FAQs for Models

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This is the FAQ for Models
Click here for a General FAQ

For Prospective Models, More Than You Need To Know About Modeling For Looknsee Photography 

Page last updated June 14, 2004  

Use these jump links to find the answers to these key questions:

What is Looknsee's Only Rule For Models?
Are Models Compensated for Modeling? 
  What Constitutes A Successful Sitting?  
What Does It Mean To Behave Like A Professional Model?  
  Does Looknsee Have Advice For Models Wishing To Avoid "Bad" Photographers?  
Can Models Get Prints From Their Modeling Session?
What's A Modeling Session Like?
Can I Bring A Friend To The Modeling Session?
What Should I Do To Prepare Before The Sitting?
What If There Are Some Poses I Don't Want To Do?
What Happens After The Sitting (Previewing the Web Pages)  
Can I Use Pictures From The Session For A Modeling Site Or My Site?
Why Does Looknsee Make These Pictures?
What Does Looknsee Do With These Pictures?
What If A Friend Of Mine Wants To Have A Print?
Do You Have Any Posing Guidelines?
What Does Looknsee Look For In Models?  
Would You Please Photograph Me?
How do you negotiate modeling fees (blog entry)?
Will you make some erotic photographs of me?


What is Looknsee's Only Rule For Models?

Don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable! If a pose makes you uncomfortable, it'll show in your face & in your body language.  So, usually, an uncomfortable pose is a waste of both your & my time.  So, if a suggestion isn't something you want to do, just tell me, and we'll move on -- I rarely run out of ideas.  If I ask you about it, I'm not trying to talk you into it, I'm just trying to find out what is making you uncomfortable.
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Are Models Compensated for Modeling?

Absolutely every model is compensated in some way for their modeling time.  The actual compensation varies greatly.  Some models accept prints as compensation ("Trade For Prints" or TFP), in which case, we can negotiate a specific number top quality, hand printed 8x10's.  I usually pay models for nude modeling.  The rates are negotiable, starting at ~$25 an hour for inexperienced models, going up significantly for more experienced models (and, yes, experience is worth it).   I usually like to "start the clock" when the model is in the studio & ready to go (I provide ample breaks).  My typical modeling session in the studio averages about two to three hours (plus getting ready time for the model).  For "field trips", we can negotiate start times to deal with commute times & other logistics -- a "half day" or a "full day" rate works best for field trips.   
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What Constitutes A Successful Sitting?

For me, the bottom line is this:  at the end of the sitting, if both the photographer & the model feel respected, then the sitting was successful.  Bonus points are scored for any of the following:

  • We both had a lot of fun.
  • We produced good images.
  • We tried something new.
  • We both want to work together again.

My minimum expectation is that we treat each other with respect during the sitting.
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What Does It Mean To Behave Like A Professional Model?

There are several things that experienced, successful, professional models do that make them fun & easy to work with.  All models can benefit from these things, not only in their modeling professional life but in their overall relationships to others.  

