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percent question
Old 09-16-2005, 03:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi all! I hope you can help me.

How many percent do I have to pay to a model if I sell one of my pictures of her or if I sell a calendar which is full of pics of her?

Thanks for your help!
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Percent question: here\'s the answer
Old 09-16-2005, 01:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is the height of bad judgment - wiser men than I have termed it 'profound lunacy' - to make a percentage arrangement with a model. The ONLY time I would EVER consider it is a situation where the model is a genuine celebrity and this is the only arrangement possible.

Getting away from wisdom, and back to your question:

1. If you have obtained a full model release you don't have to give her any money.
2. If you have NOT obtained a release, then you have to negotiate. And the best deal would be a flat fee for a full release.

If you use the photos as indicated, WITHOUT a release, you can be sued. CompuServe, back when it was one of the world's biggest ISP's, got sued for a similar situation. The settlement, involving a class action of numerous models, came out to around $1,000/photo.
Re: percent question
Old 09-16-2005, 02:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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if you have a full release, as glampics said, you don't have to pay her unless you're a nice guy.

if you have a TFP/TFCD release (like i use when i shoot TFCD) you pay her whatever it sez on your release. in my case, it's a very vague statement about "usual and customary fees," whatever they are.
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I mostly agree
Old 09-16-2005, 10:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There is no set fee anywhere. What the other guys have said is true, if you have a full model release already, its up to you as to how generous you feel. If you don't, you have to negotiate with her, either by flat fee or a royalty. If you go with the royalty, think long and hard about what you can afford on this project, which usually won't leave much for her. For example, if you have a calendar with 12 different models on royalty, you'd figure out how much you can allocate to the models and divide that percentage by 12. Don't be surprised if your models think they're being ripped off, models usually think you as the photographer are making more money on a deal than you actually are, and they think they're worth a higher percentage (which in truth they may be, but you simply can't afford it and still have the project be worthwhile to you). For most projects, the truth is there isn't a lot of money to go around. You might also have to deal with them asking to audit you, or see the check you got from the client, and stuff like that. It depends on your reputation and how well they know you. Also, keeping track of what you owe models (even with computers), and keeping track of them to pay them, is a real pain and pracitcally impossible.

I used to offer royalties in lieu of cash to models when I was just starting out, usually 25% of my gross, which was really too much, since I wasn't taking into account all my expenses and overhead. (Most commercial photographers I know who shoot non-glamour, more traditional stock, buy out the models, or if they are on royalty, pay 10%). Eventually I got to the point where I could pay them a flat fee at the time of the shoot for a clear release, which is the best solution for you, and for them because it puts some cash in their pocket right now. If you want to supplement that with a bonus for some extraordinary sale, that's great (I do that myself and its a nice surprise to the models). I also let them use some images on their site, so in some ways its like they're getting paid for a TFCD shoot, plus they might get some nice tear sheets.

A word about celebrities - you won't get one to sign a general release with or without a royalty, celebs don't sign releases. If they are a true celeb, they'll have a manager or agent who will negotiate a royalty, usually with the client, not you. For example, I did a calendar with Cindy Margolis for 2000. Her management cut a deal (guarantee up front against a royalty) for her services, I cut my own deal with them for a flat fee (I don't usually like royalties).

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