This page is a reference to help explain what the difference is between various levels of nudity and common types of shoots that can cause people concern; with examples!! Please familiarize yourself with these terms and concepts as it will save a lot of confusion when communicating about shoots. For example, if you say you are not comfortable with nudity only, most photographers will assume that you are OK with partial, and implied shoots. You need to be specific.
PAID VS. TFDI, TFP, TFCD etc.
There is a lot of debate around the topic of who should get paid and when. The problem is that there is no industry standard that everyone abides by, and there is a great deal of passionate feelings involved. I am going to explain some of the definitions that everyone can agree on and list the pros and cons of each.
Most (if not the vast majority) of models and photographers alike, wish to get paid for what they do. But there are a couple of things you should bear in mind before charging someone to work with you (as a photographer or model):
- You are being hired to do a job. And just like in the rest of the working world, it is completely up to the person hiring you as to how much creative input you are allowed to have. Just like a boss at McDonald’s can tell you “do not say hello, instead you will say, welcome to McDonald’s can I take your order”, the person paying you is also allowed to dictate how you do your job and is entitled to stifle or complete ban any creative input you may have.
- Your compensation is your pay. This means your rights to what happens to the images once created ends there. You will often, not have any creative input as to how the images are to be edited and you might not get the right to use, post, or even ever see the end results. This is similar to a situation where you are paid to write a piece of code. You can be instructed as to how exactly the code will work, and what specific task it needs to accomplish, but then once it is written, you have no control as to how the company uses that code. You will often not get a voice about your thoughts on the final outcome. The boss or person paying you does not need to care if you don’t like the way the final edits come out. More often than not, you will be required to sign a waiver, waiving any further rights to the photos.
- If a photographer or model fails to live up to expectations, they can be sued in court, just like a mechanic who makes a claim of being able to fix your car at an agreed upon rate and to industry standard, but fails to do so. Being paid opens you up to liability that shooting for free does not. Remember that, in a court of law, accepting payment for a service brings an expectation of being a professional regardless if you are or not. If you are being paid by the hour and continually blink in photos, or fail to catch the shot at an event, you are open to liable (being sued in court).
PAYING FOR WORK
There are times when you really should just break down and pay to work with someone. Here are some reasons why you might want to do this:
- You might consider paying for work, if you need a specific type of photo added to your portfolio. Sometimes, in order to complete or round out your portfolio, you might have to pay someone to do the work that they might not normally want to do. Paying for this is like paying for any other service and guarantees that the time during the shoot is spent working on that kind of material you want or need.
- If you are paying a person, you should fully expect to have them sign a waiver, waiving their rights to the photos. There is also a certain level of expectancy in the level of performance.
- You can expect complete and sole discretion and creative input on what happens after the photo is taken. Things like how much editing each party can do, who owns the originals and if the other party should turn over all copies of them, can be determined and signed in a contract beforehand, and enforced in court.
TFDI, TFP, TFCD etc.
TF stands for ‘Time For’ and is followed by a number of things. TFDI stands for ‘Time For Digital Images’, TFP – Time For Prints, and TFCD – Time For Compact Disk. All of these are collectively known as trade shoots. Trade shoots are just that, both the photographer and the models involved are trading their time and respective skills to create art with no expectation of being paid. Trade shoots have a lot of advantages over paid shoots. Trade shoots are also highly contested in the industry and with many on both sides of the argument, both those who love them and those that hate them. Here are some advantages:
- Both parties can expect and enjoy the use of the photos generated during the shoot. Both the photographer and the model are allowed to use the photos however they choose (including posting them online and using them in their portfolios) as long as they are not directly selling the images or using them to directly make money (posting them on a paid site). The right to make money can be agreed upon in advance and should be reflected in any waivers signed.
- Both parties should have a say on the creative input of the shoot. Models should have input on poses, outfits, even some technical aspects of the shoot if they are photography savvy enough, just as the photographer should.
- Both parties should have a say on how and when photos are edited and distributed to everyone else. There should also be a pre-agreed upon number of images that will be edited and returned to the other people involved.
