Back in 2010 I released my first calendar as a way to promote my brand. This was such a fun project! A friend from high school had recently begun doing photography so we did a trade so that we could both use the photos for our portfolios. Creating printed content for your followers, as a model, is a fun and great marketing tool and sometimes you can even make a decent amount of money.
Generate a Buzz
The important thing to do beforehand, however, is to create a buzz . If you don’t already have a following, work on getting one before delving into such a big project. If you already do have a following, start talking about your plans and get people excited.
Social media is key for doing that so make sure you are constantly connecting with people online. Respond to comments, ask for suggestions on what people would like to see in your calendar, and post updates as you go.
Another fun thing to do is to have a contest. On my Facebook page I posted photos from the calendar after it was released and asked multiple choice trivia questions about me. The prize for the first person who answered correctly was a signed copy of my calendar. Get Permission
If you’re considering putting together your own calendar, keep in mind that this will likely take months of planning, shooting, editing (if you are able to do that or get someone who can), and marketing.
You’ll need permission from the photographers who shot the photos, of course, and should have a written agreement so that s/he can make a percentage of the profits, if any, that are made.
If you are lucky enough to get a friend who knows her/his way around a camera to get on board and who is willing to do a trade, take advantage of this! It’ll be easier to work with someone you already know since this will be an ongoing project and you’ve already built a relationship with this person.
Why would anyone want to buy my calendar? That is the question for which you need to find an answer. Think of why you might want to buy photos of someone you admire and go from there. I happen to be a singer/songwriter/model/dancer and my followers come from all walks of life. Some of the people who support me do so because they really like my body of modeling work. Others found out about me via my singing performances and recordings. No matter why they began paying attention, most of them really love seeing photos of me doing the various things I do.
Putting out the calendar appealed to both my music fans as well as those who were keeping an eye out for my modeling updates because it gave them a different side of me that they weren’t use to seeing. If you have passions outside of modeling and are really good at doing something that might benefit others, you might want to begin to create a following through that first or in conjunction with gaining a following through your modeling career. After that, cross-promote like crazy.
The key to business is to always have something to offer people. When peopole feel like you are interested in making their lives better they will be more willing to show their support. My main passion in life just happens to be singing. Music is a way for me to spread joy to people, thus helping improve their life.
Styling and Wardrobe and Location, Oh My!
When you’re driving or are out and about, pay attention to your surroundings and make note of the different scenery in your area that might be great for your shoot locations. Do your research and find out if these locations require a permit for shooting. It is definitely no fun to prepare and show up to a location only to be asked to leave.
Do a Google search for specific modeling themes and save photos that you might want to recreate. Doing this definitely helped me plan and, while none of my photos ended up looking anything like the photos I saved, they were a great starting point.
For this calendar I did all of my own hair, make up, and wardrobe styling. I have to say that shopping for outfits and jewelry was a lot of fun and really allowed for me to get creative.
Start with the things you have first and try to keep your costs low. Check out local thrift stores and borrow items from friends. If you’re feeling really crafty, make your own clothes! I made this dress (above) the night before the shoot. The original look I had no longer inspired me so I got out some wrapping paper and a dress pattern and began cutting and taping. This was my favorite outfit in the calendar, by far!
If your family supports what you are doing, get them on board. Ask them to tell everyone they know about it and to even help sell your calendars. Find out if they have access to locations that might be good for shooting or if they can call in favors from their friends to help you produce your calendar. Never be afraid to ask for something you want, you just might get it.
At some point during my planning, I shopped around for local printing stores and figured out which would provide the best service at the most affordable price. I was able to get a great deal and the people were very nice and tech savvy. Aside from searching for local printers, I suggest you also look online to see what else is out there. You’ll want to go with a place that has good customer service, in either case, so that you can get any problems fixed in a timely manner. People are waiting to buy your calendar, after all!