As mentioned in the previous blog post, “Why Won’t People Pay Me?”, there are a lot of things that impact getting paid. This post is continuing that post with more information. There are some things to keep in mind when you model. Let’s start with some things I see often in the industry with amateur models (meaning newer and less experienced). This means marketing, exposure, attitude, and getting off your duff.
The first thing that stands out between someone who is a model and someone who isn’t is the way they act about their modelling. Keep in mind that modelling is all about marketing. This means evaluating the people you work with, the projects you do, and work with those who are going places and build your stature. Don’t work with just anyone who is out there just because they have some free time and can do an unplanned shoot with you. The other part of this is that you need to work with people who get you good assignments. This doesn’t mean someone who promises the world to you or brags about who they are. If someone says they can get you published, that they will show you how you can be a better model, or that they can catapult your career, they are lying. Very few photographers can do this, and the few that can will burn your look out through over exposure (we will talk about this next). Only you can control this. Instead, what most new models do is shoot with anyone who will shoot with them. Instead, evaluate how the photographer will build your image and make it stronger. If it is more of the same types of images you already have, this only counts against you. If you are only getting photographers that shoot the same thing, then work hard to reach photographers who don’t.
Know as a model that you have a certain shelf life before you have to do more to stay where you are. As an amateur, there isn’t too much to worry about as there will always be new photographers needing models to work with them. If you are trying to get in with a modeling agency or designer or into a well known magazine, you can only have your look out for so long. For non-traveling models, that is often around 6 months. If you are a professional and travel the US, this is why modeling agencies drop models based on age at 24. They consider the market saturated with your look (there is also that you will have a significant other, and also kids). This means if you do nudes and get into porn between 18 and 21 (assuming you have the “next door girl” look), you have about two to three months to get a contract and will probably make around $10,000-$30,000 depending on what you were willing to do in the shoots and how far you were willing to travel for the work. After that, you will have to do more or travel further. Very few models make it more than three months in the porn industry. On the other hand, if you are choosier about who you work, minimize your exposure risks, and work on establishing fans, focus on projects that can build your image, then you will have a longer time in the industry and make at least twice as much and often several times more than the industry standard. Each shoot you do, each set of photographs you create, will make your time in the industry shorter. The more work you do at close to the same time will also work against you. Some agencies refer to this as a “pump and dump”. Those who get you in the industry, promote you like crazy to all their friends in the area, then dump you once most have all worked with you once. If you haven’t made an impression with one time working with someone, then it wasn’t meant to be as far as the people who do this. Lately, I have seen this done by a LOT of photographers. When they do this, the model is really popular for about four months, then at six months, the model is begging for anyone to work with them that they can. As a photographer, I am always looking for new faces and looks. If you have been out for a long time or have a lot of images, then I typically won’t work with you. I have mentioned the porn end because I see a lot of models in the 18 to 21 year range do porn for the “easy and quick” money it offers, only to no longer be in demand a couple of months later and the constant creeper photographers they end up working with after that who don’t pay and who expect the same as what they did while doing porn.
Remember that being a model is all about marketing – creating an image of who you are and what you can offer to a potential client. The more people who follow you as a model, the more influence and longevity you will have. If you don’t look at your modeling as someone who is marketing, then you won’t go far or for very long. Know that you have a certain self life with your look. The more work you do, the less you will be wanted unless you travel further or do more (be it taking your clothes off, more sexual acts, or riskier types of modeling). Because of this, you must pick and choose the work that you do to build followers and fans. Being a model isn’t about quantity, but rather the quality of work that you do. If you have a lot of poor quality work, then there is nothing that you will do that can get you recognized and further up the modeling ladder.