Bringing an Escort: Anti-Escort Arguments

As a continuation of yesterday’s pro-escort post, where I looked at common pro-escort arguments, today I’ll touch on some common anti-escort arguments.  To make it easier, I’ve continued my numbering scheme from yesterday’s post.

Anti-Escort Arguments
This set of arguments is often used by those who don’t allow escorts.  It’s also often used by those who don’t feel escorts are necessary themselves.  I’ve broken them down and addressed each one individually, continuing the numbering system from above.

16. An escort is a threat to the photographer’s safety.
In some cases, this is true.  I know a handful of photographers who have been at the scary end of an escort (one of whom came face-to-face with the business end of a handgun).  Aside from that, I myself have been at a shoot where an angry boyfriend spent hours glaring at the photographer, and if looks could kill… hoo boy!  We’d likely all have been dead, to be honest.  It wasn’t a good situation.  That particular photographer happens to be a military serviceman trained in combat, so the escort wasn’t a problem… but he has since changed his “escorts are welcome” policy to one of “escorts are not welcome”.  I can’t say I blame him.

Now, let’s remove the boyfriend from the picture for a second and bring in a hired bodyguard.  Sounds ridiculous, but I had a model come to a M&G with one by her side, so it wouldn’t shock me if she (or others) brought them to shoots.  Now, I unfortunately didn’t verify whether or not this chap was armed, but I can’t imagine what would have happened if someone at the M&G made a move towards the model that the bodyguard thought was threatening.  This was at a public place, so it actually makes me cringe to think about!  But imagine if you were a photographer working with a model who hired a bodyguard to escort her on a shoot with you… and you moved in close to her to adjust a piece of hair that had gone astray.  The bodyguard views it as a threat and the next thing you know you’re at the business end of a tackle–or worse.  Not the ideal situation… is it?

There are also numerous stories of escorts who have stolen from photographers’ homes and/or studios.  Smaller things that are easy to grow legs include memory cards, laptops, pocket wizards, lenses, and cash.  But certainly if you were to take inventory of your studio (or home) right now you’d find a lot more that could easily go missing if you weren’t watching a stranger in your home closely for as little as 30 minutes, or as long as 8 hours.  Couldn’t you?

17. An escort can be a threat to the model’s safety.
During the shoot I briefly mentioned in answer 16, the boyfriend asked the model not-so-nicely to change out of a certain outfit.  He asked again a bit later, when she had something else on.  Luckily it didn’t escalate into violence, but it easily could have.

Sure sure, everyone thinks their boyfriends are perfect angels and wouldn’t harm a fly.  Tell that to the model who showed up at the studio of another photographer I’ve worked with.  She had her face beaten in by her boyfriend, who escorted her shoot the day before, because he hadn’t approved of how sexy she’d been acting.  He opted to teach her a lesson with his fists and send her to the studio to make sure the photographer deleted all her photos.

18. There’s no good way to check and verify references on an escort.
Face it, there’s no great way to make sure the model’s escort is who he says he is.  Sure, you can ask her, but really, how are you going to know she’s telling the truth?  You could ask other photographers, but how do you know the guy who was all polite and quiet at last month’s shoot is the same guy that will show up to your shoot?  You don’t.

And then there are people who are just plain dishonest.  Take into the account the story of the model who didn’t want to flake on a shoot, yet had a boyfriend who suddenly had something more important to do besides go to a shoot with her.  Being that she had a strict “I shoot with an escort present at all times” policy, she opted to (are you ready for this) go to a bar before the shoot, pick up a guy who looked big and strong, and bring him to the shoot as her boyfriend.  That particular model opted to endanger herself and the photographer by bringing in a complete stranger… and what makes it worse was that she not only lied about it, but thought it was funny when posting about it on the MM forums later on.

