Payment Etiquette in Photography and Modeling today

June 27, 2012  •  1 Comment

In this industry there seems to be a lot of confusion about who to pay, when to pay, "why pay" the people that are doing the work.  Makeup Artists, Hair Stylists, Photographers and models a like seem to be lost at how this works.  It seems that I have to explain this to a lot of people. 

Yea, everyone has a camera and people are looking for the cheapest way to get pictures. In many cases they get the cheapest cost, but also at the expense of the images and people are often disappointed.

A while back I read a post somewhere in Social Network Universe where a photographer was ranting that models should "NEVER" have to pay for images.  To some extent that could be right in that there are so many people wanting to be photographers that a model could go around shooting with everyone that wants to shoot them.  However, in todays world, your portfolio can get very messy when shooting with all those photographers and often it gets filled with unedited, poor concept, subpar photos that reflect on your skills as a model.  Not to mention the Predators that use

cameras to prey on young models to get them to pose nude or in less clothing. Remember that your portfolio is your brand.  And in making your brand standout, it becomes vital that what you keep in your portfolio shows ONLY your very best. 

I often get asked what my rates are and some then sign up and shoot, while others roll their eyes at the cost.   I have even had a couple of models indicate they were photographers themselves and shouldn't have to pay for images.  I simply shrugged at that one.   What I never understand is that if they want images from someone who is skilled, why wouldn't you save your money and make your portfolio look its best.  What I see more often than not are models wanting so bad to model in front of a camera that they pick anyone and everyone and clutter their portfolio and never learn good technique and usually have half baked themes or no theme at all.

How I see it is that if a model wants to build their portfolio, then they should be paying the photographer unless there is a trade for CD agreement in place (TFCD).  Often when you are working in trade for scenarios you are working with beginners (not always but more often than not).  Likewise, if a photographer is wanting to expand his/her portfolio, then they should be offering pay to a model (again unless it is a TFCD agreement).  Often beginner photographers use friends and family to begin their portfolio and that can work quite nicely to help them get the experience.

I think the same applies to Makeup artists and Hair Stylists as well.  I truly believe that hair and makeup need compensation for product and time/travel. But if a hairstylist/makeup artist is trying to build their portfolio, then they should be compensating photographers and model just the same.  There are agreements that can be reached often when trading  for work as well but keep in mind the "artist" that is working hard, especially if this is their livelihood. 

At the end of the day, a truly Great photo is made by an entire team. From the makeup, to the hair, to the models posing and finally the photographers eyes and Lighting (not to mention the equipment and creativity behind it all).

All in all I just think that the etiquette for payment is pretty logical and that we need to educate more and more people.  In many cases I think people are just wanting more images to put on their social networking site.  In that case, payment should be rendered to all those helping to build a models Facebook Portfolio.

Remember, how you act in this industry gets around fast......So in building your brand, remember that you are leaving behind your professionalism and or lack there of.


Comments

1.Jennifer Sullivan Cassidy(non-registered)
Excellent article! Very clear line of thought, and addresses important issues in the industry.
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