Draw a Line in the Sand

Draw a line in the sand...

Fitness magazine covers seem to be getting more racy each month, and many fitness models ask me if they really have to put themselves in compromising positions just to get a gig.

My advice is never pose for a photo that you’re personally uncomfortable with. I’ve done literally thousands of photo shoots, and if I’ve learned one thing it’s that the results of just a few hours of work will be around forever.

Before you say, “anything goes,” consider how you’ll feel about a photo in ten years. You can also try the family test before agreeing to a job: Will your mother, father, children, siblings, or grandparents approve?

Different people have different moral standards, and just because one person is comfortable with something doesn’t mean that you have to be. In the world of fitness modeling, you can still find a lot of fun and fulfilling work that falls within your standard of decorum.

Sometimes you get to a shoot and everything starts out fine, but little by little you find yourself in less and less clothing. All of the sudden, you’re asked to put yourself in a compromising position with all your body parts exposed!

Do yourself and the photographer a favor in advance. At least a week before the shoot, call the photographer or the photographer’s assistant and talk about what you’ll be expected to do. Find out what type of bathing suit you’ll have to wear (or not wear), if you’ll be posing with another model, if you’ll have to touch the other model, etc.

If you’re uncomfortable wearing a g-string, for example, this is the time to make it known. If you don’t want to pose with a topless female model out of respect for your wife or girlfriend, now’s the time to speak up.

You may be replaced for that particular shoot, but I promise more will come if you’re persistent. It can be very discouraging to lose a job by choosing the high road, but it’s a lot worse if you let a paycheck tempt you to do something you’ll regret later on. I can’t tell you how many models have come to me saying, “I wish I’d never taken those pictures!”

A photographer will respect you a whole lot more if you draw your line in the sand before the shoot takes place. Trust me, I do it every time, and my career has been the better for it.

If you’ve already taken some pictures you don’t want anyone to see, all you can do is contact the photographer and ask him or her to put them in the round file. If they’ve already gotten out and someone says, “Well, you’ve already done that kind of work before,” politely tell them that you’ve learned from your mistakes.

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