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, May 24, 2011

Tips for Starting a Modeling Career Without Going Bankrupt

I'm kind of on a roll tonight with the whole concept of not squandering money when jump starting a modeling career so this post is your go-to guideline for where any expenses may come in and affordable ways to handle it. The following information applies to both freelance and agency represented models, although I mainly mention dealing with agencies.

The Expense: Modeling Portfolio 

Why You Need It: When you get signed to an agency, they won't be able to get you any work until you have a portfolio of professional images they can showcase. There are a few different ways this situation can be handled. Either the agency will cover the cost of putting together the test shoot, which they'll later take out of your bookings through their agency commission or they'll allow you to find your own photographers. For more info on this, check out this post:

The Deal with Agencies & Test Shoots for Portfolio Building

How to Do It: If you get lucky enough to choose your own photographers to help put together your portfolio for your agent, you don't necessarily have to spend top dollar for this expense. Before shelling out any money, first look for professional photographers in your area that offer TF* shoots. TF* stands for "time for prints" or "time for CD". Basically, it translates to a free exchange of services between the model and photographer.

Use the Internet to find pro photographers in your city that offer this kind of shoot and contact them. Make sure to check out their portfolio of work before contacting them, however, so that you can guarantee you'll get the results you want. There are also online modeling communities like Model Mayhem and One Model Place (even Facebook) that make it easy to find local photographers that have experience with doing test shoots for modeling portfolios that are agency quality.

The Expense: Comp Cards

Why You Need It: Next to the portfolio, comp cards (also known as zed cards) are what agencies use to shop around their models to potential clients. This marketing piece contains different pictures of the model, as well as his/her stats, measurements and contact information for the agency.

How to Do It: Instead of spending extra moolah to pay the photographer to print your comp cards for you or for the agency to do it, opt to take care of this part of the process yourself. There are tons of great online printing companies available that produce quality comp cards for a fraction of the cost. Do not go to Kinko's or your local drugstore's photo department!

They do not have the capabilities or experience with printing these types of materials. Instead do a basic online search for comp card printing companies...you'll get more than enough results to browse through. Choose the one that has the samples you like and pricing you can afford. You can get anywhere from 50-100+ comp cards for well under $100. If the site has discounts and/or specials, this means even more savings.

The Expense: Wardrobe

Why You Need It: No model does anything without the right outfit. Casting calls and go sees often mean dressing up for the part. Test shoots for portfolio building or updating images means new clothes to add variety. Sometimes shoots require you to purchase new outfits that you may not already have in your closet. This can also include accessories, such as jewelry, sunglasses, shoes, etc.

How to Do It: Unless money isn't a factor and/or you have no problem continuing to add to your wardrobe, you can practice the age old secret within the modeling industry: keeping the tags on and returning the clothes the next day! Yes, this happens all the time. If you don't have the funds to spend on a ton of new clothes and/or accessories, do yourself a favor and keep the tags and receipts so that you can return the merchandise afterwards.

Just make sure to keep the items like new so that the store is more likely to honor the return and refund your money. Also avoid making this a habit at the same store--trust me, they'll catch on. Another alternative is to avoid high end department stores and instead shop at places like Walmart and Target. They've got plenty of knock off styles at much more affordable prices.

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