How to get paid to model

How To Get Paid To Model- 17 Paid Modeling Niches in 2023

If you are wondering how to get paid to model, but need help figuring out where to start, this article is for you! 

Particularly, if you are just starting out, finding out how to get paid to model can be overwhelming. 

There are tons of information out there and I’m sure it crosses your mind as to whether certain paying modeling companies are genuine or not? O_O

But worry not! In this article, I will unravel how do models get paid in different modeling niches and help you to decide which niche resonates with your interest and talents!

And as a bonus, I’m also going to give you a list of real companies that pay you to model so you can get started with your modeling journey right away!

The journey to becoming a thriving model is anything but predictable- often over-glamorized. 

However, with the increasing demand for diverse models to cater to a wider audience, the modeling industry is slowly progressing. 

By determining your modeling niche, it helps to strengthen your branding as a model, and also build a more cohesive portfolio. 

Lights, camera, work it girl! Let’s dive on different modeling niches to learn how to get paid to model!  


What does it take to become a Paid Model? 

How To Get Paid To Model in Each Modeling Niche

1. Runway Model

2. Editorial Model

3. Catalog Model

4. Petite Models

5. Plus Size Model

6. Event Models

7. Glamor Model

8. Advertising Model

9. Mature Model

10. Hair Model

11. Swimwear/ Lingerie Model

12. Fitness Model

13. Fit Model

14. Stock Photo Model

15. Instagram Model

16. Parts Model

17. Modest Model

11 Companies That Pay You To Model

1. Bella Agency

2. Elite Models

3. We Speak Model Management

4. Ford Models

5. Paloma Model & Talent

6. STATE Management Company

7. IMG Models


9. Storm Los Angeles

10. We Speak Model Management

11. LA Model Management


Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

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How To Get Paid To Model in Different Modeling Niches

With the progress of the modeling industry, model agencies are not only focusing on looks. 

Many modeling niches are seeking models depending on shapes, shades, sizes, and also unique personalities. 

Now, let’s dive into how models make money in different modeling niches and find which modeling niches fit your interest best! 

Photo credit by Yogendra Singh

Fashion Modeling Niche:

1. Runway Model

Runway modeling is one of the highest-paying modeling gigs, and many of the supermodels we know off today started their careers as runway models. 

To become a runway model, you need to master the skill of a perfect catwalk on a runway. 

It is also important to be a great team player and understand clear instructions, as timing is very crucial during a runway fashion show. 

You have to change quickly backstage and are not shy about changing in front of others. 

Depending on the fashion brand, most luxury fashion houses still prefer to hire traditional tall and slim models for the runway as they need to be able to fit into sample-size clothes. 

If you are wondering how much do models get paid per show, some supermodels are paid as much as $20,000 per show. 

This is usually the case for models with experience. If you are just starting, you can expect anywhere from a few hundred dollars, depending on the brand or your agency. 

2. Editorial Model

If you grow up watching the Next Top Model like me, you probably are familiar with what it takes to become an editorial model.

Editorial modeling is what you see in magazine spreads. Your job as an editorial model is to tell a story through the clothing and bring it to life. 

You need to be able to handle the pressure of working in front of the camera and handle criticism on the spot. 

How much do models get paid per shoot? Some editorial modeling gigs are paid by the hour, whereas some are paid as a package. 

More experienced models are paid by the hour- around $100 per hour or higher. For beginners, you can expect around $20 per hour, but this photo will be valuable for your portfolio. 

Photo by cottonbro studio 

3. Catalog Models

Catalog models are great modeling to start as a beginner. As a catalog model, you will work with brands to demonstrate how their clothing looks so it can be published on their websites or social media. 

You have to be able to work fast as you might have a few pieces of clothing to try on. But this can be a steady gig, and may get called back when a new product is released. 

If you are interested in how to get paid to model online, try reaching out to your local e-commerce brand and send in your portfolio. 

Typically catalog models for online clothing sites get paid anywhere between $250 to $1500 a day. 

The wide range of payment depends on the clothing company, as there is no standard fee in the modeling industry. 

Size Base Modeling Niches:

1. Petite Model

Don’t beat yourself if you don’t have the ideal model height because there is a demand in the petite modeling niche! A petite model is generally above 5’1” and not taller than 5’7”

As a petite model, you can find modeling gigs in fashion, commercials, beauty and any other gig where height isn’t an important factor. 

