What is Freelance Modeling?
Funny thing, I’ve mentioned the concept of freelance modeling all throughout my blog but realized that I never really did a post addressing just what this type of modeling is. So here goes:
Like I tell the many model hopefuls that contact me for help with starting their careers, freelance modeling basically requires a person to act as his/her own modeling agent. Instead of having an agent represent you, you represent yourself. While the goal is the same–to book paying work and increase exposure–the approach is different.
Submitting to agencies means attending casting calls or email/snail mailing digital snapshots. If a person is new to modeling, they don’t necessarily need professional images or a portfolio in order to get signed because the agency will help them put these materials together after offering a contract. However, it is the exact opposite for freelance models.
If you want to pursue freelancing, then you will first and foremost have to get professional pictures and put together your own portfolio. This involves networking with photographers and setting up test shoots to create the images for your headshot, comp card, and portfolio. Be sure to only shoot images that not only match the type of modeling work you are interested in doing but that you meet the physical requirements for as well. For example, if you’re 5’5″ or 5’6″ your portfolio shouldn’t have a bunch of high fashion images because serious clients more than likely won’t cast you due to your height. Instead, you should have commercial/print and lifestyle images. I’m sure you get the idea. Does this mean that shorter models can’t have fashion images in their portfolios at all…or that fashion height models can’t include commercial pictures in their portfolios? Of course not. You can have a few images that reflect other styles of modeling that you want to do but if your goal is to book paying work, then you’ll have to market yourself towards the categories of modeling that clients will actually be able to hire you for. There are exceptions to the rule sometimes, where clients will be more flexible with the height factor since they know they are not dealing with agency represented models and in those cases, of course, you should submit pictures you’ve done that show you can pull off that particular look.
Your main goal is to get a good, professional headshot and full body shot, in addition to other images that show your strengths in modeling.
After the photos have been taken, you’ll want to make sure that you have a hi-resolution copy of your headshot and full body shot, which you may be asked to print out and bring to castings for modeling assignments. If you want to have a comp card made, there are tons of online printing companies that specialize in comp cards. Simply upload the pictures you want and they’ll create the layout for you and then mail you the comp cards, which you can then use for networking. Serious freelance models will also want to use an online printing company to have hard copies of their strongest images to put together their physical modeling portfolio–don’t forget to purchase a plain, black portfolio case to hold your photos as well.
Because we are in the digital age, freelance models will also want to have digital copies of their pictures to email when submitting for gigs. The majority of freelance models use the Internet to find work for themselves. There are a variety of different websites that can be used for this purpose, such as Model Mayhem, One Model Place, SF Casting, LA Casting, NY Casting, and even Craig’s List. Unfortunately, the quality of CL modeling posts has dropped drastically in recent years but if you’re experienced with surfing through the postings and exercising extreme caution when submitting your info, there are some legit gigs to be found on there.
Freelance modeling is a more challenging approach to getting into the industry but with time, practice, networking and vigorous dedication, it is possible to find great opportunities on your own without the assistance of a modeling agency.
By Dania Denise