TAMPA BAY MODELING
can thrive in a modeling market full of free alternatives
way for both professional models and photographers to make it in a saturated
market full of hobbyists, amateurs who are enabled by cheap technology
and free online profiles in today’s modeling industry.
Invest in your career. Learn from professionals. Use professional quality
marketing tools. Work your career. Demonstrate value in what you do. Give
the perception of professionalism, and above all, do not mislead anyone.
You are what you know, and what your do. A professional is the sum of
their experiences, as well as how they apply those experiences to what
You can’t fake it. You either know your business, or you don’t,
and most people will be able to figure out if you offer a real benefit
to them or not.
There is a lot of noise in the industry today from amateurs and aspiring
professionals who don’t know what they are doing. The key to being
able to do business is such a market is to be a strong, concise signal
which transcends the noise, and you will only be able to do that by demonstrating
an investment into your career and experience to what is relevant to what
your customers, or clients, are in the market for. Value is the key. Positioning
your business by offering services at the lowest rates, or by offering
free services to those who need what you offer, giving away the store
to those who are in the market for what you do, will not only undermine
your credibility as a professional and make it harder to get work, but
it could also be the end of your business. Professionals are able to set
themselves apart from the mayhem of amateurs in the industry today.
1. Learn about the
modeling industry before you do anything, or even contact anyone. You
can start by reading the information on Tampa Bay Modeling. Although we
will not test you, your career will. If you know what you are doing, you
dramatically reduce the risk of making a irreversible mistake which can
cripple your career, or even end it before it begins. As pictures are
permanent, and you cannot control them after they get out, you must especially
be careful about the type of modeling that you do, and the photographers
that you work with.
Models who have knowledge and show invest in professional tools not only
have an advantage over their competition, but they will also be equipped
to have modeling experiences which will grow their career and make them
a competent, strong model.
2. Invest in a modeling
portfolio from an experienced professional photographer who specializes
in modeling portfolios. Portrait and wedding photographers will NOT be
able to give you what you need, as they service the easier, less critical
consumer market (most consumers are unable to evaluate what good photography
is. Also, those pictures are not used to get them work. Additionally,
the consumer market is a larger market, because models are not even close
to being as common as other people). A photographer who specializes in
modeling portfolio photography, and who is successfully at it, not only
thrives in a more competitive, professional market by giving models the
effective portfolios that they have to have for their careers, but will
also know what is appropriate. Portrait photography DOES NOT translate
to talent headshot or modeling portfolio photography, as there are big
differences; any model who goes to a portrait photography studio for their
modeling portfolio, and who tries to pass off portrait photographs as
a modeling portfolio, is going to find that their “modeling”
portfolio will be ineffective, and that they will not be able to compete
with models who have real modeling portfolios. You don’t think that
an art director who is evaluating models for a modeling job isn’t
going to know the difference between portrait photographs and appropriate,
professionally-relevant modeling portfolio photographs? Do you think that
they will consider a model who obviously took a shortcut and doesn’t
know what they are doing when they are also looking at experienced models
with strong portfolios? You get what you pay for.
If ANY photographer insists on shooting an entire modeling portfolio in
a studio in front of a backdrop, avoid them. You will not be able to get
a modeling portfolio with good range of looks in a studio setting, and
the most that you can hope for is a decent headshot. The best modeling
portfolios are shot on location, period, as they give you a more natural
look and a variety of real, organic backgrounds. Besides, a lot of new
photographers often use turn-key “just add water” set ups
with studio photography because they do not know what they are doing,
and use a studio photography set up as training wheels. Since all of the
pictures in a studio session tend to look the same, it is extremely difficult
to shoot an effective modeling portfolio in a studio. We haven’t
seen a single Tampa photographer who can do it, and if there is one, you
will certainly know that they can do it when you evaluate their portfolio.
Well, maybe not, too, as one of the keys to marketing photography is to
be able to replicate your work in you portfolio for clients in a cost-effective
manner. A studio photographer who is able to shoot portfolio-relevant
pictures in a studio might not be able to do the same type of job for
a model and their portfolio. Why? Because such photographers are usually
commercial photographers with studio sets, props and support staff who
usually do that work earning commercial photography rates, which are too
expensive for a model trying to get their modeling portfolio done. Unless
the model wants to spend a fortune paying commercial photography rates,
it is highly unlikely that the photographer can do the same kind of work
for the model at appropriate rates for modeling portfolio photography,
which is much lower than commercial rates. Also, if a photographer claims
that they can do that level of work at modeling portfolio rates, hold
them to it and make them put it in writing. Make them give you a written
guarantee. Make sure that the photographer can give you the same results
as the results that they are marketing their photography work with. As
a rule of thumb, though, studio pictures with simple backdrops should
be avoided for modeling portfolios, as they come off as simple portraits.
The more experienced the photographer is, and the more variety that their
modeling-relevant photography work shows, and the more valuable that they
are going to be.
As a rule of thumb, a professional modeling portfolio photographer, like
a professional model, will invest in their career, and will be able to
demonstrate that they have without having to tell you. Words are cheap
and can mislead you. Check up on them. If a so-called professional photographer
does not have a real web site with a domain name (a domain name is something
like www.AuroraPhotoArts.Com, or www.TampaBayModeling.Com ), does not
have a portfolio book with prints of their work in it, does not modeling
and talent-relevant work in their portfolio, does not have experience
taking pictures of models as a business, and does not have references,
avoid them. We do not recommend working with any photographers who operate
their businesses from a freebie social media account, such as Facebook
or Myspace, or a free portfolio networking site, especially one with an
unprofessional name; especially when that unprofessional name perfectly
describes what goes on at the site. So-called professional photographers
who operate off of such free networking profiles have no accountability,
and working with anyone who can disappear and easily start over again
is not only risky, but it can even be dangerous. If you can’t find
information about a photographer, and it is difficult to verify who they
are and what they do, skip them!
