I wish I was sitting here decked out in a Chanel pajama writing to you all about how faaaaaabulous the income is in the editorial world. Fabulous Darling, Just Fabulous.
Well, actually…I don’t…I mean, I do for the purpose of this post however I do not really require Chanel pajamas or anything of the sort to love what I do. Hopefully you do not either.
Remember college? When you worked and worked on projects and also worked a part-time job…it felt as though you were working and socializing and making connections with talented awesome people all the time yet you were chronically broke…but you were always working? Always creating, always hustling. Okay maybe my college experience and yours were different but this more or less will be your intro to the fashion/editorial world. Here is to hoping you like tap ramen and vodka in plastic bottles.
Kidding. Kind of. The choice to become an “photoshoot” hairstylist, or session stylist, is the choice to become an artist which means building a portfolio and networking and keeping up appearances. Money goes towards rent in a metropolitan city where you can build a career as well as clothing for you to look notable and probably drinks while shmoozing new “friends”. This money you are most likely either making from a side job (which could be a job assisting another artist) while you spend your “free time” building your book or drawing from a savings account. I assisted another amazing artist as well as worked in a salon to pay my bills.
Soon enough though paid jobs will start to come through but most of these will be jobs that you will not place in your “book”. Want to know a few of mine? Infomercials, headshots, a few Suicide Girls shoots, childrens catalogs, lots of random assisting work, wedding photo sessions, headshots. Now, is ANY of that in my book…no. Can you make a career out of these types of shoots? YES. In certain states these types of jobs will be your main work and income. Living in L.A. however I wanted to grow my clientele a bit more. Over time I established a minmum kit fee for all shoots and then finally reached the moment were I figured out a day rate!
A day rate refers to the dollar amount you get paid for a day of work. This rate can change depending on the type of work (i.e. editorial vs advertising vs film). Along with this day rate (which you should try to keep competitive for your market while still valuing your work) you will have to figure out what distance you consider “travel” and what services are included in this day rate. How far is too far without being reimbursed for milage? Does your day rate include you bringing an assistant if there are many looks and models? Does it include the purchase of hair specifically for this shoot? Are there certain shoots where even once you have a strong book you are willing to work on for trade? These are just a few examples of the things to think about when determining the worth of your work.
I wont lie..this is when having an agent sounds AMAZING.
Unfortunantly, I can’t help you decide your day rate…and mine changes according to city and job. My best advice is to start to find out different rates of artists in your city for different types of jobs. Finding a mentor is a great way to figure this out along with all the other questions that come up with this sort of career! What I can tell you is that I often collaborate with other artists for fun to create editorial submissions without a firm day rate, but often with travel covered. These are artists I love to work with and we work as a partnership to create these images. I love my job and if I had no bills to pay and no expenses I would probably do it for free, but…that is not really the case. When I do get contacted to work for a company, for commercial, marketing, or advertising material I do stick to a day rate and travel compensation…because, after all we are not non profits we are artists.
Hopefully in a few years we all run into eachother and pop a bottle or 10 of Vueve Clicuot “just because”. The fashion industry is an amazing one and the beauty industry as well. The market and requests are constantly changing and doors are always opening. With endless fashion houses, magazines, television channels, countries and cultural styles, cosmetic brands, and technological innovations….the possibilities are also infinite.