[Behind the scenes] of an escort photoshoot
Who did you choose as a photographer and why?
I chose to fly to Melbourne and shoot with Karl Clifford, a well known Sydney-based escort photographer. His photography and editing style is exactly what I wanted, not to mention he is a professional who does this as a living so I was not worried about discretion or privacy.
I looked over his work and saw the escorts he shot can easily pass as instagram models. Tastefully sexy. This is perfectly suited to the NZ market where there is a large demand for genuine GFE services. I theorise that being too high glamour can put potential clients off. It’s important to not just be sexy, but approachable and sexy.
His editing style is also extremely realistic. I think of editing like make up, it enhances what is naturally there. Sometimes the amount of skin airbrushing can overshadow a model and be distracting
Why did you fly to Australia instead of choosing a kiwi photographer?
There were multiple factors. First of all, I can edit and shoot my own photos. The last photos I took, in pink lingerie, were selfie shots that I took with a tripod. I don’t want to nitpick at a photographer about what he or she is doing. I wanted someone who was experienced. When it comes to details, sometimes I can be very critical and opinionated. It’s a good trait to have in this industry because clients notice everything.
Second of all, I perceive the risk of assault too high in NZ. An ex-coworker of mine was assaulted by a photographer at a shoot she was at. She reported it to the Police and it turned out that he had assaulted a string of escorts. There are also photographers who ask for your services in exchange for doing a photoshoot which is incredibly unprofessional. I don’t want to be guarded against someone who is supposed to be helping me.
Thirdly, I looked at non-escort photographers. NZ has a lot of great photographers, however, just because you are good at shooting landscapes or weddings, does not necessarily mean you are good at escort photography. People are used to taking photos that include faces. A headless, half naked body can be a challenge for some. You need to practise and for that, I need to be able to easily access examples of work.
Lastly, just like clients choosing an escort, we need to be confident our privacy is protected. I felt more comfortable choosing a photographer who had a long history of working with escorts and had their own website and a portfolio.
You say you’re opinionated, did you specify anything to Karl before/during the shoot?
We actually didn’t communicate a lot leading up to the photoshoot because I preferred to go with the flow and follow his lead. I picked him because I felt that we thought the same. There wasn’t any I want X or Y photo. I think it is tempting for some to emulate other people’s work. Clients and other escorts can always tell when you’re copying someone else’s style. It’s important that your brand reflects you, not what you’ve seen other people do.
He is also my videographer and I did have instructions but it was on what not to do haha. I sent him two videos of the style that was common in NZ and described it as “soft porn shot by someone with vertigo”. Not that he needed it but it was something that irritated me greatly enough to mention.
I want to become an escort photographer, how do I do that?
The way I would do it would be to practise timed selfie shots. There are so many diagrams of boudoir poses on Pinterest and even boudoir photography tutorials online. Knowing how to copy poses will help with directing models into those positions. Photographers demonstrate poses anyway during photoshoots sometimes when instructions don’t click. When you feel more confident, I would then borrow friends to practise with and make sure they are all different sizes and skin tones. Edit and edit and edit. Buy tutorials online. Edit more.
I would then make a website with your favourite photos and a photo of who you are and a bit about yourself. If you have no reputation, being able to see your face would be very important to me. It gives a sense of familiarity. If you’re not comfortable with that, than photos of you working behind the scenes without your face showing.
Join twitter. Follow escorts in your area. Interact with their posts. Wait for them to come to you. Continue practising and posting examples of your work. Do not contact us directly unless we say we are looking for a photographer, people who seek us out tend to be dodgy.
Why did you choose the lingerie and jewellery you did? What was your concept?
I didn’t want to look too escort-y. Like I said before, I didn’t want to do anything high glam because I wanted to look more approachable. I had high heels with me but I opted out and went barefoot for the whole shoot. I wrapped my hair in a towel as well because I didn’t want to look too “done up”. I chose a simple gold necklace and bracelet because I know the colours would warm my skin tone up. For this same reason, I also chose a rose gold, tight fitting skirt and harness set. I think wearing clothing in a photo shoot can humanise an escort more, which is probably the same reason my clients often request for me to be fully clothed when I meet them. It’s more natural. I also chose a vivid, teal set that complimented my skin tone and a floral, cut out g-string.
What tips would you give other escorts for choosing lingerie for photoshoots?
In NZ, I would say bright backgrounds with vivid colours are a good direction to go. Our main advertising website has a black background, which means anything to do with a bright background will stand out. Lingerie or jewellery with vivid colouring will also make you pop against everyone else.
Did you make any planning mistakes?
The day before the flight, I spent it in the salon and packing. By 4pm, I was in the airport and scheduled to leave for Melbourne, at 7pm and arrive at 9pm. 9pm is midnight in NZ, this meant I could get a bite to eat and have a bit of a workout. My flight was delayed twice and I ended up in my AirBnB at 3am NZ time.
Basically, the day before my photoshoot I ate plane food and didn’t work out. I also didn’t get enough water in because I was busy the whole day. It sucked. I fell asleep at 5am because my AirBnB was cold and I couldn’t figure out the aircon situation. If I had to do it again, I would fly in the morning. I thought I was being thrifty by choosing the cheaper flight option later in the day!
What do people not realise about photoshoots?
How awkward it can be. You’ve never met the person before and now you have to get naked on camera. I guess it’s a good empathy exercise for how shy clients are when they meet me! This is the 5th time I’ve met with someone for a photoshoot. The vibe was completely different because of Karl’s personality. He made me feel confident and at ease. He said there are a lot of similarities between our jobs and on reflection, I can totally see it. He said he liked how relaxed and chill it was and that sometimes girls come with ideas or photos that are unrealistic. This is the same with escorting, throwing around ideas of what you like but seeing what happens organically will achieve a better result.
What part of the photoshoot did you enjoy the most?
Meeting Karl! Not sure how, but he had a way of making everything feel effortless. Not just in camera, but in person. I think it was his enthusiasm, it’s contagious. You can tell how well things are working by a photographer’s reaction, you don’t need to look at their camera to guess how the photos are turning out. If I had some awful poses or photos, I am absolutely clueless. I left the photoshoot buzzing.
He actually messaged me when I got back to Auckland and asked if I wanted to shoot in Cambodia haha. It’s too expensive for me right now (especially since things quieten down during the holiday season), but it’s so tempting. I may have managed to persuade him to come to New Zealand so look out!