I met a new model named Vivian who I learned about from an online forum. She had posted a question to the forum community asking when it is appropriate for a model to begin charging for her services, as opposed to doing trade shoots. She had also stated that she had no desire to model nude as it's not something she feels is right for her. A bunch of idiots then started bashing on her accusing her of being critical and judgmental of nude models, which is not at all what she had expressed. For a 19-year-old college student who is new to modeling, I thought she made thoughtful, well-written responses to some very nasty messages some of the people had written. Since I was going to be visiting her city in less than a week, I decided to contact her and offer to hire her for a paid shoot. She quickly accepted and we made arrangements to shoot a few days later when I arrived in her city.
Vivian and I met at an outdoor shopping mall and spent the next hour or so walking around the shopping center taking photos. She was a nice, easygoing young college student who is majoring in Chemistry. Modeling is just a hobby for her and is something she wanted to do to build her confidence as well as hopefully earn a little money to help pay for college.
Since the shopping center we were at is private property I knew that we had to keep the shoot very low-key as to not draw attention and not look like a photo shoot. In these cases I always try to make it look like we're just two tourists walking around taking snapshots. It also helps that I shoot with a very small mirrorless camera with equally small Leica film camera lenses, so the camera doesn't look like a pro camera. I made sure that after taking a few photos in one location to keep moving and not dwell for too long in one spot. I also kept an eye out for the mall security guy that I had seen walking around, making sure we avoided him. This outdoor shopping center had lots of cool little spots to shoot at. We just walked around and found random spots to shoot at.
We were almost done when another mall security guy on a mountain bike suddenly came upon us without warning. As I anticipated, he told us that we were not allowed to conduct a photo shoot there without a permit. I was fully prepared to just pack up and leave right then, recognizing that what the security guy was telling me was true and that we were shooting on private property. I explained to him that we were just shooting for fun and that this was not a professional photo shoot (which was technically true. I'm not a professional photographer and I don't sell my images for commercial purposes). To my surprise, the security guy thought for a few seconds and then told us we could continue shooting since it wasn't a professional photo shoot. Whew, that was a relief! I thanked him and he went on his way. Vivian the model was very surprised when I told her that the security guy said we could keep shooting and that we weren't getting kicked out of there. I had explained to her at the beginning of the shoot that we would probably get asked to leave the premises if a security guy caught us shooting there. Lucky for us the security guy that surprised us was totally cool.
We only spent about 5-10 more minutes shooting at the shopping center before we decided to go back to my hotel room and shoot interior shots. I was happy that Vivian felt comfortable enough with me, a total stranger before this shoot, to go with me back to my hotel room. I could understand why a model would not want to do that, especially one that is so young and does not have much experience working with photographers. I appreciated that she got a good enough vibe from me that she felt that I was trustworthy and wasn't just some creepy guy with a camera. When we got to the hotel room we spent another hour or so shooting in various spots within the room, with me rearranging furniture as we went along. I shot her in various outfits from fully clothed down to sexy lingerie. In the end, Vivian and I had a really nice time shooting together and getting to know each other.
I hope to work with Vivian again the next time I'm in her city. As much as I enjoy working with new models, I really enjoy working with models I've already worked with before as we have a built-in connection which we can build upon the next time we work together.