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Photography,  Filming
                  Modeling Management


Stock Photography and the Fashion Model

Posted by M F Khan on October 2, 2009 at 12:10 AM

Stock Photography and the Fashion Model  

You should be able to find several indispensable facts about stock photography and models in the following paragraphs.


If there's at least one fact you didn't know before about modeling for a stock photographer, imagine the difference it might make in your next assignment or tfp shoot.


Yes, I know. You've probably heard all the reasons why you shouldn't model for stock photographers.


One of the biggest reasons models are shy when it comes to stock photo shoots is that she has no control over where her photographs will end up. And, I agree that it is a real concern.


Stock photographers come in many shades of photographic areas so don't be too quick to judge the whole industry because of a section that is less than attractive.


As a stock photographer who just happens to shoot with fashion, art and glamour models, I can tell you that the industry is not all bad. Of course you have to use good judgment just as you would when modeling for any other female photography company but stock photo exchange can work to your advantage if you look at all it offers.

            Some useful tips for doing photo exchange or paid assignments for stock photography.

Many models believe that their pictures taken with a stock photographer will automatically be placed on royalty-free cds and sold to whatever low-class magazine wants them for whatever usage. They feel that an image will turn up in some girlie issue with them in a compromising position. Again, there is something to be said for this but it's really not the normal scenario for stock pictures.

Uses for stock photography images

Not all stock photography is sold on cds for all usage rights. You should ask the photographer what usage rights he/she plans to give when he lists his stock for sale.


Stock photos may be used for ...

Consumer Magazines

Commercial and Industry Magazines

Advertising Agencies for Commercial Clients


Travel Guides



School and College Textbooks (One of my specialties)

Educational Magazines


Annual Reports for Corporations and Business

Commercial Websites

Sometimes TV and/or Movie.

Demand for Stock Images and Models

The list goes on and on but you can see that there is a great demand for quality stock photographs and you can have a place in that market with a bit of an open mind.


You'll see that there are pros and cons for a fashion or glamour model to consider when doing a stock photo session.


Hopefully the information presented about modeling for a stock photographer so far has been applicable.

You might also want to consider the following:


Two types of stock photos: Rights Managed Stock Photography and Royalty Free.  

Royalty Free photos, are the type of photos sold with unlimited rights so you may or may not be taking a chance when you decide to model for these. I am not suggesting that all royalty free is seedy or distasteful. Not in the least.


For example: I once read about a model who innocently work on a project for a royalty free session. Even though she was fully-clothed and the photo was just a normal, 3/4 pose shot, her picture wound up on an adult oriented website.


Now, mind you, this is something that doesn't happen every day, but is something to consider if you are thinking about doing royalty free modeling.


Rights Managed photos, on the other hand, are more controlled and limited to certain usage requirements.


Rights managed images are sold to some of the fashion magazines and industries listed above with certain limitations. The stock agency knows how and when each image will be used and has control over which clients they wish to do business with. Most stock agencies are not willing to risk their reputation or license by selling to undesirable clients so the risk factor for a photographers model is cut down to slim.


Although no image is completely safe because of the photos thieves (and yes, there are photo thieves just as there are identity thieves) or other unprofessional behavior in the industry. But, thankfully these incidents are kept to a minimum.


A myth about stock photography models


I almost chuckle when I think about this but when I used to work with lots of new models I heard this same myth over and over again:


The model would want to be assured that her face would not be placed on a different body (without clothes of course) and put into some adult-oriented magazine. Just shows what people have heard.


I always explained to them that, although this could happen, it would be highly unlikely. First, it takes painstaking work to create a graphic like this and second, there are a multitude of models who look great and are willing to pose for these type pictures. So, it's possible but I wouldn't count on it.


Don't just automatically pass up a chance to work with a great stock photographer on photo exchange. He/she is, in many cases, very experienced and can add awesome images to your portfolio.

To work or not to work

Whether or not you decide to model for a stock photographer is completely up to you but it is certainly a market to consider, especially if the images taken are rights managed.


If you decide to take the plunge into stock photography use good common sense and take a good look at the model release before signing.


Ask questions. If you feel really uncomfortable with the answers just walk away or re-negotiate what the photos will (or will not) be used for.


Caution is a good thing. So is fear. Fear sometimes keeps us from doing something really dangerous but caution is more about using horse sense when your career takes a turn toward stock photography.


Remember that in modeling, just as in life, knowledge is power.


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1 Comment

Reply ajay
5:20 AM on October 12, 2013 
Lots of information. Thank you.