Staying Motivated; the Importance of Persistence

October 27, 2017 | 4 Comments

This past month has been full of surprises, challenges, and opportunities.  I’ve been booked for a new charity event, asked to walk my first Miami runway, chosen to represent an up-and-coming international brand, and been given the chance to write/direct/act in my own short video.  But among all of these new occurrences, there is one more that excites me beyond my wildest dreams…  I was given the glorious opportunity to pose in a new bridal design by the talented Yong Lin.  It is now available for sale to the public, and is called the “Ashley.”


Model: Ashley BeLoat

Design: “Ashley” by Yong Lin – – IG: @yonglinbridal

Photographer: Eric Kinney – – IG: @ekinneymedia

Hair & Makeup: Eileen Infante –  – IG: @einfantemakeup


Why would I bother writing about this?  This is a place where my words are meant to motivate and inspire, not to gloat or brag.  The reason I’m sharing this – and you can be inspired by this – is monumental.  A few years ago, I never would have dreamed these things would happen during my lifetime.  I was never confident in my artistic ability. Everything I wrote would find its way to the garbage, and pictures?  Forget about it.  In front of the camera wasn’t even a place I wanted to be.  I would have laughed had somebody told me these things would come to pass.  My confidence has not changed much, I am still surprised every time I am asked to step in front of somebody else’s camera or be the face of a new brand.  But if it feels so impossible, how does it keep happening?


Simple.  I keep trying.


The beautiful and terrible thing about art is its never-ending subjectivity. What one person thinks is beautiful, another may claim to be hideous.  How do we know if we are doing a good job?  How do we know what we’re doing is being accepted?  Financial return is one measurement of success, but sometimes the only success is a quiet reaction somebody has when one of our pieces deeply resonates with them.  They may never speak a word about it, but our pictures, paintings, songs, or whatever we produce may take them on an internal journey of which we are never aware. And every once in a while, that one piece that elicits that one reaction is enough to open a new door for us.


The humble creative will always receive the words “good job” or “nice work” with an instant wave of warmth and satisfaction.  Why?  Because we don’t hear these words nearly enough.  We often wonder if anyone really cares about what we do.  If any of it matters.  But if we were to listen to these voices of doubt every time they spoke, musicians would cease to play, painters to paint, writers to write, photographers to photograph, and models…   The world would be a bleak, colorless, music-less place.


Art is not a field for the easily-discouraged.  Success is gained by building your audience.  Building your audience is accomplished with persistence, dedication, networking, and the never-ending quest for constant improvement.  It can be difficult to do these things when we don’t hear those phrases “good job” or “nice work,” but rarely will we hear those words often in the beginning.  As I’ve stated before, this is why our motivation should not be strictly for finances or widespread approval.  The way to stay motivated is by doing this because we want to.  Because it’s natural to who we are.  Because we love it, and will persist until our work finds the way to the people who love it too – whether we know it or not.   And let me tell you, even better than a “good job” is a silent enchantment followed by a new opportunity or a “We’ll hire you!”


Like many fields, the artist’s opportunities usually grow according to their skill and experience.  Regardless of the current present – or lack of – praise, we should always be walking the road of consistent improvement.  This is the path to new chances.


So, models, keep going to your castings.  Keep practicing in front of the mirror.  Keep striving to be a good representation of designers and brands so you are ready for the opportunity to come.


Photographers, keep taking your pictures.  Keep developing your style.  Keep producing the moods and tones only you can.


Performers, musicians, dancers, writers… Keep saying what you have to say through your work.  Not for the praise, but because it’s who you are. Keep sharing what you love with the world until if reaches the people who love it too.


You may still never achieve confidence.  You may still have the occasional doubt.  But never forget that with hard work, the previously impossible may become possible.

~Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Design: “Ashley” by Yong Lin – – IG:@yonglinbridal

Photographer: Eric Kinney – – IG: @ekinneymedia

Hair & Makeup: Eileen Infante –  – IG:@einfantemakeup


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Ina Pandora Interview

October 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

                  With Halloween just around the corner, many photographers are looking to push the envelope with special themes and concepts to embrace the spirit of the holiday. As a special treat this week I decided to interview one of my favorite photographers and makeup artists I have had the pleasure of working with, Ina Pandora.  Understanding photography only strengthens her knowledge of makeup and how to create a look worthy of the lens.  She’s definitely one of my main resources when it comes to makeup advice.

If you’re like me, you have many questions when it comes to special-effects makeup and synthetic applications.  These are often precisely the things that make a Halloween photoshoot come alive.  Ina was so kind to answer all of my questions to help every creative team produce the look they want.

Model: Ashley BeLoat –   –IG: @ashleybeloat

Photography, Hair, Makeup, and Wardrobe: Ina Pandora – – YouTube: – IG: @inapandoraphotography


Do you have any specific makeup lines you recommend for this type of makeup? What sets those products apart?

I like working with Kryolan cream based and water based makeup they have in their line, they are harmless, I am trying to stay away from any alcohol based or required products as they are not very good for your skin although they do look more realistic.


Is it possible to create a convincing look using drugstore products only?

Absolutely, just keep in mind it often times doesn’t have to be perfect to look good. Plus, it’s makeup you can always wash it off and start over, don’t be afraid to experiment after all Practice makes it perfect.


What are some common mistakes when applying special effects makeup? How do we avoid them?

One of the steps that are very often done is not reading the instructions when applying certain special effects makeup or face/ body paint, as based on their ingredients it might require a different skin prep before applying it. Another important thing is to have a freshly clean and toned face before applying any kind of makeup, and certain special effects makeup would require toning with alcohol based solutions as well in order for the makeup to sit and last longer, another factor that a lot of people are not keeping in mind when buying makeup in general is not matching it with their skin type, as that is such an important factor before buying any kind of makeup.


Do you have any post-production editing techniques you love to use to enhance your makeup applications?  What are some of your favorites?

Well one of my favorite editing techniques is Dodge & Burn, it is very time consuming but the result is normally stunning.


What is your technique for applying false eyelashes?

There is no real technique really, one of the tip would be to measure the lashes on you eye before applying and trim them if they are too big in the inner corner of the eye, as that will make the wear unbearable after short amount of time, eyelashes should feel comfortable, unless they are the ones that are meant for Halloween, those are never comfortable.


Have you ever made fake blood for application? If so, how and how did you apply it?

I try to stay away from bloody characters as just the idea of blood grosses me out. Yep I am the type of the girl that will faint by looking at blood, can you tell? So far I am lucky enough to create looks with no need of it, so probably I am not the best adviser when it comes to that.


