Free Photoshoot, just pay separate S & H

I know you’ve seen them. The posts in those model/photographer groups that request you to submit for a free or trade photo shoot. I recently came across one that really had my smokestacks fuming.

I love to shoot. I love to have pictures taken. I love to collaborate with photographers who want to try something new, who think outside the box. In 25 years, I’ve done a TON of photoshoots. And I’ve done them all around the world. So when I see a photographer who can offer me something I haven’t done, I JUMP at the opportunity to produce some fantastic images. And I do a lot of trade shoots, but only with talented, professional photographers.

I also try to shoot as often as possible to keep up my trade and talents. Modeling is a skill….it’s a verb….it’s an action. So I try as much as I can to stay at the top of my field.

2018 has so far, been an interesting year for me as a newly freelance model. I’ve seen the ugliest side of this business and I am vowing to not allow others to get taken advantage of…I decided I must share a recent experience.

I saw a post on a model/photog group page recently where the photographer was doing a ‘model call’. Let’s understand the terminology. A model call is when you request models submit for a job. A specific job. Not just an open call to see what’s out there…but the client, in this instance the photographer, was looking for models for a specific ‘job’.

Ok, so the photographer is having a model call. They are looking to do a boudoir shoot to get photos of their new space to advertise with and in turn, gain new clients(and make more money). So for those who aren’t sure of how the business world works; If a company is going to make money off of your likeness (photo, video, personality etc) and increase their bottom line, then you too should make money. As an agency model, when I work for a client, the company will call my agency, book me, they pay me for the day I’m working, travel expenses are negotiable, but if the day rate is high enough, we sometimes wave the travel fees. Then, depending on the usage of that photo…flyer, hang tags (the tags you see on clothes with photos of models on them), posters, etc. the fees are tacked on. If the company wants to have outright usage of my photos for any time frame, that time frame is calculated into the fees charged. Outright usage means they own the photos for that time frame and can use them for whatever, and however many things as they want. But they have to pay for it. Here’s how the numbers can break down:

Day rate: $1500

Usage rate: $3000/2 year buyout

So the total for the job is $4500 and for the next 2 years, the client can do whatever they want with my pictures. Make sense? Ok…now you understand how the other side of the industry works and hopefully every time you take a job now, you’ll think twice about doing it. If they make money off of you, you should make money off of you. Donate to charities, not viable businesses unless they can offer you something you cannot offer yourself. Ie; exposure but that is another blog altogether.

I contacted the photographer who put up the model call to inquire about the shoot they were offering and I got this email…

(Remember what I wrote up top);31793401_373914293087515_1828768753622450176_n

Let’s break this down: You go in and shoot. They can then do whatever they want, for as long as they want, forever and ever, and ever and ever and ever. They will continue to make money off of you and your photos, forever and ever and ever and ever. PLUS…PLUS they want you to take even more time out of your life to spend reviewing them on the internet so they can MAKE EVEN MORE MONEY OFF OF YOU***Red Flag #1***


This is where my eyes start rolling….so I pay you $150 for you to book hair and makeup to achieve a look that is what YOU need for YOUR marketing purposes….um….yeah no. Your marketing, your expense. Every client hires hair and makeup as part of the shoot process. Never have I ever been hired and then charged by the client for hair and makeup in order for them to achieve their desired look…..and I’M PAYING YOU $150 FOR ME TO WORK FOR YOU!!!!!! ***RED FLAG #2***

But it gets better;


WHAT???? Sweet Jesus…are you kidding me? So this FREE photoshoot you advertised because you need models to show off your new studio is now going to cost me $150, and I’m not getting any images out of it? You get to use my photos indefinitely and I don’t get any images? You want me to travel to your studio, take time out of my daily life, away from my family and potential work, sit behind my computer and REVIEW your business and I don’t get one fucking image?

My freelance model family…THIS IS A CRAPPY DEAL! THIS PHOTOGRAPHER IS DELUSIONAL….this email did get better (comically) because the photographer does get generous, at least in their mind by offering you the option to put the $150 towards buying one of their outrageously priced package offers…Let’s see, which start at $750. But, they also state that your $150 will be applied towards the hair and makeup for you….See what they did there, FOR YOU… which is it? I’m so confused right now…

I’m not knocking people getting paid…BUT when it comes down to you completely screwing over aspiring models who may or may not know better, disguising it as you doing them a favor,  I cannot stand for that.

Stay strong young talent and if it doesn’t benefit you too, then walk away, there will be a thousand more opportunities coming…approach them now with the mindset of knowing your own value.

For more on Tracie Stern, visit her website


Categories Model-ing

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