This section provides some useful links to a variety of information and vendor resources for the working freelance model or for prospective models wanting some background information before jumping into the business. If we can recommend a source from personal experience, we will; if we have no personal experience with a particular source, we’ll try to note that as well. As always, do your own research and perform your own due diligence before sending your money to a vendor. The Internet is a marvelously comprehensive resource in itself, and if you know how to filter out the noise, good information is available on virtually anything you have an interest in. So is bad information, if you’re gullible, so… caveat emptor.
Modeling information sites
General information on the modeling business is readily available all over the Internet, but unfortunately the more you read, the more confused you’re likely to get. Perspectives vary from local to international, and many so-called sources are thinly veiled recruiting appeals for their own interests. Some self-proclaimed sources about the entire industry are mostly just diaries of one person’s experience—interesting reading, perhaps, but not a useful guide from which to generalize advice for your own career. Our advice? Look for common themes. Those things that all the sources agree on are likely to be the points of useful information that you can reliably integrate into your own career map. That said, here are a few sites that we do recommend:
NewModels.com One of the most reliable and respected sources for modeling information on the Internet. This is the first place we always send people who call us about getting started in the modeling business (after sending them here, of course, heh).
The Busine$$ of Modeling Tips from well-known model photographer and mentor, Joe Edelman. Joe’s a photographer, not a writer, so don’t expect a lot of elegant prose, but for an insider’s perspective on how to manage the business, this is a good place to start.
Modeling Advice Another unevenly written source for modeling information, but the advice is generally reliable.
Benjamin Kanarek Blog Benjamin Kanarek is a fashion photographer who maintains a blog that primarily discusses the fashion photography industry. There’s no how-to modeling information here, but there is lots of current information about trends in fashion modeling from an industry insider. Full disclosure: I have an article on the BK blog also (don’t let that deter you from visiting Ben’s blog though).
Thoughts of a Hobbyist Model A well written, informative blog by working model, Rachel Jay. Her take on escorts is especially insightful, and her links to other informative sites are extensive and helpful.
Adventures of a Traveling Model A blog by sassy glamour model, Jessica Robinson. Not a lot of general information about the business, but an entertaining read with some useful perspectives on how to present yourself as a working professional.
Model networking sites
Model Insider A relatively new site with a spiffy interface and what appears to be a good set of networking features. However, we’ve had a Sourcelight profile here for over a year without much activity, so unless the site begins to show some unexpected growth, it’s hard to recommend it at the moment.
Model Woot Relatively new site with few members and little activity after its first year, and probably won’t grow much more. Uses a Facebook-like interface. We had a profile but dropped it because of the small membership and consistent inactivity. Not highly recommended.
Model Harmony Another start-up site with few members and little activity to date. We had a profile here for awhile, but the lack of activity and surprisingly unprofessional management caused us to drop it. Your mileage may vary, but from our perspective, not highly recommended
Muse Cube An older site with little activity. Not highly recommended.
Models.com Very international flavor. Functions more like an agency-model registry than a freelance portfolio host. Strange critique section by site members following each model’s portfolio.
Prime ModelingPrime Modeling claims to be a networking site where models can connect with agency representatives. Whether it works or not… who knows? The sign-up is free, however, so if you want to try it out, come back and tell us how it went.
Artnudes Network Small site specifically dedicated to models and artists, including traditional (non-photographic), who want to create fine-art nude images. Not a lot of activity, but it’s refreshing to find an informal model/artist networking site that specifically doesn’t cater to garage-glamour nudes. If the fine-art nude genre is of interest to you, sign up and give them your support.
Comp Card printers
Model C Cards, Zed Card Printers, Model Cards, Buy Comp Cards, Comp Card, My Zed, and Comp Card Express are all Internet-based comp card printers offering basic products and services for reasonable prices. I don’t have personal experience with them, so I can’t vouch for their quality or their service. Most do offer a free or low-priced print proof, so before you order 250 cards, be sure you approve the quality of their work.
Color Comp Cards uses the premium custom offset lithographic printing process and offers some of the highest quality printing and card stock available. The cost is a bit higher, but not significantly so.
