Part 1 of 2
The world of modeling is rapidly changing before our eyes. With new rules and a new way of doing business, everyone is left scrambling and well… a bit confused.
Traditionally, companies looking to hire models would go through an agency. Agencies, who are well versed in negotiating rates and handling contracts. What’s more is that agencies protect their models, ensure their safety, and make sure they are getting both PAID & FED. All important things when you’re a lone model finding yourself caught in a never-ending stream of new clients, new locations, new situations, new people, and sometimes new and rather unusual demands.
But now with the influx of social media, companies are bypassing a model’s agent (if he/she has one) and are getting in touch with models directly, putting a lot of models at risk of being taken advantage of. One such example may be that a model falls into a trap of working for trade (either for photos or clothes) and never build the confidence to ask for compensation when typically this would never happen under the protection of his/her agent. Of course, some models are okay with TFPs or trade for clothes. And other models are doing it just for fun. Every model’s journey/ reason for modeling is different. But, if you are like many models I know who are sick of modeling for bikinis or a hat or dress or whatever then this post is for YOU!
So, let’s dig in find out how a model can determine her rate, decide when trade is a good option, and leverage the new landscape of social media to come out on top! To help me get to the heart of these issues, I got together with MODL Behavior creator and founder, Meg Akim and it is with her great knowledge and experience that I have this information to share.
Side note- As you read this article keep in mind that this is a BEAST of a subject with many variables and no set rules. The world of modeling has always been this way when it comes to the money irrespective of social media’s influence, (which has only stirred the pot.) We have simply tried our best to set you with some guidelines and help you create some boundaries as you carve your path in your modeling career- b/c now you have the power to do so! ;-))
1. How does a model determine her rate?
- First, consider your experience:
- How long have you been modeling? What jobs have you booked? What was your highest paying job? Basically, how does your “model resume” stand?
- Then, consider your professionalism and be honest:
- Have you ever flaked? Are you on time? Do you get tired on set and complain? Are you helpful/ thoughtful/ and considerate of everyone around you?
- Other factors to consider:
- jobs your agent has booked for you remember to factor out an agent’s 10-20% commission
- company size- are they solely online, boutique, local or big commercial client? The bigger the company = bigger the budget
*And, importantly keep in mind the minimum rate an agency typically charges for their models is $75/hr
Now that you have a sense of how much you should be charging clients, let’s backtrack a bit and look at the world of trade.
If you are a model who:
- wants to make a career out of modeling
- wants to be compensated for her time
Then, consider the question below:
2. When is trade ok?
- Every model needs to start somewhere and that typically starts with good photos. You need a decent headshot, profile and full body. TFPs are great way to do this.
- It’s standard agency practice to set-up models for “test shoots” which is basically TFPs where the photographer “tests” the model and both benefit with pictures to add to their portfolio
- In addition to trading your time for photos which will go in your portfolio and help you create a composition card, TFPs are a great way to build your experience and comfort level with almost nothing (but bad photos) at stake!
- You should do no more than 5 TFPs. At this point, you have enough photos to fill your portfolio, create a composition card, and feel comfortable in front of the lens.
- As far as trade for clothes- you should limit this exchange as much as possible
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and models with more experience still occasionally work for trade under special circumstances.
3. What are these special circumstances?
- If there is a good photographer in town
- If you need to update your portfolio
- If a photographer or someone involved in the shoot has connections you want to leverage
- If you really love a designer’s clothes -- you can also work out half pay + half trade deal
- If you are interested in an artistic collaboration
- Or if you damn well FEEL LIKE IT! ;)
But, generally after 5 TFPs or trade for clothes you need to move on. Otherwise, you risk the idea of people thinking they can get you for free.
Stay tuned next month and we’ll dig deeper to discover how social media is influencing the landscape and how you can come out on top!
<3 Mudra // @mudra_love
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