Once it is all said and done, how can the model best care for her skin after makeup removal? Are there any special treatments or masks you recommend?

Here are the mistakes that is a very common, we care for our skin only when we feel there is a need for it, and i feel like this is a subject that is under-discussed. The truth is, you need to take care of your skin on a daily basis no matter if you are young or old, if you wear makeup on a daily basis or just on holidays. But, of course after abusing it with special effects, i would strongly suggest a calming mask, and extra moisturize your skin, and it doesn’t matter if you have oily skin or dry skin. Often times we think if we have oily skin we don’t need a moisturizer, well that is very wrong thinking, although oily skin is a factor that age you less than if you would have it dry, your skin still needs to be nourished, even if you are using just natural remedies. I personally have oily skin. One of my favorites are the sheet masks, i don’t have a favorite brand but I do like the Tee Tre Oil ones, Charcoal, Vitamin E & C, and few more, I get mine at Ulta, Sephora or Online.


What specific Halloween looks have you attempted? Do you have tutorials on your channel?

Ah Halloween, my fav time of the year. Although i don’t specialize in special effects makeup Halloween is a fun holiday, so far i have done few makeup tutorials on my YouTube Channel.

Sugar Skull:


Half Pinup/Half Skull makeup:

I hope you all enjoyed learning some of Ina’s makeup advice!  Be sure to visit her YouTube channel to learn more about creating looks that are perfect for the camera.   Was there anything we missed that you would like to know?  Have you ever done a themed shoot with extravagant makeup?  Leave us your questions and stories in the comments below!

See you next week!

~ Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat



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Using Light to Achieve the Perfect Shot

October 14, 2017 | 4 Comments

You’ve heard the expression of seeing things in a “whole new light.”  It’s true, lighting can completely change the way you see something.  When posing, it can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  It has the power to set the tone, set the mood, conceal, or reveal.

Lighting is crucial in the pursuit of the perfect shot.

Models, it’s imperative to understand light and shadow so you can give every photographer your best. Photographers, it’s crucial to know how to guide your talent to work with the available light. Today I’m going to teach you some of the best light concepts, tricks, and secrets that will help you in the place before the camera.  Are you ready? Let’s get started…

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer: Dan Mahar – – IG: @dan_mahar


The overall feel of a photo can be greatly influenced by the amount and quality of your light.  If you have the luxury of shooting in a studio, you’ll have the ability to adjust things accordingly to your creative vision.  If shooting outdoors, you’ll have to coordinate your vision with the sun, sky, and other outdoor light sources available to you.  Is there a moody tone created by a gentle glow, plentiful shadows, and/or cooler tones?  Or is there a more joyful and upbeat feel communicated with warmer, yellow hues and the casting of stronger beams?  Is there a glorious backlight behind the model?  Is the light shining in the direction of the camera towards the model?  Know the tone you’re setting and tailor the posing and expressions accordingly.

For many portraits, the life of the photo is given in the face.  Models, you must learn to sense how the light is hitting your face.  If the light is hitting you from an angle, you may end up with shadows cast on one side from your nose and forehead.   If the light is more overhead – as in midday – you will often have shadows cast downward over your eyes from your forehead.  Of course all rules have their time and place to be broken, but here are some general things it is typically best to avoid…

  • Darkness in the eyes: the eyes are the window to the soul. Draw all of your viewers in by lighting up the eyes.  They’ll feel as if they’re being told a secret, receiving a message, or getting a true glimpse of who the person in the picture really is. If you want to go the extra mile, try to catch a glint of light precisely in your eye (without squinting) to add that extra sparkle.  Just be careful!  Don’t look directly into anything strong that may cause damage to your vision.


  • Strong shadows cast from your own facial features: this can make them appear bigger than they really are in comparison to the rest of your face. It probably isn’t your goal to have an abnormally large nose or a very protruding forehead. You want your face to look as symmetrical as possible and let the expression be what catches everyone’s attention.


  • Obstruction from hair: know that if you part your hair on the side, it may be blocking the light if it is shining from the direction that your hair is the thickest. To avoid this I will often flip my hair to the side opposite of the direction the light is coming from.


At the same time, it can really add a touch of mystery or to have shadows cast all about the model’s face.  There are also some beautiful effects that can be created by casting patterns in the form of shadows as well.  Make sure you communicate with the photographer about what the current creative vision.  If they are up for experimentation, give it a try!

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer: Derek O’Donnell – –  IG: @derekod


It is also helpful to understand a general rule – what the light illuminates appears larger, and what the shadows touch appear smaller.  This can help when you are positioning your body.  Know how to tailor your go-to poses with the light that is available to you.  Learn how your body and features look when lit from different angles.  Your build and makeup is unique to you.  What works for somebody else may not have the same effects for you. This is an aspect of modeling that comes with much practice, and as we all know…practice makes perfect!

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Designer: Inna Rudenko – – IG: @innasdesigns

Photographer: Ina Pandora – – IG: @inapandoraphotography

Hair and Makeup: Maryam Nash – – IG: @makeupbymaryambahrami


One last thing I absolutely must discuss is backlighting.  Backlighting can give the most beautiful halo effect.  Not only will the model appear to glow, but the facial features will be softer as well.  This can all work together to produce a very dreamy capture.  Under certain conditions backlighting can also produce a silhouette result.  If backlighting is in use, be sure you ask your photographer if your features are visible, or if you are only a silhouette.  If the latter is his/her response, use your body to make whatever interesting shape you desire while making use of negative space to define your limbs and torso.  If your features are still seen in the frame, make use of your expression to elevate the image to a new level.

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer: Eric Kinney – – IG: @ekinneymedia


This concludes my little lesson on lighting.  It is such an integral part of photography, and as models we can make or break a shoot with our knowledge of how to work with the setup.  Our posing has to be tailored to a multitude of conditions each and every shoot.   Each set brings a new array of challenges.  I hope this article helps you walk onto yours with confidence, and show yourself in the very best light.


Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat


Instagram: @ashleybeloat


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The Fight to Stay Inspired

October 7, 2017 | 4 Comments

It’s the struggle of every artist.  Our job is to create something unique enough to pull people from their everyday life. To have a voice that causes people to stop and listen.  To make something extraordinary…to be extraordinary.  How do we balance on this tightrope between reality and fantasy?  What happens if we look around and discover the magic is gone?


Inspiration is crucial to the art of photography.  One could argue the importance of inspiration on behalf of the photographer, and while this is important, it’s just as crucial that the model maintains this state of mind.  We have the job of giving the photographer something amazing to capture.  We have the task of being something intriguing, mystifying, powerful, captivating… Something greater than ourselves for the time we spend in front of that camera.  How do we regularly do this? It’s a draining place to be. You have to give everything you are, and then some.


