Fashion models live in a very competitive field so it’s best to be prepared when starting out. This article covers facts about how to promote yourself as a freelance model.
Written by professional model photographer Bob Pardue, you’ll learn what to do (and what not to do) when it comes to making it on your own as a fashion model.
How to Promote Yourself as a Freelance Model
If you would rather promote yourself …
Some models would rather promote themselves instead of listing through an agency. Nothing wrong with this but it does require more work on your part.
If your are signed with an agency, they promote the business, they talk to the clients in your behalf, they set up the shooting dates, they take the heat if you don’t make it to the session, etc.
But, there are many models who are “loners” in the pool of modeling and want complete control over who they work with and why.
If you are one of these models, read on …
There are several ways to promote yourself. I will try to mention some ways for you to promote your modeling talent and a step by step format to follow.
First things first ..
In self promotion, the first step to take is putting together a professional portfolio.
Once you’ve followed the portfolio guidelines from above, it’s a good idea to have comp cards and business cards made.
A) Business Cards – Your business card should have as much information on it as possible. It’s not expensive to have extra words listed and this way you can include things other than the name and phone number.
For best results and at just a little extra cost, I would suggest putting your photo (preferably a headshot) on the card. People don’t tend to throw away photos as quickly as they do just cards. Below the photo (or on your card if you choose not to include the photo) you should list ..
Your name, contact phone number, email and don’t forget to put your web address on the card
You may want to also include in bulleted form your attributes (i.e. height and weight), special skills and the type of modeling you specialize in (your modeling strength area)
B) Composite Cards – You’ll definitely want to get composite cards (comp cards) made to hand out to possible clients / agents and to leave with clients or photographers you work with. A comp card is one of the least expensive pieces of printed promotional material but packs a big punch in saying, “I’m a professional model”.
Here is a basic layout of a comp card ..
Front – Photo covering the front of the card (I suggest a good, strong headshot here) along with your name in bold letters.
Back – From four to six photos showing different looks (indoor and outdoor) in a variety of outfits with at least one good body shot (swimwear or tight-fitting clothing).
The back of the card will list important information about you and your stats including …
Contact information (Who to contact, phone, email, web address, etc.)
Bust size / cup size
Hair length (short, shoulder length, long)
Type(s) of modeling jobs preferred (i.e. commercial, fashion shows, catalog, promotional, etc.)
No need to feel overwhelmed with the details of getting your comp card ready. There are many companies online such as CompCard.Com who have versions and templates online which will help you every step of the way.
Remember too that there are many different versions of comp cards so it’s all a matter of personal preference as to which style you choose.
C) Modeling Websites – When it comes to websites, I could probably write complete chapters on the subject but I will try as best I can to simplify this part.
Your website – Paid or Free?
Should you pay to have your own website created or go with one of the free web listing services online? Your choice in the type of web promotion you do depends upon your level of experience and the amount of budget you have to work with.
If you are, in actuallity, an eccentric millionaire and are just pursuing modeling out of boredom, by all means hire a professional web designer and start from scratch to build a website that other models will be in awe of! But, even if you go this route, there’s the promotional costs and time to think about; time that could be better used to improve your modeling abilities and make contacts with clients who need you for their photo projects.
I personally feel that it’s better to start but using a few of the online services (paid and free) to get your name out there. You can do a search and find many listing places but two sites that seem to have lots of buzz at the time of this writing are ..
One Model Place & Model Mayhem
Both of these sites offer a basic free package or a paid premium package. Either way, this is a less expensive way to get your feet wet and find out if you’ve got a look which is in demand.
A word of warning about putting your model photos online
Remember to stay safe when placing your photos online. Don’t provide too much personal information about yourself or location untill you’ve thoroughly checked out the person who is contacting you.
If you are under 18 years of age, put your parents’ email address in the contact section and have them deal with any incoming offers.
Never, Never meet a photographer or potential client alone. Take a parent or friend (preferably male) with you untill you are completely satisfied that you’re in a safe environment. I cannot stress this enough!!
There are other ways to promote yourself on or off the Internet such as contacting local upscale clothing or department stores for fashion shows or catalog work, jewelry stores if you offer hand modeling, hair salons, etc.
This is your starting point in becoming a real model. See if you can come up with more creative ways to promote yourself as a professional model.
Remember, you can have the most awsome beauty & talent in the world but if nobody knows where to find you … It’ll all be in vain! So, get off your backside and go to work!!