R/S between Model & Photographer


nikonriana

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Jul 27, 2011
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I happened to chance upon a few threads and articles regarding models complaining about photographers and I'd just like to start a discussion to hear more opinion from photographers here.

Disclaimer first: I'm a corporate/commercial photographer, hence I may not speak or represent any side of the following subject as well and I have never pay to shoot.

1) I can never quite understand why would people pay to photograph models especially when they are unprofessional ones? I've honestly seen a lot of "model" photographs in virtually anywhere and the model just sucks in the photo, and interestingly they are not charging cheap (after viewing their website, model mayhem blah blah). Thru my years in this line, I've met professional models that work with fashion brands and they are barely 30-50 bucks more than the self-proclaimed models. If you pose in a garage, that doesn't make you a car.

If you're a photographer trying to build up your portfolio, let me share this with you, hire a professional model would go a long way because of their ability to know how to pose, which angle do they look best and how to "dance" with the camera is what that makes the difference between an amateur and professional photo.

2) Secondly, from a photographer perspective, If you already pay the model, do they still get the rights or at least get the copies of their photos? If so, with or without watermark? I personally feel that since you pay for their service, you may choose to not give them the photographs. I've spoken to a few professional models regarding this issue and they agree with me that if they are paid for the service and their time, they do understand if their photographs will not be given.
 

one eye jack

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Jun 11, 2011
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I think the people who "provide" models or service will not like you notwithstanding that you are a pro..haha. As saying goes.."willing buyer + willing seller makes for a beautiful relationship" but do buyers know what they are getting apart from young pretty faces..do they gain or learn from these setups?

Singapore laws actually do not have laws on images per se but only copyright law and by copyrights photographic images are classified as ART WORKS as long as the said artwork originates from that person or commercial/private entity that commission the artwork and therefore is the rightful owner of the copyright.

My suggestion is if people are serious about their photography or just want to shoot nice photos of their loved ones is to get a few like minded friends and hire a model he/she does not need to be a pro model as everyone has to start somewhere.More important is there is someone knowledgeable or experienced to lead or teach the techniques or the how of portrait photography.That way the photography ecosystem thrives and benefits photographers and models.
As to renumeration I think models should be fairly paid with respect to their talents and what they can bring to the image making process.
 

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Octarine

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I think the people who "provide" models or service will not like you notwithstanding that you are a pro..haha. As saying goes.."willing buyer + willing seller makes for a beautiful relationship" but do buyers know what they are getting apart from young pretty faces..do they gain or learn from these setups?
That's a good key point here, imho.
With equipment we ere constantly hear and read the phase of 'limitations spur creativity to overcome them', the same applies here as well. Working with less experienced models or your friends will create a steep learning curve for everyone, but the in the process both sides learn a lot. Together with tons of YT videos and other online resources (e.g. Pinterest) the working relationship can really go a long way. I speak from experience and I know, at one point in time I will get a professional MUA involved to get these topics covered. For now it's the fun of discovery and learning.

On the other side, I do recognize the benefits of working with a professional model: She simply knows what is expected, can work on instructions and the photographer can focus on the realization of his concepts and ideas which s/he wants to have in her/his portfolio. That's a different situation and target compared to above.
 

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one eye jack

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Jun 11, 2011
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I speak from experience and I know, at one point in time I will get a professional MUA involved to get these topics covered. For now it's the fun of discovery and learning.

On the other side, I do recognize the benefits of working with a professional model: She simply knows what is expected, can work on instructions and the photographer can focus on the realization of his concepts and ideas which s/he wants to have in her/his portfolio. That's a different situation and target compared to above.
Agree with you there on getting a MUA not to mention hair stylist and wardrobe but that will up the costs. We are amateurs or hobbyists.

There seems to be a misconception about what a professional model can bring to the shoot.Let's say he/she gives 5 best poses that work for them and then what? The model does not know what the photographer has in his mind so ultimately the photog must communicate his vision with posing instructions to get the effect he wants. What we see in tv dramas or reality shows is just that..drama.."show or give me what you've got" and the poor model cries and fail to get selected for the next round. As they say it takes two to tango..model and photographer.

A photographer has to wear a few hats apart from being a photog like moral booster when model is new and has less confidence ,helping with mood issues..( not their day..boyfriend trouble etc.)
Make sure the shoot or theme tallies with the style,clothing and hairdo plus accessories worn by model.We are not talking of paid big budget commercial shoot.All on top of making sure the ideas and photographic concepts are doable.In the end he must be a people person..there is a human in front of the lens.Studies show most humans freeze in front of a camera and does not make the life or work of a photographer easy.Also acting and behaving professionally like a photographer ( not oggling the beautiful model) even when one is an amateur . Just my thoughts.
 

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nikonriana

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Jul 27, 2011
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I think the people who "provide" models or service will not like you notwithstanding that you are a pro..haha. As saying goes.."willing buyer + willing seller makes for a beautiful relationship" but do buyers know what they are getting apart from young pretty faces..do they gain or learn from these setups?

Singapore laws actually do not have laws on images per se but only copyright law and by copyrights photographic images are classified as ART WORKS as long as the said artwork originates from that person or commercial/private entity that commission the artwork and therefore is the rightful owner of the copyright.

