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Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


I compiled a list of basic suggestions for models looking to eventually make money from modeling. Some people might find these suggestions offensive, or harsh. It is from my own personal experience, not the law, not the Every(wo)man's-Modeling-Holy-Book by any means. Some of these topics have been discussed to death, and beaten into the ground, but models still ask about them, so I provided input regardless.


Before you even consider starting to model full-time, you should be comfortable with the idea of accepting paid work from people whose images you feel are really pretty horrible, or at least mediocre. Understand that many of the people you shoot with will post unflattering images of you all over the internet, and you will have no right to complain since you were fairly compensated, in cash, after the shoot.

When you first reach a point where you realize you *can* make money from modeling, you will NOT just arbitrarily "set" a rate. When that time comes, you will start being offered certain amounts of money per shoot. Often, the amount you will be offered will seem surprisingly low. It isn't. As you model longer, build a diverse portfolio, and have a list of strong references, you are likely to be offered increased amounts of money. Eventually, you will have more control over the rate at which you work. In the beginning, the people hiring you will control your rate. You gain more control over your rate in accordance with experience level, and reputation.

You cannot assume that every person who contacts you is creepy, or harmful. Understand that you will be shooting with a lot of people whom you probably wouldn't care to socialize with in your daily life. Some folks are unpleasant, stinky, have no social skill, etc. You will be shooting with some of these people, yes. However, if they are not disrespectful to you verbally, and if they do not engage in overt transgressions, you are going to be okay. Most people are good people. Most photographers and artists do treat their models very well, and with respect. Have some trust in the goodness of humankind. You will be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

You should be comfortable setting personal limits, but also be flexible with those limits when you realize you have started outgrowing them --- and yes, many of the things you start off saying "never" to become okay to you, or even fun, after you have been shooting for awhile. Your personal values are likely to change, because modeling full-time will force you to grow in areas of challenge that many people never even encounter, let alone go out and face bravely.

Do not let other people determine when you have outgrown certain limits and boundaries. You will know. You. You. You. You.Will.Know.

Certain things, that modeling full-time kind of forces upon you, will increase your self-esteem, your street smarts, and your personal savvy. An example is travel. I never traveled alone until I started modeling. Now, I do it a lot, and I do it fearlessly. Modeling just changes you. It really, really does. It changes who you are, how you interact with the world around you, how others perceive you. You are either able to go with that natural ebb and flow - grow with it, rather - or not.

People will often try to convince you that you are not worth the rate/trade/compensation you feel your work is worth. Either agree, or move on. You might find out that you're not so great after all, or you might discover that you are -in fact- talented, and great at what you do. Anticipate that your perception of yourself, and your perception of your work's value, will shift as you grow personally from your new experiences.

Be willing to spend a lot of time on the road. In 2009, I was putting an average of 500 miles per week on my car, and I did additional long-distance trips (requiring airplanes). There are ways to travel cheap(er), such as trading shooting hours for airfare, but it can be difficult to wrangle up these jobs. Getting started traveling to shoot tends to happen naturally over time. It is not worth hurrying; when it's time for you to work elsewhere, it will happen.

Time and time again, models you think are uglier, dumber, or less experienced will be selected for jobs, while you will be rejected. You will learn that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and you are the perfect model - for a DIFFERENT photographer.

You will lose old friends who refuse to support you, but you will gain new friends within the industry, who understand where you are coming from, and care about your goals and development as a creative person.

You will become jaded about some things, because -as with any job- the stress wears on you over time. You will become more open to many, many lovely things that you would have never experienced working in an office, or in doing retail work.

You will likely evolve in a "hustler" of sorts. You learn to negotiate, bargain, weigh options, etc.

You will become very good at managing your ever-changing schedule.

You will need to decide, relatively early in the game, whether you want to keep your modeling life private, or whether you want to "come out" to your family and friends. If you are over 18, and living independently, whatever you choose to do with your body and likeness is your personal business, and yours alone. Just like your personal finances stop being your parents' business once you are working and out of their house, so does the ways in which you choose to use your body. If you choose to share the information, wonderful. If you don't, it's your heart/mind/body, and only you own it.

