My friend and fellow model Roswell Ivory has posted this very important blog post in her blog, detailing the importance of reference checking.
This is a subject that I feel very strongly about - as a freelance model there are a few ways I can look out for my safety, which I'd like to pass on to you.
1) Get the full address of where you will be shooting. If this is not available (on a location shoot for instance), then ask for the location name. Write this information down at home and ensure that someone knows where you will be.
2) Get the photographer's name and telephone number, make sure you have it written down on a notepad at home as well as with you.
3) If you are being picked up in a car, ask for the registration number. Not only will this help you spot the car, but it's a little extra info to leave on that trusty notepad at home!
4) Something that may not occur to most people is GPS tracking. If I'm on a location shoot, I turn my smartphone's internet on and switch tracking on. Now my boyfriend can see where I am, to within 100 yards, in real time. This may seem over the top, but it doesn't hurt :)
5) References. REFERENCES. Did you get that? REFERENCES! I don't care if his/her work is amazing, quality and the best thing you've ever seen. I dont care if he/she shoots for agencies ad has worked with all the top internet models (or indeed, top model in general). CHECK THOSE REFERENCES. E-mail those models, ask around, find out what other people's experiences of working with him/her were. Do not think that just because their work is of a good quaility that you can skip this. See Roswell's blog for a very clear idea of why.
I know this sounds like scare-mongering, but at the end of the day you must put your safety above all else. The 5 steps above are by no means exhaustive - there are plenty more things you can do, but I've tried to keep it short.
The point of this post was to direct you to Roswell's blog, anyway :)
On a lighter note, I headed down to Clapham Junction yesterday to help with the clean up as organised on Twitter by @riotcleanup. Well over 300 people turned up, armed with brooms, bags and free tea (yay!) and got to work clearing glass, rubbish and plasterboard off the roads. The atmosphere was incredible and it was so heartwarming to realise that far more people turned up all over London yesterday to clean up the mess, than turned up to mess it up in the first place.
I didn't get any pictures as I was busy sweeping glass into a dustpan with my marigolds on and a new friend by my side, but I'm sure you'll have seen the reports on the TV/Internet or heard it on the radio!
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