RCC Honors History Project

Earnings and Benefits as a model

Posted by amissi on May 17, 2009

Earnings for models vary greatly, and since many work through agencies as free-lancers, exact salaries are hard to determine. Income also varies with the type of modeling and the model’s degree of experience. Artists’ models make a standard fee of $10 to $12 per hour modeling for beauty and fashion shots in art school photography classes, and $12 to $15 per hour for high-fashion and nude modeling in painting and drawing classes. Professional photographic models may earn between $150 and $250 per day, and a select few earn as much as $500,000 per year or more; however, a career as a photographic model lasts only about six to eight years.

Models who work through agencies must pay their agency a percentage of their fees. Steadily employed fashion models usually earn from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. Fitting models are paid by the hour. Rates in Manhattan’s garment district range from $50 to $100 per hour. A top fitting model might make as much as $250 to $450 per hour in a major designer’s house.

Television models must belong to the Screen Actors Guild or the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The unions set the rates that models will be paid. Models in a television commercial can earn $2,000 to $3,000 for an eight-hour photo session. Also, television models may get additional pay, called residuals, when their commercials are used again.

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