Tag Archives: Models

Even for a TFP shoot why model releases matter

Miss Katie Mae Liquid Light ShowEven for a TFP shoot why model releases matter


Some of this is a total trigger for me, and one of the reasons I really detest doing group shoots. I generally just want someone to sign the model release, and then lets go take pictures. But sometimes you run into people who want to negotiate a separate release than the one the photographer usually uses. Most of us use a Getty Images release or an ASCP release, some of us use a 2257 release, and there are a ton of variations on the theme.


A model release expressly grants and limits what can be done with the images the photographer creates. This is important, it grants in general the photographer full rights to the images that are created while the model gets nothing, other than the right to use the pictures to promote themselves.


In a TFP shoot, it is generally agreed that some of the pictures will be used to promote the model’s own career, and most photographers will be fine with that.


Sometimes models will want a variation on that release for full rights or equal rights as the photographer who takes the picture.


I have done this in the past, and it was a horrible experience for me. At times models have so re-imaged the picture in Photoshop that I wanted my name taken off it. Generally photographers will go in with an idea of what they want, and when the image is re-imaged or redone in Photoshop it can be a process of cognitive dissonance with the photographer and the model. Sometimes it is a horrible experience.


Another issue comes in when money gets involved. The model is inherently going to have a bigger following than the photographer, and it is super important that the model keeps the watermark on the picture. Full rights allow the model to remove the watermark. In this age of the Internet it is so easy to crop out a watermark, it happens every day everywhere, that it is very easy for the photographer to never be credited for the picture by the model, or the models fans, and not boost their career. Honestly if I was busy shooting super models, I would want my watermark all over that image because I want to leverage my fan base for the model, and I would want the models fan base to check out my other work. I would totally sell an unwater marked image to a magazine, but I need my watermarks intact.


Granting a model full right to the images allows the model to sell the picture to their fan base without anything back to the photographer. Photographers can also sell that picture with no money back to the model for their time or effort. So in that respect it is fair, people can use the picture to make money, but nowhere in there does it state the money will be shared equally. This can be a huge problem as the photographer has expenses that the model does not have. Models don’t pay for the studio or location, the gear, often the costume, and otherwise, even for a TFP shoot. The photographer has costs, the model might have costs, and it is very important that money be shared or we stick to the standard release.


I won’t even mention the auditing overhead for making sure everyone plays this honest. People do weird things when money is involved.


Full rights also grants the right to take down the picture, if they can do everything that the photographer can do, they can say that the picture isn’t flattering, or legally take down the whole gallery. If the picture set is popular (and some of my sets reach into the quarter million picture views), having the model request a take down because they have full rights can be problematic. Suddenly the photographer has to deal with the issue of very popular against the models rights that the photographer gave them.


Suddenly a model has regrets and wants the gallery down. With full rights, they can do that, with a standard release they can’t and you can keep your popular gallery going.


I am not against sharing, I am against full rights or equal rights for any kind of shoot for a model. And nothing personal, I do have costs like the studio, makeup artists, gear, clothing, and other things that brings the average cost of a TFP shoot to somewhere around $200.00 per shoot. It might be free for the photographer to have the model there, but there are other costs associated with the shoot that the model does not see.


This doesn’t even include processing and rendering time.


What are your thoughts on this, should models get full rights to the images that the photographer creates, or are we opening a can of worms here that will be the end times of photography?







Grid Girls at Evergreen Speedway Set One

Grid Girls at Evergreen Speedway Set One
Grid Girls at Evergreen Speedway Set One

Grid Girls at Evergreen Speedway Set One

Sometimes you just hit it right on all the numbers, and a good friend of mine over at Femme Photo LTD was doing a race track shoot over at Evergreen Speedway. Femme Photo LTD is one of the cooler groups to work with for both learning models and learning photographers. It gives everyone a good chance to learn, grow, and get better at what we are wanting to do with our lives. If you are in the Seattle area, you really should check them out.

I was working with Model Madison along with one of my favorite photographers Chris for one segment of the photo shoot. Chris is great for posing people, which is one of my hardest things to do with a model. While Chris ran the poses, I was able to ride side saddle with him and get some amazing shots of Madison as a Grid Girl. Yes this is a black SS and a black bikini, along with some amazing clouds off in the distance, which reminds me of the idea that there is a storm coming. The way the model is posed and the framing of the clouds, the car, and the rest of it just adds to the idea that yes indeed there is a storm coming. Riding a SS, and dressed to kill.

This shot was done in natural light, with the camera set to 100 ASA, Aperture Priority on my Nikon D5100. We were also using a reflector using the Gold side to help capture what little sun there was involved with the photo shoot. It was nice to see the highlights show up by using natural light and adding some extra color to the skin tones by using the gold reflector. I have one of those 5 in 1 42 inch reflectors that works wonderfully in light where it is variable, and I want to add color, or just add neutral light by using the white side.

Overall I think this set turned out really nicely, and displays some attitude to go along with what we were trying to do. I learned a lot along the way especially with lighting and how to manage getting the expressions that you really do want to get while posing someone. I think that for beginning and even intermediate model photographers, posing ends up being one of the hardest things to do. We generally don’t like to “boss someone around”, but to get the shot you want, sometimes you have to, and when you do you might just end up with something very cool.

Grid Girls at Evergreen Speedway Set One



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Should a photographer honor a takedown request?

Should a photographer honor a takedown request?Should a photographer honor a takedown request?

We all have them, over the last year I have had three people request that I take down the pictures I took of them. Generally they might be because the pictures are crappy (which happens), or they have some other reason. Let’s look at each of the three requests and then ask yourself how you would handle them. On all of these, I did honor the request, and will explain more after I get done with the examples.

