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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Thursday, March 8, 2012

When to Start Charging for Your Modeling Services

(This post is mainly for freelance models dealing with clients asking you what your rate is, not for gigs where the budget/pay has already been set.)

Although the modeling industry is a business and operates like one, it isn't quite the same as a traditional 9-5 job. Working as a freelance model means being self employed and what might come as a surprise to many is the fact that when it comes to charging for services, there aren't any hard and fast rules or some ultimate guidebook that has all the answers.

A common question I get from many freelance models deals with the subject of not just charging for modeling services but figuring out when in their careers it is appropriate to begin doing so. As I just stated above, there are no hard and fast rules regarding this topic. However, there is some basic criteria that I believe would qualify a male or female model to begin charging clients wanting to hire them for assignments/gigs.

A Strong Portfolio: This is a freelance model's main way to "prove" their skills in the industry. If you've got a good collection of images from shoots you've done that are impressive and showcase you in the best light, it's enough to justify getting paid. Based on reviewing your portfolio, clients will see that you photograph well, are capable of getting those "money shots" and clearly know what you're doing in front of the camera.

Tearsheets: In addition to having great images in your portfolio, if you've gotten lucky enough to obtain tearsheets from work you've been published in, you're definitely within your right to charge if someone wants to hire you. Being published is the most surefire way to prove to anyone that you're worth being paid. However, don't be discouraged if you don't have any tearsheets to show yet...it doesn't mean you're any less talented or worthy of hiring. It's just additional leverage.

Your Attitude/Reputation: It's typically easy for clients to know when they're dealing with someone that is professional because they'll carry themselves as such (please note: acting like a diva doesn't count!). Whether you've been modeling for a few months or a few years, the way you interact/correspond with potential clients is oftentimes enough for them to decide if they'll hire you and pay your rate. For those that have a good reputation, it's much easier to charge for your services because all clients have to do is contact anyone you've worked with, do an online search about you, etc. in order to see that you not only can talk the talk but walk the walk. A solid and documented reputation--especially online--shows clients that if they pay, you'll deliver and are widely known for doing so.

Your Comfort Level with Your Skills: Confidence in yourself goes a very long way in being successful in modeling. Are you still unsure of your skills, feel a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera or think you still need a bit more practice with doing shoots? Then chances are you probably shouldn't start charging for your services just yet. Any doubt or major hesitation on your part likely won't translate well into your shoots and other modeling assignments. Remember, when clients pay their models, they expect 100% quality for the final results. Don't put that unnecessary pressure on yourself if you're not ready. That's a personal judgment call on your part that only you can make.

Unlike traditional career options, there is no required number of years that a person has to spend modeling before they can begin charging. If a male model or female model has what it takes and develops a natural talent for it, they can start establishing a pay rate with less than one year of experience. Others may need more time to establish their skills and portfolio before feeling comfortable enough to charge, and might decide to wait until they've got a year of modeling or more under their belt. It's a case-by-case basis. All models with the talent and know-how to get the job done are worth being paid for their services and expertise. That's the bottom line. As for when you should mark this period in your career with a paycheck, that's entirely up to you, which is a good thing. :-)


Anonymous said...

Hi dania, do you know what website agencies go to for finding castings for their models and actors. Also I have another question. I want to make time for my acting and modeling but I'm under pressure to move out of the place I'm living within 6months to a year. How do I balance following my dreams with moving out it also doesn't help that I'm a new actress and model (so far I've done two test shoots and I've submitted to agencies over 6wks ago without a positive response well actually two agencies said they like me but are too full for my category so that still leaves me struggling for representation and money). I thought about taking acting classes at a community college but most of the classes are offered during the day. I don't have a day job yet but when I find one I'm pretty sure it'll be during the day, I'm still looking for a job but I have to remember that I have to move out soon. I've thought about doing the typical 9-5 just to earn income and if I can find acting workshops in the evening preferably on weekends. Or maybe my day job can be in the evenings but when I'm not submitting myself to castings during the day I still want to make money since I'm under pressure to move out. I don't know what to do I need to find away to do both. please help :)

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #332." Thanks for reading!