It seems like every site wants something different when you’re signing up, including when it comes to submitting images.
One inquiring model wanted to know: I am needing to get some professional pics done so I can join more sites that require professional pics. First off, what’s considered “professional”? Also, I don’t have the money to hire a professional, but is there a way to make some that would pass for professional pictures? And lastly, if you use a professional photographer do you have to disclose what you will be using the images for?
As always, the internet was super helpful with tips and tricks.
DIY Professional Looking Photos
You’re already a lighting pro and a selfie master. Who’s to say you can’t apply those skills to generating your own professional looking photoset?
Be it in your room or some sort of staged rented space, a little lighting and a camera can go a long way. One model suggested:
You could buy a webcam or rent professional photography equipment from a photography shop and rent a nice hotel room or Airbnb to take photos at. Maybe a friend can also help take the photos if you provide the equipment.
Another model who already owns high-quality camera was all about DIY professional-looking pics. She had these tips to offer:
When I take pics by myself, I put the camera on a timer so I have time to pose. I’d recommend anyone wanting to self-shoot high quality images purchase the best possible camera or webcam they can afford (look for discounts/gently used ones, too!), hopefully one with a timer.
Several people weighed in with various cost estimates and figures – guesstimates and ranges regarding what a professional photo shoot would cost. Some of them seemed pretty high at around two thousand dollars per session.
Now obviously, not all photo shoots cost two grand. There are a number of factors that come into play when determining cost. Things like how experienced your photographer is and/or their reputation, as well as the extras you may want (MUA, hair, special location, etc), can all have a huge impact. One person took these cost considerations to an interesting level when they cautioned investing too much at the get go:
You don’t know if you will stick it out with camming or with whatever site is asking for professional pics, so investing a four-figure amount right off the bat is just silly & not worth it.
Though perhaps a bit of tough love, this is wise advice. No one is saying not to invest in your cam presence, but spending a large sum on photos when you are just getting started may be putting the cart before the horse.
Another person suggested finding a photographer that’s looking to build up their portfolio and trading your services as a model with their services as a picture taker. Obviously you would want to take all the necessary safety and privacy precautions that come with trade work, but this could be a mutually beneficial option. For instance:
I went on Model Mayhem and found an awesome photographer in my city… She’s a total sweetheart and working on building her portfolio, but she said the types of pictures I want aren’t really something that would mesh well with her portfolio so she is charging me — $50 for a session! I think there are a lot of people like this out there.
This is another great tip, especially for people who know where their skill sets begin and end. Though you definitely must perfect your selfie/candids game – “You are better off [taking photos] yourself with a ring light and the photo app on your phone because you will be constantly having to do selfies for promotions all the time anyhow and basic editing is just apart of the J O B (and watermarking is easy)” – leaving the professional photography to the professionals may be more your speed. As one model put it:
Taking your own pictures sounds fine and dandy, but I would rather have someone else do it and edit them for me too — can’t beat that (tho it would be nice to have a basic DIY setup to see how new looks translate to photo)
A couple other super insightful bits of advice included doing your own hair and makeup, both for your own staged professional photography as well as for pictures taken by a photographer. This is to keep your look consistent.
Do your own hair & makeup otherwise you won’t look like the same girl when on cam. Most of the time [MUAs] slather on the makeup & you won’t even recognize yourself in the mirror, much less in the pics.
Here’s what the internet had to say in response to the question of disclosure – If you use a professional photographer do you have to disclose what you will be using the images for?
You don’t have to disclose that you’re an escort, cam girl, etc but you do have to disclose that you intend to use the photos for business purposes. Your photographer may or may not charge you extra for to have business use rights (I don’t know what it’s called) and your photographer should draw up a contract for you to sign that states you have rights to use the photos for business purposes (advertising, on your website, social media etc).
These tricky issues, ranging from thoughtful to scary, were raised regarding disclosure:
In a worse scenario, if you don’t tell a photographer what you plan to do with the pics and then they find out and are pissed, this is a person that has your real name and contact info. Even without the intention of maliciously doxing you, the photographer might post a warning on Model Mayhem or someplace about “Don’t work with model [real name]. I did, and then she used the pics on her sex worker website!”
Also, even though it’s not a legal consent issue, it seems unethical to get someone involved in sex work without their knowledge. What if this photographer decides they’d like to switch from glamour photos to family portraits, but then someone discovers they’ve done photos for a camgirl or escort website — despite the fact that they had no idea that that’s what they were doing?
People can be hateful, and people can also simply evolve in their careers within the context of a world that’s hateful. Put simply, you will want to emphasize that you will be using your photos for commercial use if you choose to go with a professional photographer. Make sure to secure the necessary permissions and licenses — and keep records.
Tell Erika your photo tips — email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out professional photographer Toney T’s lighting and photography tips in this exclusive YNOT Cam interview.