Forums > Photography Talk > Paying for a models airfare to travel for a shoot.

Photographer

ammodphoto

Posts: 35

Troy, Missouri, US

Has anyone purchased an airline ticket for a model to travel for a shoot?
How did it work out?
I am seriously considering doing so, but to book an affordable flight the tickets are non refundable or can only be reissued to the same name on ticket.
If by chance she didn't follow through I would be out.
How have your experiences been?
Anyone been taken?

Feb 02 18 03:44 am Link

Photographer

FIFTYONE PHOTOGRAPHY

Posts: 4955

Uniontown, Pennsylvania, US

An interesting discussion which may help a little here  https://www.modelmayhem.com/forums/post/971519

Feb 02 18 05:32 am Link

Photographer

Red Sky Photography

Posts: 3624

Germantown, Maryland, US

I've done that several times when there was a particular model I wanted to work with. No problems from any of the arrangements. It's a larger outlay than a deposit, but sometimes you need to take a risk. Check references and reputation, there are some great traveling models out there.

Feb 02 18 06:00 am Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 13199

Des Moines, Iowa, US

I did that once with some frequent flyer miles under a very unique set of circumstances.   To me the risk of flaking and being out a ticket is simply too great, (and expensive) but to each their own.

Feb 02 18 09:14 am Link

Photographer

Rob Photosby

Posts: 4666

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I have been messed around too many times by models to be confident that their grandmother will not die, their car will not have a heart attack, they will not have some other domestic drama, or they will not simply cease to communicate, for me to be confident that a pre-paid airfare will not be money down the drain.

On the other hand, reimbursement of a fare on arrival is a much less risky proposition.

Feb 02 18 05:32 pm Link

Photographer

Natural Means

Posts: 881

Uralla, New South Wales, Australia

Academic opinion here as I'll l never be rich enough to pay, or quality enough to charhe, but theoretically  someone would have to have an amazing collection of references including about 387 previous instances of it working out well before I'd risk it.

Feb 02 18 06:16 pm Link

Photographer

Graham Glover

Posts: 1386

Oakton, Virginia, US

ammodphoto wrote:
Has anyone purchased an airline ticket for a model to travel for a shoot?
How did it work out?
I am seriously considering doing so, but to book an affordable flight the tickets are non refundable or can only be reissued to the same name on ticket.
If by chance she didn't follow through I would be out.
How have your experiences been?
Anyone been taken?

I've never done it, but there are a few models with whom I've worked that I'd do it.  These are paid models who travel regularly and who make their living as models.  In one case the model and I traveled to NYC from different locations, connected, had a great shoot, and everything went like clockwork.  There aren't many I'd trust like that, but there are a few.  If I had a need, there are three whom I would pay travel, lodging, et al in advance, trusting they would come through, knowing there's always a risk of something happening outside of their control.  Understand that even in the best of circumstances and with the best of models, something can still fail and you could be out of the cost of an airfare.

Ultimately this is business.  What are you willing to pay?  What are you willing to lose?

Feb 02 18 09:05 pm Link

Photographer

huremics

Posts: 271

Raleigh, North Carolina, US

I paid a model's round trip train fare to a mid-way point between her and I and it worked out well.

Feb 08 18 05:51 pm Link

Retoucher

HammadsWorks

Posts: 77

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

I don't understand MM. I was asked by a model to retouch her photos for $5-$8 while her personal rate was minimum $500. I rejected her offer. In regards to this ticket stuff: I believe the model should be paying for herself. Do you really need a model from another country? Either go there yourself and be open to more, or find models closer to you (there's always someone). Most models are expecting so much money but giving back so little.

Feb 08 18 08:05 pm Link

Photographer

KModel Photography

Posts: 277

Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

In the past I have reimbursed independent models for travel including airfares.  But lately models I associate with would rather be sure the gigs they have organized actually happen and the photographers don't flake on them.  The flake rate for photographers could be quite high, is it a topic in the secret model forum?

Feb 09 18 03:55 am Link

Photographer

Chris Rifkin

Posts: 25581

Tampa, Florida, US

I do it all the time.
Usually with sky  miles (Soutbwest)so I can use refundable tix...
Though sometimes modelsI've where there is no southwest..(those out of pocket ones make great tax write offs)

It's perfect for when thereading are models that are perfect for some ofun my calenders I shoot that live in places I never get to.(for some reason Tampa is always bypassed btw models)and also so I don't have to work around other photogs schedules (Iprefer to shoot at sunset for me style)or in one assholes case he ends up making the model skip my shoot everytime one goes to shoot with him in Orlando

Onlyrics have had one no show and she was basicly told at the check in counter she couldn't get on the plane because she tried to still make it down here despite having a bad case of the flu (she puked all over the place)..
She came down the following week


If you live somewhere that there are few models and no models ever come near its actually worth it to do this

Feb 09 18 05:12 am Link

Photographer

Vector One Photography

Posts: 3457

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

Depends on how badly you want to work with the model and how different that model's work is from the local models you can find. I've done it somewhere between 12 and 15 times and probably closer to 15.  Got burnt about fifteen years ago by one but that's all. Most flights I've booked have been between $250.00 and $350.00 dollars.  If I get stung I get stung.  It's not them missing the flight that gets me, it's them not giving me enough notice to cancel the hotel room and locations without getting charged or losing the good will of the location owner if it was a freebee.