You will be well-advised to use a stage name - religiously - for any nude, erotic or fetish work. No one should have to tell you that this shit can come back to bite you in the ass when you are 45, and running for mayoral office. Even if you use a stage name, it can still come back to bite. Just keep that in mind.
Jul 11 10 05:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Sadie Seuss
Posts: 7,532
Saint Augustine, Florida, US


Awesome awesome awesome advice Shiva big_smile
Jul 11 10 05:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
KariMarie
Posts: 1,796
Denver, Colorado, US


I hope that this thread stays very high in the model forum, for a very, very long time.
Jul 11 10 05:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
The Original Sin
Posts: 13,894
Louisville, Kentucky, US


Sadie Seuss wrote:
Awesome awesome awesome advice Shiva big_smile

This plus a million.

If anywhere I have posted information or experience you feel like should go here, by all means feel free to add it.  I don't know that I could have possibly said anything you didn't cover beautifully, but if I did, grab it.

Jul 11 10 05:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Charger Photography
Posts: 1,711
San Antonio, Texas, US


Great advice..... Hopefully New models read it. Well done smile
Jul 11 10 05:55 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


The Original Sin wrote:

This plus a million.

If anywhere I have posted information or experience you feel like should go here, by all means feel free to add it.  I don't know that I could have possibly said anything you didn't cover beautifully, but if I did, grab it.

Add anything you feel like adding. I was hoping people would contribute additional points. Thanks.

Jul 11 10 06:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Poses
Posts: 8,139
Kansas City, Missouri, US


This is an excellent post.  Well done.

Edit: since you asked for other contributions:

Be prepared for the possibility that every one who has, is, or ever will be in your life will see every picture you pose for.  In fact, assume that they will.  You need to be okay with that risk.
Jul 11 10 06:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Ashley Graham
Posts: 26,797
Los Angeles, California, US


Great post.

Also, when you start travelling be sure you know how you can get home if all your paid works fails
Jul 11 10 06:05 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Ashley Graham wrote:
Great post.

Also, when you start travelling be sure you know how you can get home if all your paid works fails

X 1000

Also, when you are traveling, some trips you will barely break even on expenses. Some trips you will come home with a serious wealth. Some trips = fail. Unfortunately, that's the risk you take when traveling "happens." When it's that time, just have a back-up plan ... a really well-thought-out back-up plan.

Jul 11 10 06:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Kelly Reye
Posts: 50
New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada


ShivaKitty wrote:
You will be well-advised to use a stage name - religiously - for any nude, erotic or fetish work. No one should have to tell you that this shit can come back to bite you in the ass when you are 45, and running for mayoral office. Even if you use a stage name, it can still come back to bite. Just keep that in mind.

How does this work? I mean if your doing 18+ work, you need to show ID, thus your real name.

Jul 11 10 06:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Skylar Petit
Posts: 609
DELAND, Florida, US


Written in superb form.  Awesome advice, thanks for posting. smile
Jul 11 10 06:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
May Sinclair
Posts: 1,147
Los Angeles, California, US


I don't think this is limited to full time modeling but:

Be prepared to be subject to much external and self-criticism and to see pictures of yourself that are incredibly unflattering.
Jul 11 10 06:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Miss SM
Posts: 1,725
South Portland, Maine, US


Shelly Knott wrote:

How does this work? I mean if your doing 18+ work, you need to show ID, thus your real name.

Yes, you need to show your ID but that can and SHOULD be confidential and only for the photographer's records. A stage name is what you are credited with when photos are published publicly.

Jul 11 10 06:14 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Shelly Knott wrote:
How does this work? I mean if your doing 18+ work, you need to show ID, thus your real name.

The people you are shooting with will, obviously, know your real name. Most releases have a slot for "real name" and "stage name." Those records (even 2257 for bondage and explicit work) are largely kept private, but can be accessed by the police/government if there is any question about the model's age at the time the photos were taken.

Do not use your real name on accounts on MM, FetLife, CraigsList, OMP, or however you network. If you have a website, use only your alias.

It's not really that hard. I've been modeling since 2005, much of it nude or otherwise "questionable" content, but if you type my birth name into Google, all you get is my college graduation announcement, and some press releases from an old job I had.

Just keep your real name off of EVERYTHING, except legal documents. People you shoot with should keep those records confidential.

