Friday, January 25, 2013

Q/A Modeling Agencies and Fashion Nudes

This particular fashion nudes test was booked via the modeling agent/agency

Q: How you deliver the photos to the agency and the models? You just email them, or do you have a web site where they download?

I have gallery shows of some of my work, and then I would have to look at paying as the artwork would be sold. I am wondering if you can give me a ballpark what standard rates might be for this sort of thing. I saw previously that you have had agency models for workshops. What types of rates were you looking at for models for this type of work? I just want to get a general idea of prices I may be looking at.

Do you think fashion nudes are more acceptable in LA than NY? Of the blogging photographers, I see you and Kesler doing a ton, and none of the east coast blogging photographers (Billy Kidd, Michael Donnovan) seem to be putting out the volume of fashion nudes that you west coast guys are ... unless I am missing someone. Other thoughts on NY vs LA?

A: When I'm done editing, I just email the model and the agent a dropbox link where they can download the images.

Standard agency rates vary depending on the market, the agency's tier, the usage, and of course the model. I've seen agency rates range between $300 and $5,000. In your case, usage is going to be a big factor because agencies want to be paid based upon how much money they think you'll be making.

As far as the workshops are concerned, all of them are agency models. But I don't book them directly from the agency. The workshops wouldn't be affordable to photographers with my models' (agency) day rates being $1,000 on average. As far as what I pay the models, there is a range as well. And while it's less than their agency rates, I can not disclose the actual rates. Primarily the difference is usage since I don't profit from any printed material with their likeness on it.

The question about fashion nudity and why it's so prevalent out here in LA and not so much in the east coast is a tricky one to answer. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why this is the case. But if I had to take a guess, the simple answer would be "supply and demand". Regional markets such as the midwest have nearly zero demand for fashion nudity due to the conservative nature of that region. Your chances of getting paid to shoot fashion nudity in the midwest is about as good as getting struck by lighting, twice.

But does that mean models in LA are demanding fashion nudes? Not necessarily. But there is a larger supply of models out here and Los Angeles is the center of the entertainment industry. As an indirect result there will naturally be more fashion nudes.

The other reason is that LA is a huge testing market. While there are a lot of models, there are probably even more photographers. As far as testing is concerned, there's no place better than LA for photographers to test models. But what does testing have to do with fashion nudity? Let me explain. My opinion and experience is that testing agency models is largely unprofitable these days. While I have been paid to shoot for agencies, those paid tests much less frequent than I would like and certainly not frequent enough to pay the bills! And that's my experience! I know many more photographers that have never (and will never) shoot a paid test for an agency. So the value of testing agency models to experienced photographers such as myself drops tremendously. After all what does the next model offer my portfolio that the last 100 models don't already do?

The answer is fashion nudity. It's what successful photographers are offered as an alternative to being paid shoot agency tests. For me it's fun. I enjoy shooting fashion nudes and I'm sure many other photographers do too. But it's an option that good photographers are offered that most amateurs and hobbyists aren't. It's the negotiated "middle ground" that experienced photographers choose, when the agency isn't paying. And nudes beget nudes. Because once I started shooting fashion nudes, models (outside the agencies) started to ask me to shoot fashion nudes with them. They started out unpaid but these days they pay me for those tests.


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