A little while ago I had scheduled a High School Senior Portrait Session. Of course for everyones protection we have a contract so that we can address expectations and provide safe guards for both us and the clients. So when looking at the contract the mother was concerned over my being able to use the images. As the photographer I do own the commercial copyright and of course need to use the images since as a photographer, you have to show your work so that people can see what you do. I assured her that it was in my best interest to only show her daughter or any of my clients in their best light, and never would it be my intent to embarrass or compromise any of my subjects whether they are a paying client or just a model for a project I am shooting. So after explaining my philosophy and practices she was comforted. We then went out and shot the session and she experienced with her daughter what we do and how we work hard to get great imagery for them but also have fun while always keep a air of professionalism. I think after she realized how much fun it could be, she immediately booked us to shoot a portrait session for her other daughter who is in college.
So for me I was a bit confused why she had so much concern in the beginning. I mean I get it, I have daughters too so we all are protective of them. Then the other week I saw something that made me completely understand it all. I saw something posted of one of my friends and was shocked and to tell you the truth angered. She was modeling for a photographer and unknown to her, they had video recorded her while changing. I mean she was behind something so you could not directly see her but with the sun directly behind her you could definitely see a clear sihloette of her, like shows or clubs often do when they want to make something look provocative without actually showing you anything. My first reaction was OMG! what is going on there. I immediately sent a message to her and she had them take down the video. I mean the video only had the very end of her changing but I sort of think they must have recorded the entire thing. I don’t really want to get into it too much but I just don’t even know what this photographer was thinking…well maybe I do but I will try not to pass too much judgement on this. But with this I now totally understood why my client had been so concerned. I mean my friend never gave consent for the video and most likely would have recourse if it came to that but just that act in itself reminds me that different people have different agendas.
To be honest I was mad on a couple of levels. One that it was completely inappropriate and potentially damaging for my friend. Then also, it makes me mad as a photographer to have this happen because it cheapens what all the rest of us are trying to do. I am not naive to think there are not those out there trying to take advantage of situations or do questionable things, but for me, I want to lift up my clients by helping them to enjoy the process and to see themselves in the best light. So to all those would be clients and models, always try to understand what you are getting into. And for all my fellow photographers, let’s lift up our profession and maintain a high level of skill and character so that people will respect who we are and the work that we do.