I know that modeling can seem like an easy way to make some pretty good cash... But I personally wouldn't tell anyone to do it in place of going to college and getting a career. If anything, I'd recommend if you want to be a model do it on the side, and just in case it doesn't work out you can have your career to fall back on.
Sure, making $125 an hour is comparable to what some doctors make per hour, however, they make that kind of money under steady circumstances whereas modeling is unpredictable. You probably will not have a model who works 5 days a week for 8 hours making a steady $125 an hour. Not only do you have to rely on photographers having that kind of cash to pay you, but you are also giving up other great benefits that you get when you're employed. If you are a freelance model you will not be provided with health insurance coverage, paid time off and vacation days, or retirement. Plus when you model you have to do all your tax collecting and paying, which means reporting your earnings and managing your expenses with that. So no, not all the money you make is yours, you do have to pay taxes.
And don't even get me started on the old argument "Well college costs money". Classes, book, and supplies all add up to THOUSANDS of dollars --I know this all too well. But so does modeling. If you want to be a great well known model, unless you're born with absolute perfect (or near perfect) features, you'll find yourself paying out a lot of money to make yourself more "perfect".
Now you might not necessarily do this just because of modeling, you might just do it because you want to. Either way though, you're still paying out large sums of money, quite comparable to what a student may be paying for college education. Lets look at a list of some beauty treatments a lot of models get to help them out with their modeling:
The biggest one: boob jobs and according to this site boob jobs in America average around $5,000-10,000. That could buy you at least a semester or two of college full time! (not including Harvard or Yale, however.) If you have the boobs you can lack in many other aspects and you'll still get so popular. This really annoys me because I see it all the time; you don't even have to be a good model, if you have big boobs you'll make it way farther way quicker than those who don't. Hence why so many girls are opting to get the reconstructive surgery done.
Next in line of popularity, which also falls under the same category of boob jobs, would be body modification. This includes the all-too-popular tattoos and piercings. With the increase of alternative style modeling, a lot of people are choosing to get tattoos and piercings. I don't need to go into price for this because it's unique depending on the parlor you go to. Obviously you get what you pay for though. Sure you can get a $10 tattoo, but it might start fading in a few weeks. Be prepared to spend at least a few hundred on a nice tattoo.
You'll need to take care of yourself if you want to be a successful model, so that also includes taking care of your nails, skin, teeth, and hair. Not too expensive right? Wrong.
Hair: salon hair cut (roughly $25), salon hair dying and highlighting (roughly $65-over $100 plus tipping), and let's not forget that you'll need to be getting touch ups every few weeks. You'll also be investing in the hair products needed to keep your hair looking great such as shampoo, conditioner, hot oil treatments, hair straighteners, curlers, accessories like clips and ties. It all adds up. You don't have to go to a salon to get your hair done, but keep in mind that like tattoos, you do get what you pay for...unless of course your sister or mum is a hair stylist, then fair enough.
One thing to also consider about the hair category is body hair, including eyebrows (eyebrows should always be waxed or plucked for formality). If I had the money I would go and get my leg hair laser treated because personally, I can't stand when my leg hair starts getting stubbly by 5'oclock. Body hair can be managed several ways such as the obvious shaving, the less obvious waxing, and the new alternative of laser removal. All three of these can be pretty expensive, and unfortunately, laser treatments are not only expensive, they're long and painful, plus you'd need several treatments, and after all that the hair isn't guaranteed to stay away forever, so you'll probably have to go back in for touch ups from time to time. Laser removal is better for thinning the hair rather than completely getting rid of it. Where I'm local to, it's about $120 for one hour of treatment with a laser and that's for a small area of skin, like armpits, and like I said I would have to go in for several treatments afterwords. I've read online some women have paid over $2,000 for one treatment of full body laser hair removal. Your local spa will most likely offer laser and waxing treatments so you can check them for prices. *Keep in mind that shaving and waxing can lead to ingrown hair, which not only looks unsightly, but can also lead to infection which needs medical attention. Read more below about other skin conditions and how they can be managed.*
Skin: skin is a broad spectrum, so I'll cover what I personally find most important regarding the topic... This can include getting birthmarks and moles removed or covered by expensive concealer, stretch mark, scars, and cellulite treatment (usually via laser), getting any rashes and warts managed, wrinkle treatments (laser, botox, medicine, and any other alternatives), and any visible skin imperfections such as but not limited to dark under eye circles, ingrown hair, and acne. Most of these can be managed by laser treatments, medicinal cream, or surgically, but obviously anything involving cosmetic medical procedures will not be covered by typical health insurance so you can expect to pay a very high price out of pocket for treatments. A rough average cost of laser skin treatments can be found on WebMD here. *Note, you can find alternative treatments for a lot of the above, however, you should always consult a doctor first before researching and starting ANY treatment.*
It's also recommended that you should take care of your skin in the best way possible. Don't clog your pores with cheap makeup and body products, do detox your skin with face masks and facials.
