Hopefully this is not a separate forum - and my apologies if it is.
My thought was to start a thread that discusses those "least expected" negative circumstances (which always come out of the blue), so we can be 'prepared' - rather than walk away saying "I should've, could've."
Quickly .. (how do I edit this...!)
Shoot: Me, photgrapher, in downtown Houston. (I'm from Canada, never been there.) She, model. "Glam" style shot. This was our 3rd day of shooting and her 'escort' was not there, as she was completely comfortable with me (though I always prefer a 3rd person present, regardless.)
Location: A 'downtown' outdoor mall-ish area with a fountain that we used as a backdrop. It's surrounded by shops and restaurants, patios, etc.
Circumstance: "Buddy" and his fellow business dudes are on the patio (Friday afternoon, 3-ish), drinking. As I'm setting up, he immediately walks over and says something like "Yo, yo .. you'z guy'z doin' a shoot? Great - i gotta watch dis!"
"Uh ..that's not the way it works" I say.
Realizing he's the alpha-male sales kind, he immediately tries to take control and starts talking to the model.
I said "hey .. what's your name?" and extended my hand. "Brad" (or something), and I introduce myself. I said "Brad, ya see, we're on a tight schedule and there's a lot of money on the line here (which was total bullshit), so I can't force you to stay away (public property), but really, you're going to make the model nervous .. and I know you don't mean to do that. Tell ya what. You want a picture with the model?"
He says, "yeah, yeah, (hands me his iPhone and starts heading towards the model) "Just shoot like a paparazi - bang, bang, bang" he actually says!
I say "Whoa, whoa Brad .. " and toss his phone back to him, in the air to distract him. I said "I will ask the model if she will .. not you, and IF she is OK with it, you DO NOT TOUCH THE MODEL, got it?"
"Yeah yeah, sure buddy ..."
(I couldn't even remeber how to take a picture with a phone - but got one for him.)
I'm 5'8", pudgy, balding, and 54. Not exactly intimidating, but I DO feel responsible for the model's safety (in this situation), and I'd rather some thugs take me or my gear, than hassle, touch, or bother the model.
I think the 'personal' "hey Brad .. how can we make this work" approach worked here, and I'll use it again, should the circumstance arise again. Some will probably say "Fuck that, kick him in the stones", and that's an option as well!
Sorry for rambling, but I'd love to hear how other situations were handled (or wish how they were handled), because shit happens when you least expect it, and it would be cool to have a bit of prep in the ol' brain.
Peace out beautiful freaks!
Mar 29 13 06:32 pm Link
Oakland, California, US
Shooting Sunday mornings at 6am prevents a lot of that from happening.
Public shoots without permits are pretty much going to attract people. Some are nice some are not, but because you are in a "public" place, (malls are now private property) you can expect people to demand to watch and even take their own photos.
Getting pissy doesn't help, but did the model have any say when you farmed her out to have her photo taken with a stranger?
Mar 29 13 06:35 pm Link
Yes, what you say is true, but as I was heading back from Galveston to fly out the next day, we "squeaked" in another shot. I saw it as a challenge - but not my first choice.
I purposely put myself between him and the llama (Dona) and 'negotiated' that I WILL ask the llama, so as not to put her in an awkward situtation - as she was (is) a very sweet and lovely person - as if that makes a difference :-)
She was fine with it, but if she'd said no (to me), I would have to have "gone to the stones" I'm afraid!
"Bang, bang, bang ..just like paparzzi"
Mar 29 13 06:42 pm Link
(From that shoot, for reference. By the way, she's amazing. Hire her!)
Mar 29 13 07:28 pm Link
Houston, Texas, US
Are you sure you were in Houston? We have plenty of assholes here, but I've never heard one of ours say, "Yo, yo .. you'z guy'z doin' a shoot? Great - i gotta watch dis!"
Someone from around here might say, "Hey, podner ... y'all doin' a shoot? I 'mo watch iss!"
But "Yo, yo .. you'z guy'z ..."? He was no more from here than you are. Think Jersey shore or thereabouts up in yankeeland.
Mar 29 13 09:20 pm Link
Imperial, California, US
You set up a shoot in a public place where there was a possibillity of drunks being present???
Mar 29 13 09:35 pm Link
My intention was (not to pick apart my post, but) to share any ways of dealing with experiences that may happen - REGARDLESS of mine or what "could've should've" stuff.
