Lately I've started shooting covers for romance novels. This isn't a stretch from my typical art but there are several differences that are challenging. Challenging in some artistic ways to push the sides of my box out a little more. And Challenging in some 'I don't have time for this shit' ways too. And, for those that know me, I am quick to yell 'NEXT' and move on when the defecation hits the rotating air moving device.
It's clear to me that people who have never been to a photoshoot, especially one with a couple that appear in various stages of undress, have no idea what it's like on set. Imaginations go wild with thoughts of naked people chasing each other around, drinks flowing, and all sorts of pagan rituals going on. This is the biggest myth I can think of about photoshoots.
I expect some might be like that.... I can't confirm that. My shoots sure as hell aren't and I CAN confirm that.
In every shoot I have a trigger I'll pull and stop the shoot, sending everyone home if any inappropriate behavior happens. Period. I might pull someone aside and discuss the problem and see if we can come to an understanding but that's a one chance deal. Second offense and shoot is over.
Each pose is choreographed and head, hands, and the mood of the shot are set. When that shot is over, the models move to the next requested pose. They have the freedom to give me expressions and do what their job is, TO ACT like a loving couple.
I've shot couples before that were worried about their real life significant other and what they might think about this pose, or if their hand was here, or even if they LOOKED like they might be ready to kiss the other person. This is why I'm extremely cautious about what couples I work with. I don't want to cause problems in anyone's relationship. And if that's looking like it is the case I move along to the next person until I find one who knows his or her job and is willing to do what it takes to get the material we need. If they are in a relationship or not, and they are ready to do their job without fear of a jealous partner, the material will be stellar. Otherwise, it's not. Why would I go into a shoot without the expectations of awesomeness?
Now, as strict as that all sounds, there is always some laughing, joking, and eye rolling in every shoot. Frankly, I haven't noticed more or less during a romance cover shoot than in any other type of shoot. Lightness and fun are important. Safety and respect are paramount.
I've said in previous blogs that the photographer is the captain of the shoot. The one in charge. Being in charge means a long list of responsibilities. Getting the shots that will rock. Being the one person who sees what the camera sees is probably the main reason the photographer is in charge. In the end, we are the ones to provide the finished product. But, when shooting couples presents a special bit of responsibility. The safety of the models. In the case of romantic poses and semi nudity it's extremely important to have a male model that respects that it's a job and not a 'hook up opportunity'. During and after a shoot. If I have even the slightest hint that a male model is not 110% professional that guy won't be in one of my shoots. Period. Even rumors.
So, for those bible thumpers, and day dreamers out there...
The creativity is there. The acting is turned up high. The lighting is set to amazing. And awesome images are the result. No orgies. No groping. I tell them where to put their hands. My images may edge into R but never X and never will. Sorry if I burst any bubbles.
Be a pro or go home.