Trade Information - Hillary Olson

Things to know before making a trade inquiry

Please read carefully before reaching out for collaborative projects in which I would not be paid.

I love what I do and I love that sometimes it means volunteering my skill to create a meaningful experience for another individual that encourages growth. However, photography is not my only passion, so I must be mindful of how much of my time, energy, and resources goes into it. I take on as many trade-for/collaborative projects as my schedule allows, which currently shakes out to about one per week.  I also like to schedule out up to a month in advance and so am rarely available for impromptu requests for trade. 

The term “trade-for” is used to describe a shoot where money isn’t exchanged but the photos are shared under a mutual agreement. Typically this means a photographer and model at relatively equal levels of establishment in their craft, creating art together and sharing the product of the collaboration; a mutually-beneficial arrangement. I love this idea because I believe that as artists we should be uplifting and promoting each other’s work as much as possible. I enjoy working with all kinds of creative individuals. I believe there is a way for a photoshoot to be mutually beneficial like this with anyone.

So - let’s trade!


If you are an emerging or established model know that I am always willing to do trade-for but I likely won’t do the reaching out. This is because I don’t want to assume you will work with me for trade and currently can’t afford to pay models other than limited monthly paid model sets on my Patreon. If you have rates but think we can work something out - I’d love to hear from you. If not, I hope we can work together in the future when I have more cash flow from my other endeavors.


I take great pleasure in working with creative people who work in many areas of study: visual artists, writers, dancers, theatre artists, musicians. I love seeing my work help artists grow, promote their art, gain exposure, and experience. What do I get? To be a part of it! And also:

1.  A unique collaboration that happens when two artists working with very different tools find a way to blend the skills we have both been nurturing. Collaboration is a challenge, and I believe challenge is essential in all art. It also happens to be my favorite thing in the whole world.

2.  Exposure and growth in my network. This comes with the expectation that I will get to share the photos we create and that you will also share them. However, the nature of what I do can mean some expressed vulnerability. I realize that sometimes a shoot is more vulnerable then you want to share with the world. I respect that. I realize that from time to time I will create art that only photographer and collaborator will see. That is 100% okay with me if that happens. However, I walk into a shoot expecting to get to share my work, if you are walking in with different expectations please make sure you communicate them. This might mean finding a different photographer.

An important note about nudity:

Know your boundaries and communicate them prior to the shoot. I will never tell you to take off your clothing during a shoot. IF we have talked about nudity or implied nude I will ASK when/if you feel comfortable. This affects location, concept and possibly sharing so please make sure you have communicated your boundaries and expectations in advance. That’s how we take care of one another!


If you don’t feel that you fit into one of those categories but are eager to collaborate with me, know that I will likely give scheduling priority to those inquiries above. That being said, I have other priorities such as representing diverse humans including but not limited to: POC, LGBTQ+, women, and other marginalized individuals. I welcome all inquiries and it never hurts to ask, I just may not have time in my schedule anytime soon. Many of my shoots that involve vulnerability of any kind require me to be mentally prepared and to be extremely present and affirming during the shoot. I also need to take time for post-production (sorting/editing) and also pre-production (concept building) for all of my shoots. This means I cannot shoot as often as I would like and still have the energy needed for each individual shoot. Please have patience, respect my schedule/time, and be persistent.


Communication. This means everything from personal boundaries, schedule limitations, rates, preferences, and your expectations from the shoot. This may also mean persistence. It is easy for me to lose track of messages (especially DM’s!) so know that I never am mad when someone habitually reaches out to get something scheduled or rescheduled - I encourage it! It helps me out a ton. Let’s share the burden of scheduling/organizing a photoshoot. Make sure you check in the day before or day-of a photoshoot to confirm we are ready to go if you have not heard from me already. I work very hard to not cancel shoots on my end unless absolutely necessary. I want to be respectful of your time, so please do the same with me. If you have to cancel, we cancel, and I will not hold this against you. Things happen and sometimes you are just not ready to be photographed - I empathize. Just let me know as soon as possible.

Collaboration. This is a big one, and most often where I see expectations a little off-balance. My best shoots are collaborative. This means I expect you to bring something to the table and contribute to the concept.  That might be as little as an interesting outfit you want to wear or prop you want to use or new location you have access to. Honestly just sharing a couple of images or pieces of art that are inspiring you, goes a long way. It gives me something to bounce off of! This kind of collaborative discussion is what feeds my creative energy and is what results in my most powerful photos. Trust me on this: whatever effort you put in I will match tenfold.

Sharing. As I mentioned above, I expect to share at least a few of the images from our shoot with the world and that you will do the same. Make sure you talk to me before the shoot if your expectations differ. I create my art for many reasons. One of those reasons is getting to share it with the world in order to make people feel, connect and inspire more art. 

Respect. This one feels like a no-brainer but it is important so should be on this list. I will have respect for you, your body, your boundaries, and your expression, please have respect for my art. Please don’t do these things without checking with me first: change/alter an image (other than minor IG crops + censorship), publish the image somewhere without crediting me, publish it somewhere for profit (I do allow and encourage models/artists to use my photos for personal Patreon pages, self-promotion, etc., but it is always good measure to let me know before you take action), use my photos to make other art (I usually love this but it is respectful to check with me first).

So, if all that seems like too much or something you just don’t have time for at the moment, consider waiting until you are ready to reach out.

Or, if you really want to shoot as soon as possible, visit my RATES or PROPOSE A TRADE! I will gladly consider any respectful trade. Things I love: other art (how about yours?), travel, plants, good food, wine, cool indoor locations to shoot, tickets to live performances, vintage clothes or fancy underwear for shoots, film, and knowledge! If you have something you can teach me you will make my whole day.


1. We collaborated well together and had fun!

2. You were communicative and respectful.

3. You shared a ton of photos!

4. You keep me in mind for paid projects or opportunities for us to both get paid for creating art together!

5. You reach out and ask to shoot again.

Thank you for reading all this.  I do value my work and that means I have to value my time.



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