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Thread: To Pay or not to pay

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    To Pay or not to pay

    I have often wondered where that crossover point is where a photographer charges a model to do a shoot, or the model charges the photographer to do the shoot.

    Quite often on MM you see models say they will work for TFP with the right photographer if it will add to their port. I personally have worked with many models but I have never had to pay a model for the time I have spent with her. I understand for some models there is a huge investment of time and this is the way they make their living, but as I explain to them, I am investing in equipment (20K), time to do the shoot, and countless hours in post processing to make her look like a model. The pay for her is the final product.

    What has been your experience?
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    TFP is the "grey" area and should be clearly worked out and written down before any session takes place. If both parties are happy getting the images for their respective portfolios under that arrangement then all is sweet.

    If you are approached by someone to photograph them and they are happy to pay you for your time and expertise then once again as per the above line detailed specifications of how long you will photograph them for and how many images they will receive should be put in writing before the session.
    In this situation you should expect to not keep any images for your portfolio.

    If you wish to pay a subject for their time and expertise, apply the same conditions about how long you wish to photograph them for based on an agreed hourly rate and they should not expect any images from you at the end of the day.

    I know full well that most models or aspiring models would either be paid or work TFP with the conditions heavily weighted in their favour but yes, you do have to draw a line somewhere. That line will usually be at the point where the subject all of a sudden isn't interested in working with you because they just found another guy with a camera that will do it on their terms.
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    My view is that the terms of the shoot in terms of remuneration, copyright and usage should be documented and agreed before the shoot. That way there can be no misunderstanding.

    Personally, I don't pay models, and I don't want them to pay me. I tend to work mostly with up-and-coming models who are happy to work on a TFP basis to build their experience and portfolio. By the same token, I am interested in building my experience and portfolio.

    For me, photography is strictly a hobby; I'm not wanting to work in any capacity as a photographer, as it's something I enjoy, and portraiture is one of my main subject interests. I'd rather keep money out of it.

    Of course, some models only work for financial remuneration, and that's fine. Unless I really want to photograph that particular model, there are plenty of other models happy to work on a TFP basis.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I think what Andrew and Xenedis say is spot on. On MM, you often read bio's from quite new and somewhat inexperienced models thinking they are good enough to be paid or they don't want to do the work. It actually surprises me how many I have seen that fit this category. I wonder if they talk to one or two good, experienced models who tell them "I never work for free" and they just think they can do the same.

    Plenty of fish in the sea on MM though, and I don't think there is a shortage of willing less experienced models, but I can imagine how annoying it would be to gather all your gear and front up to a location only to find your model not coming because there was a sale at Myer that day, or someone else agreed to do things more on the models terms. I think that if you get them to agree to TFP and something more exciting like shopping or the beach comes up, you are at risk of wasting your time with many of them.

    If the model is attractive or suits the intended purpose, and has a fair amount of experience then sure, they can mandate payment, just as I would if I were to work for someone I didn't know using my skills and experience.
    One very important thing though is to ensure well before attending any meeting for a shoot, that both parties understand what is expected and what will be provided by the other at the end of it.
    This would be best backed up with an email outlining same so there can be no confusion later on..

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    I'll be paying for some models to fly with me from London to Morocco in Feb for some fashion label shoots, they are from IMG Models and other agencies and not the riff raff on MM, therefore its more justified imo.

    havent met any models yet that want photographers to pay them to be in front of the camera lol

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    I suppose guys what I am asking is where is that point where a photographer thinks himself at that stage where he decides the model has to pay him / her for the shoot, when the model is thinking she / he is good enough for the photographer to pay them for the shoot. This is not for the same shoot - it is just a general thought.

    I am not at a point where I have had to pay a model for a shoot, but let me tell you many models on MM are being paid by some photographers to pose nude / implied / lingerie. Some profiles of model read they will NOT do TFP for nude modelling so don't ask. I have spoken to some new models who are breaking into the industry and are inundated with photographers who want to charge them an arm and a leg to set up their port.

