So, I was thinking...
05 January 18
At one time I had a plaque on my desk that read "if you're so smart why aren't you rich?". I keep thinking of this every time I hear people give advice to models. It can be both funny and stupid at the same time. Everyone, especially photographers, seem to be experts on models and the modeling industry. I spent a lot of time researching laws and actual legal precedent. That is, how the laws were actually applied. I am amazed when I read model and photography forums at how those who are totally clueless can give legal opinions. It sometimes gets really silly. It seems that many, regardless of how ignorant, seem to insist on offering advice. The point of this blog is not to offer advice to anyone, but make those thinking of modeling a little more aware.
First, use some simple logic. For an illustration, a true story. I was once contacted by a young lady who was considering modeling. We made arrangements to meet when I was in her area. But before we met, she met a man (sort of ) who had convinced her that he could get her into a major magazine. He was with her when she walked in the door and introduced himself as her manager. This guy had it going on. I have no idea why I doubted him. After all, his arms were totally covered in tattoos, he wore baggy pants and had his hat on sideways. What else could we possibly ask? I loved his car too. It did have four fenders but none the same color. It did have four tires but no two the same size. Yet he had her convinced that he could get her into major magazines because he knew someone. He knew everything about the industry and it was only a matter of days before she would be famous. She had no experience but on his advice, she decided she should make $350 per hour. Good money if you can get it. But she never got it. Or anything for that matter. She never worked her first job. And the last time I spoke with her, she was still waiting on that magazine call. The point of this story is, why would you trust someone to give you advice who clearly was clueless? He simply wanted to impress a beautiful girl. If he was so great, why was he not at least driving a BMW?
Now I can tell stories all day. And it's not only weird guys trying to impress pretty girls. It can even be agencies or most notorious, modeling schools. I can not believe some of the stories about these schools. None good. Remember, modeling schools do not make money getting you jobs. They make money getting butts in chairs. And they will tell potential students anything to do that. They can make you a model. If a model standing 5'0" walks in the door, they will make her/him a super model. I actually have heard this. And agencies who just keep asking for more money. You need a new portfolio every month and they are the only ones who can get it right. And you have to pay for it.
Now a few facts. First, models can make money. But only a small fraction will reach "Super Model" status. The fact is, I have a better chance making it in the NBA that most models have in becoming a super model. And, when I dribble a basket ball, I have trouble making it hit the floor. But that doesn't mean all models can't make money. And if you are over the minimum height, and meet all the other criteria, you can be a super model. I have no idea what the criteria is though. I remember a few years ago, one model who for real looked like a bowling ball on top of a broom stick. And I do declare she could eat an apple through a picket fence. But she had a look someone seemed to like. And she was tall.
If you are MS. (or MR.) average, you can make money. Just not as much. You will need to learn to market yourself. And make yourself as versatile as possible. Modeling is acting. You need to project a feeling onto the lens. If you are plus size, be a plus size model. If you are small, be a petite model. If you like to work out, be a fitness model. If you appreciate art, be an artistic model. If you are a plus size model who appreciates art, be a plus size artistic model. Get the drift. And don't listen to people who are clueless. There are always people who want to give advice but few whose advice is worth a hoot.
Many photographers are more than willing to pay for models to create images that sell or just to build their portfolio. And don't hesitate to do TFCD, or trade for experience and images for your portfolio. It is a great way to gain experience. Just remember, they are helping you as much as you are helping them and they have a lot of money invested so don't feel you are doing THEM a favor. It goes both ways.
In my case I do pay models, I have over a decade of paying models and pay well. But I ask that models understand that our sessions are not a social event. We need to make the most of our time and work without distractions. That means leave your dog, BF, GF, BFF, etc. home and be prepared to focus on the job.