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Under age model shoot

Matthew Upson , Mar 30, 2005; 09:57 p.m.


A fifteen year old girl wants me to take some portfolio pictures for her. Her parents are consenting and one will attend the shoot. She wants advice on what to wear. I went to OMP and looked for professional models her age and found this model http://member.onemodelplace.com/member.cfm?ID=94537 This girl is practicly nude. Can anyone direct me to what are the limets for shooting a minor in the US. For my shoot I was thinking of a formal (prom) dress, nice jeans and tee top, sport, and headshots. any other ideas? I have shot models before by they were in their 20s.




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Jeff Fiore , Mar 30, 2005; 11:36 p.m.

Being a member of OMP and also living in NYS, I did see the protfolio you mentioned. Yes, I was quite shocked that any parent would let their minor child be shot in such a manner. I am also surprised that the photographer shot these. My rules with minors are only age appropriate attire and I am the final judge and referee. If the parents don't like that, they can find someone else to do the shoot. Some parents, such as the case here, seem only interested in their child's "success" more so than what is appropriate. The point is that whether the law says it is ok or not is totally irrellevant because it is not ok with me.

What outfits should you shoot? What you have listed is fine. Also consider that a portfolio needs a full body shot also. This can be achieved with a swimsuit shot (one piece or two - NO string or skimpy bikinis) or excersize/dance wear.

This is an example of a good underage portfolio. http://member.onemodelplace.com/member.cfm?ID=125461

Jerry Litynski , Mar 30, 2005; 11:47 p.m.

And do a web search for a good model release. Have the parent sign a release before the shooting starts, just to take care of the issue.

Good luck!

Bob Atkins , Mar 31, 2005; 01:11 a.m.

Don't take advice off the Internet either.

Make sure that the "parent" who signs the realease is a legal guardian of the child. Step-parents may or may not be legal guardians. You can run into trouble if they aren't.

The "limits" are explicit sexual conduct and a catch all of "lascivious intent" which is open to interpretation. Just use common sense. If you have any doubts at all, don't shoot it. If you don't know where to draw the line, stick with adult models. That should keep you out of jail!

Dai Hunter , Mar 31, 2005; 06:51 a.m.

Are you talking about?: meghan - Age: 14 at http://www.onemodelplace.com/member.cfm/ID/94537

She may be "practically" naked (in your estimation) but she is not naked... no bare breasts; no crotch shots; no pubic hair and the focus is not on one of these areas of her body. There are girls out on the street or at the beach with less clothing/coverring on than she has on in most of her photos.

OTOH the overall "look" is far too sophisticated for a 14yo.


Peter Obaldo , Mar 31, 2005; 06:52 a.m.

The "limits" are explicit sexual conduct and a catch all of "lascivious intent" which is open to interpretation. Just use common sense. If you have any doubts at all, don't shoot it. If you don't know where to draw the line, stick with adult models. That should keep you out of jail!

This is a great advice. But more importantly, we as ADULTS, have moral obligation to not help promote this kind of pictures.

Will Perlis , Mar 31, 2005; 09:21 a.m.

"OTOH the overall "look" is far too sophisticated for a 14yo."

But not uncommon at the Beverly Center Mall. My guess is; trophy wives preparing trophy progeny. Silly, but not worthy of a prosecutor's attention.

And if that's "practically nude", it's a good thing Matthew never visited any neighborhood swimming pool in Alabama thirty years ago, the acres of skin would have produced cardiac arrest.

Matthew Upson , Mar 31, 2005; 05:07 p.m.

Thanks for all your help. about the remark about swimming in Alabama, I have been skinny dippying all my life, nudity is not the issue, It is breaking the law and ending up in legal trouble that is. The 15 year old who wants me to shoot her wants to be a burlesque dancer the moment she turns 18 (I don't really have a problem with that either) at this time she is only 15 and I would like to take age approriate photos that will help her get work now, not in three years when she turns 18.

James Mullineaux , Apr 07, 2005; 08:44 p.m.

What I've heard from professional fashion photographers is that many (maybe most?) of the NYC high fashion models are under age and that 26 is pretty ancient. How else do you think they find tall thin women(girls) with no hips that are a size 2 or smaller? So I guess I'm not surprised to see skinny adolescent girls doing the fashion thing. The reason it's not more frowned upon is that the focus is usually the clothing and not the girl. I also think there isn't much of a "protect the children" side to this either. W magazine had an article critiquing "America's Next Top Model" several months ago and one of their points was that that none of the girls were high fashion material, and that fashion model asthetics were an acquired taste. A taste which the vast majority of people do not have. Basicly the only people who these pictures would appeal to are fashion industry people.

That being said, if you want to take teen pics with a more universal appeal stick to more fun and cute themes and skip the skimpy clothes, trying to be sexy stuff.

If you want to take pictures that'll just blow everyone away, approach one set like you would if they were an adult asking you for a portrait. Plain clothes, low key, rembrant lighting, nice chair, comfortable. See the smart, talented, individual, adult emerging within them and show that in your pictures. I did that for a friend of mine and she loved the pictures so much she cried, then ordered lots of reprints. :)

Matthew Upson , Apr 20, 2005; 10:25 p.m.


Thank you for your response. It is very salient. I photographed my fifteen year old niece like an adult portrait she loved it. I think I will blow of the girls that are in their mid-teens and want to look sexy/tarty.

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