A: Please, please, please, please do your research.
There are some AMAZING fetish photographers out there. Some of them come up with incredible concepts, have fantastic photography skills, and are truly respectful professionals.
Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people out there that message people with such offers and proclaim to be an expert (whether it be photographer, rope rigger, dominant, or literally fill in the blank), but who are really just using it as a way to get you naked and vulnerable. Honestly, fetish photography is one of those things that some people use as bait, so be careful.
When you get an offer like this, the best thing to do is to ask for references.
If they really are a photographer they should be able to name a few of the models they’ve worked with before, and you should try asking those people how their experience was. You can go beyond that though! Ask around and see what others in the kink community know about the photographer (if they are a part of the community that is).
When it comes to arranging the fetish photography shoot itself, approach it as you would a play scene. You need to negotiate. Start out by discussing the concepts that either of you would like to explore, and also discuss what you are and are not
comfortable with. Decide whether you’re okay with full nudity. Tell them if you are uncomfortable with them touching you. Ask if you can bring a friend or partner along to the shoot (both for safety and comfort).
Discuss what the acceptable uses of the material will be. Will the photographer have the freedom to do whatever they see fit with the work? Is it for your private collections? Do you both want to post them on the internet? Can the photographer post the work in art galleries (I remember a recent case of someone being outed to a family member who happened across a photo had been posted in a gallery without permission)? Will the photographer allow you to control which shots see the light of day? Are either of you allowed to use the work for commercial purposes?
Once you’ve agreed to the acceptable use and conditions, sign them into the release form. Many photographers just use a standard release form which really doesn’t go into detail of the specific shoot. These forms generally do not provide the model with ANY protection. Read it thoroughly before you sign one, and if you aren’t happy with it, then demand a rewrite before you sign!
In Canada, the photographer is automatically the primary copyright holder of the image that is produced, so that release form is your only recourse if the photographer uses your image in a way that you did not agree to. For it to be a legally binding contract, both parties must sign it. Make sure you request a copy of the contract before the shoot takes place.
Hopefully, by doing some reference checking you’ve selected someone who will actually respect you and act in a professional manner. If you have, let others know! Likewise, if your experience with the photographer wasn’t what you thought it would be…let them know, and let others know if they ask you for a reference!
I hope you have a great fetish photography experience!
Here is an explanation of the Canadian copyright laws pertaining to photography, from the website of The Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators.
Here is a pretty good article from the Model Mayhem website, offering more information about release forms.
Have a fetish photography tip of your own? Share it in the comments below!