TAMPA BAY MODELING
REFERENCE GUIDE FOR MODELS
Bay Modeling - New Models:
How to get started - Tampa
Modeling Agencies - Tampa
Modeling Schools - Modeling
FAQ - Comp
Cards - Portfolios
Modeling Jobs - Modeling
GET STARTED IN MODELING IN TAMPA BAY
is a professional, educated opinion, and should not be taken as advice
of any kind. Use at your own risk; anyone doing anything described on
this site assumes complete liability.
Director, Tampa Bay Modeling
Lead Photographer and Designer, Aurora
PhotoArts Tampa Bay Photography and Design
you are an aspiring model, or a new model, and you found Tampa Bay Modeling
through an Internet search on modeling, or from word-of-mouth from a genuinely
smart model or a friend (We get a lot of that, because people know that
we know what we are talking about. Word is spreading!). That’s good,
as we are here to help. You want to model, and don’t know where
to start, especially with all of the confusing, conflicting information
on other modeling web sites, on modeling message boards, and in modeling
Well, we can start by saying that you should forget about some of the
advice given on other modeling sites and in modeling books. If they say
that the only way to model is the agency way, and try to say that there
are “land-based” and “online” models, they either
do not know what they are talking about, or are trying to limit you by
getting you into a modeling career where you are dependent upon others
whom may not have your best interests in mind. Don’t fall for the
propaganda. Don't allow others to limit you as a model. Dependence
upon others is a bad thing, and it is a mistake. Any business
or industry where any party has a monopoly over how things work enables
corruption and scams, and this is why you should never allow yourself
to be dependent upon a modeling agency or allow them to manage you or
tell you what to do. Sure, agencies have connections for modeling work,
but models can obtain and cultivate those SAME connections
on their own (without the competition which agencies will
automatically send to those connections. What, did you think that the
agency would only refer you to a job prospect? They work for your competition,
too!), and they can book themselves into those SAME modeling jobs that
they would usually get through the agency, at the SAME exact pay rate,
if not better. Agencies only have power over you if you allow
In many cases, people try to pass themselves off as modeling experts by
repeating the same lame, limiting, controlling information as everyone
else. They follow the crowd, and don’t think for themselves. They
try to make models think that there are limited ways of doing things,
when the opposite is true. In many cases, some of these people are attempting
to mislead new models so that they can scam them.
And, yes, new models, there are a lot of modeling scams out there. With
lots of competition in the modeling industry, and few modeling jobs, some
people simply feel that the best way to make money in the modeling industry
is to scam people who have dreams of becoming a model, and this is sad.
It doesn’t have to be that way. People who actually know what they
are doing know this, too.
There are a lot of modeling books out there which claim that the agency
way is the only way to be a model, and those books are written by models
whom are a part of the limited, old modeling industry. The information
is outdated. There is also confusion between the terms “land-based”
and “online” models. There really is no difference. What the
terms are supposed to mean is that a land-based model is an “agency-represented
model”, or a “real” model with a professional modeling
career, and an online model is a wannabe model who promotes their career,
online, without going through an agency, trying to book modeling jobs
on their own, and not succeeding. Terms aside, we have to agree that a
model who sticks with online promotion is doomed to have a limited career,
and is an amateur who should not be taken seriously, especially since
most "online" models do not bother to invest in their careers
and are notoriously flaky, but, likewise, a model who is dependent upon
a modeling and talent agency is also limited in their modeling career.
In fact, a model who is dependent upon anyone is limited, and allows themselves
to be controlled and, sometimes, even exploited by those who do not have
their best interests in mind. A true, professional independent model does
not allow dependence to factor into any facet of their modeling career.
Also, Independent modeling does not equal Internet modeling.
There is a difference, and, the fact is, only the ignorant don't know
it. If they don't know these things, what can they do for your career?
