This is an absolute beginners guide to being published and paid as a model.
As you can see she’s very beautiful. I don’t know many girls that can look hot with a string of sausages on their head. So Bailey is a professional model, and she does a mixture of paid work and ‘Test’ or ‘TFCD’ and shoots for publication, which she doesn’t necessarily get paid for.
I’m using the word ‘published’ here to mean having your photographs printed in a magazine or newspaper.
Being published isn’t the same as being paid. You don’t automatically get paid if your photographs end up a magazine.
You could be published a lot and never paid for it, and you can be paid lots of times for shoots but never published. Most successful models are paid more than they are published, but they still appear regularly in ordinary and online publications.
Why would I want to be published if I’m not getting paid?
• For vanity. Some people just like seeing themselves in print.
• For publicity. The more well known you are, the more work you are likely to get.
• For credibility. So you look like a ‘proper’ model, rather than a newbie.
Where might I be published?
This is just off the top of my head, so I may miss a few things out.
There are lots of magazines and newspapers that use photographs of models. Nearer the bottom end of the scale are magazines like Nuts and Zoo, that encourage girls to send in sexy photos.
Adverts in magazines sometimes use models. The really posh adverts in Vogue for example, are going to feature models from top agencies. But there are all sorts of adverts that feature models.
This is called ‘commercial modeling’. You’re more likely to be advertising a new brand of Cornflakes or a driving school or gym than diamonds and handbags, but it’s the same kind of thing. You generally get paid for commercial modeling.
Photographers may submit photographs to competitions or for publication in photography magazines. This is more about the photograph than it is about you, but you can still count yourself ‘published’.
Sometimes models, designers, photographers & makeup artists collaborate to create a high-fashion style shoot for publication, but they don’t always get paid. Here is model Bailey K in a shoot for Toni & Guy.
Tip – A scan of a published photograph is called a ‘tearsheet’. In the old days if you were published you would carefully tear out the page and put it into your portfolio. Now we tend to scan the publication and put it into our online ports, but it is still called a tearsheet.
Alternative clothing designers often need models for their clothes. Because there are so many people that would love to model corsets/latex/wedding dresses etc, this often doesn’t pay very well, if at all. But it is a nice thing to have on your port, and you might score a free dress.
And finally, if you’re very, very beautiful and photogenic, and you happen to be in the right place at the right time & have the right attitude, you may do special features for men’s magazines. This tends to be models that have a fan base, or that have been launched by an agency, but it’s not unheard of for an independent model to be published in this way.
And after that, it’s mostly about taking your knickers off.
Pornography is a huge industry, and there is always a demand for fresh meat oops sorry I mean fresh faces. By porn I mean anything from Playboy to a top shelf ‘dirty’ magazine. Most models are paid for this kind of work, but a few will send in photos of themselves just for the thrill of being published.
Who might pay me and why?
Amateur photographers. From absolute beginners that couldn’t light a fruit-bowl, to camera clubs, group shoots and experienced hobbyists that want a particular look or style for a shoot. A lot of independent models work with amateur photographers a lot, on everything from fashion and portrait style up to the kind of stuff you would find on the top shelf.
Professional photographers for their own portfolios. This is one of my favorite types of work. Professional photographers need to stand out from the crowd, and one way they do this is to create an eye-catching & beautiful image with a model. They don’t get to shoot this stuff all day every day, so they tend to really enjoy it, and it always looks fabulous.
Professional photographers for clients. Clients can mean anyone from Vodaphone to a top shelf mag or the local Pilates class. These are nearly always for publication.
Professional photographers for private clients. Some rich guys like pictures of chicks shot to their own specifications, for their own ‘personal use’. They’re usually quite explicit, and they don’t tend to be published.
Porn or fetish websites. The kind of websites that feature specialist content & rely on member fees to make a profit. They need fresh content all the time and they tend to pay quite well.
It sounds complicated, but it’s easy once you get used to it. In a nutshell – If being paid is more important to you, don’t worry about getting published immediately. If you want to be published, you’ve got a bit of a clue about who to approach now. And if you want to be both published and paid fairly soon, approach a commercial agency or do porn.
Thanks Bailey K, for letting me use the photographs. Here is a link to Bailey’s online portfolio.
This is an off the cuff post, so feel free to add anything I’ve missed out in the comments below.