Jul 11 10 06:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
MoRina
Posts: 5,709
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US


Great advice.  I would add:

Remember that your online persona is your brand.  Protect it, control it, nurture it. Realize that every time you post publicly here, someone may decide to hire you or not hire you. 

Remember that every time you burn a bridge rather than communicate and act professionally, you lose out on all the referrals and goodwill that may have come your way too.

Understand that you will gain fans who may seek you out in real life. Be careful what you release for public knowledge.
Jul 11 10 06:21 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


MO Rina wrote:
Understand that you will gain fans who may seek you out in real life. Be careful what you release for public knowledge.

Yes!

This is so so so so so so true.

I have been recognized in bars, at the gas station, and in a hotel elevator in Boston. You think your life is anonymous, and your inside/private life is, but your face becomes a weird sort of public property, the longer you shoot, and the more you put yourself out there.

A few months ago, I was sitting at a random bar, drinking a beer when some girl (who I have never met, or seen before in my life) yelled across the bar, "Hey! My boyfriend and I loved your straitjacket fetish videos!!!!" She wanted to talk about it ... to seriously talk to me about fetish videos. It was incredibly surreal. It happens. When your every freckle and zit has been photographed and posted on the internet, being sought out by people who like your work just sort of happens eventually.

You like to think that sort of thing only happens to rich, famous people, but it doesn't. In an internet-based medium, where everyone has access to pretty much everything, you get seen a lot more, by a lot more people, than you can even imagine.

Jul 11 10 06:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
The Original Sin
Posts: 13,894
Louisville, Kentucky, US


ShivaKitty wrote:

Add anything you feel like adding. I was hoping people would contribute additional points. Thanks.

One thing I would recommend is don't JUST network with photographers.  I may be a rarity, but I am always happy to help fellow models find work as they travel.  I trade contacts and recommendations for both models and photographers on a regular basis.

I'm currently on the phone with a guy who is begging me for help finding models in his market.  Unfortunately I have moved, so I'm trying to rack my brain for girls I know in his area, lol.

Jul 11 10 06:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Kelleth
Posts: 2,516
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


This is the best thread I have ever read on MM.

Well done!!!
Jul 11 10 06:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
LatashaCrosbie
Posts: 91
Rockingham, Western Australia, Australia


The quote "you are the perfect model... for a different photographer" will stick to me as long as i model smile

Thank you so much for the help! Great tips tongue
Jul 11 10 06:51 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


LatashaCrosbie wrote:
The quote "you are the perfect model... for a different photographer" will stick to me as long as i model smile

Thank you so much for the help! Great tips tongue

Glad you found it helpful.

Jul 11 10 06:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
All Yours Photography
Posts: 2,304
Toledo, Ohio, US


ShivaKitty wrote:
The people you are shooting with will, obviously, know your real name. Most releases have a slot for "real name" and "stage name." Those records (even 2257 for bondage and explicit work) are largely kept private, but can be accessed by the police/government if there is any question about the model's age at the time the photos were taken.

Do not use your real name on accounts on MM, FetLife, CraigsList, OMP, or however you network. If you have a website, use only your alias.

It's not really that hard. I've been modeling since 2005, much of it nude or otherwise "questionable" content, but if you type my birth name into Google, all you get is my college graduation announcement, and some press releases from an old job I had.

Just keep your real name off of EVERYTHING, except legal documents. People you shoot with should keep those records confidential.

If it isn't in the model release that all credits be given in your stage name, ask for it (in advance of the shoot).  Many photographers that won't change anything else will agree to this.  If they don't, do your REALLY need their photos?

Jul 11 10 07:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
LC Mtl
Posts: 3,599
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Very helpful and great thread!

I hope it gets linked more than once in the future if it gets lost in MM madness

LC
Jul 11 10 07:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Lauren Klemm
Posts: 482
Saint Petersburg, Florida, US


It is a lot of work, it's a full time job- and like any job requires an investment,
(personal up keep, extra money for upkeep of your car, wardrobe and ext.)
which will vary depending on what you shoot.

As none of these things are free and a part time job with flexible scheduling,
temp work, or a good amount of money saved up should be there to back you financially.

