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There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Main Components Freelance Models Need to Market Themselves Successfully

Freelance modeling is an entirely different beast than being represented by a modeling agency. Choosing this approach to modeling is ideal for those who only want to model part-time, for fun or simply don't want to commit to or deal with an agency. Whatever your reasons are for being freelance, you'll want to make sure that you have everything up to par so that you put yourself in the best possible position for getting hired.

What you need vs. what you don't may vary from peson to person so include the items below according to your situation and goals:

Headshots (Mandatory): When you're signed to a modeling agency, headshots are put together for you. This is a luxury freelance models don't have. Because you are representing yourself you are the agent as well as the model. You can't submit yourself to professional modeling gigs without a professional headshot.

Unlike models submitting to an agency that don't need to have pro images, freelance models MUST provide professional quality pictures, especially for headshots. You can set up a free test shoot with an experienced photographer in your area and see which picture would work as a good headshot or you can pay for a photographer's services. Either way is fine, as long as you get a headshot that best represents you. It is best to have your headshot in digital format in hi-resolution.

Digital is best for emailing and having a version in hi-resolution is a must when you need to print a hard copy of your headshot so that the quality is good and the picture doesn't come out blurry or pixelated. No headshot, no work.

Comp Cards (Optional): It is totally up to you whether you want to put in the time and effort into getting a comp card done. Not having one won't keep you out of the game but it is a great asset to have. The decision is solely up to you. If you're having trouble deciding, it is a good idea to browse through castings for modeling gigs (Craigslist, Model Mayhem, local casting agencies, etc.) and see how many of the clients ask for comp cards.

Do nearly all of them mention comp cards as a necessity to submit yourself or are they fine with just a headshot? As with headshots, you can set up free test shoots or pay a photographer to create images that can be put together to create your comp card.

If you are Photoshop savvy you can create your own comp cards or you can use the services of an online comp card printing company (there are dozens to choose from and price ranges vary).

Portfolio (Mandatory): Again, unlike models submitting to agencies, freelance models are left with the responsibility of putting together their own portfolios. It doesn't matter your experience level, either. Test shoots are the most affordable way to put together a modeling portfolio.

It is important that you have two versions of your portfolio: digital and hard copy. When shooting with photographers, make sure you are guaranteed a copy of your images in hi-resolution (not teeny tiny files that won't print with good quality). You can use your modeling portfolio images in jpeg format to post online (official modeling website, Facebook, Model Mayhem, etc.) or to email directly to clients.

You'll want to have a hard copy of your portfolio as well. Please refer to my post about modeling portfolios so you'll know exactly how to put one together the right way (digital and hard copy portfolios are different in presentation). If you live in a major modeling market, you can count on the need for bringing your "book" (industry lingo for "portfolio") to any castings/interviews you go to.

Website (Mandatory): I say it is mandatory to have a website of some kind because in this day and age it is all about technology, the Internet and accessibility. You can choose to have a professional modeling website or it can be as simple as creating a modeling profile on a social networking site like Facebook or a more industry specific one like Model Mayhem.

Anything that can easily let people find you. Freelance models have to be able to promote and market themselves and if you have a good website setup online, then the majority of the work will be done for you. There are both expensive and affordable ways to creating an Internet presence for yourself.

Business Cards (Optional): While I list this item as "optional" I would encourage freelance models to invest the time and small cost of getting business cards done. Not only does it serve as the most basic--yet most effective--marketing tool, it is easy to carry around and present during networking opportunities.

Hard copy headshots are typically 8"x10" in size--can you imagine carrying around a stack of those with you in the hopes of giving it to someone that may be able to get you a modeling job? The same inconvenient situation can be applied to comp cards, even though they are smaller than headshots.

Overall, a business card is a direct way for a potential client to get in touch with you. It won't matter where you are--you never know when a networking opportunity could arise--by simply reaching into your wallet you can easily let someone know that your modeling services are available. Business cards are easy to put together, have printed and are fairly affordable these days.

List of Services (Mandatory): When promoting yourself, whether it is on your website, online profile, business card, etc. you'll want to have a good idea of what types of modeling services you provide. What fields do you specialize in? Don't just tell your clients "I'll model for anything!"

For one, no client specializes in "anything" and being too broad won't match you up to the right clients and gigs. You don't have to specialize in every field of modeling--only list the types you meet the requirement for and have these kinds of photos available for review in your portfolio.

For example, I typically list myself as specializing in the following types of modeling: commercial/print, stock, swimwear, fitness, bridal, beauty. Narrowing down the type of work you do will increase your chances of marketing towards the right people and having the right people find you.

Email/Cell (Mandatory): I know, I know, common sense, right? But you know the saying: "Common sense just ain't common enough." LOL. Freelance models are business people and you have to present yourself in a professional manner if you want to be taken seriously and paid to model for a company/client. If you don't have a cell phone, get one. Period.

And while you're at it, set up your voicemail greeting so that it is appropriate (no music, kooky intro or foul language--again, you'd be surprised by how some people conduct themselves). The same goes for your email address. Keep it simple. Sticking to your name as your email address is ideal.

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