Tag Archives: Contracts and Negotiations



As a fashion model, there are more ways to get paid than just for your time. Bookings have specific fees, such as terms and usage rights, which can compensate for expenses and add up to more money in your pocket. Terms and usage rights can get very complicated, though. If it’s a photograph, you’ll need to consider things like how long they will be using the images, what they will be using the images for, if it’s print or digital, how many impressions will be made, etc. Terms might be if they will be paying for travel, or what your day rate is. For example, most models have at least a 2 hour minimum and are paid by the hour.


All these conditions need to be put in writing, which means negotiating with clients and drafting contracts. Years ago I googled “model management contracts” and a website called IndustryContracts.com came up. It was my goldmine. They gave me the option of downloading individual model contracts, or all the artist contracts for not much more. I don’t know what I paid at the time but to me it was chump change after considering the time I’d spent hassling with trying to figure it out on my own. Having dealt with contracts before, I knew how to read them and what to look for. The contracts needed to be tailored to my agency needs and I made sure to read through them thoroughly, but as a precaution, you should always consult a lawyer if you don’t understand something.


Although simple enough, there are other options that may make more sense for you. The stock photography business has helped to simplify the purchase of photos for everyone because they let you pay a single rate for all of the fees, rights, and royalties associated with an image. Some stock photos are royalty-free, because most of the rights, fees and royalties are bought in a single, one-time purchase. Models can book their jobs the same way- one rate with all fees, rights, and royalties lumped into one sum.


Another option is having the client write up the contract. Often times they do have their own contracts, anyway, and will require you to use theirs. Keep in mind, just because they want you to use their’s, though, doesn’t mean you can’t use your own as well. A great way to use work with a client’s contract is with an addendum, which is an extension of a contract and a way to modify it to fit the needs of both parties. Again, one reason you may want to consult an attorney.



Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive Agency


If more than one agency sends you on the same audition and you get the job, then there becomes a discrepancy between who gets paid. For this reason, there are exclusive contracts. It makes things simpler if one agency has an exclusive contract and the other does not. If both have exclusive contracts, you could be obligated to pay both agencies. If both have non-exclusive contracts you could still be obligated to pay both. However, who caused you to get the job may be considered. 


If an agency signs all of their models exclusive, that can mean they either don’t sign that many models (less competition for you) and/or only sign those they know they can market (you’re more likely to get booked). The benefit you receive from this is the confidence the agent has in getting you booked because you’re more marketable for what their clients are looking for.


One reason an agent signs exclusive contracts is so that any work the model gets- whether they find it or not- they get a percentage. In an exclusive contract, if a model gets work on their own, they can still be legally required to pay their agent the percentage they are contractually obligated to. A non-exclusive contract will typically only require a model to pay their agent a fee when the agent is the procuring cause. To me, this is fair. 


  • If you have an exclusive contract with an agent, consider you may not be able to get work independently or from another agency, without paying that agent their fee.
  • Working with more than one agency can be a good thing in a smaller market because you increase your chances of getting work.
  • If you get booked for a job on your own, you can still be obligated to pay your exclusive agency. 


*Note that I say “may not” because I am not an attorney. Any legal concerns should be discussed with a licensed attorney.  Below is part of an example of a non-exclusive contract from docstoc.com: