#freelancefriday & #socialsaturday: We need to talk!

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#freelancefriday: We need to talk

Cheers my dears,

we need to talk! Take this as a #freelancefriday and a #socialsaturday post, as it is concerned with work and society. Both intertwined.

After having watched a video on Instagram from a German jazz musician, in which he talks about the artists and people from the event and entertainment industry suffering through the current crisis, and following that having had a conversation with an acquaintance (thanks for this, Miss K.K.), I decided it’s time to break the silence. I mean, I already talked quite directly about the risks and challenges of being a freelancer in another post – quote: “Every day that I don’t go to work is a day that I don’t earn money.” – but this here goes deeper and further.

So get yourself a tea or coffee and sit down. Because this is important.

We are all affected by the current crisis, that’s nothing new and nothing I should need to have to point out explicitly. And us living here in Germany or Europe, we’re still well off and should be grateful for it. Nevertheless, some things and circumstances need our attention.

Now in November at least here in Germany, it’s gonna be a Lockdown Light so to say – not so “light” and easy for all the small businesses, people working in gastronomy, the entertainment industry, freelancers, artists. Especially if they don’t have a well running online shop or if they live from selling products and services that are not able to be digitalised.

Second time this year that an uncontrollable wave threatens to wash away everything that hasn’t been fixed and anchored in the few months we had to gasp air. Many pub or restaurant owners and small business people fear having to close their facilities, not just for a month, but forever. Shut down and close their life work. Many musicians, authors, artists, theatre ensembles and others whose work is depending on tours, readings, performances, yeah, on social life, fear for their financial existence.

No, this post doesn’t aim to protest against masks and hygienic rules. To the contrary. They are necessary to save and protect the ones that need to be protected most.

But it’s a plea to support where we can. And we can. If we want to.

Saying “Well, what can one do, eh” right now, doesn’t help anyone. We have chances and options. Small ones. But also a small pebble in a sea can cause concentric circles.

If you’re now wondering, well, Gina, what is that you want, what should we do? I’m gonna tell you.

If you normally take your whole family out to your favourite Italian restaurant on a Sunday, then stick to that and order your favourite dish from Luigi every Sunday, because Luigi needs that! Eff the delivery apps that don’t have him listed, call him and order directly. Get over your laziness of finding an alternative that’s accessible with three clicks and don’t invest your money into big chains that already have more savings than Luigi could ever dream of, okay? Thank you.

If you’re said because you’re unable to visit the concert of your favourite band, buy CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, Merch and prove that it’s your favourite band. Or if they offer an online-concert with tickets, get your ticket. You would have spent the money anyway.

I hear you now, but we’re also struggling and need to take better care of our money. Yes, you are right. Absolutely. Good point. But let me calculate real quickly and I’m really bad at maths: If you normally would have spent let’s say 80 bucks on a ticket for the concert and you were refunded now due to cancellation of said concert, but you could purchase a vinyl or a t-shirt for let’s say 30 bucks, then it’s 50 bucks in your pocket and 30 in the pockets of your favourite artists, who are really effed and probably haven’t been sleeping well for a while now. Unless they hamstered ish loads of whiskey, wine and gin.

You love a particular poetry slammer but slams are dismissed? Well, I bet they have live recordings on CD or already published a book or two. Take the 8 bucks you would have invested in the live show and buy the book. But the book is more expensive than 8 bucks! Sorry, I forgot the pretzel and the beer plus the bus ticket/gas money/parking ticket you would have paid that night 😉 despite my lack of skills in maths I think you’re getting what I’m aiming at, huh?

For heaven’s sake, no, please, if you are struggling massively financially right now and your financial existence is at stake, please don’t invest your last button to help others, but help yourself first. Only if you have, you can give. But if you have a little, then give, cause you know what? That can save financial existences, and in some cases lives. What, 8 bucks are changing something? Yes, because if 100 people say that their 8 bucks won’t do anything, that’s 800 bucks that can’t do anything.

