Model’s Rights

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Cyan Banister, founder of Zivity.com talks safety nets for models.

Too often, female models don’t understand their rights nor do they feel confident to say “no” to a photographer when asked to do a compromising pose.  

One of the most pervasive misconceptions about a photo shoot is that the model is in control. The reality is, too often the model releases creative control when she signs the contract. Any questions or input asked of the model during the shoot are merely perfunctory.

Furthermore, any photo taking during the shoot can be published – even if the photographer says “it’s just for fun,” or will “never be used.” More This is why models need to understand how they can regain control of photo sets. I’ve worked in the business for years, as a model, photographer and businesses owner. As a result, I have a strong understanding of each professional’s viewpoint. Here are my five recommendations for models:

1)    Ask questions about the contract. Most photographers don’t want you signing something you don’t understand. Therefore, you should ask questions about any part of the contract you don’t understand. If the photographer can’t provide a satisfactory answer, it should be removed from the contract.

2)    Sign in advance.  Don’t sign the contract on the day of the shoot, there is too much pressure and too many activities competing for your attention. You should review and sign the contract in advance of the shoot.

3)    Ask about nudity. If you don’t want to be in a nude shoot, explain this up front and discuss the details of your limitations with your photographer prior to the shoot. This should be a written addendum or corrections to the contract you are signing.

4)    Know your limits. Before the shoot, spend time thinking about what poses you will say yes to and what you won’t. Then, be prepared to walk out.

5)    Bring a friend. You should always have a business partner, friend or anyone you trust at the shoot. It is hard to know in the moment if you are being put in a difficult situation, but a friend can be a second set of eyes and can pull you aside if something doesn’t seem right.

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