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Sometimes what I do just sucks!
Old 12-08-2005, 12:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A couple of days ago, I shot a private commission and according to my own personal rules that means I was paid for the shoot and have no right to use or show the images in any way. In private shoots, I guarantee absolute privacy, meaning short of a legal subpoenae, I will never even admit I did a shoot with a particular lady much less ever show the images. Now I admit to being a photographic whore, meaning in a private session I'll shoot whatever the client wants. Show mne the money and I'm yours!

But once in a while, not often, just once in a while, something extraordinary happens during these private sessions. The lady knows no one will ever see the images other than those she chooses to show them to, so inhibitions fall by the way side. They know any shots they consider to be 'too much' will simply be deleted and they relax and often choose to explore their self image and even their sexuality.

I did one of those shoots a couple of days ago and something magical happened. The lady, a 40 year old bartender blossomed in front of the camera. With what turned out to be one of the most erotic faces I've over photographed and a body many 20 year olds would die for, we ended up with some of the overall best images I've ever created. And I can't show them, I can't post them, I can't use them in exhibiions, I can't do anything other than to cash the check. Now money is good, in fact it's great, I love it, but but sometimes I would just like to show a damned photo! At 40+, with this ladies face and 'hard body', if she were interested she could become a dominate model on this forum in no time. But I can't show a pic, I can't even hang one on my living room/studio wall.

My question is this, my policy of absolute privacy is iron clad, in a private session no one will ever see the images other than those the client shows them to - I'll never use them for any purpose whatsoever. Now I've no question that my promise of absolute privacy gains me sessions I would not get otherwise, but do others offer similar promises? Do other shooters offer iron clad privacy to private (paid) clients?
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Re: Sometimes what I do just sucks!
Old 12-08-2005, 01:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is no different than if you were hired to photograph a product that was not ready for the public. It's no different than the actors, writers, camera operators, etc. of a hit TV show not being able to reveal what they know of an upcoming episode.

Cash your check, and be happy that your client is happy knowing her special photos aren't going to be seen by anyone that she doesn't want to see them.
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Re: Sometimes what I do just sucks!
Old 12-08-2005, 01:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I can't speak for anybody but myself Doug, and while I don't shoot women for money, I'm definitely a whore, mercinary, schill, whatever... but a promise is a promise, even on a contract it's a personal agreement you make anew with each session. I routinely agree to never release images of products... of course it's not quite the same thing though, is it?

You don't have to make that absolute promise every time. You might be able to persuade someone to let you make an exception after the fact. That's all fair to me as long as you stand by what you agreed upon. Your integrity is unbroken, and like you say, you get shoots that would otherwise be unattainable.

I know what you're feeling about wanting to share a special image every now and then. Even with my limited experience shooting just one woman I have images I can never share that are some of the best photographs I've ever made... and I wouldn't dare post them because I want to keep shooting her in that confident, uninhibited way that ultimate privacy yields.

I have however, persuaded her to let me share some images that were off limits at first... and that too, has yielded a level of confidence in her posing that was previously absent.

I don't think you have to resort to grey areas, I think you can negotiate with your models and perhaps get permission to share, or even hang some of those transcendental shots that crop up. As long as no always means no, then you're golden, your integrity is solid and worst case, you can just smile knowingly with your tongue in your cheek.

Beth says I can show this one...

I haven't retouched it yet, just shot it last night... exactly one month after her 43rd birthday.

Take care,
Chip
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Privacy is absolute
Old 12-08-2005, 06:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I see this becoming an increasing trend in private commissions. A promise of privacy is just that --- and it is absolute. And I think that it is even more crucial in the digital world we live in than it was 25-years ago. Remember those days without the net? The days before an image could be circulated around the globe in less than 10 seconds?

I have been thinking about this lately.... in the digital age where it is increasingly possible for a computer hacker to swipe stuff (including images) from your hard drive, I my thoughts on privacy now may include NOT keeping Privately-commissioned images (as you defined it -- or even sensitive commercial shooting --- i.e. a new product prior to launch) on a hard drive that is hooked to the internet. By doing this, the only way that the image could be stolen, would be the old fashioned way..... somebody physically breaks into my place and steals it.

Dave
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I do....
Old 12-08-2005, 07:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Since I want to sell my art, I generally will agree not to post identifiable images on the internet, but I will put them in my portofolio.

Yes, sometimes it kills me when I have that shoot or images can't post it to the world.

But, I still have it. :-)

Joel
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thought
Old 12-08-2005, 08:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I guess...what were you expecting to happen? Shoot these shoots and never really like anything? This HAD to be expected.

Be a good little photo whore and move on. All whores know not to get emotionally involved with an image. :-)

I hope you understand the humor there as well as the point. If you shoot with those restrictions...which are just fine...you should expect this to happen. Otherwise you are shooting with the preconceived idea that nothing magical will happen. There really should be any shock.

Be happy! You got great shots and got paid. How many people here and elsewhere are not blessed enough to get either of those things. ;-) Bask in the positive amigo! and congrats!
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Re: Sometimes what I do just sucks!
Old 12-08-2005, 10:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Doug,

I look up to you. I really do. I also sympathize with your situation. But we're pros and we really have to approach it that way.

I have a commercial client who was part of the build in a bike that is part of a Discovery Channel Biker Build Off being filmed right now. How do you think that feels? Not only can he not show anyone the bike, pictures of the bike, even put the bike out front in his shop. He has to keep it hidden in the back. But, if he were to leak anything about it, Discovery Channel would have his ass!

Now, I shoot portraits, weddings, commercial, eye-candy Maxim stuff for magazines, and the private boudoir/glamour session. Go to my my retail website. You'll see that I promote everything but the private glamour/boudoir sessions. I offer them, but you have to ask. It's only by word of mouth. Yet, I shoot them. There's a circle of ladies here in town that tell everyone I do it. When one of their friends calls me about, I do agree with them when they say that their friend told 'em about me, but they never know what we shot. They don't see it or hear about it if the client doesn't tell them.

Not only do those clients pay us for the imagery and the experience, but the discretion. It comes with the territory. Yeah, you can't show anyone the image that you're really proud of. But you gave someone something special that they will love for years to come. You made her feel beautiful and sensual in a way that only she can express. Ultimately isn't that what really toots our horns?

Your humble admirer,
Mike
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Re: Sometimes what I do just sucks!
Old 12-08-2005, 10:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Renegociate. She might feel the same about the image and would consider letting you use it. Maybe you could offer a partial refund for the rights to show the image. The worst that can happen is she stays with the original agreement of secrecy, which is fine as well.
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Re: Sometimes what I do just sucks!
Old 12-08-2005, 10:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm saying this knowing I'm new to this profession compared to most in these forums.
Your word and integrity go a long way in every facet of life. I have several shots myself that I can't reveal or show to anyone. There's to many creeps in our business that would take advantage of what they shoot privately.
The only way I show a photograph to anyone is if I have a signed release, even for self promotion. My portfolio is limited because of it, but then I do have to eat and pay the bills.
Money hungry maybe, starving, NOT. Well, a little.
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Gotta go with \"absolute\"
Old 12-08-2005, 10:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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First there is the the promise is a promise thing. What is your word and reputation worth? When it comes to expected discretion and privacy there is no room for wiggle here. Your reputation and future business is on the line.

That doesn't mean you can't beg the client a little to let you share the what you feel is a stunning photo.

an out take from yesterday


Bill
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