19. An escort can make the model uncomfortable, especially in regards to “suggestive” images.
Been there myself on one of my early shoots, though I wasn’t shooting anything suggestive.  In fact, I was shooting regular clothed stuff… but I spent a large chunk of the time worrying that the friend I brought was bored, wanted to leave, and I ended up having a hard time concentrating on the shoot.  I can’t imagine how I’d have felt shooting a boudior session with a girl friend in the room, and would have been distracted during the same session by the idea of turning my husband on.

20. An escort may try to control or direct the shoot.
An escort may have ideas, and may wish to share them.  Great… except as the photographer, you’ve concepted out the shoot to your specifications (or the client’s), and you don’t care about the escort’s ideas, because it’s not his shoot.  Hopefully when you nicely ask him to pipe down he isn’t the type to get violent…

And as I mentioned in number 16, what if the escort doesn’t like what the model’s wearing and makes her change.  That kinda screws things up, doesn’t it?

21. An escort may mess with the hair and makeup, after it’s already been done, in an effort to “fix” things.
When you have someone on set who doesn’t share your vision and has “the model’s best interest in mind”, but also doesn’t have the qualifications to make adjustments to certain things, you’re going to run into problems.  The model’s job is to model her hair, makeup and wardrobe as she’s told by the photographer/art director/stylists on set.  It is not her job to model her hair, makeup and wardrobe as her escort feels looks best.

22. An escort might try to take photos over the photographer’s shoulder.
I’ve actually been on a shoot where this happened–someone else’s escort was snapping shots of me as I was modeling–and I tell you, it’s annoying as a model, so I can’t imagine how it feels from a photographer’s point of view.  I can imagine though, that it’s rather annoying to do all the hard work of setting up lighting, getting the model’s hair and makeup so that it matches your vision, and then some schmuck steals the shot with his iPhone.  Extra points when he publishes the shot on his MySpace and your client finds it and opts not to work with you again, as you’re releasing unedited shots they’ve paid you for.

23. The model may constantly look to the escort for approval.
The shoot I mentioned earlier (in number 16) may be a good example of this.  The boyfriend was offering his approval whether he was asked for it or not, but clearly (because the model changed out of something he didn’t like) the model valued his opinion enough to agree that what she was wearing wasn’t appropriate.  But what if the person the model brought isn’t her boyfriend?  Chances are, she’ll want to make sure her BFF, her awesome gay friend, or her mother all continue to view her as the perfect person she is, so she’ll constantly look to them to make sure her outfit’s ok, her pose is ok, and her hair/makeup is ok.  Bottom line, it causes a huge, unnecessary distraction during a shoot if the model is constantly looking at someone and silently asking, “is this ok, or will it change your opinion of me?”.

24. An escort will likely ask endless questions.
This will especially be the case if the escort is an “aspiring photographer”.  As a photographer, you’ll get questioned about your gear, your lenses, your lights, your studio, and why you’re wearing all black.  It’s even posssible that your light placement, your methods, and your shoot direction will be questioned.  After all, it’s entirely possible that this aspiring photographer knows better than you 🙄

If the person isn’t someone who wants to be a photographer when they grow up, chances are, you’ll still get questioned.  The questions might be innocent and simply about your equipment, but you might find yourself face to face with someone who wants to search your bathroom and dressing area for hidden cameras.  You could get one of those curious types who likes to touch everything they ask about too, and if they happen to be clumsy and break something, you think they’ll be able to pay for it?

While you may not know the type of questions you’ll get until that person is actually there barraging you with them, why risk it?

25. An escort might get bored and want to leave before the shoot is over.
I see it over and over, “oh my boyfriend comes but he brings his homework to do”.  I remember when I was a student, how much I loved doing my homewo–oh, wait.  No.  I hated doing homework, and always regretted not bringing something else with me to do on long plane rides, bus rides, or when I went home for the holidays. I know that lots of other students are the same way.

