December 30, 2011

Real Runway Shows Don’t Require You To Sell Tickets

Model Paige Morgan wrote a nifty Facebook note about why you shouldn’t pay to be in a runway show.  Her thoughts on it, in my opinion, are spot on.  Here’s a excerpt:

Anything that requires you to sell tickets to walk runway is not a good look for a serious portfolio. Here’s why:

1. They have no standards, by and large, because they’re looking for anyone whom will make them money and sell the tickets, not the most qualified models for the task at hand.

2. Any event that’s using anyone whom agrees to model/sell tickets most likely not going to attract the sort of people whom make good connections or networking possibilities for future work, as most of the people are not qualified/experienced potential models, so the working professional photographers/MUA/Stylists are not going to attend. (Aside from whomever the event promoters hired to be there for the purpose of the show running at all)

 3. If the company/ event will give you such great “exposure” or contacts, why would they need models to hawk seats to cover their production costs? Why do you have to pay for the supposed benefits via ticket sales? The short answer is they are probably making empty promises about what they are able to do for you. They can’t even make their own events break even without using models as unpaid sales/promotional labor, let alone promote you effectively.

4. Let’s say you didn’t notice points 1, 2 and 3. You sell the tickets, walk the show, and list it as a credit on your resume, along with your new flyer/press kit/whatever the fuck.

It won’t matter to your next potential client, as you didn’t get there by being the best possible choice for the job. You bought and paid for your catwalk turn, which anyone with a spare 20 friends and some available cash could’ve done.  Take the $200 you would’ve forced your loved ones to spend and/or paid out of pocket and put it toward things that will actually benefit you and your career.

And here’s a link to the full note.

I highly suggest reading what Paige has to say about companies like Raw:Artists, FUZE IT WORLDWIDE, and Icon, who require models to, essentially, pay to walk in their shows.  Especially read her note if you’ve been contacted by one of these companies (or one asking similarly of you) and accepted into one of their shows.

December 15, 2011

Some thoughts on rejection & criticism.

Maybe my art background and my making my living as a graphic designer has helped me with this, but since I’ve been modeling, I’ve never taken rejection and criticism personally. In fact, you can’t.

Sure, modeling can be raw and real–there are some gigs that are extremely emotionally and physically draining.  And don’t get me wrong, near constant rejection and criticism can be emotionally draining as well.  But if you’re taking it all personally, you’re doing it wrong.

Rejection is the first thing you need to learn how to handle as a model, because it’s what you’ll be faced with the most.

Being a model is all about your look. Your measurements and height, your eye color, hair color and length, your body type, the size of your tits, your skintone, your bone structure… even your flexibility–all of that is extremely important when it comes to modeling. Most of it you can’t change either (yay, genetics) so taking rejection personally is silly. Sure, you can cut and dye your hair or get wigs, get breast implants, buy some colored contacts, tan… you get the idea.  You can spend all the money in the world to change your looks, but even if you do all that, you’ll find that there are still photographers and clients out there that don’t like your look and won’t book you. You can’t please everyone, and if you take every rejection or criticism personally, you’re going to wind up being really depressed and bitter, and you’ll burn out super fast.  Plus, no one will want to work with you because you’ll be a total drama queen about every little thing people say to you too, which no one likes!

Your best bet (and photographers can learn from this too) is to let the rejections roll off your back and keep working to find someone who likes your look. They’re out there! It might be a challenging road, but if you’re up for it, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Just have fun while looking and it won’t be as hard of a search.

Use the criticism you get along the way to grow.  Learn from what people tell you, but don’t let it get to you.  Modeling and photography is a creative industry, and critics come with it.  It’s just how it is, and it will always be that way.  I’ve written about criticism before, but it was a slightly different take on it… though if you haven’t read that entry, it might help make this next part make more sense.

Someone being constructive and offering a critique (especially after you ask for one) is typically being helpful and offering advice, which should be considered.  If someone tells you something you don’t like hearing, take a deep breath and ask yourself “that’s their opinion and I don’t have to agree, but is there something I can take away from what they said to make myself better?”. Don’t take every critic’s words as an attack, because usually, that’s not what they’re doing.  Think about what’s being said and choose to take the advice and learn from it, or not.  It’s up to you.

Those who offer unsolicited critiques of your work should most definitely not be taken personally.  But those critiques might also be worth listening to.  Consider the source when the critique is unsolicited and realize that sometimes an unsolicited critique should be taken with a grain of salt.  Say “thanks for the advice” and (again) choose whether or not you want to take it to heart.

