What Is a Freelance Model?

  • Amy Bebbington

A freelance model is someone that works independently of an agent finding their own casting calls and work opportunities. Some hopefuls opt for a path that allows for more control of their career without the support of an agency. A route that demands a committed, dedicated character that is able to take charge of their career successfully.

There are many points to consider if you are wishing to take the freelance route over to exclusively signing with an agency. Becoming a freelance model is no easy task however; take a look at the following pointers to help you navigate the male and female modelling industry.

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Networking Is Vital to Your Success

You will heavily rely on your own contacts made independently. Establishing connections at fashion events such as shows, exhibitions and parties is required to get yourself noticed. Such events are filled with industry experts who are always on the look out for new talent.

Get yourself noticed. Networking can be intimidating and quite nerve-wracking depending on the event and how many people you know. Going it alone actually helps, as with a friend in toe you are less likely to talk to other people. Although hugely scary, you are more likely to make more connections independently.

Do not drink too much at these parties. Treat them as work rather than a social event as you do not want to wake up the next morning embarrassed about what you said. One glass of champagne for courage is more than acceptable but keep it to just one to avoid regretful behaviour.

Pay Your Tax

It is important to pay your tax and national insurance contributions. Declaring yourself as freelance, puts the responsibility onto yourself to ensure that you have payed the correct amount of money to the tax office. Seek advice if you are unsure how to proceed with an accountant.

Make sure you start a spreadsheet documenting all the payments you have received that month and year. Freelance modelling jobs will most likely be sporadic and irregular therefore, keeping track is essential.

A freelance models salary is not conventional with a set amount earned each year as it depends on how much work you have booked, which may not be the same every month.

Be sensible and open a savings account where you can deposit a percentage of your wage each month. When the tax bill comes around you will have enough to pay it with asking for a handout or worrying.

Model jobs will either be paid as a set day rate or an hourly rate by the brand. These are not usually negotiable as their will be lots of new models looking for modelling work who will happily take your place. However, do not let this hold you back if you believe for the pay to be unfair. Set an hourly or day rate for yourself and stick to it!

It is difficult for new models to know the standard freelance model rates. Just do your research and overtime you will get a feel for how much you should be charging. This will hopefully rise the more experienced you become.


Are You Business Minded?

Without an agent to chase up invoices and negotiate terms you will be need to be savvy. Knowledge of the modeling industry, contracts and scam artist tactics is essential to avoid being conned in a world full of dodgy characters. It is vital to keep your wits about you and act cautiously. Do not be fooled by excitement and desperation, which can easily affect your judgment considerably.

Social media is a great way to promote yourself yet when work is offered via this platform act with caution. Not many companies and agencies will offer modelling gigs via a private message on Instagram or Facebook.

You Don’t Have to Pay an Agency Commission

When signed to model agencies the company will take a percentage of your salary as a reward for the collaboration. However, freelance models will not have this obligation when finding the opportunity themselves. All your hard work will be yours to keep but make sure you save a percentage to pay your tax.

Fashion models can be offered clothes as payment yet make sure that you can pay your bills and the experience will help you find work in the future before you accept. It is tempting to say yes to everything however, ensure that it is right for you and that you know your worth.


Would You like an Agent?

On occasions freelance models are represented by modelling agencies or even a few different organisations. However, if you accept a job that the agent has booked or arranged you will have to pay the commission to the agency.

The amount is for their part in setting up the opportunity using their contacts and networking skills. This option may be worthwhile for aspiring models in particular as they are new to the industry.

Make sure you explain the types of modelling you are happy to do and never feel forced to pose nude or topless. Decide of the niche that you would like to excel in and approach agencies that work in this area. For example, commercial modelling covers a broad range of jobs and is a little easier to break into than high fashion.

Design a Modelling Website

To promote yourself you may wish to invest in a model website, which industry professionals will use to find new talent. Most will ask for you to pay for the privilege to have your photo and statistics on the website. Use your business mind to weigh up your options to see whether the cost is beneficial to your success.

Also, designing a freelance modelling website to showcase your talent is a great way for clients to decide if you are the right model for the job. Make sure it is professional and easy to use so that future employers are impressed on first glance. Also, online platforms especially social media is the perfect way to promote your website. However, as we mentioned be very careful when communicating via Instagram or Facebook. Make sure that the person is legit before agreeing to model for them.


Portfolio Costs

To showcase your talent and capabilities a modelling portfolio is required. Some agencies will cover the cost however; freelance models will certainly not have this option. Therefore, save enough money to create a high standard portfolio that can be used to secure roles. Do not scrimp on this resource, as models who are freelance will rely on quality images to promote their potential.

Keep this resource updated and relevant to your goal. Finding work as a model is tough but armed with a professional portfolio you can showcase your talent and secure those roles when you feel ready. The evidence of work will definitely put you in a good position to secure freelance model jobs. Your future employer will definitely be impressed with a modelling portfolio that has had a lot of work put into it.

Your Location

Being based in a large city in Europe or further afield is a must. London, New York or Paris are creative hubs where head offices of fashion brands are based as well as a lot of model agencies. Therefore, there will be plenty of opportunities for models to pursue.

Living right in the middle of it will not only be inspirational but also keep you current. This may result in you relocating to a new city as a long commute will be difficult on top of early starts and late finishes.

Before the big move, make sure you have enough money to pay your bills and rent. Also, food it a big one too. This might mean you saving up for a while prior to relocating to London.

Are you thinking of becoming a freelancer? If you have any more questions please get in touch by commenting below.

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