Freelance modeling: Tips to boost your brand

Photo credit: Kevon Richardson Photography
Model: Nikia Jones

Many aspiring models wonder how to make more money, especially when they are going the freelance route. Given that there are more models available to shoot then there are paid shoots, being able to showcase your value as a model is very important if you want to be selected for the shoot.

There are hundreds of thousands of exceptionally beautiful girls who are competing for those paid modeling jobs. Therefore, succeeding as a freelance model takes much more than just being pretty. Realistically, very few girls ever get to the point where they make a full-time living just modeling.

Here are nine tips on how you can increase your value as a model and make more money.

1. Build a stellar reputation.

Reputation is very important. If those who are hiring know that they can rely on you to show up prepared and on time, then you will have more chance than if you are someone who flakes out on shoots. Reputation takes a lot of time to build, but once you build it, it’s very important to maintain. When it comes to paid gigs, people are investing in you and you have to show them that you’re worth the investment.

2. Learn how to do your own hair and makeup.

If you know how to do your own makeup and hair, then those who are hiring will see that by using you at the shoot, they will save money on additional team members. Most projects are budgeted. Therefore, the better the deal you offer in terms of your skill set, the more likely you are to be chosen.

3. Know your target market.

Look at the companies, publications, and photographers who shoot models who are similar to where you fit in and pursue them. If you are a fitness model, start by going after smaller fitness clothing companies and photographers who shoot your style. If you know your target market, you will be able to effectively build a portfolio that best represents the type of work that you are well-suited for.

4. Decrease your demands.

When people are hiring you, they don’t want to hear all of your demands. Therefore, it’s best to keep these type of requests to yourself: “I have to bring my boyfriend-husband-fiancé to the shoot” or “I must have the copyrights to all the pictures taken” and “I want all the RAW files at the end of the shoot.” There are many models who don’t have these demands and they will get hired for the jobs you want.

5. Build a strong online presence.

If you have a lot of real fans and followers, then photographers and companies will be able to see that working with you can help them build their own online presence.

6. Improve your communication.

Many models will miss out on paid work as a result of not reading and replying to emails from people who would like to work with them. Yes, sometimes you will get offers that you don’t want to take part in, but once in a while, you might miss a great opportunity if you don’t respond. Let people know if you are available. Even if you are not, but are still interested in working with a person, it’s best to let that person know, in case future gigs come up.

7. Have a great selection of wardrobe.

Given the limited budgets of some projects, you will not always have the privilege of a wardrobe stylist at the shoot. Therefore, having your own high-quality wardrobe, which doesn’t have to be expensive, will put you ahead of models who require a wardrobe stylist.

8. Take care of your skin and keep your body in shape.

Most photographers are busy and they don’t have all day to remove your acne in Photoshop. The truth is, the easier you make another person’s job, the higher the likelihood that you will get hired.

Being fit and healthy opens up more opportunities for shoots. Whether it’s lingerie shoots that you’re after, or bikini, or fitness, there are many more paid gigs available for models who are in shape.

9. Be honest.

This ties back to reputation, although there is much more to it than that. It’s best to display, or have available, unretouched snapshots which show what you look like without makeup, styling, and Photoshop. It’s also best to honestly display your height and measurements because sometimes people are looking to hire models with specific stats. Additionally, lying about your measurements and deceiving people about how you look will come back to haunt you later. This is a small world and bad news travels fast.

King Davis
King Davis

God first and everything follows. Entrepreneur, business and brand manager. Holds a bachelor's in Business Management and a master's in Sports Marketing & Management. Currently set to take negotiation & finance courses at Harvard Business School this fall. Responsible for the branding and marketing of various individual brands and businesses. || [email protected]