Those who shit all over your work and are stupid and negative and tell you everything they think you did wrong should be ignored, especially if it’s unsolicited.  Haters gonna hate, no matter what you do.  Learn to laugh at the bitter people who have nothing better to do with their time than hate on your work.  It’ll make your life a lot easier.

December 7, 2011

Hiatus.

I’m on indefinite hiatus from modeling.

I’m most definitely not shooting until January, but am not sure when I’ll get in front of the camera again.  I’m crazy busy, and I’m waiting for a piercing to fully heal.

I will still be blogging over at Suburban Style Challenge and active on FaceBook.  Not sure if I’ll pick back up here regularly or not… I’ve been rather uninspired to write here lately, to be honest.

Oh, and I’m judging this awesome event with Raw Talent Clothing Co and Gonzo Photos on January 20.  You should check it out (I’ll post a separate entry about it later on).

Do you really want to shoot with me after the holidays? Well, money talks. My rates are $50/hour for modeling and $25/hour for pose coaching (which I’ll be available for after New Year’s).  Feel free to email me to set something up booking@modelracheljay.com.

December 5, 2011

A Good Read: Inspiration vs. Imitation

A friend sent me this article and I thought it’d be a good one to share with my readers here, though it was written in reference to the design community.  Modeling and photography certainly deals with both inspiration and imitation, especially when we’re in the beginning stages of things.  The author of this article, Jessica, does a very good job explaining things to her audience (which she notes as aspiring artists and designers), I think.  So check it out.

Inspiration vs. Imitation

Enjoy.

September 26, 2011

Swamped

Sorry I haven’t written much lately… I’ve been really busy with a ton of stuff going on (mostly work stuff).  I’ve got a ton of drafts started but haven’t really been all that motivated to finish them.  Generally kind of blah about everything I’ve got written right now, so I’ve put it on the back burner for the time being.

If there’s anything specific you’d like to see me write about, add a comment or drop me a line, and I’ll see what I can do.

August 17, 2011

New blog!

So, at the urging of many, I’ve opted to start a new blog.

Don’t worry, this one’s not going anywhere!  I’ll still be blogging here about modeling stuff.  But I’m moving all my fashion-based ramblings to a new spot.

http://suburbanstylechallenge.wordpress.com/

Feel free to subscribe!  I’ll be linking that blog to my twitter and facebook as well, so yea, if you stalk follow me in either of those places, you’ll likely be seeing the stuff.  I’ve only got 2 posts up so far, but have another one in the works for sure.

🙂

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August 11, 2011

On Integrity & Professionalism

Recently, I was slapped in the face with one person’s unprofessional behavior and dishonesty.  What’s more is that after expressing my disappointment in the situation, the offending party showed little remorse.  However, another person involved has shown what true professionalism & integrity are, which lessens the sting… sorta.  Here’s the story…

It started with a verbal agreement regarding compensation for working an event.  A few weeks before the event I was told (in person) that compensation would be $50 for the day, a selection of images for portfolio use.  I was also told I’d be in the designer’s catalog.  As an added bonus, I’d get a sketch of me in what I was modeling.  Typically, my rates are $50 an hour or $325 for an 8-hour day, which is how I’d have billed it since it’s cheaper.  However, because I’d be getting portfolio images & a tear sheet (plus a cool sketch), I made an exception and accepted the job at a significantly lower rate than normal.

Fast forward to the day of the event.  Call time was 12P & everyone was on time & ready to start getting to work.  In the beginning, things were running nicely, people were having a good time, & it was shaping up to be a great event.

Around 3P we started getting hungry, but there was no food.  Based on previous experiences, I expected there to be food provided at a 7-hour event, so I just brought a drink & a small snack.  Now, I wasn’t expecting caviar & chocolate mousse, but something to snack on throughout the course of the day.  Veggies, pretzels, cheese cubes, & sliced fruit are pretty typical of events because that stuff can sit out & is easy to eat.  But there wasn’t anything.

Normally, one would ask the person in charge what was going on, but he stepped out for an undetermined amount of time, leaving his event coordinator & assistant completely in the dark regarding wardrobe & accessories.  That meant that the models that were ready to shoot we weren’t able to, so 2 of those girls took a walk to find food.  Their options were limited at 3P on a Sunday on the Near West Side of Chicago & all they could find was Chinese, which they brought back.

