Tag Archives: business

Escort Policy

Ashley (2011)

Ashley (2011)

It seems that lately I’ve been asked this question a lot and with the amount of models that I shoot with, especially new models fresh to the scene, it’s a good topic to discuss: the escort policy. I believe that this is one issue that every photographer who works as a portrait artist should address and have a firm set of guidelines that they stand by.

Wait… Mike! Stop! What exactly is an escort?
Oh… right… duh! Well, an escort is any person that a model brings with them just to ensure their safety especially during first time shoots or shoots where the subject might be a bit out of their normal comfort zone.

So what’s your policy, Mike?
I have a pretty simple policy that I developed after reading a lot of blog, books, magazines, etc. and, while it has been tough at times to stand by it firmly, I have managed to do just that and I find that it works best for all parties involved.

I have no problem with an escort coming along to a shoot as long as they are of the opposite sex and not a significant other. If the shoot is of a personal nature, I leave it up to the model to decide if they want that person “in the room” or just nearby.

So… why does it matter?
It matters for two reasons. The first is definitely the safety and comfort of the model. I want all the models and clients I work with to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible and if an escort helps them feel safe for the first shoot or two, I say go for it. The second is for the photographer’s protection.

Let’s get intimate… wait… what?
While I have not personally had an issue so far, I find that the connection between a photographer and his subject is often a lot more intimate than most people truly realize. While it is not a romantic connection by any means, it is a connection between two human beings. The model is definitely opening themselves up to a level of vulnerability that only that photographer and a select few ever truly get to see, let alone, capture on film.

So, I’ve found that with that intimacy being there, close friends of the same-sex usually have no issue. They are just that… friends. However, members of the opposite sex, whether they are in a relationship with the model or not, tend to switch into a protective mode, which is a natural instinct. And, if they are in a relationship, there is definitely major possibilities for jealousy.

So that’s my policy for those who are curious. I’ve found it works great and, while I have had some questions and a bit of compromising here and there, for the most part, it works for all parties.

Pre-Shoot Process

Those Eyes

Those Eyes

I spend a lot of time with my clients and models walking them through my process from start to finish when it comes to a photo shoot.  I want everyone I work with to be aware of the “behind the scenes” type stuff so they can have a better understanding of what I do.  It also helps them to know that photography isn’t only about having a good eye and a quick trigger finger anymore.  In the world of digital imagery, the entire process from pre-shoot conceptualizing all the way through to post-processing and retouching that comes into play.

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to outline my process that I use with clients as it sits today.  This is only my particular business process* and how I go about planning and staging my portrait sessions. As I encounter different situations, I am constantly evolving the process to better suit my clients and models.  Each shoot is different and may vary slightly, but for the most part, I’ve found the following steps really help me to outline what I’m doing and where I’m going with a client.

*I won’t be discussing my specific post-processing and retouching process in this post.  I might do a couple videos or posts about it in the future so stay tuned.

Before the Shoot

  1. During the initial contact, I always have a quick discussion just to get the “lay of the land” from the client.  Then, I set up a time to meet with the client before the shoot.
  2. Prior to the client meeting, I will email the client a confirmation as well as pass along some websites they may want to look at for ideas on look and feel of their images.  I will ask them to send me a few links of images they really enjoy to help me better understand visually what they see in their heads.
  3. During the pre-shoot meeting, I will discuss further details about the shoot including possible locations, clothes, etc. and we will lock down a specific shoot date.  Depending upon the type of shoot, there may be some forms to be signed prior to the session.
  4. After the meeting, I will take some time before the shoot to scout out a location, do some test shooting, and familiarize myself with the entire concept and look of the shoot.  This allows for a smoother shoot rather than just “winging it,” even though I do some of that too.
  5. Again, depending on the type of shoot, there may be forms to sign on the day of the session.  If there is a reason that the shoot can’t happen, we will reschedule as soon as possible.

After the Shoot

  1. I will download and review all the images from the session.  My first round of edits will throw out all unusable images (out of focus, too bright, too dark, etc).
  2. During my second round of editing, I take the remaining images and apply basic corrections and adjustments to colors, saturation, clarity, etc.  These are what I consider to be my digital negatives.
  3. During my third round of editing, I will review the corrected images and choose the ones that I feel are the best.  Then, I take these into a more enhanced editing process including retouching and artistic processing.  These are what I consider to be my final images.  Unless otherwise discussed, these are the images that will be available to you for print.
  4. Once your images are ready, I will email you a link and a password to log into your client viewing area.
  5. You may order prints directly through the online print shop*.  There are many options available and I can guarantee the quality of the images being printed to be the best.