Tiered Nude Modeling Rates Deconstructed

I occasionally see modeling site forum posts from photographers who object to models using tiered rates for lingerie or nudes vs clothed shoots. Some refer to these as stripper rates as a means to disparage models who do this. The rationale given is that nude modeling requires no more effort than clothed modeling so it should be the same. Well a picture for a flyer cost no more to produced than the exact same picture used for a product label but most smart photographers will price the product shot much higher. Same effort, different price.

I occasionally see modeling site forum posts from photographers who object to models using tiered rates for lingerie or nudes vs clothed shoots. Some refer to these as stripper rates as a means to disparage models who do this. The rationale given is that nude modeling requires no more effort than clothed modeling so it should be the same. Well a picture for a flyer cost no more to produced than the exact same picture used for a product label but most smart photographers will price the product shot much higher. Same effort, different price.

Let me first say that tiered rates is not an Internet modeling phenomenon. Modeling agencies charge more for lingerie and nudes if the model does that kind of modeling. Tier rates are the standard, not the exception in many professional modeling jobs. The tiers are often tied to usage rather than amount of clothing and models will often model free or at a drastically reduced rate if the opportunity warrants it. A model’s rate for a fashion editorial in a major fashion magazine might be $200 for 3 days of work. Her next job might be $10,000 a day for a catalog shoot with a full buyout.

Photographers use tiered rates all the time. There is rarely a one set rate for photographers. A photographer who uses one and only one rate is losing potential jobs and revenue. Some jobs call for a higher rate plus usage while other jobs call for a lower rate. So why is a model who uses tier rates a stripper while a photographer who does the same is not?

Tiered rates are set by the market, not by the model. Nudes pay more because photographers will pay more. Simple as that. It has nothing to do with a risk premium of someone seeing those nudes in the future and it has nothing to do with a model wanting more money to show her goodies. A model can ask for any rate she wants but if the market does not want to pay, her rate is merely academic.

False value in flat rates. Some models will tote that they only have one flat rate for all modeling as if this was some kind of major selling point to photographers. Well, photographers, I’m here to tell you that you are not paying less for nudes, you are simply paying more for clothed shots of that model. A nude model who only quotes a flat rate for nudes is in effect pricing herself out of the market for many clothed shots. In a balanced supply/demand marketplace, the model will negotiate the highest fee she can get for that particular type of modeling. The highest fee she can get is for nude modeling so for that model who uses a flat rate, she is saying I will charge you a nude rate even if you don’t want me to get nude. Let’s say the same model has one account in OMP and one on Model Mayhem. Which of these accounts is a better deal?

OMP:

Clothed: $50/hr
Lingerie: $75/hr
Playboy style nudes: $100/hr

Model Mayhem: $100/hr up to Playboy style nudes.

So tier rates happen because the market dictates it. Simple as that. Don’t try to attach a moral component to it.