Mar 30, 2006, 9:10 PM
Is the biggest trolling question on some boards <sigh>
To get naked, or not to get naked, that...
I gather it is an important question for some models; but the replies given by most photographers seem to be more self-serving, and wishful thinking than real advice. Or, the advice is totally bogus such as going to agencies, or peddling your ass over town (like that proverbial girl on a bike).
The most important point, is there is *really* no advice. None.
The only issue, is are YOU comfortable with it. Period. If you aren't, don't do it, don't put suggestive images in your portfolio, simply say you don't do nudes, or get naked in the studio, and on our site, check the "no nudes" box (once the galleries are open to the public).
If you are comfortable with it, set your own limits. Don't put anything in your portfolio you won't do again -- even if you love the image. Don't advertise it if you won't do it, or don't want those sorts of offers. That is why we offer both gallery and portfolio areas. The portfolio is work you are looking for, the gallery is work you've done. Nudes in your gallery mean you may not be interested in them any more, nudes in your portfolio means you are, and will consider offers.
Another issue, is models (especially newbies) who say they won't get naked for "free." Well, I don't want to be blunt, but that doesn't sound, or come across, real good. Maybe in a small community, or for a higher priced agency model, nudes and fashion have different rates. But for TFP, on-line connections and networking, and most other "art" and artistic collaborations, you either model, or you don't. Limiting what sorts of modeling you will do for TFP, will limit your options and offers.
A photographer might be willing to work with you because they see you do nudes, or figure work, and even if the shoot isn't originally for nude work, the opportunities ALMOST ALWAYS come up, and it's a real bummer when the model won't take them. Especially if she does nudes, other times.
It's *NOT* professional, no matter what you may think (eg: I have rates, so I'm a professional). Professionalism is an attitude, state of mind, and total package.
That's just how ART photography works. And most TFP is art photography.
FWIW: I don't work with models who don't *LIKE* to get naked, and do it because it's good for the shot, not because they are getting paid. I don't pay -- ever -- for someone to get naked. They do that because they are OK with it.
*YOU* should really think about that, if you are considering nude modeling, or continuing to model nude.
On a paid shoot, sure, nude images *usually* sell better, so fees can and should be higher, than say, for bikini or snow suits (unless the customer or client is paying more for that particular shoot.) For stock type imagery, nudes generate more income, they sell better in press and on-line, and any individual image is probably worth more than an individual bikini image. On the other hand, people consume huge numbers of bikini type images for advertising, so the total return on bikini images may be higher (6 days of work, at $200 a day, rather than 6 hours of work, at $75-100 per hour).
The important thing to think about, though, is what and how you say things about your self says about you. That's a mouth full. What I'm trying to say, is first impressions, and your "advertising" matters.
Your *best* advertising is your images. That is why we are taking the time to develop some impressive tools, help files, and suggestions for keeping your PORTFOLIO working for you, and why we have several forums here on marketing, advertising, promotions, and such.
1) Don't get naked, or nude, unless you are *really* comfortable with it, care if your parents, brothers, kids and husband see it, and realize those pictures are going to be around FOREVER, even more so, than ever before.
2) If you do TFP, don't limit your nude work. First it's probably going to be the most creative work you'll ever do, and second, if you do, you'll find you do not get as many offers to work with photographers and other models. Many times, a *real* photographer (regardless of what the other sites say) will only work with models who he's done TFP with. I use "He" because the huge influx of women photographers is fairly recent, and anyone under 30 is not a good source of information on "what *usually* happens" with models, or on a photoshoot.
3) If you do nude work, make sure you are *NOT* over exposed, and that you have some agreement that "over exposed" images are not going to be used. Get your agreements ahead of time, before shooting. No photographer, who is honest about their work, is going to complain. You are not limiting any creativity, but you *are* protecting yourself from accidental things like spreads, or even full nudes, if you've only agreed to topless. Remember, even if you trust the photographer, a photographer can sell image sets -- or their estate can (and how many have died recently in accidents!) -- and you want to make sure the terms of the release are carried through to the new copyright holder.
