Professionalism and Courtesy

Posted on October 3, 2011

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Yesterday, I encountered something that has really made me think about the people who are photographers in my area and my perception of them. I thought I knew who they were, but in reality, I don’t. Earlier in the summer, my view of one of them was rocked when I saw someone who I had known for several years treat one of the few models who are a muse for me poorly. After trying to find details out from her and others, I couldn’t conclude much of anything other than I will never really know what happened. A similar type of thing happened yesterday.

Yesterday was the final shoot of a project I had been working on for several months. The outfits, makeup, and styling for each person who modeled was substantial. A photographer friend who I have taken under my wing and have been trying to push to do more artistic images loaned me his studio to do the sessions. Normally, when I use his studio, he often takes several images with the models and of the concepts – frequently at the same time I am shooting. What was different with yesterday was that he wasn’t there when I did most of the shoot, and I was working with a model who is very specific with whom she works. This shoot was a special favor for me — she was clothed for this shoot. Being a nude model, people who are working with her are investigated and concepts with her are discussed before she shoots with anyone. When I mentioned this to the other photographer and the little time he was there, he was unhappy. These are things that I tolerate because most of the people here are like this.

Before digital photography, there was a respect for others who are doing a shoot. There was always one primary photographer and director for the sessions. Everyone took their queues from that person. Never would would do any of the things that occur today. Many photographers who didn’t show their respects and not disrupt a shoot would be asked to leave. No one would assume that it was OK to shoot with any models without discussing it with the director and the model. Today, neither occurs. Shooting over another’s shoulder happens on a regular basis. Using someone else’s concepts regularly occurs. Models are frequently considered possessions and that they belong to the specific photographer – there is little respect given to the model.

If you are a photographer, know that you need to show respect for the people who you work around. This means getting permission from individuals who are at the shoot before doing anything – whomever is in charge and anyone who you photograph. Just being a photographer with a camera doesn’t give you the right to take pictures and capture anything that is going on, or taking over the set and sidetracking the shoot. You should always consider yourself a guest.

Update: The assisting photographer released the images to the public that the assisting photographer took. There was an embargo until we had all the images completed before releasing the images. Needless to say, I can’t work with someone as an assistant who takes over a project. Remember when you are assisting that you aren’t the boss, and any images that you take must conform to the bosses demands. People don’t spend an arm and a leg on creating an image to have it taken away by an assistant and not giving credit to the people who deserve that credit. If you do, you will end up like this assistant – no one will want to work with you because of your reputation.

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