Any photographer you might work with will have an Instagram account and there is a lot you can learn just from their page. Look at this like a background check for potential photographers or really anyone you'll be meeting in person for the first time. These 5 tips are even more important if you were contacted randomly by a local photographer on Instagram. This happens all the time and isn't necessarily a bad thing unless the photographer is unprofessional. It's crucial to identify their motive. Below I will address 5 questions you should ask yourself when using Instagram to identify a predator.
1. Is their page new?
If a local photographer slides into your DM it's a huge red flag if their account is new. Not a deal breaker but something to look into. It’s common for predators to use fake accounts just long enough to take advantage of someone and then delete that account and start a new one under a new name as to not get caught. So make sure to check the dates on their posts to see how long they've had an account.
2. Whats their engagement like?
If the account is new, poor engagement is to be expected but if the account has been around for a while and they have a larger following you can expect to see higher engagement. An account with a large following but very little engagement (likes & comments) is a huge red flag.
One of the most common tricks predators like to use to deceive an aspiring model is purchasing followers so they appear to be popular. It’s cheaper than you might think. Luckily it’s easy to spot. If the account has 20k, 30k, 60k, or even 100k with Little engagement that means their followers were purchased. Remember purchased followers do not engage. They are fake accounts. That being said likes and comments can also be purchased from fake accounts so it’s best to take a look at the accounts those comments are coming from and make your best judgment.
3. Do they tag their models?
Every professional photographer who uses Instagram knows it’s correct etiquette to tag your model. If you notice there aren’t any models tagged in the photos that’s a huge red flag. It’s common for predators to use other photographers photos so they appear like a real photographer obviously in this case they won’t be tagging the model as to not get caught.
4. What's their content like?
This one should be obvious but what is their content like? Is it classy? Does it look professional or amateur? Is it high-quality or subpar? Are they all nudes? If so are they artistic or grotesque? Are they in good taste or explicit? More often than not if an account is full of amateur low quality nudes you can assume it’s a GWC - Guy with a camera. The GWC has no interest in becoming a real photographer, all they are interested in is acquiring as many nudes as they can. They are easy to spot.
5. What do their models have to say about them?
As I said above, any professional photographer will tag their models which makes it really easy for you to DM the model and ask about their experience. Of all five tips this one is the best and most important way to vet a photographer as there are no reviews on Instagram. Just to be safe I suggest reaching out to multiple models they have worked with.
Along with these tips keep in mind that a Predator can still be a legit, popular, & talented photographer so use your best judgement and always trust your gut. I have more tips on model safety HERE. If you have any tips to add to this list please leave them in the comments below and connect with me on Instagram HERE
Author Lance A Reis
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