For the photographer, you must continually see things in a way the world doesn’t. You have the challenge of capturing lines, patterns, and expressions in a way people haven’t seen before.  Every picture has to be unique, yet speak of you as an artist. Again, how do we regularly do this?


  • Never let it be about the money.

This is a surefire way to lose your passion in an instant.  The way to make money is to be widely accepted. The quest for generalized acceptance often leads to dilution.  A process of endlessly plucking away the quirks and nuances only you can offer a piece, yet fear the world won’t be able to identify with.  You become less passionate about what you have to say and more consumed with what people want to hear.  Your passion can so easily become an endless chase of doing what appeals to others.  This is all wrong.

The beauty of art is its never-ending subjectivity. Yes, it’s good to want your art to be accepted, but never lose your drive to unharness yourself through it. Find the balance of what your audience will like and what you want to portray.  Photography, modeling, makeup artistry, designing… Do what you do to set yourself free.




Slow Down

Take the time to do things that fill you with a zest for life.  Go for quiet walks in the woods, listen to music by your favorite artist, push yourself to the limit during a workout, or write in a journal by the window as the sun rises. Do the things that keep your individualistic spark alive. The things that keep you who you are. The things that remind you what it is you want to say in your art.

Peel back the layers of everything happening around you.  Seek to find the wonder in everything, the amazement everyone else passes by when they take things at face value. Take a moment to truly feel everything that you experience.  Why is this important?  The artist must capture and reveal these secrets, feelings, and sensations to the world.  The first step to accurately capturing or portraying anything is to understand it at its core. This takes purpose and time.



Choose passion, and run from indifference.

No matter how you are involved in photography – in front of or behind the camera – seek to be part of projects you feel strongly about. Choose to be part of things that reflect who you are, speak of something you find fascinating, or portray something you truly want to show your audience. If you’ve been given a job and you’re left feeling indifferent, stop.  Stop and look your project over… Find something, anything, that you can become passionate about. Passion is sometimes a choice, but a choice that needs to be made if we are to remain inspired.  To make an audience feel connected with our work, we must first be connected with it ourselves.
Walk into every shoot with the mindset of giving your work a heartbeat.  Have a goal to give your final photo an undeniable energy.  The dream of every artist is to elicit a reaction in their audience, to deflect a feeling, mood, or emotion.  Here is where art and science collide… Energy can’t be created from nothing.  Energy must be shared, distributed, harvested…  If a photo is created out of indifference, it may be cursed to elicit nothing more…indifference.  Strive to fill every frame and canvas with an emotion, with a message, with something so human that your audience sees and feels it.  It’s a chain reaction, and it all begins with how invested we are in the beginning.



  • Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination


Some of the most wonderful things are the result of happenstance and organic creative energy. Staying fixated on a final destination may be helpful, but can also rob us of embracing a creative detour.  If our art is something we wish to practice throughout our lives, it greatly helps when it can evolve with us.  When we give it the fluidity to rise and fall we escape the rigidity of the straight, structured line to success.  Focusing on the journey gives every day the power to be a success.  It gives every moment the power to be its own victory while taking us one step closer to where we desire to be.  Appreciate every artistic phase you experience.  Let your work adapt and grow as you do. There is so much hope and excitement found in not yet being where you plan to be.  Let every frame be decidedly part of this journey, and intentionally not the end.


All images in this article have been from past collaborative efforts between myself and photographer Josie Brooks. She is an incredible human being and I can’t wait to continue this creative journey with her. Find more of her work at and on Instagram @josiebrooksphotography.

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Professional Page:


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On The Job Moments Part 2

September 30, 2017 | 7 Comments

If you tuned in last week, you got to read some of my unique on-the-job moments.  If you missed it or are hungry for more, you’re in luck… Today I’m going to tell you all about five more.

Being a model means you have to do the extraordinary and make it seem ordinary.  Or you may be given the task of making the ordinary appear extraordinary.  Whatever you do, you have to sell the fantasy to the viewers of the final image and make them believe what you are representing.  This often makes for some unnerving, odd, and sometimes comical moments.   It’s so hard to narrow down a list of specific moments to share with you, but these are some of the situations that first come to mind.  Without further ado, let’s begin.


  1. “You may now kiss the groom.”

I have done many a bridal or fashion shoot where I pose with a male model.  This was one of those days.  I was the bride for an event venue publicity shoot and party. My job was to walk around the venue, look beautiful, stop for photos, mingle with the guests, and speak with the vendors. I felt just like a princess in the beautiful satin gown.  People walked behind me to carry my train and everyone did their best to wait on me hand-and-foot.  I couldn’t stop thanking everybody for the royal treatment I was getting! The night ended with an amazing fire dance routine (not performed by me, of course), but before that I had an experience I’ll remember forever.

Remember when I said I posed with a male model? Yes, I was taken to an area of the venue for a special segment of the shoot.  This venue just so happened to have a kangaroo exhibit and I got to go inside!  They gave me special treats and I lured the handsome kangaroo over for some photos.  He held my hands in his paws as he ate my yummy present for him.  Everyone then started saying; “Kiss him!”  They didn’t have to tell me twice.


  1. Being Drug Around…Literally


My male model friend and I were shooting for a photographer who wanted to depict a series of traumatic personal events in her life.  We were out in a beautiful state park shooting a variety of scenes that told her story from beginning to end. Somewhere along the line she got an idea to shoot him dragging me across the dirt path towards the woods. We were told to literally fight each other.  I soon found myself with him dragging me across the ground by my throat and hair while I kicked up the dust with my feet.  I clawed quite a few nasty streaks across his arms in the struggle. I felt so terrible afterwards and all he did was laugh at me as I apologized profusely.  In the moment it was a bit unsettling to pose that way, but extremely comical at the same time.  We all had a wonderful laugh out of it.


  1. Human Trafficking Awareness

Eating disorders, depression, human trafficking, and suicide are all awareness causes I have shot for.  However, my shoot for human trafficking awareness took things from an implied portrayal to a simulation.  The photographer was shooting myself and another female model to exhibit in a gallery show for the cause. I remember smearing my face with dirt, creating knots in my hair as best I could, and ripping a few carefully-placed tears in my tank top before going out on set.  The other model and I completed a variety of sets alone and together.  It was a moving experience to lay crumpled on the floor and reach to the camera for help.  At multiple points we were chained or tied, told to look over our shoulders in fear at the imaginary captors that were coming for us.