Some of the top supermodels you might have heard of, such as Lily-Rose Depp, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kate Moss, are all considered petite models. 

Photo by Laura Tancredi 

2. Plus- Size Model

With the fashion industry trying to meet the demand of diverse audiences, plus-size models play a crucial role in promoting body positivity and inclusivity for the masses. 

To become a plus-size model, you are someone who is confident in your skin and feels empowered in your body.

As a plus-size model, the best way to find modeling gigs is to look for fashion brands that cater to plus-size divisions- you can become a catalog model, swimwear, runway, commercial and more! 

Appearance Base Modeling Niches:

1. Event Model

Event models or also known as promotional models are hired to represent brands or companies at events- such as new car promotional launches, sport award events, product launch events, and more. 

As an event model, your role is to make a positive experience for the participants. 

For example, if you are an event model for an energy drink company, your role is to entice the visitors to try free samples and engage in a conversation about the product to get feedback. 

If you are looking for a paid modeling jobs no experience required, event model is the best option! 

You can find a modeling gig by signing up with an event agency, as they are usually approached by big brands seeking event models. 

Photo by Bestbe Models

2. Glamor Model

If you love makeup and take pride in your flawless skin, why not consider becoming a glamor model? 

Glamor modeling focuses on the appearance of the model as the images are taken close up and used in beauty advertisements. 

Given the emphasis on appearance for this role, each modeling agency has specific appearance standards that models need to meet to find the right visual appeal for photoshoots. 

These standards include facial features, complexion, body proportion, and overall aesthetics. 

3. Advertising Model

The job scope as an advertising model is diverse and in various forms of advertisement media- from promoting products, services, brands, or events.  

The main role of an advertising model is to present the brand’s message to the target audience through appropriate body language and expressions that evoke the viewer’s emotions. 

It is important to stay versatile as an advertisement model, and sometimes you may need to memorize a few lines if it is a video advertisement or learn a few dance moves.

How much does a model earn for advertising work? Advertisement models are usually paid depending on the advertisement production budget. 

For a high-budget production, the model can expect a minimum of $1000+ pay per day. Whereas if it is a photoshoot advertisement, models usually get paid anywhere between $300 – $500.

Photo by Ron Lach 

4. Mature Model

How do models make money when they are older? Have you ever heard of mature professional models? 

Well, there is a modeling niche that focuses on capturing mature models around 40 – 50 years of age. 

As a mature model, you have to be in good physical health and embrace the aging look- such as wrinkles, age spots, and gray hair. 

This is all part of capturing the true essence of growing old to appeal to the target demographic. 

There is a diverse range of modeling jobs a mature model can participate in, from high fashion, catalog modeling, beauty advertisement, campaign for pharmaceuticals and more!

5. Hair Model

Think of any shampoo commercial you see on television; that is the job of a hair model. 

Even though we all know computer rendering can do wonders, having healthy long hair is an essential attribute as a hair model- since you will often be featured in hair care commercials.

Hair model earns anywhere between $100 to $10,000 per job. The range is broad as it is depending on the size of the production and the duration of the shooting. 

Photo by Ron Lach  

Body Base Modeling Niches:

1. Swimwear/ Lingerie Model

Swimwear/ lingerie models specialize in showcasing swimwear and intimate lingerie garments for various brands to help showcase the garment’s fit, aesthetic, and appeal. 

Swimwear/ lingerie model jobs can range from catalog shoots, advertisements, sports magazine covers, e-commerce advertisements, or even runway- like Victoria’s Secret runway. 

As a swimwear model in the United States, the average pay is around $18 per hour. 

However, the pay is highly dependent on the type of modeling job; for example, a swimwear modeling job for a magazine cover will pay more in comparison to a catalog shoot. 

2. Fitness Model

If you are a fitness enthusiast, whether you love running, ballet, yoga, or basketball, the fitness modeling niche is perfect for someone who has an athletic background.

Being a fitness model requires having a healthy and holistic body. Therefore it is crucial to maintain your overall body appearance and always be camera-ready.

How much does a model make in the fitness niche? The average fitness model earns around $23 an hour. As an active fitness model, you can earn anywhere around $40,000 to $70,000 a year. 

