This blog is potentially going to do 1 of 3 things. Offend you, give you a lightbulb moment or do absolutely nothing at all.
I see a lot of photographers, but more so models, asking for payment for their work, and a lot of the time they aren’t worthy of the price they’re asking for. Sometimes they aren’t worthy of the payment at all.
Now I’m not writing this to insult those who do this, there are loads of excellent models and photographers who charge and rightly so. But for some reason, especially it seems in the North East, I see tens of models, brand new to the industry, with relatively poor portfolios saying they want paid for work at rates generally as high if not higher than some of the well respected pro models on the circuit.
For me there is a two fold issue here.
The first issue being models think that they can do this and people will pay them, and no one educated them for the risk of insulting them and them having a hissy fit and being all defensive. I have seen this happen and it ain’t pretty!
The second issue is that photographers, usually those with poor portfolios themselves, are willing to pay them. Now I’m not going to go into the reasons why they do this, I think its pretty obvious to most in the industry, particularly when you take a look at the photographers style of work. Enough said.
So where is the temperature check, where is the guidance, where is the reality more than anything else? I chat with a lot of photographers about this issue and often share the surprise when you see models who’ve been on the circuit for all of 5 minutes looking for only paid work.
Why isn’t anyone telling them their work is poor and doesn’t warrant payment, and back to that age old issue, why don’t any of these models invest and pay a good photographer to get a strong portfolio? It really baffles my mind. When in fact what would be more beneficial to the models is working with credible photographers, learning how to pose, how to use their face and how to show emotion. Generally just how to model!
Photographers are too scared to give feedback to models in this instance for its far too easy to be made out as the bad guy in these situations, when in fact you’re trying to do them a favour. I have done this, and I have fed back to models about their price and some have taken it exceptionally well. One recent model I worked with who only recently left an agency was unsure of how to price herself, I gave her some realistic feedback on her prices and she thanked me for helping her not look stupid when quoting her prices. But I have also told models, who approached me asking for paid work, that their portfolio didn’t warrant being paid for and that I wouldn’t work with them because of the photographers they’d worked with and the style they’d shot.
That didn’t go down so well.
I really don’t know what the right answer is to this, let’ not call it an issue, but behaviour that I see more and more. Some won’t see it as a problem, but I’m seeing more and more photographers get frustrated by it.
I think until there is some sort of set pricing, or way of working this will always be the case, very similarly to photographers charging from the moment they buy their first camera!
Somethings may never change in this industry….