to the way you say things. There is no need for your photographer to be pushing personal boundaries – your nude modelling says nothing about you or your sex life and it doesn’t make it okay to talk to you about sexual topics. It’s not professional to leave explicit comments on your photos, to ask for your premium snapchat or speak to you about any sex work you’ve done in the past that they might have seen. It’s just not fucking normal, don’t do it. I’ve even heard of photographers sending models nudes of themselves.

“I told my agent about a photographer who got his cock out and tried to pull me onto him and he said ‘I’ve never had any complaints about him before’ and booked me in for another test shoot with him.”

“On a recent shoot the photographer asked me if I was wet…I just looked at him and pretended I didn’t hear it, I was so shocked. He’s now deleted me from Instagram and I doubt I’ll be getting any of the photos back as when I was there he deleted the previous girls photos in front of me, saying ‘she was ugly anyway’.”

“I shot with this photographer a couple of times, nice and normal, then he starts telling me how he hasn’t fucked his wife for 10 years…he’s shagging a 21 year old model…best sex he’s ever had (every gross detail despite me making my disinterest abundantly clear), he “accidentally” slipped nudes she sent him into our mood board file, kept making assumptions about my sex life; “I bet you don’t let your husband XYZ”…I bailed within half an hour. Never had to do that before. I didn’t feel particularly UNsafe, just tremendously uncomfortable. He’s a big reason I stopped shooting, I didn’t like how someone I considered normal and nice turned out to be so seedy and greasy.”
I hear stories like this all the time and it’s so sad when they start out fine and then, all of a sudden, they’re way too big for their boots and shit on any rapport you had with them by acting completely inappropriately. It’s not just ‘creepy old guys’ either, lots of these experiences have happened with younger photographers which seems to shock people more.

“First shoot I ever did I was nervous, so the guy told me to masturbate and see if that helped me feel better, then winked and left the room.”
I can’t help but think it’s a control thing – like cat calling in the streets, they just say it because they can, do and will get away with it. It’s almost like they get off on making you uncomfortable whilst knowing you won’t do anything about it. You could pass some of these things off as banter but I don’t think that excuses it, we all have different levels of banter we reserve for different friends, family, strangers…this is no different.

“I got booked on a shoot by my agency where the photographer locked me in his car for over an hour then came back and asked me loads of sexually suggestive questions to the point where I had to get out of the car in the middle of the road and RUN AWAY. I reported him to the agency, and guess what? They continued to send models to him.”

‘Once had a photographer say he’d spank me, me being naive I thought he was joking and then he actually did. Same photographer told me to look at him as if he was my boyfriend, as if I wanted to “have a go”‘

‘I was told, “look at me like you want to fuck me”

‘I was once offered $1000 for “an hour of my time with a video camera”.

Your photographer should not touch you.
Not without prior warning and without your consent, ever. This goes for any part of the body, it’s not professional to just start grabbing a models arms and legs to move them around into a certain pose unless it’s something you’ve discussed and she’s agreed and you definitely should never be touched in a sexual way by your photographer.

“I’ve had a photographer tell me he is a trained massage therapist and does happy endings, who also knows a ton about posture and tried placing his hands on my pubic bone and lower back to show me how to make me look skinnier.”

“When we shot at his house, he started slapping and rubbing my arse when I was fully naked.”
He grabbed my boobs to ‘show’ me how he wanted me to hold them.”
“He ‘accidentally’ touched my nipple, apologised but then threw in that I wouldn’t have minded if he was ‘a younger lad'”

“He tried to grab me three times in various places, I asked what the fuck he thought he was doing and he said ‘you looked cold I’m just keeping you warm’.”

“At one point he tweaked my nipple to ‘make it harder’ which obviously was really uncomfortable.”

Your photographer should not harass you.
Your photographer shouldn’t come onto you, it’s harassment. You should not be getting harassed by a photographer at any stage of the shoot process. It’s creepy and unprofessional – they should not be making flirty or suggestive comments before, during or after the shoot. Shooting is working together, that’s all, it does not give permission to try anything more or open any doors for personal relationships. Yes, I’m sure there are times when models have willingly dated their photographers but there are so many photographers that are constantly asking every one of their models out…Just stop! Everyone can see what you’re doing.

