So. As you know bob, I have a shoot coming up in a couple of days.
It’s a (mostly) nude shoot with occasional clothing.
Originally it was going to be a totally nude shoot.
Now there are high heels and stockings involved.

That’s a bit of a game changer.

And so I find myself whinging about rates. Not because I would have necessarily charged more for “figure modeling in stockings” than I would for “figure modeling not in stockings”, but because the nature of the shoot changed. It’s still something I’m okay with doing. But I don’t like that it changed – or the way it changed – after the negotiating had been done.

Frequently, when I’ve tried to come up with a Rates List, what I’ve done is tried to break down What I Do into different gradations of eroticism. Essentially: sex costs more.
Big shock.

But this has always led me to problems. Not problems with clients. Problems with figuring out which category a given job falls into. Such as this one that I have coming up. On a given hypothetical rates list, I might charge $20/hr for art-nude photography but $40/hr for fetish and boudoire photography. Which can lead to sticky situations like “Where is the line here?” because we’re also dealing with people (models, photographers, all of us) who, for a variety of reasons[1], want to emphasize the “art” aspect of our naked pictures and down-play the “erotic” aspect of those same shots.

Now, strictly speaking, this happens to everyone. Whether your an escort or an editor, a carpenter, a journalist, or a spinner of hand-dyed yarn, you’ve run into the question of “How the Hell Do I Set My Rates?” And there are a million factors that go into that. Some of it is “What will the market bear?” but a lot of it is “Which market do you want to be selling to, anyway?”

To use jewelry as an example:
If I got myself some beautifully-stained dark wood display stands, ponied up the enormous table fee, and moved from Ravenswing Craft Fair to Art In The Park, I could theoretically quadrupal my prices. Easily. Because, contextually, I’ve switched from being a punk-ass crafter hawking my crap to other broke-ass punks to being the artist-purveyor of hand-crafted-from-the-finest-gems-and-precious-metals, one-of-a-kind, wearable Art.
My skill-level hasn’t changed.
My product hasn’t changed[2].
But the context in-which I’m working has.

Modeling, because it’s a service rather than goods, works a little differently but the premise is essentially the same.

So my Ghost suggested that I do something. Which is create a new rates list based on “type of artist the model will be working with” (which relates to what the art gets used for after its been made) that can include things like separating “modeling for drawing/painting/sculpting” from “modeling for photographs” and separating “modeling for art that will be sold” from “modeling for art that will not be sold”. It’s still sticky, because figure-modeling rates are really pretty set in this town and most of my work is figure modeling, but it does help get around the question of “So whether this goes in a gallery colleciton or onto a pay-per-view website, I’m still getting a chunk of change off my own image, right?”

It’s… something to think about.

My rates may or may not change come February. We’ll see.

Ms Syren.

[1] Some of which have to do with money (see: Sex costs more), but most of which have something to do with whore stigma – whether because we don’t want to have Naked Pictures of ourselves ending up on the internet, or because we believe that All Johns Are Pathetic/Abusive and are heavily invested in being seen as Good Guys, or because we really want to shoot porn for our wank files but don’t think anyone will model for us if we just come out and say that, or because we’re afraid of what our parents or partners will think if they find out what kind of naked pictures we’re in, or, or, or…

[2] Much. If I were selling this stuff for $80 a piece, I’d be using sterling silver findings which, right now, are out of my price range – unless someone knows of a good place order stuff in for a really good price that doesn’t require a minimum order and, ideally, ships from inside of Canada. (If yes, drop me a note in the comments? That’d be a help).