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  • Writer's pictureKamla-Kay McKenzie

3 direct ways to earn extra cash as a part-time model

I get it! You want to earn extra income but so many of the jobs you find online are actually time consuming and in most cases, kinda boring.

But what if you could do something that you agree to based on your own random availability and that is actually fun, maybe even allows you the extra income to travel with your family and friends...

What if you could do modeling and get to live out that childhood dream you had of being in a magazine or on TV.

Maybe you need to keep your full-time job to pay the bills, your parent/partner isn't in agreement with you making modeling a full-time career and the list of hold-ups goes on.

What if modeling part-time allowed you to keep your family and financial obligations in tact and still be able to feel like you get to pursue your dreams?

As a model, depending on your location, your agency (or if you choose freelance without being agency signed), your skill level in front of the camera, how high end (quality) your portfolio looks, or even just how good of a single headshot that you have, there are so many variations in how often a model can work, how much they make and how much they get to travel.

Because the opportunities in the industry are so varied, modeling is a great part-time career that can still be lucrative for someone who wants to pursue their dream while having a focus on another career or while needing to have a flexible work schedule.

1) Part Time Modeling through Agency

For anyone hoping to make some extra cash, a good way to be able to do part-time work is to sign with a Talent Agency...or multiple talent agencies.

Talent Agencies often represent what is referred to as commercial or lifestyle models where they look for beautiful, model-like faces but you do not have to be a fashion model nor do you have to be super super tall to get signed.

Some of these talent agencies also represent a category called "real people" which would be the average person walking down the street; not necessarily model in looks or appearance.

To see an example of talent agencies, below are a listing of just a few that you can research to learn more about talent agencies:

  • Alexa Model & Talent Management in Tampa, FL

  • Bella Agency in NY and LA

  • Locke Management in North Carolina

  • The Campbell Agency in Dallas

  • Stellar Talent Agency in Miami

  • Block Agency in Nashville

  • Talent Florida & Talent Direct in Miami

  • Peak Models in California

There are hundreds in the USA so research away based on your city of living.

(For tips on how to get agency signed - check out my other article on how to become a petite model)

Talent Agencies often send out casting call information to their signed models from clients who are looking for talent in specific roles.

A casting call is essentially a job post where a client is searching for/auditioning specific talent for the role at hand.

The best thing about this is if you are available to submit yourself for the casting and the shoot date, you can let the agency know you are available for consideration if you fit the description of what the client is looking for.

If your schedule does not allow you to attend any castings, or the dates of the potential direct booking (a direct booking is when the client books you directly from a headshot they see of you) do not work for your schedule, then you can tell the agency that you are not available.

The talent agencies will have work ranging from live events, to print work (think magazines), to TV commercials.

As an example, a model who took my model coaching class, got signed to an agency about 6 weeks after finishing my course and her 1st modeling job through the talent agency (as a part-time model) paid her $1,600 USD for a non-speaking TV commercial role.

Below is a sample email that I received from one of my Talent agencies regarding a Direct Booking shoot in which I booked the job directly from my high quality portfolio images. As you can see, the subject line from my agency said "booked", the client outlined the details of the shoot including date, travel information and of course confirmation of my pay.

As you can see, I was paid $1,750 for the shoot minus 20% agency commission taken from my check.

2) Freelancing as a Background Extra

Also, Talent Agencies tend to do a lot of TV commercials. TV commercials usually have people on the commercial who are called Background Extras.

Background Extras are the people who fill in "the gaps" around the main actors for the commercial throughout the background area while the main actors stand in the foreground.

So take for example a commercial where 2 main actors (called Principle Talent) are inside of McDonalds eating. The people seen in the background at other tables, placed there to create a realistic setting, are known as background extras.

Sometimes, depending on if the client has these people doing a specific "featured" action in the commercial, they may have what is considered a featured extra role.

These background talent usually make $125-$300 per day that they are on set depending on the role given.

There are also a host of sites that you can sign up on WITHOUT being signed to a modeling agency for the purposes of getting background extra work or other modeling gigs strictly as a freelance model/actor.

Sites such as Frontrunner Casting, Backstage and Casting Networks traditionally will allow aspiring models/actors to register to be a member on their sites. Many of these sites charge a small monthly or yearly fee but it is very reasonably priced in comparison to the potential for paid work.

You will generally be asked to upload a few professional headshot photos as well as your stats info such as your height, age, body measurements etc.

Once opportunities come along that fit that of your profile of what a client is looking for, the company will send an email to those who fit the desired look.

man and woman Kamla-Kay at office desk with camera equipment
Behind the Scenes (BTS) of a Direct Booking job

3) Stock Photography Freelance Modeling

First and foremost, let me say that I do not recommend for anyone to do stock photography if they are looking to have a serious modeling career.

This is more so for anyone looking to do modeling for fun, part-time, to make extra cash and to have some involvement in the modeling industry without making it a CAREER.

Now, what is stock photography if you are unsure...

Stock photography is when a photographer shoots images of models or everyday people and items in various settings for the purpose of reselling the images on sites such as Shutterstock.

If you ever go to stock photo sites and type in "woman at beach" for instance or "man shaving", those were instances typically when a shoot was planned with set themes for the purposes of capturing everyday images that companies can then purchase for use for their marketing content and websites.

This means that the photographers typically pay the models a small rate, maybe $100-$300 for a shoot and then the photographer then has the right to then resell those images...usually at much higher rates.

If you are someone who will get excited at randomly seeing your photo on a website, ad etc. as a result of the stock photo shoot that you did, then go for it as often as you wish to make the extra money and to have that experience in front of the camera.

However, if your goal is to work with a top agency one day and to make modeling more of a real career change for you, then the stock photo industry is usually not suited for those goals.

On a case by case basis, this can sometimes limit how much other brands, clients and even agencies are willing to pay you once your images are plastered/saturated everywhere on stock photo sites.

Hope that these 3 methods of pursuing modeling on a part-time freelancer basis will get you started in exploring the world of modeling.

As always, if you want more one-on-one private coaching on how to make modeling a full-time or part-time career, feel free to reach out to me.


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