Warning: predators using legit photog websites to meetup w/ models

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by MAGNAchrom, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. MAGNAchrom

    MAGNAchrom Member

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    Well it just happened to me.

    I was in Santa Fe when I get this call on my cellphone: "I saw your ad and are you still looking for models?" I respond: "I haven't placed any ad" and we chatted for a few moments and I thought that was that.

    A few days later I get an email inquiring about my ad. Once again I mention to the model that while, yes I am a professional photographer and that yes I have hired models in the past, I definitely had not placed any ad recently anywhere. She mentions she saw it on Craig's List.

    Well I search Craig's List but I don't see anything. So I think it is a fluke.

    Get another email mentioning Craig's list. So I send a complaint email to Craig's List mentioning that someone is impersonating me, but I never hear back from them.

    A few days later I get yet another email from another (rather cute) model. Same thing. However this one had the ad number. So I email Craig's List to complain once again, this time mentioning the ad number and this time they show me the ad.

    Here's what the ad said:

    <link to the poster of the ad>
    Females models needed ages 18-40. $150 - $500 a shoot

    Experience Professional Photographer looking to establish himself in a new genre seeks female models of all types. Candidates will be asked to wear various outfits/costumes throughout the shoot. Extra compensation will be made for models who bring their own ideas, costumes and energy to the shoot.

    Interested candidates shoot reply by email with self description and photograph, if desired.

    Possible film work to follow.

    <link to my flickr stream>
    So I respond to Craig's list that yes, this person was impersonating me and would they investigate and remove the ad. Well they removed the ad (I seriously doubt they did much in the way of "investigating") but it occurs to me that anyone on this or any other list could just as easily be scammed.

    So I would suggest that you regularly google the links to your own online galleries and see if any of the results returned by google look suspicious. I only wonder how many models emailed this creep directly before being shut down... :sad:
     
  2. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    If I were you - I would have responded to the ad and included pictures of a fetching model - and made an attempt to meet up with the creep, perhaps with a law enforcement officer in tow, and give them a piece of your mind.
     
  3. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I like that idea. The sad part is that the scam executed by the "creep" has further eroded the trust in legitimate photographers. Last year I was updating my portfolio for my wedding photography business. I was looking to create well executed images of models that reflected my particular style of shooting. I purchased all the props for the pictures including several wedding dresses in different styles. I have plenty of client photos that I use as samples, but I wanted to create my own images in my own style. Not only did I need an updated wedding album sample, but I needed images for my brochures and an upcoming magazine ad.

    I attempted to locate models (paid and TFP) through several online model search sites like OMP (hoping to get natural looking models, not the overmade clones of a local modeling agency). What a dissapointing disaster! I had many responses and ALL of them resulted in no shows. Several even had planned shoots with me for several weeks prior to the shoot. I was not able to find a single model to pose in a wedding dress no matter what or how much I offered. Yet, I saw many other photographers who were seeking models for nude, erotic, or sleazy shots and appeared to be very successfull at getting models.

    My guess is that the so called models were either strippers looking for a second gig, or they were probably law enforcement officers posing to be models and when they found out that I was not a pornographer, they lost interest and did not show up.

    My other guess is that maybe the models thought I was some creep (even though I was very specific about non nude shots and highly recommended shaperones on shoots). After all, there were many creeps posing as photographers. Unfortunately I was unable to create that portfolio I had in mind and have had to rely on purchasing stock photos for my advertisements. This is the price many of us legitamite photographers have had to pay thanks to a few ruthless perverts out there.
     
  4. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I'm not sure I get it; did the ad have your email in it, or the scammer's? If yours, then how is the scammer getting in contact with the models? If the scammer's email is in the ad, then how did the models get in touch with you?

    My confusion notwithstanding, I'm glad you got the ad removed, at least.
     
  5. StephenS

    StephenS Member

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    I don't get it either. Why would they put your number and email in the ad if they were hoping to meet the girls themselves?

    Maybe the person is not looking to meet models (and if they were how can we assume it's for something "bad" and how can we call them "predators" if we don't know what they really want?) but is instead trying to bother or harass you with the ad?
     
  6. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Hmmm...interesting thread. Where do I start?

    MAGNAchrom, I feel your pain. Take it a bit as flattery, but still, I wouldn't want anyone impersonating me. No matter what. Craig List is such an unmoderated sinkhole of crap.

    snergon, I also feel your pain. I was a bit taken aback about your comment regarding the agency. I personally prefer agency model over internet models. In fact 90% of the models I shoot are agency tests, or the model just likes to shoot with me, so she calls me up.

    Now I have shot models in Toronto, Montreal, London, Prague, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego and Los Angeles and most of them were agency models because they are reliable. Even though I have a network of internet models, I find with them, you have to get references before you can book them and have confidence they show. I always get references from fellow photographers in the city I am shooting wrt internet models. It would be a huge waste of time and energy for me, my MUA and often a stylist and assistant if I got a no show.

    Another good source of models is fellow photographers. I would often get model references from them and I haven't been burned yet from that route or the agency route. I have once via the internet route but I also book 2-3 models so a no show is no issue for me. And if all 3 show up one's in make up, one's in hair/styling and one's with me on the set.

    Regards, Art.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    My wife's organization is a not-for-profit organization that assists youths and immigrants who wish to improve their training and employability. They got scammed like this by a for profit agency that posted an ad, saying that they were assisting my wife's organization in filling a job vacancy. The ad referred prospective applicant's to the website offered by my wife's organization for information, but told them to contact the agency to apply for the job. The ad expressly said not to contact my wife's organization.

