How Much Does it Cost to Get Started as a Commercial Model?

The very first step in becoming a model (and I know this might sound a little strange), but is to first create an acting head shot. I understand that people will ask, if I am interested in modeling, why would I create a head shot.

There are two reasons for doing this first.

1. Creating a head shot will automatically allow you to be considered for commercial modeling jobs. When I first got started, I created a head shot, and actually booked some modeling jobs right from my head shot.

2. The second reason for starting off your modeling career with a head shot is because the majority of commercial modeling composite sheets (also known as zed and comp cards) will have a head shot on the front.

The cost of getting a head shot can vary quite a bit. If you can find a photography student who is great at taking head shots, then your cost will be almost nothing. Normally, head shot photographers (and I would only use someone who really knows how to take great head shots) depending on your area, can charge anywhere from $175-$700. I would say that outside of New York and Los Angeles, you can expect to pay somewhere around $300 on the average.

After getting the head shot, you will need to get the head shot printed. There are many types of printers you can use. Some, very high quality printers will charge around $1.00 – $1.25/head shot, and you can find lower quality printers who will charge around .65 -.75 cents per head shot.

After a head shot you will want to create some commercial photos. Having strong commercial pictures will give you your best chance for getting commercial modeling work.

If you did hire a photographer for your head shot, the most economical way to get the commercial pictures is to having them shot the same day as your head shot. Sometimes that simply is not possible. Perhaps you are not ready to create a commercial shot, or you want to shoot on location and the head shot photographer is not willing to leave the studio.

You can always see if there are students who are willing to go on location in order to get the exact photos you need.

The only other startup cost one will have when beginning their modeling career; will be getting the photos turned into a composite sheet. In The Industry Information Directory that people receive free when ordering my book, How to Become a Successful Commercial Model, gives people lots of contacts including 16 printing companies that will turn your photos into comp cards. You can easily spend less than $100 and get all of the head shots or comp cards that you need to start with.

The only other cost you might find is if you pay to be on an agent’s web site. That fee will be anywhere from $40-$200 per year.

So depending on how you get your photos taken, you could actually pay less than $100 to break into the modeling industry.