We recently read on a modeling web site message board that the Tampa Bay
market is “saturated with modeling photographers.” This is
true if you count the amateurs running around doing free shoots with amateur
models. It’s not true when you discard the amateurs and the hobbyists
who can’t really do anything for the careers of models. There are
just a few professional modeling portfolio photographers in the Tampa
Bay area, and there are far greater numbers of wedding and portrait photographers,
as the consumer market is larger and less qualified; for the consumer
photography market, the bar of professional standards is much lower, too,
and it’s easier. Another reason that there are so few professional
modeling portfolio photographers is that most photographers who start
a photography business discover that it’s a difficult market to
get work in, as there are fewer work prospects, and with the little work
that there is they face the toughest competition from photographers who
thrive in that specialized market, and those successful photographers
really know what they are doing. As a result, reality set in, and the
aspiring modeling and talent photographer retreats to the easier consumer
market doing portrait photography and wedding photography, as the standards
are lower, and there are far more job prospects (This is also why a photographer
with a successful track record in modeling and talent photography is difficult
to compete with if they also work the lower consumer market, as they are
better photographers to begin with, they know the difference between different
types of photography, and can easily adapt to a market with lower standards).
Regarding professional modeling portfolio photographers, there are even
fewer that have more than five years of work history in the modeling photography
field, and who have a long track record. So, no, if you only consider
the experienced, professional modeling portfolio photographers, as you
should, there really are not a lot of them.
3. Avoid free photography offers, TFP, TFCD, and TF shoots if you are
a new model. It’s ok to collaborate with other professionals after
your career is established, and you are no longer in the market for a
portfolio, as your experience can be a benefit to other professionals.
No experience, no demonstrated benefit, and the cards are stacked against
you. No professional is going to give you free photography if you are
in need of a portfolio, as that is no way to run a business, and if they
don’t know how to run a business, they won’t be able to do
anything for your career. Photographers who are incompetent in business
might as well have no credibility when part of that business is making
models marketable in their career. An amateur photographer, commonly known
as a “guy with a camera”, or GWC, might offer TFP, but really,
is an inexperienced amateur going to be able to do anything for your career?
At the most, you will end up with uswless pictures which are ineffective
in the marketing of your modeling career, and you will waste valuable
time. More typically, you will put yourself in a risky situation, and
may even learn some bad habits. Don’t play around with your career,
get serious, and invest in your career by only working with experienced,
professional photographers who are in business to give you the effective
portfolio that you need. If a photographer offers free photography to
new models, take them as seriously as they take their professional careers.
Avoid them and unnecessary risks.
buying a lot of career tools does not work if you don’t learn how
to use them. Investment is a combination of buying effective tools and
proper training. Talent must be developed into skill, and this takes time,
hard work, and professional guidance. If you have the best tools, you
have to know how to use those tools. Start small, learn, and work your
way up to where you need to be. Don’t run marathons if you can barely
walk, as you will only get trampled by the professionals who have properly
paid their dues. You will not be able to compete.
You can thrive in a market full of free alternatives if you invest in
your career and demonstrate both benefits and value to your target market.
You also have to work your market, but only those who have integrity last.
You are what you do, and you define your career with your actions. It’s
also much easier to compete when your competition eliminates themselves.
You have to invest in your career, as it is the foundation of professional
credibility. You also have to learn the business from professionals, and
practicing mistakes is not learning the business, as you only perfect
those mistakes. Amateurs assisting amateurs is the blind leading the blind,
and those people are left wondering why they can’t make it against
real professionals who invest in, and work, their careers.
Regarding modeling training, modeling schools, if they are not outright
scams which mislead people to convince them to sign up, are poor values.
We don’t know of a single modeling school in the Tampa Bay area
which is worth it. For modeling, all of the training that a model needs
is to work with qualified professional photographers with experience in
working with models and talent. Also, the best information on modeling,
in our opinion, is available free of charge here on Tampa Bay Modeling,
as well as on Independent Modeling, Florida Modeling Career, and Advanced
Model. The only modeling school that a model ever needs may just be right
Photography is a little trickier, as it is a more technical profession.
Tampa Bay Photographers will have good information and tools for photographers
who are serious about becoming a working professional photographer, as
well as being an excellent resource for professional photographers. Photography
school? We don’t care what the television commercials promise. We
have yet to see a Tampa photography school which is not a poor value,
and cannot recommend even the large ones which flood television with commercials.
Those who cannot make it in their profession teach; it’s that simple.
Would you rather pay a photography school a lot of money to learn the
mistakes of photographers who aren’t good enough for the business,
or would you pay less to work with a photographer who is actually working
a thriving photography career? Also, professional photography associations
with membership made up of photographers who have thriving careers is
a better value than any photography school, as you can learn from working
professionals. The same goes for modeling.
The key is to be a strong signal transcending the noise in today’s
modeling industry. Signal to noise is the way to thrive.
- C. A. Passinault.
Director, Tampa Bay Modeling
Top Tampa modeling and talent photographer and expert since 2000