How to stay safe as a beginning model

A lot of us think the life of a model is all glitz and glamour, but even though that’s true for some, wanting to become a model also comes with a lot of dangers. A lot of people have bad intentions and try to take advantage of the young and naive who don’t know yet how the world of model photography works. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of red flags to keep in mind when someone approaches you with a potential gig.

They pretend to work for a big company

Often people will pretend to work for a big fashion brand, makeup line etc and they want to recruit you as a model. Keep in mind that large companies often don’t hire models themselves, but they work with casting companies who do the recruiting for them. Also, what are the chances that a super big corporation want to hire a relatively inexperienced and unknown model?

They don’t have the correct email domain

If a company, agency or casting office reaches out to you, they’ll almost always have an email domain with their brand in it. My email for example is info@milkrebelle.com, which looks way more professional and trustworthy than my old email, milkrebelle@outlook.com. If someone is recruiting you on behalf of a real company, they will certainly have a business email address.

They promise too high a rate

If you’re new to modeling you might not know what standard industry prices are. Of course they vary from place to place and the level you’re working on, but if a photographer wants to pay you €1500 for one hour of shooting, you should run for the hills.

They promise to give you an amazing career

You barely have any experience yet, so why would they do this for you? How could they know you’d be amazing, if they have no work to see if their assumptions are correct?

They don’t have a portfolio to show you

Don’t trust anyone who barely has a social media presence or website which showcases their previous works and photos. Often they give the excuse that the photos are “private” and they won’t be published. But what is the point for a photographer then? They have nothing to gain by spending hours shooting and editing and then just leaving the pictures on a hard drive.

Too many compliments

Of course, if a photographer is interested in working with you, they must like your look or vibe. But if the compliments become strange and too specific, they’re most likely a creep. There’s a difference between saying ‘hey, I love your smile, when we shoot could we also take some portraits?’ and ‘you have really nice nipples’.

They want to video chat or see private photos

There’s NEVER a need to video chat. Ever. And if you already have some photos to show of yourself, they can be basic ‘polaroids’, then you shouldn’t need to send photos either. Especially not lingerie or nude photos.

You aren’t allowed to bring anyone

You should always ask if you can bring your friend or family member to the shoot. If the answer is no, ask why not. Because you should always be able to bring someone, provided this chaperone won’t be in the way and just sits on the couch to play a game/read a book.

They keep pushing your boundaries

If the photographer ask you “hey, would you like to also take some photos without your bra?” and you say no, they should respect this. If they keep complaining or whining about this, don’t plan the shoot, and if you’re already there, leave immediately.

They want to shoot TFP but they themselves will gain from it financially

TFP means that it’s not a commercial booking, but it’s for all parties involved to gain experience and portfolio material. If a brand wants to shoot TFP, or the photographer wants to sell the photos, you should also be compensated.

They seem arrogant

Sometimes brands or photographers act like it’s an enormous honor to be able to work with them. They list all their achievements and accomplishments like you should beg them to work with you. It’s their duty to make you feel comfortable during a shoot, so this behavior is unacceptable.

They act too sexually around you

This often happens with models who also do sexy or adult shoots. Some photographers seem to think that when you’re naked in front of their camera, it’s a sexual invitation instead of just something you’re doing for the photos. If they talk too much about sex, flirt with you or solicit you, leave the conversation or shoot.

They push their own sexual preferences

Again, this one mostly happens to adult, fetish and boudoir models. When a photographer is too specific, like they want you to wear exactly this, or do this exact pose, it can feel like they’re fetishizing you for their own need. A photographer should be interested in how YOU find yourself beautiful and sexy.

Bondage during the first shoot

If a photographer wants to do a bondage shoot when you’ve never worked together before, this can be a big risk for you. You’re literally tied up and at their mercy. Never shoot bondage if you don’t trust the photographer yet, and it’s always best to bring a chaperone just in case. If the photographer keeps bringing this up, they might have bad intentions.


I hope you will keep these red flags in mind, and the most important thing of all: Listen to your gut. If something tells you that it’s a bit off, or it just doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

If you’d like to do a photoshoot in a safe, respectful environment where you won’t have to worry about the aforementioned red flags, feel free to reach out to me to discuss the possibilities.