Nails: fairly enough, you can probably get away with not having to get your nails done as long as you take care of them. But it does look better and more feminine when nails are done, and at VERY LEAST, painted. If you already go and get your nails did then you are already aware of how expensive it is. Where I'm from you can expect to get your nails done very basically starting at $35 and going up in price from there.
Teeth: Though most people have teeth covered in their heath care plan, and they have most major teeth treatments done as a child or teen (braces, fillings, and pulled teeth), it's still really important to take care of your teeth by not only brushing at least twice a day, but flossing, gargling, and whitening are recommended as well. Since teeth stain over the years it is almost going to be mandatory to whiten them by the time of adulthood. Whitening can happen in several ways, listed from least to most effective, brushing and gargling with whitening products, applying whitening strips/gel that can be purchased through dentists or possibly online, and laser whitening which can be done via certain dentists. According to this site, laser treatments average about $500 per treatment, usually needing more than one treatment as well as doing treatments at home not included in the laser price. *Do keep in mind that teeth whitening can and sometimes will weaken your teeth enamel. It is highly recommended that you speak with your dentist before starting any whitening treatments to make sure your teeth are healthy enough to sustain the harsh chemicals.*
If your teeth are not in great shape, talk to your dentist about what treatments you may need. This can include getting teeth pulled, filled, capping, and wearing braces or retainers.
Now you have the secondary costs of modeling:
Makeup: Since makeup costs varies so widely person to person, I can't really give a general price. But what I can say is that makeup is extremely expensive, again, you get what you pay for though. You can get makeup at the Dollar Store, but it will be Dollar Store quality and it will probably wreak havoc on your skin, causing blocked pores and acne, as well as possibly irritating the skin, leading to allergies and rashes. As you can imagine, more-expensive healthier alternatives are out there; try to buy natural hypo-allergenic makeup. You can find some on E-bay.
Clothing: Most of the time you will have to provide your own clothing for shoots, and it's hard to get away with constantly reusing the same outfits. Once in a while you might be able to find something nice in a charity shop, or if you have the skills you can even make your own outfits. But I personally just find it easier and less time consuming to buy things. Over the course of my modeling career (2 years) I've had to invest over thousands of dollars in just clothing for shoots. An example of why this can be so expensive: imagine you want to do a steampunk themed shoot, you then need to buy a full steampunk outfit (mine has costed over $400) plus the props to go with it. That is only ONE outfit. You get the point. So unless your photographer provides all the clothing, you'll be paying out for outfits.
Working out/life style changes: If you want to be a good model I highly recommend you keep your body in shape. This could possibly mean getting a gym membership. My gym membership is $80 a month. Plus eating healthy seems to come at a higher cost than eating junk food. I can buy a $1 burger at McDonalds or I can buy a $4 salad instead... What sounds more tempting? The burger. However, sometimes it's better to resist the temptation and instead go for the more expensive and healthier choice.
