You don't have to sign with a modeling agency to get work. Models have become active entrepreneurs who promote themselves to potential clients in a wide variety of ways. In fact, you can divide your time spent on your career between actual modeling and marketing. If you market consistently, you can get top-notch jobs and create a steady income from your modeling business.


To update your modeling portfolio and put out the word that you currently seek work, make yourself available for testing. In the modeling business, this means offering your modeling services free to a photographer who wants to try out new lighting, new cameras, makeup ideas or new processing techniques. You won't get paid, but you can ask to get copies of the pictures instead of payment. The photographer may call you for paid jobs in the future. This lets the industry know you want to stay active.

Comp Cards

Models use composite cards, often called "comp cards," to show prospective clients what kind of modeling they can do. These cards contain a montage of photographs with different looks. This means different makeup, hair, lighting and styling to demonstrate your versatility. A local print shop can make a comp card for you. Include your contact information on the cards, and hand them out freely whenever you meet new people.


When it comes to website self-promotion, you have two main choices. The first is to place your images on sites that promote models. These sites charge a fee to post your pictures and contact information, but those fees can be less expensive than putting up your own website. Your personal website is the other option. It will cost you to pay for web hosting, but you will have it all to yourself. You can use all available pages to advertise your services, and update it with as many pictures as you want to. Clients will ask for a website of some kind, so if you can't afford your own, put your images on one or two modeling sites so you can provide clients with a link to your work.

Ads in Trade Publications

You can place ads in local photography publications. Advertise to photographers, because they often are the ones that must look for models for photo shoots. Repeat your ads periodically, with a different look each time. Getting hired depends on having just the look the photographer wants, so showing more looks increases your chances of getting hired.

Direct Mail Campaign

Mail your comp card to boutiques and fashion designers in your area. Include a letter stating that you are available for modeling work. Small shops tend to coordinate their own photo shoots, so you stand a better chance of getting hired by them than you do by contacting major corporations who use modeling agencies.

Call Art Directors

Art directors make the decisions about who to hire for photo shoots at advertising agencies and at magazines. This includes online magazines. Contact art directors and explain that you would like them to keep you in mind for upcoming promotions, advertising or photo features. Send a comp card to the ones that ask you to, along with a letter reminding them they asked to see your work.

Social Media

Your personal friends are not the ones who will hire you for modeling jobs. Use social media sites that cater to professionals. For example, post your modeling resume and picture on LinkedIn, and start networking with business owners, photographers, makeup artists and stylists. These are the people who will contact you when they need to provide a model for a photo shoot. Twitter also features many professionals. Make all of your posts about your modeling services, and post often. Your networking among professionals will bring you contacts that can pay for professional modeling.