  • Never stand your photographer up!  Personally, I start setting up my studio about an hour or two before the sitting, and if something changes for the model at the last minute, I don't mind it at all if she calls me to cancel or reschedule before I start that set up process.  To be honest, I'm a little annoyed if I get that call after I start that set up process, but it's nice to know, so I won't sit around waiting..  But I am livid if I am stuck waiting for a model that isn't going to show up.  It is very rare that I give a model a second chance after she stands me up.  I will never give a model a third chance.  It's a waste of my time, it's disrespectful, and it is certainly unprofessional.
  • Be responsive!  I hate it when I e-mail a model, or leave her a message on her answering machine, and never heard back from her.  If you don't want to work for me, just say so, and I'll move on.  If you don't respond, I'm lost & unhappy.  Respond promptly to all inquiries!  If I have problems getting ahold of you, I won't be able to set up a sitting with you.
  • Be prompt!  Even after dozens of sittings, I get excited before each sitting.  If the model is late, I get nervous.  If you are going to be late, call & let me know.
  • Stick to your commitments!  All negotiations should be complete before the sitting day.  It is as much your responsibility as it is the photographer's to discuss the content of the sitting and the details of the transaction.  If you have concerns or limits, make them clear before the agreement is reached.  Once the sitting starts, stick to the commitment.  Any model who tries to renegotiate limits or fees during the sitting is not likely to be invited back.  (I, too, stick to the commitments & never try to ask the model to do anything beyond their limits).
  • Be prepared!  Get a good night's sleep the night before.  Arrive prepared -- most models arrive with their basic make-up all ready in place.  If you are asked to bring wardrobe or accessories, have them with you.  Arrive with your positive attitude in place.
  • Be focused!  The best models are the ones that can give the photographer (and his camera) her entire attention.  Sure, life is complicated, and we need to figure out when to do the laundry or what our mothers really meant by that comment -- leave all that at the door.
  • Be sober!  Do I really have to say this?  I have had models show up stoned or drunk or high.  They are certainly not invited back.  They might not even be invited in.
  • Be fun!  I enjoy sittings a big lot, and it always helps if I feel the model is having fun, too.  Animated & energetic models are the best!
  • Be creative!  Suggestions are always welcome.  Don't be shy.

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Does Looknsee Have Advice For Models Wishing To Avoid "Bad" Photographers?

Well, to me, there are two kinds of "bad":

  • An unskilled or inexperienced photographer, who produces bad images.
  • A predator.

As far as I'm concerned, I would hope that models wouldn't avoid unskilled or inexperienced photographers -- we all start out unskilled & inexperienced, and we can only improve our skills through practice.  

However, we've all heard horror stories about predator photographers who prey on models.  I think predator photographers are fairly rare, but they exist, and yes, they should be avoided at all costs.  Here are some ideas to help models weed out these kinds of photographers:

  • I don't know why more models don't ask for references.  I think it's a good idea.
  • If it makes you more comfortable, definitely bring a friend along.  If a photographer doesn't want you to bring a friend, well, you probably don't want to work with him.
  • Establish relationships with other models in your area and share notes.  Also, local, trusted photographers might be able to provide you with some insights, too.
  • Before the sitting, try to be as clear as possible about what will happen at the sitting.  Ask questions, like...
    • "How will I be compensated?"  (Include a discussion if you also want prints or CDs -- when can you expect prints or CDs?)  I personally review our agreement before asking for a signature on a model release & definitely before we start making images.
    • "What kind of pictures are you trying to create?"
    • "What is the intended use of the pictures you intend to make?"
    • "How long will the session last?"
    • "What is the photographer's complete contact information (address, phone, cell, e-mail, web site, etc.)?"  Make it clear that you'll leave this information with a friend.
    • "Who will be at the sitting, besides the photographer & model"?
    • "Where will the sitting take place?  If the sitting is in a public place, what security provisions will be provided?"
  • Check out samples of the photographer's work.  That's one of the reasons I produce this web site & keep it up to date.  I think that when potential models see that I've worked with models multiple times, they feel more comfortable with the idea of working with me; they also get to see my style & get an idea of the kind of pictures we are likely to produce. 

Bottom line:  do your homework, try to find out as much as you can before the sitting, & be as clear as possible about what you should expect at the sitting.  And as scary as all this is, I would think that you will be okay if you use common sense.  That being said, be sure to be positive & bring a sense of adventure to the sitting.  Any "good" photographer will work hard to make your experience fun, and that includes making sure you are safe & comfortable.

I should mention that typically, my relationship with models extends to the work we produce together and not much beyond that.  On occasion, we become friends, but that's rare & not expected.

One additional point:  while we often hear horror stories about predator photographer, there are plenty of less-known stories about models and their escorts beating & robbing photographers.  Be sensitive to a photographer's concerns about security, too.  This is one reason why I greatly prefer working with experienced models.  
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Can Models Get Prints From Their Modeling Session?

(Updated in 2010):  As I've gotten older, my eyesight has suffered.  As such, I no longer make film negatives or paper prints.  I can no longer produce photographic prints for models.  Sorry.

I can, however, work with digital images & digital prints.  We can negotiate an inkjet print, if the model wishes.