I was in the hospital with a heart attack four days before I had a ballerina model flying in. I had already paid her ticket, made arrangements for four different locations, prepaid $2,100.00 for one and probably having to pay a cancellation fee for two of the others.  I told the cardiologist that I couldn't have the triple bypass and he would just have to do angioplasty instead.

If she had done a no-show the cardiologist would have been really pissed. You just gotta do what you gotta do.

P.S. Wacky but true.

Feb 10 18 02:18 pm Link

Photographer

Shades Of Brown

Posts: 183

Glenn Dale, Maryland, US

I've done it a few times.. I got burned one time (the last time) by a model. I sent her the tickets by email at least a month before the shoot. We had double confirmed the details multiple times. The day comes for her flight and she emails me on (MM) and says the airport i picked was too far and she doesn't have a ride.. IM LIKE WTF! I picked the one closest to your address and YOU HAD THE TICKETS FOR A MONTH!

I haven't done one since.

Feb 12 18 06:18 pm Link

Photographer

REMOVED

Posts: 1546

Atlanta, Georgia, US

With the limited availability of viable fine art models in my area, one is dependent on professional traveling models.

This removes financial risks for the photographers, as the models have already covered travel expenses, this ensures a variety of talents for a diverse portfolio, and the demand locally is so high that traveling models are often  fully booked for their time here.

Rather than fly in models to a community where there are so few, I'm moving to a community where the models are so many.

Feb 24 18 10:23 am Link

Photographer

martin b

Posts: 2603

Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines

I've done it a few times but just with local talent and I usually split with another photographer.  The price of airline tickets here are pretty cheap.  I do know some photographers who have brought over Brazilian and American models as well as Australian models.  At the time I had a photo club and we guaranteed work for the models so they were able to make money.  Some of the photographers have been burned but I guess not often enough to stop them.  I haven't been burned yet.

Feb 27 18 02:56 am Link

Photographer

Amelia G

Posts: 570

Los Angeles, California, US

I've done this many times, but I recommend doing this only when (a) you have already successfully worked with the model and have reason to trust him or her, not only to show up, but to show up ready to work sufficiently to make the airfare costs worthwhile or (b) if it is a commercial job worth doing this for, have the model pay for the airfare and have the client reimburse them.

Mar 11 18 04:25 pm Link

Photographer

Eros Fine Art Photo

Posts: 2971

Torrance, California, US

ammodphoto wrote:
Has anyone purchased an airline ticket for a model to travel for a shoot?
How did it work out?
I am seriously considering doing so, but to book an affordable flight the tickets are non refundable or can only be reissued to the same name on ticket.
If by chance she didn't follow through I would be out.
How have your experiences been?
Anyone been taken?

What are you getting for your investment?

If it's just photos of another pretty girl to put in your online portfolio, then I'd say just put that money toward a local model and pay here when the shoot is done.  Far less risk of those unforeseen emergencies that often come up...like grandmothers dying.   You'd probably spend less as well; depending on where the model is flying in from.

Mar 11 18 04:48 pm Link

Photographer

C.C. Holdings

Posts: 765

San Francisco, California, US

I've done it, its fun, its a gamble, never had a flake, been some close calls though as models often times really don't have any aspect of their lives together, and if it seems like they do then it is perpetuated by a circumstance that runs counter to any idea of an independent woman.

They live very far from convenient areas of town, they have unideal living arrangements and that extends to transportation options as well. Its a money thing, or lack thereof.

Although I just described a fairly normal distribution of the population, the point is that if you have enough money to pay models, then you and your whole network of people aren't in any of these situations, and you need to know what you are dealing with when it comes to models.

It is simple though: get tickets to places they want to go. Some people on this thread import models to their middle of nowhere place, which is interesting, but I wouldn't dare unless I was travelling with them myself. If you are travelling to a big city or one of those "instagrammable" destinations, the models will not hesitate.

Mar 11 18 05:00 pm Link

Photographer

Frozen Instant Imagery

Posts: 4018

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Vector One Photography wrote:
Depends on how badly you want to work with the model and how different that model's work is from the local models you can find. I've done it somewhere between 12 and 15 times and probably closer to 15.  Got burnt about fifteen years ago by one but that's all. Most flights I've booked have been between $250.00 and $350.00 dollars.  If I get stung I get stung.  It's not them missing the flight that gets me, it's them not giving me enough notice to cancel the hotel room and locations without getting charged or losing the good will of the location owner if it was a freebee.

I was in the hospital with a heart attack four days before I had a ballerina model flying in. I had already paid her ticket, made arrangements for four different locations, prepaid $2,100.00 for one and probably having to pay a cancellation fee for two of the others.  I told the cardiologist that I couldn't have the triple bypass and he would just have to do angioplasty instead.

