How To Not Seem Creepy When Communicating With Models

January 4, 2010

in Featured, Instruction

ashleyWNotCreepedOutWe talked previously about how to approach “models” in the real world and now I wanted to talk about how not to seem creepy.

This isn’t an easy to write about because what creeps a woman out varies from woman to woman and model to model. I think the models who are most successful are the ones that get creeped out the least.

It is Different When Talking to Models.

When you approach a model on a modeling site or at a live event they understand you are probably not hitting on them when you ask them to shoot.

When you are talking to a pretty woman in the real world you are probably going to have to explain things more. Matter of fact, I’d start talking about something related to being a photographer and then make it personal to them. If you start with “Hey, baby want to shoot?” or some variation they are going to just think you are hitting on them.

Talk About The Photography

The other night Shawna and I were at dinner discussing where the podcast is going in the future and we got to talking about crazy stuff in photographers profile text. One thing she mentioned was how explaining your life story and how you are happily married and going on and on about it is just weird to her. You are there to do photography, focus on that.

You don’t have to defend yourself before you ever talk to them. Don’t start making counter arguments to bad things you believe she is thinking about you. If you stay on topic that is good enough. Make it obvious you are passionate about photography and she’ll never think you are interested in hitting on her.

Stay Impersonal

Don’t start off messages and discussions with personal topics. “Hey, how you doing?”, “What’d you do today?”, “How about them Cowboys?” are not good first questions when talking to a model. They are off topic and boring.

Talk about the photography and modeling first. You may not know you want to shoot with a model the first time you talk to her. In the case of models on modeling sites, you probably aren’t sending them a message for any other reason, but if you a meeting at a networking event you may not be sure she’s someone you want to shoot with. In this case start out talking about modeling. Asking things like…

“How long have you been modeling?”
“What kind of model are you?”
“What is your favorite stuff to shoot?”
“What haven’t you shot that you want to shoot?”

Talk to The Model

I know a lot of us are shy, but you need to open up and talk to the model. As I said in my post on One Thing That Makes You Look Creepy. If you stare at a model and say nothing you are going to seem creepy.

Those are a few suggestions. Do you have any tips on not sounding creepy? I know there are models who listen to the podcast and read the blog. Feel free to chime in here and give us your tips on what photographers do that is creepy.

Comment below.

1 Michael January 4, 2010 at 3:22 pm

During the shoot be aware of noises you make. Grunts, groans, huffs, and other verbal acne. Some models are very sensitive to sound that comes from the camera position and may interpret that groan as creepy when it is really a muscle cramping up as the photog tries to stand. It helps to find somebody to watch and listen to your shoot.

2 John January 6, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Look like a professional. You may not come across as creepy if your sloppy or unprofessional in your appearance, but you might get a first impression of being a frat boy looking for a thrill, dirty, or not really taking the time to care about how things look. This business is all about how things look. Sweatpants, flip flops, and a stained t-shirt with “Nice Rack!” on the front doesn’t say you take your craft and the model seriously. Not saying you need a Brooks Brothers suit to be taken seriously.

My rule of thumb is; do I look and act like the kind of person I would let photograph my wife or daughter?

3 Ron Davis January 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Great comments guys.

4 ashley jane February 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

Hi there…I’ve been modeling for 4 years and have encountered several very extremely creepy photographers.Most tend to make conversation very personal and sex related by calling the models darling,dear,baby ect.I understand if you are familiar with the models but I still find it very unprofessional. In some extreme cases a photographer told me he had an ass fetish and requested to touch my ass during the shoot!! another photographer did not speak much to me during the shoot but just kept staring at me in a really strange way.. after a while i noticed a very obvious bulge on his pants.. Can you get any creepier? I made up an excuse and left the shoot on the spot..since then I don’t go for any shoots unless my boyfriend comes along. Photographers…im sure there are many of you who are truly passionate about photography and respect your models but to those creeps out there you should feel ashamed of yourselves for luring innocent young girls into a trap. Please remember models are humans as well…if you have other perverted intentions in mind you should be looking for a prostitute not a model

5 Ron Davis February 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Great perspective Ashley, thanks for the comment.

6 Bruce Albert March 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

I think time and proximity are great creep factors, I am paid to shoot a lot of private “artistic” boudoir work for women other than models. My reputation brings referrals and ladies with a
false sense of trust. When I lay out the way the shoot will go, going over details, how we’ll start
and proceed, use of changing room, robes when off camera, and how we will “play” on camera, many feel they are beyond that, “I don’t need the robe” and the shoot starts and
I move to focus on their sexiest organ (face) and then I stop the shoot for a computer view
of the images (a professional model could share the view off the back of the camera while
being cheek to cheek with me bases on our established comfort level) but here the paying novice model sees what uncomfortable looks like on her face, and follows my suggestions
for a successful shoot and images for her, and more referrals for me.

7 Imp May 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I approach models and non-models alike. I approach and introduce myself name and occupation while handing them a card with my name and website. If we locked eyes a few times before the introduction I apologize for staring and explain how their look would really compliment my portfolio. I explain how I may be willing to compensate them (TFP TFCD) or if it’s someone who’s look I really need I offer an hourly rate or flat shooting fee. I then tell them before they make a decision go to my website look at my work and read the statement of previous clients. I also allow them to bring along a friend, this alone has gotten me tons of non models. They feel safe and are usually flattered that a photographer wants to take their photograph, many times I am usually able to photograph their friend that they brought along too, male and female. Let them know what your goals are.

8 Chris Adval March 28, 2011 at 1:54 am

Great article Ron! I learned some things I thought were right, but I guess I’m was wrong to talking “personal” with the models… I felt silence or not talking during the shoot was making me uncomfortable, so I’ll just keep a book near me to write some notes like ideas or poses to do.

9 Chris Adval March 28, 2011 at 1:56 am

Another thing I forgot to mention is about the starring, if I’m trying to think about what to do next (i.e. poses) should I just stare at another area instead of the model (and imagine I’m starring at the model)?

10 Ron Davis March 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

Yes, look at something else. Or the back of your camera, though if you spend too much time there they will think something is wrong.

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