4) If you do implied nude, #3 is probably the most important thing you can consider, since today, that means getting nude in the studio, but not showing nipples on camera. In the past, it was creative hiding of tiny clothing, usually, not always nudity strategically covered with mellons, fans or feathers.
5) If you'll get naked in the studio, but not on film, you can say that. That opens up a lot of possibilities for creative work, where a nude model is needed, but nothing can show (magazine photos, cover art, etc).
6) Don't think saying you do or don't do [implied] nudes will get you more or less work, or more or less inquiries. The people you DON'T want to contact you will contact you regardless of what you post. The people who *might* work with you are probably going to be put off by a "negative vibe" and won't bother to contact you. You won't even know how many jobs, gigs, or TFP shoots you DON'T get.
And finally, this got a bit longer than I wanted, I thought I had only a paragraph to blow-off steam from reading another site, realize how the WHOLE industry works, not just your one little set of experiences, your goal to do fashion, or the fact you are in Pittsburgh not LA or NY. Not everyone who opens their mouths or types a message is thinking about YOUR situation when they offer advice -- or nasty criticism. They are only thinking about theirs, and their most recent frustration.
In TFP, the goal is *usually* art, or stock, or to try out something new. Both the model and photographer expect something creative. If you are looking at TFP as a way to get free photos of what you want, try to grasp the concept of "WHY???" Why would a photographer, or anyone, work for you for free, without getting someting in return? That is the T in TFP -- TRADE, or TIME, depending on how you decypher the acronysm.
A commercial shoot, one where the photographer is getting paid, should *not* be a TFP shoot, to try to get the model to work for free (though many, many do it).
TFP in it's basic, old-style form, was a way for photographers and models to work together, trading what they had, for what the other could give. A model had a body, a presence, and, in short, was a "model." The photographer could offer images of the posing, for her portfolio.
I'm an old guy, so *please* understand, it was mostly male photographers, female models, and that is still my basic perspective (I'm male).
It wasn't a paid-shoot, with a client, where certain images had to be made. *UNLESS* it was a spec shoot, where the photographer was trying to get the job, and usually, he would try to use the model he wanted, so if the job was obtained *both* got paid for the real images.
TFP is a TRADE, not one person using the other.
*THAT* is why 90% or more of TFP is nude/suggestive or other artistic imagery. It's what people want to do, when they don't have a "job" to get done. It's what they want to try out, and lot's of people don't get nude models much. (Personally, I think it's been easier to get nude models, than really good clothes models, but that's me.) I usually have to keep telling the models to put something else on, cover up, and "oh no, tits again???" (sorry, couldn't help it).
*MY* point, and I hope you can see this, is that models and photographers need to be compatible, especially for TFP work. I started off saying what type of models I liked to work with, and *usually* that is the type I find and who like working with me. We are comfortable, creative, and the models "push" me to be even more creative. Their bodies *ARE* their art, their contribution, and what they are proud of. Getting me to do something stunning with their bodies is what they want.
Don't forget. As a model, you are truly selling YOURSELF. Your looks. Your presence. In short, your body. If you don't want to be treated as a "sex symbol" or a stripper, don't present yourself as one. If you *do* want to be one, do it with CLASS. Draw your lines, set your limits, be able to show off ANY PHOTOS you take to anyone you know (I'm not saying, do it, but if it happens, you don't have to make *ANY* appologies). Art/Figure/Erotic even Fetish modeling is *not* porn. Much fetish work isn't even nude work. So, don't confuse terms, fields or words. Think about what YOU are comfortable with, get those photos taken, even if you have to pay for them (though I don't see why you would have to), and use those in your PORTFOLIO. Change them, as you get better ones OF THOSE SAME SORTS OF IMAGES. Don't get suckered into doing more, or showing more, or putting more revealing or explicit images on-line then you are comfortable with. If you have GREAT images, you like, and are willing to do with someone, keep them in a hard-copy book, and discuss it in person. Remember, anything you put on-line will be copied -- even if only by a search engine or archiver -- and will pop up when you least want it to.
totally, completely, aggrevated over some of the "helpful" comments he read on another site.