OK, So I Have My Modeling Portfolio, Now What?

This question comes up a lot, and instead of reinventing the wheel here – the best advice I have is to look over these articles that are posted over on ModelMentors.com

Types of Modeling – Modeling Industry Genres and Categories

How to become a Freelance Model

How to get Signed to a Modeling Agency

Models: Never Leave Home Without “Photoshoot Insurance!”

(Seems kinda weird to buy one of these “kits” – but putting something like this together yourself is not a bad idea at all!)

Additional thoughts and advice for a freelance model

The following YouTube videos I found to be helpful.  I especially like the second video.

Get on Model Mayhem

Head on over to http://modelmayhem.com and signup for a free model account.  There are different tiers that you can pay for, but the free account will work just fine.  You have your portfolio photos and you’re wondering what to do with them, right? Well this is one place to use them right away! Upload a few of your favorites, and pick a really good one to use as your profile photo!

Get Comp Cards printed

This is another place to use some of those portfolio photos.  Pick out a really great close up headshot out of your profile photos, and use it as the “cover”, then pick out 4 or 5 equally great photos out of your profile photos for the backside. Make sure the photos are diverse – preferably each from a different session with different wardrobes.  Make sure all of the photos represent how you currently look!  If the photos show you with long blond hair, but now you wear it short and dyed a different color – guess what? You need new photos for your comp card and portfolio!

Once you have the photos picked out, head over to http://www.modelmayhem.com/shop/print and order a few comp cards.  As a ModelMayhem member, you get a discount on the price! You also get better price points the more you order – but… If you’re in the habit of changing your look often it doesn’t make sense to have a pile of comp cards on hand that suddenly become obsolete because you no longer look the same.

Set Boundaries

Before you ever go to your first session, set your boundaries – things you will do, and things you will not do, and stick to your boundaries unless you decide to change them yourself.  Are you willing to do nude? Implied nude? Lingerie? None of those? Set these boundaries yourself, and only allow yourself to change them. Don’t be pressured into doing something outside of your boundaries.  It’s perfectly fine to change your boundaries – just make sure you are the one that is changing them.

Be professional

Communicate clearly before, during and after the session. Show up when you agreed to show up.  Be prepared for the session, take responsibility for your appearance – you are the product, make sure you look your absolute best. Following up after the session is a plus, show interest. This is a great way to get called back for a new project by the way! Especially early in your career when you might not be booked 3 weeks in advance.

Set your rates

At first, you’ll probably do a lot of free sessions (TF*) and this is fine. When you’re first starting out, you need to get some experience and photos in your portfolio, and TF* sessions is a great way to do that. But eventually you’ll want to limit these to only sessions that you think will help improve your current portfolio and land you more work.  I’m not saying you should give up TF* work altogether – just think about what you’ll get out of it before you agree to it.

Once you’re ready to start making money, start out modestly at first, maybe $20 to $40 per hour – then maybe offer a discount for sessions that run longer than 3 or 4 hours? Or instead of an hourly rate, (or in addition to an hourly rate), maybe have a day rate and a half day rate? If nudes are part of your genre, then have a separate and higher rate than non-nude sessions.  Once things pick up and you’re booked days in advance, raise your rates! The above are all just suggestions, and not set in stone. At first, you’ll probably negotiate your rates mostly.

One more thing. Once you start making money, don’t forget about income taxes!!  I highly recommend talking to a tax adviser and accountant to get the best advice there.

Create a website

Setup a website as a online portfolio. This is not a replacement to a ModelMayhem account, but in addition to ModelMayhem! Try to use your name as the website address if you can. I.E. if your name is Tammy Smith – try to use a website name www.tammysmith.com Often times however this is not possible, so pick a website name that represents you as best as you can.  One tip about this, keep it as short as possible. www.tsmith.com is much easier to remember and type out than www.tammynicholmeriwethersmith.com plus it fits easier on your comp cards!  😉

Final thoughts

I realize this is a jumble of information. I may try to organize it better later…