Modeling Compensation (professionals only)


Summarized by David Martinez


Professional -modeling industry- jobs are booked and arranged through a model’s talent agent or manager. The model’s agent or manager is contacted by a booking agent that works directly for a client (product brand, clothing brand or directly with a brand designer or ad agency).


The payment range is based on the brand name of the product, the brand recognition and advertising usage. Most importantly, modeling compensation will be accessed and based on the model’s professional standing in the industry; how many editorial campaigns has the model done? How many high-quality campaigns has the model done? Does the model command professional name recognition in the editorial or advertising industry? Booking considerations will also take into account the model’s unique beauty, the model’s ability to hit quality poses consistently and the ease in working with the model. Therefore, and early on, it is important for a model to cultivate good relationships with photographers, makeup artists, hair designers and others; references and word-of-mouth (good or bad) matter. Keep in mind that the model does not negotiate compensation with the booking agent or client; the model’s agent will handle all booking arrangements and compensation on the model’s behalf. However, the model is free to reject any modeling offer that is not acceptable to her (of course, turning down work will risk future modeling offers).


Here’s a breakdown of work and modeling compensation-


  1. EDITORIAL WORK $-0- to $150 per day

These modeling jobs consist of photo shoots for fashion forward magazines

and editorial fashion content. These modeling events pay very little, to

nothing at all.   Editorial gigs are the most effective way to gain image

content for your book and to also advertise your name and face. Optimally,

and regardless of payment, the model should try to do any editorial work

that will be featured on the cover of a magazine. This method is used to

build the model’s brand and requires only an investment of time.



  1. FITTINGS $100 to $300 per hour

Fittings consist of standing for a designer that basically sizes cloths on the

model (fitting the model). These jobs require the model to stand very still

while being fitted.


  1. SHOWROOM WORK $100 to $300 per hour

(typically a 4 hour half-day or $1,000 for a full-day)


Showroom work is a private showcasing of a designer brand to potential

department store buyers; the model typically showcases the clothing in the

form of a runway type display movement.


  1. LOOK BOOKS or E-commerce $800 to $5,000 per day

Typical high-key (infinite) background shoots for look books and

E-commerce merchandise. These production shoots may require numerous

clothing changes and therefore be fast paced.



  1. CATALOGUE SHOOTS $1,500 to $10,000 per day

(travel and/or location shoots, but may also

be an in-studio shoot)


Payment varies depending of the quality of the brand name and also the

quality of the model (as described at the beginning). The catalogue shoot

typically utilizes great background and location scenes and may include

exotic travel locations. Some catalogue shoots will be accomplished in

studio and may utilize green screen for post production imagery and



  1. RUNWAY SHOWS $-0- to Trade (clothing)


$500 to $1,000 per show


Runway shows will not change your life but they will get you conditioned

into modeling in front of a crowd of people and will give you experience

and confidence on the catwalk. Models can get their start with local runway

shows and work their way up to the better known fashion week events. Top

supermodels that are booked to open and walk prestigious runway shows

are sometimes paid as much as $10,000 to walk the runway. However, and

in general, runway fashion shows pay models little to nothing at all or

may be compensated with clothing.


  1. ADVERTISING JOBS $5,000 to $100,000

Advertising jobs have two payment components. The model gets paid a day

rate for the day of the shoot and then also gets paid for the advertising usage,

such as in store posters, advertising mailers, bus stop posters or giant

billboards signage. Some ad campaigns also include TV broadcast usage and

are then regulated through the Screen Actors Guild which includes a more

complex agreement and payment structure.



A L’oreal campaign typically pays between $30,000 to $50,000. A well

known super model under contract can make 1 to 5 million dollars

(however, this is not the norm). The typical ad campaign for a well known

working model will typically pay $50,000 to $100,000.


Year to year modeling income will vary but an average well known working model can expect to earn between $50,000 to $100,000 per year; the giant contract payments are the exception and not the rule.


Finally, during any given year, most if not all professional working models will engage in all of the above modeling jobs, including runway fashion shows as all models are in constant need of new content to keep their look books current and relevant.


Citation Note:

This information was summarized by David Martinez and furnished by a well known top model, Teresa Moore. Ms Moore has worked for Ralph Lauren, L’Oreal, H&M, Harpers Bazaar, W magazine and Armani Exchange; she has over 10 years experience as a professional top model.