- TF shoots are a very good way to meet and work with new models or photographers that you have never worked with before. You are far more likely to get paid work with from someone you have worked with before, as both of you become a known entity, which is better than working with an unknown.
- TF shoots are a good way of creating a portfolio worthy of getting paid for. There is nothing worse than having a photographer or a model demand payment when they have an incomplete or shoddy portfolio. Models who include selfies in their portfolios or have multiple images from the same shoot when there are only 10 – 15 images to start with, is a sure fire sign of an amateur and nor worthy of being paid. In the case of photographers, having blurry, poorly cropped, or badly composed photos in your portfolio, or again, using multiple photos from the same shoot when there are only 10 – 15 photos to start with, is just as clearly a sign of being an amateur and not worth paying. You should never consider charging for a service that you do not have demonstrated experience with. To me, this includes nudes. And remember, if you are getting paid, there is no guarantee that you will ever get the rights to use any photos generated during a paid shoot. TF may be the only way to get usable images that you can show as examples of various type of work worthy of getting paid for.
This is a very hotly contested topic. People will go to war over their views on this. I am serious here, friendships have been lost over this topic. An escort is someone you bring to a shoot to make you feel safer. This can happen for the photographer as well as the model. Often referred to as an assistant, escorts can be very helpful and useful to have around, they can also get in the way and ruin a shoot. Escorts can be infinitely life saving when it comes to putting a model at ease and making them feel safe, but just understand that there have been situation where escorts have stolen or damaged equipment and have completely ruined shoots.
Here are smome things to consider before bringing an escort to a shoot.
- Discuss this with the photographer as far in advance as you can. There is nothing worse for some photographers than having an unexpected escort show up on the day of the shoot.
- Your safety is priority number one. If you do not know the photographer, never worked with them before, feel unsafe in any way, or are going to a remote location, ask to bring an escort. If it comes down to a decision between not shooting or going somewhere alone where you do not feel safe, STAY HOME. NO PHOTOSHOOT IS WORTH YOUR LIFE, HEALTH, OR MENTAL WELL BEING!
- If you feel the need to bring an escort, avoid using a significant other if at all possible. Significant others have a history of causing more trouble at shoots than other escorts, as they can be possessive and pushy. Models often find themselves looking to their significant other for permission before each shot, which can get old real fast. On the flip side, friends can keep you company and feel safe, with far less risk of causing problems.
- Always let someone know where you will be shooting, any addresses or plans discussed, and who you will be working with prior to the shoot, and schedule regular check ins.
- Group shoots are a good place to meet and get to know the people you might work with one day in a controlled environment. Get to know them first.
- There are many reasons why a photographer will choose to not allow an escort on a shoot. If you are not comfortable, do not shoot. But the refusal to allow escorts does not automatically give grounds for assuming the worst in a photographer. Bad mouthing them because they refuse to allow escorts is unprofessional.
- You are responsible for the behavior of your escort. Do not bring someone you cannot keep in line. They should be off to the side being silent, unless called upon to help out with things. Delaying a shoot because you are chatting with a friend is unprofessional, for instance.
TERMS AND DEFINITIONS:
EXPLICIT / ADULT
Very overtly sexual in nature, can be nude, wearing very little, or fully clothed. Most likely showing very intimate parts of your body, or strongly depicting sexual acts. They may or may not show your face (extreme close ups of genitals for instance). Usually very sexually explicit in nature and can contain toys and adult themes. Almost any case of penetration and /or masturbation is considered explicit or adult content or both, and may involve actual or simulated sexual acts. This should be discussed at length and agreed upon in advance.
Fully nude, everything showing, but not necessarily close up shots. Additionally, if you are comfortable being nude as long as you cannot be recognized, let the photographer know, things can be done to hide your identity, such as wearing a mask or not having your face in the shot. Example: bodyscapes are very close up parts of you, and doesn’t necessary need to have your face in the shot, but still need you to be nude/ implied, and can depict intimate parts such as breasts or crotch.