As we were eating, the guy in charge came in & immediately reprimanded us for having food.  He told us we were unprofessional for eating food that wasn’t “proper model food”.  He then demanded it be put it away & said we shouldn’t be eating, but that if we were hungry we should’ve been eating something like fruit.  So, apparently, everyone should have just gone without food for 7 hours.  Talk about a morale-killer!  Besides, nothing makes people enjoy an event more than crabby models with no energy, or worse, models passing out because of low blood sugar.

If someone running an event wants his staff to eat certain things, it is up to him to provide that kind of food.  If he can’t provide food, then the professional thing to do is notify people that there won’t be food, & ask them to bring their own, limiting it to whatever he finds acceptable.   It is not unprofessional for models to eat behind the scenes, while waiting for styling and/or instruction, while still dressed in street clothes.

But then came the real knife-twist.  Shortly after the food was put away, we were handed a compensation agreement & asked to sign it.  It was different from what I’d been promised.  Suddenly, we had to choose between $50 for the day or 10 unedited images & 1 edit of the photographer’s choice.  No mention of the sketch.  I tried to ask the guy in charge a few questions, but it was pretty clear he was too busy to listen to me.  So, I sat & thought quite a bit about things, & really weighed my options.

If I walked, I’d have wasted almost 4 hours for nothing, literally.  No photos, no money, no sketch, no tear.  Leaving could’ve damaged my reputation with the other industry people who were there, & I’m not one to back out on my commitments; I act like a professional & respect people enough to stick with something once it’s started.  So I chose to stay, keeping my reputation intact & getting a little something for my time.

So I had to choose: a small amount of money, or one edited image.  I figured I could work with the photographer individually if I really wanted to, so I opted to take the $50.  Broken down, it’s $7.14 an hour.  If you factor in the $8 or so I spent on food & drink (which I wouldn’t have bought if I wasn’t working), the total compensation drops down to about $42.  Basically, I worked the day for about $6 an hour, & that’s not even factoring in the gas I spent on the nearly 60-mile round trip.

It bothered me that the compensation changed, & I wasn’t notified in advance.  I wasn’t even notified promptly at call time, which is when I would have been comfortable leaving.  Advanced notification of the change would have been the professional way to go about things.  Instead, it was just sprung on us nearly 4 hours into the day, when we’d already invested time & money.  But, I sucked it up & did my job as if I was getting paid my standard rate: with a smile on my face & without complaint.

After the event was over I asked the guy in charge about the sketch.  He acknowledged that that was, indeed, part of our deal & made a half-assed attempt to find it.  After a brief search, I was told he couldn’t find them, & that was that.  So no sketch now either.

Initially, I intended to just deal and learn from my mistakes.  But later I decided that if I didn’t speak up, no one would, & this schmuck would go on taking advantage of people because no one called him on it.  So the next day I wrote him a letter addressing all my concerns & asked to be compensated as originally promised.  I chose my words carefully & made sure it was written in a concise, professional manner.  I didn’t just pound out an angry note and send it off.

The next afternoon, I received a response.  He said that an agreement was made, but things didn’t go as expected, so the agreement was modified.  I signed it, & if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been used for the event.  He went on to say he was sorry I wasn’t happy, but the only thing he could do was live up to the written agreement.  Then, he had the gall to tell me that a lot of work went into the event, & he felt congratulations were in order.  He also thanked me, as if that would make it better, & told me that if I had a change of heart & wanted to work with him again, I should let him know.

Then, he called me not too long after responding.  I told him it wasn’t a good time because I wasn’t ready to speak with him, & hung up.  After careful consideration, I wrote him back & said that any discussion could be done in writing, as he had made it abundantly clear that he didn’t respect people enough to honor his spoken agreements.

He wrote me back the next day & said there’s nothing to discuss.  Shortly afterwards he posted on the private group for “preferred” folks involved in the event (which I am still part of) telling everyone, “Don’t ever believe that I don’t appreciate you all.  I am so glad that I choose each & every one of you to be a part of this journey.”  Uh huh.

There is a lesson here, though.  From now on, I will ask for a compensation agreement in writing, in advance, for every event I am booked for.   Upon arrival, I will not do anything without reviewing any paperwork that needs to be signed, & if that paperwork does not match up with what I received prior to the event, I will be leaving.