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What's A Modeling Session Like?

I'm a pretty mellow kind of guy, and my pace is slow, easy, & relaxed.  When a new model first arrives, I like to show her around and then sit down for a moment.  When we sit, I like to review our compensation agreement, so there's no mistakes.  I also like to remind models that they shouldn't do anything that makes them uncomfortable.  Then, I ask the model to sign a model's release.  The model's release will clarify my ownership of the pictures we make.  By signing the release before doing any modeling, the model is reminded about that rule about doing things that make them uncomfortable.  (Another way of thinking about that rule is "don't show any photographer anything you don't want photographed".)  I prefer to use simple model's releases, with clear & understandable language.  Click here for an Microsoft Word version of my model release.

There is a bathroom that is available for the private & exclusive use of the model.  During the session, no one else will be using this room.

During the session, I respect a model's "space":  I don't enter the model's space without telling the model (I typically have to come over to fine-tune the light placement).

There is never any touching in the studio.  That sometimes means that it'll take a little time for me to communicate an exact pose, but that's okay -- remember, I maintain a slow & easy (& patient) pace.  Note:  sometimes, especially during fetish posing, some contact is needed (e.g. adjust the fall of the model's hair) -- if that is the case, I typically tell the model exactly what I want to do & I ask permission.  At no time during the sitting (even during the bondage sittings) should the model not feel safe.

I use a medium format camera, with 10 exposures on a roll.   I like to change the lighting set up or the image concept after 2 or so rolls.  These lighting-change times is a good time for a model's break.

Traditionally, I typically have the goal to expose 10 rolls of film (100 exposures), which typically takes around 2 to 3 hours.  If things are really exciting, we'll expose more.  If time is running out, it's okay if I expose less than 10 rolls.   But in general, I'm pretty slow & deliberate.  Lately, I've been thinking about conducting shorter sittings, around 2 hours & 7-8 rolls of film, exploring more specific ideas.  We'll discuss the length of the sitting when we first start talking.

I have a stereo that plays music in the background.  The music is never loud, because I like to talk with the model while we are making art.   

Sometimes in the middle of the session, I "zone out".   I'm typically thinking about technical aspects of the session -- light placement, exposure, etc.  I'm not being rude -- please be patient. 

Important:  I tend to carry on a conversation with the model during the sitting.  The primary reason is that I want the model to be involved in the session, and I like to see pictures of models with something going on on their face; I dislike seeing pictures of models with vacant stares.  My best advice to models is to look like you are thinking about something, and the best way to do that is to ask questions during the sitting.  But, to be fair, I don't always hear everything that is said, because I'm splitting my time between the conversation and the techniques of making good exposures & images.  I mention this because the rare model doesn't like answering questions -- I'm not trying to become your best buddy, I just want your brain engaged.  If a question makes you uncomfortable, just let me know, and we'll move on.  Also, remember, your answers don't have to be the truth -- I'm simply trying to get your brain engaged.

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Can I Bring A Friend To The Modeling Session?

Well, remember the only rule -- don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable.  If bringing a friend improves your comfort, then by all means, bring one, just let me know that you are bringing an escort -- I prefer not to be surprized.  I have more guidelines & rules for studio visitors than I do have for models:

  • Don't do anything that makes the model nervous or uncomfortable.
  • Don't draw the model's attention away from me & the camera.
  • Don't sit or stand & look over my shoulder -- that makes me nervous.  I can usually find you a spot to be in that's out of the way but still includes you in the session (typically, to the side of the model or me).
  • You don't have to be silent -- we all will be conversing, and you are welcome to join in.  Please minimize any personal conversations that exclude me.  At the same time, don't be overly chatty.  The objective of the sitting is to make photographs, not friends.  Keep conversations to a minimum.
  • Encourage the model at all times.  Don't argue.  Don't be judgmental.
  • Your feedback is appreciated, especially positive & constructive feedback -- if you have ideas or suggestions, I'd like to hear them.
  • Only one friend per session -- more is too distracting.
  • Expect to be put to work, holding reflectors or lights, things like that.
  • I apologize, but I'll be too busy to be a good host.
  • Never, never, never go wandering off to explore the house -- stay where the photographer knows where you are.  I don't want to be worrying about whether the escort is looking for stuff to steal.

