Alternative Modelling Advice From Zivity Founder Cyan Banister

Zivity founder Cyan Banister

Too often, women heading into modelling don’t understand their rights. Nor do they feel confident enough to say “no” to a photographer when asked to do a compromising pose.

One of the most pervasive misconceptions about a photo shoot is that the model is in control. The reality is, too often the model releases creative control when she signs the contract. Any questions or input asked of the model during the shoot are merely perfunctory.

Furthermore, any photo taking during the shoot can be published – even if the photographer says “it’s just for fun,” or will “never be used.”

That is why models need to understand how they can regain control of photo sets. I’ve worked in the business for years – as a model, photographer and businesses owner. As a result, I have a strong understanding of each professional’s viewpoint.

My top 5 advice tips for models

1. Ask questions about your model contract.

Most photographers don’t want you signing something you don’t understand. Therefore, you should ask questions about any part of the contract you don’t understand. If the photographer can’t provide a satisfactory answer, it should be removed from the contract.

2. Sign your modelling contract in advance.

Don’t sign the contract on the day of the shoot. There is too much pressure and there are too many activities competing for your attention. You should review and sign the contract in advance of the shoot.

3. Ask about nudity

If you don’t want to be in a nude shoot, explain this up front and discuss the details of your limitations with your photographer prior to the shoot.

This should be a written addendum or corrections to the contract you are signing.

4. Know your limits as a model

Before the shoot, spend time thinking about which poses you will say yes to and which poses you won’t agree to. Then be prepared to walk out.

5. Bring a friend to modelling shoots

You should always have a business partner, friend or anyone you trust at the shoot.

It is hard to know in the spur of the moment if you are being put in a difficult situation, but a friend can be a second set of eyes. Your friend can pull you aside if something doesn’t seem right.

Whenever I model, I carry my own releases. In addition, as a business owner, I’ve tried to create innovative ways to protect the models during the shoot and still allow the photographer creative authority.

To this end I co-founded Zivity, a premium subscription social networking site for artists, models, photographers, fans and more. It’s a destination for models and photographers to have fun free from censorship and experiment with themes, locations, costumes and clothes, and other creative aspects for photo shoots.

Zivity celebrates artists and fans through a combination of crowdsourced and curated content that comes from contests developed by fans and partner brands. For more information, please visit Stay safe, empowered and look out for No.1 when you model – that’s you.

Photo: copyright Cyan Banister