Transport: You need to get to your shoots don't you? How are you getting there? A car, bus, train, or taxi? All of these add up. Cars are obviously very expensive because not only do you have to pay for the car itself, you also have to pay for the gas, the repairs, and the insurance on it. Insurance on my car is over $100 a month.
Modeling can be a great hobby, however as I've said I would not recommend it as a career or an alternative to going to college (unless you know you'll make millions from it). Remember, having a career = insurance, benefits, vacation days, steady income, etc, whereas freelance modeling = nothing for certain.
I said I would do a post about the different types of nude modeling, so here it is. I'm not going to post any pictures on my blog, but I will set links for some of them. Only click the links if you're over 18.
I don't personally recommend anyone doing nude modeling even though it usually pays the most under freelance circumstances. If you do decide to do it you have to be 18 or older.
Artistic: Usually a black and white photo, artistic poses. Something you'd see in an art book and not on a porn site. Click here to see art nudes
Topless: Only showing the breasts. Poses can be basic, artistic, or erotic.
Body Paint: The best way I can describe this is that paint is your "outfit" so you're not really "nude" as such.
Click here to see body paint
Erotic/Fantasy: Something you would expect to see posted on a porn site.
Implied: model can sometimes get away with wearing clothes during implied shots; pictures are portrayed as the model not wearing anything. If clothes are worn, they will be hidden.
Click here to see implied nudes
Basic Nudity: Posing like you would normally, only you would be nude. Typically just standing in front of the camera... not particularly erotic but not artistic either.
Obviously, there are some loop holes in some of these. A lot of people don't realize that you don't have to be nude to be in a porn film, also, you can be fully clothed and still do erotic shots. I cannot stress enough to another model that it's important to be careful about the style of images you take.
This is how I got into freelance modeling, and if you're wondering how you can do it too, watch the video here. Subscribe to my channel for more modeling videos.
This isn't going to be a long post, but I know there's a lot of controversy about models with tattoos.
First of all, it's fine if you have tattoos or plan on getting some, it won't ruin every chance you have of getting gigs; unless the role specifically calls for a model with no tattoos.
But, there are some things that should be taken into consideration when modeling with tattoos.
Tip: take into consideration that a lot of big name companies (American Apparel, Aeropostal, Victoria's Secret) do not accept tattoo'd models. But then again a lot of these companies have very strict requirements and not many girls would fit their standard anyways.
Tattoos can be sexy, depending on where they are, what they say, and how many someone has. It's important to make sure that getting a tattoo won't change your view on modeling -and visa versa.
I've recently come to the realization of how important it is choosing the photographers you work with. In this world today it is common knowledge that even people who seem to have good intentions, may not. So, it is really quite important to know who you work with, and don't let anyone push you past your limits.
First of all, don't limit yourself to just one photographer when starting out. It's kind of like being in a relationship with someone you're comfortable with -you stay with them because you're "comfortable", not because you're necessarily happy. If you stay with just one photographer, you're really limiting yourself. You haven't explored enough to know if you're truly happy or not. And from my own personal experience, every photographer photographs you differently. Always leave yourself open to try different photographers, they all have different styles. Some photographers do it for fun, some do it for a job, some studied it, and some are self taught. Some might be great at photography but horrible with photoshop, some photographers take forever to get edits to you, some photographers don't even edit their pictures, and some photographers aren't hardly "photographers" at all and their equipment is about as good as your iPhone photos. But you'll learn this with the more photo shoots you go to. Find a photographer who's style fits what you want to do with your modeling career.
But with that being said, know the intention of the photographer. Look for red flags when connecting with new photographers: can you bring escorts, do they have references? I cannot express enough that you NEED to check references before working with someone new. If the photographer is any good, they will have references. And do not work with anyone who refuses to give you any. Some photographers do not want boyfriends or husbands tagging along as an escort, and honestly, I get that. I made the mistake of taking my boyfriend at the time to a shoot with me, thus resulting in him having a fit about the outfit I was wearing and making me extremely unhappy and uncomfortable for the rest of the shoot. I left in tears. I'm sure you can guess the pictures didn't turn out well since I wasn't focused on the shoot anymore. Sometimes taking significant others can make you LESS comfortable at a shoot. I digress, but you should still be allowed to take an escort with you if you please, like a family friend, an aunt, your best friend, etc. So if a photographer still doesn't agree to this, be wary. It is your right as the model to feel as safe and comfortable as possible- don't let someone make you feel uncomfortable because your pictures will scream it.