“Every model I know that has shot with him, he’s asked out for drinks.”
“I modelled for this company before, the owner started messaging me about kissing me and marrying me.”
“I’ve had three photographers try and kiss me”

“He actually tried to talk me into cheating on my boyfriend at the time with him, not to mention making girls drunk at shoots so he could have a chance to get something from it. The sad part is that most of us still defended him when outsiders talked about these things that they knew he did.”

“The worst is probably a photographer from the early Myspace days. He was super sleazy and was put in jail for rape a couple of years ago and has been banned from practising photography. He worked with literally everybody and had loads of high profile clients so he was hard to avoid for a while but he was the fucking WORST. Fuck him.”

“When I was seventeen my photographer told me it was fine to shoot nude because I was under his adult supervision. He gave me lots of alcohol during the photoshoot and tried getting to me to do spread-leg shots. After the shoot, he wanted me to go home with him for a threesome with his girlfriend for ‘art’.” 
This is another one I hear all the time. Under eighteen years old you should not be shooting nude, at all, with anyone. Another girl once told me the photographer told her that model release forms for nude work are only if you’re over eighteen, as long as you’re over sixteen and under eighteen you don’t need to sign release forms and it’s fine to just shoot nude. That’s not true. It’s not fine.

Your photographer shouldn’t be trying to get you drunk at work.
For starters, after a few drinks, you’re not going to look great so I’d be very wary of the motives. I’ve photographed girls who have turned up drunk or stoned and it usually leads to heavy eyes, weird expressions and a red face. Im sure there are exceptions to this rule and i’ve definitely shot girls who have wanted to have a drink to relax but a drink for that reason is very different.

“Always be wary of the ones that give you booze as well to ‘loosen’ up. 
I was a bit tipsy after a photoshoot and the photographer tried to kiss me at the train station when he dropped me back off. When I pulled back he said he thought we had a ‘good vibe’.”

Your photographer should not make comments about your body that make you uncomfortable.

They should not be rude about you, your body, your skin, your shape, telling you that you need a lot of photoshopping, that you need to lose weight etc or anything sexually inappropriate. A professional photographer will not make you feel bad about yourself – what would we have to gain from it? Why would I make a girl feel ugly whilst I take photographs trying to show her confidence and beauty? Those are not going to be nice pictures. You do not need to be a photographers ‘type’ because you aren’t dating – this isn’t Tinder, this is work. I’m a straight female and there are still certain attributes I think are attractive but they are personal to me and nothing to do with my work so I do not need to belittle anyone for not having these traits. I have heard a lot of this talk from other photographers about what kinds of girls they do or don’t like, what ‘does it for them’ etc.

“He said he could only shoot me from far away, I’m not a face close-up type.

“I was told I looked fat in all of the pictures and that he was not using them.”

“I was told ‘suck it in fatty’ – at the time I was in size 6 clothes and 18 years old. He also told me not to eat or drink anything that day.” 

“The photographer pointed out and was shocked that I had stretch marks.”

“I have heard many times that the only thing I have going for me is my ass.

“I have had a photographer say to my face he was told if he wanted tits not to hire me but luckily my facial expressions made up for it.”

“When I got to his house where we were shooting he was obviously disappointed with how I looked. He took a test picture of my face from the side, zoomed in on my nose and showed me on the camera, asking ‘do you like your nose?’….this is something I’ve been insecure about my whole life and at that time it was a big deal to me, I was so taken back by it, he was trying to bring me down the whole shoot. He continued to be creepy about the fact I’m a lesbian…I’ve heard lots of rumours about him since then but lots of girls still shoot with him regularly. He was just gross. Nasty.

Your photographer should not push you into shooting higher than your usual levels.
This means that if you only shoot implied nudes, inform them of that beforehand and if they ask for more you must say no. Unfortunately it’s not always that simple and I can’t even put a number on the amount of girls I’ve worked with who have gone on to shoot with other photographers much more explicitly because they’ve pushed them into it and the fact that it’s ‘not a big deal‘…Baring in mind most of these photographers aren’t nude on the internet. A little bit of your vagina from whatever angle is still your vagina and if you don’t want your vagina in a shot then you get to decide what is too much and what isn’t. Don’t allow someone else to convince you otherwise. If they push you and you regret it, tell them that they cannot use those images right away and if you are still ignored, contact the company the images are for.

