As a model in any genre you will have limits and you will have to to learn to set, enforce, and perhaps adjust those modeling limits. Modeling limits can range from what styles you shoot, to what you’ll be wearing (or not wearing), to those regarding personal preferences such as not wearing fur or not shooting religious imagery.
The first step is to think about what you limits might be. You won’t know all of them at once and you may change or add or remove limits as you move along in your modeling. The most common limits revolve around how much or how little you’re willing to wear, what and who you are willing to pose with, and how the photos may be used. When setting your limits keep this in mind: You can always fairly easily do more, but it’s a bit harder to transition to doing less. Make sure you are 100% comfortable with your limits and I strongly recommend sticking a bit under them for your first few shoots, at least. It is easy to get caught up in the pretty pictures, the promises of making money, and so on.
I also believe it is important to discuss your relevant modeling limits before a shoot to avoid any misunderstandings. For some shoots it may simply not be an issue, but if you think you might be close to an edge on a limit or even if you just want to clarify, don’t be shy about it. Just be concise and straightforward. Keep in mind as well that we all have slightly different definitions so photos can be helpful if needed. Most photographers appreciate being told of relevant limits before a shoot rather than having them sprung on them during a shoot.
On to a slightly less pleasant aspect of limits: sometimes people will try to push you or convince you to change your limits. I am not talking about a kind suggestion about a different genre or a genuine offer to shoot you in another genre. I am talking about someone who doesn’t take “no, thank you” or “I’m not interested” as an answer or someone who tries to convince you to shoot something beyond your limits during a shoot. Be firm and be assertive, but be professional and polite. I also discourage shooting photos that a photographer promises to later crop or edit to your limits. Some photographers are honest and will do this, but if you’re not sure, simply don’t do it. You are responsible for making sure your limits are followed and if you don’t pose for things outside of those limits, it’s very difficult for a photographer to shoot anything outside of your limits with you.
One very important piece of advice I have for you regarding this is: do not change your limits in the middle of the shoot. As I said above, it’s really easy to get lost in the moment or to be up on the fun of shooting or to get talked into shooting something “more” than you usually would. It’s okay to change your limits, but do so after some thought and not on the spur of the moment. I think many of the issues models have with shooting more than they ended up being comfortable with could be solved with this rule of thumb.
Finally, bear in mind that modeling limits can be a very personal thing and you should not feel obligated to justify your limits to anyone. You can explain if you choose to, but you shouldn’t feel pressured and someone pressures you, they’re not right for you to shoot with.
I realize this article is a bit more serious, but this is one topic that I think needs to be handled bluntly as many models seem to abandon the idea of modeling because they weren’t firm in their limits or because they ended up shooting something they weren’t really comfortable with. Just be mindful of how you feel and what you are comfortable with and you’ll be fine.
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