Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Touching, adjusting.. "May I..?"

Touching is fine, as long as you're courteous and respectful.


To photographers:

I take direction amazingly, and I'm great at posing myself.. but even I need help sometimes. If I'm holding a pose, adjust my hair, outfit, body parts etc. as need be.. just be polite about it.

If you aren't sure if it's alright, ask "May I adjust...(insert whatever needs adjusting).. for you quickly?"

When moving a body part, please make sure it's not a load bearing point.. I've had people yank my leg out from under me and cause injury and bruising because they weren't paying attention enough to realize my entire body weight was on that foot at the time.

And please be gentle when moving body parts. Yanking my chin around, pulling my arm almost out of socket into a position that the joint isn't designed to go into, etc, can cause issues. If you more me quickly and gently, then if there's an issue with the pose, it can be figured out before it causes injury.

If adjusting clothing or hair, be quick and professional. Clothing shifts, we all know this. If you aren't comfortable doing it yourself, ask the MUA, hair person, etc. to do it for you, if you aren't wanting the model to shift out of position.

If the model isn't comfortable with your conduct or communication, and you know this, ask why. You can't get answers to questions if you don't ask. If you can't make it work, then end the shoot.

In general, as long as you're efficient, polite, and communicate your intention, there's rarely an issue.


To the models:

You're a model. At some point while you're doing this, you need to accept the fact that you generally have no personal space while shooting. You may have limits as to what manner you may be adjust or squooshed or squeezed or prodded, etc.. but for the most part, get the hell over it.

I've had people with an arm up to their shoulder up a latex skirt to adjust it. I've had my boobs squooshed, squished, fluffed, shifted, etc. I've had my bikini/underwear shifted, lifted, pulled, etc. so that I could maintain a pose the photographer wanted.

I've been shifted like a mannequin into position, shifted myself into position, had my arm, leg, hand, head, etc. shifted for me.

Some people communicate differently. I work with a lot of inexperienced photographers, and many of them aren't really sure how to give direction verbally, so when I'm having trouble understanding what they would like verbally, I ask them to shift me into what they had in mind, or tell them I'm comfortable with them doing so at any point in time, as long as they conduct themselves in a polite, professional manner.

There is a difference between a good touch and a bad touch, but you, as models, need to realize that sometimes, you WILL need to be touched, adjusted, squeezed, squooshed, etc. If you aren't comfortable enough with the photographer, MUA, stylists, or whoever need be touching you, then you shouldn't be working with those people in the first place. Get up, get your things, and walk out the door.

In my 500 +/- shoots in the last 3 years, I've never had an issue with being "touched" in a non-comfortable manner that wasn't a result of poor communication, and if the communication wasn't working, the shoot ended.


Listen to each other, talk to each other, learn from each other. You can't learn to improve your posing or direction to suite the individual shoot needs if you're scared to death of offending the other person(s).

Photographers, if you have trouble giving verbal cues, or the model isn't taking direction well, then TELL them so. Politely. Explain the issue you're having, and ask if you may gently & quickly adjust what is needed.

Models, get the fuck over it. Really. If you aren't comfortable with something, say so, politely. Explain the issue you're having, and figure out how to resolve it. Half the posing, skill, and knowledge I have as a model, I learned from communicating with the people around me at the shoot, and allowing myself to be worked into a position or such as needed. Sometimes it's things you never noticed, and being made aware of it as an issue can improve your skill and talent as a model.


  1. Great advice. I try never to touch the model if possible, and only then with her permission, but sometimes it just easier to adjust something that try to explain it for the 20th time, especially with new models that tend to shift their poses by large amounts rather than the tiny adjustments I usually want.

  2. I can only echo that comment.. great advice to photographers and models.. if I ever need to move a models hair or point her chin in a certain direction etc I ask .. communication.. sometimes I fail at that and starting off I'd use sketches, pictures etc to provide starting points,,,

  3. Great article, hope you are relaxing back at home