Portfolio Book vendors
Portfolio Mart A nice selection and range of affordable professional modeling cases in 9 x 12, 11 x 14, and 8½ x 11 sizes. The prices range from as low as $20 to as high as $80.
Itoya This California company’s Art Profolio line is an excellent low-cost alternative to more expensive books. The Evolution EV-12-9, a clean vinyl-covered book with simulated stitching around the edges, can be purchased from respected online photo equipment giant Adorama, for example, for a measly $7.47. The PU-24-9 is a surprisingly luxurious case that goes for around $35. Itoya doesn’t sell directly from its website, so you’ll have to track down one of the distributors listed on the site. We’ve purchased numerous items from both Samy’s and Adorama over the years, and can recommend either one. If you can find an Aaron Brothers Art & Framing store in your city, you may be in luck—at least some of the outlets carry Itoya portfolios. Boise, Idaho models rejoice—there’s one in town and it carries Itoya products.
Brewer-Cantelmo offers custom made portfolios with prices to match.
Business Rating/Review sites
These sites exist primarily as user-rating repositories. Sadly, very little in the modeling business is officially licensed, although some jurisdictions do require agencies to register as employment agencies, so it’s rare to find any official ratings of businesses. Any business that maintains a “landing page” presence on sites like Google Maps or Yahoo’s Local Listings is subject to customer reviews, although it’s easy for the business to fake positive reviews and negative reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt. The sad truth in business is that unhappy customers always tell everyone while satisfied customers just coo happily to themselves.
Unfortunately, the only business-rating organization that most people know about—the Better Business Bureau—is largely useless. The BBB is a membership organization and only rates businesses that have paid expensive dues to belong. If they receive complaints about a business, they will investigate, but all the business has to do is file a response to have the complaint expunged or “closed”. Personally, I don’t know a single photography business or modeling agency that belongs to the BBB.
Here are a few sites that you can use to check up on businesses that serve the modeling industry:
Complaints Board Just type in the name and location of the business you’re investigating to find out if there have been any complaints. If you have experience with the business—either good or bad—write your own review. It’s not perfect, but it’s probably your best option for information about photographers and modeling agencies in your area.
Biz Compare Not a complaint registry, this site just compares the particular business you’re interested in with industry-wide metrics for all businesses of that type.
The following are consumer-oriented rating sites, similar to Google Maps or Yahoo’s Local listings. Unfortunately, you will only find reviews of businesses that have taken the initiative to create a profile on that site.
Credit Card Processing
Square is a credit/debit card processing application that comes with free software and a miniature card-swipe device that simply plugs into your smart phone’s or tablet’s audio connection. The account set-up is free and virtually instantaneous. Your transactions will be charged a 2.75% processing fee (if you physically swipe the card; it’s 3.25% + $.15 per transaction for phone orders), but there are no other fees involved.
Treasure Valley, Idaho Resources
If any of them ever return a message so that we can check them out, we’ll see if any are worth recommending. At the moment, alas… Our best recommendation? If you really want to work in the Northwest, build a killer portfolio and make the rounds of top agencies in Seattle. Give us a call and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Model Portfolio Photographers
Sourcelight Photography Sure, we’d love to help you get started in your modeling career. Services include preliminary consultation, modeling photography, and portfolio book and comp card design and production.
GlamourEyes Artistry Kristen Tomlinson is in Meridian. We’ve only had one opportunity to work with her early in her career, but were very impressed by her skills and professional approach.
Graphics and Web Design
If you’re interested in setting up your own blog or personal modeling website, or looking for help in designing your presentation materials, these vendors are people we’ve worked with and trust.
Y-Axis Amit Thakkar is one of the best graphic designers and absolutely the best 3-D animator I’ve worked with. A dependable professional with shrewd business instincts who can help you organize your presentation, including a viable web presence, into a dynamic brand.
Patrick S. Perkins Patrick is a “WordPress wizard” and a genuinely nice guy who specializes in customizing the design of WordPress-based websites and optimizing them for search engines. If you want your website to be visible to Google or to run on either an iPhone or an iPad (now that Apple has declared war on Flash), you’re going to need to build it in some architecture other than Flash, and the easiest way to get started is through a WordPress blog template. When you run into problems (and you will), Patrick’s your man.