My suggestion is if people are serious about their photography or just want to shoot nice photos of their loved ones is to get a few like minded friends and hire a model he/she does not need to be a pro model as everyone has to start somewhere.More important is there is someone knowledgeable or experienced to lead or teach the techniques or the how of portrait photography.That way the photography ecosystem thrives and benefits photographers and models.
As to renumeration I think models should be fairly paid with respect to their talents and what they can bring to the image making process.
I definitely agree on the not liking my comment, but I'm not a pro. I've read alot articles about "models" complaining photographers for not paying them sufficiently, not giving them their photographs and even not wanting to photograph them for free, etc and I believe this is not new to many of you. And when you view the model work, as like what you said, apart from the pretty faces, there's nothing impactful about their body expression.


As for the giving of artwork, I'm not coming from a perspective of copyright or not. But rather comparing TCFD and paid work. Since photographers are putting in effort and time to shoot and edit the photos, while models provide their time and service, it's rather a fair trade. But if the photographer is putting in effort and time to shoot and edit while still paying the model money, what makes the models think that they have ABSOLUTE rights to even have copies of the photos? Take for instances, in the corporate industry, we do encounter clients stating out that we may not use our photographs for our own portfolio after we covered their event, it make sense in a way because we are paid for our jobs already, or at least I feel that it is appropriate in my opinion.

But of course, ultimately I guess you're absolutely right that willing buyer and a willing seller. But I just wanna point out to photographers out there that always value work as equal. I find that every place has its own culture, and the photographer service culture in Singapore is determined by all of us, the way we set examples is how we set the tone and standard for the industry.
 

nikonriana

Member
Jul 27, 2011
334
3
18
That's a good key point here, imho.
With equipment we ere constantly hear and read the phase of 'limitations spur creativity to overcome them', the same applies here as well. Working with less experienced models or your friends will create a steep learning curve for everyone, but the in the process both sides learn a lot. Together with tons of YT videos and other online resources (e.g. Pinterest) the working relationship can really go a long way. I speak from experience and I know, at one point in time I will get a professional MUA involved to get these topics covered. For now it's the fun of discovery and learning.

On the other side, I do recognize the benefits of working with a professional model: She simply knows what is expected, can work on instructions and the photographer can focus on the realization of his concepts and ideas which s/he wants to have in her/his portfolio. That's a different situation and target compared to above.

I definitely agree on the not liking my comment, but I'm not a pro. I've read alot articles about "models" complaining photographers for not paying them sufficiently, not giving them their photographs and even not wanting to photograph them for free, etc and I believe this is not new to many of you. And when you view the model work, as like what you said, apart from the pretty faces, there's nothing impactful about their body expression.


As for the giving of artwork, I'm not coming from a perspective of copyright or not. But rather comparing TCFD and paid work. Since photographers are putting in effort and time to shoot and edit the photos, while models provide their time and service, it's rather a fair trade. But if the photographer is putting in effort and time to shoot and edit while still paying the model money, what makes the models think that they have ABSOLUTE rights to even have copies of the photos? Take for instances, in the corporate industry, we do encounter clients stating out that we may not use our photographs for our own portfolio after we covered their event, it make sense in a way because we are paid for our jobs already, or at least I feel that it is appropriate in my opinion.

But of course, ultimately I guess you're absolutely right that willing buyer and a willing seller. But I just wanna point out to photographers out there that always value work as equal. I find that every place has its own culture, and the photographer service culture in Singapore is determined by all of us, the way we set examples is how we set the tone and standard for the industry.
Both of you are exactly right, but by learning together it's supposed to be a mutual benefit for all parties right? So as I mentioned earlier, why should a photographer be suffering the damages?
 

Octarine

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I definitely agree on the not liking my comment, but I'm not a pro. I've read alot articles about "models" complaining photographers for not paying them sufficiently, not giving them their photographs and even not wanting to photograph them for free, etc and I believe this is not new to many of you. And when you view the model work, as like what you said, apart from the pretty faces, there's nothing impactful about their body expression.
If we treat everything like a legal case, asking about (copy)rights, then something went wrong already way ahead of that.
First of all, there must be a clear agreement between both parties. It doesn't hurt to put down 5 lines and two signatures to define the content and extend of the cooperation, regardless whether both are just enthusiasts or already working for money. Define it for the worst case (one-time job, neither of them likes the results) AND best case (fame and fortune strikes).
Secondly, if the photographer views the model only as 'pretty face' then I think there is something fundamentally missing. Either, a) the photographer has no concept beyond the point of snapping a pretty face, or b) the model has nothing else to offer than the pretty face. The truth can be somewhere between these two poles and there are more dimensions to it as what was already mentioned about the human part and communication in any relationship.
Last but not least, about the price. Here i would like to quote Warren Buffet about the difference between price and value: 'Price is what you pay in Dollars, value is what you make out if it.' - Looking at our example: if the photographer has no concept, then any price for 2h of a pretty face will appear high because there's no (or limited) value to it. With a concept in mind, even if it's only an educational 'trial & error' session, there is value. And with value comes appreciation for the time spend and the efforts and costs related to that.
That's the reason why I am considering a professional MUA at some point in time: the work, efforts and costs bring value to what I want do.
 

Octarine

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Both of you are exactly right, but by learning together it's supposed to be a mutual benefit for all parties right? So as I mentioned earlier, why should a photographer be suffering the damages?
Exactly. Nail down what will be done, all costs and efforts, then define the sharing. This discussion should take place at least a day before the actual shooting.
If you hire a professional model the agency should have some template paperwork. Read it carefully.
 

Octarine

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Interesting video about the industry:
Extreme cases, of course. But it starts small.