  1. Concentration Camp Tourist

Among the many roles I have been given to play through pictures, one I will never forget.  I was chosen to portray a little girl that was taken to a concentration camp during the Bosnian War. I was told the way everyone was treated, told the feelings everyone felt in the over-cramped cells. Trying to become as attached as I could to the role, I asked many, many questions…

The location for the shoot happened to be somewhat of a tourist attraction. It was a large fort with quite a few cells and barred windows.  For some images I was peering through the bars at the sun, doing my best to follow the commands to cry.  Others, I was crumpled on the dirt floor against the stone walls in my filthy attire, holding onto a candle with a dying flame. The amusing part was the fact that we were shooting these scenes with hordes of tourists steering around us with confused expressions.

The photographer then pulled out a tub of charcoal… She proceeded to make choke marks on my neck, grasp marks on my arm, and a large black handprint on my back.  I was then told to stand facing the wall, as if I had been shoved there and told to stay. I imagined being afraid that if I moved I would die. Then it was time for the final set…

We went to a darker cell that had only one small window.  This room was restricted access, so our team were the only people present for this portion.  I was told to lie face down in the dirt, then to look up and reach for the candle in front of me. I thought I was doing alright, but the photographer wasn’t happy.

“No, you’re still fighting Ashley.   I need you to stop fighting.  You’ve lost hope now, it’s gone.”  I closed my eyes and the room went silent as I took a moment to mentally take myself to this place. All of her instructions were whispered after that; “Pull your hand back now, there’s no point anymore… Now let your head fall back to the ground… Yes, you’ve given up.”  The camera clicking grows louder and despite my closed eyes I can feel her coming closer. She then whispered into my ear where only I could hear; “You’re dead, Ashley.”  The camera clicked a few more times. And we were through. Part of me couldn’t quite process what I had just seen and felt in that moment… The other part wished I could portray roles like that more often.


  1. The Eight-Legged Co-Star

If you have followed my modeling work you have probably seen one of my most-prized projects.  This year I had the absolute thrill of posing with a tarantula with a team of incredible ladies behind the camera. The entire shoot was my idea.  I planned the entire thing. Everyone involved worked so hard to make my vision as amazing as it could be.

Now, a few things about tarantulas…  No, they cannot be de-fanged.  This would kill the spider, if done.  The fangs of a tarantula can grow up to 0.75 inches long.  While the venom can’t kill a human, if the spider is an old-world species a bite could probably land you in the hospital.  I’m unsure precisely what species my little friend was, but at the same time I didn’t want to know too many details.

I arrived on-set in my silk open-back evening gown and we took a few shots of me and me only so I could work out the nerves.  Then I took my place on the stool and the handler brought out the spider.  After a little prodding and nudging, I was soon sitting there with a large spider on my hand.  Everyone in the room held their breath.  At first I was afraid I was going to faint, but the more I saw her up close, the more delicate and graceful her movements looked to me. I may have fallen a bit in love with her.  By the end of the shoot she had begun to spin the beginnings of her web around my hands and arms. It was absolutely incredible to witness up close. Now, whenever I shoot I always think in the back of my mind; “I have to make these images even better than the tarantula set.” It’s become my new standard to beat.


Model: Ashley BeLoat

Makeup Artist: Nicki Marie – – IG: @nickimariemua

Photographer: Carlie Chew Stephens – – IG: @carliechewphotography


Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Professional Page:

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On The Job Moments

September 23, 2017 | 2 Comments

On-The-Job Moments

Part One


This is the page where I normally write helpful articles on tips, secrets, and how-to’s for photographers and models alike.  However, today is going to be something a little different.  Today will be the first installment in a confession of sorts, as I will tell you ten odd, humorous, and amusing situations I have found myself in during the pursuit of the perfect shot. Everything will be kept anonymous, no names or specific places mentioned.  Are you ready?  The list begins now.


  1. Going to New Heights

On numerous occasions I have balanced on ledges three or five stories high – all on my own accord.  I’ve even gone so far to do a little gymnastics and yoga to make things more interesting.  What can I say?  There were amazing sunsets in the background and those poses looked good with the golden backlight.  But one time I was asked to physically climb a tree, and that didn’t come quite as naturally to me…

“So we’ll put you up there,” the photographer said while motioning to the tree.  Right…

While I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, I’m not the most skilled tree-climber.  I was wearing a floor-length dress at the time, which made things even more difficult.  I remember how terrified and imbalanced I was as I tried to pose gracefully on that limb.  The photographer was such a trooper for helping me up – and down – and I gave the task my best.  He seemed satisfied with the results, but I have yet to see the images.  I imagine they weren’t quite up to par to make the editing cut.


  1. Giving the Run-Around…Literally

It was early sunrise, I had driven two hours to shoot with a new photographer on the beach. He is now one of my favorite photographers to pose for and a very close friend, but at the time I barely knew him.  We had done nothing more than exchange messages and texts to plan the shoot. Even so, I had no idea what I was about to have asked of me.

We began with a few icebreaker shots.  Simple smiles, poses that weren’t very complex, just feeling each other out.  After the first wardrobe change, he had an idea…

“Alright, I want you to run out into the waves in that direction.  Okay?”

“Okay.”  Again, I’m wearing a floor-length dress.  It doesn’t matter though, I pick up the skirt, turn around, and get my cue to begin running out into the ocean.  I ran out until the water was up to my thighs and I could run no more.

“Now turn around and run back,” he shouts over the commotion of the waves.

Okay.  I turned around and ran back as I was told, laughing and smiling to myself at how amusing it must have appeared to any onlookers.  I got back on the sand and he looked through his camera…

“Hmmm…  Yes, let’s do that again,” he said.  I ended up running up and down the beach for a good thirty minutes after that.


  1. “Make me hurt!!”

This day I was shooting studio portraits with someone new.  He was an excellent director, and guided me well to achieve the looks he wanted. It isn’t uncommon for a photographer to ask a model to give them their “angry face,” but this photographer asked for something a little different.

“I want you to feel pain.  Let me see it in your eyes.”  The camera clicked…  “Yes, very good. Make me sad, make me feel it too.”  It clicked again…  “F*** yes, make me hurt!!”  It kept right on clicking.  Every time somebody sees that picture, they never believe it is me.  The expression is so different from how I normally appear.  It was very odd though, I have never been in the position where someone is shouting at me to make them hurt.


