Archive for ‘shoot results’

August 11, 2011

On Integrity & Professionalism

Recently, I was slapped in the face with one person’s unprofessional behavior and dishonesty.  What’s more is that after expressing my disappointment in the situation, the offending party showed little remorse.  However, another person involved has shown what true professionalism & integrity are, which lessens the sting… sorta.  Here’s the story…

It started with a verbal agreement regarding compensation for working an event.  A few weeks before the event I was told (in person) that compensation would be $50 for the day, a selection of images for portfolio use.  I was also told I’d be in the designer’s catalog.  As an added bonus, I’d get a sketch of me in what I was modeling.  Typically, my rates are $50 an hour or $325 for an 8-hour day, which is how I’d have billed it since it’s cheaper.  However, because I’d be getting portfolio images & a tear sheet (plus a cool sketch), I made an exception and accepted the job at a significantly lower rate than normal.

Fast forward to the day of the event.  Call time was 12P & everyone was on time & ready to start getting to work.  In the beginning, things were running nicely, people were having a good time, & it was shaping up to be a great event.

Around 3P we started getting hungry, but there was no food.  Based on previous experiences, I expected there to be food provided at a 7-hour event, so I just brought a drink & a small snack.  Now, I wasn’t expecting caviar & chocolate mousse, but something to snack on throughout the course of the day.  Veggies, pretzels, cheese cubes, & sliced fruit are pretty typical of events because that stuff can sit out & is easy to eat.  But there wasn’t anything.

Normally, one would ask the person in charge what was going on, but he stepped out for an undetermined amount of time, leaving his event coordinator & assistant completely in the dark regarding wardrobe & accessories.  That meant that the models that were ready to shoot we weren’t able to, so 2 of those girls took a walk to find food.  Their options were limited at 3P on a Sunday on the Near West Side of Chicago & all they could find was Chinese, which they brought back.

As we were eating, the guy in charge came in & immediately reprimanded us for having food.  He told us we were unprofessional for eating food that wasn’t “proper model food”.  He then demanded it be put it away & said we shouldn’t be eating, but that if we were hungry we should’ve been eating something like fruit.  So, apparently, everyone should have just gone without food for 7 hours.  Talk about a morale-killer!  Besides, nothing makes people enjoy an event more than crabby models with no energy, or worse, models passing out because of low blood sugar.

If someone running an event wants his staff to eat certain things, it is up to him to provide that kind of food.  If he can’t provide food, then the professional thing to do is notify people that there won’t be food, & ask them to bring their own, limiting it to whatever he finds acceptable.   It is not unprofessional for models to eat behind the scenes, while waiting for styling and/or instruction, while still dressed in street clothes.

But then came the real knife-twist.  Shortly after the food was put away, we were handed a compensation agreement & asked to sign it.  It was different from what I’d been promised.  Suddenly, we had to choose between $50 for the day or 10 unedited images & 1 edit of the photographer’s choice.  No mention of the sketch.  I tried to ask the guy in charge a few questions, but it was pretty clear he was too busy to listen to me.  So, I sat & thought quite a bit about things, & really weighed my options.

If I walked, I’d have wasted almost 4 hours for nothing, literally.  No photos, no money, no sketch, no tear.  Leaving could’ve damaged my reputation with the other industry people who were there, & I’m not one to back out on my commitments; I act like a professional & respect people enough to stick with something once it’s started.  So I chose to stay, keeping my reputation intact & getting a little something for my time.

So I had to choose: a small amount of money, or one edited image.  I figured I could work with the photographer individually if I really wanted to, so I opted to take the $50.  Broken down, it’s $7.14 an hour.  If you factor in the $8 or so I spent on food & drink (which I wouldn’t have bought if I wasn’t working), the total compensation drops down to about $42.  Basically, I worked the day for about $6 an hour, & that’s not even factoring in the gas I spent on the nearly 60-mile round trip.

It bothered me that the compensation changed, & I wasn’t notified in advance.  I wasn’t even notified promptly at call time, which is when I would have been comfortable leaving.  Advanced notification of the change would have been the professional way to go about things.  Instead, it was just sprung on us nearly 4 hours into the day, when we’d already invested time & money.  But, I sucked it up & did my job as if I was getting paid my standard rate: with a smile on my face & without complaint.

