At some point, you’re going to grow tired of shooting or recording the same subjects.  At this point you’ll turn to working with models or actors.  For some projects, you’ll have professional budgets and can afford top talent.  For other projects, you may need to find talent through recruitment.

Favors will be called in to get friends and acquaintances.  Perhaps your client or employer will put the call out for people to appear in the project. Others will also post ads to online list serves and job boards.  Chances are if you’re going to this route you have little or no pay to offer.

Here are a few guidelines to ensure best results and be fair to all:

  • Be clear on the compensation. Don’t be vague about what you will or won’t pay.  No one likes their time wasted with vague promises of compensation.  If all you’re offering is a meal and experience, say so.
  • Offer something of value in return. If you don’t have cash to offer, give something back to your talent.  It might be services traded (your time for theirs). If you’re working with up-and-coming actors and models. be sure to offer copies of the final production.  You may also be able to take a few additional photos or headshots while on set.
  • Give clear on expectations and time commitment. Make sure people know what they are committing to. Be clear on just how long you expect they’ll be needed.  Do your best to avoid slipping of schedule and remember that time really is money.
  • Get proper releases signed.  Make sure you complete talent releases so that you have the rights to the footage or photos for its intended use.


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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.




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