If she had done a no-show the cardiologist would have been really pissed. You just gotta do what you gotta do.

P.S. Wacky but true.

The cardiologist might have felt justified if she'd no-showed and you'd had the heart attack that the cardiologist was afraid of :-)

Mar 13 18 01:58 am Link

Photographer

TerrysPhotocountry

Posts: 4643

Rochester, New York, US

Why not just rein burst them for the ticket after the photo session?

Mar 13 18 02:17 am Link

Photographer

Select Models

Posts: 37732

Los Angeles, California, US

ammodphoto wrote:
Has anyone purchased an airline ticket for a model to travel for a shoot?

HELL NO!... in Southern California there are literally THOUSANDS of models... if not here on MM... abundantly available on Facebook and expecially Instagram.  In this region... it would be like bringin sand to the beach... lol

Mar 13 18 10:36 am Link

Model

Laura UnBound

Posts: 28587

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TerrysPhotocountry wrote:
Why not just rein burst them for the ticket after the photo session?

For the same reasons some photographers are reluctant to book the ticket in the first place. - Lack of trust that it will actually happen. The last thing you want to happen is to shell out for a flight I might not even get on? Last thing I need is to show up to a strange place, do the shoot, and hear "whoops I dont have any cash" at the end of it. (or show up at the airport and not be able to reach you because you're flaking)


OP : I've had several people buy me plane tickets, and I've always shown up. If you're gonna do it I'd suggest hitting up experienced models with good references that definitely care about their career and reputation. The girl from the middle of nowhere who signed up on MM a week ago just to get some pretty pics and hasnt worked with anyone doesnt care if you're out here telling the world shes a flake that stiffed you on a couple hundred bucks. The model who does this for a living has a reputation to uphold and takes this shit seriously. You choose the right people and you're less likely to get screwed over.

Mar 13 18 01:00 pm Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 32670

Dearborn, Michigan, US

Laura UnBound wrote:

For the same reasons some photographers are reluctant to book the ticket in the first place. - Lack of trust that it will actually happen. The last thing you want to happen is to shell out of a flight I might not even get on? Last thing I need is to show up to a strange place, do the shoot, and hear "whoops I dont have any cash" at the end of it. (or show up at the airport and not be able to reach you because you're flaking)


OP : I've had several people buy me plane tickets, and I've always shown up. If you're gonna do it I'd suggest hitting up experienced models with good references that definitely care about their career and reputation. The girl from the middle of nowhere who signed up on MM a week ago just to get some pretty pics and hasnt worked with anyone doesnt care if you're out here telling the world shes a flake that stiffed you on a couple hundred bucks. The model who does this for a living has a reputation to uphold and takes this shit seriously. You choose the right people and you're less likely to get screwed over.

This happened to a model that I've worked with.

Mar 13 18 02:19 pm Link

Photographer

Chris David Photography

Posts: 558

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

While traveling to exotic locations and wanting to get some shoots done especially underwater I would reimburse models and pay a talent fee for the right ones but usually that only involved a long bus ride or ferry as no way I have the budget to be flying people around.
In any case reimbursement is good when they come to the shoot as the amount of times models or other team members flake and always happens last minute and its no point taking a risk and shouldering the costs if not there.

Last year my worst experience to date for was last year spending several hundreds hiring out a team and boat for a shoot for the day and the model "underestimated" the travel time and arrived in the evening. I ended having to pay again to hire them the next day as well as shoulder the models accommodation and food for what was supposed to be a day shoot. We were already there so I thought might as well do it as it was on my epic concepts/bucket list for shoots.
The next day going through training and procedures and then doing the actual shoot I only had about 8 seconds before she gave up and put everyone's lives at risk. Her qualifications/experience on paper didn't match close to her actual abilities and what we were doing only needed the basic skills. So In the end I spend over 3 times the original budget for a single day shoot to shoot 8 seconds from what should have been 2 x 35mins on my various concepts.

Mar 22 18 04:00 am Link

Artist/Painter

Alvin Black III

Posts: 2

Chicago, Illinois, US

I've done this once with one of my favorite models- we had worked together 3 times before this, and I always came to her in Westchester. I happened across a great NYC > CHI flight, she had two days to spare, and the cost of the flight was marginally more than the cost for me to book her for 90m. I was able to lodge her in my spare bedroom, we did some work for my art, and I shot a few things for her patreon. In this case, I got more and ultimately paid less than had I done our standard arrangement in NYC. She got more too, having never been to CHI, so in this case it was win-win.

Apr 05 18 02:29 am Link

Photographer

Lightcraft Studio

Posts: 13645

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

I moved from FL to Las Vegas in Feb, and flew on moving day with my wife and cats on a chartered jet. The day before travel, they upgraded me to a bigger jet. I would have loved to take a model and made a shoot out of it, but it was too short notice to arrange that ( would have to have booked her trip back to FL or if using a Las Vegas model, gotten her to FL) Oh well.

Apr 06 18 04:58 pm Link