If my previous post on model releases concerned you, there are ways around it. This post is only about options for still photographs, not video.
Of course, the method many escorts will use is to just lie about their real name on the release. That’s not very smart from a legal standpoint – if you have an issue with the photographer and you lied on the model release, you probably won’t win your case. And if they have to verify your age with ID, then you can’t lie unless you have a fake ID (not something I recommend).
Even lying won’t save you if you wish to be discreet about your face, or want control over the photos to remove identifying details, like tattoos. There are other options.
Work for Hire
Different photographers may call it different things, but the basic concept is that you simply hire the photographer for a set amount of time. Not all photographers publicly offer this option, but if they’re good businesspeople, they know what their hourly rate is and can quickly give you a quote.
The purpose of buying a photographer’s time is because you need photos, but don’t want those photos appearing in their portfolio. Whatever they create for you is copyrighted to you, not them (as is normal with most model releases). And you shouldn’t have to sign a model release at all since the photos are yours and completely under your control.
This is usually a more expensive method than hiring a photographer for one of their stated packages. But if you need extreme discretion, this is an option.
A cheap and easy way of ensuring control of your photos is to buy a memory card for the camera the photographer will use and using only that memory card. This would work great with a “work for hire” contract. It probably won’t work with a standard model release/photo package.
It’s also a great option if you have a friend take pictures for you because you don’t have your own camera. The photos are under your complete control at all times. No question.
Though most friends won’t ask, techincally, they own the photo they’ve created unless you sign a “work for hire” contract with them. Just so you know.
I’m going to sound old-fashioned, but one great way of owning your photos is to have them taken on film. There’s no way the images can be surreptitiously downloaded from the camera. While less and less photographers use film, you can find skilled amateurs and some professionals willing to use film.
It’s also a fairly inexpensive set-up if you want to take your own photos. Film cameras are dropping in price. Or it works if you have a neighbor/friend who’ll let you borrow their film camera for self-portraits. They’ll never have any idea what you used the camera for.
The caveat: you must have a professional photo lab nearby. They’ll process images with nudity and not ask questions, plus they can professionally scan the images and give you a CD. Professional film scanning costs a few dollars per image, so only scan the ones you really like. The photos CDs you get from processing in a drug store aren’t high-quality scans and won’t translate to the Web very well.
There are professional photo labs who accept mail-in rolls of film for processing, but obviously that’s a time-consuming option.
Taking your own photos automatically means you own all rights and the images are under your control from the start. The problem is that it can be difficult to take good self-portraits. Whether you use film or digital, you’ll need a tripod and a cable release (with digital cameras, you may need a “slave” or “remote”). Expect a learning curve.
I offer tips on self-portraits in Book #2, so I won’t go into that here. The important thing to remember is that you can take as many photos as you want. No one but you has to see them. This allows you to be silly, creative and make mistakes.
Purchasing a high-quality camera is imperative. Though 35mm film cameras do okay with professional scanning, you may want to invest in a 120 film camera (also known as 220 or medium-format). If using a digital camera, 6 megapixel is the lowest you should go. Less megapixels means less detail and clarity, giving your pictures a less-professional look.
You may also want to invest in Photoshop to do your own effects. It’s fun and easy to learn color balancing, play with contrast, lightly retouch or create arty effects with your photos.
Not everyone needs to go through contortions to get their photos. Those with serious privacy concerns don’t want to waste time finding a trustworthy photographer; so some alternative options are needed.