Two Hidden Traps That Freelance Models Can Fall Into


Welcome to Mutsumi Takahashi’s Model Bible.

Last time, we talked about “Four Reasons Why You Want to Be a Exclusive Model (Restriction, Promotion and More Opportunities)”.


I sometimes hesitate to make offers to freelance models because I can never be sure if they are on top of their past jobs. I wish all models were exclusive.

In our last article, we have touched on some comments like these from casting directors. However, restrictions are not the only reason they would prefer to stay away from freelance models.

For example, they may be appearing in stock photos or may have done something that could damage their public image.

There are a number of traps that ordinary people wouldn’t even give a thought about.

This time, we will be covering major examples of such trap.
It is especially important to those who are working as freelance models or who are looking to becoming one so that you won’t end up having to pass up great opportunities in the future.

Trap 1: Stock Footage

One of the major traps freelance models are likely to encounter is something called stock footage.

As some of you may know already, stock footage is one that is available online for unlimited use. Some of it is paid, some are free. We use plenty of stock footage in this Model Bibile and of course other bloggers as well as companies all over the world.

Some people don’t think twice giving away their photos for pleasure.
Sometimes it can take the form of a seemingly legitimate job and a lot of people accept such offers for the money. It especially may seem attractive to those who are aspiring to be a model and they often say yes to offers from photographers without a second thought.

So, what is wrong about stock footage after all?

Stock footage is royalty free meaning whether it is paid or not, rightsholders cannot know where and how it will be used.

Let’s say Car Manufacturer A has used a stock photo you are in and you accept an offer for Car Manufacturer B without knowing about it. What would happen?

Regardless of your knowledge, it is a clear breach of the restriction.

Once you are in stock footage, you will have to live with this for the rest of your life and once it becomes available online, you will never know who, when, when, where it will be used.


Some of freelance models have accepted such offers without knowing about this problem and some even have forgotten that they had.

Needless to say, this doesn’t mean all freelance models are associated with stock footage but even the slightest chance, they need to be careful about.

Generally speaking, models agencies are very careful about such issues and legitimate agencies are well aware of them. That is why it has become the norm for casting directors to offer casting calls through agencies.

Reference:”Four Reasons Why You Want to Be a Exclusive Model (Restriction, Promotion and More Opportunities)


Roles with restrictions mean a lot to models.

Some of you may wonder.
“Why is it such a big deal not to be able to accept offers with restriction?”

Many of those roles with restrictions are ones in which you are featured as the main character.

To put it simply, those roles can shape your career as a model to a successful one.

However, you will end up missing those opportunities once you step your foot on stock footage.

It can leave a significant consequence to your modeling career if you do any stock footage shoot.

Keep this in mind and do not give yourself away.


Beware of Stock Photos Even If You Are With an Agency

モデル事務所に所属していても、ストックフォトには注意して! イメージ図

As we discussed previously, you should be well protected from stock footage if you are with a legitimate model agency.

However, there has been a case where a model agency accepted an offer for stock footage.

What makes it worse is that the agency did little to none explanation to the models who had no idea that it could prevent her from taking any roles with restrictions.

It is very cruel to the model that the agency didn’t have enough consideration for her life and it is not acceptable.

Another thing to be careful about is that sometimes people don’t exactly tell you that it is a shoot for stock footage.
They may say something like “We are not sure of the medium it will be used or how long but we want to shoot it first” and the footage ended up being used in stock.

Things to check before accepting offers

Purpose of use
Medium of use
Period of use

You need to confirm these details before you accept an offer without leaving them unclear.

This can help you determine the legitimacy of the job and also help you point out and breaches of the contract.


On top of finding an agency you can trust, it is important that you equip yourself with knowledge as well.

Trap 2: Adult Contents and Excessively Revealing Roles

Second, we would like to talk about adult contents and excessively revealing roles.
Again, this is something you can having letting yourself involved without knowing.

Adult Contents and Pornography

First of all, if you are associated with pornography, it is not too much to say that you will be banned from any advertisements.

In rare cases, some people can get away with their past as a pornstar but in most cases, you should absolutely stay away from it if you would like to become a model.

The advertising industry is especially very sensitive to public images of the models they hire.
You will not be able to accept offers from most companies.

However, this is not the end of the story. There hides another trap.
That movie you have done in the past with a small roll may be age-restricted.

There has been a case like that in the past. The model thought it is not an adult content but the production company in charge was involved in pornography as well and the final product was edited in a sexually provocative way.

No matter you were aware of it or not, there is no turning back once it is out in the public.

It is very difficult for freelance models to spot risks like this and has little protection.
Please make sure to know what you are getting yourself involved as well as what the contract says.

The same applies when your photo ends up being used in adult contents and this is another reason that you need to stay away from stock footage.

Reference:”8 Keys to Find a Legitimate Agency for Aspiring Models


Excessively Revealing Outfit


Even when it’s not adult content, roles with revealing outfits can narrow your options for future jobs.

Some jobs do little damage to your image even when you are in revealing outfits.

But other times, you are wearing revealing outfit for the sake of being sexually provocative and some industry won’t be happy about it.

For example, there was a model who at the time was appearing in an advertisement for an educational company but she also had herself involved in a commercial where she was half-naked. This resulted in a serious complaint from the sponsor. She was playing a comical sexy role but the sponsor got very upset and concerned what parents would think.

What can you not do if you do what?
Your career until now and from now. There are so many factors that come in to play when you decide whether or not to take an offer.

Without the Knowledge and Experience, the Industry Can Be a Scary Place

In this article, we talked about two major traps that freelance models may fall into.

It can be a very rewarding experience to be part of numerous wonderful projects. People may become your fans after seeing you on adverts. But this doesn’t come without a risk. There is no turning back once you make something available for public to see. In some cases, it can lead to a significant consequence not only with respect to your career as a model but also your life.

Model agencies always have those factors in mind when examining offers.

We have talked about knowledge and experience a lot. But it doesn’t mean anything you can put them to practice.
Real knowledge and experience really mean whether you can tell legitimate jobs and companies apart from that are not.

“Can you trust this client?”
“Is it really OK to accept this offer?”
We always ask ourselves these questions in order to protect models.

As the number of freelance models increases, the number of troubles like this has also seen a significant rise.

Next time, we will continue to talk about the troubles that have actually occurred in the past.

高橋 睦実(Mutsumi Takahashi)


President of Free Wave Co., Ltd.
Born in Mito, Japan. In 1989, appointed as the Head of Japan office of Star Dance Connection. Established Free Wave Co., Ltd. which represents and manages international dancers and models later becoming one of the top international model agencies in Japan. She likes jazz and cats. She is also working towards saving animals from cruel treatments