So you have entered the fashion word as a model. You have dreamed of becoming a professional model, practiced your poses and learned to walk with stature, grace and swag in your high heels.... now what?
You want to make sure you have the right set of skills needed for the industry so you enroll in a modelling course or academy, you pay your course fee's, build on those skills, practice them. You pay for photoshoots, enter competitions, buy the right gear for your new career, and invest in new makeup to complete your professional look. You have been busy promoting yourself on your social media platforms, hoping to be noticed by an industry professional, you want to be picked up by an agency or you may be thinking you can do this indi style and represent yourself.
You hope that one day soon the call will come and someone wants to book you for a modelling assignment! And guess what! That day has arrived!!!
What do you do now? You have invested time and money into building your skills and becoming a professional model... what does this mean and how are you going to benefit from the assignments you are asked to do?
Firstly your asset is your look - This is of value to you and if someone wants to use it you need to be compensated for this.
Secondly - You need to understand your position in the assignment, what you gain from it and how it is going to benefit you or your career.
Lets put this into perspective by using another industry as an example....
Let's say you are a singer. you have gone to numerous vocal lessons over many years, learned techniques and developed your sound and style, you have spent countless hours writing your own songs, saved to buy a guitar and sound gear. You have busked..in the rain... just to gain some exposure, you have entered competitions, and open mics all while hoping people like your sound and you get noticed! Finally you do! Someone asks you to play gig at a bar for an hour...easy.. because it's your first real gig you do it for free... they like you! They want you back! You now know you have reached a level as a professional where others want to see and hear you... so you now know you need to start charging for your skills and time...You decide on a rate and you tell the bar this. They are happy to pay as they understand you are a professional who has invested time and money into your skill. You continue representing yourself, getting paid bookings and eventually save to record an album, you get a song played on air! This is so exciting because your music is finally out there for the world to hear! The radio station benefits from it's listeners who want to hear you... just like the bar benefited from having you play, you are a valued commodity. You now get paid royalties for having your song played but you are still an independent artist. You don't have an agent working for you, you represent yourself and still earn a living off your skills and expertise.
So if a singer can go through the same process as a model to perfect their skills to become a professional, does it not make sense that a model should expect the same when it comes to the monetary benefits of having those skills.
Like I said earlier in the blog, your look has value and if someone want to use your look then you need to decide what this is worth!
You can gain worth from your involvement in an assignment in a number of different ways.
- Experience. You can keep growing your skills and your knowledge of the industry through volunteering your skills to a shoot or fashion show.
-TFP. Time for Print. You give your time and skills to a shoot and in return you receive copies of images selected by the photographer to use for self promotion ( This gets a little confusing as it does not give the model the legal rights to use the images in publications or commercial use). You will need to talk with your photographer if you are wanting to do this.
- Service or product payment. You may be offered payment of your skills in the form of products or services, eg. a hairdresser may book you as a model and in return you get a free hair colour. A designer may book you in a show and give you free clothing as payment.
- Commission/wage payment. You may be offered a monetary payment paid out as a single amount for the assignment or as an hourly rate. As a freelance model you can decide what your image is worth or simply go along with what they are offering or if you are with an agent they will negotiate your payment for you and take a % cut of that pay for their help and involvement in landing you the assignment.
It is up to you to decide what your image is worth. How much time and effort you put in to building your skills and creating a career should be represented by this.
If you are unsure what you should be doing or what you could be doing, then ask! That's what Turning Point Models is here for... to help you with your modelling career!
What does professional mean anyway?? Well in this case 2 things... To act a certain way with an experienced skill set... and... to engage in a specific activity as your main paid occupation rather than a pass time or hobby.
So choose... is this a hobby to you or are you training and up skilling for your future career?
Set yourself a goal - I want to be paid as a professional Model by 20_ _.
And lastly, if you are approached to do an assignment, check to see what you are getting back for giving up your time and using your image and skill set. Ask about waivers and photo releases. Ask about copyrights of images and your use of them.
If in doubt check back with me for advice.
I have attached model release forms for you to look over. One TFP example and a Turning Point Models release form.