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Monday, July 21, 2008

Tips for Finding Modeling Jobs on Craigslist

(This post will best serve freelance models without agency representation or models with agents that also look for their own work)

Does Craigslist offer good opportunities for models? Sure! Should caution be used when searching and submitting to gigs on Craigslist? Of course! I know that I often talk about Craigslist in a negative way at times but it is a pretty good tool to use to find work.

However, I only feel comfortable suggesting models use Craigslist if they are 18+. The anonymity of the site makes it very difficult to know exactly whom you are dealing with. That’s not to say that those who are adults can’t get into trouble as well, because they can, but in general most scammers and suspicious characters target young, underage models.

Whether you are underage (with a parent helping in your career) or a freelance model that is of age, here are a few helpful tips for finding work on Craigslist in a way that won’t waste your time and will hopefully keep you safe when dealing with people from there:

* Disclaimer: The tips and info given aren’t absolute. Not all people on Craigslist are bad, nor are all the gigs scams or a waste of time. However, a good number are so keep that in mind before you start thinking about examples to prove me wrong. There are always exceptions to the rule but it’s best to cover all your bases and use caution regardless.

1. Be wary of posts that only want inexperienced models. People who specifically request inexperienced models have various reasons for this. Maybe they don’t want to deal with diva attitudes that some professional models display, maybe they don’t have the budget or funds to pay top dollar for a pro model, or maybe they just want to help inexperienced models with their portfolios/careers while building up their portfolio of work as well. And that’s okay.

On the flip side, shady characters who only request models with no experience may also do so because these are models who may be very na├»ve or unsuspecting. It’s much easier to fool someone who has little to no experience about the industry.

2. If a post is requesting underage models to do swimwear or lingerie, please do not submit yourself if you are underage! Underage models (under 18) should never do lingerie and shouldn’t really do swimwear either, unless it is age appropriate.

Those who request young models for this type of work are usually shady individuals who should know better. If they were legit, they would know to ask for 18+ models. I’ve seen posts asking for models between 14-17 for such work. That’s a huge no-no.

3. Look for names or websites to do research before submitting. Some people who post on Craigslist will list the name of the photographer, company, client or show a website. When this happens, Google the information given. Find out who you’re dealing with before even submitting yourself. If the work looks good, then go ahead and submit. If they look unprofessional, sloppy or the work isn’t very impressive, then skip it.

There have been posts I’ve come across that sounded super promising but when I checked out the websites, the caliber of the client definitely wasn’t something that I wanted to associate myself with so I didn’t submit. Remember, you never want to do work that you’d be ashamed of tying your name to later on. Only work with the best. If the post doesn’t have any of that information, then request it in your email. Mention that you’d love to see their portfolio or the company’s website.

4. Put a watermark on your photos. There are some people who actually take photos submitted to Craigslist posts and claim them as their own work, or manipulate the pictures for their own purposes. The whole idea of cutting and pasting someone’s head onto someone else’s body does happen. Whenever you send your modeling images to someone in a Craigslist post, be smart and add a watermark on top of your photos.

The watermark can be the photographer’s copyright, logo or your name. In Photoshop, create a new layer on top of the image and type the watermark text or insert the logo over your picture. Then double-click that layer and decrease the transparency of the text. The image should still be visible but make sure the watermark is placed in an area where it would be very annoying to try to remove. Or you can at least send a photo that clearly has the photographer’s copyright in the corner somewhere.

That at least shows that if they do steal the image, you can show the original that would show where the copyright might have been removed if the suspect simply took it off or cropped it out. There have been models and photographers who have found their work on someone else’s site so be careful whom you send your pictures to.

Here is an example of a watermark on a photo:

5. When replying to a modeling gig on Craigslist be sure to read the entire posting carefully. Some give detailed instructions about how to submit, while others leave it up to you. In the event that there are no such instructions, compose your email like this: in the subject line, put your name and the title of the Craigslist post (Example: Dania Denise – Print Models for Catalog).

In the body of your email, introduce yourself and say that you are interested in being considered for their project posted on Craigslist. Mention that you have attached a photo and only provide a phone number if they ask for it in the post. Keep the email brief and to the point.

6. Keep track of what you’ve replied to. Sometimes the same clients post often on Craigslist and you don’t want to embarrass yourself by submitting to something more than once. I often email myself the actual Craigslist post (there’s a link on the site where you can do that), which I archive. Then if I come across a posting that sounds really similar, I’ll go back and double check to make sure I haven’t already submitted to that particular post.

7. Pay attention to little things. I almost forgot to add this in but thanks to an anonymous reader's comment, I want to add in that each post you read should be relatively free of typos and grammatical errors.

I know not all people are great at English and sentence structure, but seriously, if you are a professional business person there should be no reason why you can't spell check or have someone else check it for you. Whenever I see a post with errors in it, I don't even bother. If a client doesn't appear to care enough to get the posting right, that could possibly reflect on their work ethic or approach to their job.

I should also mention that lately I’ve seen a number of models posting on Craigslist looking for photographers to work with in building their portfolios or searching for clients to give them work. Ummm…not a good idea. That’s a great way to invite a lot of shady individuals.

Use Craigslist to find work, not ask for it or seek out professionals. For that, you need to turn to online modeling communities like One Model Place or Model Mayhem. These are sites that show you the people you want to work with, as well as their portfolios. They also have casting sections to find work.

Craigslist makes it harder to know the person you are communicating with, while the sites mentioned above put a face with the name. If you aren’t willing to do some work to find pros in the industry on your own and just want people to come to you via Craigslist, then you’re probably in the wrong industry.


ki~ki said...

As usual, very helpful advice, especially since I've been looking on craig's list for gigs.

Anonymous said...

In addition to that, make sure the ads are written properly without any bad spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence usage. If there are typo errors, they can mean something is not right sometimes.

Dania Denise said...

Thanks...I KNEW I was forgetting something! I am a major spelling and grammar Nazi when it comes to Craigslist posts. I'll be sure to add that in. Thanks!

Ryanne Valdez said...

what about the ones that ask for 18+ and photo shoots are for non nude and nude photos ?

Miranduh Lopez said...

very helpful!!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Ryanne Valdez! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #819," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!