Mar 29 13 11:39 pm Link
Yes George, I actually did a shoot where "drunks may be present"!
Mar 29 13 11:41 pm Link
I loved Houston! Feel free to come up to Vancouver to see assholes! :-)
Mar 29 13 11:46 pm Link
Orlando, Florida, US
I recently shot a couple of Hooters Calendar hopefuls on a public beach in Clearwater. On a Saturday. And there was no shortage of 20ish guys makin all kinds of noise and a few brazen enough to actually approach us and want pictures with the model.
I simply stood there with my camera down and stared at the guy.
"I can wait", I said.
The kid felt stupid after about 45 seconds of asking me to take his photo with the model (with my camera -- yeah, I didn't understand either) and then just walked back to his buddies.
Had I allowed one, there would have been a line.
You must control your shoot as carefully as you can when shooting in public.
If it was really important enough, I'd have a budget, security, and a permit to ensure half drunk idiots wouldn't disrupt my shoot.
Without that, I am aware that I'm at the mercy of the crowd and I know pretty well how to handle most situations with jerks.
I follow the Road House method.
Be Nice. Until it's time to not be nice. Then call Dalton.
Mar 30 13 12:00 am Link
Salinas, California, US
Den, you actually handled it quite well, and much the way I think I would have handled it too. Like you, I prefer to have a third person along when shooting in public places. That third person can be very helpful in watching our stuff, and stepping in the way of "lookie louie's" trying to take pictures of us or get the models attention.
Mar 30 13 01:23 am Link
Columbus, Ohio, US
George Ruge wrote:
Where isn't there a possibility of drunks present?
Mar 30 13 01:51 am Link
Thanks "Good Egg". Good on you .. but can be an issue (as, until the 'Roadhouse' situation arises - which I'd lose), I guess ya just gotta do what is right!
I'd like to diffuse the situation first (much like a bar bouncer at a CLASSY club), but I'm curious as to how others have dealt with any kind of situations. Your example is a potential "worst case" scenario, and thanks for sharing!
Mar 30 13 01:55 am Link
Yeah Patrick, you're right. But we sometimes find ourselves in a situation that "could use" a third person .. but is not the case. I know you'd agree, but I don't consider the "escort" necessarily the 'bouncer', as I (male) consider myself responsible.
Mar 30 13 01:58 am Link
She wanted to do another swim suit (bikini) shoot that day. I said " uh .. no, .." and we actually did move into an area away. Shame, as the background wasn't good but ya gotta do wot ya gotta do! (Cars in background ... ha ha..)
Mar 30 13 02:01 am Link
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
One of the benefits of female assistants is that people tend to show them more respect in this kind of situation. Some people are bothered by audience, some are not.
The hardest situation I dealt with was when shooting on a public beach, the model wanted some nudes inside a hidden rock pool. After a few shots we were greeted by a naked man with an erection, trying to strike a conversation about the shoot. It turned out that 200 metres away in the next bay, was a nudist beach.
Mar 30 13 03:00 am Link
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
I think you dealt with it in the correct way.
As Churchill said; 'jaw jaw not war war'.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feat … WfetF1jCO4
Mar 30 13 04:00 am Link
Beckley, West Virginia, US
You handled it well. Minimal escalation is the best way to deal with brutes. You can often use intelligence to confuse and distract them from their intentions. I've never had any problems shooting in public and I prefer shooting in public for my own safety especially if you are meeting a model from the Internet.
I'd highly suggest to every photographer that they should learn some self defense moves just in case. Since it's your set, I believe every photographer is responsible for the safety of the model. I have a military and police background, so I know how to resort to self defense if necessary, but have never had to use it in a civilian setting fortunately. A quick and witty mind will get you out of nearly every dangerous situation.
The only thing I've dealt with in public is with average people who just get curious about what you are doing. I don't mind a quick conversation or two with people who are just curious.
Mar 30 13 11:08 am Link
Beckley, West Virginia, US
George Ruge wrote:
Where are you going to find a place without the possibility of drunks being present? The moon?
Mar 30 13 11:13 am Link
Imperial, California, US
Will Snizek wrote:
Hehe, no, I live in the desert!!:-))
Mar 30 13 03:42 pm Link
Grand Rapids, Michigan, US
Death of Field wrote:
As a model, I'd prefer his approach over just ignoring the guy, especially here, where nobody was brought up with much semblance of manners.