Look out for the too-good-to-be-true photographers. I could write all day about the amount of "photographers" I've had contact me with what seem like too good to be true photo opportunities; for some reason these sketchy people always seem to have a way of talking it up-- making it seem like a once in a life time opportunity just to lure you in. But in the end they always ended up being really dodgy about the situation (like not giving me references, saying I couldn't bring an escort, not telling me what is going to be shot during the shoot), or I found out it was going to be published on a porn related site, and so on. If it seems too good to be true it probably is, especially in the modeling world! This is where references come in handy. There are a LOT of pervs out there who claim to be photographers....
Also beware of going to a photographer alone even if you've shot with him 10 times before, it only takes one time to drug you. I'm not even over exaggerating, I was recently talking to a photographer about how he knew some models that went to a very well known and published photographer- and he ended up drugging and raping several of the girls, even some who have worked with him many times before. He's in jail now, thankfully. If you do need to go to a shoot alone, go prepared, and do not let your guard down. I don't take open drinks from anyone. I usually bring my own or if they offer me a bottle of water I will accept if it's unopened. Do not get in the car with strangers either, if you have to meet for a shoot then meet in a public place and drive separately to the destination. Always give an address and an estimated time you'll be done shooting to someone you trust.
Know your comfort level with a photographer. Know your comfort level with yourself. If you don't want to do nude shoots then don't let a photographer talk you out of your clothes. If you're doing implied nudes and something shows in the pictures, you need to trust your photographer enough that he will not be posting that picture anywhere and it will be deleted. One way to ensure this is to write a modeling contract. I'll get to that at another time. If a photographer provides you with a contract, read it carefully. You could be giving up all rights you have to the photos and basically saying it's alright if they're posted on places you don't want them to be.
Just a side note to doing nude modeling, don't let anyone talk you out of your clothes for free if you do decide to do nudes. Strippers don't strip for free, neither should a model. There are several types of nude modeling, not all include an erotic nature. Again, I'll post about how much certain types of modeling should make.
Comfort doesn't just end at feeling safe. I won't even waste your time trying to tell you the amount of times photographers studios have been so cold that I found it extremely hard to focus on shooting. Work with someone who becomes a friend- someone that understands that you may need to sit down for a moment because your feet hurt from wearing heels, or you can say you're too cold and they turn the heating on; someone that you can joke with and doesn't make modeling seem like a chore. Unfortunately, when starting out you might not have a huge choice of who you will work with, luckily the more you shoot with though, the more you can choose from and weed out the good photographers from the latter.
Eventually you'll be able to establish yourself and you'll know what and who you want to work with. You might find out that you pose better in silence and thus it is distracting to work with chatty photographers. You'll learn if you want to work with photographers who have paper backgrounds as opposed to cloth, or possibly you like to work outside more that you do in a studio. Some photographers only do studio photography, so manipulating the lighting outside can be much more difficult. Look for photographers who are fluent in many different styles. You'll learn what photographers capture your good side better than others. Maybe you'll decide you like natural photos instead of photo-shopped pictures. Do the photographers have props and outfits or do you need to bring your own? And lastly, don't forget to find a photographer that will understand and influence some great concepts and themes for images. Hopefully you and the photographers you choose to work with can create some great original images. There are so many things for models to take into consideration when choosing photographers.
Personally, I have several different photographers I go to for different image styles, so depending on the theme of the shoot I want to do I can choose who will be easiest to work with on that particular project.
