How To Become a Freelance Model (With Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 December 2022

Published 13 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many people who love fashion, makeup and photography aspire to become models. Freelance modelling is a great option for people who want to be self-employed and enjoy flexibility in their jobs. If you're interested in working as a freelance model, it's helpful to learn more about the details of the career. This article explains the role of a freelance model and the steps you can take to enter this industry.

What is a freelance model?

A freelance model works as a professional model on a freelance basis rather than working for a modelling agency. Models pose for photos and advertising campaigns and can also walk on runways. Freelance models can work for many different clients, and they can also specialise in specific types of modelling.

Related: How To Become a Model (With FAQs)

What does a freelance model do?

Freelance models are responsible for several tasks related to modelling. Some typical job responsibilities of freelance models can include:

  • Posing for photo and video shoots

  • Walking on runways to model fashion

  • Maintaining a portfolio of modelling photos

  • Promoting clothing, accessories, jewellery and other products

  • Identifying job opportunities and communicating with clients

  • Managing a schedule of modelling shoots and setting hourly rates

  • Travelling to different locations to participate in shoots

Related: How To Be Self-Employed (With Steps and Career Options)

How much do freelance models earn?

Freelance models usually charge an hourly rate. How much they charge can depend on many factors, including their experience level, modelling speciality and campaign size. The national average salary for models, including freelance models, is $42.37 per hour. This figure can increase as they gain more experience.

How to become a freelance model

You can follow these steps to become a freelance model:

1. Choose what type of model you want to become

The first step to becoming a freelance model is to decide what type of model you want to become. Some in-demand types of models include:

  • Runway models: Runway models walk on runways to model clothing.

  • Art models: Art models pose for artists, including sculptors and painters.

  • Commercial model: A commercial model is a model that appears in advertisements, commercials and retail websites.

  • Fashion model: A fashion model, also called an editorial model, poses for high-fashion magazines and other publications.

  • Fitness model: Fitness models promote fitness apparel and pose for campaigns.

You can choose which modelling path is best for you by considering your skills and interests. For example, being a fitness model might be the right path for you if you enjoy fitness and working out.

Related: How to Become a Foot Model: A Step-By-Step Guide (Plus FAQs)

2. Learn how to model

Another key step to starting your career is to learn how to model. There are many strategies you can use to learn how to model, including:

  • Practising at home in front of a mirror

  • Studying professional models and emulating them

  • Taking online modelling courses

  • Becoming a student in a modelling academy

3. Take photos

You can ask your friends or family to photograph you as you learn how to model. Be sure to take both headshots and full-body shots. You can also collaborate with makeup artists, stylists and photographers and complete mutually beneficial photo shoots in which you each can expand your portfolios.

Related: How To Become a Freelance Photographer

4. Create your portfolio

Once you've started completing photoshoots and creating a collection of photos, you can organise them into a portfolio. One popular way to do this is to create a website. You can make a website through online software or hire a professional. You can also post your modelling photos on social media.

As you create your modelling portfolio, include a wide range of photos to highlight your modelling abilities in different settings. You can also include your name, contact information and a brief summary describing yourself as a model.

5. Make a comp card

Another important step to becoming a freelance model is to make a comp card. A comp card, which is short for a composite card, is a tool that models can use in place of a business card. Comp cards display a model's best and most recent photos. Your comp card can also include your name, contact information and body measurements.

6. Create a model profile

You can also create a profile on a modelling website. This serves as your professional profile. Your profile can include the same details as your comp card, including your name, contact information and body measurements. You can also include additional photos and a summary of yourself and your career. For example, your summary might say, I'm a passionate model who loves fitness and modelling fitness apparel. When I'm not modelling, I enjoy spending time outdoors and playing the guitar.

Related: 8 Types of Modelling (With Definitions and Career Tips)

7. Search for modelling jobs

After you've developed your modelling qualifications, it's time to start looking for modelling jobs. You can find modelling jobs through:

  • Freelancer websites

  • Modelling websites

  • Job posting websites

You can also scan social media channels for companies and photographers looking for models. Once you pinpoint job opportunities, you can send potential clients your comp card and a link to your portfolio.

8. Contact people in the industry

It's also helpful to contact people in the modelling industry. Reach out to companies, photographers, makeup artists and other professionals to inquire about jobs. This can help you find potential clients.

Related: How To Get a Gig Job

Freelance vs. agency

If you want to work as a freelance model, it's important to understand how this type of modelling differs from agency modelling. Agency models work with agents who help them find jobs and manage their schedules. However, freelance models are responsible for finding jobs and taking care of administrative tasks.

Related: How to Freelance for Artists (With Freelancing Careers)

Benefits of freelance modelling

Here are some of the top benefits of working as a freelance model rather than working for an agency:

Flexibility

One benefit of working as a freelance model is flexibility. Freelance models can decide which jobs they want to accept. They can also set their own schedules and pay rates.

Autonomy

Freelance models can also enjoy autonomy. Unlike agency models, freelance models typically have the autonomy to change their appearance. You may be able to change your hair colour, get tattoos and make other changes that agency models cannot.

Profits

Another benefit of freelance modelling is the opportunity to keep all of your profits. Typically, an agency model gives a portion of their earnings to their agent. However, freelance models don't have an agent, so they can typically take home their entire paycheck.

Tips for becoming a freelance model

Here are some additional tips for starting freelance modelling:

Develop your skills

One essential tip to becoming a freelance model is to develop your skills. Some essential skills for freelance models include:

  • Confidence: Freelance models may use high confidence to perform their jobs effectively. Typically, they're comfortable working in front of a camera and being the centre of attention.

  • Technical modelling skills: Freelance models may also use technical modelling skills, which include posing for photographs and walking on runways.

  • Communication skills: are also useful for freelance models to help them effectively communicate with clients and people involved with shoots.

  • Administration: Administrative skills can also be helpful for freelance models, who are responsible for managing their own schedules, pay rates and client communications.

  • Positive attitude: Freelance models may also try to maintain a positive attitude in their professional interactions, as this can make clients more likely to work with them again in the future.

Related: Top In-Demand Skills in Australia and Skills Shortage

Stay up-to-date on industry news and fashion trends

Another freelance modelling tip is to stay up-to-date on industry news, fashion trends and other information relevant to your career. This can help you stay competitive in your industry. You can stay up-to-date by subscribing to fashion publications, reading modelling news and following models and modelling industries on social media.

Post on social media

Staying active on social media is another great way to advance your modelling career. Try to post modelling photos periodically to maintain your online presence. This can help you connect with potential clients and gather a following.

Related: How to Create a Social Media Plan in 8 Steps (With Tips)

Build your professional network

Networking is critical in the modelling industry, as it can help you find modelling jobs and clients. You can build your professional network by connecting with people that you work with on shoots and interacting with people on social media. You can also connect with other models on modelling websites.

Stay healthy

Another important tip for a successful freelance modelling career is to stay physically and mentally healthy. It's crucial to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine, and it's also important to prioritise your mental health. Be sure to make time for stress relief and activities and hobbies that you enjoy.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Related:

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  • How to Use Social Media In Your Career (8-Step Guide)

  • 101 Self-Reflection Questions to Help with Your Career


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