This might limit who’s willing to book me for events, as well as whom I choose to work with, but I’m ok with that.  I am tired of being taken advantage of, & I am no longer willing to allow it to happen.  If that means I book less events, then so be it.  As a hobbyist, I can afford to be picky.

I heard he “changed the agreement” when it came to numerous other involved parties, so the models weren’t the only ones who got screwed.  To top it off, it’s all just pouring salt in the wound, because everyone who worked the event was asked to promote the event through various means, invite friends, & really hype it up (and many of us did).  Some people’s names are attached to this person’s, and who knows what kind of effect that could have down the road.

Then there’s the true display of integrity & professionalism I mentioned at the beginning.  The photographer involved called me last night & we talked.  He had been unaware, & completely beside himself, that the person running things was using his product to pay people & that we were forced to make a choice so suddenly.  To “make it right”, he has offered all of the models involved a shoot at no charge.  He’s not comfortable providing the images from the event to the models, because it would violate his agreement with the event host, so he’s doing what he can to do something for us as a “thanks, & I’m really sorry you got screwed over too”. Yup, you read that right… he also got screwed.

So now what?  Well, I’m going to stay in touch with the photographer & start thinking about what I want to shoot, & communicate ideas back & forth with him.  Ideally, I’d like to shoot something he can use for his portfolio as well, because it’s only fair.  Chances are, I’ll wait until late fall to work with him, mostly because I’m sure he’ll be busy with previously booked work as well as with the other models involved.

A few people I’ve talked to about this have suggested I take legal action, because the “bait & switch” tactic he pulled could be illegal.  I’ve decided it’s not worth it to bother with screwing around with that, especially for such a small amount of non-monetary goods.  Chances are, this person will get what’s coming to him.  Word of unprofessionalism like this gets around fast in the modeling industry, as people don’t appreciate busting their asses to work with people who lack the integrity to honor their promises.

One can only hope that this person has the decency to not treat his paying clients the way he treated his staff.  I can’t imagine working with someone on what amounts to one of the most important days in your life & dealing with some of the unprofessionalism he exhibited.  Hopefully, when dealing with actual clients, this person is honest, sticks to his word, & is professional enough lets clients know if circumstances change & he cannot deliver as promised.  If I were in the situation to be working with him as a paying client, I most certainly wouldn’t take the chance.

I will definitely not be working with him ever again.  This person’s utter disrespect for the people he hired & abundant display of unprofessionalism has completely, totally ruined any chances of that.  I will continue to leave his name on my credits list in hopes that people contact me to check references.

UPDATE! August 30, 2011

I did finally get a money order for the $50 that I was owed.  I had to ask for it though, and was told on August 25th that the check had mailed the morning of the 24th.  I let this person know that it would have been nice to know of the delay, since the agreement said checks would be delivered by the 21st and not mailed on the 24th.  This is the response I got regarding that:

i didn’t mean to make you feel small. I appreciate you.

I told him, “Appreciation doesn’t pay the bills. Not that that matters, because going back on your word and not notifying people you’d made agreements with until well into the event doesn’t say “appreciation”. No, Robert. THAT says “I don’t give a crap about you and expect you to just be a doormat and accept it”. Nice try. I expect my check to be delivered by Monday the 29th. I’m giving you way more leeway on this than most people would…”.  Yes, cold and a bit heavy-handed, but frankly, I don’t care.  No one deserves the kind of treatment he has shown, and I’m not about to sit quietly and let him think that treating people the way he has done is ok, because it’s overwhelmingly not.

This was his response to me on the 25th, verbatim:

When i say I didn’t mean to make you feel small, I really was trying to let you know that you’re acting soooo small and UNPROFESSIONAL.

But you were even too small to even have caught on.

Now I’m BLOCKING you. And that’s what’s nice about facebook.

What ever it is that happened to you to make you so emotional is just not everybody else’s fault. And if emotionally you can’t handle life, go to doctor and get help, but whatever you do, DO NOT SLANDER OR HARRASS ME.

STOP EMBARRASSING YOURSELF. YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE YOURSELF THE BUD OF OTHER PEOPLE JOKES. YOU ARE COMING OFF LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN.

