Fashion Republic Logo

1331 N Cahuenga Blvd,
Los Angeles,
CA 90028

back to top
Red flags for models

Red Flags to Avoid While Working with Photographers

Some models we have worked with told us about situations in which they felt uncomfortable, and worse, abused in one way or another. We gathered several red flags we, ourselves, noticed or we heard from fellow models who shared their stories with us.

As a rule of thumb, you should leave the place if there is something making you uncomfortable and the person in charge there is not helping with the problem. Follow your gut feeling in these kinds of situations. If a voice inside you is suspicious and asking you to leave, it’s better to leave. There will be always more modeling opportunities down the road.

Photographer invites you to his own place for photoshoot

If a photographer invites you to his own house or apartment for a photoshoot, it will be likely an unpleasant experience, to say the least.

We know that many photographers reserve a room in their place for photoshoots. They decorate it like a studio by setting up backdrops, lights, and other equipment. Although it’s convenient and budget-friendly approach for them, it’s not a desirable option for models.

It’s a bigger concern if the photographer is male. In this case, do your research first:

  • Check the photographer’s Instagram account and website. Does his account look legit? Did he work with a lot of models in the past? Is there a considerable amount of following and engagement (likes and comments) in his account? Does he work for a credible company?
  • Is there anyone who worked with him in the past and can vouch for him? In your Google search, do you come across positive reviews about him? Are there any negative feedback?
  • Is his place in a neighborhood and in a building where you would feel safe?

If it’s a modeling opportunity you really want to check out and if your research above brings up good results about him, go for it but take a friend or family member with you to the place.

Be cautious if a photographer invites you to his home studio

Leave the place right away if any of these happens:

  • He insists you drink alcohol or smoke
  • He is drunk or he is getting drunk
  • He starts touching you
  • There is a camera in the bathroom
  • Any other behavior or situation that makes you suspicious and uncomfortable

If any of these happen, make sure to write about your experience on the sites like Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot so other models can be cautious. If he works for somebody or a company, report him or file a complaint.

Photographer wants to give you a ride to studio

It’s a huge red flag if a photographer wants to pick you up to go to the photoshoot studio with him in his car. It’s always safer to meet at the studio instead of riding with the photographer there. You should have your car with you or other means of transportation such as Uber in case you want to leave at any time.

Photographer asks you to make unusual payments

It’s normal to pay a photographer for his time before or after the photoshoot. However, if a photographer asks you to pay for things like styling or outfit that you didn’t request, or equipment fees, he or she is not the best photographer to work with.

In some cases, photographers may want to pay you for your time because they may want to use your photos for business purposes. This is basically a modeling gig. Make sure they clearly tell you how, when, and for how long they will use the photos. Everything should be written and signed but both parties.

There are a lot of scams run by people who act like photographers or producers. One of the scams a model friend came across is this:

  • They approach you with a so-called modeling job
  • They tell you that you will be paid  (let’s say) $2,000. And they send a check in advance. This is a red check. In legit projects, payment is made to models after the work is done.
  • They ask you to send an amount (let’s say) $1,500 to a fashion designer for the clothes that will be used in the job. This is a red flag. You should not be paying for these expenses. If there is an expense, they should deduct it from your paycheck and they should clearly mention this to you.
  • In this scam, the check they send you will be invalid. They want to make you think it’s valid so you transfer $1,500 to someone through an app (Venmo, PayPal, etc.). If you make this transfer, they will block your email, phone, and social media accounts. And of course, that check can never be cashed out.

Photographer asks for money to send photos

If your agreement with the photographer is only to pay per hour, you don’t need to pay extra to receive photos. This is a type of scam we came across. The photographer asks the model to pay for each photo, in addition to the payment for his or her time. If your agreement doesn’t mention such payment, it’s not an acceptable situation.

If it’s a freelancer photographer, it’s unlikely that you will be able to receive photos in this case. However, just like we mentioned above, you should write about that photographer on the review sites such as Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot so other models don’t attempt to work with them.


Don’t feel like the opportunity or offer you came across is once in a lifetime situation. There will be always other projects during your modeling career. So if you see some red flags for models about a photographer or project, just pull yourself out of the situation.

As a rule of thumb, take these precautions for every modeling project:

  • Let someone know where you will be and approximately how long you will be there
  • If you are touched without your permission, warn the person. If it continues, leave the place
  • If there are cameras in changing rooms or bathrooms, leave immediately
  • If you are asked to drink or smoke consistently, leave
  • Have your own ride to get to the place

We organize monthly photoshoots to provide a safe and convenient space for models to have fantastic photos for their portfolios. Join our newsletter to be notified about future events and check out Events page to find out already scheduled projects.


Blogger and fashion enthusiast for 20 years. Experienced runway and commercial model located in Los Angeles. I love creating helpful content and sharing with the world. Reach me out for any questions or feedback.

You don't have permission to register