10 Tips for Making More Money as a Freelance Model

Many aspiring models are always wondering how to make more money, especially when they are going the freelance route. Given that there are more models available to shoot then there are paid shoots, being able to showcase your own value as a model is very important if you want to be selected for the shoot.

There are hundreds of thousands of exceptionally beautiful girls who are competing for those paid modeling jobs. Therefore, succeeding as a freelance model takes much more than just being pretty. Realistically, very few girls ever get to the point where they make a full time living just modeling.

Here are 10 tips on how you can increase your own value as a model and make more money.

Model: Aviva; Photographer: Philip’e

1. Improve your reputation

Reputation is very important. If those who are hiring know that they can rely on you to show up prepared and on time, then you will have more chance than if you are someone who flakes out on shoots. Reputation takes a lot of time to build, but once you build it, it’s very important to maintain. People must be able to count on you. When it comes to paid gigs, people are investing in you and you have to show them that you’re worth the investment.

2. Learn a new skill, such as how to do your own hair and makeup

If you know how to do your own make-up/hair, then those who are hiring will see that by using you at the shoot, they will save money on additional team members. More often than not, projects are budgeted. Therefore, the better the deal you offer in terms of your skill set, the more likely you will get chosen.

3. Know your target market

Look at the companies, publications and photographers who shoot the types of models that are similar to where you fit in and pursue them. If you are a fitness model, start by going after smaller fitness clothing companies and photographers who shoot your style. If you’re a glamour model and fit the criteria, then work with people who shoot glamour. When you know your target market, you will be able to effectively build a portfolio that best represents the type of work that you are well-suited for.

4. Decrease your demands

When people are hiring you, they don’t want to hear all of your demands. Therefore, it’s best to keep these type of requests to yourself: “I have to bring my boyfriend/husband/fiancé to the shoot” or “I must have the copyrights to all the pictures taken” and “I want all the RAW files at the end of the shoot.” There are many more models who don’t have these demands that will get hired for the jobs that you want.

5. Build a good online presence

If you have a lot of real fans/followers, then photographers and companies will be able to see that working with you can help them build their own online presence. If a model with a huge following and another model with no fans are competing for the same job and they both fit all the other criteria, then the one with more followers usually wins.

6. Improve your communication

Many models will miss out on paid work as a result of not reading and replying to emails from people who would like to work with them. How do you expect to be hired for a shoot when you don’t even reply to people who are interested in working with you? Yes, sometimes you will get offers that you don’t want to take part in, but once in a while you might miss a great opportunity if you don’t respond. Let people know if you are available. Even if you are not, but are still interested in working with a person, it’s best to let that person know, in case if future gigs come up.

7. Have a great selection of wardrobe

Given the limited budgets of some projects, you will not always have the privilege of a wardrobe stylist at the shoot. Therefore, having your own high quality wardrobe, which doesn’t have to be expensive, will put you ahead of models who require a wardrobe stylist.

8. Take care of your skin and keep your body in shape

Most photographers are busy and they don’t have all day to remove your acne in Photoshop. In addition, many photographers, who would be paying you to shoot, would prefer not to have to do too much retouching, especially if they are newer. The truth is, the easier you make another person’s job, the higher the likelihood that you will get hired.

Being fit and healthy opens up more opportunities for shoots. Whether it’s lingerie shoots that you’re after, or bikini, or fitness, there are many more paid gigs available for models who are in shape.

9. Represent yourself with honesty

This ties back to reputation, although there is much more to it than that. It’s best to display, or have available, un-retouched snapshots which show what you look like without make-up, styling and Photoshop. It’s also best to honestly display your height and measurements because sometimes people are looking to hire models with specific stats. Additionally, lying about your measurements and deceiving people about how you look will come back to haunt you later. This is a small world and bad news travels fast.

10. Ask for testimonials

It’s one thing to talk about yourself and say how great you are, but it’s completely different when other people are praising you for your look, skills, punctuality and professionalism. So, if you’ve had a great experience working with someone, ask them to leave you a Verified Credit or testimonial for your website or social media profile.   

I hope that the above points were helpful to newer models who would like to make money freelancing. What else would you add?



AvivaH has been a model for 2 years and track athlete for 6 years. She lives in Victoria, BC, and specializes in fitness, promotional, bikini, lingerie, and commercial modeling.

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One Response to “10 Tips for Making More Money as a Freelance Model”

  1. June 19, 2014 at 1:54 am, JD Chiaramonte said:

    Great for hairdressers and makeup artist, you can also make their coseiller styling and why not also the picture


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