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Wondering what you all comp your models?

Not quite new to Fstoppers, but first time posting. I've been recently reviewing the way I conduct shoots, and one of the facets is how much I comp models. I don't want to get into a debate over pay vs. getting paid, I don't shoot for a business, just a professional hobby, and I believe in compensating people for their time while I continue learning. With that said, I would LOVE to hear from other photographers what they compensate models for Casual, Lingerie, Implied, and if you shoot it, topless or nudes.

I end up spending anywhere from 1000-1600 USD per shoot, mostly for outfits (I purchase everything I shoot), Location (studio/hotel/etc), and model, with MUA and any additional equipment rounding things out. I'm not really sure what reasonable rates are, so I'm sure I'm over charging. If anyone pays models for the above looks, would love to hear what you compensate! Thanks.

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Here in the UK, most of my shoots are tfp, i tend to shoot in my home studio and outfits are either what the model owns or I'll buy something from ebay or amazon, total cost is £0 to £30.

If I'm paying a model for a shoot, the average is about £90 for 3 hours, even if I'm then travelling to an outdoor location and buying some sort of outfit, the total cost will never be more than £130

The absolute most expensive shoot i ever did was two models, in a fancy hotel, and we had mua and bought latex lingerie for it. That cost me £300 though most of that was for the latex as the models both worked just for travel costs.

This is all for fashion, glamour, nude. The average model rate is £20 to £40 an hour, though many are happy to work tfp.

thanks for the info. I end up comping models around £320-350 for a 3-4 hour shoot, I don't pay models for makeup time. typically I pay around 100-150 for MUA for the entire shoot (70-100£), the biggest expenses for me tend to be outfits and location. I used to rent a lot of equipment as well (lights, lenses, etc) but have been picking those up when I can to reduce costs. I think my average total cost per shoot is around 1000-1100 (700-ish pounds). working on getting it down there, this gives me a good idea of what I should be compensating if I pay a model. Thanks!

Strat is right based on my experience. I'm a fashion shooter and work TFP, but I talk to models and look at their profile pages. £30-40 per hour generally gets you a good model at nude levels.

...I've got to say, you seem to be spending very heavily. Glamour isn't one of those genres that requires fast focussing speeds and or strong low ISO performance, so a used Fuji with a manual focus lens is giving to shoot as well as a 5Div and L-glass - in fact maybe better, emotionally, with the right lens. And the only hit to using YN560s instead high end flash gear is shooting rate, which you shouldn't need. There are lots of reasonably priced air bnbs, and cheap ebay clothes can look great for shoots.

As for renting gear while you learn, you can get along pretty damn for the type of shoot you are doing with a body, a cheap flash and a modifier, an 85mm equivalent lens and nothing else - maybe a 35mm for when space gets tight. Limiting your gear forces you to think your way around problems.

David T's picture

Usually it looks like this:

- 50-100 EUR for studio
Have my own studio for now (300 EUR rent per month)

- 0-100 EUR for model, most do TFP. Rates seem to be around 50 EUR/hour +/- 30%

- 0-100 EUR for outfits, sometimes designers want to have their pieces shot as TFP. If I purchase a piece (Asos, Choies, Amazon,...) I either gift it to the model or re-sell it.

- 0 EUR for MUA, don't think I ever paid for one. Would pay 30-50 EUR, as they just have to be there for an hour and then leave.

Guess it depends on what you are going for. 1600 should be enough budget for a print feature.

1600 is the high end..penthouse model wanted 1000$ for half day (5 hours), which then had an additional 400$ worth of lingerie, 100 for MUA, plus 75$ rent a lens I wanted to test. That model ended up flaking, so I'd say my average is closer to 1000-1200, but I've always wondered what people comp... having your own studio helps, though I've been finding lower and lower cost places to shoot (once shot at a place that was close to 100$/hr. If i can get to within 600-700$ out of pocket costs in total, I'll be happy, your numbers help give me a better idea of what I could be paying (vs the higher rates I've been offering).


David T's picture

A 1000USD model flaked on you? That's just... wow. Did you book through her agency?

The 50EUR I quoted was for non-star models. Of course if she has 1m followers on instagram you are kind of paying for a brand name/promotion as well.

stir photos's picture

i'm an amateur and i'm not even familiar with what the "professional hobby" definition is- if that's a real thing... sorry :\ i seriously don't mean to offend or harsh anybody's fstoppers' experience. :)

i didn't see ur stuff (work) on ur profile page, but that'd be cool if you provided an account somewhere or something. :) my grandfather use to say, "you are what you negotiate.".

but anyways, one of the things i don't get is how's this an issue? so, for example, is your overall objective to reduce your cost? cos if ur cool with ur own numbers, and it's workin' for you, that doesn't seem like an issue, so yeah... i guess this threw me off, "recently reviewing the way I conduct shoots." like, is that for marketing purposes, or based on some feedback you got, or is it reducing your cost like i initially was thinking?