Something I should mention:  we have all heard horror stories about bad photographers abusing models during a sitting.  It's terrible, but it does happen, and models should take steps to avoid untrustworthy photographers.  You don't often hear about it, but there are stories about models and their escorts taking advantage of photographers, beating & robbing them.  Be sensitive to the photographer.  Don't surprise the photographer with an unexpected escort, and the escort should remain nearby at all times.  An escort that sneaks away to wander through the house is a definite, unwanted distraction.  (This is one of the major reasons I prefer working with experienced models.)    

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What Should I Do To Prepare Before The Sitting?

  • Be clear on where & when we are meeting, and please show up on time.
  • Get a good night's sleep!!!  If you don't, it is likely to show.  And remember:  coffee isn't a substitute for sleep!!!
  • Wear loose clothing.  It takes quite a while for marks left by tight clothes to leave the skin; it may be subtle, but it can be noticed.
  • Before the sitting, I hope I cover the following information:
    • What compensation have we agreed to.
    • What are the objectives for the sitting.
    • What specific concept do I have in mind to try.
    • Any props or clothing you should bring.
  • Typically, for the first sitting with a model...
    • Usually, the objective for the first sitting with a model is simply "get acquainted" -- making interesting images is a bonus.
    • I like to take a little extra time before we get started to show the model around & to go over the model release.
  • I'm happy to answer questions at any time.
  • Most important:  stuff happens -- if for any reason you can't make it, please call me & let me know.  Like most photographers, I hate waiting around for a model who isn't going to show up, but I can be forgiving to models who let me know about last minute changes.

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What If There Are Some Poses I Don't Want To Do?

That is no problem at all, just let me know.  I've had models who have requested that I de-emphasize or hide their faces.  I've had models who have requested that I don't photograph their feet.  I've had models request that I don't photograph other specific body parts.  I've had models be very clear about their limits with regards to erotic posing.  The key is, simply tell me. 

Remember my only rule:  don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable.  I have no interest in making someone pose in any manner that makes them uncomfortable.   Just remember that I can't read your mind; if you let me know your limits, we'll stay within your comfort zone.  

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What Happens After The Sitting

Well, I have a lot of work to do after the sitting.  I usually have a day in the darkroom to develop the negatives, two or three days to make work prints, another day to scan them, and a couple of days to put together web pages.

Typically, I try to put a lot of pictures onto my web site.  One of the objectives of this site is to be instructive for other photographers, and that sometime means that I display not only the best images from the sitting but also the "near misses".

At that point, I may post the draft pages, and I'll send models an e-mail so that they could preview the pages (assuming that the models have chosen to leave me contact information).  I give models a few days to preview them, and if I don't hear anything, I'll "announce" the availability of some new images on selected Usenet newsgroups.  Models are encouraged to give me feedback during this preview period, and I am totally open to suggestions, requests for changes or deletions, etc. at any time.

Under no circumstances do I give out models' contact information.  If someone seems to have a legit reason to contact a model, I will collect their contact information & forward it to the model.  I also forward nice comments & feedback I receive to models, if they would like it.
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Can I Use Pictures From The Session For A Modeling Site Or My Site?

First of all, you should understand & internalize that when you sign a model release, you relinquish all rights to the photographs from the sitting.  The images belong to the photographer & not the model.  If you aren't comfortable with that, don't sign the release.  (Note:  I ask for a signature before the sitting starts).  

That being said, I think it is proper etiquette to request permission to use the images from this sitting, and if the photographer refuses to grant that permission, you'll have to accept that.

However, if asked, I will certainly grant such permission if the site where it will be used is appropriate and provided that there is an opportunity to indicate the copyright of the image.  Ideally, there should be a link to my site.  It is my expectation that you are using these to promote your modeling career and that people are not being charged to see these images.

