Escorts are a controversial topic within the photography and modeling world. There is a lot of heated arguments on both sides of this topic. Escorts are when a model or a photographer asks to bring a friend to a shoot with them. That friend would “escort” the model or photographer during the shoot. Models generally refer to them as escorts, where photographers often refer to them as “assistants”. Before I get into my stance on this, let us review some of the arguments from each side of the aisle.
ARGUMENTS (SOME) AGAINST ESCORTS
The main arguments around not allowing escorts tend to lean towards financial security. With the addition of extra people in a shoot, there are more people to watch and a larger chance of gear walking away on its own. Even if the escort is presumed honorable, there is an increased chance of things getting knocked over and broken. Photographers, especially, bring thousands of dollars worth of equipment to each and every photo shoot and the risk of being mugged or stolen from is real.
There are further problems when it comes to inexperienced photographers who simply do not work well knowing there is another person watching over their shoulder or for a model having additional eyes watching them. This can be compounded when the escort is in a relationship with the model. This can result in escorts putting their two cents in or models constantly asking for permission to pose for a particular shot. I personally have had to deal with significant others interfering with a shoot and making the model agitated for no reason.
Even when the escort is not a significant other, there is the real chance of a delayed shoot. Models or photographers wasting the other party’s time, while they chat with their friend. I have also been on shoots where time is limited and a bunch gets wasted with chatting.
ARGUMENTS (SOME) FOR ALLOWING ESCORTS
The argument in favor of allowing escorts tends to be a simple one… Safety. This is especially important when the photographer and model have not worked with each other before, a new / remote location is involved, or a higher intensity of shoot is happening (starting to shoot explicit content).
Having a second person around who is on their side and looking out for their best interest can go a long way to putting photographers or models at ease. Having someone to help with make-up or help adjust lighting and the set, can save time. More over, just having a third party witness to verify how events took place can be comforting.
THE BOTTOM LINE AND MY STANCE ON ESCORTS
My stance on escorts is simple:
“Fear people who fear escorts”
Plain and simple. The arguments against escorts are real and worth looking into, but NEVER come close to over riding safety concerns. Look, it is even simpler than that. No photo shoot is going to go well and produce great results while either party is anxious, nervous and/or scared. EVER.
If you are looking to shoot with me and want to bring an escort, know that I automatically agree to you bringing them, no questions asked.
There should be steps taken to mitigate the concerns of the model or photographer who is against escorts though. Here are some things you can do to put their concerns to rest:
- If at all possible, do not use your significant other as an escort. This can lead to awkward situations.
- Prepare your escort before the shoot. Let them know your expectations of them (staying out of the way and not getting involved in the shoot unless invited).
- Know that you are responsible for the actions of your escort and any damage they cause – keep control of them.
- Let escorts know they may be called upon to help out with the shoot.
I, personally, am notorious for putting escorts to work. I often have them hold lighting, or props. I have them assist in set changes or wardrobe issues. If they are game, I will often have them join in on the shoot. Getting escorts involved is one of the best ways to both keep an eye on them and making them useful. I will have them join in the shoot as a second model interacting with the primary model; a sort of “human prop”.
At the end of the day, no one is ever required to shoot. If you want an escort and the other person does not allow it, simply do not shoot. Do not bad mouth each other for your choices, that is in bad taste and happens way too often.
In my world, safety and putting a model at easy ALWAYS comes before any concerns I may have against having an escort there.
FEAR THOSE THAT FEAR ESCORTS