Trade.. Is it dead?

June 08, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

CuriousCurious Trade for... Is it Dead?

The photography industry is one of the very few remaining industries that has worked on a barter system instead of cash flow. A model may ask for images in exchange for his/her time modeling. A makeup artist may wish images of their work for marketing purposes and will do a session in trade for a simple makeup job. Although it may occasionally occur in other industries, but often as a one time situation under special circumstances. Harry (who is a plummer) may help Joe (who is a carpenter) with home repairs and not charge labor fees as long as each pays for and provides the repair materials.

It goes without saying that the economy is struggling given recent events in 2020. Some people have yet to receive any unemployment benefits or aid in any manner from the government. Many businesses have closed their doors permanently after being successful for many years. Although trade for files (prints) has been slowly disappearing over the last several years, one can expect the practice to become very rare with the exception of very good friends. Modeling and other professional fees can be expensive. Depending upon the area of the country, some modeling fees can start at $75.00 hr for a minimum of 2 hrs and may be higher.

BUT.. Can you perhaps increase the chance of a trade deal? Maybe, by providing something special and extra!

  • Provide food. No, not just dry bagels in the morning or fast food for lunch. Let them know that you will provide food and ask them what they like to eat. Are they on a diet, A vegan, Kosher?  Have condiments such as jam if you decide to include bagels for breakfast as well as coffee. 
  • Will you submit to a magazine? One can never guarantee a submission will be accepted for a certain issue, but let your talent know that you plan to submit to several magazines.
  • What is special about this shoot? Has it been done many times in the past? What props, lighting, or even post processing are you offering to make this a special event? 
  • Can you rent wardrobe for the day? Your talent may have a once in a lifetime chance to wear this special outfit. 
  • Transportation issues? Can you help?
  • Deliverables.. Yes, you may have paying clients who require quite a bit of your time.  If you expect someone to provide a free service to you, make certain that you have the time to fulfill your part of any agreement. If trading for prints or files, how does your talent want the images delivered. It should be VERY rare that your talent needs to wait for than 30 days for you to meet your obligation. If something happens, communicate PROactively and let your talent know. Don't make them call or email you.
  • Don't take advantage of a personal relationship. This person may be your friend, treat them as such or you may find yourself with one less friend.

In General, treat anyone who still wishes to work in trade like GOLD, since these people are valuable! If a modeling fee is $150 for a concept, and you may only spend $50.00, it only make good business sense to make this person feel special.






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