One thing that I have found is becoming more and more common in this business we call fashion is the preponderance of clients with an affinity for offering…well…nothing in exchange for a model’s services. And by nothing, I mean nothing.
I can almost understand a start-up designer or other such business offering a newbie model a shoot for, say, an outfit. I know that there are a trillion models out there who are dying to see their face in print so maybe it’s easy for the client to justify not paying them. Our “reality tv, facebook-obsessed” culture has contributed to the fact that it’s likely not entirely difficult for them to find someone who is willing to pose just for the sake of garnering a tearsheet and/or real/perceived notoriety. Now, an experienced model probably won’t consider doing the shoot (in my case, it’s just hard to justify the cost of transport and time for something that I have three overstuffed closets full of and a portfolio that is bursting at the seams, quite literally) but at least something is being offered.
However, I’m finding far too often that a seasoned model will be approached by a “client” who just “looooooves your look so much; thinks your portfolio is to die for and just knows that your face is exactly what their brand needs to take it to the next level” and then follows up with “well, I can offer a 50 percent discount in my boutique as a form of payment”. I find this attitude particularly irksome when a casting is initially described as “paid” and then this card is played. It is further aggravated by the fact that, of course, the client is always paying for a photographer, hair/mua, printing and distribution costs and so on. If I’m exactly what you need and you feel that I will benefit your brand that much, maybe you should examine making the shoot at least feasible for me to do. Most of us are pretty good at working within budgetary restrictions – you might be surprised.
Now, you might be thinking “Aw, come on Kate. Don’t be so hard on these poor start up clients”. I can assure you, I understand their plight. But I can safely say that even a limited budget is better than store credit (in my opinion, anyway). Discounts don’t pay my mortgage or put food in my bulldog’s mouths, yanno what I’m saying? And when I’m basically being asked to spend money in order to work (because you will have to shell out at the designer’s boutique in order to get that fifty percent off) it becomes a little pointless to proceed with the shoot. And sometimes, just sometimes, these are not “small, independent clients” who are offering no rates in exchange for your services. But that’s another issue entirely…