Personal tips I've found work best for me when choosing photographers:
It is so important to know and trust who you're working with. If you ever feel uncomfortable you can tell them no and leave. Your life and morals are worth more than any money lost. The best advice I can give to another model is to always be skeptical, never believe someone has your best interest in front of their own.
This is just a joke post about the many photographers I've worked with personalities summed up. Enjoy!
The friend photographer- This is the photographer you shoot with mainly to hang out with because they're cool... and the photos aren't too bad, I guess.
The paying photographer- You don't care what the theme is, you just want the money.
The good-editor photographer- No matter what blemish you have, this guy can remove it... and wait, are my freckles gone too?
The TFP photographer- This guy always give you some sap story about why they can't pay you, but heck, it's free pictures.
The photographer you really hate, but man, he takes amazing pictures- enough said.
The forgetful photographer- You've messaged him 30 times since three months ago, when the photo shoot was, asking for the edited photos... Which he always says you'll get "that night" and never do... Still waiting...
The pushy photographer- Do this, do that. Wear this, pose here. Don't bother bringing your own clothes or ideas to this shoot, he has his own idea!
The creepy-complimentary photographer- Wow, you're hot *snaps picture*.
The male photographer who's only in it for the nude women- this probably accounts for like 99% of male photographers, sadly.
The "Agent"- Who you pay to find you work, who never finds you work.
The Ex- You've finally had enough of this photographer, and you decide not to message him back. You receive hate mail from him, and updated statuses about how you're ignoring him on Facebook.
Let me just put it this way: I have several different photographers for different styles. They all have their up's and down's.
There are many types of modeling you can get into. I'm just going to make a list of all the areas that I can think of, but honestly there are so many off branches that I will probably miss some.
Let's first put everything into two basic categories of Freelance and Agency modeling.
Freelance modeling is you finding your own work, weeding out who you work with, basically being your own manager. But this way no one takes a cut of the money you make and you don't have to listen to anyone other than yourself. The downside to this is that agencies can usually get you bigger casting roles since they should already have more contacts. Being a freelance model can be great, you don't have any set rules to live by. It's alright if you take a year vacation from modeling, plus you don't have to worry about anyone firing you!
Agency modeling would probably be most ideal for anyone looking to getting into modeling. However, as you can expect they know this, and therefore they will have much harder standards to reach. Most agencies call for a height and weight ratio to be met. Don't be discouraged if you get turned down for many agencies, most petite modeling like myself don't get a second glance from agencies. If you do get signed by an agency you can say goodbye to your freewill as a model; they dictate who you can and can't work with, what pictures are used, as well as taking a part of your pay for gigs.
Once you've decided if you want to be a freelance model or an agency model, you can then decide what off branches of modeling you want to do:
Now everything above is not so black and white. There are loopholes in everything, and there are even many off branches of these. I didn't want this to be a long article so I'm just going to give you some ideas of what I mean:
For example, if you want to be a commercial model and you can't get an agency to sign you, you might be able to commercial model a product from a smaller company who is just starting out. So no, you might not be on TV but at least that company would be promoting your video on their page and as they grow, so will you. You may also be able to get growing companies to trade with you-- what I mean by this is that you could model their product in pictures and they could use it in their catalog.
There are many, MANY types of photography modeling. A lot of themes that are popular now are cosplay, alternative, pin-up, plus size, lingerie, lifestyle (like wedding), glamour, fantasy, and fitness. You don't have to limit yourself to just one of these, you may fit several categories. Since there are many more types of modeling, the more specific types you do the more chances you have of being published in magazines and on websites that center around said themes.
There's also modeling for money. I'm not going to cover this too much, but some people model strictly just for the money and they couldn't care less about what "type" of modeling they're doing. If you're going to model for money and money ONLY, then I suggest nude and erotic modeling would be the go-to choice since it's the most easily sold. But then you're basically just doing porn. I do not recommend this modeling to anyone.
I tried to sum it up as much as I could, so it's quite possible I missed some. If you have any questions about types of modeling then you can post the questions below, or you can send me a message on my Facebook.