This is in part a continuation of my Tips for New Models.

I’m a member of a number of photography and related sites that exist to bring photographers, models, makeup artists (MUA), studios, retouchers, stylists, etc together. There’s been a bit of a recurring pattern building in one of them prompting this post.

If you’re new to the industry don’t expect to be paid at first. You have to speculate to accumulate.

This applies equally to everyone involved, not just the models. Ask yourself “Who is asking for the images to be taken?“.

Usually when money exchanges hands it’s the initiator that’s at the top of the tree. This could be a fashion house wanting images to show off their latest line, a photographic club putting on a group shoot, photographer or MUA building their portfolio. A fashion house for example would pay the photographer. Depending on the organisation they may engage a stylist and makeup artist directly, they may have the photographers team do it. Assistants of the photographer doing lighting, set design and the likes would be paid by the photographer.

Unless you’re the next Elle, Kate, Gisele, Suki or Naomi and have a shot or two to prove it you’ll have to build up a portfolio of varied work to show others your talents and why they should hire you. That could be with a single photographer over several shoots or better still with a number of photographers and MUA, each adding variety to your growing portfolio. You’ll need a web site to show them off. Start with a free profile on one of the many sites (see my Where’s Mark section to the right for ideas) until paid work let’s you fund a dedicated site of your own. If you’re serious about it think in terms of becoming a brand that needs marketing.

Keep in mind that a professional photographer will have invested good money in their equipment and invested time in understanding how it works and how to light the things they shoot. Don’t expect them to give up their time for free.

Unless you’re incredibly lucky you too will need to make an investment before you’ll see any real return. It doesn’t always have to be money changing hands. A photographer, model and makeup artist for example, all wanting images for their portfolio can work “Time For ..”, each bringing their services to the party for free and sharing in the results.

Web site profiles using the TFCD/TFP acronyms are referring to time given freely in return for a CD or prints although TFID, time for Internet download is just as common these days.

Still want to become a model? Good for you. Get yourself a profile and get out there!