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Where Is The Money?
“Michael, how do I get paid to model?” This is one of the most frequent asked questions I get as a fashion and commercial photographer. It’s a question I expect from new models, but I’m often surprised how often I get this question from agency represented models who hire me to update their portfolio. I have even got this question from people who have already “invested” substantial amounts of money on model training schools. People are really in the dark about the financial side of the fashion industry.

Art Or Advertising?
Modeling can be a fun hobby or creative outlet. However monetizing art is a challenge. They certainly are photographers and artist out there that are willing to pay models for artistic personal projects. However, this is rare because of supply and demand. Why would a talented artist pay a model when there is not a shortage of attractive volunteers? I’ve noticed the most opportunities for models to make money by charging photographers is when they are willing to do things fewer models would boudoir or anything racy. Yet, even that Is not alway sustainable because photographers that experiment with work like that won’t continue to pay for that if that’s not something that makes them income.

There is way more money in advertising than there is in art. The Fashion Industry is entirely financially supported by consumers clothing sales. People who sell clothing directly like stores and designers are the ideal clientele for a model. As long these types of retailers are selling clothes, they will have a marketing budget for hiring models, photographers, and other necessary vendors to put together a successful fashion campaign.

Become The Face Of Someone’s Brand
One of the cool things about participating in a fashion campaign is that it can be reoccurring work. New collections are always being designed and new inventory is always being added. These things need promotion. That can mean anything from strutting the runway to an elaborate editorial shoot. If your work with the same brand on a reoccurring basis consumers start to associate your look with that company aesthetic. This dynamic often motivates companies to keep you onboard longer because it helps them with brand recognition. It’s easier to do this with new stores or emerging fashion designers. As the company grows in profit your pay can grow with them.

Don’t Become Overly Reliant On A Modeling Agency
Agencies can be an amazing resource for getting you connected to paying clients. Especially if you already have a solid body of work for them to present to casting directors. Yet it’s important not to passively wait for them to find you work. Models are typically freelancers, not employees so it’s imperative that they don’t get tied down to an agency that demands exclusivity. The ideal modeling agency is one that will actively find you work and not hold you back from making moves on your own.

If your dream is to transition your modeling hobby into profitable businesses contact us at

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