- Do your research. Whenever anyone approaches you to work with them, be sure to look them up. Ask your colleagues, search their name on Google or Pipl.com, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will let you know if we have had any reports of inappropriate behavior on set, or we'll do our own research for you.
- Take an escort. Don't just bring an escort to make sure everyone behaves appropriately; bring an escort to witness that everyone was respectful. Having an escort there not only protects everyone involved by being a witness that everyone behaves well, but they also often can be handy in helping position lighting and equipment. Look at them as being useful rather than a nuisance or an audience, and after the shoot they are an extra person able to write a positive review about you! Bonus!
- "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." We can't stress this enough. Be aware of signs that you are being manipulated. Often sketchy agencies will try to dazzle you with promises of fame, international travel, and other desirable compensation. Honest agents will tell you just how hard it is to succeed in the modeling industry and very few people will 'make it to the top'.
- Be extra cautious when meeting people from online. Too many reports of inappropriate behavior come to us from models who have worked with photographers that they found on Craigslist or ModelMayhem.com. We are not saying that ALL people advertising their need for models on these website have bad intentions, we are saying to exercise extra caution when meeting people from online. It is easy for someone to claim they are someone they are not, and it is also easy for people who are not actually photographers (or designers, agents, etc.) to post ads on both of these websites. We recommend networking on websites that take more to join than just a few snapshots and an email address, such as Portfora.com.
- Tell people where you'll be. Make your loved ones know where you'll be and when. Even have a friend call you to check in at the time you are supposed to be finished shooting in order to ensure you are safe and on your way home. Determining code words for if anything has gone wrong or if you need help are also a good idea!
- Don't make yourself an easy target for stalkers. We all get excited when shooting in interesting locations, and while we recommend letting your loved ones know where you'll be, we don't recommend public announcements. The address or specific location that you will be at could be an invitation for stalkers or other predators.
- Don't make yourself a GPS-tracked target. Something to be aware of as well are your location settings on mobile applications (such as Facebook, Twitter, instagram, etc) which tag your exact location. It is wise to turn off these settings so that your public posts on social media are not tagged to your bedroom or backyard (or any location).
- Carry your own contracts. Too often we don't get our agreements in writing because people can seem safe and honest. Carry your own contracts to every shoot you go to so that if the photographer or whoever you are working with 'forgets' theirs or theirs seems fishy, you still have your own. Verbal agreements can easily be forgotten. Get people to sign their name on their responsibilities.
Most people these days carry smart phones, and we recommend downloading Easy Release on your mobile device for an easy model release form that you can customize and don't need a printer for! (+1 for helping reduce paper waste!)