You have done your first shoot, and you want to find more photographers to work, what do you do? The first thing to do is create a few profiles on modeling sites like Model Insider, Model Mayhem, One Model Place, etc. So you do, and then you have to create a profile. What should go in a profile? This is how a freelance model markets themselves A good profile is key to getting new work and building a network of people who you need. This post isn’t about choosing which sites to put a profile on, but rather about what you need to have in your profile.
The most important part of any profile are your measurements. They should be complete and correct. At the very least, make sure you have breast (with cup size), waist, hips, height, and shoe size. I can’t emphasize being accurate enough. There is nothing worse than a model who you expected to be 5 foot 8 inches tall only being 5 foot 2 inches tall when they show up. Yes, it gets you in front of photographers, but you will burn future work with everyone who you work. Frequently, many will be polite and show you the door as soon as you show up. Also be honest about any tattoos and piercings you have. Make sure these measures are accurate and complete. No one wants surprises.
The next most important part are the photos you post. Unlike your book or modeling portfolio, people want to see what you have done and aren’t really interested in a few images with what you are really like under all the makeup – so you can skip any images that show the “real” you without any makeup on. Choose the best images you have for your profile – mix up the types if possible. Make sure you have a few head shots, a few three-quarter length, and a few full body shots. You want them from different angles and showing off what you have to offer. Keep in mind that the images you show will be what gets you future work. If you only post nudes, expect to only get nude offers for work. The images you show set a tone for what kind of work you want – so it is important they reflect the work you want to get. Again, being honest and truthful is also important. If you are fifty pounds heavier, and you only have images from when you were slimmer, you will burn bridges. Always keep current and accurate images posted on your profile. I highly recommend that you have at least one full length in tight fitting clothes, a bathing suit, or lingerie to show off your true form.
I need to say that the quality of image if very important in showing your level as a model. If you have images that look like snapshots on your profile, people who look at it will thing “She’s new”. There are many people who shoot will shoot with you TF, but I recommend that you look at those people’s images prior to shooting with them. Cheap looking and unprofessional images are something that will hurt your reputation as a model. Too many of them, and you won’t be accepted into an agency or even potential modeling contracts, because your image has been devalued. This is why it is key to have only the best images you can posted up in your profile and tagged as you. You do not want your image devalued. As with all images you post, you should tag or give credit to the crew who took your images that you post. Part of this is so people can talk and verify the information you posted in addition to getting references for you.
There are also those individuals (and reality TV shows) who think the only way to get your start is by shooting provocative lingerie and nude images. This isn’t so. While it is OK to do certain and very tasteful nudes, understand that if you have any out there, anyone who is considering you for a contract or acceptance at an agency will always wonder if there are any out there that are worse. When you model, you represent a product or service… it isn’t just you. If the images you have out there don’t represent that product or service, then you won’t get the job. Keep this in mind. I also strongly recommend that you talk with your significant other if you do nudes and have their permission to do them, especially if you are married. And, if a photographer ever says that a session should be kept a secret between you two, then you should run for the hills away from them. Nothing should be kept a secret from your significant other. They are your life partner and they should be able to know anything you do.
The next part of your profile is to say something about yourself. What do you put there? I recommend thinking about the “value” you offer to potential photographers or clients. The reason for this is that you want to be paid, right? When you start off, you won’t be paid and you will work with some cheesy photographers. As you get experience, and build a reputation and image for yourself, you will get paid if you want to be paid. No one wants to pay for someone who isn’t worth what they get paid as a model. So, from the start, emphasize that you offer a value. In addition, make sure you are accurate and say you are committed, on time, and work hard at your modeling. There is more than just saying this – demonstrating it goes a long way. Check and double check what you say and your grammar. Part of this is your image, part is that no one pays someone who is illiterate. I also recommend that you state the type of work you want and what you will do. You can post your rates, but I discourage models from putting them in profiles – if someone wants to know what your rates are, they can send an email with the concept and get them from you. Key here is posting some of your hard limits like “no nudes” in the profile. Failing to put it in your profile will only cause a lot of people to request you to do them. Be polite if you get them, and clearly state you don’t do them.
So, the profile is now up and well written with accurate images of you. Don’t just sit there and hope that someone notices you. Be proactive! Look at the castings that are posted on the site. Change your images at least once a month (not all of them). Look for photographers and participate in the competitions and forums. This is how you get a large number of people to see you and start establishing a network of people who you can work. If someone comments, tags, friends, IMs, or does anything positive, it is key to respond quickly to those actions and thank them for their actions. Frequently, the response from your thanking them will be to book you as a model and determine your pricing. Finally, if you do travel, why not pick up a shoot or two while you do. This is also a way to get noticed – listing the traveling plans.
This should give you an idea what should go in your profile. Remember that part of this is presenting an image of value and that you are worth something as a model. And, in the modeling industry, image is everything.
Edit: I was asked from the initial people who read this post to explain what goes in the written portion of the profile. The key here is that you want to let people know a little about you, sound educated, and make it sound like you are worth something as a model. The obvious thing to say is something about your current looks, how long you have been modeling, how you model, why you model, and what you add to a project that others won’t. If you travel, you will want to state that here, too, plus what it costs to get you to travel (payment and travel costs). If you have a booking policy, then it is important that you post it here. If you have ever been flaked on, then you know why you need them. Beyond this, it is up to you. You can include other interests that are helpful in your modeling. The key is building value in you as a model, differentiation why they should use you over someone else, and how you will make the projects better.
Edit2 [1 Apr 2013]: A casting call is a notice to the general public on most services (sites) to find people to work (you are looking for talent to hire). These can be created by anyone – model, photographer, MUAH, etc. – as long as they are members of the site. They should all be marked as to how they will be handled for payment: TF or PAID. Paid means that money will be paid. TF means it is “Time For”. Some may be “negotiable” and that means you will haggle over this once you decide to work together. Availability notices are to let people know you are available to work (you want to be hired locally). If marked “PAID”, then you are only looking for paid work. The availability notice is what most use to indicate their availability to work a very specific area with little travel. Finally, there is a travel notice where you indicate as a model that you are traveling to an area outside your normal area and specific dates you will be there (you want to be hired in another area). As with all of these, mark them appropriately with your type of work you are looking, and if marked paid, indicate the levels and rates you are looking to get paid. Be sure to always fill out complete details: type of work, amount you want to be paid or TF, and any other details that would be helpful.