Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Looking for modeling work? Here's some guidelines...

Summertime is especially hard for a lot of models. A lot of the schools are out, and the artists who might be hiring privately are enjoying some rare time out of the studio or shopping their canvases around trying to get a sale. I certainly understand that it's frustrating for a model, and I certainly respect anyone's attempt to drum up business in our current crazy economy.

I run a few classes, but not that many, and I have a limited number of availabilities for models, nevertheless, being out there, models frequently contact me looking for work. But one thing that really strikes me is how badly a lot of models present themselves. I'm currently in the "self-improvement" field and I coach people is all sorts of business and goal related skills, and before that I worked in advertising for many years, where I often freelanced and had to promote myself, and just as frequently was in charge of projects where I did the hiring. So I've been on both sides of that coin.

Here are a few pointers in presenting yourself--your best self.

First Impressions are HUGE
Remember that the first impression you make will color everything else people will find out about you, so make a solid, professional first impression.

Present Yourself Professionally
The first contact you have with a prospective employer should give them the impression that you know your business and that you have a clear grasp of what the job entails.

Be Honest
You don't have to lie about your experience if you don't have a lot. But don't sell yourself short, either.

Do some research and find out what is reasonable to charge your clients. The fees a model gets vary widely in different parts of the country. You don't want to cheat yourself out of some bucks, but you also don't want to price yourself out of work, either. Call the kind of places you want to work and ask questions, talk to other models, and find out what's reasonable. Remember, also, that rates for drawing classes differ widely from photography. Some people will want to haggle with you for a lower rate, others can't afford to pay more than a certain rate, so know what you're willing to work for, and whether you're flexible on that point. In any case, don't start looking for gigs without an idea of what you'll be getting, and don't be shy about asking.


Send an email asking "Hey--need a model?" and wait for a response before sending more. You won't get a response. I get a lot of emails like this, and I no longer even respond. It tells me whoever sent it isn't really putting much effort into their modeling, and no particular pride in it. They may not have ever modeled before. There are plenty of models who take their job seriously and want the people they contact to know it. 

And don't forget to check your spelling. I'm a terrible speller, but I've discovered no matter how smart I am (or think I am), if I spell words wrong, I don't get taken seriously. So I found a free plug-in for my browser that checks my spelling.

Don't agree to take a job until you find out what they're paying!! I try to be very fair and upfront, but I'm surprised how many models will agree to take a job before I've even told them the particulars.

Don't stalk a potential employer! If they have a class that's open to the public, it's probably OK to drop in and say hello, and maybe (ideally) drop off a printed copy of your description and picture (see below). You should definitely follow up with everyone you've contacted for work maybe every 2-3 weeks, but for heaven's sake don't call or email every week, call several times a day, or any of those things you wouldn't want your ex to do.

Send a brief business-like letter, just one or two paragraphs, that describes yourself, the kind of modeling work you're looking for, your experience (If you've modeled for well known schools, artists or been in well known projects, let people know! Don't be shy, show off!),  areas where you're willing to work (how far you're willing to travel, for example) and anything else you think might be pertinent. Be sure to include contact information.

And definitely include a picture or a link to a web portfolio, if you have one. Your work involves inspiring artists with your appearance, so share it! Don't necessarily send  nudie pic, in fact, even if you're looking for nude work, I think it's better not to until you know more about who you're contacting. Do send a nice headshot. It doesn't have to be professionally taken, just nice and clear. It will help people remember you, give them an idea of your look and body type, and give you a huge advantage. If you've been modeling a while, you might want to put up a web gallery of your favorite pix. It can be very persuasive.

If you're comfortable with the price you want to charge, you can consider putting it into your email, though some people think it's better to discuss your rate only when you talk to the person on the phone or in email exchange. Personally, I always like to save the talk of pay until I talk on the phone with a person when doing any kind of job discussion. You can get a better feel for the kind of a person you're dealing with and what kind of a job it is.

I hope this info is both helpful and lucrative. There are a few older posts on this topic and other model-related information. feel free to read it, share it and comment on it. I'd love to hear what you have to say.