Mar 31 13 03:08 am Link
Portland, Oregon, US
You handled it well.
In photojournalism, travel and the occasional location shoot I often had gawkers and even those that were a bit like the OP's.
On more than one occasion I'd actually either make them "help" with a "very important function" (like holding a reflector or standing off camera to block "distracting lens glare") or actually include them in a shot or two to show some "local interest" and then I'd send them on their way.
Fortunately, I've never had a problem otherwise.
I must confess, I have had a bit of a concern nowadays about location shoots with models in more out of the way locales though.
Mar 31 13 07:47 am Link
Thanks guys (Rachael & Joe). Good thoughts.
I think there's 'room' for shots in populated areas if there's a reason. It can add a 'metropolis' series of shots that can look cool and stand out, but as Rachael points out, only if the model is into it. As I said, I found it a challenge and she (Dona) was the one who suggested it. (We originally were going to shoot at "The Water Wall" in Houston until the 'security people' advised that I'd need to secure a permit - for a mere $250 ... (Umm .. just a portfolio shoot ... maybe next time.) I have no problem securing a permit, etc. - but this was a last-minute, quickie-fun shoot before we parted ways .. probably forever :-(
Joe, that's pretty creative! Next time I'll put somebody in charge of "watching my battery charger" to make sure it's working ... for an hour or two. "Make sure it keeps blinking, as this is really important!" (Then, he can buy me a beer for allowing him the honour.)
Another tip is, immediately following the shoot, I remove the SIM card(s) and put them in my pocket - not in my kit bag. May sound paranoid but if something happens to my camera stuff, at least I have the shoot. Also if there are people watching, and you (photographer) leave with your gear, by yourself, in a strange city .. you never know who may get any "ideas".
Mar 31 13 03:40 pm Link
Sorry - "Joel" and "Rachel-Elise". Me not read!
Mar 31 13 03:44 pm Link
Rollo David Snook wrote:
Now THAT'S FUNNY!! (Probably not at the time!)
Mar 31 13 03:56 pm Link
Chicago, Illinois, US
I shoot on location a lot and rarely have problems but being friendly yet cutting things short is the way to go. I was doing a brief test at a convention center and I had more issues with professional businessmen then any goof I've met on the street. That said, when you are on private property that doesn't belong to you or public property its important to know how too handle yourself. Pepper spray is a good ideal for example. OP, try and keep your prep time down to a minimum. When the models ready you should be also. Avoid tripods and flash if you can. You want to look more like a couple taking casual snaps. Another word of advice. Don't let people hand you their phones, etc. to take photos of your model. Tell them that's your girl or wife or daughter.
Mar 31 13 04:33 pm Link
Yeah, good idea (Girlfriend, etc. - although in my case ... um ..MAYBE sister?)
That's why I tossed his phone back to him, in the air - in a friendly manner, to catch him off guard, while I re-positioned myself between him and her.
Not sure about pepper-spray (I'm Canadian, shooting in USA), and that would be an absolute last resort I guess.
I had a reflector (4 foot), that was the LAST thing I set-up quickly, knowing that that would draw attention. But also, a pro or semi-pro model (with all respect to others) is going to look 'above average' which is going to attract a crowd regardless.
For what it's worth, this guy was not really a threat - just a 'buzzed', out with the boys on a sunny patio, "Yo, yo, check 'dis out" kinda dude, so I could deal with him, but the point here is 'Keep control of the shoot', which, in public, can take some creative social skills - quickly.
Thanks for your tip!
Mar 31 13 05:49 pm Link
Regarding people handing you a phone to take a 'snap',
IF you (tog) ask your model (NOT dude) if she's OK with it, IF you're clear that they do NOT touch the model ...
You could offer to shoot them with your professional camera - and get their email to send them a copy? (I would, under those circumstances), but then you have some ID in case it's needed later in court? After the pepper spay? :-)
What "Yo, yo, business dude" wouldn't rather have a 'professional' shot within a few hours as opposed to a sloppy, "sorry about my thumb in the shot" kinda pic immediately?
Just a thought .. as I try to catch a shot of the Easter Bunny ..
Mar 31 13 06:00 pm Link
"What did we learn today Craig?"
(A line for Craig Fergusson fans ..)
NOT IN ORDER, but when shooting in public:
1- Chances are, if you're going to get 'hassled' it will probably come from 'suits on a patio' than 'dudes in the street' - unless a naked man with an erection is involved.
