Here’s just a little FYI – it’s not intended to be snarky or mean spirited, but I get a lot of inquiries from models of varying skill levels and strengths in their portfolios. When I’m approached by someone looking for a free shoot I have to take a hard look at what the benefit is to me in doing something on trade. If it’s not for a model who has a big following, works with an agency, has a unique concept, or is bringing a stylist or brand to the table then I need to value the time I put in. So consider this – I currently charge $450 for a 2 hour shoot. Most models that are agency represented charge $100-$250 an hour. So if I value my own time, a model with a lot of experience and a strong portfolio is a break even scenario from what I normally charge. A normal model I should be charging $250 for (their rate minus my own). If you’re wondering why I charge more than the model it’s because for every hour I put in shooting, I put in at least one or two in post production. Plus I have equipment to maintain. My $100 test fee is something I offer to people who I think have potential to turn out some great images. Otherwise I quote my normal fee, which is $450. To me $100 is what I spend every time I walk into Target. I think my images are pretty good – and I know for the time and effort I put into it, that’s a bargain. Anyways – you can always find a photographer who is willing to shoot you for free, and who knows, maybe you will even find some who are better than I am. Reality is most photographers with talent and established portfolios aren’t going to be shooting for free. And while I get enough inquiries to no longer take personal offense to it – I feel like it’s worth my time to explain it from a professional photographer’s position. This is what I do full time. You might be offended by my response, but I would hope that the next photographer you approach for a shoot you consider paying their full rate, or at least their test rate. Having great images is worth it!

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