Photoshoot Safety


It makes me crazy that I feel the need to write this blog. Unfortunately I hear so many times from models about the poor experiences they’ve had with other photographers. This isn’t just a local to Winnipeg issue, I’ve heard stories relating to photoshoots in Edmonton as well as all over the world through contacts via instagram.

Photographer checklist

Seems pretty simple but here’s an easy list for the new or established photographer that for some reason isn’t getting repeat models or clients:

Be respectful

It’s fine to give compliments…and it’s even necessary to make sure the the subject knows that they are doing well, looking great, and improving. If you want to make a derogatory comment, or blatantly talk about their body parts in a sexual manner; of course that’s not cool!

Respect her space

Let the model make body/outfit adjustments, even better have a female assistant help make the changes. If you’re alone and there is minor things you have to do so she doesn’t get out of position….ask before you touch her! Then don’t be creepy about it…moving a hair that’s out of place doesn’t require a caress…same for a knee or foot, if it needs to be pushed over a bit I’ll essentially just point and push it a bit with a fingertip. No other touching is required.

There is no need to ask for dates during a shoot

You’re both there to do a job, also to have fun of course…but you can ruin a shoot if she’s feeling like you have alternative motives…if you don’t see it in her eyes for each shot, people viewing the images sure will.

Don’t pressure models for nude shoots!

Most people like to build a rapport, trust, and friendship before that’s even possible. Unless of course you deal with a professional nude model…but same professional rules apply.

Follow the plan and don’t take photos you’re not supposed to!

It’s happens often where I hear of a sexy, clothed photoshoot go wrong when the model falls out of her top/a nipple slips…if you didn’t talk about that or the models specifically says she doesn’t want that…simply don’t take the photo. She’ll knows what you did and is now wondering what this image looks like and where it’ll end up.

Have the model sign the model agreement at the end of the shoot

This often is an honest mistake, photographers don’t want to forget to get it, but how can the model agree to the use of images when the shoot hasn’t started yet, she hasn’t seen them?

Show the models the images on camera/at the end of the session

First I think this is just good manners and a good confidence boost to show how the images are looking. I’ll also make arrangements to go through the photos with them either right after the shoot, another day, or let them peruse sample photos in a private file sharing account. Whatever images they don’t feel comfortable with I delete. There is no loss and no reason to keep images they are not comfortable with.

Model/Client checklist

Here are some suggestions for when you’re deciding to work with a photographer:

Before planning anything, look at their portfolio

There should be examples of the quality, style, and skill level of the photographer. If you can’t imagine yourself pictured in their work for any reason then it’s unlikely you’ll be happy with your photos.

Meet in advance

Personally I like meeting before the shoot to get to know the person I’m working with, collaborate on ideas, and discuss boundaries for the photoshoot. If a meeting isn’t possible, then we’ll have a phone call. If for some reason the photographer doesn’t want to meet, that is a red flag!


Do you know anyone that’s worked with the photographer that you can talk to? In these days of social media it’s so easy to check out a fanpage or website to view comments, or even message a model that has some work shown to get their impressions.

Ask to bring a friend

Most photographers shouldn’t have an issue if you want to bring someone with you to the photoshoot. If there is any resistance, that could be a red flag. The main thing is that the guest shouldn’t interfere with the shoot, unless they are asked for help of course.

Read the model agreement

Does it state what the images will be used for and where will they be seen (in my agreements I specifically state I will not sell the images to stock photography website – that will be a future blog)? Ask questions to anything that sounds confusing for clarification. There should also be an addendum section where you can add your own stipulations. Some examples are and not limited to:

  1. Images can never be online
  2. Specific images to be approved before posting on social media
  3. Post but do not link me on social media/website
  4. No nude images on the internet

During the Photoshoot, YOU have rights!

If thewre is inappropriate touching/conversation, you can say you don’t like it.If things go to far for your comfort, you can always leave. You don’t have to put up with it and
That’s everything I can think of, I know people will say that it’s common sense…but there is no shortage of terrible experiences that I hear from models and clients.

What do you think? Is there anything that’s missed from this list?