Chaperone vs Assistant aka Grip

I find myself doing a lot of on-location shooting in remote and secluded environments. With those environment, it is always my preference that clients have a chaperone present. It helps provide a more comfortable environment for the model, and it helps reduce my liability/potential for headache.

Unfortunately, the majority of “amateur” models that I have met are not familiar with the difference between a chaperone and a grip, as well as each respective definition.

What does a Chaperone know about photography?

Nothing. A Chaperone is a social role. The person filling this role is only equipped to fill a capacity pertaining specifically to overseeing the virtue of whomever is being supervised.

What does a grip/assistant know about photography?

Enough to understand why NOT to be intrusive. An assistant can typically comprehend that their view of a pose or a composition component is borderline irrelevant. The “view (opinion)” of a pose, is different than pointing out a button is partially broken on a jacket. The reason they understand this, is because they know they would have to be standing in exactly the photographers shoes, at the same height, looking through the same view finder, and having the exact same objective as the photographer – to provide competent input. ┬áIf you want to know what a “Good Assistant” is like, read my article “Get a grip.”

-M