RANT: What Not To Do On A Photo Shoot

July 18, 2012

Today I wanted to talk about what not to do on a photo shoot.  The answer’s simple.  Don’t cancel it!

In the time I’ve been modelling I’ve never in my life had a photo shoot cancelled when I’m stood on set of the location.  Well, everything happens for a first time and that decided to be today.

I had a photographer contact me after seeing my online portfolio on a subscription web site, interested in booking me for a shoot.  I tend to do most of my bookings online and use online profiles for displaying my stats and any other information I wish to add along side my photos.  In my profile description I say about who I am, where I’m from, what kind of work I do, that sort of thing.  Adding a bit about my fibromyalgia helps people understand my abilities and limits and on each of my modelling accounts I always have the addition that I bring Sean as chaperone with me.  If someone doesn’t like chaperones, then they know where they sit with me and that’s their right to decide.  If you don’t like them, there’s no point approaching me.  No one’s time is wasted.  But I always have brought a chaperone and always will.

After much discussion with this photographer in question, a shoot date materialised and over the weekend it was agreed that today (Wednesday) would be the day.

The shoot was booked for 4pm this afternoon at Swinton Park hotel near Masham, North Yorkshire.  With my wardrobe extensively prepared, off we drove to the destination.  As I always do, I sent a text to the photographer just letting them know we were on our way.  It seemed odd to me that I didn’t get a reply for quite a while later and approaching the hotel I text again saying we’d arrived.  Parking up I wasn’t sure where abouts the photographer was and so waited in the car park, looking around for someone who looked like they were waiting.  No one appeared which didn’t sit well with me.  After a third message he’d replied: “on my way”.  We waited some more, and then finally a man with a camera over his shoulder began to walk over.

Usually there’s a bit of banter when you acquaint yourselves with each other but it didn’t feel right.  There was no interest when Sean said we used to live only two miles away from the hotel, and it all felt a bit strained.  Then the photographer said ‘so, what’s happening then?’ and proceeded to say that he apparently didn’t know that there would be someone with me and said how uncomfortable it made him feel.  He said it would feel like someone looking over his shoulder.  I realised it was getting a bit ridiculous when he made it clear it was more that he had a problem with men.  It was seemingly okay that if I had a woman with me (or in his words, a make up artist because ‘they’re women’!) then there wouldn’t have been a problem.

What I couldn’t understand, and still can’t, is the explanation for his change of mind when I’d made it all perfectly clear before hand.  There was no change of plan, I didn’t spring anything on him at the last minute.  I turned up for the shoot and was being faced with what was effectively a cancellation.  A termination of contract.

The photographer then decided to admit that he hadn’t read my profile until this morning.  Even then, could he not have emailed to say he wanted to cancel instead of have me travel all the way to the shoot and waste petrol on top of my lost earnings?

But this isn’t an argument about chaperones.  There will always be those who don’t like them and the rest who don’t have a problem.  This is about absolute poor attention on his part.  It baffles me how he finds it acceptable not to read people’s profiles when they contain important information – including my blatant reminder that I bring a chaperone!  And surely he must have been daydreaming whilst reading my emails.  How was it fair on me that because of his incompetence and ignorance that I lose out?

Not only was his ignorance seriously frustrating me but he had the gall to say I wasn’t ‘respecting him’ and that he ‘calls the shots’.  And turning away and walking off like a child mid conversation is simply idiotic, rude and an utter joke!  Unprofessional doesn’t even cut it.

To say I’m miffed doesn’t even begin to describe it either.  Where is my cover for costs and time when I have done everything to be completely honest and open?  The photographer said I wasn’t willing to compromise.  His idea of compromising consisted of him getting his own way, expecting Sean to leave the room, therefore eliminating my right of a chaperone.  Like heck am I going to agree with that!

The state of play?  I’m out of pocket for petrol, a wasted day that could otherwise have been booked and paying, and pay for the day’s work.  When I have been all of transparent, he should respect that he owes me remuneration.

Becky x


  1. questfortheperfectbra

    July 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    That is so many levels of not okay, including what sounds like sexual harassment. I don’t know if you sensed that, but you made the right decision in refusing to “compromise” by making Sean leave the room. His actions were unprofessional and downright shady.

    As far as the lost gas money/time/earnings go, have you considered drawing up actual contracts with people and charging a cancellation fee for canceling with less than XYZ hours notice?

  2. Cavy.girl

    July 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Hi! Yeah it definitely felt like sexual harassment, and it was similar to a behaviour known as level pushing. He knew I always have a chaperone and tried to eliminate Sean from the situation by playing ignorant. He knew what he was doing and that was hoping I’d cave in and do what he wanted. He said himself he felt uncomfortable because it was a lingerie shoot which only translates to me that he must be up to something.

    There usually is an unspoken rule that cancellation fees exist but I’ve never needed anything so officially. It appears now I should really do it. I could put a claim in to the small claims court but I need his address, which I don’t have.

  3. confessionsofacurvygirl

    July 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I’m 100% sure this guy was gonna try to take advantage of you. He most likely didn’t even have the money that claimed that he wad gonna pay you. A waste of gas isn’t the worst thing that could have happened in the situation. It also sounds like you had a gut feeling about this guy and yet you still went ahead. Listen to your inner voice it won’t steer you wrong.

    You should consider asking for 20%-50% for the shoots up front or getting an agency that does Glamour modeling. You might also want to consider taking your own photographs or paying photographers and then selling your own photos to magazine. The amount you get for photos try multiplying that about 10,000 that is the amount that an publisher that get your pics is getting their customers viewing your pics.

  4. Cavy.girl

    July 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Hi 🙂

    I thought the conversations we’d had prior to the shoot were going alright, so when the day came and it all started to unravel, then it came clear that things weren’t right. It just goes to show how people can be different, or rather you think you know someone when you really don’t.

    I was thinking that myself actually, about asking for a deposit. I just never thought I needed it before because people are usually decent with cancellations and offer to pay a percentage without the need for me to ask.

    I’ve been signed to agencies but they’ve never amounted to much so I’ve preferred to do things myself, but had this shoot been through an agency, they would have had the photographer’s details and most certainly would be billing him. I’m just annoyed now that I don’t know his details, so without his address I won’t be able to bill him.

    Thanks for the advice!

  5. questfortheperfectbra

    July 20, 2012 at 4:52 am

    I hope you can sort out the situation without too much trouble! The sad thing is that it really shouldn’t be on you… but some people are less than honest until faced with threat of legal action. :/

  6. Cavy.girl

    July 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I have a feeling it’s going to a long slog. The photographer is now trying to deny cancelling the shoot which is an odd one. I’m still having a job tracking down his address too. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! 😀

    Becky x

  7. Lindana

    August 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Good thing you brought Sean, that guy sounded very weird and I feel pretty confident, the shoot would have, if he had gotten his way, turned into a nude one.
    Very sensible to bring someone with you to shoots like that, a real photographer should not have any issues with it at all.

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