Modeling for Trades

Most my shoots are trades, where the model(s) volunteer their time in exchange for images. Photographers have different ways of doing trades, so I’ll explain how I run mine and answer common questions.  

How do I select a photographer?

One way is to ask experienced model friends who they recommend shooting with. They’ll have favorites that they shoot with often.  

Another is to choose photographers with strong portfolios for the genre that you’d like to model. Photographers are on the lookout for fresh faces, so don’t worry if you haven’t modeled much.  

Is it modeling safe?

Yes, but here are ways to make it safer.  

Ask models about their experiences. Check what the photographer’s past models say about their shoots. Models are happy to share their experiences and what they hear on the grapevine. Photographers can also provide references, but those might be biased.   

Talk to the photographer. Or meet them if they’re nearby. You can meet prior to the shoot in a public place as well to get a better feel for the photographer. 

Get permission as needed. If you are not confident in your ability to judge and need input from an S.O. or friend, get them involved early. There’s no need to finalize a date after dozens or hundreds of messages, if a boyfriend vetos the shoot at the last moment.  

Bring someone along. If it puts your mind at ease, bring a boyfriend, girlfriend, bodyguard, MUA, or stylist. Most photographers don’t have a problem with that. I personally don’t, and it’s a bonus to have help during the shoot. 

If you can’t trust the photographer after your due diligence, don’t shoot with them. Find another photographer that you’re comfortable with.  

What next?

First, you need to consider what you want and can comfortably handle, both physically and mentally. If you haven’t modeled much, be realistic about your goals in your first shoots. Photos may look effortless, but you need to look at ease even when poses or environments are strenuous.  

Also, consider whether you need to be anonymous in the final images. Images can hide your face and identifying marks, but it’s better to know in advance so concepts can be tailored for this. For example, wearing a mask or using cloth can hide your identity.  

Next, you’ll need to communicate your thoughts to me. I’ll probably ask questions, some forward because I need to know your bounds. There shouldn’t be surprises while we’re shooting.  

During the shoot, I’ll give directions while shooting what we discussed. You should express yourself creatively and freely to get the best shots. Modeling will be physically tiring. 

What do I get? 

Within a week or two after the shoot, you’ll receive one to three retouched web resolution images per look. These images are for your personal use, and suitable for social media, websites, etc.  

During the shoot, I’ll need 1) a signed model release, and if we’re shooting nudity or fetish, 2) a picture ID with your age (typically a driver’s license).

What do I use the pics for? 

I use photos for my social media sites, web site, and the very best ones for prints in exhibitions, galleries, shows, magazines, art books, etc.  

I do not use images for third party adult sites, unless the shoot is for that purpose (e.g. we agree to shoot a photo set for Patreon).