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Home » About Belo Retrato Photography » Model Policies

Model Policies

I hire models, and occasionally other specialists, to collaborate on fine art projects. It’s necessary for the art that I produce and it’s extremely enjoyable to create an object of beauty, interest, or meaning while working with others.

Who I work with

I most frequently work with professional models. These are people who have likely spent years in front of the camera and are very skilled at posing, doing their own hair and makeup, and often bring interesting wardrobe to include in the work. I may work with one or more models during a shoot. See compensation below.

I also help new models develop their portfolios and skills. These are models with little or no experience but want to get into modeling. I’m happy to introduce them to the experts that I’ve worked with over the years so that they can have a well informed start. See compensation below.

In addition to models, I’m also interested in working with makeup artists, set designers, wardrobe designers, studio providers, etc. As of this writing, I’ve had little experience doing this, but I anticipate an increasing need to utilize these skills over time. Compensation depends on the circumstance.

Finally, in the course of life, you just meet interesting people. Convincing them to sit for a portrait is very enjoyable and the most joy comes from the glee that they show when they see the results. Some of the most interesting people are Muses, which are described in a little more detail below.


Professional Models

A professional model has worked in the industry for at least two years, has worked with other photographers, has a fairly well developed portfolio, and demonstrates proficient posing and makeup skills.

I am deeply appreciative of the skills and other assets that professionals bring to this work. I STRONGLY believe in FAIR compensation for a good product. That being said, I’m not part of everyone’s markets. It goes without saying that if I don’t need your services then I’m not your customer. Beyond that, I currently get very little revenue for this work and as a result must manage my costs. If you want to charge more than the caps described below then there’s a very good chance that I’ll decline. No hard feelings and it’s not a comment on your work. I’m sure you’re worth every penny. Exceptions can and will be made depending on circumstances. On the flip side, if you charge less than the caps described below then I’m likely to try to work with you disproportionately more often and you’re likely to make more from me over time. It’s all in how you want to manage this.

In exchange for time spent, skills applied, and a model release, professional models do and should charge for their work unless there’s some special circumstance where a trade makes sense or they’re actually hiring me to do some work. At this time, the following Basic Trade Agreement is included as blanket compensation for all sessions unless otherwise specified.

As compensation for modeling services, the Photographer creates a select collection of images taken during the session. This selection will be the subset of the images taken during the session that meet the Photographer’s criteria for quality. Any, up to all, of the images that meet these criteria will be offered to the Model as compensation. These criteria include but are not limited to the following elements: Photographic image quality (e.g., focus, exposure, etc.) Artistic quality as judged by the Photographer. Alignment with the perception that the Photographer wants to portray with his audience. The image(s) shall be selected from a set provided by the Photographer to the Model using a web-based service within one month of the session. The Model may resize, crop or use these images as part of a composite, but may not alter these images in any other way. These images may be used for advertising the Model’s services, promotion, or exhibition, but may not be used for any other purpose. Attribution shall be made to the Photographer when and where these images are used. The Photographer shall retain the copyright for these images. Publication or any other use of these images is left to the sole discretion of the Photographer within the limitations described in the modeling release. No commitment is made to use these images in any way.

In addition to the above compensation I pay at maximum the following rates. These are what I perceive to be the “going rates”, at least for my part of the world.

Local Models

In general, local models are based 100 miles or less from Corvallis, Oregon or the shoot location. Part of the rationale for this is that I’ll have the opportunity and desire to work more often with local models.

Hourly$125Minimum of 2 hours
Half-Day$4004 hours
Full Day$8008 hours
Local Professional Model Compensation Caps

In addition, negotiated compensation will be made for any travel one hour or longer.

Traveling Models

Traveling models are based greater than 100 miles from Corvallis,, Oregon or the shoot location. Part of the rationale for this is that at least some of the travel overhead is built in.

Hourly$150Minimum of 3 hours
Half-Day$5004 hours
Full Day$9008 hours
Traveling Professional Model Compensation Caps

New Models

The purpose of working with new models is to help the fine art photography community to be rich and vibrant and to provide aspiring models with employment opportunities and a way to meet other goals. To that end, I provide practice and guidance (from a photographer’s point-of-view) with regard to posing, wardrobe, and makeup in support of various concepts. In addition, I’ll do what I can to guide you down the path of building your modeling career into a business. This will be accomplished by sharing what I know as well as introducing you to others, such as other professional models and photographers, who may be able to provide you with guidance or other assistance.

Compensation is based on how long we’ve worked together. The basic trade agreement as described above will apply unless there are special circumstances.

First YearBasic Trade Agreement
Second YearBasic Trade Agreement + $50/hour
Third+ YearsProfessional Model Scale above
New Model Compensation Caps


Muses are rare and wonderful people. They are so into the art that they either require no compensation or compensation is made in other less direct ways. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a muse a handful of times. The experience is magical. We can spend hours or days exploring and refining ideas to our hearts content without watching the clock (though our stomachs will occasionally remind us that there’s more to life). Muses are a gift. I may never have the opportunity to work with a muse again, but I’m truly grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had.