When and Where to Get a Model for a Photoshoot and How Much to Pay

When you're getting into genres of photography that require working with models, navigating the landscape of who to hire, when to pay, and more can be a bit confusing. This great video will tell you exactly when you should pay for a model, when you should offer a trade, and where to find them.

Coming to you from Daniel Norton, this great video talks about the various situations you'll be faced with in which you'll need a model and when it's appropriate to go to an agency, when to use a friend, when to offer a trade, and more. As Norton mentions, one of the most important reasons to use an agency is that you'll have a backup if something goes wrong with the model you've hired. When you're working on a large set and there's a lot of money going to different pieces to bring the whole shoot together, it's risky to not have a backup of any single part of the shoot, and working with an agency ensures you'll have access to another model should anything happen. Check out the video above for more helpful information.

If you want to dive deeper into the business of photography, check out "Making Real Money: The Business of Commercial Photography!"

Lead image by Spencer Selover, used under Creative Commons.

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7 Comments

Blake Aghili's picture

Agreed. Same about Hair and Makeup team. I still feel it and even see it in final results when the hair stylist is doing hair just because it is a job for her vs when it is a job that she loves to be part of it.
Pretty much when I ask a stylist to be on my shoot and her first question is "how much?" vs "what's the concept? what ideas? etc"... I just go change my stylist and find someone that is enthusiast about the shoot.

What's in if for them? You sound as if you think your work is so fabulous everyone should be tripping over themselves for the opportunity to give away their labor for you.

Johnny Rico's picture

Mark it up, unless your time is free.

Dan Howell's picture

unless you are shooting stock...
unless you are shooting flat fee...
unless you are shooting editorial submission...

Dan Howell's picture

There are few, if any, absolutes in photography. Taking the lens cap off prior to exposure is the only one I can think of.

While it has been more often the case in my 20+ years shooting professionally for publication that the standard convention of working with agency models billed to the client, I can think of literally dozens, if not hundreds, of paid, professional, published photoshoots I have completed that fell outside of those strict parameters.

I'm assuming that you are pushing back because you simply haven't had those experiences. I've have more than enough to point out that these are common and valid exceptions and they are becoming even moreso. If you can't see that, it is because you are not looking.

Dan Howell's picture

so just let me get this straight...you are saying
-that literally hundreds, if not 1000+, stock shooters are using agency models? That's just flat out inaccurate. Few agencies allow their models to work on stock shoots. Exactly who would they be submitting those invoices to?
-that editorial submission shoots are handing a client an invoice when they haven't even accepted a shoot? also just inaccurate.
-that there haven't been numerous catalog shoots booked on a flat fee basis? many just are, sorry to burst your rigid bubble.

Those are three quite legitimate exceptions to the paradigm of client booking and paying for models. Again, while many of my projects are booked that way, I have worked on many, many professional shoots that weren't. The video even mentions others. Some clients, maybe only small ones, want to deal with one producer and get one invoice. Some photographers fill that roll nicely. Other clients rely on the experiences and resources of working photographers which includes relationships with agencies.

Your original statement 'sole responsibility of the client' is just flatly inaccurate. I'd think in 40 years of shooting, you would have gained the knowledge to realize that.

John Dawson's picture

Don't shoot models and you've amputated the problem. :-)