“I was laying naked on the bed and the photographer was standing over me shooting down. He told me to lift my legs up so that my knees would be in shot. I was pretty uncomfortable but he promised you couldn’t see anything. As we were shooting he was focusing on my face but as he actually took the photo, he quickly snapped the camera down. Eventually I said ‘you definitely got my fanny in that one!’ – I said it jokingly because I didn’t want to seem accusatory. He looked at the back of the camera and promised, again, that you couldn’t see anything. While he was in the toilet I picked up his camera to check and yep, you could straight up see my actual vagina. In some he had even cut out the top of my head so it was obvious that it wasn’t an accident, he had intentionally moved the camera to do that. I literally went home and cried. He’s well known and recently did a shoot with another girl I know and persuaded her to to go topless. He posted a pic she didn’t know he had taken online and then kept pestering her to go for drinks with him.”

“When I worked at a model agency, if a girl applied and was pretty but didn’t want to do topless the photographer would tell me; ‘just sign her and we can just make her do it later on a shoot'”

“On my first ever group shoot, the photographer and studio owner took me to one side when the other models had left and suggested we take a few more photos and use bondage tape. So here’s me, seventeen, and pretty new/naive to the scene and despite the fact I was underage, I end up naked wearing only bondage tape, whilst chained to a whipping post and gagged while he took photos. I never saw the images so god knows what he did with them.

“The first time I was ever in front of a camera, it went from a ‘lifestyle’ shoot to bondage real quick. Super uncomfortable and I never saw the pictures. I think I was 19.”

“I had been an admirer of this photographers work and jumped at the chance to work with him. We had two really great shoots, I never felt uncomfortable, or in an danger and actually had a really good time. He wanted to get into more pornographic stuff and I said that wasn’t something I was into but as we are setting up our third shoot, he is telling me that he would like to do stuff that pushes the boundaries a little bit more, and possibly do some POV stuff, where he would be grabbing my panties, or his hands on my neck. I wasn’t really sure if it was something I wanted to do. I know now that I should have said something immediately, but I didn’t – I said I wouldn’t be against trying it. He then sends me photos of him having sex with a girl from behind. It’s full on his dick in her vag and it’s not tasteful or artistic in any way. I did not ask to see this photo, he just sent it with the caption ‘my bad if it bothers you.’ He starts asking if I would do implied sex with him on camera. Again, this is when I should have said no, but I was into the idea of doing something that pushes the line between art and porn. I still had yet to receive the images from out first and second shoots, so I think I was trying to not burn any bridges. Bad idea obviously. A few days later we start talking about the shoot again, he ends the conversation by saying ‘I hope you don’t mind me being naked. If you need to see how I look I can show you.’ I sent no reply to that. The day before, I’m feeling super uncomfortable and anxious, so I ask if he would shoot my friend and I together instead. His response to asking if she could be there was “I am down if I have the energy. Can we shoot first and then she can come after our session?’ That was the final red flag for me. I asked him specifically what he wants to shoot and he describes images of us together having simulated sex and asks if I’m really okay with that. I tell him simulated doesn’t really bother me, but I am definitely not having sex with him so he tells me to just forget about the whole shoot. It was just proof to me that he was going to try to do more during the shoot. I guess he was just assuming he could change my mind once we started shooting.”

Your photographer should not put nudes of you online without your consent.
If you have signed a model release to shoot nude then your photographer won’t necessarily need your permission to use anything shot that day and definitely won’t need to get your consent for each image. However, when it comes to shooting for Suicide Girls I just think it’s fair and good etiquette that I let the girls I’ve shot see the photos throughout the entire process and confirm before they are submitted. It saves me any drama later as we both know we are on the same wavelength. However, this is especially relevant when a photographer ends up posting nudes of you online when you never consented to them being taken; ie if the photographer tells you ‘you cant see anything’ or that they will fix it later and they don’t, that’s wrong. I have even shot girls completely nude that when it came to editing, they changed their mind. I have had to not submit entire sets because of this, some of which I shot for free…Yes, it’s a waste of my time and I’m not going to pretend it’s not annoying, but it’s your naked body and you decide. I have also shot girls nude who then decided they didn’t want their vagina on show (even though they’d done it before and consented on the day of the shoot that that’s what they wanted) and this is also fine, we just didn’t use any of those images! It’s important to be flexible as a photographer with things like this because the issue of nudity and a models personal levels is a very sensitive one. I hate being tagged on Facebook in a family photo where I think I look bad – let alone have a full set of fifty nudes I hate going online without my permission, be considerate.