Finally, I think One Model Place is one of the most popular modeling web sites.  I would appreciate it if you put me in your Favorites with a "Worked With" public note -- that way, your modeling number will appear in my "Recommendations / Acknowledgements" list.  I will do the same for you.  (I am OMP Photographer #24608).    
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Why Does Looknsee Make These Pictures?

Well, it's a heck of a lot of fun!  I'm an amateur & proud of it.  I am pretending to be an artist.  Making nude photographs is one of the most difficult & most exciting things a photographer can do.  It is a challenge to establish a comfortable setting (for both the model & the photographer).   Nobody believes me, but I'm real shy.  I just don't let my shyness get in my way.

By posing for me, you would be participating in the artistic process.

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What Does Looknsee Do With These Pictures?

Not much.  I'm an amateur & proud of it.  I display my favorite pictures in my home and on my web page.  My pictures are not for sale.  I've had offers, but so far, I've had no problem resisting them.  I would imagine that if I did want to sell my pictures, I'd attempt to discuss the situation with the model.  So, keep in touch, or let me know your feelings when you review the pictures after the session.

Note:  I am often asked for prints, and to date, I've always said no.  But I've been laid off, and I've had to triple the bandwidth for this web site.  While I don't intend to charge for access to this web site, I may consider selling some prints at some point in the future, to help cover my expenses (web hosting, modeling fees, photographic materials, etc.).

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What If A Friend Of Mine Wants To Have A Print?

My only priority is protecting the model's rights & privacy.   Therefore, I tell people who claim to be a friend that the model can request additional prints from me, and I'll give those prints to the model.  The model can do what she wishes with those prints.  That way, the model maintains control, and I don't mistake a stalker for a model's friend. 

Also remember, it takes me a lot of time & effort for me to make a print good enough to give away, and if I was willing to sell them, I'd charge a lot of money.   Please consider these prints to be worth a few hundred dollars.  If the requested number of prints is small, there's typically no problem, as long as you are patient.  If the request is significant, I sometimes provide additional prints to models in exchange for more modeling.  Don't ask to buy prints -- not too many people could afford what I'd want to charge.  (Rule of thumb -- it'll take me maybe four hours to produce a good print, which doesn't count the days of processing that went into the original prints that the model gets to see.)

I get a good amount of traffic on my web site, and occasionally, someone will request additional information about a model.  I provide zilch to such requests; nine times out of ten I don't respond at all to such requests.  At best, I'll collect contact information from the requester & will forward it to the model, and the model can decide what to do.

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Do You Have Any Posing Guidelines?

Every photographer has a unique style, and in order to deliver that style, every photographer has different posing guidelines for models.  Here are mine:

  • The first session with a new model is a "get acquainted" session.   We won't be trying anything extreme or experimental -- we just are learning how each of us will communicate during a sitting.
  • Be natural!  If I want you to smile, I'll say something nice.  If I want you to laugh, I'll (attempt to) say something funny.  If I want a serious look, we'll be talking about a serious topic.
  • Be expressive.  Talk with your hands.  The best models fidget all the time.
  • Keep moving.  But be prepared to repeat movements.  Keep showing me different shapes.
  • I like to have models stretch, flex, and twist -- some of these poses may feel unnatural.
  • I like working with dancers, because they have great posture.  Please provide me with poses with straight (or arched) backs, shoulders back, chin high.
  • Express yourself.  The more passionate you are about expressing yourself, the better.
  • Please have fun.  If it ain't fun, let's not do it.

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What Does Looknsee Look For In Models?

I think that selecting models (and negotiating with models) to be part of the artistic process, and at this point, I guess it would be fair to say that I am selective.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Experience doesn't matter.  I do well with inexperienced models, but I am much more efficient when I work with experienced models.
  • All natural -- although it is currently fashionable, I don't care for tattoos, body piercings, or surgical enhancements.  While I can be somewhat flexible in this area, a good rule of thumb is that I won't photograph tattoos, so if I can't hide it with makeup or with a pose, I won't bother.  Sorry, but I find these things to be much too distracting.  I've turned down sittings with wonderful, beautiful, experienced models simply because they had tattoos that I didn't think I could avoid.
  • Attitude -- attitude is everything.  It takes a certain kind of confidence to pose nude; I definitely don't want to feel like I'm making someone do something that they don't want to do.  The first thing I look for in a model is confidence.
  • Healthy & Fit.