    My work normally speaks for itself - I approach a model to pose for me but I tell them upfront I only work TF*. We discuss the shoot and sometimes it comes off, and sometimes we both agree and it does not come off. Today I worked with a fantastic model who earns very good money posing nude - but for me after showing her my port and agreeing on the shoot she modelled TF* (and has rebooked for more shoots in the future). I do not charge for the work I do because it is an enjoyable hobby and I want to keep it that way.

    I agree with Wayne, you do get your fair share of "flakes" - I am not sure if this is because it is a TF* shoot or just part and parcel of the industry.

    As for Justin I dare say you have not asked Jennifer Hawkins to do a TF* shoot with you yet
    Last edited by Brian500au; 26-11-2011 at 6:33pm.

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    I'd prob flick Jen a $100 if she's free

    As for TFP I guess at some point somebody thinks they are good enough or in demand enough to charge something

    But, I know some very very highly regarded photographers who still do a lot if TFP work
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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I guess Brian that when a photographer has a wealth of skill, experience and a portfolio matching that, he/she if approached by a model to develop a models portfolio then it should be expected that the model is going to pay some remuneration to the photographer if the photographer is not gaining anything new or useful for their own portfolio. The same would apply the other way round I think.

    Certainly on MM, lots of photographers, probably new and learning ones are paying models to pose nude simply because they don't have the portfolio that would make a model want to do it for free as she sees there will be nothing in it for her. That and lots of guys are just perverts who want pretty girls to get naked for them, and then want them to do it for nothing, hence the bio's that state no nude for TF.

    I've not asked a model to pose nude for me, and honestly never think I will, it is not a genre that is of great interest to me, however if I ever decided to explore it, I would expect that regardless of who the model is, I am going to be asked to pay them something, especially given my wife wont do it!

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    There are a lot of highly regarded photographers world wide who would prefer to work Tf* for one reason or another.

    I love reading on MM a model who never forgets where she started. There are some very experienced models, and a I dare say this is a full time job for them, but still they say they are willing to donate some of their time to do TF* to give back to the industry.

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    Personally, I don't think that the fact that someone has been paid means that said person is more experienced, talented or whatever.

    That goes for people on both sides of the lens.

    Similarly, I don't think that the fact that a person hasn't been paid means (s)he is any less experienced, capable or talented.

    I don't consider someone's bank balance to be an indicator of ability.

    Thus, working on a TFP basis doesn't mean inferior models, photographers or images.

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    Member reflect's Avatar
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    I find that I help out the up and coming, new to modelling models because I remember when the shoe was on the other foot and a few very talented models gave me their time for free while I fumbled around with settings and light placement etc. For those that approach me for portfolio updates, unless they wish to do a project that is for me or the MUA I work with, I will probably charge. Having said that, if the model is a part time, occasional, type the charge is reduced. For commercial customers, those with a business or product to promote I charge and if they dont wish to pay thats fine, there are plenty of photographers(?) that will do that sort of work for free.
    Kiwi, on a side note, if I chuck in another $100 do you reckon Jenn will be interested ?
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    Member Roo's Avatar
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    Pardon my ignorance but the acronym's MM, TFP, TF, TF* stand for what please.

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    Model mayhem (website for models matching with mua and photographers erc)
    Time for print (swap photographers and models time for prints or DVD etc)

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    Member Roo's Avatar
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    ta for that I found that MUA was make up artist, the convos above makes sense now lol

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    TFP = Time for Prints, but what is TF* ?
    Canon EOS 60D ..... EFS 18-200mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS - 430 EXII Speedlite - "eBay special" Remote Control Unit - Manfrotto 190XPROB w 804RC2 head.

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    Time for asteroid ?

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    I also like the term FNG Lots of FNGs on model mayhem woot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel View Post
    TFP = Time for Prints, but what is TF* ?
    The original term is 'Time for Prints', but given images are usually provided electronically on CD/DVD or via email or download, the term 'TF*' covers these too.

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