Be nice to everyone on the set. Trade or paid. The photographer, models, make-up artist or whomever will likely work with you again or work with people who might hire you. Make sure they have nice things to say, as word travels fast- and farther than you might think.

When you travel long distances leave time to make sure that you have every thing you know you need and things you might need. You will hate yourself for only bringing one shoe from a pair- or leaving that outfit/make-up/accessory/thing at home that you were on the fence about. You can always leave extra bags in the car- and most photographers who are used to traveling models are used to seeing 18 billion bags.
Also make sure you have a general map of the area, and directions if your not familiar with where you going.

It's good to let someone know where your going. You never know what might happen- I don't mean terrible things just unexpected like your tire blows out and you need to borrow money(from experience) or you get lost or hell need a recommendation for a good but cheap restaurant.

Work will be fairly unpredictable, there will be good months and bad months- so save some of your money. You will have a lot of people express an interest and disappear. You will also have people who hire you immediately.

Try to always be accessible to people wanting to hire you. Call/email people back immediately as some jobs don't wait.

L.

Edit.
Check references.

Talk to models into area's your traveling into.

Keep a few trades or smaller jobs on standby for an area your traveling to in case a cancellation/reschedule happens.
Jul 11 10 07:20 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Lauren Klemm wrote:
Work will be fairly unpredictable, there will be good months and bad months- so save some of your money. You will have a lot of people express an interest and disappear. You will also have people who hire you immediately.

This paragraph is really, really excellent info.

Jul 11 10 07:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Katie Mundinger
Posts: 121
Grand Rapids, Michigan, US


Awesome post, thank you so much for these tips :]
Jul 11 10 07:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
MadameKitty
Posts: 13,581
Palmer - permanent station of the US, Sector claimed by Argentina/Chile/UK, Antarctica


Poses wrote:
This is an excellent post.  Well done.

Edit: since you asked for other contributions:

Be prepared for the possibility that every one who has, is, or ever will be in your life will see every picture you pose for.  In fact, assume that they will.  You need to be okay with that risk.

Good addition.

My mom has seen my lady bits and that's quite alright.

Jul 11 10 07:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewPhotograph
Posts: 249
Vacaville, California, US


wow..this is an absolutely great post.  well done!
Jul 11 10 07:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Lauren Klemm
Posts: 482
Saint Petersburg, Florida, US


More thoughts.

Eventually you may need to consider moving as well as traveling.
Bigger cities generally have bigger markets.
Which means more and more types of modeling work are available.

No your not getting any younger. Yes depending on what type of modeling your doing this is a factor. In some types of modeling work you have no age limit in other expect to become irrelevant long before you get your first wrinkle.

There is a wealth of information available online- use this.
Many of the well known traveling model have blogs and are happy to offer advice.
You can also find out useful things about (free) or cheap places to stay, jobs the models might know are available (or who might be hiring) and recommendations.
Coupons are a wonderful thing bring them with you. So are discount hotel websites.
The more you spend while traveling the less you make.
Yes your first couple trips you might only break even(or slightly in the red).

File you taxes/report your income. Ask advice from a professional for this please.

L.
Jul 11 10 07:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
theda
Posts: 21,712
New York, New York, US


I didn't lose any old friends over modeling, but I did find I had to miss a lot of social events because of shoots, many of which fell through anyway.

I also spent almost no time at all on the road. I decided I'd rather make less than knock myself out roaming the world looking for work.  This only worked because I live in NYC. 

Pretty much everything that I would had added has already been said, but I'll reiterate a few points.

Expect cancellations and lots of non-committal behavior. It may or may not have anything to do with you, and you won't often know which is the case.

Expect to spend at least two to three hours on unbillable work (seeking out and answering castings, go-sees, negotiating, bookkeeping, website/profile management, etc) for every hour you bill.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Unless you're a fashion model with an exclusive contract, you'll need to scour multiple sources for jobs. And you'll need to be on the look out for the next job pretty much all the time.
Jul 11 10 08:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Moore Photo Graphix
Posts: 5,288
Washington, District of Columbia, US


Love Your Post! I like to add few!

Know how to manage your time

Do your homework when working with people you have expressed interest in working with you.

