For decades aspiring models have been told to pay this or that to get started in the modeling industry. They’ve been ripped off, lied to, or taken advantage of, and it’s sad.

One of the most common things I hear is, “I don’t have money to start modeling”. I understand why you think this. You’ve been taught that. You’re told “it takes money to make money”, including having to pay for photographers, make-up artists, agencies, modeling school, managers, etc!

The truth is if you’re willing to put in work, you can start modeling without paying a dime.

Wow Heidi – That sounds amazing. But how?

Well, you’re in the right place.

In this “Modeling Without Money” blog series, I’m going to give you a few tips that will allow you to build your modeling portfolio and skills even if you don’t have the funds to do it at the moment.

We all need to start somewhere. The first thing a model needs is photos, right? Well if you can’t afford your dream photoshoot yet, you can do trade shoots and collaborations.

What’s a trade shoot?

A trade shoot is when the model and photographer both want new photos for their book or social media. They’re willing to shoot you for free in exchange for great photos and a good model. It’s a win/win!

Now, photographers are just like you and Ithey don’t want to be taken advantage of.

Of course if photography is their full time job they want to make money too. The trade shoot should benefit you both, and hopefully help make more money in the near future. It’s also a great way to network.

Maybe you can send the photographer a paying customer in the future, or perhaps they might have a paid job for you at a later time. However, please don’t expect just because you’re attractive the photographer will shoot you for free/trade. Remember it’s needs to be beneficial for you both. What can you bring to the table? Think about that and then frame your request as a “win-win” proposition.

Once you’re ready, search for a photographer you can gain access to.

I recommend searching social media. When you search social media you can see their work and who else they’ve shot. Which is VERY important. If you’re a fan of what I teach, you might know I talk a lot about shooting with good photographers, never just a random dude who has a camera. The idea is to shoot with photographers that have experience, understand angles and know how to edit their own work.

Just because you’re excited to shoot doesn’t mean you should shoot with anyone…even if it is free.

There’s a lot of talented photographers out there, so do your research PLEASE.

Trade shoots don’t just work for photography, it also works with make-up artists, stylists, and others.

Remember, know one owes you anything. When you reach out to these artists, please send DMs or emails that are professional and make them want to respond. Not, “hey do you wanna shoot trade? Lmk.” I would never return an email like that. Time is money. Always think win win.

Once you have new photos to show the world, post them on social media, tag the photographer and do the whole thing over again. Start looking for your next collaboration until you have a model book you’re proud of. This might seem like a lot of work, but you want to model, right?

Everytime you shoot with a photographer, make-up artist, hair stylist, etc, you are all expected to tag each other in the photos. This will lead to new opportunities and open doors to build your network, including the possibility of getting signed by a modeling agent or manager.

If you need more modeling help, be sure to subscribe to my email list to get my next free article on how to model without money or, when you do start making a few bucks, sign up for my monthly model coaching calls here.

Now Go Get Into It and Good Luck!

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