Sometimes You Just Have to Get a Good, Paid Model Instead

There are times when you can get away working with a friend or someone willing to model for you for free, but then there are those times where you save yourself money, time, and effort by simply booking a professional model! How to decide which one to go for?As somebody who has been on both sides of the camera and worked on various combinations of paid and unpaid work, I can definitely attest there are occasions where exchanging time is a good enough deal that can benefit both parties. I have experienced and also heard plenty of stories and situations where models have given their time for a collaboration only to receive small and unusable images, unedited images or footage, and more. So, having lived through it myself and having heard about these situations from other models, I’ve always tried to deliver a great service as a photographer even if it’s just a collaboration and no money exchanges hands. However, lately I have been thinking whether the effort and time that goes into finding and arranging someone to model in exchange of edited images is necessarily worth it.You Can Get Exactly Who You NeedIf you merely want to practice portraits or to try out something new with a particular piece of equipment or in a specific location or studio, generally you will not mind who models for you. These types of situations are ideal for working with either a willing friend or family member or with a model, who wants portfolio images in return. It’s not so much who is in front of your camera, it’s rather a question of who is available and interested. However, there are projects where we might need a model with specific appearance or attributes.For example, I had a project where my brief was to photograph an ethnically diverse family because the company already had plenty of images of Caucasian families. I tried my luck by advertising a model call where each family would receive images in return, however, the only family I booked was a past client who already knew me. Another family, who had inquired, decided against it in the end when I reiterated that the images of them will be used in commercial capacity. The moment I advertised a paid model call on a model website, I received several responses of models who were happy to work with their child or children in front of the camera, and were also happy to sign a model release. I found exactly what I wanted in the matter of a few hours and I didn’t need to keep spending time explaining the process to families who perhaps didn’t quite understand what the images would be used for. 

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