But you know something else? Even if you don’t have one spare cent, you can still help and support. How? By using your social media accounts to share contents of your favourite artists. Now you’re saying but Gina, I only got 20 followers, that’s not gonna be of any use. Even if I might repeat myself, I’m gonna say it again: con.cen.tric…cir.cles my friends. If one of your followers sees what you shared and clicks on the profile, finds valuable content and shares it again, we end up in the popular snowball effect and you might never now what kind of effects that can have. And I mean, does it hurt you? It doesn’t cost a penny, only three clicks while you’re taking a sh… bath. In comparison to the massive amount of free content you’re provided with by small businesses, artists & co. that’s a minimal effort, which might have a huge effect.

If you say now, hold on a minute, all this free content we get, well, they’re not obliged to provide it, it’s part of their normal marketing, then we have to get one thing straight: No, they don’t have to do it. They do it out of conviction. And for marketing reasons, sure. But mostly out of conviction. Because they have something to say. And they want to share it. Because they are convinced that it might help others, that there is something in it for someone. And rarely do they ask for something back in return. Because oftentimes a “Please support me during this time and buy my album/my book” is perceived as begging. While it’s just an appeal. And if you consumed free content en masse before and now are turning up your nose at those artists pleading for support and you call him pathetic or beggar, then please leave my virtual living room immediately. Merci.

Get another coffee or tea, my dears, we’re not finished yet.

We need to talk about Christmas, too. Besides the fact that it’s uncertain right now how exactly we’re gonna celebrate our family gatherings this year, I’d like to stick to the topic and talk about gifts and presents.

Another plea from my side: Please think, buy and invest wisely. If you normally would go to Luigi on the 25th to get your Scampi al Forno with all your family, then order from him on that day. If the family photo shoot you wanted to gift is cancelled due to restrictions, buy a voucher from the photographer to get your photos when it’s possible again. If you’re not super talented yourself in doing DIY projects and cannot timber a night table yourself, then search on etsy or other platforms or talk to your local carpenter who can make your idea a reality in a professional manner.

I don’t urge or press or ask you to spend more money than planned, I don’t ask you to donate to heal all the misery in the world, because – let’s be honest – when it comes to that, my heart could bleed every day and everyone of us could donate all their income and savings to ease the pain of the world. I just ask you to take a closer look at the investments you wanted to make anyway and to make sure whether there are alternatives which would help people who are really in need of support right now. You could help them make ends meet rather than throwing your money into the mouths’ of big companies that belch one time and smirk, knowing that there is gonna be a tomorrow for them. Unlike many small business owners, freelancers and artists. Yes, maybe the handmade calendar does cost 3 bucks more but believe me, they are well invested. And if it’s only for the coffee to get the small business owner out of bed to design your personal calendar.

And if you say now, well, they should have thought about things like that before becoming a freelancer or an artist, I ask you to hold your breath for a second. One person becomes a nurse out of conviction, which includes a permanent position. The other steps into the traditional family business, sells products to keep the tradition and is able to pay themselves a regular monthly income. The other becomes a musician, author, photographer out of conviction and passion to contribute cultural value to society. And these jobs rarely ever include permanent positions or regular incomes.

And I ask you: What would your life look like without the books you read? Without the photographs of landscapes that take you to places you’ve never visited and make you dream? Without the music that got you through your last heartbreak or that was the anthem to your big joyful moment? Without the handmade bookmark gifted to you by granny? Without the handmade and designed post card that you got from your best friend, on which she wrote a quote from your favourite author and that reminds you of the depth of your friendship whenever you look at it?

If any of these things resonates with you and now you got a song in your head, and if you want these things to still exist “when it’s over” (whenever that might be and whatever it might look like), then I beg you: Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

Even if it’s just sharing content, a post, a story.

Concentric Circles.

with love, hope and gratitude in heart

Gina.

PS: I’m gonna speak about it on the balcony, too, so keep an eye open.