After the event was over I asked the guy in charge about the sketch.  He acknowledged that that was, indeed, part of our deal & made a half-assed attempt to find it.  After a brief search, I was told he couldn’t find them, & that was that.  So no sketch now either.

Initially, I intended to just deal and learn from my mistakes.  But later I decided that if I didn’t speak up, no one would, & this schmuck would go on taking advantage of people because no one called him on it.  So the next day I wrote him a letter addressing all my concerns & asked to be compensated as originally promised.  I chose my words carefully & made sure it was written in a concise, professional manner.  I didn’t just pound out an angry note and send it off.

The next afternoon, I received a response.  He said that an agreement was made, but things didn’t go as expected, so the agreement was modified.  I signed it, & if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been used for the event.  He went on to say he was sorry I wasn’t happy, but the only thing he could do was live up to the written agreement.  Then, he had the gall to tell me that a lot of work went into the event, & he felt congratulations were in order.  He also thanked me, as if that would make it better, & told me that if I had a change of heart & wanted to work with him again, I should let him know.

Then, he called me not too long after responding.  I told him it wasn’t a good time because I wasn’t ready to speak with him, & hung up.  After careful consideration, I wrote him back & said that any discussion could be done in writing, as he had made it abundantly clear that he didn’t respect people enough to honor his spoken agreements.

He wrote me back the next day & said there’s nothing to discuss.  Shortly afterwards he posted on the private group for “preferred” folks involved in the event (which I am still part of) telling everyone, “Don’t ever believe that I don’t appreciate you all.  I am so glad that I choose each & every one of you to be a part of this journey.”  Uh huh.

There is a lesson here, though.  From now on, I will ask for a compensation agreement in writing, in advance, for every event I am booked for.   Upon arrival, I will not do anything without reviewing any paperwork that needs to be signed, & if that paperwork does not match up with what I received prior to the event, I will be leaving.

This might limit who’s willing to book me for events, as well as whom I choose to work with, but I’m ok with that.  I am tired of being taken advantage of, & I am no longer willing to allow it to happen.  If that means I book less events, then so be it.  As a hobbyist, I can afford to be picky.

I heard he “changed the agreement” when it came to numerous other involved parties, so the models weren’t the only ones who got screwed.  To top it off, it’s all just pouring salt in the wound, because everyone who worked the event was asked to promote the event through various means, invite friends, & really hype it up (and many of us did).  Some people’s names are attached to this person’s, and who knows what kind of effect that could have down the road.

Then there’s the true display of integrity & professionalism I mentioned at the beginning.  The photographer involved called me last night & we talked.  He had been unaware, & completely beside himself, that the person running things was using his product to pay people & that we were forced to make a choice so suddenly.  To “make it right”, he has offered all of the models involved a shoot at no charge.  He’s not comfortable providing the images from the event to the models, because it would violate his agreement with the event host, so he’s doing what he can to do something for us as a “thanks, & I’m really sorry you got screwed over too”. Yup, you read that right… he also got screwed.

So now what?  Well, I’m going to stay in touch with the photographer & start thinking about what I want to shoot, & communicate ideas back & forth with him.  Ideally, I’d like to shoot something he can use for his portfolio as well, because it’s only fair.  Chances are, I’ll wait until late fall to work with him, mostly because I’m sure he’ll be busy with previously booked work as well as with the other models involved.

A few people I’ve talked to about this have suggested I take legal action, because the “bait & switch” tactic he pulled could be illegal.  I’ve decided it’s not worth it to bother with screwing around with that, especially for such a small amount of non-monetary goods.  Chances are, this person will get what’s coming to him.  Word of unprofessionalism like this gets around fast in the modeling industry, as people don’t appreciate busting their asses to work with people who lack the integrity to honor their promises.

One can only hope that this person has the decency to not treat his paying clients the way he treated his staff.  I can’t imagine working with someone on what amounts to one of the most important days in your life & dealing with some of the unprofessionalism he exhibited.  Hopefully, when dealing with actual clients, this person is honest, sticks to his word, & is professional enough lets clients know if circumstances change & he cannot deliver as promised.  If I were in the situation to be working with him as a paying client, I most certainly wouldn’t take the chance.

I will definitely not be working with him ever again.  This person’s utter disrespect for the people he hired & abundant display of unprofessionalism has completely, totally ruined any chances of that.  I will continue to leave his name on my credits list in hopes that people contact me to check references.

