Are you modeling or the model?

Posted on March 30, 2014

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One of the hardest things to learn as a model is explaining this to prospective models and getting them to understand. Even some people who have dipped their toes in the modeling world don’t quite understand this. So, let me take some time and explain this.

When you first start out, you won’t be earning money but rather learning the modeling trade. Plain and simple. Few people make money from the start. You will work with MANY photographers and designers. The more, the better (make sure you check them out – don’t work with just anyone). Look for jobs that will get you more work and get you recognized as a model. Go to meet and greets. Get business cards. Be known. Don’t ever forget that part of being a model is marketing your style or look. As you work like this, you are the model. There aren’t many paid jobs. You look pretty. The images only have you looking great.

The next step occurs one of two ways. The first is that others want to pay you for your work modeling things. Or, you want to be paid for your work as a model. There is a subtle difference here, but it means one of two things. If you are paid for modeling things, people see you as a great model who can sell services and products. There is a very good chance a modeling agency will sign you with them. The images you have present you, present products, and you are on your way in your job as a model. As you progress, you will find that there are more and more things to prepare for a session and you will take a more active role in this type of session with the other work that gets done.  This is why many of the models who as they get older become photographers: they get the back side of the business and have already established relations with many excellent models.  They have also already created a demand for them and their work through marketing their own images.

The second one, where you are the model means that you haven’t made that transition from the start and you probably want some quick money as a model for “easy” work. When photographers contact you to model, do you just set up a time and “shoot” or do you work through a concept that could take a week or even more? Do you expect to shoot the same day you suggest it to a photographer? This is something you want to avoid the longer you are in the modeling industry. If you don’t, you will be known for just looking pretty. While there are some photographers who like working with models like this, most often the images are of lesser quality and probably don’t represent who you are as a model. Like I said, some photographers can do this type of work. The majority can’t. If you are dealing with a photographer like this, there is a strong chance they want to push you to do more than your limits. Can you get paid doing this type of work: yes. But, know it will often be sexual related work. Do you need to prepare for the session? Probably not. Can you make a living like this? Sure. Lots of people do.

So, which kind of model are you and what kind of work are you doing? Which do you fit into? Who are the photographers that you work with: do they prepare or not?

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Posted in: Modeling