In case you're interested I thought I'd put a blog post together for those of you who may be curious about booking a fetish model. This post is about bondage modelling and I'll try to follow it up with one about booking a spanking model from my perspective soon (and by soon I probably mean in about a year, cos I'm rubbish at posting...) I know plenty of professional fetish models with different guidelines and limits, so this is only a personal perspective. But I hope it may be of interest to anyone who wonders how this industry sometimes works.
So here are some FAQs, some of which I may have made up to entertain myself. Pictures are all by kind permission of Restrained Elegance this time round.
'Can I actually book a real life fetish model?'
You certainly can; we like it when you do, actually. And some of my best work has been done by people who started out as bondage fans, not as professional photographers.
'Do I need to tell you what to expect before we arrange a booking?'
Yes please. The more detail the better really. Knowing where I'll be, for how long, and whether I can see samples of your work somewhere are all very reassuring. That's not to say it's impossible to work with a model if you're new to photography, but if that's the case I'm likely to want to shoot at a studio where I'll be sure of being safe if I can't check references for you. And if you've never tied someone up before, I'd recommend getting some training or booking a rigger because it's easy to make dangerous mistakes as a beginner, even with the very best of intentions.
'Is a photoshoot a bit like a play session?'
No, it really isn't . Pretending you're not going to let someone go once they're tied up might be very good fun if you're in a long-term relationship with the tied-up person (though not necessarily) but it won't go down awfully well with a professional model. And it might make you sound a bit crass, really. Expecting your model to drop into subspace or have an orgasm is possibly over-ambitious, but aiming to get good quality pictures and video of bondage which will hopefully be very sexy for the viewer is absolutely realistic. Many models, whether or not they like bondage in their personal life, are wary of working with people who make them feel as though what they really want is a play-date. I do my best work with photographers who seem clear as to where the boundaries between work and play lie. And I tend to be more conservative with anyone who appears prone to over-excitement at the prospect of having a real-life girl in his studio.
'Can we do suspensions?'
Yes please! I love them. I reserve the right to see evidence of your previous work before I let you hang me up from the ceiling, and to be sure you understand the safety implications (and that you have plans in place for if something goes wrong). But go ahead, they're super fun. Brilliant! Bear in mind that doing multiple/very tough suspensions during one day is likely to bruise your model though, which could effect her other bookings for the week. Do pay attention to her body type (taller models are often heavier, so a position that works for a 5ft, light-framed model may be unfeasibly painful for a 6ft model). And please, please plan rigs that take account of pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. It's not rude to ask!
'Can we do outdoor work?'
Yes, we certainly can. Not in a busy shopping centre, and not for 8 hours in the snow without a break, but if we can scout out a great location then lets have a go (it might be good to have a plan B in case it's horrible weather though).
'What about gags? Will you wear them?'
Absolutely - any kind really. I like them to be clean, so I might wander off and wash them if they've got bits of carpet stuck to them, but the more the merrier, frankly. Hoorah for gags.
'What about nipple clamps?'
Oh, alright then. I'm happy with all different sorts, and I'm lucky that although my nipples are sensitive, they're not so sensitive that I can't endure nipple clamps for the course of a photoset or video. But please take them off carefully!
'How about girl/girl work?'
Well, I'll stand next to another girl. I like my fetish work to be a truthful depiction of my personal tastes so while I'm absolutely happy to model with other girls (love them, yes indeed) I'm not really the model to try sexual girl/girl work with.
'And will you dom?'
Hmmm. Again, I like my fetish work to reflect my interest, so I primarily like to play submissive roles. But I'm learning to rig, and I love it (in a dress-designer kind of way). So if you're looking for a model who can rig while doing domly sort of faces or saying domly kind of things, then absolutely, yes. If you're hoping for a pro-domme who'll inflict actual pain or verbal abuse then absolutely no. Unless you want it to be really, really lame. And I certainly, under no circumstances will dominate the photographer, studio owner, or makeup artist. That'd just be unconscionably rude.
'How about sexually explicit work?'
I can't speak for all other models of course, but my philosophy (which many other models in my acquaintance share) is this;- I'm entirely happy working nude, and I won't spend the shoot freaking out about keeping my legs glued together at all times. But if your primary intention is to get explicit 'open leg' shots, I'm not the model for you. My favourite photographers are those who aren't obsessive about featuring genitalia; work that makes the viewer use their imagination a bit is my preference
'How much do you charge?'
Since as a customer, I like shopping in places where the price is clearly displayed, I like to be transparent regarding my own pricing structure, so that people booking me will be reassured that they can't buy me cheaper if they search price comparison sites. My rates are £50 per hour, £300 per day (based on 7-8 hours) or £1000 per week. This includes travel within the Greater London area, and also includes a model release (which some producers use to keep a record of the identity of their model, and also as evidence that the shoot was conducted properly). I normally ask that travel further afield in the UK and worldwide is covered by the photographer, unless I'm already touring in their area.
'I'm worried about booking a model on my own, what should I do instead?'
There are various group-shoots, workshops and tuition sessions run by photographers that can be a huge help to people starting out. The BDM runs regular photographic tutorials focussed on bondage photography, and there are plenty of other photographers worldwide who offer tuition. If you like bondage but photographing a model yourself seems scary, unappealing or too expensive, then why not jolly well join Restrained Elegance this month, where we've done all the work for you, and you can enjoy the finished product without having to fumble round with bloody F-Stops, flash triggers and slippery models covered in body lotion.