2 - YOU (Esp. male) photgrapher should be responsible for the safety of the model. (Not necessarily the model's escort!)
3 - There should always be 3 people present - espcially in public. This is for YOUR safety as well as 'hers'. IF the 3rd is a female, can be better. (Don't need any misconstrued accusations flying around!) And females can diffuse a situation with peace & love. (Not to sound sexist, but it's true!)
4 - Engage the "dude(s)" in a friendly manner (realize, this is 'cool' to them, which I get), but KEEP CONTROL of the situation / shoot - realizing that you may have to move.
5 - Engage them in 'sincere' conversation to distract them from communicating with the model. This could be a bit of 'forceful' introduction "Hey, hey .. what is your name?" with hand extended, or positioning yourself between you and model - without trying to be offensive. Smile?
6 - Possibly offer them a (useless) job as "holding this thing" for a long time, arms up high as possible for as long as possible - until they go back to have a beer.
7 - Staring them down - with your 'ace' being you can easily wait - or move.
8 - Realize that when shooting in public, you're going to get attention. It's not all bad. As long as the model realizes it.
9 - Use the "It's my Wife / Girlfriend / Sister / Cousin" approach .. depending on their level of drunkeness?
10 - Make it look like a 'normal' holiday shot. IF tripod, reflectors, etc. are necessary, do them last and expect 15 - 30 minutes to shoot before people arrive. (Set up before model arrives for shoot.)
11 - Immediately put yourself between 'dude' and the model. (But smile!)
12 - Do NOT take the iPhone. Look at it but don't touch it, then (after YOU ask the model for a shot with 'dude'), convince him that a 'profesional shot' would rock his socks off - which you'll email to HIM in a few hours.
13 - YOU ask model if it's OK. (99% time it will be.)
14 - Make sure 'dude' understands DO NOT TOUCH THE MODEL!
15 - In Malls etc., expect 'rental-cop' to do their job and remove you. (Shoot quickly?)
16 - Pick your times and locations carefully?
- Side note: IF you are a photographer or model, chances are you are creative. Use your creativety and 'people skills' to work it out?
How's that for a start.
Mar 31 13 10:00 pm Link
Colchester, England, United Kingdom
Best to avoid violence when possible, but if it is not possible you should strike and strike hard. Many of these "alpha males" are all bluster and will shrink from the challenge of a true gentleman.
If the lady model is in your charge and does not have an llama herder for her defense, it is your job to stand up to any and all who would cause her discomfort.
Mar 31 13 11:05 pm Link
Well spoken Lance.
Apr 01 13 12:23 am Link
London, England, United Kingdom
JOEL McDONALD wrote:
Not something I would encourage, I really don't see the logic in involving someone who is annoying you or your model in the shoot.
Apr 01 13 03:34 am Link
Olivet, Michigan, US
Sounds like you handled it well. And, I've got to say, "kicking him in the balls" for wanting to watch, is likely to wind up with you in jail. Justifiably.
Apr 01 13 08:17 am Link
Olivet, Michigan, US
Will Snizek wrote:
You have military and police training, but you're afraid to be alone with a 20 year old woman because you first connected with her online?
Apr 01 13 08:34 am Link
Art of the nude wrote:
Art of the nude wrote:
Los Angeles, California, US
I'm not sure I would have engaged with a blustery drunk guy in front of his friends. There must have been 100 other backgrounds in the vicinity. Why not choose an alternate? Personally I don't need the aggravation. That and I have a very low tolerance for BS.
Apr 11 13 12:36 pm Link
Buena Park, California, US
If I think people going to be a problem, I put my camera away and go elsewhere. If it is necessary for me to be there, I'll try to wait it out before working. If that's not possible, then I should have gotten permits/permission/protection to remove distractions.
Apr 11 13 12:44 pm Link
Dear "Fat Kitty" and "Christopher". Thanks for your reply.
Well although I asked for peoples' ideas, my post was intended to spark "but what if" thought. (Not in hindsight. - But to avoid that.)
But even then, not to sound macho, I don't think leaving or placating via "wait-out" answers. WHAT IF (in many general terms) would you do in an immediate situation?
(Yes, there were other options to shoot in Houston, but we had about 1.5 hours before I had to drive back to Austin, then connect to Vancouver, Canada. Not going to screw around with alternate choices under those circumstances.)
Apr 20 13 07:16 pm Link