Sorry, I haven't really been active on Fstoppers much until recently (reading all the articles and stuff). My work is either on IG at https://www.instagram.com/evanrichardsonphotography, or my site, the same name . https://www.evanrichardsonphotography.com

My main concern is just making sure I'm not ripping myself off, if that makes sense. A long time back I used to work for a website, and they would book the models. Then I stopped shooting for a long time (military service), then started up recently again, and I haven't really been in touch with what models cost. As I don't shoot for profit, (it's just a hobby I take seriously), I want to make sure I'm not ripping myself off by offering compensation that's too high.

As an example, I've had models quote me from 40$/hr to 150$/ hr (depending on look). In the past, I've approached some models and to me, 100$ an hour seems fine for some, but if it's a more experienced model I sometimes negotiate higher. I guess to sum it up, I'm just trying to bracket my expectations of compensation better to lower my costs...the other stuff (wardrobe, MUA, location) can all be easily adjusted to bring costs down.

Thanks for the reply!

David T Yeah. She did, but she did it in a uh.. non direct way? She was 100% communicative with my girlfriend, who helps book models + style shoots, up until we were maybe 4 weeks away from shooting. We reached out to her first to confirm her sizes, where it took her about 10 days to get back to us, claiming she tried sending us emails (which we never got). We tested our hosted email, no issues for anyone else (she was on gmail).

Then 2 1/2 weeks before the shoot we sent a call sheet to her to confirm time, location, studio address, etc. didn't hear back from her. We reached out to her via email, instagram, etc (didn't have her number at the time), and never heard back. So after a week, we sent her an email saying "hey so since you haven't been in touch we're canceling your shoot, maybe some time in the future we can try again.", to which she IMMEDIATELY replied.. "ARE YOU SERIOUS?".

during the supposed time she said she sent emails, she couldn't provide proof she had sent anything, she never replied via her instagram ( to either myself or my GF), and she never made an effort to reach out to us via phone (we had provided our numbers). So yeah, She basically bailed on the shoot. We had to find a model last minute to fill the studio slot.

Ryan Burleson's picture

I don’t hire stylists or mua much anymore, but I do miss them. That being said I shoot in mostly 3-5 star hotels and boudoir-nude/lingerie. My average is about $700 all costs lingerie/nude shoots, some higher when I buy the lingerie which is only for a previously shot model.

I get funding for my shoots from my own website showing content from the shoots to paying members.

Why don't you go on PurplePort, the main UK forum for this type of work, and look at the prices models ask there?

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Do you mean compensate? Because comp sounds like it is free, like tickets are comped.
Not sure what a professional hobbyiest is.
And you ask if you are over charging...yourself?

Not many people I know buy hundreds of $ of outfits for each shoot, do you give that to the model or keep that, if you you should have a collection of clothes.
Location cost like hotel or AbnB can vary.
But these are all costs that need to be paid somehow in order to get the shots that you want.

Joe Healey's picture

I've stopped doing TFP as my experience with inexperienced models was not good. In the U.S. I will usually pay $30-$100 per hour, with $50 being pretty normal. I find my models on Instagram. Living in Miami there are many to choose from.
I have been fortunate to have been introduced to a few NFL cheerleaders through local photography workshops. Be nice, be professional and collect good references. It goes a long way when you can say "I've worked with so and so. Feel free to reach out to her".
Before a shoot I will develop a mood board on Pinterest to give the model some ideas of what I'm looking for and let her pick outfits. I don't pay for MUA and shoot typically on location. Miami and all!
Good luck.

Mike Robison's picture

I shoot about four or five times a month, on average, although it varies widely. Almost all trades, and the vast majority novices. I also essentially always shoot nudes, although not just that, certainly. I pay $125/month for a shared studio, and I spend $5 to $10 per shoot, on average on clothing / props. Mostly T shirts and underwear. I use the studio, and my house, which is a 120 year old "sort of Victorian".

Some of the results are in my portfolio here on Fstoppers (It most certainly contains nudity, for what it's worth). Two of the shots are experienced models, and one is from 2017. The rest are, or at least were when I met them, novices.