One of the terms I think is most ridiculous is “industry standard” especially when it comes to pay rates. Some models and photographers wish to be paid “industry standard” yet I’m not sure if they actually realize what that means? I’ve been doing this now for quite a few years and I have yet to be paid a standard rate. Usually I have my day rate, which is always negotiable, or they have a specific budget they are trying to stick to, which is usually negotiable as well.
I guess what I’m getting at is the false sense of professionalism that certain social networking sites for models and photographers create. Let’s take a site like Model Mayhem for example. It is a great resource for finding models for your projects or who want to shoot trade with you. It is a terrible place to find high paying gigs if you are a photographer. I have found a few paid jobs off of that site but not enough to pay my bills. Now I have met some wonderful models, make up artists and other photographers from this site but I have also had to deal with the bottom of the barrel as well!
I look at sites like Model Mayhem as a necessary evil in this business. Networking sites like this have actually killed a lot of my business when it comes to headshots because so many people are now willing to do it for free. Most are not that good, but then again, most of the people who are aspiring actors are broke and just starting out so until their agent or manager tells them to actually hire a pro, they will not. Of course now several managers and agents are telling their “talent” to go to sites like this to find photographers who will do it for free. Once again proving that there is no such thing as “industry standard” rates. Some people charge nothing some charge $400.00 for the exact same thing.
Bottom line is that in this industry you are worth what someone is willing to pay you. And that rate can be different every single day. No, $125.00 an hour for a model is not “industry standard” just like every photographer cannot charge a day rate of $3000.00 either.
To survive in this business you must have a thick skin and not take it personally when someone does not want to pay you what you think you’re worth. It has happened to me, it will continue to happen to me and it will happen to you. A true professional will understand that this is business and that money has to be earned and it does not come as a hand out. If you are not getting enough work then maybe your rate is too high. If you can’t keep up with your work then it’s too low. Whether or not I can live and pay my bills, well that is the only industry standard I go by. 😉