Working with models has many benefits for the professional photographer. But it can also be sometimes frustrating. I believe some models have a misconception of professional photographers, which can sometimes result in misunderstandings or missing out on the chance to add some additional work to both pro’s portfolios. Here are a few things I’ve learned working with models, and some common things I run into when dealing with models that I believe are common misconceptions about professional photographers.
Professional photographers are running a business.
Most models expect to be paid because they are working in the business to earn money. Professional photographers have exactly the same goal. The definition of a professional is someone who makes a profit doing something. If we don’t make a profit, we are participating in a hobby. Professional athletes are paid because they have certain skills. Professional photographers are also paid because they have skills that you won’t usually find by getting someone to shoot your photos for free.
We spend hours preparing for a shoot, shooting the photos, then more hours retouching the photos to make the model look their best. We invest in the equipment and software we use to achieve the best results. We may have to travel to a location to do the shoot. All this is the cost of doing business. We have to figure the cost of the time we put into a particular shoot. After all, the old saying still applies; time IS money. So we have to earn enough to cover all these expenses, and make a profit. If we don’t, then once again, we are just hobbyists.
That’s not to say I will never do a TFP ( Time For Prints) shoot, or pay a model for a project. I have done these shoots, and I’m sure I will in the future. But the shoot has to also show some benefit for me by either adding to my portfolio to enhance my business exposure or show potential clients how hiring me can benefit them, or be commercially viable.