“Two different photographers I’ve shot with I’ve had to ask them to remove nude photos of me from the Internet that I didn’t approve to be posted.”

I don’t shoot open leg, I never have and I never will and make it clear before even discussing a shoot that those are my levels. I shot with a guy who was absolutely fine up until about two hours in when we got to the nude work. He asked me twice to do poses I wasn’t comfortable doing, ie. Turn my bum to the camera and bend over…I said no straight away and told him again that I don’t do open leg. He tried again and I said look, if you don’t stop I will walk out…WITH payment. He also asked me to sign a document and at the bottom it said note down any images that you want deleting and they won’t be published, so I wrote down the ones I wanted deleted and I deleted them myself. Obviously he knew how to recover the images off his memory card and he published several images I had signed LEGAL documentation to have deleted. I had a stern word and threatened court action and the images were removed. Needless to say I shan’t be working with him again.”

I have NEVER posted nudes of a girl that doesn’t model nude. I have NEVER posted nudes of a girl that’s nude all over the place but hasn’t consented to that specific image being taken and published. I have NEVER come onto any of my models. I have NEVER touched one of my models inappropriately – or at all without their consent. I have NEVER tried to kiss one of my models, touched their nipples or lied to them about what I was photographing. If I say you can’t see anything in the photo, it’s because you can’t…if by some mistake you can, I’ll delete it instantly. I don’t even keep deleted images in my archives, I only keep the confirmed final set, everything else is deleted forever. There is no archive and it will NEVER turn up on any website, ever. I have NEVER pushed a model with her levels, quite the opposite. Girls often ask me when they’re unsure whether I think they should be fully nude or not and I always say, if you aren’t sure and you haven’t thought about it, don’t do it. You can always do it next time but you can never take it back. I have NEVER pushed my own fetishes onto models. I have NEVER spoken to a model in an overtly uncomfortable and sexual way. I have NEVER asked them about their sex lives or anything else inappropriate to try and ‘turn them on’ to get ‘better photos’. Don’t stand for it. The more you accept and promote the same photographers you complain about, simply because you like their work, the more it will happen to others, and those others become newer and younger, more inexperienced and more vulnerable and who knows where it will lead. Make your own judgement and trust it. Do not ever risk your own safety.

YOU ARE NOT A PUSSY. If you didn’t ‘stand up for yourself’ and you don’t think you said no in a forceful enough way, it’s not because you are a pussy. If you have ended up being pushed into something you didn’t want to do, guilt-tripped into allowing images of yourself online that you are unhappy with…This does not make you weak or at fault. The most common thing I heard from models when researching to write this was that they thought they were the only one or that they overreacted, chances are that is never going to be the case because whilst these excerpts are all from different models, many of the photographers are repeat offenders and this is only from a small circle of girls that I know – the actual issue is so much bigger than that. You are not alone, you are not the first and unfortunately you won’t be the last.

“When you got naked by choice for the shoot who is going to say it isn’t asking for it or whatever. I felt like it’s my own fault for putting myself in that situation.

“I second guessed myself and thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill. But when I hear other people experiencing the same thing it makes me rage.”

There’s a reason some people just choose to walk away from this industry. Not that it solves a damn thing, but it made my life 10000000 times happier.”

Don’t quit. Don’t use fear of these things happening as a reason to stop doing what you love, use it as a tool to work with only those you feel comfortable with. It’s really not that fucking hard to not be a creepy asshole but, low and behold, people do it and the longer you stay silent, the more girls it happens to and no one says anything to each other.