UPDATE! August 30, 2011

I did finally get a money order for the $50 that I was owed.  I had to ask for it though, and was told on August 25th that the check had mailed the morning of the 24th.  I let this person know that it would have been nice to know of the delay, since the agreement said checks would be delivered by the 21st and not mailed on the 24th.  This is the response I got regarding that:

i didn’t mean to make you feel small. I appreciate you.

I told him, “Appreciation doesn’t pay the bills. Not that that matters, because going back on your word and not notifying people you’d made agreements with until well into the event doesn’t say “appreciation”. No, Robert. THAT says “I don’t give a crap about you and expect you to just be a doormat and accept it”. Nice try. I expect my check to be delivered by Monday the 29th. I’m giving you way more leeway on this than most people would…”.  Yes, cold and a bit heavy-handed, but frankly, I don’t care.  No one deserves the kind of treatment he has shown, and I’m not about to sit quietly and let him think that treating people the way he has done is ok, because it’s overwhelmingly not.

This was his response to me on the 25th, verbatim:

When i say I didn’t mean to make you feel small, I really was trying to let you know that you’re acting soooo small and UNPROFESSIONAL.

But you were even too small to even have caught on.

Now I’m BLOCKING you. And that’s what’s nice about facebook.

What ever it is that happened to you to make you so emotional is just not everybody else’s fault. And if emotionally you can’t handle life, go to doctor and get help, but whatever you do, DO NOT SLANDER OR HARRASS ME.

STOP EMBARRASSING YOURSELF. YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE YOURSELF THE BUD OF OTHER PEOPLE JOKES. YOU ARE COMING OFF LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN.

LOVE ROBERT

Wow.  And yet I’m the unprofessional one, for desiring to be treated respectfully and compensated as promised, and for being the “squeaky wheel” in making sure that promises are delivered upon when the source has proved to be unreliable.  Right… anyway…

My money order came August 29th.  It was dated August 26th, two days after I was told “the check’s in the mail”.  It has been deposited.  Largely, I am happy.  I hope, however, that this person has learned that he can’t get away with treating people like shit.  If, that is, there’s anyone left in the area who’ll work with him…

May 2, 2011

I love pie. And this team.

Every once in awhile a team gets together and consistently creates great images.  Which is awesome, but sometimes, you all need to step outside your comfort zones and try something new.  That’s what Christian Carlson, Christin C and I did on Saturday.

We started out with a set I’m calling Eyes, Lips.  Christin used her skills as an artist to not only flawlessly do my makeup (and hair), but place an eye on one hand, and a lip on the other.  Christian busted out his gels and we shot a beauty set that was way different for all 3 of us.  Here are my 3 favorite shots from the set.

  

But then things got crazy.

This concept started out in my head just as a wardrobe idea, and was inspired by various people and things (songs, actually).  I made the “Diva” shirt, the earrings, and gathered a bunch of accessories together after getting inspiration from music artists Ke$ha, Dev, and P!nk.  When I sent Christin my wardrobe ideas, she came back with this mask idea, and I managed to find a material that worked for it.  She also had this great shot that involved Silly String, which we decided we wanted to include.  I also found large sequins at Hobby Lobby, and snagged those (glitter would have been way too hard to clean up, and may have just looked like dirt in the shots, which wasn’t what we wanted).  I brought a few empty cans of AMP as well.  The set evolved from just a musically-inspired set to one that evoked thoughts of having been out all night partying.  Which, thinking about who I drew inspiration from when it came to wardrobe, works well too 😉 LOL

Anyway, after the first set, Christin and drew on the mask I’d cut earlier in the week while Christian broke down his backdrop and re-set his lights.  And then we drew on me.  And then we piled on the accessories, tied on the mask, and started shooting.  I’ll just let the resulting shots speak for themselves…

 

  

 

Somehow, we managed to get them to be a little editorial, as well as a little crazy.  I feel like we were channeling a lot of different people here, and it kinda just… came together wonderfully.

This was, quite possibly, one of the most fun shoots I’ve ever done.  I have laughed on shoots before, but never this hard.

I think this conversation we had while reviewing pics sums it all up perfectly:

Christian: Wow… this looks like the set of a porn or something…
Christin: Yea, but it’s so awesome it makes me want to shit rainbows!!
Rachel: Christian, did you ever think you’d hear that about your work?