Photo by cottonbro studio 

3. Fit Model

Unlike catalog or runway models, a fit model serves as a living mannequin, helping designers to test their garments on real individuals rather than just mannequins. 

As a fit model, it is all about the body proportions and less about the look. 

This role is especially crucial in high fashion houses or swimwear designers, where designers rely on fit models to see their creative vision come to life and ensure it fits like a glove.

Fit models usually have a height of around 5’6” for women and 6’2” for men. 

Body sizes can vary depending on the type of clothing being designed, with some brands seeking petite models or plus-size models. 

This is a great modeling gig for models that are just starting. If you are wondering how much do beginner models get paid for fitting, it is around an average of $16.35 an hour in the United States. 

Photo by Canva Studio

Other Modeling Niches:

1. Stock Photo Model

Stock Photography involves models acting out specific scenes that can be used for licensing online. 

There is no specific look required to be a stock photo model, as it depends on the character or role needed. 

Stock photo model is also a great modeling gig for beginners, as it allows you to gain experience in front of the camera without the pressure of posing like a supermodel.

The downside of becoming a stock photography model is that you do not get a royalty from the photos. 

Most models usually get paid a one-time fee for the job- earning between $75 to $200 an hour.

2. Instagram Model

Most Instagram models are known as influencers nowadays. They get paid to pose and promote products or services from brand deals and partnerships. 

But how to make money modeling on Instagram? The answer is through monetizing your Instagram account. 

To monetize your Instagram account, you must build a large following by posting content that is relatable to your target audience and keep an active engagement to keep up with the algorithm. 

Some Instagram influencers start monetizing their account with less than 10k followers. 

It is important to remember that brands seek influencers or models who possess a distinct persona that aligns with their brand values and image. 

In other words, keep your content authentic to stand out!

Don’t have a large following on your Instagram yet? Check out my guide on how to get a sponsor on Instagram with only 1000 followers!

Photo by superlens photography

3. Part Model

A part model is someone who specializes in modeling specific body parts, such as hands, legs, facial features, or feet. 

For example, the most common part model is hand models, where they use their hands to demonstrate how a skincare product is used or present a jewelry piece. 

It may sound like an easy job, but being a hand model requires diligent care of their hand as it is their asset. 

The hand must have slender fingers, perfect nails, and unspotted skin. 

This niche has a huge earning potential. As a hand model, you can earn anywhere between $1000 per day for TV work up to $5000 a day for a campaign shoot! 

Now look down at your hand; perhaps your beautiful hand is missing out on a great modeling career. 

4. Modest Model

The growing modest fashion industry raises the demand for modest models. 

The modest model plays a significant role in representing those who embrace modesty in fashion or, more specifically, Muslim women who wear headscarves as part of their religious observance. 

Modest models have the diverse potential for modeling gigs- from runway, and editorial to catalog shoots, anywhere where diversity in fashion is presented. 

Some of the top modest supermodels that are breaking barriers in the fashion world are Halima Aden and Mariah Idrissi.

11 Best Companies That Pay You To Model

1. Bella Agency

Bella Agency is one of the best well-rounded modeling companies out there. It aims to be inclusive and injects as much diversity as possible into the modeling industry. Regardless of what type of model you want to be, Bella Agency will have something for you. 

2. Elite Model Management

Elite Models have been  in the modeling industry for more then 30 years and is a household name when it comes to modeling companies. If you were a child of the 90s, this name will be familiar as they represented high fashion models like Tyra Banks, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell.

3. We Speak Model Management

Founded in 2013, We Speak Model Management paved the way for more diverse modeling opportunities. Its founder, Briauna Mariah (who used to be a model herself) wanted to combat the ill treatment of models at the time and set up We Speak to change beauty standards and the core values of the modeling industry. What a refreshing change indeed!

4. Ford Models

Ford Models is another famous name in modeling. With various locations all over the world and a portfolio that spans across commercial modeling to high fashion runways, you too can be a Ford model!

5. Paloma Model & Talent

Paloma is a grounded and down to earth modeling company that will put you and your interest first. Their priority is to cultivate a warm and healthy working environment to make sure that their models are comfortable at all times.

6. STATE Management Company

State Management Company has risen in a fast and furious fashion over the last few years. Boasting a modern, holistic approach to modeling, you can rest assured that this company is going to take care of you and get you the best paid modeling gigs possible!

