What are you worth?

One of the hottest topics right now... aside from why women lose self control around Ricky Martin, is how much should a model charge.

I imagine you read the other article relating to minimum pay rates for models set by the governments Fair Work Australia. If so, why do we continue with this conversation? This is generally why - DESPERATION and NAIVETY of some models.

In an age where there is no accreditation or training required and anyone can become a "model" after a quick Facebook update, we find the Australian market is now flooded with every second pretty face being called a model... same problem applies to every second person with a camera being called a 'photographer'. That's another problem for another day... and trying to weed out some of the creeps!

I prefer you to say those cute 3 little words to me so I feel all warm and fuzzy, but i constantly hear 3 little letters that creep me out.... TFP.  Dont get me wrong, I am not anti this, so let me explain.

For those that may not know or sleeping beauties that have slept through the past 5 years, this acronym has exploded into the market. It stands for Time For Prints... basically a mutual arrangement where all parties like model, photographer, stylist, MUA, etc, agree to give time for free to mutually benefit each other's portfolio or a creative submission.

The problem is that people hear there are FREE models out there now, so some think that no one needs to pay anymore. That's right, I have seen big name clients who use to pay, and have had my own who tried to employ models (I use this term loosly) at no cost, or just offered some clothing (they may only wear once) in return. Beware this tactic can be called TFP, "EXPOSURE" or a great "OPPORTUNITY" too.  

Sure that stereotypical model is meant to never eat, but I think we need to at least pay them to feed some kind of habit dont you! OK, this is another big topic for another time that we shouldnt joke about, but eating disorder clinics and rehab costs money too. Oops, sorry, couldn't resist!  :)   

Smart more professional models knock those jobs back in disgust, but there is always someone willing to take it.  It does sound good doesnt it! Get the Ohh and Ahh from friends and put that brand name on your profile... looks impressive! So will you do that job again for nothing?... what about the next time? They may pick someone else in future, or you even fade away to that eating disorder clinic... and not by choice.  

The industry is sustained by the fashion labels and commercial business that spend money to make money. Its called marketing, promotion and advertising. This helps them pull in the big bucks and drive fancy cars. They pay for their staff, PR companies, marketing, often location fees, photographers and the list goes on, but the model needs to not get paid... and what, live on welfare for the privilege?

Its a fair rant isn't it?  I call this EXPLOITATION and it's so wrong that if continued, the industry will die off for all, and it will be hard for you to even earn pocket money.

Mutual TFP is fine to get some experience and portfolio images from, but at some point when confidence rises, you need to ask yourself..."What am I worth?"


I've heard of school girls doing few TFP shoots and right away adding 'model' to their name. Really... talk about seeking an ego boost! Technically in some obscure way maybe, but until you get experience, can do it well, and start earning fair money for it, you are either being exploited or bringing the industry down. 'Aspiring model' or 'developing model' are much better titles in this case, because many times those aspiring models never get anywhere and walk away dejected. It takes more than just a pretty face and a few amateur photo shoots to be a model... your mum could even do that!


Look over the Government minimum pay rates, it's a good guide.  If you have gone through training, spent time and money to gain the experience and perfected your skills, then it's time you be a model and get paid like one. See:  FAIR PAY FOR MODELS

Join a good agency who should get you paid fairly, and beware of jobs you find offering $30 per hour then have you wondering why you got out of bed to spend money on that taxi. You also need to remember there are different rates for different jobs. I know many good models that wont accept less than $50ph (with a minimum of 3), but will be open to negotiate their rate a touch if it's a simple and full day job. Higher end freelance models often command $100ph for basic jobs, and remember bigger commercial campaigns and TVC's should be double and more.

There was uproar recently when Kylie Minogue or her management sought unpaid dancers to gain "EXPOSURE" for a video clip and Logie awards performance. Same problem - different genre. Kylie and the team got hammered then agreed to pay the fair rates... $1200 for some who spent all day at the shoot.  

Kylie dancers article: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/dance/kylies-logie-commotion-over-pa...

Dont be fooled, there is benefit in exposure from some media if your name accompanies the images, and it's great to help charity, but generally speaking if they make money and you dont, you need to look in the mirror, cos you might be fading away soon. 

It's worth confronting this exploitation by commercial business, I have seen some back right down and think twice. Together we can get fairness back into this industry. We use the hashtag #fairpayformodels on social media and so should you.

Have you seen how top models are treated like celebrities. Mid range models get treated very special too. Know your value as a person and dont get walked over. This will give you confidence, have them not treat you like an amateur, and also keep you and the industy going a long time... ok, maybe in luxury as a size 10.

SO WHAT ARE YOU WORTH??  Share your thoughts below.

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- by Dean Marzolla