Rates & TF

16 Jul

Let’s lay down some basic firsts. TFCD can be replaced with any form of trade that does not include the payment of cash (with the exception of gas money in some cases). TF means trade for and the CD stands for a CD of pictures. You will often also see TFP which can stand for trade for prints, trade for photos, or trade for pictures.

Deciding to charge money for modeling and settling on rates, or more accurately a system for rates, takes time and a little guesswork.

I’m going to do this in a Q & A format. Most of these questions are directed more towards freelance models versus those with agencies who will probably control all of this to some extent. I’m also a little more focused on model – photographer shoots vs. shoots with a third-party client involved.

How do I know when I can start charging rates? How much should I start at?

One key sign is that you are asked for your rates. However, this isn’t an indicator everyone can use. The best thing to do is to look at other models who shoot styles similar to you and are in the same area, or a similar area. For example, in my case I couldn’t find any other fine art models in my immediate area, but there was a girl that did implied for $50 an hour. I started at $25 an hour.

How do I know when I can raise my rates?

Obviously, as you get better, you can generally raise your rates to a certain threshold. Like I said, I started at $25 an hour. Once I was booking more work than I could take, I raised my rates. I would recommend not going too fast. And never raise rates after you’ve been contacted about a shoot under a specific rate. I also would be booked for specific projects in which I was offered more than my rate.

Can I charge different amounts for different types of modeling?

The beauty of this is that you can do whatever you want. There is no guarantee that anyone will pay any rate, but you can ask for whatever you like. Personally, I charge for what I am more talented at, and then I do TF for what I’m not skilled enough to charge for yet. Some models will have what is called “stripper rates.” This refers to models who charge more and more for the more skin they are showing. For example: $25 for fully clothed, $50 for swimwear and lingerie, $75 for topless and implied nude, $100 for full nude. Many people frown on this type of pricing, hence the name “stripper rates.” However, a lot of models do this and some of them do just fine with them. Again, what you charge is up to you.

I’ve seen people charge half day or full day rates. What’s that about?

I will be honest in saying that I don’t have much experience in this type of rate. I’ve always been asked for an hourly rate. This has much to do with my area. I would recommend you look at other models in your area and see what format they are using (hourly vs day or half day).

I can tell you that in general a half day is 4 to 6 hours and a full day tends to be around 8 hours. The important thing is to either denote your definition with your rates, or ask the photographer exactly how long they’d like to shoot. Communication is key.

Is there anything besides location, style, and budget that I should consider in choosing my rates?

Yes, and one of those things is the usage of the images. Will they be submitted to websites? Sold as prints? Sold to private sellers? I recommend you do this with any shoot. This information will often be given in the release, but it never hurts to ask for specifics if they aren’t already given. If the photos will be used for a national ad campaign you might be justified in asking a higher rate than if they are just for personal portfolio use. It is also more likely that a photographer might have a higher budget for work they will make a profit from (or a higher profit from). Again, this is all about communication.

Should I charge more for nudes?

Okay, there are two “principles” that come up with getting paid for nudes: 1) supply and demand and 2) the value of nudity.

Supply and demand simply means that there is a fairly high demand for nude models (a lot of people want to shoot nudes), but there seem to be fewer models willing to shoot nudes. So high demand, lower supply. Because of this, photographers are more willing to pay for nude models then for some other types of models (because there are more models that do non-nude work, and more willing to do TF vs. pay).

The value of nudity means that many people think that because they are getting naked that automatically entitles them to get paid. Some photographers will agree with this while others are very, very annoyed by this theory.

Now, the thing is that for whatever reason you want to believe, that most models can charge something for nudes. But to be a really good nude model you need to do more than just get naked. Just like with clothing, if you have an awesome designer wardrobe but you can’t pose, you’re not going to get booked very much. The more you can bring to the table the more likely you can charge and beyond that, charge more. I’m not saying people are going to pay it, I’m just saying they are more likely to.

Should I list my rates on my webpage/profile?

This is one of those points that people seem split right down the middle on. Some people say photographers want to see your rates and don’t want to have to ask. Others say that if you list rates you might be missing out if someone would have offered you more. Personally, on my personal modeling site I give a starting rate and then I can go up from there depending on the project. So I might say “My rates start at $25 an hour depending on the project.” Then I can quote something more specific when I find out what the project is. You can also just list standard rates. Or you can simply say “Please message me/send me an e-mail for my rates.” Each one has its pros and cons. My best advice is to look at other similar models around you and see what they are doing that works for them.

Should I keep doing TF after I start charging rates?

Most people agree that doing select TF is always beneficial if you are doing it for that reason. In other words, once you start charging, you’ll only want to do TF that will benefit you and your port. If you are giving people something for free that you want them to pay for, then they are very unlikely to pay for it. However, if working with them is more important or will otherwise benefit your portfolio, then TF will be much better than not working with them at all. Afterall, TF work you do might allow you to better promote yourself and thus allow you to book paid work.

I also do TF for any personal projects I have going. In that case if they photographer likes my project, we may just shoot that, or we may shoot some of my project and some of what the photographer wants.

One Response to “Rates & TF”


  1. When & Why Should A Model Be Paid « DelilaSophia: the model - October 11, 2011

    […] I won’t go into detail here about exactly how you decide on what your rates should be, but I do recommend you read my article called: Rates & TF. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: