Photographer Develops a System for Paid Work in the Modeling World

Photographer Develops a System for Paid Work in the Modeling World

When working with models, you're often plagued with the idea of trade shoots and working for free. You could blame the hobbyist, the models mentality, or just the nature of that industry. Regardless, it can be discouraging for those who are trying to make a living with photography. Through discouragement, Todd Merrifield has developed a set of forms and diagrams, helping those to determine paid vs free work.

A classic proverb says “If you love something, give it away”. While this is a great way of thinking, my landlord, electric company and internet provider tend to disagree with this philosophy. Because of this, I, like others, must work in the photography industry, and must make money doing it. In this industry, advertising is done through portfolios, highlighting your best work.

So naturally, its much easier to get quality work when working with professional models, and a team of hair and makeup artists to help make everything look perfect. These people however, are in the same boat as you. They're working to build a portfolio to help push their careers to new heights. So what happens when one of you has developed a portfolio, and the others haven’t? That person often asks for pay for their services.




Todd Merrifield is a photographer who has recently developed a set of graphs and forms to help determine who should be paying during a shoot. These forms are meant to provide honesty within the process, while remaining modest with your intentions.




So when you’re being honest with yourself, where do you rank your skills as a photographer?


[via Todd Merrifield. Check out his Website]

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

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1 Comment

I would add 'consistency' on the last two checklists. Some photography portfolios I have come across show some really good work, but lots of average stuff as well. I have also seen some sites where the personal work and commercial work are of differing quality. That would ring alarm bells: either they are not keen on commercial work (personal work is better), or someone is carrying them (commercial work is better).