That shoot I talked about above (yup, number 16), that guy had brought his homework with.  And his guitar.  And he was plunked in front of the photographer’s TV and told, “we have digital satellite, knock yourself out”.  Yet he still interfered with the shoot.  It’s also worth noting that he had his car there, and could have left to go get food, walk around the mall, or whatever.  He did ask to leave early, but the model denied him that because she didn’t want to be stranded there, she wasn’t done shooting, and none of us lived close enough to her to drive her home.  Thankfully she didn’t give in to his wanting to leave early, because she was essential to one of the concepts we were shooting.

Bottom line is, if you have someone there who’s not part of the shoot and who is (in many cases) forbidden from participating or even being in the same room, chances are, they’ll get bored.  And when they’re bored enough, they’ll want to leave, and you’ll be stuck with a model who either risks being stranded or has to end the shoot early to appease her escort.  Or you’ll risk distractions from a bored, whiny escort.  Blech!

26. Needing an escort increases the flake risk.
If model only will work with one person, especially her significant other, it seriously ups the flake risk.  If, for example, her boyfriend suddenly decides he wants to go out with his buddies and watch the game, she’ll no longer shoot.  Or the boyfriend could decide he just doesn’t feel like going.  Again, she won’t shoot.  Essentially, instead of relying on one person to show up, you’re relying on two people to show, therefore doubling your flake risk.  Why bother?

27. An escort might push the model to go past her limits.
It’s a bit of a spin off of the model looking to the escort for approval, but sometimes, an escort might encourage the model to do something she’s not interested in.  If, for example, the photographer wants the model topless for a shot, and she’s not comfortable with that, she might look to her escort for approval, planning on the escort saying, “no, you shouldn’t do that”.  But if the escort doesn’t realize the model doesn’t want to go that direction (or even has ulterior motives, such as seeing the model’s tits), there’s a chance he’ll side with the photographer and push the model to do something she’ll ultimately regret.  Not cool… especially because some models will then turn around and blame the person who started pushing them in the first place: the photographer.

28. An escort could steal or break things from the studio/home.
This may go hand in hand with the boredom and the asking questions arguments.  You get someone who’s bored and not allowed in the shoot area, and he might wander the studio (or home, as many photographers work out of their homes).  Next thing you know, your wife is wondering where her pearls are, or you’re wondering if you really did take $200 out of the ATM.

You get someone who’s Mr. Questions, and who’s picking things up and asking about them, without knowing how to properly handle them, and the risk of breakage goes up.  Not to mention having someone else on set to trip over wires, knock over lights, and otherwise cause issues likely isn’t a god thing.

It all boils down to two things.  1, having someone you don’t know and can’t keep an eye on in your home/studio isn’t a great idea.  And 2, having an extra body on set who’s not there to work isn’t a great idea.

29. An escort may harass others on set.
The questioning and possibly even breaking others’ items may extend to the MUA or other models.  At a group shot event ages ago, I watched a model’s friend start to rummage through another’s bag (thankfully, mine was locked).  I’ve heard of stories where escorts have contaminated MUA’s kits with their fingers, where items have gone missing from other models or talent on the set, or where, in general, escorts have caused a problem.  Simply not cool.  And really, if there are going to be other people on the set in the first place, why the need to bring an escort?!

30. Another model’s escort may make other models on set uncomfortable/distracted.
It’s happened to me before, getting hit on by other model’s escorts.  I’ve also gotten the stinkeye from Mr. Hired Bodyguard at an event I hosted.  Both accounts, not cool, and totally uncalled for.  And they most certainly made me feel rather crappy during the shoot/event.  In the case of the other model’s escort hitting on me, it wasn’t something the model believed, because her boyfriend loooooved her and would never do such thing :rolls eyes: Uh huh.

Regardless, as a photographer, you need to control your set, and as a model, you have every right to feel comfortable on that set.  Getting leered at by assholes who can’t control themselves doesn’t, in my book, fall under “being comfortable”.