NUDITY WITH IDENTITY HIDDEN
This is an example of how a model can pose nude without her identity being known. Additionally, it can be part or all of the body without the face showing.
Topless or bottomless (but not both); however, the part that is not clothed is fully exposed. Some people are OK with certain parts of their bodies, but others are not. Some girls might not like the way their breasts look, or might not like their butt. It is up to you what you show and when, just let the photographer know and they can often work around this.
This is either fully nude or partially nude, but the important difference is that the important parts (nipples, or crotch) are strategically covered. It gives the impression that the model is nude without showing the naughty bits. Note, showing the butt and butt crack is still considered implied, it only becomes nudity when the butt is spread showing the anus. If you say that you are OK with implied, the photographer will assume butt and butt crack are OK, unless you specifically state otherwise.
This includes nighties, teddies, and underwear. Basically this is what a normal person might be expected to be seen in at a beach, or could be expected to be photographed in for a Victoria’s Secret catalog. But details are important about what the outfit looks like and how revealing it is. Remember that you always have veto power if you feel an outfit is too revealing, but try not to get upset with a photographer for the suggestions they make on outfits, they do not know your limits, but are trying to determine them. Stick with simple yes or nos (unless a photographer is repeatedly suggesting the same kind of outfit that is too revealing).
This is considered the sensual and vanilla side of kinky. There is likely to be a pair of hand cuffs, manacles or something else used to restrain you, or other items used as a prop. Possibly a blindfold, ball gag, crop, whip or other such props will be used. Light bondage does not automatically mean nudity or anything else, those are details to be discussed and agreed upon in advance. It is absolutely possible to do bondage shoots while fully dressed. The key difference here is that the overall feel is sensual and lighthearted, rather than hard core and overtly sexual. Please also keep in mind the the definition here is a matter of personal perspective and your and the photographer’s definition might differ. Communicate openly and feel free to express your limits.
This tends to no longer be sensual, but more overtly sexual. It may often include the same elements or similar ones to light bondage, but the material is of a more extreme nature. Please bear in mind that this is not a “real” BDSM session and no actual BDSM, bondage, or sexual scenes (acts) should be taking place, this is just for show and a Heavy Bondage photo shot is not a green light for touching, groping, or ANY sexual contact that was not fully discusse in advance. . If a real event or scene is taking place, this is considered explicit and should be heavily discussed and agreed upon before hand. Similar rules to nudity apply, this can be done fully clothed, nude, or anything in between – discuss and agree first, consent is king.
This is about being tied up, but never leaving the floor (suspended). This is different to light bondage in the fact that this is about how pretty you can make the rope work look. It is OK to do this if you have never done it before (but make sure your rigger (the person tying you up) is experienced and knows what they are doing). Make sure that any injuries you may have are discussed first, and discuss how you are feeling on the particular day of the shoot. Again, this is not for ‘real’ (unnecessary touching or groping, whipping, tickling, hair pulling, spanking, or paddling should be discussed and agreed upon in advance), and you should be untied the second your comfort level is reached regardless whether or not the photographer has the shots they want, or if they have any shots at all. Yet again, nudity is not required and should be discussed and agreed upon in advance. Once again, consent is king!
This is where being tied up with rope causes you to leave the ground (suspended). Although it is possible to do suspension work having never been roped before, it is highly recommended that, at least for your first time working with rope, that you stay on the ground. If you do, decide to do suspension, please make sure your rigger is experienced and you have had a discussion before hand and agree about what you can handle and would like to do.
Lastly, understand your limits. It is perfectly acceptable to not do nudes. It is also perfectly acceptable to do full explicit nudity with one photographer you know and are comfortable with, but refuse to do any kind of nudity with others. You should never feel pressured or bullied into doing something you are not comfortable with, and you should always be able to change your mind at any time. Please understand and know the above terminology. If you say that you are comfortable with anything other than nudity, do not be offended if the photographer asks you to walk around naked, covering your breasts with your hands, wearing a strap-on. The more specific you can be about your limits, the less likely it is that there will be conflicts between you and the photographer.