Most people believe that in order to work as a model you have to be signed by a modelling agency. These days however, that is simply not true. Freelance commercial modelling is becoming an increasingly popular choice for models that prefer to manage their own careers. With so many types of modelling to choose from, freelance models can enter any niche within the industry.
Agencies usually represent a large number of models and are in the business to make money as a direct result of the work you do. Whilst some models will generate lots of bookings it’s easy to see how less popular faces could quickly be forgotten. This can be frustrating, particularly if you feel that your career is not going as well as you might have expected.
Take that first step in your freelance modelling career and register with us now!
What Are The Main Differences Between Being Signed and Working Freelance?
- Are offered a fixed contract to work exclusively with one named agency.
- Only that agency is allowed to represent you during the contract period (typically 1-2 years).
- An agent will negotiate terms and working conditions with clients and will usually chase payment on your behalf.
- Being signed does not guarantee that the agency will find you work or send you along to castings.
- Are required to invest in a professional portfolio, which you will need to take along to castings. Some agents may agree to meet the initial cost of this and will reclaim it from your earnings.
- Will have to pay a fee (usually once per year) to appear on the agency’s website.
- You may still be expected to pay commission to your agent even if you found and booked a job yourself.
- Depending on the terms of the contract, an agency may have the right to drop you from its books if you do not find work within a set time period.
- Agencies do not employ models; they represent them on a self-employed basis so you will need to make your own arrangements for fulfilling your tax and national insurance obligations.
- Have full control of their careers and are free to work whenever and with whomever they choose.
- Can still be represented by a model agent (or multiple model agencies), though commission will still be payable to the agent who sent you on the casting or through which you were booked for the job.
- Will need to invest in a professional portfolio, which you will need to take along to castings.
- You may wish to invest in a models website or need to pay commissions to model casting websites.
- Will need to find their own work, invoice clients and chase payments.
- Will need to negotiate their own terms and conditions directly with clients.
- Can work for multiple clients at any time.
- Work on a self-employed basis and as such are responsible for any tax and national insurance obligations. There is no set freelance model salary and will need to manage their funds accordingly.
- You will be expected to fund additional expenses such as model training, updating your portfolio, index cards etc., up front.
How to Stay Safe When Working Freelance
Without the support of an agency to vet clients, it is up to the model to act with caution when looking for fashion modelling gigs. The Internet is a great source for finding opportunities yet it can also act as a trap for young models. As we all know, predators and scam artists can hide behind a computer screen hoping to prey on the vulnerable. They hope to find models that they can lure in and put in dangerous situations. It is up to you to act wisely and safely when searching for freelance modelling jobs online. Follow the steps below to ensure that you do not fall victim to a scam artist.
- Trustworthy companies will very rarely contact you via social media. They prefer to operate through professional channels such as email or telephone.
- If they ask for you to send nude or topless images simply delete and ignore.
- If you have reached as far as a video call such as Skype and they ask for you to undress, cut the call immediately. They may use an excuse like they need to see how your figure looks but this is untrue.
- Do not send money without knowing they are legit.
- Never agree to go to their house. Meet in a public place and do not be afraid to bring a person with you.
- Be wary if they address you as ‘sexy’ or ‘hunny.’
- If a person is working under the name of a well-known company name, simply ring them to clarify. Some try to trick aspiring models by using a recognised name.
- Also, research the company to double-check their trustworthiness. A scam artist is most likely to have a bad reputation with models that have fallen for their lies taking to the Internet.
- If you see an advert stating ‘models wanted for a photoshoot’ investigate further before you agree.
Managing Your Finances
To become a model demands a lot of business minded thinking as well as the looks and hard work. If you fee ready to go freelance, it is important to know how to manage your money. As we mentioned earlier, this involves paying your tax on time and your national insurance contributions as well as your student loan if you have one. Seek advice if you are really unsure on how to manage your finances or ask a fellow self-employed person for some advice. Creating a spreadsheet is really important. It is an easy way to document all your incomings in one place to evaluate at the end of the tax year. You may want to list your business outgoings too, such as how much your freelance model website costs to host each month. Remember to keep all receipts so that you have evidence of what you have spent.
What Can UK Models Do to Help?
Whichever way you prefer to work, industry experts UK Models can help you create a selection of portfolio images, and offer tips on approaching agents, clients and casting directors with confidence. They can also advise you on the various sections of the industry eg, mature, plus size, commercial or catalogue modelling to help you decide which kind of work would best suit your look.