Check out the team’s Facebook Fan Pages, and LIKE THEM!

Christian G. Photography
Christin C Makeup

April 18, 2011

Shoot Results: Tembis Boutique

One of the first shoots I did when I got back from my break was with BLOPHOTO and Tayo of Tembis Boutique, for the Tembis Boutique spring 2011 line.  I shot three very different looks–a romper, a longer formal dress, and a short leopard-print dress.  After what seemed like a forever wait, I got some pics back! 🙂  Here are the 3 looks I did.

The cute romper, on the left, was actually shot two different ways.  It came with a sequin panel in it, which Tayo (the stylist for Tembis Boutique) cut out and planned to make optional.  We shot that with my fab Christian Siriano shoes and a beautiful ring made from a cut seashell.  This is the shot from that first look, which, as you can see, is a completely different look!

All in all, it was a really fun shoot!  The team was great, and much thanks goes out to them!

Check everyone out!
You can visit Tembis Boutique online at www.tembisboutique.com, and check out some of their great upcoming events and trunk shows.  Tembis Boutique remixes vintage clothing, giving it a new, modern twist.  Definitely worth checking out!

The rest of the team was BLOPHOTO (www.blophoto.com) and Kim of Bourgeois Faces (www.bourgeoisfaces.com).

March 15, 2011

Yay Nerdiness!

A photographer I’ve worked with often, Ryan a.k.a. Hallopino, was featured and interviewed in the online magazine RKYV.  He chose one of our many shots together as one to send into them as an example of this work, and RKYV chose that shot to be the cover of the issue he’s in 🙂  I’m also on page 23 of the ‘zine, where they note why they chose that particular shot.  Click the images to view them larger.

Check out the magazine and the rest of Ryan’s interview here: RKYV Online

Here are a few more of the shots we’ve done together.  A little small, but mostly to save space.  Here they are, in no particular order 🙂

  1. Go Bears!
  2. Comix v.Something.0
  3. Accordion Rockstar
  4. Fashion, for Erika Hendrix
  5. Werewolf
  6. Ice Queen

There’ve been a bunch more shoots we’ve done together, but those are the ones I had available right now  (and largely, fan favorites) 🙂

And again, Ryan’s website is www.hallopino.com.  Check it out!


January 21, 2011

Time to Get Dirty!

A couple months ago, I submitted 4 of my self-portraits (from the original, failed, 365 study) to a group called S.W.E.A.T (Society for Women in Erotic Art Today), for consideration for an upcoming exhibition.  I had no idea what the exhibition would be, and was pretty sure my self-portraits wouldn’t be accepted.  After all, though I did my best to choose 4 shots that fit the “erotic” theme, none of them were nude, and none of them evoked the word “erotic” to me.  “Sexy” maybe, but not “erotic”.

But apparently, someone found one of my pieces worthy of the show, because the piece below (titled “Open”) was chosen to exhibit with the S.W.E.A.T group at the Detroit, MI Dirty Show!  I’m super excited, and honored, to have been selected to be a part of both the show, and the group of women exhibiting at the show.  This is my first ever gallery show, both as a model and a photographer, so it’s an incredible opportunity for me.

I went today and had the print (which I titled, signed, dated, and numbered) framed.  Shout out to Blue Cube Imaging for the amazing printing and matting, because, as expected, the work was top-notch!  Here’s the print in it’s frame, as well as a close up of my title and signature.

If you’re interested in purchasing a matted print like this, let me know.  I’m selling the framed one at the Dirty Show for $175, but would be willing to do $150 for the matted print without the frame.  I will only print 50 of these, and since I’ve printed 2 already, there are only 48 more 11×14″ (matted at 16×20″) signed and numbered prints available.  You can email me at blog@modelracheljay.com if you’d like to purchase one.

I do plan on going to the show, but I am not sure when I’m going yet.  I’ll likely be posting about that when I make my plans.

From the press release about S.W.E.A.T and the Dirty Show:

For the first time ever the Society for Women in Erotic Art Today (S.W.E.A.T.) will be participating in an exhibition to showcase their artists – a group of females who specialize in the visual art of erotica.  In this historical debut, more than thirty S.W.E.A.T. artists from around the world will be featured by The Dirty Show® with a special exhibit in its upcoming Detroit show from February 11th through February 19th, 2011.