LOVE ROBERT

Wow.  And yet I’m the unprofessional one, for desiring to be treated respectfully and compensated as promised, and for being the “squeaky wheel” in making sure that promises are delivered upon when the source has proved to be unreliable.  Right… anyway…

My money order came August 29th.  It was dated August 26th, two days after I was told “the check’s in the mail”.  It has been deposited.  Largely, I am happy.  I hope, however, that this person has learned that he can’t get away with treating people like shit.  If, that is, there’s anyone left in the area who’ll work with him…

July 20, 2011

Upcoming Event: A Sneak Preview of “The White Collection – LUXE”

I have the honor of modeling for bridal designer Atha Sharod in the Atha & Friends Present A Sneak Preview of “The White Collection – LUXE” event coming up on Sunday, August 7.  

Brides who attend the event will get a sneak preview of Atha Sharod’s The White Collection – LUXE, which features beautiful couture bridal gowns and honeymoon negligees.  Atha Sharod’s stunning pieces are made from 100% silk and French imported laces, and are custom made for each bride to ensure a perfect fit.  In addition to getting a chance to see Atha Sharod’s beautiful White Collection – LUXE, event guests will have a chance to sample wedding cake, enjoy music, food, champagne, gift bags and most importantly, the beautiful wedding gowns.  They will also get to experience a live photo shoot by Wedding and Engagement Photographer, Tuan H. Bui.  The photos from the shoot will be used for the catalog and website that the company will use to promote the collection.  Robert Sharod, the designer, says “I created this collection as a tribute to the American woman. I wanted her to know that she could be independent and yet be feminine at the same time” when describing his collection.  Brides, this event is one that’s not to be missed!

This incredible, one-of-a-kind bridal event will take place Sunday, August 7 from 4P to 7P, and will be held at the Loft on Lake, located at 1366 West Lake, Chicago, IL.  Tickets are less than $25 and can be bought in advance here: athasharodbridal.eventbrite.com  You can RSVP for the event on Facebook too… but be sure to buy your tickets in advance!

Check out this list of incredible preferred vendors for the event!

  • Wedding Planner: Charity & Gabriela with A La Moda Events
  • Photographer: Tuan H Bui
  • Videographer: Al with Elite Video Productions
  • Fashion Illustrator: Rosemary Fanti
  • Bouquet Preservationist: Loreen Hospodar
  • Make Up Artist: Tracy Ballog
  • Bridal Stylist: Susan from the Left Bank
  • Menu Tastings: Norman’s Bistro & Cedar’s Mediterranean
  • Wedding Cake & Bakery: Richard with Rueter’s Bakery
  • Dessert Tray Stylist: Lizabeth with Fancy Candies & Sweet Buffets
  • Vocalist: Karen Dade
  • Live Trio: The Bons Vivants

Brides, if you’re looking to make your wedding a classy, beautiful event, the Atha & Friends Present A Sneak Preview of “The White Collection – LUXE” event is THE place to go to find everything you’ll need to make your special day memorable.

Check out Atha Sharod online:
The official Atha Sharod website: www.athasharodbridal.com
Become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Atha-Sharod-Bridal/166098103434102
Be friends on Facebook: www.facebook.com/athasharodbridal
Follow Atha Sharod on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AthaBridal
Robert’s Blog: athasharodbridal1.blogspot.com

June 30, 2011

How Many Edits & Who Picks?

It’s often asked, and often debated: how many edits should a model get from each shoot, and who picks what gets edited?  Here’s my take on how many photos a model needs per shoot, as well as who should choose the pics… and some other stuff.

I’ll start out by saying that, largely, every photographer is different, and how they choose to do things is different.  For this very reason, it’s important to discuss image receipt expectations (and realities) with every photographer you’re thinking of working with before you schedule a shoot.  This way, there’s no surprises, and no reason to back out of a shoot if you find out that the photographer works in a way you don’t agree with, and there’s less likely to be issues with someone being unhappy with what they got (or didn’t get) after the shoot.

What does a model need for her book?
Generally, a model only needs 1 great shot per look for her book.  However, in some cases, it might be best to receive 3-5 images per look so that she can choose which she wants to upload, so she can have the option to upload different shots to various sites, or create a diptych or triptych (with permission, of course) to tell a story.  Uploading more than, say, 10 shots from a single look can lessen the effect of the look, and can weaken the set overall (after all, you’re only as good as your worst shot).

This actually applies to photographers as well.  Too many images from one look with a model can weaken your book instead of strengthen it.

Who chooses what gets edited?
When I was a newer model, I liked to go through and choose photos.  It gave me an opportunity to see everything we had done and study how I moved and emoted.  But eventually, I realized that I was working TF* with photographers based on the work that was in their portfolio, which, presumably, was work they had chosen to edit.  So I stopped spending time choosing photos, and often let photographers know that I am fine with their choices.  I have found that this has helped me get edits faster too, which is nice–there’s no lag time where the photographer’s waiting for me to choose edits.

