I stress quite often my displeasure with TF* or Free shoots. A large part of why displeasure? the email “…can you not use my pics anymore…”

My built in response?

“No. Go kill yourself.”

But I never say it. Want to, but never do.

I think free shoots are a valuable asset to both model and photographer, however, BOTH parties need to understand and accept the work, time and money that goes into it and respect it. I will greatly admit a lot of my frustrations come from working with inexperienced wannabe models, or those who think they are beyond value that I and everyone else must bow to their whims. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone has value, but your value doesn’t supersede mine. In my findings, there are two types of people who shoot, take up time and effort:

The “almost were” and the “never will be”.

Both groups share a lot of the same pathology: They want to be models. They love the idea of having photos taken and at one point in time, they’ve actively pursued it. The only difference is the final outcome. The “almost were” girls were those

Janelle is one of the few models I've shot and want to be a better photographer the next time we shoot.
Janelle is one of the few models I’ve shot and want to be a better photographer the next time we shoot.

who legitimately almost were models! For one reason or another, life got in the way: read a boyfriend, finding Jesus or not making a million dollars on their first or second shoot and thinking everyone is a scam.The “never will be” are those who thought it cute to beg and beg and beg for a shoot, get the shoot and decide that they don’t want the photos for whatever reason.

Another part of the pathology that they share:

When THEY are done with the desire to model, they contact all the photographers they’ve worked with and ask that the photographers take down the work. Again, “No. Go kill yourself.” This part of the discussion is where I become the most un-liked guy in the business. When these nice people contact me, I explain in a very nice way; “No. Go kill yourself.” by saying that every shoot I do, I have to reap the benefits of. I have to gain something out of it. Chances are good that I’m not using many of the photos I took of you, but the ones I use, no, I can’t remove from production. If they persist, I advise that they can purchase a session fee per times we shot, and I will remove what I can and not put up any more. Most scoff at the idea of having to pay (As you know, photographers are nothing more than men and women with tons of expandable income and time to work for free. Our lives revolve around others cause we’re artists and artists have their heads in the sky.) and gently remind me that it’s their images. Wait, what? So I took a photo/s of you. Had you sign a release. You came back 2,3,4,10 times and I can’t use the images nor can I get compensation for it? What’s worse is those who have done nude or topless workshops that contact attendees asking to remove. When former students ask me, I tell them: “No, I wouldn’t take them down. If you want to change their name, do so but nope, don’t.” The girls ask me and I tell them the same thing.

Go kill yourself.

It doesn’t happen a lot to me so when it does, I blow it out of proportion. I take it a lot more personally than I should (Hence my internal, automatic response of Go kill yourself) but I can get it to work out.  About five or six years ago, I was an admin of OMP. I had shot a young lady and she loved her images. For about a month we had talked and planned the next shoot. She loved them. She ended up showing them to her husband and he freaked out. She contacted me and demanded I take them down. She shot topless and nude. Because I refused to take them down, she contacted OMP. The lead administrator, Kevyn F suggested I take the images down. Kevyn had sold his photography soul for an admin job years before. I explained to Kevyn that no, I couldn’t take them down because I liked the images and they were gaining me more paying work. Kevyn got mad at me and said “I would take them down if someone asked me” I responded by saying “You’re no longer a working photographer so it wouldn’t hurt your pocketbook. I am” He badgered me for a few days after and I ended up posting a thread on the OMP forums that I got started for them, and he promptly removed me from my position.He removed me because of the 20 comments of models and photographers who said I was justified in not removing them. While I didn’t name him by name, I said “A friend who isn’t a working photographer anymore said I should take them down” they all had something to say to him and it bruised his ego.

Can I not use your pics anymore? No, I don’t have to use them, but chances are good I will because I’ve done enough free for you!


Janelle is one of the few models I've shot and want to be a better photographer the next time we shoot.
Janelle is one of the few models I’ve shot and want to be a better photographer the next time we shoot.

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