Your rates and when to charge

Your rates and when to charge
Posted on Wednesday 27th of July 2011
6 comments • Read 5262 times • 3 minute read

Whether you're a model or a photographer, knowing what to charge and when to charge can be a very difficult and somewhat daunting decision. You don't want to price yourself too low, but you also don't want to overprice yourself, especially if you lack experience.

Photographers often have thousands of pounds invested in cameras, lenses, flash gear and software, whilst a model, it's just "them". So, clearly, it's the photographer who should be charging... right?
But the model is often the subject of the photo, no model = no photo, so the model should be charging too, right?

In reality, both should be charging as without either the photographer or model there is no photo. This is what happens in the professional world of the modelling and photographic industry. A client will hire a model and a photographer, they'll both get paid and everyone is happy. Unfortunately, in the amateur world - there often isn't a client.
By taking the client out of the equation, you remove the money source and here appears the desire for both sides to charge one another.

So who should get paid? Well, there are so many variables but largely it comes down to:
[bull]Who is getting the most out of the photos?[/bull]
[bull]Are the model and/or photographer experienced?[/bull]

Let's take 2 common scenarios:
[bull]A photographer wants to shoot a model for the photographers private collection[/bull]
[bull]A model wants to update their portfolio[/bull]

In scenario 1, the photographer has declared themselves as the client – as they will be the recipient of the photos and thus the photographer should pay the model.
In scenario 2, the model has made themselves the client, as they are the one who is going to benefit mostly from the photos, and so the model should pay the model.

There is also, of course, the Time For Prints/Time For Digital Prints option, whereby both model and photographer work for free (and often split studio costs), and in return the model gets a copy of edited shots from the photographer.

TFP/TFDP is often offered when both the model and the photographer are going to benefit from doing the shoot and so they are both in effect the client. Maybe the model is looking to update her portfolio, and the photographer is a newcomer to photography, usually a TFP/TFDP shoot would be agreed upon.

If you’re a new model, you should expect to only do "TFP/TFDP" shoots for your first 5/10 shoots, to help you build up a varied portfolio, get you used to working in a professional studio environment, and used to how the whole process works. There is nothing worse than a new model with stars and pound signs in their eyes, expecting to be making a lot of money straight off the bat. It takes time!

Most new photographers, that I've noticed, are a lot more grounded than new models – they except that the first few shoots they’re going to do may not produce quality results and therefore are prepared to pay the model for their time.

How much should I charge?

As a photographer, I charge £40 an hour for studio, and £45 for location.

What about models? From my experience, I've noticed that models will charge between £15 and £25 an hour for fashion/glamour/non-nude, and for topless and up most models charge between £25 up to £100+ for full on adult work.
If you’re not sure what to charge, then there's nothing wrong with asking other models what they charge and setting yourself at a similar rate.

So what about travel costs? Again that depends on whether you're the client, or not, and whether it's a TFP shoot or not.
If you're the "client" in this situation, then no, you shouldn't expect your travel costs to be covered. If you're not the client, then it's only fair for your costs to be covered, and if it's a TFP shoot, then you shouldn't expect them to be covered because the shoot is of mutual benefit.

Thank you for reading, and I hope that has helped.


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