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Modelling Paperwork

If you think modelling is all bikinis and champagne – think again. Modelling is a job, and like any job, it comes with its fair share of paperwork. In fact, as models are usually self-employed (not to be confused with freelance – models signed with agencies are also self-employed, because the agency doesn’t directly employ them and pay them a wage) they have more paperwork than a normal 9 to 5 office job.

Here are some of the forms that a model will use on a regular basis:

Model Release BuyoutModelling Paperwork

This document is signed by the model and a witness and states that the model gives the photographer, client or client representative the right to use the photos. It will detail how the images are allowed to be used, including as a whole or in part, with transformations and fictitious names, and for promotion, art, trade, advertising etc. It will state that the model relinquishes the right to examine the images before they are used for promotional purposes or to object if they  don’t like the final result. The release must state that the model is above the age of consent and able to sign for themselves. If they are not, then a guardian must sign on their behalf.

Self-Promotion Copyright licence

If you do Time for Print work, you need to make sure you get it in writing that you are allowed to use the photos for your own purposes. Without this signed piece of paper, the photographer could force you to stop using them for your portfolio or for sending to modelling agencies. This ‘copyright licence’ can be narrow, meaning you are only allowed to use the images for restricted uses, or it can be broad, giving you more rights. However, the wording must be negotiated with the photographer, so their preferences will have to be balanced with yours.

Agency Application Letters

In many cases you can apply to an agency online, by filling in a form and attaching your pictures. However, sometimes you may need to apply by post, or even via direct email. An agency application letter should include your reason for writing (that you’d like to be represented by their agency), your comp card if you have one, your physical statistics, age and education. You can also describe any experience you have and you should tell them if you already have a non-exclusive contract with any other agencies. If possible it should be addressed to the relevant person in the agency, rather than just ‘Dear Sir / Madam’. Application letters should be formal and businesslike, not chatty or filled with rows of exclamation marks or overly emotional statements about how much it would mean to you to be signed to that modelling agency.