Many aspiring models feel that because they are beautiful, photographers will line up to take their photos. In some rare instances, this might actually be true. But at the same time, you need to position yourself in a way that advances your career and uses all of your available resources to your advantage. I've worked with numerous models that are substantially more attractive than major successes like Brittany Spears or Paris Hilton. So why aren't they also huge successes? Because being extremely successful in this industry generally involves more than just good looks.
It is important to recognize that there are thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of aspiring models out there and they're all seeking work. If you are serious about advancing your career, then it is important that you take steps to distance yourself from the pack and give yourself every advantage you can over the countless others all seeking the same things.
Don't settle for situations where working with someone will not benefit your portfolio or your career. And by all means, if you're at all serious about modeling as a career or a potential source of income, be extremely discriminant about the photos you use in your portfolio. I will say this repeatedly in these pages, your portfolio is not a scrapbook.
With that said, a career in modeling usually requires a model to start from the bottom and work her way up. This means that not all jobs will be glamourous or high paying. And sometimes the best opportunities in your career will barely seem like opportunities at all.
It is important to consider all opportunities very carefully. And if you're already accustomed to getting paid for your time, it is important toconsider when collaborating with a photographer for "free" may be worth more than any monetary reimbursement for time.
For example, photographers may sometimes work on creative projects that don't involve compensating the participants. Yet the results from such a project could end up being worth their weight in gold and one of the highlights of your portfolio. A single photo could get you exposure leading to countless more paid opportunities.
Written by Los Angeles photographer, Zero Dean.