7. IMG Models

With decades of experience under their belt, IMG models represents both celebrity clients as well as those who want to get started modeling. 


Founded in 1999, VISION prides itself on ensuring its models are given opportunities that are tailormade to their strengths. This company aims to help its models make the best of their modeling careers on a long-term basis. 

9. Storm Management

Based in London, Storm Management focuses on artistic and creative modeling. If you want to try your hand at commercial modeling, this is the place to be.

10. Fenton Modeling Agency

Fenton modeling agency has a diverse range of modeling opportunities from catalog modeling to high fashion magazines. They help models from around the world break into the modeling industry and link them to the top photographers in the industry.

11. LA Model Management

This is one of the oldest modelling companies that work with huge companies like Nike, Calvin Klein, and Louis Vuitton. And hey, if you want to be in a Vogue magazine, they can do that too!

What Does It Take To Become a Paid Model? 

Modeling is about representing the right image fit for a specific brand. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean modeling is only about pretty looks.

To stand out as a model, your brand identity as a model is valued by the agency, such as your personality, hobbies, your values and personal interest. 

If you are seriously considering becoming a paid model, look out for a model agency that fits your modeling niche. 

A modeling agency is a great place to start as a beginner model, as you have not yet built a network with people from the industry. 

Once you have gained more experience and expanded your network, you can consider going as a freelance model or hiring your own manager to help you secure modeling work.

Want to find an alternative instead of relying on model agency? Check out my complete guide on how to become a freelance Model!  

FAQ About How To Get Paid To Model

How Do I Get Into Modeling With No Experience

How do I get into modeling with no experience? Worry not, here are 5 ways you can get into modeling with no experience:

1. Create a niche Instagram account and post your modeling photos. 

2. Sign up to become a runway model for a student fashion show at a local university.

3. Reach out to your favorite local favorite brand to ask if they need a model.

4. Reach out and network with local photographers for collaboration.

5. Volunteer for any modeling job.. 

How to Determine My Modeling Rate?

How to determine my modeling rate? The modeling rate depends on your experience and location. In a smaller city, a commercial model can earn between $25 – $75 an hour. 

The best way to ensure you are getting paid a fair amount is to seek advice from other models in your area, as they can advise you better based on their experience and market understanding.  

Does Instagram Pay Models?

Do Instagram pay models? Yes, you can get paid to model on Instagram by getting sponsorship. Some Instagram influencers start monetizing their account with less than 10k followers. It is important to remember that brands seek influencers or models who possess a distinct persona that aligns with their brand values and image. 

Do Models Get Paid Before or After?

Do models get paid before or after the gigs? In most modeling gigs, you get paid after completing the work, and most jobs will require you to pay for your own expenses, such as transport and accommodation if needed. If you are signed with a model agency, the turnaround time can be longer, between 30 – 90 days. 

Can I Become A Model Without Instagram?

Can I become a model without an Instagram account? Having social media is becoming an essential tool for building an exposure, brand, connection and finding work for models. Most modeling agencies now require models to be on social media and will most likely look through your social media before hiring you. 

What Type of Models Get Paid The Most?

What type of models get paid the most? Editorial and runway fashion models who attained supermodel status are the highest paid models. These two modeling niches are common in the high fashion industry, offer models greater media exposure and enable them to gain fame and access to high paying modeling opportunities. 

How Much Do Runway Models Get Paid?

How much do runway models get paid? Runway models get paid between $100 to $800 or more per show, depending on the designer, location, and prestige of the event. However, it is worth noting that supermodels are usually compensated more as their fame brings more publicity towards the brand. 

Ready To Embark On Your Modeling Career? 

There you have it, these are some of the modeling niches for you to explore if you are looking on how to get paid to model. 

Choosing any of these modeling niches that best fit with your personality and style, you can create a unique portfolio to increase the chance for securing paid modeling gigs!

There is no linear path on how to become a successful model, and the opportunity also depends on your location.

If you have the talent to model for any of these niches, go for it! 

Start building your portfolio by volunteering to model for a photoshoot, a great way to practice and also give you first hand experience on the job. 

Get ready to strike your best pose and unleash your inner model because you are on your way to becoming the next supermodel!

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