Giselle Bundchen, Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner. Do these names ring a bell? From gracing the covers of fashion magazines to being the faces of multimillion dollar brands— these models ranked the Top 3 highest-paid models in 2016 according to Forbes. Earning millions of dollars has dubbed them the wealthiest of the modelling elites, but do those figures regard them as the most successful?

The modelling industry is undoubtedly dominated by the notion that a “successful” model is one who earns buckets of money. Of course it is reasonable to say that a professional model is one who is paid for his/her services, so it is simple to understand that people would consider dollars as a major factor in measuring one’s success.

Whilst money can be a major perk, it isn’t the only form of compensation. In fact, other forms of payment may be convenient for for a model who is just starting out in the industry. Below are the most common forms of modelling compensation that models should be aware of when getting booked for a gig:


Free merchandise/product/services

Clients with smaller budgets don’t always have the big dollars that their large competitors do. Giving models freebies (clothes, beauty products, gift cards, etc.) does count as a form of compensation. Free merchandise is a common form of compensation when it comes to fashion shows and shoots. Some designers might offer a free outfit or gift card to their store/site which may be a great deal for some who love lavish clothes! Further, some clients will advertise the modelling jobs as a chance to get dolled up by professional makeup artist or hair stylist “for free”. This might not be adequate for some, but other models might perceive this as a enjoyable experience (and totally convenient if the shoot falls on a Friday).

Most professional models won’t accept to submit to unpaid jobs that list freebies as the only form of compensation, so if you’re a client on a budget, be sure to inform your talent in the job description. For photo-shoots where the client is given merchandise as monetary compensation, it might be a good idea to find out if you’ll be getting copies of photos. Merchandise and free photographs are a great combo for a beginner. If you’re not going to receive photographs after a hard day of work, walking away with nothing but free product might be something to reconsider.


Trade for print

The cost of hiring a model can be expensive for beginning photographers and clients, just as acquiring photographs can be pricy for aspiring models. Therefore, photographs can be a great form of compensation for models starting out in the industry. This arrangement should be a negotiated process between the photographer and model as the use of images requires a signed model release document. Receiving copies from a professional shoot is useful for a model wishing to develop his/her portfolio and gain experience in the industry.



In the digital age, social media is an instrument for most models and publicity is absolutely everything. Some clients will offer exposure for an unpaid job if they have a large social media following. This may give models recognition and increase their chances of being recognised by other possible clients. Keep in mind, exposure should come with other perks and a single Instagram tag might not be sufficient for an entire day of shooting.

Remember, don’t sell yourself short and never settle for something that you wouldn’t happily offer yourself. Job descriptions at Blush Central will always include vital information such as compensation and approximate payment.