About a month ago I was contacted by a lady out of the blue that had seen my work (via various www & social networking sites) and wanted me to shoot her with a very specific theme in mind. She was able to provide a MUA (make up artist) and all the necessary props for this shoot, she just wanted me to source a location that fitted the theme, and of course, take the photographs.
I won’t mention the theme of the shoot as that will be for another blog post – but suffice it to say the lady will be fully clothed, it is not topless/nude/implied nude, just a regular shoot with a cool theme.
There is a very good location available for this shoot, an abandoned building that suits the theme well, I even went and double checked to make sure. We exchanged a few emails, arranged a date and time and she even provided me with the details of the MUA she had chosen. So it was all in my diary.
Then I get another email from her today, completely out of the blue, saying that she was bringing her husband along as chaperone, end of.
Now the internet, for all its problems, can be a wonderful thing – the very first thing I do, when I receive any contact from a client, or prospective client, is to check them out on the web – nothing too heavy or deep, I’m no PI, but I do like to check people are who they say they are and do what they say they do – it’s just common sense really.
I’d also assume that any female contacting a male photographer would do the same, probably to a greater degree, you do hear so many “horror stories” that surely it’s the most sensible thing to do. And certainly as she contacted me she must have at least checked me out to some degree.
So the email from her was a little surprising, to say the least.
I only ever shoot one on one with a client or model if I have worked with them before, they know me and I know them. There is always a secondary (sometimes more) person present, usually an MUA, or stylist (or both). If this was a topless/implied nude shoot then I could understand a chaperone request, but not for this.
The MUA’s & stylists are professionals, they know to keep out of the way on set, the chaperone is not, so that is one extra person I have to be aware of, and I don’t want to be worrying or thinking about this person when I am trying to be creative with camera. Nor do I want husband tripping over a cable and breaking a leg either.
Some men (read most men!!) get extremely protective of their wifes/girlfriends especially when other men are around – a million years of evolution hasn’t changed much there! So when I say to the model – do this or do that, or pose like this or smile in this way, I want the model to do it without a glare from the husband/boyfriend – it just makes life easier.
So my dilemma is this – do I break my own rules and go ahead with this shoot with the chaperone present, or do I stick to my guns and explain my stance with the client?
Would be interested to know what you would do in this situation.
Best – Colin