Formats, sizes, and prints… what?!
Generally I make sure that I receive one unwatermarked image that is high quality enough (and properly sized) so that if I choose to, I can make a 9×12″ print from it.  Sometimes, I request a specific image from the set of edits, to receive in this format, because I know it’s something I definitely want in my book.  In some cases, I’ve been provided with a print release from photographers, but not always.  It is something I’ve had to ask for before, and rarely is a problem if I explain I’m getting prints made for my portfolio.  Past that, as long as I get the one shot in an unwatermarked

Shout out to Blue Cube Imaging, who I use for printing.  Brent and his team always do top-notch work, and come highly recommended by myself and many others.

I recommend that photographers deliver photos in JPG format.  JPGs are generally the best format for uploading to the web, and if they’re high enough resolution, are fine for printing as well (though the TIFF file format prints well too if it’s high enough resolution).  Most models don’t have the proper software to view anything other than JPGs, GIFs and BMPs, and most portfolio websites only accept GIF and JPG files for upload.  So JPG is generally the way to go.  Some sites may mess up your image’s colors if you don’t properly embed the color profile.  Pat Yuen wrote a blog that kinda might help explaining that, so if you’re curious, go here.

Requesting all unedited photos from a shoot.
It’s not necessary that a model get all of the unedited photos, and it’s certainly not the norm.  After all, what in the world is she going to do with hundreds of unedited, full-size images?  Likely nothing.  However, I remember a time where seeing virtually every frame from a shoot was helpful.  It showed me what worked, what didn’t, and what I needed to work on.  It was a very effective learning tool for me.  But I have hundreds of CDs laying around with unedited images on them, and nothing to do with those images (and no desire to look at them, at this point).

Models, you should never expect to get unedited images at all, let alone a CD of every shot from the shoot, full size and unedited.  Photographers that provide this are not the norm, and certainly not the majority in most places.  Largely, there’s no need for you to have hundreds of images from one shoot.  

If a model asks to see unedited (or sometimes worded “raw”) images, I recommend going thru them (after copying them all to a new folder so as not to overwrite or delete anything) and removing everything you absolutely do not want published–things like blurry images, blinks or weird faces that don’t look good, light misfires, wardrobe malfunctions, whatever.  Why remove those shots?  Because, again, you’re only as good as your worst shot, and if a model really likes how she looks in a picture, she might put it up even if it’s not in focus, because, well, the photographer did give it to her.  Then watermark all of the images, across the middle with “proof” or “sample”.  Make it transparent, so that the model can still see her whole pose and expression, but make it obvious.  And finally, make the images web-size only, but too small to upload anywhere and look decent.  Perhaps something like 400 pixels on the longest side.  Then, you’ve got a thumbnail gallery in which the model can see her poses and expressions, more or less, but she’ll be deterred from uploading the unedited images.

Photographers, it’s worth noting that if you’re going to provide all of the unedited images, even watermarked, there’s some risk that a model might upload some or all of them somewhere.  Sure, she’ll look like an idiot for uploading an image marked “proof” (provided you do that), but if you provide everything, that’s your problem to deal with.  In some cases, a model might upload an unedited image if you’re lagging on providing edits, because she needs to update her book or is excited about the shoot.  So think long and hard about whether you wish to provide unedited images at all.

If I hire a model, do I still need to give them photos from the session?
Generally, if you’re hiring a model, you don’t need to provide images from the session.  It’s always nice to get one or two edited images as a “hey, thanks again, check out the stuff we got” kinda thing, but it’s not necessary or expected (generally).  If you make it clear that your transaction will be simple (model poses, photographer pays), then you can edit on your own time and not have to worry about busting your hump to provide images in a reasonable amount of time.  But, as in the case with sending images, discuss this in advance to help eliminate unpleasant surprises.

Most important point?
Discuss it all before a shoot.  Models, if you have certain things you wish to get from a shoot, be up front about it.  Photographers, if you only deliver images a certain way, let the models know.  In the end, it’s less frustration for everyone.

June 28, 2011

Rates, Travel Fees & Discounts

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of photographers are getting slammed with ridiculous travel fees.  Add that into the constant complaints about how models often say “my rates are reasonable” and the rates turn out to be just the opposite, as well as the complaints about models who say they’re negotiable and aren’t, and… yea  :/  Anyway, I figured I’d blog some thoughts on rates and explain how I do things.  I feel like my system is pretty professional and easy to work with.