    Then everybody who sent in a resume got advised that they were not a successful applicant but if they wished to join one of the agency's programs (for a hefty fee) they would soon learn how to find the job of their dreams.

    In this case, the connection to the real photographer's website implies legitimacy, but I would bet thousands that the Craigslist ad gives different contact information.

    Matt
     
  8. MAGNAchrom

    MAGNAchrom Member

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    With a Craig's List ad, the "main" link in the ad is to a hidden email account managed by Craig's List. If you click it, your email client launches and the email "to" field is something like: "Ad_123456789@craigslist.com". Thus you don't know who you are contacting. (this is a feature of Craig's List allowing annonymity)

    This way, the scammer can pick and choose which responses he/she responds to. (as you can imagine, this is ideal for personals).

    So how to attract responses? Make the ad as authorative and as convincing as possible. So if you are a schmuck the easy way is to "steal" someone else's online content. Especially if you believe that possible respondees won't bother to "drill down" to find out if this online stuff is for real. This is why sites like flickr are easy pickings: you have to work to contact the owner of the page. Fortunately, the models that contacted me were suspicious, but after reviewing both my flickr stream as well as my real site, they had the wherewithall to contact me using my published email, rather than contact them via the hidden craig's list email.

    Given the creepy nature of Craig's List, my hunch is that this guy was some sort of pervert, rather than someone who went out of the way to make me answer a few emails to some pretty girls.
     
  9. wfe

    wfe Member

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    Clearly a form of identity theft and very disturbing for legit photographers and models.
     
  10. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Sorry for your troubles...I know this doesn't help, but as I quickly scanned my unread threads, I read the title of this thread as:

    "Warning: moderators using legit photog websites to meetup w/ models"

    Matt
     
  11. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    They are taking them to the Star Chamber...
     
  12. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    I use OMP almost exclusively. And all I do is shoot models, and all are nudes. I am not sleezy or a creep. Nor are the people who model for me. You should be more careful about making such generalized statements.

    Its true that theres a lot of chaff out there. Both on the photographer and modeling side. I would say that at least 50% of the models on the site have no sense of professionalism or responsibility. However, there are also excellent models on the site and excellent photographers.

    A few thing you can do to improve your return:
    See if the models provide references, or people they have worked with, and then call those people.
    Avoid using anybody who needs to travel more than 25 miles to your location unless they have good references
    Avoid using anyone under 24. This one is kind of grey, but the teeagers, just don't have a sense of responsibility
    If you have to work through an agent, you might do better. However, it will usually cost you more, and theres no guarrantee that the models will be any more responsible.
    Be very specific. I send a detailed information sheet, once the model is booked, defining the shoot, the expectations, wardrobe, directions, escorts, etc.
    Follow up a few days before the shoot with a confirmation. I always do this. I email or call a few days before with the message that I require a confirmation within 24 hrs or i will assume that the shoot is canceled. This will save you a little bit of headache.
    list any deadbeat models on your OMP page. If you can list the people you've worked with, you can list the people who burned you.

    HTH

    Regards,
     
  13. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I apologize for the misunderstanding, but I did state "nude, erotic OR sleazy", not "AND" sleazy. I respect all art forms of photography, including nude work. I guess what I was trying to portray was that while I had no luck seeking models for fully clothed photos, yet others were able to get models to pose totally naked. I thought that models would be less aprehensive when it came to setting up a fully clothed, in-public shoot than in a more intimate setting taking off their clothes for a total stranger. I guess I was wrong, therefore I gave up.

    I was extremely frustrated on two occassions when different models had confirmed the shoot the same day, but when I showed up at the location with equipment and MUA, the "models" did not show. When I called them one told me she had a hangover (yet she sounded pefectly well that same morning), the other said she had a black eye because she broke up a fight between her roomates. I can't remember their age at this time, but I believe they were in their mid twenties. Several others had more interesting excuses for not showing, some did not even have the courtesy of an excuse. Maybe its a Florida thing, I don't know.

    Again, I did not mean to insinuate that the photographers on OMP are sleazy or creeps. The reality is that I had absolutely no luck whatsoever getting even one model at OMP. I read there as well that there were other photographers that shared my same frustration. It has taken me longer, but I have been able to capture a few good images (my style, not limited by my clients wishes) that I have included in my newer portfolio. It would have been much better and faster had I been able to get professional models, but such is life.
     
  14. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    I'm sorry you have had such bad luck with OMP. By no means do I consider it the optimal resource, but once I learned how to filter out the unprofessional people, I had better luck. I am a little surprised that you have had this much trouble with fashion shoots, but I don't use the service for that type of photography so I wouldn't know.
    Here in the NC/VA area, the market is smaller than you would think. Most of the models I work with know, or know of each other. This helps a lot when trying to determine how responsible a new model is really going to be. If a model I work with recommends her, I feel confident she will show.
    It really does pay to check out the people they've worked with. Many models list photographers they've worked with. If they're new to me, I check their references. I provide references as well. I expect them to check mine.
    I've gotten to the point where I can usually tell just by the portfolio they have on OMP. If it looks professional, I'll look into working with them. If it consists of 4 digital shots taken in the bathroom mirror.... I usually pass.
    I do understand your frustration.
     
  15. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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