Travel expense for collaborations

I only offer a very limited amount TF, trade or collaborative photoshoots. When I do, I am careful to make sure that model has the right look for the project, our styles of work would benefit one another, and our terms match up. If we’re both investing our time and talents it may as well be worth our efforts, right? One topic I’ve seen come up multiple times in various online model and photographer community discussions, travel expense for collaborations. I saw one topic where the model asked if she could ask for gas money to travel to a photographer 50 miles away for a trade shoot. Of course she got a myriad of answers.

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Of course a lot of it depends on who approaches who about the shoot, etc. but if both parties don’t equally value the shoot, why do it? There have been times I’ve traveled to shoot with a specific model and I never asked them for gas money. If it were a true collaborative shoot. Other times they’ve traveled to me. If a private client, I add any applicable travel expense to the job. My answer to this model was, is it worth a 50 mile trip to have this photographer’s work in your portfolio or not? If not, why do the shoot?

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If it were me, I’d think it’s a bit petty. Even if I don’t vocalize this exactly as I’m writing it….My thought would be, I am collaborating with you when clients pay a minimum of $300.00 for me to shoot for them. And I’m not asking you to help me pay to heat and cool my studio, wear and tear on camera gear, time spent retouching photos after you’re long gone, etc. We all live in the same economy, but if you can’t suck it up and cover 15 or 20 dollars worth of fuel for our shoot, clearly you don’t value having my work in your portfolio. It keeps things on an even playing field if no money is exchanged, we all have our investments in our crafts. If one paid the other for travel, it’s not a true collaboration or TF shoot. If it’s a condition to do the shoot, it’s up to both parties to decide.

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