Ten strategies for becoming a freelance model


Date: 1 December 2021

 A freelance model on a photoshoot

"Modelling has given me a voice. Hopefully, I can do good things with it." - Miranda Kerr

Becoming a freelance model can feel like a difficult dream to achieve and overwhelming if you have no experience. It can, however, be a rewarding career. 

A freelance model is paid to represent brands on-stage or screen. As a model, you can operate independently or collaborate with an agency to get projects.

But do you know what it takes to make a mark in the world of modelling? Read on to find out more. 

When you work as a freelance model, you have more control over the projects you work on and the type of modelling you do. Depending on the scale and budget of particular campaigns, freelance models might get opportunities to travel internationally. 

But the question remains - how do you become a freelance model?

Here are ten proven strategies to help you become a successful freelance model and carve a niche for yourself in the modelling industry. 

1. Get your contract sorted

Remember that for any modelling assignments you take on, it's in your best interest to opt for a freelance modelling contract. This is the basic agreement that lays down the payment terms, shooting conditions, and other criteria.

Since a contract binds you and your client legally, it's the best way to avoid being scammed. A contract helps ensure that you are paid in full, on time. It also helps avoid any ambiguity about who owns the rights to material or photographs from a shoot.

When your clients offer you a contract, make sure that you read it thoroughly. Only work with clients whom you trust.

If you want to know how to get a modelling contract as a beginner, there are basically two ways. You can either employ a lawyer or modify a pre-made freelance modelling contract template to suit your requirements. 

2. Promote yourself

It doesn't matter how talented you are, prospects will not notice you if you don't promote yourself enough.

Maintain an active social media presence (more on that later) and attend events related to your industry. Reaching out to clients or companies and pitching yourself can also be fruitful.

Another marketing method you might want to deploy is the distribution of flyers. Helloprint has great designs for flyers you can choose from.

Don't give up if you don't get a job straight away. Patience is crucial. Simply demonstrate what you are all about and your work will speak for itself. 

3. Practice makes perfect. Experience makes you smarter

To kickstart your career in freelance modelling, the first thing you must do is gather experience. Begin small! 

Practice posing and shooting shots of yourself with a good camera in front of a plain background.

Learn by practicing different poses to work out how to arrange your body to highlight your best features.

Practicing and participating in modelling activities improves your talent, skills, and experience. This will help you impress and land more clients. 

4. Comp cards are a must

Comp cards are a type of business card for models and contain a number of photographs. 

When you attend a casting, you'll be asked for a model comp card. If you don't have one, it's unlikely the casting team will remember you. They see a lot of models during casting sessions, so make sure you submit a professional comp card that helps your profile stand out. 

Don't try to do it yourself. Hire a photographer to create one for you. 

5. Professional portfolio: No brainer

Creating a professional portfolio to exhibit your work is the first hurdle on the way to becoming a model. A portfolio is a shop window on your talent and skills.

The decision on whether to hire you often depends on the quality of your portfolio. Make sure it features your best and most recent photographs.

If you work with a photographer who is also just starting out, you might be able to develop a promising portfolios for free or without too much expense.

You can also build a self-hosted portfolio by creating a website using WordPress. This requires more time and effort but gives you total control on your profile's presentability and feel.

Regardless of how you present your portfolio, make sure you include your contact details so that potential clients can reach you. 

6. Make use of social media

Today, social media has become unimaginably powerful for models. Models with a huge following generally have an easier time getting lucrative advertising deals.

Freelance modelling relies heavily on social media. Many Instagram influencers advertise themselves as freelance models and profit handsomely from sponsorship arrangements. Some social media influencers, (who may or may not be models in the traditional sense), often charge thousands of dollars for each social media campaign or post.

You might not start with thousands of followers, but you must start somewhere and climb the way up. Being consistent with the volume and quality of your posts is the key here. 

7. Interact with other industry experts

Establish a name for yourself in the industry! Contact make-up artists, photographers, ad agencies, designers, and stylists that you want to work with. Make sure you include your contact information, résumé, and portfolio so that they can easily find what you have to offer.

If you don't get many responses from cold calling, don't give up. To make sure industry insiders notice you, keep your social media accounts updated and work hard. Hopefully, you will make the right impression, they will remember you and hire you for future projects. 

8. Consider taking online modelling classes

If you are starting out from scratch, you might be wondering if there is any training that can help you become a freelance model? The answer is yes! There are some great courses, both online and traditional.

Getting some training will set you apart and accelerate your learning process, giving you a competitive advantage from the start. Online courses are substantially less expensive than receiving fully-fledged certification from a modelling school. 

9. Get freelance modelling projects

There are several websites where you can look for freelance modelling opportunities. Using these platforms, you can explore jobs in your location or all around the world. For more specialised job searches, try joining Facebook groups dedicated to creatives.

Contact promising group members. Connecting with aspiring photographers, stylists, and makeup artists can help build your professional network and help you get new projects.

Paid projects will only become a regular occurrence once your portfolio grows and the modelling community is familiar with your name.

10. Develop your skills

To work as a freelance model, you will need certain abilities. If you already have them, fantastic! However, if you don't possess these qualities, you can hone your skills over time.

The most crucial skill you need is confidence! You must be confident in front of a large group of people. 

As a model, you will be working with a variety of people and will be given direction and instruction. You need to be able to retain a can do, cheerful attitude, as well as the ability to work well with people and be receptive to feedback and criticism.

Modelling can often be a harsh and highly competitive field, thus stress management is essential. 

You should make sure you're always presentable - you never know when employment opportunities in the form of scouts will show up.

As photo shoots can run for hours, stamina and endurance are essential. You should also know how to take care of your body (including your face and skin). You must look fit and appear fresh at all times.

You will need to keep track of your appointments and booking calendar. Being late or skipping appointments is the worst thing you can do to your reputation!

Like any freelance profession, you will need to work hard to establish a good reputation as a model. Clients will appreciate your dependability and punctuality, which will lead to additional reservations.

Networking will help you expand your customer base and staying updated with industry developments will keep you one step ahead of the competition. 


The final question you might have is, can I earn a living as a freelance model? You certainly can earn handsomely as a freelance model, but things may take time to huild up.

To expand your portfolio and get more exposure and experience, you might want to charge less at the beginning of your career. With time, as you build credibility around your name, your earnings are more likely to increase.

Remember, your personality plays an instrumental role in getting back-to-back modelling assignments. Keep a smile on your face and exude your charm. 

Copyright 2021. Article made possible by SKALE.

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