Photographers – STOP using your work to try and ‘get’ models for yourself, STOP creeping on them, STOP pushing the boundaries of professionalism, STOP being revolting and STOP using them as your own private sex show. Start doing your job.

Other Blogs in this series:

What Is ‘Suicide Girls’?

How Can I Become a Suicide Girl? Pros and Cons.

Models: Five Steps to Becoming a Hopeful Suicide Girl.

Models: Preparing For Your First Nude Photoshoot

Models: What To Expect At Your First Nude Photoshoot.

43 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Nude Modelling

  1. Spot on. Thank you for writing. Trying to share this far and wide but Facebook has deemed it spam just to let you know. I share the sh*t out of important links regularly across many pages and groups so not sure what’s up x

    1. Hey – thanks so much for trying to share it, Facebook blocks my blog quite regularly I think because I talk about nudity and ‘Suicide’ Girls…you could try sharing the direct blog link, as it’s the most recent post it’s the one they will be shown upon clicking the link anyway!

  2. I read the majority of the article and agree with your points. I am a photographer. I don’t shoot Nudes, I shoot in public locations at least the first couple shoots and I always require the model to have someone they trust with them. I am also relatively unknown and not making much money so there you have it.

    There are a lot of reputable photographers that end up being scum because they feel they can get away with it. (Just like the article says). You are the models. You need to stand up for yourselves about these things. I understand that it is a stressful situation and you don’t want to miss an opportunity but your safety is more important.

    Trust yourself and how you feel about the situations you walk into. Be willing and ready to turn around and walk or run the other way if needed.

  3. Great reading. Well not great reading, but you know what I mean.

    I’m a press photographer, and occasionally shoot models, but have never shot nudes, or topless. Even then, I offer any model, especially someone I don’t know, the option to bring a friend, including partners, who can be present right through the shooting (they make great assistants, holding reflectors lol) Sometimes I just despair at people trying to be photographers, and want to bash heads.

    Anyway, hopefully some models take heed of this articles, even if the scummy ‘glamour’ photographers this article alludes to don’t.

    Well done

      1. Very well written, this is probably the reason I enjoy all sets. You take pride in what you do and your a professional. Keep up the good work.

  4. Great and important article which needs to be read by ALL photographers, both male and female who are shooting either male or female models.

    But I have to comment on this:

    “However, I regularly have men contact me either totally out of the blue, or they currently shoot landscapes and they want to get into shooting for SG or nudes in general….Why? Where did you make the link from landscapes to nude women? I can’t help but think it’s just an excuse to get to be around nude women.”

    There is absolutely nothing strange, abnormal or questionable about a photographer who wants to shoot different subject matter. Shooting the same thing for decades is boring and presents no further challenge. Moving to a different subject matter immediately challenges the photographer, both technically and otherwise. Whether it’s from landscapes to architecture, architecture to women, men, food, doesn’t matter what. How is an artist to grow shooting the same thing all their lives? Most importantly though, and this is the bit that’s been crudely ignored; there is often a continuous artistic and creative thread for the individual photorapher when moving from one subject to the next – that’s the bit that most people just don’t get. And just because there’s no money in glamour has zero meaning to a photographic artist with a vision.

    1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment – although I disagree, these photographers clearly do not start shootong glamour for any kind or artist vision fulfilment…I find it rather naive of you to think so.

      I’m pretty sure I don’t need to clarify ‘not all photographers’ but I think it’s clear exactly who this article is and isn’t about 🙂

    2. Most people starting out in photography will shoot landscapes, wildlife, flowers, etc. until they gain confidence in using their equipment and technique. Photographing people – often that you barely know – requires a pretty big step up in confidence but as Mike says, it’s another challenge that many will move onto.
      I would say that going straight to nude is likely to be a step too far, and I’d expect someone new to the portrait genre to get used to working with clothed models first. I’d certainly expect that to do otherwise should raise an eyebrow if not alarm bells with anyone asked to participate.

  5. I get that. But your statement was all inclusive. Hence I took offence with being tarred with the same brush. I’ve encountered and had ‘conversations’ with the type of photographers you mention – at the request of a model. So I’m fully aware of their presence. But don’t let all this cloud the real reasons that many photographers do what they do.