When do you discuss rates?
I like to discuss rates and negotiate before even scheduling a shoot.  I work with the people interested in working with me to come up with a rate that suits their project and budget before we start figuring out the rest.  That way, there are no surprises for those folks I’m working with, and they don’t have to worry about suddenly not being able to afford me, or having a last-minute travel cost added on.

What are your modeling rates and what do they include?
My hourly rate is currently $50 per hour for modeling.  There’s no minimum to the amount of time I’m booked, but I do ask that folks interested in booking me take travel time into consideration.  I’m not likely going to like driving 2 hours each way for a 1-hour shoot.  My rate is flat for everything from commercial-lifestyle to fashion, and includes swimwear, lingerie, and limited implied nudity.  I do not shoot sheer lingerie or any nudes, so that’s a non-issue.  And don’t forget, the clock starts when I arrive on set, so I ask that photographers be conscious of that when planning.

How do you factor in travel costs?
My base rate includes up to 25 miles of travel, and past that I charge 51 cents per additional mile (which is the IRS mileage rate for 2011).  I work all this out on an individual basis before booking, so that the number quoted is as accurate as possible.  Quite often, I ask photographers for addresses or nearest intersections to their studios, so I can map things out in advance, and make sure that I’m not going to slap them in the face with a “oh, by the way, it’s an extra $60 for travel” the night before a shoot.  That’s just not cool, and I certainly wouldn’t appreciate it being done to me.

How did you set your modeling rates?
I initially set rates a couple years ago, when a combination of two things happened.  One, I started being asked for rates fairly regularly, and two, I was being offered more trade work than my schedule would allow.  I asked a few models in my area what their rates were, in an effort to be competitive.  I also started lower than my current rate, and built up based on both my experience level and how valuable my time is.  I do periodically review my rates and the marketplace, and look at what I’m offering compared to other models of my caliber, and adjust if necessary.

You offer discounts?  Do tell!
I offer discounts to students, because I remember what it was like to be eating Ramen for weeks to get a pair of shoes something I really wanted.  The student discount varies based on numerous things, so I can’t give an exact number.  But if you’re a student and are interested in hiring me, drop me a line and we’ll talk 😉

I also offer discounts when I’m booked by a single photographer in 4-hour blocks (half day) and 8-hour blocks (full day).  Typically, instead of charging $200 for a 4-hour shoot, I charge just $150, which is, essentially, like getting a free hour.  For 8-hour shoots, instead of charging $400, I charge $325, which is a $75 discount (it’s like a free hour and a half).

I have also offered discounts to photographers who are located less than 5 miles from me, or who hire me and then shoot at a location that’s that close.  I offer a 25% discount off my hourly rate for nearby shoots, which means it’s just $37.50 an hour if we’re shooting just 5 miles from my location.

Can multiple photographers split your rates?
I allow up to 4 photographers to book me as the sole model for a shoot for either a half day or full day.  I do not, however, offer the same discount for multiple-photographer bookings that I offer for single photographers.  Why no discount?  Because you’re splitting the $200 or $400 between up to 4 people, which makes it cheaper per person all around.

I ask that no more than 4 photographers book me at once because more than 4 photographers proves to be too many photographers, and means I can’t spend much time posing for each one.  I like to make sure that, when I’m hired, photographers are getting their money’s worth.

How willing to negotiate are you?
I’m pretty open to negotiating, or at the very least, discussing options.  I know things are tough and that many photographers are hobbyists.  The most common negotiation I do is working in exchange for wardrobe or wardrobe plus heavily discounted rates.  Sometimes, this is wardrobe purchased by the photographer and worn at the shoot, then given to me.  Other times, it’s wardrobe in the form of a giftcard, so that I can purchase stuff later on (not necessarily for use on that particular shoot or with that specific photographer).  I always tell photographers not to be afraid to ask models (or me in particular) about negotiating, because chances are, we’re open to it.  If you have something to offer, I won’t know unless you put it on the table!

Do you require deposits to book?
Typically, I don’t.  Though if I were traveling to your area specific to shoot, I would require a retainer, which would be applied to the final total.  I might also require a deposit or retainer to secure a date if a photographer had cancelled on me before.  This is, of course, something I look at on a case-by-case basis.

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