Header image by Craig Dick and Doli

What does it mean to be a freelance model? It means you: choose your own rates, choose your own levels, choose your own working conditions, choose your own photographers. To put it simply… Choose to be your own boss :)

A lot of models choose to be freelance models because they like to be in control of their own modelling careers, they work when they want with who they want, and they aren’t paying some agency a chunk of their paycheck!

Are you an aspiring freelance model?

Here are some things you will want to consider when embarking in this new, and very independent career choice, in no particular order:



Record everything, via Google Spreadsheets/Google Docs (free), you ideally want to keep track of all of your work interactions, and these are nice, easy to use platforms, and all you need is a google account. If you are new to the freelancing aspect of things, you should declare yourself as self-employed in regards to your taxes, you can be employed and self-employed at the same time by the way.

This is a useful GOV.UK link for our UK members, US government guidelines are here, which will hopefully answer all your questions about the paperwork side of things.



Be prepared to do a lot of this, and in an engaging way (you are your own agent!), so make an effort with your messaging! We definitely recommend keeping comms on-site because if a problem arises we can help you A LOT more easily. 

We recommend using Grammarly, a free writing tool Google extension that ensures you’re not making embarrassing spelling blunders, among other grammatical slip-ups. Clear, concise, friendly yet completely professional communications are what you ought to aim for.



Have a social media presence, and have clear, available info about what you offer, your rates and of course your contact details in the appropriate areas. 

Be aware that your Facebook rants are probably damaging your business, try your best to separate your personal and professional life. First impressions really do count for something in this industry. If you want to book those shoots, you don’t want to give people any reason to dislike you.




Be prepared to travel for work. If you live in the middle of nowhere, you may have to consider acquiring your own means of transport. Remember that face coverings are now required on public transport.



There is a reference system on PurplePort, please use it!! It’s located at the bottom of people’s Profile Notes, always check that section when vetting your collaborators. Another thing you can do to be thorough is a check-in with other models that have worked with said photographer/studio/etc. It’s common practice if you’re looking for more reassurance when booking shoots. We run a pretty tight ship here, but please be aware of the risk out there in the big bad world of scammers and catfishers. Remember that we have an amazing feature that allows you to google search people's images on PurplePort via the grey cog drop-down menu when viewing an image on-site.

Also - don’t go putting yourself in physical danger just because it might make a good photo, be aware and be safety conscious, don’t do anything you don’t want to do - you are the boss of you and your income; you decide.


Self-care is, of course, important for everyone, but especially for you lovely models; a good sleep regime, exercise regime, good food, and a good skincare/hair routine, (yes, having spa days is part of the job woohoo!), and also time spent being kind to yourself should factor in.

It’s not all about the physical is it, so try not to fall into the slippery comparison trap too often if you can help it, you focus on your own awesomeness and have fun!


Research, study the industry, study your fellow freelance models and their success, learn how it all works, and turn a little time well-spent researching into your own success. We also have a bunch of useful Articles that we think will help here on PurplePort!


Portfolio, get what you need first, headshots, full-length images, and show off your uniqueness if you can! Got a cute collection of freckles somewhere, or maybe statement bushy fashion brows? Work it people!


Quality of content, take time to EDIT your portfolio/galleries, you do not want every photo ever taken of you to be on there, okay. Keep it fresh and fun and engaging.


Collaborate, with who you want. Create work with people that inspire you when you can, maintaining your passion for creating beautiful images is important too, but remember that you need to be able to support yourself and your lifestyle.


Reliability is a key quality of a successful model. If you want repeat shoots with people, and to maintain a good reputation, you must work hard on being extremely reliable. That word “reliable” given in a reference about a model is music to photographers’ ears. Nobody wants to book a flakey model, unreliability is no bueno in this industry.


Talk, talk to the PurplePort Community, if you haven’t noticed already, our Groups and discussions are more active than any of our competitors by far. We’re really incredibly lucky to have such a helpful and vibrant community here, so please don’t be afraid to say hello and voice your queries. Then there is also our wonderful Support Team, who are happy to help with any problems, simply write up a support ticket explaining the issue.


Browse PurplePort, there are TONS of useful Articles on PurplePort regarding working in the model-photography industry! And pro tips on making the most out of PurplePort itself, as this site is peppered with amazing tools and shortcuts to make your life easier. 


Be Professional in all facets of your profession, messaging, behaviour, whatever, it’s good to have fun, but keep in mind that a lack of professionalism on your part can exacerbate things for yourself. You need that box checked at all times if you want peace of mind.


Time management, if you get a good system of managing your time, man will you flourish in this business. If you don’t know where to start with this one, go and learn from the best, someone that has this quality and whom you admire greatly for it. Invest in a book or read up on it online if you think you need to - it’s definitely worth your time and effort.


Irregularity of income, be aware of this and take measures to ensure that you always have enough to see you through your monthly expenditures. Bear in mind that for some there is a seasonal nature to model work so please plan for that possibility. Take care you don’t mistakenly splurge money on inessential items! And my goodness be sensible and make sure you have some put away for those modelling dry spells <3



What I have not mentioned, is I am sure well documented in our numerous Articles written by us the PurplePort Team, and also many a helpful member from the PurplePort Community! So be sure to have a good read through all of that highly useful information you aspiring freelance models! Whether it’s portfolio musts or portfolio notes don’ts, or getting the most out of PurplePort, there is plentiful documentation to help answer all the niggles and queries you may have.

A little time spent doing your homework will definitely make your modelling careers a lot more fun and relaxed, and hopefully brimming with photoshoot opportunities!

I hope this blog post proves useful to some, feel free to send me, Penelope Purple, your modelling stories or things you think the community might like, or content you’d like to see here on the Purple Blog, feedback is also welcome.

Look out for more tips and advice from our wonderful PurplePort Community in the Groups, Articles and Comments below! Just remember: be safe, be kind, be compassionate, be honest :)

Here're some helpful, hand-picked further reading Articles, filled with much more in-depth guidelines about some freelance modelling specifics, we recommend anyone new to modelling or PurplePort to definitely read them:

Quick guide for newbie models

New to modelling: How to become a model... Hints, tips & how to's

How to get paid modelling work on PurplePort

Agencies: Facts, fiction and FAQs

Important information for younger aged members between 16 and 18

Why is it important to use PurplePort for all shoot communications?

Shooting TF: Expectations and Agreements

A model's tips for UK tours

Create more impact with your Casting Calls

Some common Q&As

Glossary of Terms

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