I get many viewer questions, but this is one of the most asked. What if the model wants the photographer to pay for the shoot? Before anyone raises concern, this is a photo shoot to build the model's portfolio, not for an ad campaign.
In this post and video, there are workarounds to this dilemma and opportunity for both sides to win. When did negotiating becoming such a one-sided situation for photographers? No, we ought to get paid for our work. There are a few ways to receive payment, and we will discuss them here.
The photographer who asked the question mentioned that the model is from Instagram. Models from Instagram can be professional and lovely to do business with, but they are often times self-taught. Agency models negotiate by way of their agency and standard business practices are common.
The model pays the photographer for a photo shoot. What if the model does not want to pay? Is everything lost or is there another solution?
You Can Barter
Payment can come in many forms, and one of the best ways (besides cash) is a proper barter. Gone are the days where an Instagram tag had any value. People tag me all the time; maybe it will result in a couple of followers. I cannot pay my bills with the two new followers. Tagging someone is not a proper form of payment. A barter should be dollar for dollar value.
Here is how you perform a true barter, because tagging isn't a currency unless the person tagging you is Jennifer Lopez and that builds an immense follower base. Tagging is not a currency anymore and accomplishes nothing for the photographer.
An endorsement tag will accomplish much for the photographer. Here is an example of an endorsement tag:
Hey everybody, I just took some these beautiful pictures. Here's one of them right here. If anyone is looking for an awesome photographer, easy to deal with, super professional, super talented, I tagged so-and-so in the comments below. Be sure to follow him, check him out, DM him for his rates, and tell him I sent you.
How many times should the model tag the photographer for a photo shoot? That's where the dollar-for-dollar part comes in. Ask for her rate card on posting for brands. Assuming your rate for the photo shoot is $1,800, then you compare it to her market value. Remember, we're in business to thrive, not just survive.
Assuming her price is $400 per post, then you can ask for four qualified posts about your photography. Or she may want to pay part in cash and part in promoting you.
Say goodbye to the days of photographers being taken advantage of. We are here to serve our clientele, but no longer here for the abuse.
Here Is Another Option for Getting Paid
There is another option that will not cost the model anything more than four minutes of her time. She can recommend you to a handful of clients in her genre. In this case, the model can reach out to five other models. She raves about the photographer. Below is a sample email:
Hey everybody, I just shot with John Smith. He's so awesome. If you're looking for someone that is the sweetest person, that is understanding, that is professional, that knows how to make you look beautiful, I've CC'd him in this email; please say hi. He's willing to give all my friends a great rate.
Photographers, it is our job to turn the industry around. Many do not want to pay, especially those who grew a career out of Instagram. We are the only occupation on the planet that race each other to the bottom. This must stop, because our talents deserve compensation like every other occupation. Models request free photos, because there is probably a history of that happening.
Assuming the model does not want to pay cash and they do not want to pay with barter or recommendations via email, but still want free photographs, that means they do not respect your time, talent, or contribution. You are worth free images for them, but nothing more than that. Walk away for the sake of not just yourself, but every other photographer.