We know that they cannot follow through on their claims if they don't
know the business; only the models can find out for themselves, through
The truth is, there are agency-represented models, and freelance independent
models. The land-based and online descriptions are misleading because
promoting a modeling career online is only a small part of being an independent
model, and it does not define what an independent model is. An independent
model has an advantage over agency-only models, because an independent
model also uses modeling and talent agencies as one of many sources
of jobs. Independent models are not dependent upon agencies,
and therefore have an advantage over limited agency models. Independent
models, whom go out and demonstrate that they have value as a model, and
that they are bookable, also inspire agencies to work harder for them
simply because the agency doesn't want to be cut out of the commission
for a modeling job that the model will usually book without going through
them. As a result, the models whom are dependent upon the agencies for
jobs are often neglected, and rightfully so, which further increases the
advantage that an independent model has over agency models. An independent
model makes the agency work for them, like they are supposed
to, as well as react to them. Agency-only models do not have any
such leverage because they are entirely dependent upon the agency,
and the agency knows it.
The thing is, new models are ignorant (which
does NOT mean that they are not smart. There is a difference; learn it),
and there are unethical people out there who take advantage of new models.
The best defense for this is to educate yourself before making
the attempt to start a modeling career and to become a model.
New models, read the following steps to becoming a model, and take heed.
This is better information than you will find in any modeling book.
To Become A Model
1. Learn about modeling.
Read Tampa Bay Modeling, Independent
Modeling, Florida Models, and our other modeling resource sites. The
more you learn, the better off you will be as you start your modeling
career as a new model. Being a new model does not mean that you don’t
know what you are doing. It doesn't have to! Knowledge is power, after
all. Also read Modeling
Your Future, exclusively here on Tampa Bay Modeling
(and on Tampa Bay Modeling fliers which people are claiming are giving
them headaches with all of that information crammed onto a 4 X 5 inch
index card flyer. It’s easier to read on here. We promise!).
Also, don’t listen to the advice given out by local talent agencies.
We are now, as of January 24, 2015, hearing stories that they are giving
out bad advice and self-serving information which may not be in the best
interest of the model. Agents and their agencies have NO BUSINESS telling
you what to do; after all, they are supposed to be working for you. Also,
keep in mind that they work for your competition, too. Do you really want
to trust them? We certainly do not, especially as they keep proving to
us that they cannot be trusted.
If the agency wants to tell you what to do, insist that they hire you
and put you on payroll, where you are an employee and they have to withhold
payroll taxes and pay out for things such as Workers Comp. Make them pay
you minimum wage in addition to the pay from working modeling jobs. They
will not do that, however, even if they keep trying to do inappropriate
things such as act like your employer, because they work FOR you, you
are not an employee (you are technically an independent contractor, which
is a self-contained business), and the agency is a middleman which is
supposed to find and refer you to modeling jobs. Oh, and another thing:
They do not book you into those jobs. You have to go to the go-see (audition
or casting), and land it yourself, and the agency gets a 20% cut from
both the job and you IF you are booked into the job; you do ALL of the
work, and they agency merely refers you.
If an agency wants to manage you, insist that they only manage you on
an exclusive basis, because it is a conflict of interest for them to be
working for, and managing, your competition. It’s only fair, right,
if they are trying to tell you what to do if they are supposed to be working
Then we have agents who try to tell the model which photographer to work
with and what kind of photographs that they need. First of all, never
work with a photographer whom an agency refers you to, as you can never
be certain if the photographer is splitting fees with the agency, something
which is not only illegal, but also against the law, deceptive, and unethical.
Then we have agents who think that they know about photography. Well,
they are not photographers, and they are not casting directors, either.
If you want to know what is needed in your portfolio and for your composite
cards, go to a photographer whom specializes in this, and leave the agent
out of it. If the agent insists, fine. Make them take pictures for your
portfolio for free. Don’t be surprised if they waste your time because
the agent, surprise, is not a photographer and does not know what they
are doing. An agent whom thinks that they know more than a professional
photographer, or whom thinks that they can compete with one, is a fool,
and so is the model whom listens to them. You do want to be able to compete
with other models, don’t you? Well, those models have effective
portfolios and composite cards because they went to the source, which
is a professional modeling portfolio photographer.
That said, agencies do have their use if they accept their proper place
and do what they are supposed to do, which is work FOR the models. A smart
model uses agencies as one of many sources of jobs, and obtains representation
from several in the same market so that they agency is forced to work
harder for the model.
Don’t get scammed.