    1. I said why do ‘so many’ not why do ‘any’…there’s a difference. the example of going from landscapes to nude glamour, with no portraiture or art nude in between is weird and rarely has anything to do with artistic vision. Most glamour photography isn’t about that regardless of who is behind the lens. I deal with creepy and insulting photographers all the time looking for an easy in and expecting me to facilitate it.

      Sorry it offended you but if you’re not a any of the things in question I don’t see why it would.

      1. If you can’t see why I may be offended other than if I was one of these sick fucks, after me having explained all of the above, then that’s the end of this conversation for me.

    2. Mike, I don’t mean to pile on, but I think you’re overlooking a vital point. She writes about a photographer taking the gigantic leap from shooting landscapes to soliciting nude models. Two things would disqualify the photographer from the group she’s referring to. First, if a model approached the photographer. Second would be a more natural progression. Shooting landscapes, to shooting people/portraits, to shooting fashion, to shooting pin-up, to shooting nudes.

      1. Thank you. Regardless, it’s not everyone and I didn’t say it was. In fact this article has been shared by several male glamour photographers as it’s their industry these actions destroy, too! Thanks for reading and chipping in.

  6. It’s only my opinion, what I think and I’ve said many not all but I’m happy to agree to disagree – we’re probably both misunderstanding eachother a little anyway. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog regardless!

    1. The path Gino mentioned is almost exactly the path I took. Except wildlife came after landscapes. I wanted to be more experienced as people are a lot more critical then mountains and trees.

      I really didn’t even think of nudes when I started. With this in mind I do see your point about going straight into it.

      I think the human naked form is one of the most challenging and rewarding subjects to photograph. It’s a shame such a wonderful and much loved artform is sometimes used as a backdoor for pervs.

      In my opinion both genuine male photographers and female models need to take steps to protect each other.

      1. I totally agree and thank you for your comment – I was explaining to a male photographer earlier that you’re well within your rights to deny a chaperone, (I personally don’t like them either, i would advise girls against it but would always compromise and would never deny if they wanted someone with them) but the model is also well within her rights to not shoot without one. So the shoot doesn’t happen, no one is harmed but the issue that affected your shoot is STILL unprofessional photographers giving innocent photographers a bad names. The problem remains the same for both innocent parties. It’s not about hating men or blaming men or ‘not all men’ it’s just about everyone’s safety and comfort being respected.

      2. Yes I think you’re right, this isn’t a gender issue. I feel it’s about the abuse of trust. Quite a few people who aren’t models or photographers used to ask me why I photograph semi-naked women and others will state that they ‘can’t believe your other half let’s you do this ‘. These people are missing the point entirely and their comments I think say more about their way of thinking than mine. It all comes down to the fact that it’s easy to be respectful, of other people’s privacy, space, limits, comfort levels, intentions and what they do and don’t want in all respects if not by common sense then by communication before, during and after a shoot. Of course common sense is unfortunately a trait that wasn’t handed out to everyone. It’s an awful thing that you often have to deal with sh#t before you know just how bad it smells.

      3. I seem to be well on my way down that path. Started with wildlife photography. Then shot a wedding for a friend, and a different reception for my niece, before shooting some other people. Shot some cosplay and pin-up style sessions with my wife. A friend of ours saw some of the pin-up shots, and asked me to do a Suicide Girls session with her. We’re in the process of working out the details, now.

        This is going to be new to me, so I researched Suicide Girls, and what they expect. I have also looked into blogs and other resources to try to get some tips and tricks to make this a positive experience for all involved. There are a few other variables to keep in mind that might make this a little out of the ordinary.

        To sum up this excellent blog: Photographers: Be a decent human being. Models: Demand that your photographer is a decent human being.

      4. You’re obviously thinking about the process because you know it’s about the end result and not just being in the presence of a female. It is daunting to start with because you want the right results to justify everything. Hope your shoot goes well my friend keep me posted if you can. 😁
        Good summary 👍

  7. Biokermit, that annoys me too – ‘can’t believe your other half lets you’…What a ridiculous comment. Your partner is supposed to trust you and isn’t really meant to be the boss of you anyway so I don’t why that comes into anything, it’s as if they think ‘oh, I can’t believe your partner allows you to cheat on her with all these gorgeous young models’…the assumptions people come to, eh. As you say, when you’re working…the subject matter is just that, it’s not the same as seeing a partner naked or whatever else and you’re in a completely different state of mind and situation – or you should be anyway.

