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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Models, Care About the Quality of the Work You Book

(This post will be mainly beneficial to freelance models).

Getting into the modeling game, especially via the freelance route, isn't easy. But then again, it isn't supposed to be. There's a lot on a freelance model's plate and--male or female--there's always a learning curve. In most cases, each person has his/her own reasons for wanting to get into modeling. Regardless of what those reasons may be, I believe it's important to strive for excellence in all the work you do.

Quality and integrity of the work you book are so crucial to a model's career, in my opinion. Because freelance models act as their own agent, all the decisions are up to them. There isn't an agency professional to weed out which clients are worth your time and effort and which ones aren't. Approaching the same situation as a freelance model isn't as simple and does take time and experience to master.

If you're simply trying to get paid, that's fine but don't make the mistake of compromising yourself for the sake of a paycheck. By that, I mean to say that sometimes paying opportunities aren't worth pursuing if the end results or the portfolio of the photographer/client isn't going to positively contribute to your own portfolio and resume. Nothing's worse than coming away from a shoot with pictures that you're not proud of and/or can't/won't use in your portfolio.

I'm constantly searching and submitting myself to modeling opportunities online and a lot of what I come across is just not worth even sending pictures to--even if they are paying. While the dollar amount gets my attention initially, if the quality of the work the client has put out (or the portfolio of the people they're putting in charge of the project) aren't what I would consider "good quality," I'll pass. Believe me, there's nothing snobby about such a decision--it's strictly from a business perspective.

Of course there's going to be opportunities where you think the quality is good and it turns out to be the opposite. Such things happen and it isn't your fault. Those are the exceptions to the rule. But in general, don't compromise the integrity of the portfolio you're trying to build, update or maintain just so you can get paid. On the flip side, freelance models that are new/starting out, don't get into the mindset that you have to take on crappy quality photoshoots because you don't have the experience to justify working with truly talented individuals. If you have the right look, a positive attitude and are eager to showcase your skills, there should be no reason why you can't find a photographer and/or client that's willing to take a chance on hiring you, whether the project is paying or a trade shoot.

Passing on a gig because you don't feel the work of the client is up to snuff doesn't make you judgmental, terrible, stuck up or a diva. Any project you participate in is a direct reflection of you and is what others, including future clients, will judge you by. If an opportunity happens to come to you and you aren't very impressed by their work/portfolio, it is okay to politely decline the offer.

Of course crafting a rejection response should be done tastefully. Even if you're thinking, "Man, your photos need work, buddy!" that's not what you're going to tell them. In such instances, it's perfectly acceptable to reply back with something along the lines of, "Thank you for the offer but at this time I'm not taking on any new projects" or "Thanks for the opportunity but I don't think I would be a good fit for your project but wish you the best of luck with your casting." It may not be 100% true but it is a safe way to let someone down. There's no need to be a diva. Never burn bridges with anyone in the modeling industry. Even if they don't appear to be that important, you never know who they know and you don't want to risk a future opportunity because someone has a big mouth and takes a rejection personally instead of in stride as a businessperson.

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