Avoid advertised modeling jobs especially if
they claim that no experience is needed. Avoid modeling schools,
as they are not worth it, in our opinion. Don’t buy anything from
anyone advertising modeling jobs. Don’t buy anything
from a modeling and talent agency, or anything that an agency tries to
sell you. Don't buy anything from anyone that an agency
refers you to, as you cannot be sure that the agency is not making money
from the referral (Florida modeling and talent agencies are only allowed
to make money by finding and referring models into jobs. They are forbidden
law from making money selling anything to models, by splitting fees
with those who make money by selling things to models, and from referring
models to photographers as a condition of representing the model. At the
time of this writing, it is illegal for agencies to make money off of
models by selling them things or by referring them to those who sell them
things, but you need to think about something. Although these practices
are illegal, and unethical if the agency is misleading the model and making
money in ways that an agency shouldn't, even if the State Of Florida did
a stupid, short-sighted thing like deregulate agencies and make such things
quasi-legal, don't you think that it is common-sense that these regulations
were imposed upon agencies to begin with, and that there was a good reason?
Laws could change one day, if the State Of Florida were to decide that
it was no longer cost-effective to look over the shoulders of agencies
and to make them accountable for what they do, but wrong is still wrong!
Use your brains, people!). If any modeling
and talent agency endorses a modeling boot camp workshop or any kind of
modeling school, RUN! (Sorry, angry model. What
you were trying to do is unethical, unprofessional, and a blatant conflict
of interest. You are not as smart as you think that you are, are you?
Do you really know what you are doing? Are you trying to set up yet another
modeling scam? Do idiot photographers kiss up to you and support you because
they do not know what they are doing, as well? No wonder you cannot compete
with real professionals! For those of you wondering what we are referring
to, there is an over-the-hill, man-hating, old-industry model who was
trying to do modeling boot camps in the Tampa Bay area, and she had an
agency sign off on it. They also hired her as their director of new faces
in full knowledge of what she was trying to do, putting her in the position
to refer new models to her boot camps, which makes us seriously question
the ethics of both the model and the agency. Don't get scammed, models!
As for the photographer who backed her, we would suggest that he learn
how the industry works before trying to work in an industry which he is
too ignorant to understand, as it is our opinion that he is supporting
someone who is doing something unethical. These people made the mistake
of attacking me and Tampa Bay Modeling, and they are paying for it. The
angry model has since left Florida, and is doing something else. We wish
that she would take lessons in manners and stop using profanity to get
her point across, as it is our opinion that she is crass and lacks class,
as well as learn to properly debate. In our opinion, and experience, most
modeling scams are run by jaded, burnt-out stage mothers, models, and
agency people who feel, we suppose, that it is their right to mislead
and rip off others. Fraud cannot be justified, regardless!) Under
Florida law, it is illegal, and agencies are not supposed to do that,
at all. Also, and this is very, very important for those clueless amateur
models out there who use free portfolio networking sites, and who think
that they can build an effective, professional modeling portfolio with
TFP/TFCD (most will find out the hard way that they can't, and they will
realize this when they don't book any work and cannot compete with real,
professional models, professional models who were smart enough to invest
in a professional portfolio from a qualified modeling portfolio photographer.
The professional modeling portfolio photographers will not work for free,
either, because if they are able to to give the models the portfolio that
the model has to have for their career, it would be a stupid way to run
a business giving away something beneficial for free. A professional does
not give away the store to those who are in the market for what they are
in business to do!), avoid high-risk modeling work until you
know what you are doing, and have decided what market that
you want to work, as high-risk modeling work will limit your
marketability as a model; high-risk
modeling includes nudes, glamour, boudoir, modeling in skimpy
bikinis, “sexy” modeling, fetish, and modeling in provocative
poses (New models should avoid high-risk modeling at all
costs, because it can destroy their modeling careers before it has a chance
to start! You can choose to ignore this and do whatever you want to if
you wish, but pictures are forever, and you'll find these lessons out
the hard way. You may also find out that
once the pictures are out there, that no one can undo them or remove them,
and the damage that can be done to the career of the new model may be
permanent. This is another reason that new models should
only work with established professional photographers who know what they
are doing, and avoid the risks of working with amateurs who do TFP/ TFCD.
