So you’ve decided to become a model and don’t know where to start? My best advice is to develop a network, this will allow you to share tips, learn who is reputable, maintain safety and find jobs. A good network should be built up of models, photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists & designers and others.
Seems like a daunting task, but with just a few simple steps you’ll easily build a network that will allow you to establish yourself as a model and work with amazing artists.
The first step is to decide if you wish to be an agency model or a freelance model. If you wish to be an agency model, stop reading and start seeking agency representation, if you are choosing freelance or your agency is ok with you doing freelance work; read on.
As a model seeking freelance work, your most powerful tool to market yourself is networking. So, first start off by preparing yourself to be a freelance model, then start the process of networking, because a slow start is better than a bad start. Now that you have done that, start setting up profiles on various model-photographer networking sites(examples: Model Mayhem, Model Insider and One Model Place) and other social media sites. Beware of scam sites, I have an article explaining how to avoid these scam sites.
As the new model, you will be inundated with offers from photographers, most will be offering trade, most will not be offering good pictures in trade, but don’t feel obligated to accept all offers or even any, but please respond with even a polite “no”, as for many no response is considered rude. You never want to burn a bridge with a potential future client. On the other hand don’t allow people to trash talk you for a polite “no”, simply block/ignore them. These sites are good for you to start talking with local and nonlocal models who are doing work like you wish to pursue, you should email them and strike up conversations, be active in forums(even if just asking questions and reading).
Another simple way to expand this network, is attending local events, meet-n-greets and quality group shoots. These sort of events are a simple, and quick way to meet people. There are pitfalls to attending a groupshoot, so be prepared to face this obstruction.
If your area doesn’t have those types of events or you want other ways, continue emailing local and non-local models, hair stylists, make-up artists and such, this will allow you to learn, share information and gain professional contacts.
The tip for networking with photographers is to first follow my safety tips, then start setting up shoots. You will quickly meet photographers that can offer contacts with other professional photographers. Many times you will be able to tell from the unprofessional manner a photographer communicates with you, whether they are someone you wish to work with or not.
I created this image at the Collingwood Art Center in Toledo, Ohio: a photographic group shoot is held there bi-monthly. Feel free to contact me for more information about attending this event.