What should be the cost of starting a modeling career is a question that has been asked over and over again. There have many opinions on the subject and misinterpretations of the answer. Modeling is a business, and like all businesses requires investment by you. These investments may be in time and effort or in money, but you cannot hope to be successful as a “professional” model without making them. At a minimum, you will need to invest in the following:
1. Pictures The single most important thing you need is good pictures, in the proper style, to represent yourself. You may find qualified photographers who will shoot you at reduced or no cost, but that is by no means assured. Generally, models must be prepared to spend several hundred dollars at the beginning of their career, and to invest more on a regular basis to keep your “book” or “comp card” updated. Some models (typically young women) may find that they can get pictures done free or for greatly reduced rates, but all models should be prepared for the likelihood that they will have to pay for pictures. Often what you get for free serves the needs of the photographer, not yours. It is relatively rare to find a good photographer who is willing to shoot commercially useful pictures for free.
2. Comp Cards/Headshots Your agency will need photos of you that they can send to casting directors – and they won’t get them back. So you must have printed “composite” cards (for commercial and fashion models) and/or “headshots” (for actors/actresses). “Comps” may run $80-$200 or so; headshots should cost $50-$100. A model can start with only a printed headshot, but a comp is much preferable as soon as enough good pictures are available.
3. Self-presentation skills a model should have a good basic understanding of runway technique, makeup and wardrobe, and may require some guidance on posture and other self-presentation issues. There are a variety of ways to get these things, some relatively inexpensive, and some costing in the hundreds of dollars