A few years ago, I had the pleasure of being instructed by Jerry Ghionis on a shoot. And he’s incredible.
One of the biggest things I think every photographer needs to keep in mind is that they always need consent to touch a model or move a subject. Jerry Ghionis is the master of showing how to do this. No photographer should assume there is consent while shooting, no matter how long you and a subject have been working together. There should be a steady flow of communication at all times. When you touch and move someone, you should aim to always be cautious and respectful of another person’s body. This all sounds like old hat, but it isn’t. And I think there isn’t enough being said on consent and shooting with a model.
A search on Youtube reveals a number of videos that show Jerry working with a variety of models in different situations. One of the best things I learned while on set with him is the simple principle of possession: someone else’s body is not yours to touch or move. You should always consider it a privilege that a client or a subject will let you touch and move them. To that end, you should always ask for consent to the point of even over-asking–that’s what I do to be extra safe. I’ve been building this website for 10 years; the last thing I want is 1/3rd of my life to go down the drain for not being granted consent. At one point during a shoot, Jerry moved a model’s hips by taking her forearm, positioning her hand on her hip and then using it to twist her hip. He then did this with her hair in a more risque spot. But first and foremost, he taught that one should also instruct a model to move themself first.
In these videos he does a lot of that too. But there are situations on every shoot where you need to fine tune the details and it’s best for a photographer to get in and do that. Watch these videos when you have time; you’re bound to learn something.