Ask any photographer their opinion on chaperones and you will get a very mixed response.
If a new model is just breaking into the profession she, or indeed he, may ask if they can bring a chaperone along to provide some level of safety or boost their confidence.
We say safety because they do not know the credibility or attitude of the photographer. There are plenty of ‘Geek with Camera – GWC’ types who are more than happy to part with a wedge of cash to see a model disrobe to partial or complete nudity. Their ability as a photographer may be good or questionable, and it is a risk for anyone to compromise themselves when they do not know the person they are working with.
To act professionally we always discuss a models ‘levels of work’ prior to a shoot. We pitch for shoots by placing castings on professional modelling websites. These sites facilitate a model looking at references and testimonials written and placed on the site. Thus lending some credibility to the attitude and action of the photographer. Models are also left feedback to attest to their performance and abilities to turn up and work professionally.
We are lucky! As a male with female partner and assistant, the workload is delineated into girls working with the models on dressing, styling and make up and me looking after technical aspects of the set, the lighting and the shoot itself. It negates the need for a model to feel concerned as we have impeccable standards to ensure they feel comfortable at all times.
You can see from the fun attitude and engagement in this shoot, just how much the model has settled into her comfort zone. We get to know people so we can engage with them in a friendly and fun way which gets them relaxed and able to laugh and enjoy the time with us. The results speak for themselves.
Also we let a model set the level she is comfortable with and do not push her boundaries. There is enough gratuitous content out there to go to the Sun and back a million times. We prefer provocative tease where often less is more and the model remains clothed and lets her personality and swagger do the talking. If people have a desire to shoot nude, we can do this, we are after all not prudish and see nudity as a beautiful thing if expressed artistically. But we generally reserve working to this level with people we know and have shoot with several times, or where they have commissioned us to do a shoot for themselves or a loved one.
So coming full circle to give our opinion on chaperones. We welcome people who come with a good attitude and willingness to participate. So no jealous partners, and no people who just sit there and get in the way of any progress.
You can see in this instance the model brought her Mum along. We got along fabulously well and they got a couple of cool shots together that were not part of the planned shoot, but taken as a Thank You for the Mum’s fun attitude and input.