Mikki, How Do You Get Paid to Model?

One question I have been asked a lot recently by models and photographers is how I get paid to model.

First, some background information:

I’ve been modeling for about 8 years, and traveling as a model for 6 years. After I modeled locally for two years, I had all online classes one semester in college and wanted to use my free time traveling as an art model. I already saw that other people did this, and I wanted to too. I reached out to a traveling model I knew based in Asheville. We talked on the phone for a couple hours discussing target markets and how to go about booking work, but there is one thing in particular that always stuck with me.

“Ask for your rates.”

So I followed that advice and started asking for my rates. It sounds so simple, but asking for my rates as a model is the number one technique I have used to successfully get paid as a model.

Keep in mind: I wasn’t “ready” when I started. I mean, I had a bomb portfolio even back then and I knew how to pose and was competent and professional. But as I’ve discussed with other models, there’s no such thing as being 100% “ready” to demand rates or start traveling or start making money from your art.

But I asked for it anyways, because I knew I was worth it. As I traveled and shot more, more people became familiar with me and my work.

Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to have contacts all over the place. I can simply let them know I am coming to the area, and I’m all set. And even if a photographer turns me down or isn’t aware, if they stick on my profile long enough they know I’m not being mean but just being honest: I ask for my rates because people pay my rates.

Photographers know that when they reach out to me, they should expect to pay to work with me.

It can be hard at first to ask for your rates. Don’t think of it as a shady pitch or as a sale. Instead, think about it like you are just informing someone that didn’t know. Whenever someone messages me I tell them,

“Thank you so much. Unfortunately I am only taking paid work at this time. If you’re cool with that cool! If not, no biggie. Thanks for the interest!”

The more we normalize models and artists of all types being paid, the more it helps everyone.

Getting paid to model takes time. You have to know your light. You have to know how to pose. You have to be highly skilled at what you do, but it is possible to get paid to model. And you will never be able to if you don’t just ask for your rates. So once you feel like you are ready to take the chance, go ahead and ask. You will quickly find out from the market if there is a high enough demand for your services to get you paid. So do it. Ask for your rates.

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