  1. Getting A Leg Up

Levitation images are tricky.  You must photograph a series of images with and without the model in-frame.  Then the images are combined in post-production to create the illusion that the model is floating in mid-air.  This photographer and I were attempting a levitation image at a public historic garden…

We were going to create an image where I was floating upright, with my legs tethered by a trail of moss holding me to the ground.  I remember standing on the bench and wrapping the moss around my legs before attempting to strike a “floating” pose.  After this, it was time to photograph the scene without the bench…it wouldn’t budge.  It was far too heavy for two young women. The photographer had a clever idea.

“Let me just get a close up of your legs actually in the air and I’ll try to combine that with the top of your body to make you float.”

We were grasping at straws here, because it never actually worked in the final image.  The backgrounds in the scenes simply didn’t match up, and the two halves of my body didn’t look natural when pasted together.  But it was funny to try at the time!  We were dying laughing together as I lay there on the bench with my moss-tied legs extended up in the air. All the other guests in the garden who saw were quite perplexed.


  1. The (Really) Little Mermaid


We had just completed shooting a series of images for a nail salon ad campaign.  The photographer and I found ourselves at the beach for the final series of images.  The photographer was gazing intently at the back of her camera as she scrolled through the final images and said with a smile; “That’s a wrap,” but then she looked up with a twinkle in her eye.  “You know, I might have my tails in the trunk.”  Let me explain…

This photographer has a deep love for mermaids.  She talks so passionately about them, she creates them in the form of clay figurines, and she photographs them.  Her private supply of props includes various sizes of mermaid tails, seashell tops, nautical belts, and more.

“How about it, do you want to be a mermaid Ashley?”  How was that even a question?  Yes, I did.

Surely enough, there were two tails in her trunk, but only one had a possibility of fitting me.  I’ve been told I am notoriously tiny (which I find hard to believe in comparison to other models), so we tried our luck with a small tail that wouldn’t appear over-sized. I was not aware of precisely how hard it would be getting into this outfit.

She led me back to the water’s edge where I sat on the ground and began to slip into the tail.  The fabric was very thick and tight with minimal stretching.  The photographer has severe back and joint pain and could not offer any help…I was on my own. So there I was, writhing around in the sand pulling up this mermaid tail, meticulously pulling out every wrinkle to the best of my ability.  Yes, there were people watching.  Yes, they were laughing (as was I).

After scooting and rolling myself into the water we resumed shooting…until we saw a fisherman with a large net.  Naturally we stopped him and asked to borrow it, and I soon found myself being entangled in a net by this stranger.  He was such a good sport about it and made all the adjustments the photographer asked. I made it home that night very salty and sandy with a new fisherman admirer.  Something I wasn’t expecting at all from a typical salon ad.


These are some of the more lighthearted memories I have from my years of experience.  What did you think?  Next week I have five more moments I can’t wait to share with you… Some of which still give me goosebumps to this day.

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer: Dan Mahar – – IG: @dan_mahar


Until next week,

Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Professional Page:





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The Agency Submission Photo Formula

September 16, 2017 | 16 Comments

The Agency Submission Photo Formula

Recently I’ve received many messages from models asking me how to get signed and graduate from “amateur” to “agency.” This question often leaves many girls — and young men — scratching their heads as they work to achieve this next step in their career. I want to address an aspect of the matter that is pertinent to photographers as well, so today’s article will be exclusively on submission photos. At the end of this page you should have a nice little blueprint of all details – what to wear, how to pose, where to take the photos, etc. Photographers, take notes so you know how to direct your models that are seeking submission photos. Models, let’s get you signed!

Know the Agency Preferences
Every agency will have a certain market their brands cater to. Try to gear your submissions towards the agencies and brands that seem the best fits for your own features. Does one agency provide talent for mainly swimwear, activewear, and sports ads? This will be an excellent fit if you are athletic and fit. Does another agency typically provide bookings for editorial work? They will probably be on the hunt for defined features, slim figures, and faces that can pull off out-of-the-box concepts. Know what markets you serve best, select the proper agencies to submit to, and try to subtly showcase the features they seek in your submission photos.

Natural Is Best
Companies want to know what they are hiring. Stay away from images that appear heavily-edited and refrain from caking on the glamour makeup. I once read on an agency submission page; “When in doubt think passport photo, not photoshoot.” This Is quite the perfect description because most agencies I have researched request photos with very minimal makeup and hair pulled neatly away from the face. This allows the agency to see your features clearly and gives the highly-attractive impression you have nothing to hide. It’s alright to submit a couple images that are more high-fashion or styled to show off your versatility, but make sure to not neglect the core basic photos.
Yes, it is perfectly permissible to wear makeup and have your photos edited… The key is doing so in the right way. I advise wearing a light BB cream to even the skin tone and add a luminous glow. Make sure to apply lotion to your body as well. Keep everything else to a strict minimum, sticking with neutrals, earth-tones, and hues that do not stray too far from your natural skin tone.

Setting Up the Shot
It’s crucial to understand the goals of final images before the shoot begins. This will allow you to plan accordingly and set everything up for success. As previously mentioned, a good submission photo enhances a model’s natural features and beauty. Now let’s cover a few specifics that make an exceptional final photo before the camera even clicks.
Background is always important. The model should be in an environment that is not visually distracting – he/she should be the most notable thing in the photo. When in doubt, stick with a classic and plain white wall. This will reflect every bit of light and automatically make the photos subconsciously appeal to the agency. If an indoor studio space is unobtainable, outdoor photos can be acceptable as well. Just remember the goal of simplicity and search for something visually uniform. A brick wall would be an option to consider here.
Bathe your model in the appropriate light. You want the images to exude a bright and clean feeling as opposed to dark and mysterious. Again, this appeals to the overall perception of honest representation. Opt for a soft, flattering light that works well with the model’s skin tone. Avoid lights that leave the model appearing too overexposed with indistinguishable features. If you are shooting indoors and have the option to manipulate the light, work with your model to capture the desired angles with strategically placed highlights and shadows. Always ensure the model’s face is towards the light, and do everything possible to minimize shadows in the eyes. The eyes are often what give that automatic connection. Light them up.
Capture a variety of headshots and full-body for final selection. I’m sure that my previous remark about “passport photos” vs. “photoshoot” left some people scratching their heads, but this is where the advice becomes helpful… Make sure you capture the model from straight-on as well as both profiles. The poses should be simplistic, with good posture and structure the main focus.
Wardrobe should often be simplistic, neutral, and clean. Much like the background, we want to avoid distracting the viewer from the model’s features with loud colors or patterns. It is best to choose things that are fitted and provide an accurate representation of the model’s physical frame. Often, an agency will suggest submissions with a simple white tank top and jeans. Sometimes there are also requests for shots in swimwear, but do these tastefully at your own discretion. Many self-proclaimed agencies have questionable legitimacy, so be careful who you entrust with what images. Once again, choose solid neutral colors, black, white, and/or earth-tones that appear flattering with the model’s skin tone. If he/she has warm undertones, gravitate to warmer choices. If they have cooler tones, adjust accordingly.

Finishing Touches
The purpose of post-production editing should be done with a similar goal in mind. Photographers need to remember the goal of “honestly enhancing” the model’s features. It’s okay to make alterations on temporary flaws such as blemishes, misplaced shadows, and enlarged pores. It also is a good idea to subtly dodge and burn to enhance your model’s healthy glow. However, refrain from doing anything that changes any permanent features. If the agency gives your model a call-back, there should be no shock or confusion because of anatomical shapeshifting in postproduction.
(For anyone wondering what it means to “dodge and burn,” that is simply the process of strategically emphasizing shadows and highlights in the photo. If you would like a tutorial on how to do this, leave a comment below and perhaps Hanna will post a future tutorial for you on his youtube channel

So there we have it! This completes my list of secrets to achieve the perfect submission photos. Models, have you been signed with an agency? If so, what were the photos that got you signed? Photographers, do you work in partnership with agencies? If so, what do they request and prefer in a final image? Leave all your comments below!

Here are my own photos and comp cards that got me my first agency contract. These images and comp card compilations are courtesy of photographer Red Scott. Find him at and on Instagram @redscottphoto.

Model: Ashley BeLoat


Photographer: Red Scott

Photographers (Top) Left-Right: Red Scott, John Carlton, and Rajibul Saikat

Photographers (Bottom) Left-Right: Stew Blaquiere, Yomaira Ruiz, and Michelle Hartman

Overall Comp Card Compilation: Red Scott

Until next week,

Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Professional Page:

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How To Pose Your Model

September 8, 2017 | 2 Comments

I’ve heard it so many times on set; “Sorry, I’m so bad at telling people what to do,” or “I’m still getting comfortable with posing people.”  It seems many photographers struggle with posing their model in the beginning stages of portraiture.  There can also be a learning curve when going from working with an experienced model to somebody with minimal or no camera experience.  No need to go bending over backwards to get the shot – unless that’s the pose you’re looking for. Here are some tips, suggestions, and strategies for posing your model and getting the most of every shoot.


Direction Begins Before the Camera Starts Clicking

            Make sure you begin communicating with your model before the day of the shoot.  Be clear with the style, mood, and body language you wish to achieve.  My personal favorite is when the photographer sends me an inspiration board on Pinterest with particular poses and looks they like. It may also be helpful to use as many adjectives as you can while describing the overall feeling you want – weightless, strong, fierce, soft, feminine, vulnerable, etc. Provide your model with a character and state of mind to enter before they arrive.

If you know your model is lacking experience, it may be a good idea to share some extra posing guides or suggestions.  One video I studied at the beginning of my career was an immense help!  It is the “Posing Tutorial” by CZ Models and can be found on  Another helpful article entitled “Look Your Best In Photographs” by Jen Brook can be found on PetaPixel at

Be sure you are clear about what you will expect from your model!  Especially if some of the shots you desire will require a little extra skin.  There should be no surprises when the model steps in front of your camera. If something is out of their comfort zone be professional and never attempt to push them beyond that limit.

The bottom line – communication!  While sometimes it is exciting to play luck-of-the-draw and just see what you can organically create, that type of shooting is a gamble. The more time you invest before the shoot, the easier things will flow as your camera clicks away.


Keep Track of the Time

Yes, this can be taken literally.  You never want to run out of light or incur extra studio rental fees. However, there is also a wonderful strategy you can use by having your model “watch the time…”

Tell your model to imagine he/she is in the middle of a large clock.  Have them begin by facing at three o’clock (your left and their right).  Instruct them to give different angles, looks, and expressions before gradually turning back to two o’clock.  Have them repeat with fresh poses and angles before they turn back to 1:00, and go through this process until they have “wound back” all the way to 9:00.  This is sometimes a good opening exercise as you are learning and feeling each other out. It gives you the ability to study their angles from all sides and find how to best accentuate their features.  Plus, it also allows a variety of effects and they turn into – and out of – the light.


Don’t Be Shy

I’ve had many a photographer confess they were nervous to give direction for a variety of reasons.  They don’t want to say anything offensive, they don’t want to suggest the wrong thing, or they simply feel uncomfortable voicing what they want me to do.   Do you want to hear a secret?  Models want direction!!  I can say from my own experience that the worst thing to hear as the camera clicks away is dead silence…  I want to know if you like what you’re capturing, if there is something else you’d rather I be doing, or how I can perfect my pose to make it better.

Do you not like a certain pose?  No need to worry about offending the model, simply redirect them into something else. Be mindful of positive vs. negative feedback.  Negative feedback criticizes or discourages against a certain movement, expression, or position.  While this is sometimes necessary, it can often push the model into a shell and make them uncomfortable or less adventurous in their body language. What often works best is positive feedback; encouraging them to move back into that angle you loved, smile the way that makes their eyes sparkle, or twist their torso to emphasize their slim waist. See the difference?  It is all about how you communicate.


A Few Specifics…

Looking for some specific strategies to apply?  Let’s make a list.  These surely are not a one-size-fits-all array of rules, but they are worth trying out as you decipher what works best for your model.

  • Emphasize the jawline — Have your model thrust their chin forward and down. This can provide a sharper line and help with definition.
  • Lips – There is such a variety of moods you can achieve with a simple change in the lips. Ask your model to give a soft smile with no teeth showing, say something funny and get them to produce a genuine laugh, ask them to smile with one corner of their mouth upturned like they are hiding a secret, or have them take a deep breath and slowly exhale with their lips slightly parted.  I once read that to achieve a sultry look, the model can softly purse their lips and imagine they are saying the word; “poor.”  Believe it or not, it works.
  • Exaggerate their natural waist – Most models prefer this area to appear as slim as possible. If you are shooting the model straight-on, you can instruct them to place their hands on their waist.  Make sure to have them move their hands to the front and further in – so that they are basically holding the front of their waist as opposed to the sides.  Side angles are often incredibly slimming, especially if you have your model turn their body to one side…then have them turn their torso back to you.  It may feel very unnatural, but often produces a beautiful result.
  • Movement – Ask your model to do a spin, walk slowly towards you, jump, run, dance… Give them a suggestion and let them move however feels natural to them. The actual action may not be anything incredible – it may possibly look rather comical – but the magic you can capture of their organic movement in a still frame may surprise you.
  • Playing with hands – The hands are an incredible tool to use during your captures. Have your model gently run her fingertips down the side of her face or neck.  Ask her to softly tuck her hair behind her ear…have her softly run her hand along the side of her hip…  You can also ask her to softly toy with a necklace, graze a finger across her lips, or rest her hands together in her lap.  Avoid poses that leave the hands hidden, unless the capture is designed to be a close-up of the face. Let the hands tell a story and have a purpose in the photo.
  • Multiple models – If you plan to be capturing a couple or simply multiple models in one image, the key is to have them interact. Even if they are both to look into the camera, you can achieve some breathtaking captures by having them touching each other, or connecting in some way.  T If their focus is to be on each other, have them interact.  I have often had to pose with models I meet for the first time on-set.  You want the illusion that the models know each other well and could easily be romantic partners, family, or old friends.  Have the male model tell the female a cute joke, ask him to gently move her hair away from her face on one side, have him spin her around or lead her around the set while looking back into her eyes.  Again, give them suggestions but allow them to execute them in the way that feels natural to them.  Remember to make their existence in the same photo make sense, and produce the untold connection.


