When Models ask Why is a Shoot for Trade

I’ve got over $10K in gear. Between camera, lenses, lighting equipment. I’m going to be renting a studio sometime this year which means 800+/month.
 
I buy a ton of wardrobe for models to wear.
 
I spend hours researching themes, genres and ideas.
 
I take classes to learn my craft- over $5000 worth so far.
 
I have to pay the makeup artist/hair stylist out of my own pocket.
 
When I post a casting call, I get tons of responses from people who don’t take the time to read what I wrote and are not right for the theme – or they don’t follow the directions posted in the casting call. So, now I have to weed through them. Countless hours.
 
I have to chase down models to get head shots. They are almost always out of focus, bad lighting Cell phone photos. Countless hours.
 
During the shoot, the models rely on me to direct them in 95% of their poses. They haven’t researched the theme, nor the actual art of modeling.
 
Models come to a session with bad skin because they smoke, drink, or tan too much. They don’t understand about taking care of themselves.
 
I plan the shoot. I research the shoot. I review wardrobe requirements. I review the theme or genre. I post the casting calls. I weed through the models who apply looking for the right fit. I book the makeup artist and hair stylist. I provide the location. I set up the lighting. I direct the MUA & Stylist. I direct the model. On long shoots, I feed the entire team. When the shoot is done, I pay the MUA/stylist. I clean up the studio. Wipe down the makeup table. Take down the lighting equipment. Clean the camera for the next shoot. Edit photos. provide the place for the models to download their photos. Post the photos for them to download. Thank them for their time.
 
Move on to the next project.
 
Finally, I don’t begrudge any of this process. This is something I love to do. But it kind of irritates me when people ask what they are getting in trade for these shoots as if the photographer doesn’t work their butts off to make a good photo shoot.
 
Ask yourself this question. As a model, do you have current GOOD head shots? Do you have a comp card? If not, then how can you call yourself a model and expect to be paid if you don’t have the basics?
Author: Bob