You’re charging how much ? A rant !

So – here I am, looking for a model.  I want to shoot some levitation work – so off I go, on the hunt for the ‘perfect’ person.  There’s lots of models to choose from – tall ones, short ones, blonde, brunette, dark, fair, experienced, and newcomers to the show….. they all have one common denominator…. they want, and expect, to be paid by the photographer….

Now, I’m all in favour of making money – hey, it’s what drives us forward most of the time:-  but – and it’s a huge but – I get so tired of the ‘models’ who are new on the scene, have only poorly taken selfies in their bedroom mirror, and who want £30 / hour, plus travel.

OK, it’s a fair cop – I charge far more than that – even post retirement, when I’m expected to turn out for the odd gig…… however……. here’s the comparison.

New model – with 2 weeks experience

Make up (lets assume they buy it all new) – say generously £100
New outfits – (lets again be generous) – say £300
Accessories – £100 (I don’t know what they need but hey)
Let’s include their new iphone to get them started – £400 (ish)
Professional Training ?? – well actually  – mostly ZERO

Bookings to recoup that outlay – roughly 30 OK…………

My outlay – over a 15 year period

Photo gear – OMG – don’t even want to think about it… but probably a bit more than the money you spend on clothes.  Bear in mind that some camera bodies (no lens) can cost in excess of £5000 – I’ve spent probably over £20,000 on gear in the last 15 years.
Training – College Courses, Tutorials, Workshops – £10,000 (at the very least)
Accessories (lighting, flashguns, backdrops, etc….) £6000
Computer, laptop, and all the software to go with it…. £5000 +
Oh and all the software training I had to pay for to learn to use it all…..

And all the rest, not counting experience…..

And heaven help the photographer who has his/her own studio – rent, lights, props, electric, gas, telephone, tax……

Not quite the same is it…….?

Could I have charged someone after having owned a camera for two weeks?…. I don’t think so.  So why on earth should I pay you for your time…. should this actually not be the other way around…….

It drives me crazy that all models think they should be paid, and the photographer – well they do it for the love of the sport…….

“But I have to get to the venue” I hear them cry – well get this ‘hun’ – so do I..  I don’t have a home studio, so I have to rent one…. (an expense I forgot about earlier)

So – the casting call goes out – and I state – don’t apply if you live more than say 20 miles away – and what happens? – I get applicants from Kent – who want me to pay their travel… err – I don’t think so luv.  Which leads me on to the next ‘thing’.  The one word replies…. the casting call is specific – it says what I want, when I want it – how much I’ll pay (or not) and all the detail they need – the reply says (and I quote from a real person here) “intrstd” – which I assume means they are interested in the casting, and if I want to talk about it, I have to contact them to follow through…… why so ignorant?

Don’t get me wrong – I have, and do pay models – good models – and sometimes pay them a high rate, in exchange for their experience, their skill, their outfits and their time. They can’t work for nothing, and neither can I.  The example below, using the fabulous model Scarlot Rose shows how a great model, and I hope a great photographer, can collaborate with assistants, to produce great work. Thanks to Sven Brandola, and others for their help with this shoot.


I can’t dance, I can’t do athletics, I can’t act – so I pay for that.  What I don’t pay for is a couple of selfies badly taken with an  iphone….. sorry guys…….. and gals……

Author: Diane Seddon ARPS AFIAP CPAGB BPE3* - D Seddon Photography

I am a retired freelance photographer, based in Louth, Lincolnshire.

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