This list is very basic and only grazes the surface of the vast depths of posing.  My desire is to spark your own creativity and encourage you to chase new ideas with your captures.  What posing strategies have you used?  Is there anything you find helpful when posing your model?  Models, what guidance do you look for from your photographers?  Be sure to leave a comment below!


~Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Professional Page:

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer/Creative Director: Eric Kinney – Find him on Instagram @ekinneymedia and at


Works Cited

Brook, Jen. “Dear Model: Posing Tips for How to Look Your Best in Photographs.” PetaPixel, PetaPixel, 24 May 2013, Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.

CzModelsAgentura. “Posing tutorial.” YouTube, CzModelsPrague, 28 May 2014, Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.

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Knowing Your Limits (And Sticking to Them)

September 1, 2017 | 2 Comments


As models, our job is to emote, portray, and embody precisely what the photographer wishes to capture.  Every so often we may be given the luxury to have full creative control of a shoot – choosing everything from wardrobe to posing – but most of the time we are not in a director’s position.  We are usually the object being guided, directed, and instructed as the photographer works to capture their vision. It’s very important we realize our own limits to what we will and will not do.  We’ll be asked to do it all eventually and the sooner we have your answers decided for ourselves, the more prepared we’ll be on set.

According to The Model Alliance (2017) 93.3% of models begin working at age 20 or younger.  The most common age range at 54.7% is between thirteen and sixteen.  This reveals that a large percentage of careers start before age eighteen, and there are some more statistics that may surprise you…

Of the underage modeling population, 24% reported that their parents or guardians rarely accompanied them to their castings and shoots, 26.7% reported they had no parents or guardians to bring, and a whopping 28% denied ever bringing their parent or guardian to a casting or job. Just think about it… These young women are being captured in images that will last beyond their lifetime, and the majority are in this position without the presence or guidance of their parents. This is a chilling thought.

Let’s examine this further… 86.8% of the models surveyed had been asked to pose nude during a job or casting with no advanced warning or notice. Of this population 46.4% posed nude because they wanted to, 27.5% didn’t want to…but did because they felt pressured.  We have to prepare ourselves for situations like these in our professional lives.  We may be asked to do things without warning, and we need to know precisely where we stand on the matter before the requests arise – otherwise the pressure will overshadow our true feelings.  At the end of the day, once the model release is signed, the photographer owns every image in their camera.  We had better be able to sleep peacefully at night with that knowledge.

How does one decide what they will and will not do?  There are a number of factors that play into this decision. The model must know what they wish to represent, how the images will affect their future career(s), be cautious when posing for a professional they don’t know well, and be prepared for any person in the world to lay eyes on the final photos.

Personally, I am incredibly cautious how much skin I show – and who I show it for.  My standards are not the same for every photographer, certain outfits and looks require different levels of trust and proven professionalism.  It’s also crucial to me that every picture I take is something I’d be comfortable to show my future daughters someday.  I never want my body to be the star of a photo. I don’t pose nude.  I don’t use overtly sensual body language. This isn’t me, I know it, and I stand behind it.

Very few photographers would work with me at the start of my career due to my personal limits and standards.  The typical interactions would go something like this…

“I would love to shoot you, you have a beautiful face and body.  Do you do nude or implied?  No?  How about bikini?  Really?  Oh…  Well good luck in your career.”

I am sure many models face this same initial response. But I want to encourage you not to do this type of work if it isn’t what you wish to represent!  Keep your end goals in mind, remember the brands you hope to someday represent.  Would they ask you to pose in this way?  Would they be alright with the face of their company being shown this way?  If not, don’t do it.

We should also be mindful of what should happen if our end goals don’t come to fruition.  Only a very small percentage of models make this industry their career – and even then most are forced to retire in their twenties.  Do you wish to climb the corporate ladder?  Do you wish to be in a position of authority?  Do you have dreams of being a doctor, teacher, lawyer, or obtaining a political position? Then you must be extra careful how you allow yourself to be portrayed.

In conclusion, the final fact remains… No matter what we do, we’ll always be asked for more.  Know where your limits are, have courage to stand firm with them, and proceed with caution always.  Yes, your limits may change… But remember that in this case it’s far better to give less, than more.  Never allow yourself to be forced into a position you may later regret.
Have you ever been asked to do something you didn’t want to?  Have you ever felt pressured or forced to pose a certain way?  I would love to hear your stories and opinions below!


Until next week,

Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Professional Page:


Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer: Ralph Demilio


Works Cited

“Reports.” The Model Alliance, The Model Alliance, 2017, Accessed 30 Aug. 2017.

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Model Safety

August 27, 2017 | 9 Comments

Since the launch of Model Focus, I’ve received requests to cover the topic of model safety.  Due to past personal experiences, this subject is very dear to my heart.  Most people do not know that I was assaulted on a shoot in the Fall of 2016.  My desire for this discussion is to raise awareness, start conversations, help fellow models protect themselves, and give perspective to photographers everywhere. So without further ado, I will share some personal stories along with general practices a model can employ to ensure a safe, successful shoot.

My Story

In the Fall of 2016 I received messages from a new photographer wanting to shoot.  This person had reached out to me before, but due to an unhealthy relationship I was unable to shoot with any male photographers at that time (this story will be saved for a future post).  However, I was at this time currently single and shooting with male and female professionals.

I poured through this person’s portfolio… The work was beautiful. The editing was clean, the lighting strategic, and he obviously knew what he was doing.  “Oh, look!” I thought to myself, “Here he has photos he took of my good friend’s wedding!  Okay, he must be the real deal.”  I was excited to work with somebody new of this caliber.