    Privacy, personal space, comfort levels and banter etc is all something on a sliding scale with every person we meet and build relationships with. It’s important to recognise that here – I’m sure there are some models who would be completely comfortable with things that really upset other girls, in fact I know that to be true from what I’ve been told. That doesn’t make it okay to upset people just because some are okay with it and it’s also very different than simply making a mistake when, actually, it’s the same names cropping up over and over! The same situations, the same stories.

    Gino Marinaro – I wish you the best of luck! I’ve written a few other Blogs you might find useful or even to send onto models but the situation you speak of is very normal and you can see the very clear differences between your story and some of these photographers I’ve mentioned – you obviously care about everyones wellbeing and that’s great, I hope the shoot goes well. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you. I haven’t read your other blog posts, yet, but plan to. Right now, our biggest hurdle seems to be finding a suitable location. I imagine we’ll find something in the next couple of months.

  8. Such a great blog, I always assumed there was a dark side but never thought about SG being a place for it. Some of those quotes from girls really makes you think about how difficult it can be at times and how careful they really have to be.
    Really makes you appreciate the good photographers out there, like yourself, who treat the SGs and Hopefuls like the royalty they are!

  9. Similar sentiments in your blog are expressed in the musings of a model I collaborate with –

    I do a lot of art/nude work as well as shoots for “lads mags” and always treat the models with the respect they deserve as other human beings. But there can be another side of the story – it is so easy for a model to make slanderous comments against a photographer, as happened to me after I complained to one about a no-show/no-call when I had a studio booked and paid. Luckily I had kept all the correspondence and am still considering defamation action.

    The important thing is for both parties, model and photographer, is to do their due diligence, take precautions and to be street smart with regards to vetting processes, and try and document everything.

  10. Such a well written and comprehensive piece of work and solid advice Gemma.

    Previously as a Nikon pro and fashion photographer I’ve been shooting for more years than I care to think about and now just shoot for fun. I’ve been fortunate enough to cover London Fashion Show over the years and worked with some very talented models, MUA’s and engineers – all knowing that some ‘friends’ have always been a little suspicious of why I shoot women.

    It takes a while to get the male ‘friends’ over the giggly innuendo stage and the female friends over the ‘do you want to see my DBS check? stage but mostly they end up feeling embarrassed about their suspicions. There are others though that fall into the mischievous friend category and quickly fall into the wtf kinda friend are you anyway.

    I’ve been covering women (and yes men too) in fashion and in nude for years. I didn’t go out to specialise in it but well respected peers mentored and coached me into something they felt I could do – and do well. My wife has always played an active part helping with castings and developed into super lighting expert. We have a rapport that worked well and seemed to put those we worked with at ease.

    The girls love her and maybe that has gone a long way to why they trust me but I make it clear from the off, I have seen enough boobs and bums to last a thousand lifetimes. If we can’t see past that, then we don’t shoot. That simple.

    We need to relax and have fun but we need to be clear about what we both need to achieve from the shoot. That’s the objective after all.

    To finish, I also covered men and my wife helped with those too. It wasn’t any different for me or her. In fact, the best fun and most enjoyable project was a play on boudoir (dudeoir).

    So why don’t I shoot now? Because I shoot landscapes – only kidding 😉

    Sincere best wishes Gemma

    Keep making a difference


  11. Great article. However these people are not photographers, they are perverts. They should be reported to the police. Calling these people photographers is like someone saying the female babysitter who hit my cousin is an example of all brutal babysitters and they aren’t. There are three things you should always do.

    Bring someone with you
    Background check someone with other models
    Ask the reason for the photo shoot

  12. Hi Gemma,

    You are one of my favorite photographers on SG. I started shooting models in October 2017; fashion, glamour, lingerie/boudoir. A total of 6 shoots. Next week, I’ll be shooting some sets with a model for SG for the first time. Also my first nude shoot. The model and I have worked together on 4 of these 6 shoots, so we are comfortable working together, work well together, and are friends of a sort. After our last shoot, she asked me to help her choose photos for an SG set she shot a few days prior. So, our shoot should go well without being uncomfortable or weird.

