Historically a lost cause

One of my main goals for Oluanai is to improve the modeling industry in Montana. When I arrived here two years ago, I was shocked by the state of the industry. Unfortunately, the modeling world here has taken a poor direction and models are the ones who've lost the most. Even the most successful models in Montana have little to show for that title. I'm glad to be a part of a network of photographers who have like minds and are passionate about improving the market for models here in Montana. The good news, and there is good news, is that there is a lot of potential here.

There is a market for Models

If you've been in the Montana modeling world for any amount of time, you already know that the market for modeling in Montana is bare. Interestingly enough, it's not because of lack of need. Montana has a large amount of small business that rely on social media and local campaigns for content. Actually, you'd be surprised how much small businesses spend on advertising here. As part of the Oluanai small business services, I've had the opportunity to talk to small business owners about the benefits of hiring local models for campaign ads and I've been surprised how many of them are open and even eager to take advantage of the benefits of hiring local models like you! Small businesses are ready to start hiring local talent (both photographers and models) for advertising campaigns. So what's the hold up?

Montana need Professional models

The problem is actually a lack of models... professional models. Of course, amateur models are a dime a dozen, and every photographer has a network of models asking to shoot for fun and trade, but when a photographer gets hired for a big commercial job with thousands of dollars invested, the standard for modeling is much higher and to be honest, the pickings are very very slim. Over the last 4 months I've been hired for commercial photography and every single time, I found myself in a difficult situation trying to find talent that I could bring on reliably to the project. If you're interested in modeling there are few things you can do to really position yourself to make money.


3 things you can do to improves your

modeling career in montana

Get Digitals

By far the most important set of photos a model can have are digitals. They are the first (and only) thing an agency or client are going to ask for before they hire you. The reason is because they are the industry standard for casting! Obviously professional digitals are best, but even cellphone shots would be better than nothing. The most frustrating thing for a client, photographer or agent when casting is asking for digitals and getting goofy-ass TFD shots from some amateur photographer with terrible editing skills. Digitals are the least expensive shoots, you'll ever do, go to any model development photographer and pay the $150 to get some solid digitals. Some agencies will even do them for you!

Set up your portfolio

Every model needs to have their portoflio ready to go on a moments notice. Print portfolios are fantastic if you get a face-to-face meeting, but you definitely need to have one online. If you don't check out www.pixieset.com - that's a great and free way to set one up. In a bigger state your agent would have this set up for you too (check out Glacier's board), but welcome to Montana kids, most "agencies" here are bullshit and wasting your money. Make sure your portfolio looks good. And please, for the love of God, don't expect to build a good portfolio on "trade" shoots. I'm going to be real with you, if you want a solid port, you're going to have to hire 2-3 good photographers to get you there.

Brand your Social Media

Guess what, if you're a model, you're a salesperson. The longer it takes for you to figure out that modeling is not about you getting cute photos of yourself and that its about promoting someone else's brand, product and services, the longer you'll be doing this as a hobby. You want to make money, sell other people's stuff. The day you can sell someone else's product is the day they will jump up and pay you to do it. Small business people need help with social media campaigns. Set up your Instagram and Facebook (yes Facebook is very important for brand ambassadors) The quicker you can position yourself to be an effective salesperson the quicker you'll be making money.

Jessica Blackburn of NoTies Managment

Opportunities are coming

Obviously, the modeling market in Montana isn't going to change overnight, but the more I reach out to small businesses the more I see that there's a market to be had here. Small businesses are needing help with advertising and sales. That's a perfect fit for local models with social media savvy. I you can get yourself set up with digitals, portfolio and a social media presence, you will stand out as a professional in a field of amateurs.

As I build my small business advertising campaigns I'll be using models who have their ducks in order. Currently, I'm building up a board of both independent and agency represented models called Oluanai Elite - a group of models who meet the following criteria:

  • Up-to-date, professional digitals
  • Ready-to-go, quality portfolios
  • Professional social media platforms

If this is you, I'd love to hear from you.