#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

Building a Portfolio

As there are many aspiring models and hobby models out there who’d like to take a step into modelling as their profession or passion, but often don’t really know how to start, I thought about sharing some experiences, insights and my personal opinion, based on what I have learned during 10 years of standing in front of the camera myself.

I’d like to start modelling but I don’t have good photos

Now, first of all I recommend you ask yourself whether you’d like to pursue a career in this business or whether you consider it more a hobby or passion.
This is not to say that once you decided, you have to stick with that decision, you might as well turn your professional desire into a passion or make your passion your profession.
All I’m saying is that depending on your answer, the approach might be different.

1. If you’d like to pursue it as a career I recommend you get some good digitals (basically shots with no make-up, face front, face profile, sometimes front with a smile, whole body shots, often in tight clothes or bikini so your shape becomes easily visible) and directly apply to agencies.
But beware, getting good digitals isn’t always as easy as it sounds as a wrong angle might eff up your proportions completely and looking at them you’ll wonder why you ever thought you could apply to a modelling agency.
Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.
The other option is you check for open castings provided by your agency of choice, sometimes they offer open castings where digitals are also taken, but it’s always a good idea to already have some pictures with you.
And yes, that might mean you’ll have to invest. Check for photographers that offer sedcard (or setcard) photo shootings, they might help you get a good base to get a foot in the biz, and yes, as it is their profession, they want to be paid.

2. If modelling is rather a hobby or a passion for you, it’s not a bad idea to have good digitals, too, but this doesn’t necessary have to be the first step.
What you want to do is get some photos of you that show your versatility.
What do I mean by that? I mean that you want to get pictures of yourself that differ in style, styling, location, facial expression and mood you portray.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have friends who are photographers or you know someone who knows someone, etc. to get some pictures that you can start with at least to register on platforms in order to find other creatives to collaborate with.
If not, you might consider paying a photographer for a first session in order to get a base.
Then you can for instance register on a platform that offers a space for photographers, models and make-up artists to collaborate for joint productions, free projects or even paid jobs.

digital face front -dermagdans-

I’d like to build a versatile portfolio, but how?

1. Even if you decided to pursue modelling as a career, registering on a platform where creatives meet or setting up a Facebook page or showing some pictures on Instagram might help you get attention from some amazing photographers that would like to work with you. If an agency accepted you, they often know photographers and you start off by shooting some free projects with them, which adds to your and their portfolio.

2. No matter whether additionally to your career or for your hobby or passion, checking said platforms for Tfp projects (free projects intended to broaden the portfolios of photographer and model where none earns money but the photographic results serve as compensation) is a good idea to get involved into different projects set on different locations in different outfits and styles and to work with different photographers who produce pictures in different looks.

3. Another option, which many don’t like to take into consideration, is search for photographers whose style you adore and whose work would level up your portfolio and then, yes, guess what, PAY THEM ! I know, unbelievable. Thing is this: Often times the top ranking photographers you’d love to work with don’t offer Tfp shoots. Or at least not to amateurs. And yes, darling, according to many people’s definition we are amateurs. So, if you really crave getting pictures from this photographer, save your money and go for it.
By no means do I say that you can’t ask them whether they’d be down for a Tfp shooting with you, please don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying that often times they do free projects either with very experienced models or with promising new faces. And whether you’re a promising new face or not is unfortunately not up to you to decide.

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Should I invest into building a portfolio and if so, how much?

1. If you’re registered with an agency, they normally take care of test shoots to broaden your portfolio, so you shouldn’t pay a photographer in order to take pictures from you if your agency got you this test shoot.
Never ever should you pay for the registration with an agency or for a casting! Never ever! If you read about a casting where you should pay for the establishment of a setcard or for the photos taken by a professional photographer or anything like it, leave it, drop the idea, don’t do it, it’s not serious!
You might tend to think “but I’m not an experienced model, of course I have to invest before I earn” and well, the approach is more than true in various fields of life, but consider this: If you sent your pictures to an agency or went to a casting and they decided to add you to their list of models, then it was because they saw potential in you. Potential to get jobs, earn money, and as they earn from what you earn, it’s also the potential money they see you bringing back. So, don’t ever pay for setting up a profile or setcard for your agency. Serious and professional agencies don’t do that. They might take a certain charge from your first fees in order to compensate the expenses they had for getting you those jobs, yes, but: You don’t pay in advance!