Careful what you put on your modeling profile to avoid confusion or turning off the wrong people.
Jul 11 10 08:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
corey higgins
Posts: 408
Dallas, Texas, US


thank you loved reading this smile
Jul 11 10 08:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
corey higgins
Posts: 408
Dallas, Texas, US


thank you loved reading this smile
Jul 11 10 08:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Mizz Amanda Marie
Posts: 1,570
Chicago, Illinois, US


ShivaKitty wrote:
You should be comfortable setting personal limits, but also be flexible with those limits when you realize you have started outgrowing them --- and yes, many of the things you start off saying "never" to become okay to you, or even fun, after you have been shooting for awhile. Your personal values are likely to change, because modeling full-time will force you to grow in areas of challenge that many people never even encounter, let alone go out and face bravely.

Do not let other people determine when you have outgrown certain limits and boundaries. You will know. You. You. You. You.Will.Know.

THIS! OMG THIS! This is so personally relevant to me. I'm so glad you mentioned this. There are so many things I thought I wouldn't ever do when I first started that I'm totally cool with and even enjoy now and some people close to me just don't get that I'm progressing. They see it as a slippery slope leading me somewhere they can't see... wondering how far I'll go before this is all said and done. I don't feel that way about it at all. I feel extremely comfortable in my own skin and I'm in control of what I want to do. But I'm loving having very few limitations.

Jul 11 10 08:57 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Koryn
Posts: 36,361
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Mizz Amanda Marie wrote:
But I'm loving having very few limitations.

That is the biggest change I have personally made. I went from being a "fine arts only" kind of girl, to doing a huge variety of work, much of which would have scared the hell out of me a few years ago.

I'm just grateful to have had the opportunity to grow and explore those aspects of myself.

Jul 11 10 09:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
MissSybarite
Posts: 11,863
Los Angeles, California, US


Awesome post smile
Jul 11 10 09:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,545
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


ShivaKitty wrote:
You will be well-advised to use a stage name - religiously - for any nude, erotic or fetish work. No one should have to tell you that this shit can come back to bite you in the ass when you are 45, and running for mayoral office. Even if you use a stage name, it can still come back to bite. Just keep that in mind.

Anything you do in life can come back to bite. Remember that 20 years later you will not be the person you are now (hopefully you will have grown and changed). Some youthful indiscretions are forgven, others not.

Jul 11 10 09:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Mayanlee
Posts: 3,549
New City, New York, US


ShivaKitty wrote:
You will be well-advised to use a stage name - religiously - for any nude, erotic or fetish work. No one should have to tell you that this shit can come back to bite you in the ass when you are 45, and running for mayoral office. Even if you use a stage name, it can still come back to bite. Just keep that in mind.

Read: what's ok with you now may not be down the road. Moniker or not, just like that "secret affair" -- you WILL be discovered; it's just a matter of time. Family and friends may be ok with it (or not); future employers will be less than amused. Meditate long and hard if this is a risk you're willing to take and only keep to the kind of work you can live with for a long time.

Good work, folks.

Jul 11 10 09:42 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,545
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Miss_May_ wrote:
I don't think this is limited to full time modeling but:

Be prepared to be subject to much external and self-criticism and to see pictures of yourself that are incredibly unflattering.

And pictures that are so beautiful that you ask yourself "is that really me?"

Jul 11 10 09:42 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Lisa Andresen
Posts: 8,664
Abingdon, Illinois, US


Awesome post.... I loved the ending about making sure nudity of any kind is something you really want out there. Many girls think that it's not a big deal but later find out that it does come back around later in life. It takes a lot of thinking and deciding before getting into nude work. You have to be ok with it being out there for everyone to see (grandparents, parents, employers, kids etc.).Once nudity is done in today's society with the internet everything moves fast so girls have to keep in mind once it is done it's done there is no taking it back. Nudity is a great way to make money as a model and is a great art form but a girl needs to really think about what she is putting out there and make a well informed choice before risking regrets.

Just my extended advice =]
Jul 11 10 09:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
MissSybarite
Posts: 11,863
Los Angeles, California, US


A Traveling Models (group model) Blog = good stuff:
http://travelingmodels.blogspot.com/?zx … 772214db78
Jul 12 10 12:28 am  Link  Quote 
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