Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tip from Photography de Rêve for models and their photographers

If you're in the world of modeling or photography of models on an amateur/semi-pro level a topic that is often of discussion and sometimes heavily debated is if models should be allowed to bring an escort with them to shoots.

Here's Photography de Rêve's take on it:

Safety comes first.  If you're a model and going to a shoot with a photographer that you have never worked with before I highly recommend taking an escort.  There are many great photographers who are extremely passionate about their craft and have nothing but respect for the individuals they work with but unfortunately, as with most things in life, there are a handful of people with bad intentions.  That said, safety comes first.

There are some exceptions to the "always bring an escort" rule and here's a few.  If it's a professional (commercial) shoot the idea of bringing an escort is pretty much out the door.  You have reached the level where you are working with a good photographer that has a paying client.  Do you bring your friend/boyfriend/girlfriend with you to your day job?

You're experienced enough or have the right look for a high-end photographer to agree to do a trade or test shoot with you.  If he/she is a high-end photographer that more than likely means they have a good reputation.  If that particular photographer has a no escort policy, and typically they will, check references if you're still uncomfortable.  If you encounter this scenario be happy because you've got talent!

In the few instances I've enforced a no escort policy on non-commercial shoots it has been do to a requirement to limit the number of people on set.  Photographers may need to limit the number of people on set due to various reason such as the location being an upscale private residence, a small location with a sizable crew and model roster, or a large crew and model roster. Imagine if you have 2 or 3 MUAs and hairstylists, 1 or 2 assistants, a videographer, and each of your 5 models brings an escort.  Things can get out of hand pretty quick.  The well thought out shoot that has gone through many hours of pre-production has just turned into utter chaos.  In any instance I enforce a no escort policy there is always at least a MUA present and/or another model.  Never do I enforce a no escort policy when it is a test shoot which would typically be just myself and the model.  When and if I make the big move to LA and have my own high-end studio this could change :)

Why photographers should allow escorts.  Several photographers argue that an escort is a distraction to the model.  At times this is true and that's when you need to ask the escort to either leave or wait in another room.  Fortunately I seldom encounter that issue.  I believe it is beneficial for the model to bring an escort, especially for an amateur model who would otherwise be apprehensive.  If the model is uncomfortable this will be reflected in your imagery and you can pretty much dump all your work in the recycle bin or the never to be displayed file.  Congratulations because you've just got nothing in return for your time other than additional mileage on your shutter.

More tips for models and photogs in regard to escorts and people on set:
  • Always arrange and agree on the presence of an escort prior to the shoot.
  • Never bring someone to the shoot with you that is not expected.  When working with amateur models this includes photographers.  I always disclose ahead of time who will be on location; I.E. Makeup artist, hair stylist, wardrobe stylist, 1 or 2 assistants.
  • Never have your friend/boyfriend/girlfriend show up in the middle of a shoot unexpected.  This is one of the most unprofessional actions we have encountered with amateur models on multiple occasions.  It is a serious distraction to the shoot.  We are using our time to create amazing photographs, not entertain your friends/spouses.  If you want someone to come as an escort, again, arrange this ahead of time.  If you tell your friend/spouse the location of the shoot for your safety that is fine, and actually recommended, but you should explain to them they cannot show up in the middle of the process.
Remember though, the most important thing is to have fun.  Photography and modeling is an art and those who are passionate about it enjoy creating breath taking images.

And when everything comes together you capture a moment like this.

- Robert Wong

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