Its bad enough as a single female, I have to deal with flakey men. And, like, a LOT of flakey men.
But as a model, I also went ahead and added flakey photographers into my life. I mean, why not? YOLO! In addition to that, you can probably double the amount the average model deals with. Because I live in Florida. Also known in the industry as-
The Flake State.
And before you Photographers get all bent out of shape, I acknowledge models are just as guilty at performing this charming act of unprofessionalism. But here’s the problem I have with this situation. It seems as though Models are the ONLY guilty ones. At least, from the stories I hear. And for a while I believed that was the case. The same way I used to believe in Santa Clause. Or unicorns. Or that you can still have a relationship with someone you slept with on the first date. There I was, silently giving myself a gold star for my squeaky clean attendance record. Cause I was NOT getting one for my dating record. Obviously…
And then…. something happened.
But first, let me add, I promised when this site launched that names would never be used- I have no desire to blast anyone. I strongly believe that anything that cant be said to someone’s face is most likely an emotional thought, rather than factual. And therefore, irrelevant. But lets face it- if they’ve done it to me, they’ve done it to others. And eventually, they create their own reputation. So me trying to trash them would simply be a waste of my time. And truth and time eventually DOES tell all. But at the same time, I have zero problem sharing my experiences.
So lets take a look at those.
Starting with the first time I realized I had made a huge mistake in judgment. Not once. Not even twice. But THREE times. Yeah, I know, I bet my single status is starting to make more sense now, huh? But back to the original point. This particular photographer was new to the area. When he reached out to me for a TF shoot, I was hooked. His work was perfect- a little edgy, but feminine. And his use of natural light was flawless. Though he was known for his work in Fitness and Glamour, he was striving to shoot more Fashion. And I was desperate for Editorial (a hard thing to find in a state known for GWC’s and tacky sunset/bikini shoots). It was perfect.
Way ahead of the game, having already tapped into my bohemian side before it was a trend, I pulled pieces for a shoot that would make any gypsy soul jealous. Arm cuffs, kimonos, vintage sequined gowns- the options were literally limitless. I even sacrificed one of my own couture gowns by wearing it in the ocean while the sun went down behind me. Totally worth it. For the record- that’s MY kind of sunset shoot. Hundreds of images were shot in a span of 4 hours and 5 looks.
Needless to say, I was beyond excited to receive images of our work. He warned me he wasn’t the fastest at editing, to which I had no problem with. I tell everyone I work with- I don’t care how long it takes you, as long as give me what you promise, by when you promise.
Would you like to know how many images I received from that day?
2 fucking images.
In case you didn’t read that right, I’ll say it again- 2.
Of course, in the time it took to receive those TWO images, I shot with him two more times. Because I was still stupid then. And I received ONE image from each of those shoots. Let me clarify that once more time for the cheap seats in the back- ONE IMAGE PER SHOOT.
So, lets summarize my first lesson in flaking:
3 shoots in all. We’ll ballpark those at 8 hours total shooting time. 10 – 12 looks in all. We wont even go into prep time (hair/makeup), or the time it took to actually find and piece together each look. Oh, wait- how about packing and unpacking everything? And then there’s the gown I ruined. For nothing.
Wait, I’m sorry- let me correct myself. It wasn’t for “nothing”. It was for 4 images. Of which 2 of those I actually use in my portfolio.
Needless to say, there will never be a 4rth shoot.
But wait- we’re not done yet.
Lets fast forward to a year later. Feeling a little more seasoned, and armed with that charming experience, I’m a little more cautious selecting photographers. Or, so I think. It turns out I was still too incredibly stupid for my own good. Here’s Lesson #2…..
Again, I’m contacted by a photographer. Again, one that shoots a lot of Fitness, but has an eye for edgy concepts. Part boudoir, part fine art. In other words, I like what I see. He tells me he’ll be in my area in the next week so we schedule a day to shoot. I show up, armed with enough wardrobe and accessories that would satisfy all 3 Kardashians. We shoot for about 4, maybe 5 hours, using 6 looks in all. It is agreed that I will receive 2 images per look. We spend a little time going through them before I leave- the excitement over what we captured was obvious. While reviewing them, he opens up to me about his frustration with his visit to Tampa. He had booked multiple shoots during his visit there, however, as it would turn out, I was the only model to show. The others had all flaked. All of them. Huh??
I was shocked. Or rather, disappointed. Disappointed in the reputation these other models were creating for not only our area, but our industry. How does someone do that? Especially on someone so talented? So easy to work with? So fun?
I’ll tell you how. Maybe they didn’t flake at all. Maybe they just found out something about this guy I hadn’t. Before they could waste their time, money and wardrobe on someone who had no interest in delivering the results they were promised. Because in the end, I would receive a mere 3 images.
Two of which are basically the same shot.
Now I should add I was careful never to nag anyone. In fact, this particular photographer bragged about how he purposely ignored and withheld images from models who annoyed him. Noted. Plus, I have no interest in images edited by an annoyed photographer. Do you really think you’re going to receive their best work? Sorry, Princess. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I want images that have been edited out of excitement. Passion. Enthusiasm. Clearly, this guy had lost that somewhere.
But moving on.
Looking back now, I realize there were a few things these two gentlemen had in common. The biggest being my confusion in how either of them were not making a living doing something they were so obviously good at. I’m no longer confused-
Their lack of professionalism and integrity will never allow them to be great.
In an industry so superficial and ego-driven, there is simply no more room left for liars. Because you can have the biggest ego in the room- so long as you can also deliver the results to back it up. Otherwise you’re just all talk with a few cool pictures on Instagram. From 2 years ago.
But even more frustrating is the thought that these individuals probably thought at one point “What’s she going to do about it?”. Well, nothing. Except when your name comes up I’ll be honest. I’ll explain how I did my part. And put every effort into our shoot. How I cared. How I drove an hour to meet with you. How I went above what you expected. And how you let me down by not caring about any of it. I’ll tell them how I strung along with promises of more images, when you “weren’t so busy”. Awww- You’re busy? So is everyone else. Let that be a lesson to anyone that uses that as an excuse- its insulting. If I can mange to deliver results, then I expect you to be able too. And if you CANT handle that, well, maybe you need to pick a new career. This applies to flakey models, as well.
So in the end, I have accepted those shots are long gone. I no longer stress or get upset when I think about all the wasted potential. Because I know I did my job.
And I did it well.
Probably better than they deserved.
In short, I learned that sometimes the lessons that come from shoots are deeper than just poses and angles. That they can benefit more than just your portfolio (if youre lucky enough toeven HAVE anything for your port). Sometimes they simply provide experience in making better decisions in the future. And they CERTAINLY teach you about integrity, and how crucial it is for your reputation.
Because in the end, regardless of your talent, the true value of you as a model/photographer is only as good as your word.
Because, baby- there is no filter for poor ethics.
And no makeup to cover that ugly heart.
All that’s left for you now is the reputation of being just another unreliable flake.