Ask An Agent / Extras

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly feature answering your questions about the business of photography – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything.

Dear Ask an Agent, 

My question is on the subject of extras. I am putting some costs together for a client of mine for a photoshoot in a park. There will be 2 main models and then a few extras in the background. How much do you think I should include for the extras and can I get these from acting agencies?


Simon Brewin


Thanks for your question Simon.

You have to be a bit careful when hiring so called ‘extras’ for shoots as the word can be misinterpreted and mean many different things that will affect the final cost.. An extra in a film or tv show, for example , can be a non speaking part in a big crowd scene.The same might apply in commercial stills, although sometimes ‘extra’s’ end up featuring just as much as main models.

Whatever the part, and however many extras are needed however, the thing to always bear in mind is that the fee is heavily dependent on usage if they are recognisable. If there is no way of  telling who they are, then you can negotiate a lower rate and usage generally doesn’t apply.

You can indeed book them from acting agencies, or general model agencies or by street casting. However you cast them , make sure you don’t just ask for  ‘extra’s’  and get all the details in writing and confirmed. The key things to communicate when getting costs are-  advertiser and specific brand or product, hours needed, role, whether it’s just stills or perhaps moving images as well, and most importantly end usage of images ( media, time period, territory, audience). It’s also worth mentioning that they are, in effect, ‘extras’ and part of a group. The larger the group the less the individual extra should cost.

Whether you’re a creative director or a student, a photographer or a designer, an art buyer or an assistant, if you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to and we’ll answer as many as we can!

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