Some of the most common questions I get involve modeling and money. Questions like: Is modeling expensive? What about modeling fees? Do I have to pay for classes? How much does it cost to start modeling? These are all great questions and should be asked before you begin a modeling career. The last thing anyone wants is to spend all kinds of money on materials and classes that aren’t necessary. So what does it cost to be a model?
In all reality, the answer is no… modeling is not expensive. Here is a list of items that a model will need to invest in at some point in order to be successful: portfolio, comp cards, and professional photographers. Portfolios are necessary to show agencies and clients what you really have to offer. These can be fairly inexpensive at roughly $25 – $75. Composite cards are basically a model’s business card and these are left behind at castings/auditions for clients to remember you by. Depending on how many you order, you can expect to pay roughly $100-$200 for these. And what would a portfolio and comp cards be without strong photos to put on them? This one is truly important as the better photos you have, the better your portfolio and comp card will be. A professional photographer can cost anywhere from $250 – $1000, but think of this as an investment. A model can make lots of money from a few great shots. If you can swing it, pick a couple of great photographers and set up a shoot with them. This will literally make you a better model by giving you legit experience and photos.
It is worth adding, as of late, many agencies have been becoming more viral. They are uploading model’s photos to websites and databases that clients can simply login to and see. This movement seems to be doing away with handheld portfolios and comp cards as clients can simply search models from any computer, or even their phone. This leads to a new type of modeling fee, the agency website fee. Many agencies will charge anywhere from $50 to $200 to be a part of their agency database. But in the end, this is worth it as thousands of clients can view your résumé with the click of a button. So it is definitely worth investing in. At the moment, this does not replace the portfolio and comp card, but may in the near future.
When it comes to classes, that is kind of up to whoever is taking them. Yes they can be expensive and yes they can help, but I personally do not believe that they are completely necessary (I will write more on this in upcoming blogs). If you have the money and want to learn everything now, then take the classes. Otherwise, save your money and find a mentor.
So there you have it, a quick yet efficient breakdown of what a model should need to get started. Of course models will be expected to pay for their own travel, clothing, and expenditures on photo shoots and jobs, but just remember to be smart and ask questions when a client or agency asks you for money. This way you will avoid scams and heartache. The only real items a new model should have to pay for is a portfolio, composite cards, and a couple professional photographers (possibly an agency website fee). Classes are optional for those interested. But stay smart and take your time with these things and before you know it, you will have great a portfolio and amazing comp cards. Then you are off to becoming a professional model.