    I’ve heard a lot of these horror stories too. And perhaps they are one reason why I have difficulty getting shoots. Some peeps gotta ruin it, or at least make it much more difficult, for us good eggs.

    Anyhoo, I’m an older fellow shooting much younger women. I know that seems creepy, but I have several rules I follow and I make sure my models are aware of them before we agree to shoot. That way, there is no creep factor.

    1. My job is to make you look and feel beautiful. I want and need you to be relaxed. If you’re tense, the photos won’t be as good as that should.
    2. I will create and maintain a comfortable and safe environment for you.
    3. You will have privacy to change outfits, do your makeup and do your hair… unless those things are part of the shoot concept. There might not be a door to close, but I will be in the other room moving equipment for the next set or outside while you do.
    4. If I’m bringing an assistant, I’ll let you know in advance. You have the right, and I encourage you to interview him/her before the shoot. If s/he makes you feel uncomfortable (that should not be the case because my assistant is either my wife or my brother), tell me.
    5. We shoot what you’re comfortable shooting. I won’t even suggest a type of shoot. You tell me what you want to shoot. Then I might give suggestions for outfits, makeup and hair.
    6. I am completely hands off; I never touch a model. I’ll ask you to adjust your hair, clothing, head, hands, arms, etc. and how I’d like them. I’ll even try to demonstrate (poorly usually).
    7. If you’re not comfortable with a pose I suggest, we don’t do it.
    8. I’m happily married. Have been for almost 24 years. I’m not here to hit on you. I’m not going to jeopardize my marriage and disrespect my wife.
    9. I won’t harass, bully, demean, or criticize you. I won’t ask you inappropriate questions or otherwise engage you in inappropriate conversation. I will treat you with respect and kindness.
    10. I enjoy photographing models and I want to continue doing so. Behaving badly will ruin my reputation as a good photographer and put an end to something I enjoy and have fun doing.
    11. I encourage you to bring an escort to any face to face meetings we have prior to the shoot (I always try to have at least one in a public location like Starbucks), and to the shoot.
    12. If I make you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, say something. Whatever I did was probably inadvertent. If you feel really creeped out, end the shoot. I’ll still get you the photos that we did take.
    12. You are in control. You have all the power. You call all the shots. I’m not here to flirt, get laid, get high, get drunk, cultivate a relationship except the client/provider relationship. We might become friends of a sort. I’m here to work whether I’m getting paid, you’re getting paid, or we’re working on a TFP agreement.

    Those are my rules. I follow them to a T. I also expect my models to do the same. If they don’t, the shoot ends, I pack up my gear, and I leave (or if I’m staying at the location I rented, I ask the model to leave).

  13. Wow – this post. Just wow. I started modelling just 4 months ago and have already had a number of these experiences – touching, trying to participate in a shot, masturbation requests, hardcore gg (I shoot up to solo art nude) etc. Be it paid work or TF. I know it’s not ‘right’ but it’s just so common that you just get on with it or laugh it off, hope they move on and not work with them again. The experience a photographer have doesn’t mean a thing and unfortunately references aren’t impartial or objective. Personally, the risk of a bad reference from someone well known in the photography industry is a massive influence on how far I’m willing to push my levels, especially as someone new to the industry. Thank you to the many who don’t do this, understand professionalism and simple good manners!x

  14. Love this post Gemma, I used to model years ago and came across a few such ‘photographers’ who really made me feel uncomfortable. I ended up doing implies for Zoo magazine despite being really uncomfortable with it at the time.

    I am certain I have definitely come across your name before (in a good way) you seem lovely and extremely professional it’s a shame more photographers aren’t like you. Pics are lovely btw 👍


  15. Two Thumbs Up! As a male photog, I’m forced to carry some of the weight that comes from some other photogs’ sleaziness, and it’s seriously frustrating, because: (1) I have to be hyper-aware of everything I say and do; and (2) Uncomfortable models don’t photograph well, which only hurts them.

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