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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Choose Your Escort Carefully

When I say "escort" I'm talking about the person you bring with you on your photo shoots, so there shouldn't be any confusion about what "escort" means.

Most times, a professional booking your agent gets you is one of the few times you most likely won't need an escort with you, since there tends to be about a half dozen or more people on the shoot.

However, for portfolio-building shoots, TFP/TFCDs, and for models who are freelance or just starting and don't have agency representation, you have the option of bringing an escort with you.

The purpose of an escort is to have someone there with you for safety reasons. This is true especially if you are under 18--in fact, in the United States, it is the law for an underage model to have a parent/guardian present at all times. I've stated before that any legit and reputable photographer will not only welcome having an escort present during the shoot, but will encourage you to bring someone.

This ensures that no funny business happens during the shoot or that the model's comfort zone isn't compromised or taken advantage of. Of course there are photographers who would rather not deal with escorts altogether and may even refuse to work with models who insist on bringing one. This does not always mean a red flag, however--many photographers have horror stories of escorts who have ruined shoots and are justified in why they uphold a no escort policy.

But you should never feel forced to work with a photographer without an escort if you really want one present. Use your best judgment to decide whether to forgo the escort of if you'd rather work with another photographer.

In today's world, there are a lot of sick people out there and it is in your best interest to have someone you know there to make sure business is conducted and handled properly. Even models who are of age (18 and 21+) should bring an escort to their shoots. In worst case scenarios, you would have someone to serve as a witness.

 Sometimes we don't like to admit it, but bad things do happen and they happen to anyone...so don't think you're immune. Never put yourself in a sticky situation. The chances of something bad happening to you during a shoot are greatly decreased when there is an escort present. Of course, that isn't to say that having an escort means you're completely safe. But the odds are much better when an escort is there.

When it comes to choosing who to bring along to your shoots as an escort, pick wisely. Don't just bring anybody. In my opinion, any escort you bring should be 21 or older. If you are a model who is under 18, your escort should be a parent or other guardian.

Older siblings should be the next in line for consideration as an escort. If you can, try to avoid bringing your friends along. We all know how giggly and silly friends can be so that is just common sense, not to mention that you are no safer if the escort you bring is underage. The two of you are more likely to be taken advantage of so separate your friends from this part of your modeling career. You should never have more than one escort at a shoot, because it tends to be distracting for everyone involved.

When I go out on shoots, I always try to have my best friend, who is also my stylist, as my escort. He knows my modeling career inside and out and is always there to support me if anything happens that I don't agree with. When he isn't available, I have a good guy friend of mine who serves as my bodyguard...seriously, that's what he calls himself. LOL.

But he's a great guy who packs a lot of muscle and looks intimidating so I always feel safe when he's around. He knows what I do so he already knows what to expect. My boyfriend, who is one of my photographers, has actually told me that he prefers to not be my escort because he can get carried away with critiquing the shots and feels that I would be able to focus better without him there. Of course, if I can't get anyone else to go with me, then he'll gladly come along. Make sure you have a good communication system with the people who serve as your escorts.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to who you choose as your escort, is to know that the person you bring with you should be aware of what to expect and how the shoot works. A lot of people who have no experience with modeling think that shoots will be fast paced and exciting to watch. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Shoots can last hours and a lot of it is standing around for the model, so you can imagine how boring it may be for the person who isn't even in the shoot. Tell them to bring a book or something to keep them occupied. If they want to help during the shoot, let the photographer know. That greatly helps when it comes to setting up shots, moving equipment, etc. So if the escort you're thinking of bringing has no interest in doing any of that, then you should pick someone else.

Your escort should be someone who you don't mind modeling in front of. So don't bring someone who makes you shy or embarrassed to do your thing. This person should obviously know beforehand that you model and is familiar with the work you've done. This makes things flow a lot easier. If you're bringing a parent or guardian, make sure they don't try to get too involved in the shoot to the point where they're distracting the photographer or yourself.

When it comes to boyfriends and girlfriends, think very carefully about bringing your significant other as an escort. If your girlfriend or boyfriend has jealousy issues, is insecure or isn't completely supportive of your modeling career, you'd be better off with a different escort.

No matter who you decide to bring, sit them down and explain to them the nature of the shoot, how they can help, what they should bring, etc. Most importantly, tell them that you need them there for support. If your escort is open-minded, laid-back and fun, they'll have a great time watching you do your thing.


pinup_girl said...

Oh no! I've missed 3 posts! I have some catching up to do on the "Modeling 101" blog! But as always, this post was very informative. You are probobly helping dozens of modeling hopefuls! Way to go!!!

pinup_girl said...

Thank you for the post comment! You are TOO sweeet! :]