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Is Looknsee Looking For Models?

I'm doing okay in finding models, and I am fairly particular, but I am always open to meet & work with new people.  See this page for more information.

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Would You Please Photograph Me?

Maybe.  Before we get too serious about setting up a sitting, consider the following:

  • I often get this request from people who are nowhere near me, and I don't travel much nowadays.  I live in downtown Portland, Oregon -- are you going to be in town for this proposed sitting?
  • I do this for fun, and currently my goal is to place the photographs I make on this web site.  Are you willing to have nude photos of yourself be on display here?  Are you willing to sign a model release?
  • Please understand that each & every sitting represents a sizable commitment of my energy, time, and finances.  I simply can't host a sitting at a moment's notice, and there is a small finite number of sittings I can do each year.  If I can't display the photos of you on this web site, I'll have to think hard about doing the sitting (and will probably decline the opportunity).
  • What kind of pictures would you want to do?  Is there a specific target audience?  The more specific you can be, the easier it'll be.
  • Will you be bringing someone with you to the sitting.
  • Have you thought through how your friends / family / significant other will feel about you posing for me? 
  • How accurate is your own self-image?  Will you be disappointed if/when the resulting images look like you and not like how you want to look?  
  • Can you send me pictures of yourself? 
  • Note:  at this point, I am not interested in photographing tattoos.  Sorry.    

So, the initial key question:  are you working for me or am I working for you?  If you are working for me, I will compensate you & will look to put the resulting pictures on the web.  If I am working for you, then you would be paying me & you would retain the rights to the resulting photographs.  There is no scenario where I would compensate you & allow you to retain the rights to the photographs.  I'm not a lawyer, but the person who pays the other person typically winds up with the rights to the photographs.

I should also be honest.  The women I photograph tend to be young & beautiful, and frankly, that's the kind of woman I want to photograph.  I have time only for a limited number of sittings per year, so I tend to be selective.

Okay, I've been candid.  But I like to think that I can help inexperienced models.  I'm fairly easy-going & quiet; I am certainly respectful, so I can be a good photographer for amateurs.

So, the answer is maybe.  Some things that would help:

  • I tear up my house to set up a "studio" for a sitting.  Perhaps it'll be best if we can arrange for your sitting to take place a day before or a day after I've scheduled one of my regular sittings.
  • Working in film produces superior quality images, but it also requires much more time (2-3 extra days); thus, I'd probably be more agreeable to a digital-only sitting.
  • Finally, be sure to read the FAQ for Models.

Note:  The last person who asked me to do this for her backed out at the last minute.  While I respect her decision to decline to pose nude, it is annoying for me to put in the time & effort to do someone a favor, only to have it fall apart in the eleventh hour.  Thus, I am somewhat reluctant to undertake this kind of thing.

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Would You Make Some Erotic Images Of Me?

(Updated in 2010):  Lately, I've been getting this question a lot.  I have a few thoughts:

  • First, please review the frequently asked question above, "Will you photograph me?".
  • Most of the time, I make fine art nudes, and any erotic content is incidental.  On rare occasions, I am interested in making some erotic based images.  So, maybe...
  • Everyone has their own definition of "erotic".  What do you have in mind?
    • How explicit do you want the images to be?  How revealing?
    • Do you want to pose alone, with a partner, with multiple partners?
    • Do you have a posing partner in mind?  (Note:  I'm not overly comfortable in finding models other models to pose with them for erotically based sessions).
    • Have you posed for erotic images before?  
    • Please articulate your posing limits.
    • If you have samples, either of erotic images you've posed for or images you'd like to try, please share them.
  • If explicit posing is desired, have you been recently tested (especially if you are posing with someone other than your real life significant other)?

I really need comfort before working with a model in an erotic session.  So, unless you are a) experienced, and b) recommended by someone I know well, chances are our first session together would be solo.

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