TN 10 (08-11)

RS 02101.183 Photographers' Models

A. Definition of a photographer’s model

A photographer's model is a professional who poses for photographs for commercial purposes. The photographs are generally used to advertise commercial products and appear in magazines, newspapers, or similar media. Models have knowledge or training in such subjects as acting, fashion, hairstyling, posture, and makeup.

B. Photographers’ models as employees

Photographers' models are employees when they are subject to a sufficient degree of control and when they meet substantially all of the following criteria:

  • they may terminate the relationship at any time;

  • they are paid a salary for first call on their services on either a full-time or part-time basis;

  • they must obey instructions or suggestions on such matters as costume, combing, brushing, blow drying, general make-up, posture, or the position and expression to assume in their assigned roles;

  • they perform the work according to the supervisor's or manager's views on the best method to illustrate the good points of the garments, or other products they model;

  • they work for only one or two photographers or companies; and

  • the employers pay them a salary or guaranteed minimum wage to work during fixed hours on the employer's premises.

Mail-order houses typically use an arrangement under which photographers' models work as employees. These businesses hire models to pose for the photographic illustrations used in catalogs that they mail to their customers.

Models are employees of a modeling agency when they:

  • graduate from the agency's modeling school;

  • are not permitted to do freelance modeling;

  • generally function only through the agency; and

  • perform services under the agency's name.

C. Photographers’ models as independent contractors

Photographers' models are independent contractors when:

  • their agent fixes their fees, which are usually on an hourly basis;

  • they may use their own discretion and initiative to create and act their assigned roles;

  • they reserve the right to limit their work time to work only during certain hours;

  • there is usually no degree of regularity or continuity in their engagements, (they are not engaged on a permanent or periodic basis, but solely for specific jobs and they reserve the right to cancel their agent’s bookings);

  • they customarily engage a booking agent, who usually earns 10 percent of the their fees (the agent makes appointments for the models);

  • they often are free to use their skill and training in other fields of business, such as radio, movies, fashion shows, television shows, etc.;

  • they supply their own wardrobes appropriate to the roles they will portray;

  • they are free to pose for anyone who desires their services; and

  • they usually release their property rights in commercial photographs.

D. Control factors for services performed by photographer’s models

The principal factors that indicate control are:

  • the model must pose according to detailed instructions or standards set by the purchaser of the services;

  • the model cannot work for others;

  • the model has fixed work hours and must report or be on call;

  • the employer furnishes the model with the necessary garments, makeup, etc.;

  • the employer pays the model a salary or a guaranteed minimum amount;

  • the model must work on the employer's premises; and

  • the model and the employer have the right to terminate the relationship at any time.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302101183
RS 02101.183 - Photographers' Models - 08/19/2011
Batch run: 08/19/2011
Rev:08/19/2011