EMPOWER – Models and Photographers


So here we are, born and living on this planet RIGHT NOW despite all the universe’s odds.

I strive daily to do the right thing within my arm’s reach, nurturing my 3 sons in the ways of life. I’m not perfect, I don’t claim to be however, I do know that there are things happening in my industry RIGHT NOW that are unacceptable. This post and the survey isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s brutal and honest … a bit like me.

I’ve set up a work in progress group called EMPOWER to discuss and tackle the appalling level of abuse (sexual/bribery/pressure) of models (experienced and new) which exists in the photography world. Please join. Everyone is welcome.

I have first hand experience of being pressured during a photo shoot. I have model friends who have been pressured and bribed post shoot too. There is currently story after story unfolding on social media RIGHT NOW including the naming & shaming of photographers who have abused their power of trust. That’s not my agenda here. Pandora’s Box is slowly opening. It’s not going to be pretty.

It is my hope that as an industry we can map out and agree a set of industry standards/guidelines that every model, agency, professional body and photographer can positively work with ensuring everyone’s safety but first we need to know the scale of the problem.

If you are a model and have experienced pressure/abuse/inappropriate behaviour/bribery during or after a shoot then please complete this survey.

All information you provide will remain completely anonymous. Be brave. You are not alone. Trigger Warning advice at the start of the questionnaire.


If you are a photographer, then please take the survey and feel free to grab the survey link or my blog post and use it on your own blog, page, social media to help this get traction. To date, the anonymous survey has reported bribery, sexual assault and even rape. This is not acceptable.

If you are a model, agency, professional body or photographer and have input on this matter then please join and post in the EMPOWER group or contact me directly if it is a sensitive matter.

My only advice at this time to models attending photographic assignments or meet ups with lone photographers is to take a chaperone. ANY photographer or agency who advises this is not okay or there is no room, is complicate to the abuse happening in our industry. Let’s work together and start clean up our industry RIGHT NOW.

Thank you.


5 thoughts on “EMPOWER – Models and Photographers

  1. Hi Lesley

    I run a model safety page, and group on Facebook, and would love to share this to the audience there.

    Would you be ok with me posting the link to this blog onto the Facebook, and group, see if we can get more feedback on this for you?

    The page is called Safe Model ( @safemodel )

    Thank you, look forward to hearing from you.


    1. Hi Anthony,

      ABSOLUTELY! You probably have some very valuable and proven input on model safety guidelines. Can you join the EMPOWER Facebook group? I will find yours too.


  2. Hello Lesley,
    My name is Alley and I run a photographic studio in Wiltshire, called PoZers, where models and photographers, are part of my every day life and business. This industry is phenomenal, I’ve never been so happy in my life as I am now, working every day with such wonderful people, I’m truly blessed…. However, I have heard far too many horror stories, in my 5 years in the industry (nearly 3 years owning my studio) and was 3rd party to an awful situation, I’d happily discuss in private. So when I set up my business, I am there and attend every shoot, and assist the photographers and models, with absolutely anything they require during their stay with me. I pride myself in running a studio where models can feel safe and assured they have a woman on hand at all times, which is just as beneficial for my lovely photographers, when needing clothes adjusted, styling tips, hair and makeup touch ups. Photographers know they can come to the studio, and have no need for chaperones present, they have someone to clear up after them, and chuck some creative ideas into the shoot, props, clothing, makeup artistry, and make sure we all have fun, and create the magical images they wanted, we all make a fabulous team. Models know I run a strict studio, I check references, belong to Model safety sites, and I happily remove level pushers, or generally nasty people straight out of my studio, if they step out of line, models or photographers, we are here to have fun and create art, not be horrible to one another and inflict physical or mental pain to others. I have a little black book with names in, people I would never allow in my studio, but all the time, new names come up and I worry I’m out of the loop, I don’t get the same info as models, as I’m a studio owner and now I do photography too, so I’m almost likethe enemy really, hence there are some groups I can’t belong too. My studio and how I run it, isn’t enough to change the world, but if we all did our little bits, we could make this amazing industry even better and safer for everyone. I would absolutely love to be part of your Facebook group, if that would be possible, we need to stick together and rid the industry of all the scum.

    1. Hey Alley,

      Thanks for your comment and the steps you have taken to ensure the safety of your clients and their models. The EMPOWER campaign will start snowballing and actions like yours will be incorporated into a ‘best practice advice sheet’ for all to refer to. I’ll catch up with at some point re your experience too if that’s okay? Take care.

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