Public Protest Pictures – one young lady was at the Annual Slutwalk and was captured in four pictures I took at the walk. Her office workers found out that she was part of the event and started harassing her. She was not just caught by me, but caught by a major news outlet as well and posted all over the newspaper. That is probably what caught the office workers attention. She is a rape survivor, but the actions of her office workers started triggering bad events. The e-mail that was sent to me to take down the four pictures was impressive, and for what I thought was a very good reason. She is getting harassed by her office workers for talking about surviving rape and participating in Slutwalk which is a major anti-rape event/protest here in Seattle. I took the four pictures down, and never heard from her again.

Model Shoot – model revised the paper contract so that she could control what was posted online from the modeling shoot. Model refused to release any of the pictures because this was the first time she had pictures taken of her in underwear. I am not talking a small shoot here, but because she was an awesome model and I didn’t notice what she had penciled into the contract (that is my mistake), I spent a significant amount of the day taking her picture. When the model refused to release any pictures, I was stuck with three hours of lost time, and a couple hundred pictures I could have used. The objection was not to the pictures, but that she was in her underwear. The pictures were taken down because my lab assistant countersigned the contract. My assistants no longer have the ability to sign contracts on my behalf (didn’t realize they had them before, and this might be a way to scoot out of the whole mess), and I moved over to electronic copy for the model releases that cannot be modified by anyone but me.

Event Shoot – a performer of the event was so concerned about her image that she needed to approve any picture posted online from the event. She requested a take down, but since technically I don’t own the pictures, the event does, asking me to take down the pictures rather than the event organizers asking me to take down the pictures made this one highly unusual. The event eventually decided that it would be better to take them down rather than have an upset artist.

The only other issue with pictures over the last year was a gallery name and how the model perceived herself, which is a quick easy fix and no loss of imagery.

Each one of these is a different circumstance I have had with models, needless to say yes I do keep a black list of models or event performers who ask for a take down and will not take their picture again in the future. Like all cities, this is a very small town, so I figure I am on a couple of models and event performers black list as well. Fair is fair, if the relationship is not working with the model or performer then it just will not work. The first one though is unique, I have never before or sense seen anyone in a protest march ask for their picture to be taken down from the internet. I have no idea how the newspaper reacted, but the pictures were missing from the news site a few month later. Other than being seriously annoyed that someone would use a protest picture to harass a co-worker, that one was probably the most legitimate reason to take down a picture I have seen yet.

If the photographer has taken crappy pictures, tell them that they are crappy. That you don’t like them or that they do not portray you as you wish to be seen by the public. Don’t go all copyright on them, don’t go all ‘but I am in my underwear’, look at it realistically. The photographer spent time on those pictures. It is unlikely that they ripped them off the camera and posted them, they went through some kind of post shoot process that meant time with the shoot far beyond what you saw. The photographer has an equal investment in time, and would much rather hear the pictures are crappy than pulling some kind of bone head maneuver about copyright or underwear. Most photographers are going to be cool about it, and would much rather deliver a picture you are happy with along the way. Realize the photographer is also an artist in their own right, so an argument like this just fails:

“It isn’t just about quality of photography. I like to be in control of my art just like any other artist.”


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Pinup Model Miss Merlot in a Phone Booth

Pinup Model Miss Merlot in a Phone Booth
Pinup Model Miss Merlot in a Phone Booth

Pinup Model Miss Merlot in a Phone Booth

Remember Phone Booths? I barely do, but I do know that they once littered the landscape like wild herds of buffalo before they got replaced by cell phone and tablet computers. Small cramped, just enough room to sit up straight in, so when you find a vintage phone booth with a vintage phone, you know you have to try to cram someone in there and say “act sexy”. Miss Merlot did awesome in bringing a whole new definition to “act sexy for me” as a photographer. Seriously the booth is maybe 2 feet by 2 feet, and how she was able to get the hot sexy look is pretty awesome on her part. The problem with phone booths is that you have to come in close; otherwise you get a lot of wall and phone booth to go along with it.

If you are taking pictures in a small cramped space you have little to no choice but to come in close, or there will be a lot of dead space in the picture that you will eventually crop out later. The back of the phone booth is reflective so if you are using continuous lighting you want a soft box, and you want to bring down the highlights in Lightroom or Photoshop. The cool part is that the background is a neutral grey so it will highlight the colors that the model is wearing. There is another set with Julliet that I will post later where she is wearing a white silk traditional Chinese costume in the same phone booth, reducing the highlights is what is going to make your pictures work.



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Taking pictures of people in a hot tub

hot tub model Taking pictures of people in a hot tub

Hot tubs are very cool to take pictures of people in, however there are some things you need to know before you go on a shoot. If it is cold out, then steam is going to rise off the hot tub, and if you are using flash or even continuous lighting, actually any lighting from natural on forward you are going to get smears across the entire picture. Steam can make things annoying, so you want to increase the black scale and cut back on the contrast scale when processing them in Light Room (or any photo processing software that has color control across shadows, highlights, whites and blacks). You might also have to boost the color along the way to make sure you are filtering out for the effects of steam in your photo. Steam basically drowns out the subject and makes it difficult to get a good clean picture of the model.

The other thing to think about is the models color when taking the picture. Often we forget that water (blue and aqua) can also have influence on the colors in the eyes. Sometimes you will end up with your model looking like a Fremen from Dune because of over coloring or the natural reflection of the water in the whites of the models eyes. Hands are also important in this one because really all you have is the models expression and the models hands to work with during the shoot. Unless you are going for some of the getting out of the hot tub shots, then you have the torso to work with as well. Posing the model with only half a body can be difficult, so focus on the expression and the hands to convey the meaning you are looking for. Here is my shoot of one model in a hot tub, let me know what you think.



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