SPECIAL NOTE: If you have not yet seen, I just launched the new e-book Fit Model Guide which is available at www.fitmodelguide.com and covers all you need to now about getting published in the health and fitness industry. There is a section in there covering what models should know about booking photographers for their portfolio and for submissions. Truly hope you have the chance to check it out and enjoy it!

I recently received a message from a model saying “do you think you can get me in a magazine?” Honestly not an uncommon question.

My response to that is always about the same – I can never promise anything like that as it would be unethical (in my opinion) for a photographer to take payment from a model with the prerequisite of needing to get the images published or submitted.

If I create images I am proud of then I happily submit the work to magazines I collaborate with – but I can of course never guarantee the magazine will pick them up.

So I let the model know that I would love to work together to try and make some strong pictures, but that I just could not promise the images would get picked up anywhere. I asked if that means they no longer wanted to work together – there was no response.

There is this belief that photographers are the one and only gatekeeper to get a model published and that if we are paid enough we will push the photos onto the magazines. Essentially this makes us more of a publicist and not a photographer. Perhaps it is because dealing with a photographer is less intimidating than a model going directly to the magazine to deal with the editor. So maybe we are not the one and only gatekeeper – but the easiest to reach.

Although I cannot comment on how specific photographers choose to run their business or what they take money for – I will say that there feels to be too much grey area and conflict of interest.

For example; I’ve seen photographers that charge an additional fee for pitching images to magazines. So you as a model pay that fee – but there is no guarantee the photographer actually will submit the images anywhere or actually has a relationship with any of the places they are submitting. What if they just are sending an e-mail off to “submissions@whatevermagazine” which is something you as the model could have done just as easily? Is that worth charging for? Or better question, is that worth paying for?

The follow up question is that is – do you want to hire a photographer or are you wanting to hire a publicist? Someone to promote you and your brand to the media.

We work to be completely transparent in our approach to models and their goal of being published. Our primary goal is to create the best images we can. That is what we are hired for and that is what we strive to achieve.

If we succeed then we are happy to share those images with our publishing clients.

However the best person to promote a model’s brand is themselves. Yes, get the right images, but the proactive models are the ones getting the biggest pieces of the pie.

James Patrick
instagram @jpatrickphoto