Save the models... from themselves!). High-risk modeling is for
experienced professional models ONLY, models who have experienced
the full range of a modeling career, and who make an educated
choice to specialize in high-risk modeling. Any
new model who recklessly jumps into high-risk modeling is a fool,
in our opinion, and they deserve what happens to them and their modeling
career (sorry, but we've seen too much ignorance and willful stupidity
in the modeling industry lately, as well as idiots taking advantage of
ignorant new models, and it needs to be said). Even the experienced professional
model knows that high-risk modeling will permanently limit
their marketability as a model, and limit them to the few
legitimate high-risk modeling jobs which are out there. Why would you
accept limitations in your career? Do you think that a company is going
to want the face of a model who does things in their career which directly
conflicts with the image of their company to represent their product or
services (also, a model could be legally liable, in our opinion, if the
company finds out about potential conflicts after they are using the image
of the model, and the model failed to disclose what they have done)? Do
you think that they are going to tolerate conflicts when they have other
models, models who are just as good, who don't have such limitations?
New models, protect your image as a model, and maximize the potential,
and the market flexibility, of your modeling career! Sure, this is scary
stuff, but modeling for the new model can be safe if they take out the
time to learn more about it before jumping in.
Invest in your modeling portfolio before you go to any agency.
This is very important, because a lot of modeling agencies are scams which
make their money by selling portfolios and comp cards to models, instead
of finding models work. If you go to any agency without an established
modeling portfolio, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of
being scammed! Find a reputable professional photographer or photography
company which specializes in modeling portfolio work, and invest in a
five to six look modeling portfolio photography session. You will need
at least five looks for your composite cards.
Try to find a photographer who charges by the job, and make sure that
their portfolio demonstrates a range of good work, and that they guarantee
their work. Also, avoid booking the services of a photographer on rates
alone, as most photographers who charge low rates usually charge low rates
because that is all their work is worth; finding the cheapest photographer
is a false economy, and it could backfire (a real professional photographer
who is worth booking because they are actually able to give you a professionally
relevant, and effective, portfolio is going to know what fair rates are
for the market and for the job, and it won't be the lowest)! Avoid photographers
who charge by the hour, as haste makes waste. Avoid photographers who
have a lot of nudes and tacky pictures in their portfolio. Avoid photographers
who have no business shooting modeling portfolios, which include wedding
photographers, portrait photographers, and event photographers; make sure
that the work which is represented in their portfolio is professionally
relevant for modeling portfolios. Also, avoid shooting your modeling portfolio
in a studio setting, which is more appropriate for consumer portraits;
the best modeling portfolios are shot on location. To obtain an effective,
and professional, modeling portfolio, you will need a photographer who
has experience working with models; the more, the better. Wedding photographers
cater to a less specialized, consumer market, and most couldn’t
shoot a modeling portfolio if they had to. They dream of it, though. Do
NOT waste your money and time investing in a modeling portfolio which
will not allow you to compete with professional models!
The reason that you want to invest in a modeling portfolio before you
go to an agency is because a modeling and talent agency is only supposed
to work for a model, finding them jobs, and they are only supposed to
make money by referring models into modeling jobs. At the time of this
writing, it is against the law for any agency to make money by selling
modeling portfolios or by referring models to anyone who sells modeling
portfolios, and it's against the law for a good reason. An agency will
use your portfolio and composite cards, which you would already have when
you are trying to book modeling jobs, to market you. Agencies are not
supposed to manage you, as they work FOR you (as well as your competition,
who are other models whom they represent, too), are not supposed to tell
you what to do, and are not in business to sell models anything. Go to
an agency for a modeling portfolio, or to be referred to a “professional”
modeling portfolio photographer, and you open the door to being scammed.
Modeling and talent agencies are in business to find work for models,
and they are not as qualified to evaluate modeling portfolios as a photographer
who is in business to photograph modeling portfolios is.
You have to be sure that an agency is doing their job, and the
only way to ensure that is to make sure that they cannot make money by
selling you anything. If an agency refers you to a photographer,
you cannot be sure if they are making money from the referral or not.
If an agency is making money by referring models to photographers and
other services, there is no incentive to work for the model and get them
jobs, which takes more work to actually do, and is more difficult, than
it is to simply sell some chump aspiring model services (models going
to agencies to start a modeling career, especially when they are unprepared,
are easy targets for scams). In Florida, making money by referring to
photographers or by selling models portfolios is also against the law.
Go to someone who is qualified to give you a modeling portfolio,
and who is also honest about what they are in business to do.
Be safe and efficient. Go to a modeling portfolio photographer.
- 12/07/11 - 09/11/13/1124 - 11/16/13/1024 - 01/24/15/1119
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