Not just anyone who picks up a camera can call themself a photographer. In the modeling industry, you should only work with those that are true professionals that can provide quality work for your portfolio. With a little know-how, you'll be able to tell the difference between a legit, reputable photographer and a wanna-be.
Never heard the term "GWC" before? Well, add it to your arsenal of model industry terminology. A GWC stands for "Guy With a Camera." Simply put, the GWC is a guy who spends a lot of money on a professional camera and somehow thinks he now qualifies to shoot with models. In the majority of cases, the GWC has no experience or practical training and simply wants to entice young and naÔve aspiring models into taking pictures that are normally for private use and involve nudity or semi-nudity.
Please note: there are plenty of professional photographers who have established themselves without the use of formal training (college). These photographers do not fall under the GWC category for the simple fact that they either took some classes or taught themselves and now run their photography business successfully and actually study their craft. So don't get the two confused.
So how can you tell if you're dealing with a GWC? You'll simply have to do your homework and research each photographer you plan on working with. Because there are a variety of different photographer personalities, finding a GWC will vary from situation to situation.
First, ask for a link to their work/portfolio. This will be the most important factor in distinguishing a true photographer from a GWC. You want a photographer who has experience not only shooting models but with shooting the type of modeling you're interested in (fashion, commercial, editorial, etc.). If his portfolio doesn't showcase any of this work, is really poor quality, or if he doesn't even have a portfolio to show, move on. (Even if you aren't a photography expert, it is very easy to tell good photography from bad photography).
Some GWCs specialize in glamour photography, which they feel entitles them to shoot models in various stages of undress, implied nudity and Playboy style nudity. However, the GWC usually produces work that looks cheesy, doesn't utilize the true features of the camera, lighting, setup, etc. Be wary of a glamour photographer whose work mainly consists of models with backgrounds that are taken in a house/personal residence and not a studio or other professional quality background/setting.
Any legit photographer, glamour or otherwise, should have a good list of past clients they have worked with and names of models they can use as references. If the photographer in question is hesitant to provide such information or gets irritated, angry or upset, this is not someone you should be working with.
Many GWCs specifically ask for young models with no experience. Take these jobs at your own risk! The photographer may be looking for fresh faces but if he doesn't have a solid portfolio and list of past clients, he could just be looking for naÔve girls to shoot that don't know any better.
If you're good about reading body language, you can usually tell if a guy is a GWC or a real photographer. If the guy doesn't really know how to use his camera, doesn't know the lingo for shooting, or doesn't have any kind of pro equipment to use, he could be a GWC.
Just because someone has a camera that costs thousands of dollars, that does not automatically make them a pro photographer! Network wisely and do your research on anyone interested in shooting with you. Safety first and remember, the GWC can't contribute to your portfolio of work...he's only in it for cheap thrills and to see how many girls he can get to take off their clothes. People like this do exist so be careful!