We scheduled a shoot in his area, which happened to be two hours from me (commuting is a common requirement for the model). We decided on style and location.  I packed my options the day of the shoot, told some close friends where I was going, and away I went…

We met in a public place and took many shots in different locations within walking distance – always in visible view of the street.  Things were going well.  We were getting amazing captures in the camera. We decided to move locations…  “Why not take one car for convenience and to save gas?” he suggested. Okay.  Big mistake…

We drove to different places, stopping to take photos. I texted a few friends to let them know I was okay.  Then things started to get a little weird… He told me I’m cute, I brushed it off as a comment meant to boost my ego for his camera.

A public waterfront was our venue for the final sunset images. Many cars were parked in the lot,  families and couples also watching the beautiful sight as I posed and he clicked.  I wasn’t wearing anything sexy or doing anything provocative.  I was looking at the sunset…back to the camera…smiling…laughing…then switching to a moody stare.  The sun was nearly gone, and we had gotten what we needed

As I opened the car door I felt him come up behind me.  I turned around and soon found him kissing me, pushing me into the corner of the opened door.  I pulled away and froze up…I had no words.  He came forward again and I soon found myself in the passenger’s seat repeatedly pushing him off, and his hands away from my zippers and buttons.  The words “no” and “stop” had come out multiple times.

Thank God this story doesn’t end in rape!  I will never forget… He finally stopped, looked at me, and laughed.

“Why do you look so afraid right now?”

I couldn’t believe my ears.  I lost it, demanded to go back to my car, and stayed on the phone the entire ride back. Yes, I called the police.  Yes, I made a statement.  Yes, I identified photos.  And oh yes, I made many terrible mistakes that day. This story is a hard one to share, but I pray it helps other models realize the importance of protecting themselves.  I was incredibly lucky in the ending of my story, and I don’t intend to rely on luck again.

General Safety 101

Remain Professional

                This is one of the most important things you can do as a model.  The way you interact with your photographer insinuates how you expect to be treated in return. If you conduct yourself professionally, it sets a standard for the interactions you have. Here are a few things I personally do to remain professional in my working relationships.

Most often I precede my photographers’ names with “Mr.” or “Miss” until I have shot with them multiple times.  I have been told many times this is unnecessary, but I feel it’s a blatant sign of respect and distinctly outlines the boundaries of the initial relationship.  It greatly minimizes the risk if perceived flirting on the model’s part.

Minimize after-hours contact.  I will confess, I am a full-time registered nurse, and often I must communicate before leaving for my shifts in the morning (I work from 6:30a.m.-7:30p.m.).  But it is important to mindfully refrain from unnecessary messages and phone calls during the middle of the night.  This is a wise practice and a common courtesy to your photographers.

Absolutely no flirting!  This is a dangerous invitation for unwanted behavior before, during, or after the shoot. I realize this can be a gray area for some, as I myself am a very warm and friendly person.  Being warm and friendly is perfectly okay – and even encouraged to ensure comfort on set – but be mindful of the signals you are sending and the way your interactions are being perceived.  Just as flirtatious behavior should not be present on your part, DO NOT accept it from the photographer. I have cancelled many shoots because of “harmless” comments and remarks.  This is not a way I do business.

The Bodyguard

                Yes, it is ALWAYS a good idea to bring somebody with you when shooting with somebody new.  While not entirely foolproof, this practice erases the misunderstanding of a shoot being a pretentious date.  The trouble arises when a shoot is strictly time for print (unpaid), and the model is unable to financially compensate this person for their time and energy.  This has been an immense personal struggle of mine, and I have often lost money by adding this compensation to my list of other expenses for TFP shoots.  It’s hard not to feel guilty about asking for free help, and I’ve taken some definite unnecessary risks… I do not advise doing this.

Something to keep in mind… I have heard from countless photographers the aversion to this bodyguard being the model’s significant other.  Photographers often feel uncomfortable positioning the model or asking for certain expressions with the watchful eyes of a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife on set. This is understandable, so ensure it is okay with your photographer if your safety escort is a significant other.  I know this problem may put strain on a relationship, but that is a whole other discussion I will gladly cover in the future.  For now I will simply say it is crucial to communicate with your photographer and loved one thoroughly on this aspect.

If a safety buddy is unobtainable, there are numerous things you can do…  You can ask to reschedule to a date someone is able to accompany you.  You can also make sure somebody knows where you will be and who you will be with.  If this is the best you can do, ensure that you set a text or call schedule to this person checking in regularly to let them know you are okay.  Make sure they know to call the authorities if they don’t hear from you within a certain time.  You can also ask to set up the shoot in an open, public place. Just continue to use caution and be aware of your surroundings. If anything feels questionable at any time, never hesitate to leave.

Do Your Research

It never hurts to contact past models about their shooting experience with a particular photographer.  Trust me, photographers discuss about models too behind closed doors.  It is nothing personal and is simply a smart thing to do before meeting up with a new person.

Look at the person’s portfolio.  How extensive is it?  How is the overall quality, does it seem consistently professional?  Does it all appear to be artistically congruent? Or does it appear as if it’s disjointed and possibly completed by different people?  This is by no means a surefire way to gauge the safety of a situation, but if a person has been in the industry for a while, has a good following, and produces consistently exceptional work, they have more of a reputation to protect with their professional interactions.  As previously stated this should not cause you to throw caution to the wind, but it’s helpful when gauging the situation.

Search wherever you can to ensure this person is who they say they are.  Any inconsistencies – no matter how small – indicate a lack of honesty.  It is never wise to collaborate or conduct business with a dishonest person.

Be Mentally and Practically Prepared

Take a self-defense class, carry mace, work through in your mind how you would respond in a life-threatening situation.  Always note the locations of exits and their accessibility.  Never be afraid of making a scene if you feel your safety is being compromised.  Keep your phone handy at all times. Prepare yourself mentally and physically if the situation calls for a “fight or flight” response.  Treat all new opportunities with immense caution.

In conclusion, modeling is a dangerous industry.  Reports are scattered across the news of human trafficking scams, kidnappings, and worse.  Models, we must be aware of what we’re risking with every booking. For the sake of space, this list only skims the surface of safety strategies.  Be sure to comment with your own below to cover areas I have missed.  I urge every model to highly value their own safety in every situation.  If at any moment you don’t feel safe, never lack the courage to leave.

Until next week,

~Ashley BeLoat

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Professional Page:

Photo credit to the amazingly wonderful Robert Vanelli – a true professional and one of the kindest souls I know.  Follow him on Instagram @robertvanelli for more of his work.


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