updated 8 Nov 2012, 02:20
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Tue, Nov 25, 2008
The New Paper
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Too risky, so she quits after 5 shoots
by Ho Lian-Yi

SHE did only five hobby shoots before stopping.

Ms Amber Ang, 21, a freelance model and Singapore Institute of Management student, said three involved lingerie or swimwear.

Her reasons for giving up this line of work?

'What if, one day, people use your photo in other places? There are too many photographers to be concerned about,' she said.

Some have learnt this the hard way.

One 25-year-old model who gave her name only as Song, was unwilling to go into details of what she called her 'accident', but this is the gist of her story.

The model makes an arrangement with some hobby photographers to shoot revealing photos for free - in Song's case wearing lingerie - on the condition only she gets to keep the pictures.

But to her shock, she finds the revealing images elsewhere. 'I was really cheated by them,' claimed Song, who has modelled for two years.

It is similar to the case of a lads' magazine beauty contest participant who had her nude photos splashed all over the Internet, including a US website.

According to a MyPaper report, the photographer had allegedly forgotten to set a password when he uploaded the photos.

After this, a group signing off as '3 concerned public models' wrote to several local newspapers alleging that sleazy shoots were being organised online.

'We hope that the media can highlight such trends and warn girls of the possible dangers in doing such shoots,' they wrote.

Another model in her 20s, who gave her name only as Manju, said she had a friend who took part in a nude shoot that was supposed to be for the photographer's collection only.

A few months later, pictures of the girl stripping surfaced as a screensaver for mobile phones.

This happened two years ago and her friend quit modelling after that. 'She was doing it for fun and it turned into a nightmare,' she said.

But how can the girls protect themselves from getting into such situations?

Song said she shopped around for a proper modelling agency and signed up with Mark Chow Models.

The owner, Mr Mark Chow, 30, was a model shoot organiser for hobbyists on local forum Clubsnap for two years, but gave up two years ago as he found it hard to control all the photographers, especially about usage rights.

He said agencies act as 'model protectors' and this includes using legal action if pictures are misused, although he admits that violators can be hard to trace.

Mr Jeffrey Chung, 41, of Jeffrey Chung Models, said he makes sure there is a written contract before any shoot. 'If you photostat the IC, have the black and white, it's very unlikely they'll do something naughty,' he said.

But he said nowadays, many freelance models bypass agents to deal with the photographers directly because they feel they can earn more without the agency getting a cut, about 30 per cent.

One such part-time freelance model is Miss Pang, 23, a claims executive at a law firm, who declined to give her full name.

'Hobby shoots? Countless leh,' she said. She can earn up to $90 an hour for a normal fashion shoot, and $150 to $200 per hour for bikini or lingerie.

She gets work through word-of-mouth, through four or five organisers she trusts, and through photographers she meets at events like Super Import Nights.

She doesn't use any contracts.

She has not encountered any problems, she said.

There are also freelance models who double as photoshoot organisers. One, who gave her name only as Esther, is an 18-year-old a student. She said she protects the models by being present during the shoot.

Another model, 22, who has done bikini photos for magazines earning $300 to $400 per spread, says she has never done hobby shoots. She feels they are sleazy, and the photographers aren't very good

One Clubsnap contributor said, on condition of anonymity, that a shoot can turn out to be much more than was agreed, such as a lingerie shoot that turns into a nude shoot at the egging of the photographer.

This article was first published in The New Paper on Nov 23, 2008.

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