There comes a time in every professional fashion photographer’s life when they are so eager to get done with the shoot, that they don’t even wait for an authorization. And when the authorities show up during the shoot, you simply pretend that your model is your girlfriend, and you were just taking pictures of her. Which is alright, as it’s not breaking the law in any way. But there are times when the lie is hard to tell, especially when you have your back turned to them and don’t see them coming your way.
I have pretended so many times that my model is my girlfriend, and we are just out for the day taking pictures. I have to tell you, there were some close calls, when it took the model to understand what was happening and catching on the story. Thankfully, I have always gotten away with it.
However, a few years ago I found out that I was not the only fashion photographer that pretended that the model is my girlfriend in front of the authorities. And a few days ago someone asked me that “have you ever pretended that the model is your girlfriend?”. And I told him some of the funniest moments in the life, when dealing with local authority. As, I have had my share of pretending moments around the world.
Which is really what reminded me of the numerous times, I have heard photographers telling me that they were almost caught, and pretending got them out of a huge mess. And since then I am pretty sure the trend has been going around. It’s one of those secrets that everyone knows, I bet at times even the local authorities can tell. But when the model is by your side and completely supporting your statement, there is not much they can do. However, there is always a change they will shut you down. Especially when you have an elaborate setup going on, so when pretending that the model is your girlfriend, keep in mind that then you might get into a lot of trouble for lying to the authorities.
My advice is, the next time you are shooting in an unauthorized area either you get permission, or you tell your model that in case the authorities show up, the model must pretend that she is your girlfriend. This way you have a solid case, and she will even act like your girlfriend to get you out of trouble. Another added benefit is that you model knows the situation she is being placed into, and will not feel cheated or hurt to find you pretending that the model is your girlfriend for the next 5 minutes or so. But it’s always a great risk, you might end up with great images, or the risk might be a complete waste. However, they make for a great story to tell your friends, as long as you don’t get caught.