“Women are traditionally expected to be the subject of erotica – or at least part of the scene – an expectation usually held by both men and women who view erotica,” Gilcrest says. “It’s an interesting phenomenon that we tend to be surprised when we hear that a woman has actually produced erotica and even more surprised when we see that many women portray erotic scenes in a much different way than men.”  Gilcrest went on to explain: “S.W.E.A.T. was designed to promote women in a field they’re generally underrepresented in and we were thrilled when The Dirty Show® approached us to offer a venue to recognize our artists’ erotic works.”

“There has always been a substantial female presence on the walls at The Dirty Show®, but with the addition of S.W.E.A.T. artists the mix will be a lot closer to equal,” said Jerry Vile, Dirty Producer.  “For all I know, this time the males may be a minority in the show (we don’t keep tabs).  I think this is going to turn out to be something important – and like most things that become important, you might not know it was until years later. I am proud that The Dirty Show® is where they decided to debut.”

More info:

Check out S.W.E.A.T at www.sweatartists.com/boards
Visit the Dirty Show’s website at www.dirtydetroit.com
Order prints from Blue Cube at www.bluecubeimaging.com

January 19, 2011

A Break From The Break

Laura Ann Photography came up to visit me over the weekend, and we did some shooting while she was here.  Of course.  We shot 2 looks at the frozen beach in Highland Park, IL, followed by shooting a little on the train downtown, as well as while we walked to our destination downtown (ok, walked to get a cab to our destination LOL).  The next day, we shot at my apartment, took a break for lunch with Greg Kolack, and then shot some more at a top secret location.  Here’s a couple shots from the beach, as well as one from the set at my place (another of which is featured in my new header).  I imagine more will come eventually… I know Laura’s been pretty busy with editing 🙂

Shoutout to Christin C who did my hair and makeup for the first 2 shots! 🙂

January 13, 2011

Spotted Again!

After my wedding in June 2009, I shot a Vogue Bride set with Laura Ann Photography and Christin C. We fell in love with numerous shots from the set, but this particular one stuck out to us:

So Laura had Blue Cube Imaging print and mat a copy of that shot, which we brought over to the bridal shop I got my beautiful dress at, Doris Bridal in Highwood, IL.  As you can imagine, they loved it, and put it up behind the desk right away.  I went by a few weeks later with some of Laura’s and Christin’s business cards, and it was still up 🙂

So today, I was grabbing their address for someone, and decided to browse their website.  And what do I find on their About Us page?  ME!  In the shot they’ve taken to show off their space, you can see the print Laura and I delivered, prominently displayed.  Pretty cool!

January 12, 2011

Spotted on the Internet

A friend of mine was looking for ideas for a boudoir session she has coming up and she spotted me here: http://boudoirbyamybeth.com/index.php?page=2&gallery=1#3

Here’s a screenshot:

This is the first time any one of my friends has come across a photo of me on a website (one I didn’t know about no less) and told me about it!  How cool is that!?

October 13, 2010

Hey, that’s me!

Robert Tolchin, who was one of the very first photographers I worked with back when I started modeling, recently launched a new website at www.chicagoportraitphotographer.com.  He sent me over a link and told me to check it out.  Not only is it a great-looking, clean website, but there are a couple of pictures of me!  I most certainly didn’t expect to see myself both featured twice, and as photo number one! 🙂 Thanks Robert!

Also, Walter Belinski of Studio B Photography also recently launched a redesigned site, where I’m featured in numerous sections.  Walter and I work together a lot, and have a great time doing so.  Walter also works with Studio 2, one of the places that has hosted workshops for my MeetUp Group (Walter’s instructed numerous times as well).  Take a look… see how many different looks I’ve had and how much variety Walter and I have shot 😉 www.studiobphoto.net Thanks to you too, Walter! 🙂

Chicago models, I highly recommend both Walter and Robert.  Both are great photographers to work with!  They definitely know what they’re doing and are genuinely nice guys, easy to work with, and super professional.

August 7, 2010

Changin’ in up a bit…

New header and layout.  Figured it was about time.

My header image is by Christian G Carlson.  If you’re a fan, become one on Facebook 🙂  Oh, and my awesome hair and makeup?  Christin C did that.  You can fan her too 😉

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