31. An escort is a liability risk if injured during a shoot, especially if they’re assisting/carrying gear when the injury occurs.
Often times, a photographer’s insurance policy may only cover talent on sent, not the talent’s boyfriend, mother, or hired bodyguard.  This means that if someone is injured (from papercuts to pulled muscles, and from falling lightstands to broken bones), and they’re not part of the team creating the image, they’re a liability because they’re not covered by insurance.  Is that a risk you’re willing to take?

32. An escort may insist on being photographed, creating extra work for the photographer.
While it might not always be the escort that insists (especially if it’s the model’s boyfriend), you might end up with extra work courtesy of an escort.  Sometimes, a model might want shots of her and her boyfriend.  Other times, it’s the model’s girl friend who thinks “modeling’s easy and I need new hot pics for MySpace” and insists on getting them taken.  Either way, it creates more work for you, and might not result in anything great.

33. An escort will likely back up the model’s false allegations, if she’s going to make them in the first place.
As I mentioned before, if a model is going to bring someone with her and make false accusations, chances are, she’s not going to bring someone who won’t back her up.  It’s like the friend I had who used to shop lift.  Once I found out she was doing so and threatened to turn her in, she stopped going shopping with me because I wouldn’t back her up if she got caught.  In essence, it’s a “birds of a feather” thing… bad people generally hang out with bad people.

34. An escort may try to act as the model’s manager/lawyer and attempt to make changes to releases, contracts or shoot agreements.
As I noted yesterday, unless the person going over something is the parent or legal guardian of a minor, he or she shouldn’t be looking at the paperwork the model is to be signing.  I suppose a laywer could, but really, why would a model bring a lawyer to a shoot, seriously?  Again, a hobbyist or freelance model needs to be able to read and understand her paperwork, as well as sign it on her own.

35. An escort will dramatically limit who will work with the model.
Bottom line is, the more demands someone has, the less people will work with them (especially when the person making the demands is new).  Often times, a model who insists on bringing an escort either doesn’t work with many people and fades off the face of the Internet Modeling World, or she realizes she’s being held back and lets go of that demand, thus opening numerous doors for herself.

36. An escort provides a false sense of security and professionalism, especially when used in lieu of checking references.
A lot of models who bring escorts for “safety” don’t actually do their homework.  After all, they’ve got someone there to protect them from the bad man, so nothing bad will happen to them.

That’s stupid.  Case in point, a local model who’d gone to a first shoot with an escort, had a great time, and opted to shoot a second time with the photographer.  Since the first shoot was fine, she didn’t feel the need to bring an escort, and hadn’t checked references.  The photographer answered his door in his boxers, and between sets the model caught him with his cock out, going to town.  The model claimed she was “terrified for her life” but waited around for a CD of what they’d shot 🙄  But really, she bought into a false sense of security since her escort had been there before, and hadn’t bothered checking references or anything, and got herself into a bad situation (which ended fine, thankfully).

If someone’s a bad person, and you’ve got someone else there once, they’ll wait until you’re comfortable to not bring someone, and then they’ll show you their bad side.  If they’re a really bad person, they’ll just find room in their basement to bury a second body.

37. An escort on location could attract unwanted attention, especially if shooting without a permit.
A person loitering longer than normal, loudly asking questions or whining about being bored, or otherwise causing trouble, will attract attention of authorities (or people who will call them) faster than if it’s just two people in and out of the location quickly.  A third person (or fourth if there’s a MUA on set) might slow the group down if they need to be out of somewhere quick, and could cause distractions for everyone, making it harder for you to get moving fast if need be.  Of course, it’s also one more person you need to be faster than when running 😉

But seriously, as I mentioned before, if you get into trouble and it’s just you and the model, it’s not a huge deal.  You bring a third person into the mix–one the model is responsible for–and you’re asking for more trouble.  If you agree to pay a ticket the model might get, are you then stuck paying for her escort’s too?

Stay tuned for Thursday’s post, where I give you my take on escorts during my shoots!