2. Different when you’re not registered with an agency. Of course you still have the chance to participate in free projects, but there is no one providing you options like these, but you have to find them yourself, for instance on creative collaboration websites or if you follow photographers and make-up artists on Facebook and Instagram and they are searching for a model. If you only find Tfp options that don’t really add to your portfolio because you already have a million pictures in this style or because they all go into a direction you don’t aim at, there is still the possibility to search for jobs you have to pay for, but sometimes these are special offers for a specific topic. So, sometimes you only have to pay the make-up artist or it’s just a small fee you have to pay for photographer, make-up artist and post processing. And with small fee I talk round about 80 €. That’s a mofo deal!

3. So yes, I understand that you don’t want to or can’t invest a fortune into building a portfolio, but saving some money and putting it into a well spent shooting that gets you extraordinary results, is worth it. It raises the tendency that great photographers, yes, even those ones you stalk on a daily and that mostly work with very experienced models, see you and see your potential and that you get asked by cool creatives to collaborate with them.
Does this already land you jobs where you earn a lot of money? Well, if you’re really lucky, yes. In a normal case, rather not. But it gives you the chance to collaborate with other creatives whose portfolio might be broader or of high quality on Tfp, which then adds to the attention you gain, which offers you more chances for more free projects, which eventually might lead to you getting paid jobs. (Oh, and paid jobs rarely come to you via email in the morning post, while you’re drinking coffee and painting your nails or grooming your beard, if you’re a male model, you actually have to search for them and apply. Unless you just ate a fortune cookie that serves you luck 24/7, then your inbox might explode in 3,2,1….)

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So, talking from my own experience, I can say that building up a portfolio which enabled me to work with the great photographers that I had been stalking often enough before, dreaming to work with them, thinking “they will never work with me” etc., wasn’t an easy task, but you learn a lot on the way and that’s amazing, too.
I started off with having some Tfp shoots. I was lucky enough to have caught a photographer’s eye on an event who then gave me his card and asked me to come around for a free photo shoot. That was pure luxury and I’m really thankful for that. With those pictures I registered on platforms and browsed through the Tfp jobs and applied.
And guess what: I’ve been rejected a lot. Like… A LOT!
Then I saw some jobs where you had to pay, but I watched the pictures of the make-up artists and photographers working on the projects and thought “I’d love to work with them!”. Well, round about 100 other girls thought the same, so even paying for it wouldn’t give you a guarantee to be part of the project. So, I took some of my saved money and invested in different jobs of this kind. And it WAS SO WORTH IT!
I picked them wisely and did my research well before throwing my money out of the window, but it instantly raised the level of my portfolio. It’s really important to choose wisely and to consider the quality of the photos, the uniqueness of the project etc. before you invest.
We’re talking inVESTment, not inWASTEment, huh.
It must have been round about 5 photo shootings I paid for, each of them ranging somewhere between 40 € and 100 €, so yes, I invested something between 250 € and 300 € of my hard earned and saved money into great pictures of extraordinary kind back in those days.
And they gave me the chance to work with so many great photographers on Tfp later on that now I can count several Tfp and paid shootings to my portfolio, because yes, later on, I also landed jobs where I got paid.
The way wasn’t easy, but every step was worth it!

dermagdans

I hope my recommendations and coffee chat like rambling helped you and gave you a little insight.
Feel free to share your own experience with me and let me know if you still have questions. Let me know in the comments below, shoot me an email or send me a DM on Instagram.