What is Freelance Modeling Anyway? This is what I have learned about the industry (you don’t need representation!!)
The common Perception of a “model” is stick thin, 6 feet tall. this is a media-spread image fueled by the fashion industry. A very small percentage of women in America meet the standard for a fashion supermodel. Plenty of other women out there are beautiful! Small businesses and Freelance photographers have caught on to this, and many have decided to cut out the agency middle man to hire freelance models! The advent of the internet has made it possible for women of different styles and body types to get involved with freelance modeling. There are benefits and disadvantages to freelance modeling opposed to being represented by an agency. One must do all her own bookings, act professional, and adopt an entrepreneurial way of life.
The number one difference between freelance modeling and agency modeling is that freelance models book their own gigs. Open castings, Word of mouth, and online networks are options for freelance models to find work. The largest network for freelance models and photographers to connect is currently a website called ModelMayhem.com. An Agency represented model is usually contracted to work for a specific company that finds gigs for the model and takes a percentage of the income. Agencies charge high fees and have insurance requirements for those who want to hire their models. For those who meet the standards of the agency, this may be a good option. Freelance modeling allows for models to consider what type of photo shoots they would like to seek, what days and times to shoot, and they can keep 100% of any modeling fees they negotiate. However, freelance photographers who find models online are not always safe people to be around!!! One year ago, 19-year-old Colorado Springs model Kara Nichols disappeared on her way to Denver for a photo shoot she booked through model mayhem. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Fortunately there is a way for freelancers to check references by contacting models in photographers portfolios, if there is no contact information provided for models via model networking sites, it is likely a red flag! Booking your own gigs can be very successful if you’re responsible at it!
Responsibility is a key element to being a successful professional freelance model, as well as having success in ANY job! If one wants to be paid for their services, they must act professionally! This is what separates the divas from the ladies. Having a good attitude is important. Other responsibilities rely a lot on managing ones appearance: taking care of your body and knowing how to style your own hair and makeup are some basic modeling responsibilities! You can’t just show up and look hott, you have to be coachable and learn to use different poses and facial expressions: the skills of your trade! By responding to emails efficiently, showing up to gigs on time and ready, and being clear on the rates and job description in advance, freelance models can build a reputation for reliability and will get more work through word of mouth.
One of the greatest rewards of freelancing is being your own boss! Agencies organize most of the behind the scenes work for the models they represent: finding casting calls, advertising, sending inquiries, managing a schedule, negotiating the fees etc. Freelance models have to have the entrepreneurial edge to do all this on their own! Earning a living as a model also means you can write off your expenses when tax season comes along! Receipts for makeup, hair products, outfits, etc should all be cataloged! Having a monthly or weekly goals help in managing a schedule: How many gigs per month does one need to cover living expenses? Did you leave room for down time and hobbies? Balance is important!
Hollywood, TV, and magazines promote an impossible standard for women to live up to, but there are millions of beautiful women out there! Leave the insecurities behind! If you or a friend of yours wants to model but don’t meet the strict height or weight requirements for agency modeling, consider modeling in the freelance world! All it takes is a little research, a coachable, positive attitude, and a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit!