Jimmy's Great, Fantastic, Awesome, Failed Model Search
In professional football certain teams have that one superstar player that makes the winning difference week after week. Think about that quarterback named Tom up in New England, or the scrambling guy named Aaron tossing all those passes in Green Bay, and damn it we can't leave out that Big Ben guy in Pittsburgh or the young new guy on the scene named Dak in Dallas. Without those key, very important stars the business of those teams wouldn't be as successful as they are.
The same thing happens in Baseball, NASCAR and other places. A guy named Jimmie recently won his 7th NASCAR championship and 5 races this past season, but using cars and engines built and prepared by same guys in the same shop, the driver named Kasey on the same team didn't win a single race last season and has never won a championship.
Certain people just stand out in one profession or another, while others that seem to have an equal opportunity when viewed from afar can't get close to matching the same level of success. I've seen media refer to this by saying he or she "just has it". I was watching a movie review this past week and the same term was used when talking about a certain director - "He just has it".
Unfortunately I've never seen anybody explain exactly what "it" is, how to get "it" or where it can be purchased, learned, understood, grown or synthetically reproduced.
It simply, or maybe magically, appears the be something those people with "it" just have that remains a mystery to the rest of us.
Over the past 20 months I've spent something in the neighborhood of $40,000 trying to find "it" and point my cameras at "it".
We all know I'm talking about searching for special new models, but before we go further, a few opening disclosures are probably in order.
•I'm not simply looking for a female to point a camera at. I'm looking for a very specific type of girl to participate in a project over the course of a year or more.
•I'm looking for a model or two for the purpose of being active, getting off the couch and working my little brain and laugh reflex.
•It is not solely for business income and that allows me to be selective and take my time scouting around. That said, the potential for good business income is a requirement because that income allows the project and website to continue a longer period of time, and be produced in different locations.
•I'm intentionally limiting the search to Colorado, with a couple of tiny exceptions discussed below, to insure the project is easy to maintain over time.
•I'm well aware, as are you, that there are hundreds or thousands of females out there that would love to dress up and play model. Again, I'm looking for a specific type of brand new girl (model) that would be great for myself and my helper friends to work with, and that would draw large numbers of paying subscribers to a website.
•In short, I don't need to do photo shoots or new websites, but want to do them if they can be done under very specific circumstances. I miss the fun parts of the business and my retirement isn't as active as I expected.
When it comes to finding new girls to be models that have "it" there are many, many elements I look for. Before I try to define those elements we must first look at the current market conditions for publishing photos and videos online and trying to make a profit doing so.
In short, its very hard these days. TeenStarlet (here) is down to archive status. SouthernTeenModels (here)is gone. A recent update on SandleTeens (here) is a set of Lalana shot ten years ago. Dozens of teen model websites that fans gladly paid for over the years are long gone and never coming back.
The story is the same when it comes to multi-model and solo-model websites featuring girls 18-20 in non-sexual softcore photos and videos. Many of the fan favorite models are long gone due to marriage, age, tattoos or lack of profit and very damn few new models are coming along to take their place.
For many of the girls that do come along - in both age brackets - it is for a very short time frame due to shaming by friends or very limited income due to lack of subscription sales.
I've written many, many times about the Facebook and family affects (here) and the peer pressure and piracy affects (here) and I'll try not to repeat those arguments here, but we must all realize that facts are facts and certain issues continue to keep things from going as smooth as we all wish.
Those issues must be considered when looking for new models that have "it". The ability to deal with peer pressure on Facebook, friend and family pressure at home, and the lower income due to piracy are all just as important these days as the model's facial features, body style and personality.
Right at this very minute many of you are thinking something like: "What is he talking about... there are tons of girls trying to be models on Facebook and ModelMayhem". That is true.
Let me be very clear here. Finding girls to point a camera at is super easy. In fact, finding girls to point a camera at when they are naked or having sex is fairly easy. Its no big deal at all. None! But, in today's web marketplace 99% of those girls do not fit what I'm looking for and wouldn't be great for a subscription solo-model website. Let me spend a few paragraphs trying to explain.
Every week I receive emails or Facebook messages from girls as young as 13 and as old as 30 asking me questions such as; "Do you ever do photos not so skimpy?" or "Can I just bring my own clothes?" or "Can I just be in a dress?" or stating "This other photographer let me wear what I wanted".
Recently I made this statement to another photographer and he agreed; It use to be that new models asked "What do I get to wear?" but now, with a timid look on their face, they ask "What do I have to wear?".
Clearly, ten or fifteen years ago girls enjoyed the idea of showing off how attractive and shapely they are, but now they hesitate or refuse to do so and think of tiny outfits the same way they think of cleaning the bathrooms at a fast food job. They would rather not.
ModelMayhem, and other sites, allow anybody to create a profile and claimed to be a photographer. There is no review process, no check for a business license hanging on a wall, or any such thing. Its not any more difficult to create a fake profile there than creating a fake Facebook profile.
Most of the guys creating profiles are amateurs or hobbyists. Once they have a profile they then offer to shoot girls for free in an arrangement commonly called "Time For CD" (TFCD). This means she poses for free and he gives her a CD with copies of the images. This is done in most cases so both sides of the camera can get some practice. Because he is not paying the model or selling the images for profit, there is no money involved. He isn't paying her so he can't expect her to pose in outfits or images as daring as I produce, and of course because he isn't a real professional selling his work, he doesn't have the money to provide all sorts of outfits, shoes and accessories even if she wanted to shoot a daring style.
Most of these amateurs are doing it just for fun, and in many cases are a tad desperate, so they take any girl that will pose for free - not caring if she is out of shape, covered in tattoos or fully on drugs - and shoot her in whatever she brings along - dirty jeans, a dress 2 sizes too small, whatever. Obviously I can't hire girls like that because there would be no paying subscribers for a site featuring images matching what the girls post on Instagram.
The second most popular style of photographers on ModelMayhem are portfolio sellers. This is a simple business model and is not much different then being a photographer of high school yearbook photos or wedding photos. The photographers meet girls of all ages, or the parents thereof, that hope to be professional models and convince them they need a portfolio of images to present to agents and the clients of agencies. Again, the photographer doesn't care if she is out of shape, too short to be a fashion model, covered in tattoos or fully on drugs. His only concern before shooting is if she can afford to pay. Once that is established a photo shoot is planned, and later a sales pitch is made to sell her copies of images in digital and printed format. Exactly as if she was being photographed for the high school yearbook.
Many photographers in these two groups tend to be loose with the truth concerning their own skills and the model's potential. Think about it - if you are trying to sell the parents of a short, out of shape, teen girl a $1500 dollar portfolio package you will not make that sale if you are honest and let them know she is not the right shape and style of female to be on the cover of Teen Magazine. Like a 1980s used car salesmen, you either stay silent or lie to make the deal. I can't begin to explain the number of times I've seen very average females told they would be supermodels if they just get a portfolio shoot done and submit it to a famous agency in New York.
The third most popular style of photographer on ModelMayhem would be the guys that are working for a commercial client or publication and are hiring models for an hourly wage or daily fee. With these professionals he is selling the images to a client such as a magazine, catalog producer or website or using them on his own website publication and he is getting paid. Because he is getting paid he, or the client, also pay the model. In this situation she is hired for a specific job, and if that means lingerie or tiny bikini, thats what she applied for. There are no statements such as "I know you are shooting for a lingerie website but I just want to wear my prom dress".
This is a professional model working for a professional photographer and doing the job she was hired to do.
The interests of these three styles of ModelMayhem photographers are often in conflict. The amateurs hoping girls will pose for free do not want girls to get paid for modeling because when she realizes her time, talent and appearance have value she'll stop posing for free. The portfolio guys that make their living doing that work need to make a sale and are very direct about playing both sides by telling the newer girls or parents that the amateurs doing free crap are doing it free because they are not good photographers, but also claiming (often incorrectly) that they need the expensive portfolio before they can seek out paid jobs with the commercial photographers in group three.
Of course, its the third batch of photographers that every girl on ModelMayhem hopes to eventually participate in photo shoots with. The bare fact is that they can't. First, there are thousands of girls wanting to be models. There are not enough paid modeling jobs in the USA to give just one paid models job to all the girls that wish to be models. On top of that we must face the fact that many, many of the girls that wish to be paid professional models, think they can be paid professional models, or make efforts to be paid professional models, do not have the talent, looks, style, shape or personality to do so.
Just like not every young name with a dream can't be on the field for a National Football League game, or behind the wheel of a NASCAR racer at the Daytona 500, not every female that dreams of fashion modeling as a paid job or full career is able to achieve that dream.
Dreams are a hard thing to tell a girl she will not be able to achieve. When the girl is younger the dream is often shared by her mother. Yes, I can very sincerely and honestly inform a girl, and her mother, that at 5'1" tall and wide in the hips she is not going to get signed by the Ford Agency and get modeling jobs in New York, Paris and Milan, but if a free TFCD shooter or portfolio seller tells them otherwise, I'm considered the bad guy.
The amateurs need to lie or exaggerate to get the girl to meet them in the park for his big time photo shoot. Many of the portfolio sellers/shooters sound just like a 1980s used car salesmen, saying whatever it takes to get the deal signed.
Over the years several girls that worked on paid photo shoots at my place have shown me emails or text messages they've received from either the free TFCD amateurs or the portfolio sellers. Some of the shit these guys say to get near a teenage girl with a camera is scary.
I once traced a guy claiming to be an "Official Scout & Test Photographer" for Maxim Magazine because he was talking bad about me to a TrueTeenBabes model. He wasn't a big time scout traveling the nation as he claimed, his real job was as a truck maintenance and repair man at Waste Management (the garbage company).
In 2007 a guy contacted me claiming to be this big time agent and demanding a certain model be taken down from TrueTeenBabes because he was managing her career and didn't approve of the shots. I told him to fuck off. A simple Google search on the phone number brought up the website for a plumbing company in Tennessee and the owner was - bingo, you guessed it - the big time modeling agent. There he is, same name and with his photo right there for all to see. I contacted the girl and her mother. They argued with me about it and the mom even went so far as to say I had created the plumbing website to trick them to keep her daughter on TrueTeenBabes. The girl never modeled for us again, and as I'm sure you readers can guess, she was never a famous worldwide fashion model being managed, between toilet repairs, by a plumber from Kingsport.
In 2011 while attending her daughters TrueTeenBabes photo shoot a mother told me the story of an amateur TFCD photographer and how she found his real name on a business card that listed him as the manager of some rental apartments. She explained how he had claimed a connection to Maxim Magazine (a popular trick for some reason) and some agents in New York. Nothing ever came of the shots done with him and the mom argued with him over unkept promises. For revenge the mother called his boss trying to get him fired. OK fine, but even after telling me that negative story, the rest of the day was spent comparing me to that guy, with him being portrayed as far superior.
The mom would say "Well, he doesn't have her wear make-up because he says she is better natural". In my head I'm thinking he doesn't have her hair and make-up done because he can't afford to. The mom went on to say "He doesn't make her come in this early and did her shoots at around noon". In my head I'm thinking noon is the worst time of day for model photography (here) and he does it then because he is sneaking away from his real job or wife. She says "He let us pick the clothing and it wasn't so skimpy" and in my head I'm thinking that is because he is desperate to get any girl to show up and has no commercial reason for the shoot so he doesn't care what she wears - he just wants to play photographer/agent/important modeling industry dude before going back to mow the lawn at the apartments in 2nd street.
It didn't matter that she had discovered he was fake and wasn't associated with magazines and agencies in New York City, or that he never provided the awesome free portfolio shots he promised, or that I was explaining why professional models get make-up and hair done, the mother continued to feel I was doing the shoot incorrectly because it wasn't how the liar with the big promises said it should be done to make the girl famous and get her on her way to fashion shows in Paris.
Mothers and daughters hear and believe what they want to hear and believe. Those dreams are hard to overcome, in particular when reinforced by a guy wanting to shoot the girl for free, or by the guy trying to sell them a portfolio, or by the commission based salesperson at the modeling school. The truth very rarely wins out, even when it comes with a paid posing job at $100 an hour/$1000 a day.
We must remember that when most girls and mothers consider the girl "being a model" they are thinking about fashion models in New York, Teen magazine, prom dress catalogs, runways, TV shows like America's Next Top Model, and more along those lines. Posing in a tiny bikini or lingerie, even while being paid a decent wage at a professional studio or exciting location, is far outside of the preconceived dream.
Asking the girl to do my style of work is breaking apart the fantasy and goes against the advice of the amateurs, portfolio sellers and modeling school salespersons that are verbally supporting that dream for their own reasons, goals or sales.
Overall, fighting the amateurs, fakes, liars and portfolio sellers on sites like ModelMayhem has brought along very few models for TrueTeenBabes or TrueBabes and hasn't proven worth the effort. Maybe I'll try again someday and I know others have more success there, and some of that could be their style of talking to girls and parents, or it may be their location, or maybe they have mastered the "innuendo" that needs to be pushed, or it may just plain be luck - I simply don't know.
I do know that most girls on ModelMayhem in the age ranges I'm talking about don't have "it" anyway so there is not a large benefit to working through the mush on that site to get a new model or two. No need to tell me there are thousands of girls listed there. If they don't have "it" they don't have "it".
Within my silly plan to retire at age 54 by the end of 2013 it didn't take long to become a little restless and start looking for something to do that would feature less stress compared to shooting for and managing 4-6 websites simultaneously.
Just a few months later, spring 2014, I was helping a local guy with an adult site he ran with a girlfriend. With a push from him just a few weeks later I'm shooting some amateur video scenes and its actually boring. Nothing creative about it. The style of models and their personal habits don't match what I'm used to or inspired by. The off camera situation with "boyfriends" or "managers" hanging around, the calls they could be heard making and the things they seemed to consume around me all combined to not only make me uncomfortable, but at some times a scared. It clearly wasn't what I hoped for.
My last real photo shoot, using good photographic technique and style, had taken place with Dallas Decker and Jaclynn Marie on St. Thomas in July of 2013. Exactly one year later I found myself frustrated with both retirement and my attempts to conquer the restlessness. Frequent quarter mile bike rides down the greenway to supervise bartenders and taste test fajitas at the Platte River Bar and Grill did nothing to prevent me from gaining 12 pounds. Everybody around me is getting married or moving away. Here I was with tons of free time to do stuff or travel for fun, but everybody around me is busy making babies or being bossed around by the wife.
I decided that maybe I would jump back in the more glamour style photo/video/website game on a much smaller scale to keep semi-occupied without dealing with the hassles 7 days a week, and hopefully without any behind these scenes drama or scary people.
At that time I could see five options.
Number one would be to reopen TrueTeenBabes and deal with all the hassles online (piracy) and offline (needing and dealing with multiple models on a consistent basis, and dealing with multiple parents and boyfriends). This option, while on the list, was never given any serious consideration.
Number two was to simply jump in once in a while to do a photo shoot or two for TeenGlamourGirls which was open at the time. I was already doing the Tuesday updates and spending time dealing with the contributing photographers. It seemed like the same work as it would be to reopen TrueTeenBabes, but with less reward because this site never drew more than about 25-30% of what TrueTeenBabes did in terms of monthly subscribers.
Number three on the list was to do one or two solo-model websites with new girls in the TrueTeenBabes age range of 13-16. At the time this was seriously considered, and an agreement was in place with one girl that happened to be from Colorado and had contacted me about TeenGlamourGirls, but when she changed her mind I started looking at other options.
Number four would be to reopen TrueBabes. This site, like TeenGlamourGirls, never topped about 1200 subscribers at any one time, and was more commonly around 800, but would be easier to run for a variety of reasons.
Number five would be a solo-model website or two with a girl 18 or 19 that would be cute enough and daring enough to attract paying fans.
Each of these five options have (had) their own advantages and disadvantages, many of which are exclusive to my business model and history. Some things that may have been advantages in 2014 may be a bit less so now. Let me go through them just a bit.
The first three options all include working with minors. That is an advantage for me on the business side because I have (had) a built in base of potential customers. At the time (summer 2014), between TeenGlamourGirls and the two TrueTeenBabes archives there was about 8200 active customers I could have advertised to. Currently, there is over 80,000 on the email list and with about 3600 having made a purchase from the archives in 2016. Another advantage is the plain simple fact that as of 2014 (and more so now) there was very little competition in the teen model website marketplace.
The disadvantages of working with teens are numerous. For years we've discussed media attention and things along those lines that I've successfully managed. In summer 2014 it came down to a few items - but items that are hard as fuck to deal with.
Once the potential model has expressed interest in working in my style we can't just plan a shoot as we would with a girl age 18. We must first seek the permission, or at least approval of, her mother and father. Often there are also older sisters, aunts and maybe even grandparents that voice an opinion. Simple put, to get a beautiful minor in front of the cameras we have to deal with at least 2 additional people, and maybe as many as 5-6. Getting them all to support the project is very hard. Not near as hard as a girl age 18 that may need to only convince her own boyfriend (or not).
Then, as the shoots are done and images published online, the job gets harder because the younger women are more susceptible to peer and family pressure. Keeping them around is complicated because teen girls quit doing daring photo shoots real quick if they are teased about it online or off.
TrueBabes, or solo-model websites with girls in that age range, seemed at the time to be the easy thing to do. The advantage of not dealing with parents was very inviting and at the same time Jaclynn (then 18) had just moved away from a boyfriend and was in touch wanting to do something.
We all know what came next. I selected TrueBabes from those five options, with an eye on one or two of the girls building fans on it and branching out to their own solo-model website. It seemed to start out perfect but only took a few weeks to turn the other way. Jaclynn's latest tattoo was larger than expected. Two other girls had applied online and indicated to us they didn't have tattoos but showed up with large ugly tattoos expecting us to shoot anyway because "this other photographer didn't care" (ModelMayhem free shooter) or, as odd as it sounds, "I asked this other guy and he said it would be OK" (he gets to decide how I run my business?).
Eventually, what started out looking good in the fall of 2014 when it reopened slowly started to become a hassle. The same hassles I was hoping to avoid. It became harder to locate models that fit the TrueBabes mold (what fans appreciate enough to subscribe for). Jaclynn and the boyfriend got back together and he didn't like her solo-model website or the chats that went with it. Charlotte and I disagreed about basic math and her solo-model website had to close.
Just eleven months after reopening TrueBabes was shutting down again. I plan to talk more about it below but the main reasons are tattoos and thicker girls.
Yes, there are websites out there that feature girls with tattoos and they do well. Yes, there are websites out there that feature girls that are a tad thicker in the thighs or waist.
Thats all fine and dandy but I'm not those websites. They have been marketing to fans of that style for years. I haven't and if I want to run a profitable website these days it absolutely must meet the desires of the customers that already know my name, my other sites, and my style of photos and videos. It would be foolish to ditch all those current fans (customers) - telling them they are wrong to have their own preferences - and start completely over looking for new fans (customers) that have different preferences.
Think about it this way - the sites with slim, trim, natural girls that are free of tattoos are being copied left and right because they make great money. Met-Art reigns in the all natural, slim model, genre, but it wasn't long before X-Art, MPLStudios, Hegre and many others used the same style to gain tens of thousands of subscribers. SuicideGirls is the top dog in the tattoo girl genre, but can you quickly name off the top of your head any sites that copied it and gained tens of thousands of subscribers?
By the fall of 2015 I'm again a bit restless. I'd signed a deal to sell a lot of photos and videos to a company outside the USA, and much of the materials was older and needed to be sorted, scanned or retouched, but I woke daily regretting that task and farmed most of it out. That deal eventually failed anyway.
Fast forward to the spring of 2016 and I feel like a perfect clone of 2014. Having fun, doing some skiing and other traveling, but often at home a bit restless.
I needed not only something to occupy time, but something to be a bit of a challenge. Something to make me "think" that would have a goal line I could try to reach.
I started looking at the model website business yet again. The TrueTeenBabes archive are still running strong, messages continue to roll in from current (archive) and former (all sites) customers asking if I have anything new coming out, and the newsletter email list is actually growing a bit.
I decided I would try again but this time only scout for models that had "it" and only for solo-model website type projects.
The reasons for not reopening TrueTeenBabes are well explained above, and for TrueBabes it is simple: I would need to find 12-15 girls that have "it" each year and have them stick around for multiple shoots while simultaneously trying to beat the massive competition in the 18+ website marketplace. In 2014 I could only find a couple of good models, so trying to find a dozen wasn't likely, and without them doing decent in the marketplace is not likely.
That leaves me with the solo-model website options discussed above. Models ages 14-16 or models ages 18-19. No matter who they are or where they came from, they would need to have all the variables that make up "it".
The next questions, as always, circled around the models. If a magic wand was available to me, and working correctly, I'd wave it around wildly and after the smoke cleared and drum roll went silent, two models would appear that got along perfectly with me, my helper friends, and each other. And, damn it, they would have "it"!
The spring 2016 thought process included two models because it makes more sense from a business point of view. Economically shooting in the old studio building is no big deal but those shots get boring fairly fast. To break that we often take the models to nice homes rented locally, and to make the business even more exciting for myself, the helpers and the models, going to a fun far away location is great.
The budget for vacation home rentals, locally or far away, plus travel costs to a place like ST. Thomas, USVI. or Oahu, HI. can be made to work with two models, but not just one. The perfect example is the summer 2013 project on ST. Thomas with Jaclynn and Dallas, plus Spring and Candace as helpers. Fun trip, not crowded, enough time to include fans in a photo shoot by webcam, and more fun when the work was done. Pretty much "just right".
The next thing to be considered would be which age range to search for. Ages 14-16 makes the most sense because of my successful history in that arena, built-in customer base and lack of competition as discussed above. Ages 18-19 would be less hassle because only one person's permission to seek, but its a very competitive area to be successful in, and subscribers tend to stay for shorter periods of time.
After hours of deliberation and margaritas I decided to go for both!
Its simple - over the previous few years various types of model searches for slim, tattoo free girls by photographers hoping to shoot for TeenGlamourGirls, by myself for TrueBabes, and for others had not proven to be the answer, or at least not a reliable and dependable answer. It seemed best to search of both age brackets and hope for the best. Whichever search provided the girls I felt had "it" would be the age range I would eventually work in.
By now I'm sure most of you are wondering just what the hell "it" is. Damn, thats a bit hard to answer because it actually has three descriptions - the general version, the 14-16 version and the 18-19 version.
Generally "it" is a package of things, some physical, some mental and some dealing with the girl's surroundings.
One important factor was for the girl to live in Colorado. Flying girls, and maybe a mother, in from out of town is a hassle and increases the chances that shoots are missed and deadlines pass. A girl from Texas needs to dedicate 3 days to a one day shoot. One to travel here, one to shoot, one to travel home. It is much harder to arrange that - in particular with a mother's busy schedule to also work around - compared to a girl and her mother driving across town on shoot day.
After the hometown consideration is met a girl that has "it" is the girl that will stand out front the pack and cause a large number of fans to pay for a subscription. That may sound simple and many readers are thinking right now that pretty much any girl could do that or that they see plenty of girls on social media that fit, but in most cases they are incorrect.
Back in the late 90s new model websites arrived on the scene weekly and darn near all of them had decent subscription sales. It didn't matter much if she was tall or short, slim and trim, or a tad thicker and had zits. Online pretty girl content consumption was at its peak and millions of persons gladly paid for it.
Just a couple of years later when I open my first subscription website I sold more subscriptions in the first week than I thought I would do in the first month or two. All that, while admittedly a few of the first models, and the photography of them, didn't exactly reach the above average level.
By 2009 things had taken a massive turn - not just for my sites, but for all online content consumption, in three key areas.
The total amount of online content had grown steady for years, and much of it was easy to access, which made it hard for some of us to stand out from the pack.
Websites using the advertising model, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and others met the content needs of many website surfers and they never need to pull out a credit card.
And, when it came to content not common on social media piracy had taken a strong hold and many long time customers left for the piracy forums to get the materials for free.
Those things can't be stopped so they must be considered when planning a website featuring a glamour style model. Piracy can be slowed - just like retail stores at the mall slow down shoplifting by using cameras and theft prevention tags - but free content on tube sites, and being posted on social media is a hard thing to compete with.
So, to have "it" the girl must be one that stands out from the crowd, and photographs in a way that inspires fans to pay for a subscription.
Those that have been around my work for years know what I'm talking about when they think of Ashley Nicole at 15, Kelsey at 16, Jaclynn at 16, and Libby at 13-15. Those few, out of 200 TrueTeenBabes models stood out and would star in a solo-model website today if I could clone them.
Unfortunately, I can't clone them or the models like them that had "it" over the years with other companies, and even if I could other things have changed and must be considered.
No matter the age range I would say I'm looking for a partner in the website business not just a model. Someone who can discuss every aspect of the site, the photo shoots, and the videos and not just wear something they don't really want to wear.
Over the years friend-helper Danielle and I, and later Spring and I, developed a certain way of communicating that often started with the phrase "what do you think about this?". It was a discussion incorporating ideas they had, with what I was thinking, and within the framework of the current situation such as location, available outfits, colors and more.
My goal with any new girl is for her to also participate in everything. Outfit selection (within the show-off style), days to shoot, locations to use, colors used on her and in the background, and more. I want her involved and feeling it is a true partnership, that her mental contributions count, not just how she looks in a tiny outfit. I'm hoping that being more involved will lead to more fun and more success with some of the new ideas I have.
One of those new ideas, and a key element of locating the right girl - also one of the biggest stumbling blocks - is finding one that allow us into her private life a bit, not just her photo shoot life, because I want to include small elements of "Reality TV" in any new website.
Imagine a girl around age 15 from the Denver area that happens to be a snowboarder. Now imagine, rather then heading up to the mountains on Saturday morning with her family, a female or two around age 22 working for me take our model, and a few of her friends up Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. The helpers play it low-key and let the girls be girls, but record as much as possible with handheld camcorders and/or GoPros. Dinner that evening, snowboarding the next day, flirting with the California boys in town for the weekend, attending the small concert Saturday night, back at the condo complex hot tub, and more.
This type of "out of the studio" content is something nobody else has produced on a steady basis, and makes any new website in any age range more personable and fun. Its one of those things that can be a competitive advantage, and cause subscribers to stay longer. Unfortunately, along with the idea of my very daring photos being seen in public, the idea of being followed with a GoPro didn't turn out to be very appealing to girls and mothers.
In the 14-16 age range to have "it" these days the model must have great facial features and an awesome smile - without that, nothing else matters. Long hair is much more photogenic, and she must be slim and tan and look great in a modern bikini. Tattoos are absolutely out, as are thick thighs, stretch marks and large scars.
Those things are all physical, and are not that hard to find with girls all across the country, but these days there is so much more to it.
Next of course is parental permission, and with it commitment. Can't do it without permission, and if the girl or mother says "we just want to try it out" there is too much uncertainty and a darn good chance one, or both, they will change their minds if a relative offers a negative opinion.
That brings up one very important personality trait I would demand she have - that being extreme confidence. Yes, they must have above average confidence in the photo studio and dealing with me to make pretty pictures. Thats been a fact forever. What is newer, and in my opinion required, is that girls have total and complete confidence they are doing something cool no matter what others say, and to use that confidence to fight off the detractors they surely will be attacked by on social media. In the case of models 14-16 this is a very damn hard thing to deal with. Most, because they live at home and don't need the modeling work as a job, will simply obey the demands of their friends and stop because they want to be liked.
That puts me in a tough position. I don't want to spend dozens of hours and thousands of dollars to find and shoot a new model, retouch and edit the photos and videos, design and create a website, only to see it close days later because her chubby cousin is jealous or the ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend uses it to try embarrassing her.
This confidence in the glamour model style shots and outfits, both by the new model and her close relatives, is likely the most important thing these days. It is very easy to find girls 14-16 that meet the physical style I would want to work with. Its is super easy to get them in the studio if they can wear prom dresses or blue jeans. It takes extra confidence to model in the tiny outfits featured in my style of work, and now it requires double that confidence to stand firm and face down the social media warriors that want everybody to be little puppets that look and act just like the next little puppet.
These younger girls tend to be in and out of relationships with boys more frequently than girls 18 and above living away from home. As odd as it may sound it is something I must consider. If she is controlled, or heavily influenced, by a boyfriend I shy away. If she is single now, but might fall into that type of situation, I need to stay away. Girls around 14-16 that date boys 18 and above are the worst. Part of having "it" is being strong (confident) enough to let the boy know she wants to do the shoots and the she is not a poodle he can keep on a leash.
A strong and confident personality doesn't mean an stuck-up or egotistical personality. The best pictures are almost always done with the models that are the most fun to work with. An energetic, happy or sweet personality can come across in pictures and videos to make them better. These days I also consider the working environment to be important.
Certain helper friends, such as Danielle, Spring and Candace have been around for years, and would take days away from their current jobs if I had models available and wanted to do some shoots. Thats because its fun - we like working together, and we like working with fun models. If the new model (or her mother) had a poor attitude it would drag down the day for all of us. She, no matter her beauty, certainly wouldn't be somebody we wanted to work with over and over, or take on a fun trip.
For a girl 14-16 to have "it" she not only needs the outright natural beauty Kelsey and Jaclynn had at that age, but she also needs full family support, encouragement - or at least acceptance - from friends or the ability to deal with their negative attitudes, strength to fight off or dump a controlling boyfriend, and a personality myself and the helpers will be excited to work with again and again.
The previous paragraph is 331 characters formed to create 72 words and a hell of a lot easier to type, with my eyes closed using only my toes, than it is to actually find the girl it describes.
A quick note before moving on to the older age range. I often get asked why that range stops at 16, not 17. That is simple - I need the project to run at least one year. A girl that is 17 now, or 17 and 4 months, or 17 and 6 months, is likely in her senior year of high school. Once she is 18, she may be off to college, may be out of the house and moving away with a boy, or some may expect her to advance instantly to TrueBabes style work when she doesn't have that desire. A new model, 16 or below, gives me a longer period of time to work with her and have a profitable site before the distractions of hitting 18 come along.
In the 18-19 age range to have "it" these days the girl needs to have all the same things - a slim shape of natural beauty that is free of tattoos and topped by an outstanding face, wonderful hair, bright clear eyes, and the knock out smile fans dream of.
Taking that further, and speaking frankly, she has to be way the fuck above average. The bottom line is that there is tons of competition in the adult (18+) solo-model website business. Every model and website is competing with other solo-model websites, the webcam sites, and tons of free content due to piracy. Anything she can wear, or any way she can pose, a model fan can find for free if he is willing to spend the time. She clearly has to stand out to for fans to subscribe on a consistent basis.
Girls in this age range also need many of the same personality traits listed above. Being a bit older, and maybe out of the house, means they may be better at fighting off the social media fools telling them how to live, but it remains an issue.
The personality traits of the girl are one of the items that can make her stand out from the competition. Think about it - one of the things that makes webcam sites or webcam girls successful is the personality of the girl. Her voice and how she interacts with fans is what separates a live chat from a still photograph. The girls with the best personality are the girls that are the best at this key feature of an adult solo-model website.
The same things that make a girl great on webcam also make her great in HD videos. There is a certain smoothness of motion, confidence and sex appeal that comes out with some girls that doesn't with others that may have equal physical beauty.
Commitment to the project for at least a year is important, but she also needs for that commitment to be darn near exclusive. If the girl is on dozens of other websites the money spent worldwide to enjoy her beauty is split and that split may create a situation were it isn't worth the effort for one particular webmaster or another to run a site featuring her. So, one "it" factor is the desire to stay within her solo-model website and do the best she can with it, and the social media related to it.
And that brings us to the most important thing that a new girl 18-19 needs to have; the desire to pose nude. Not just artistically nude in heavy shadows, but glamour style show off how damn near perfect she is style nudes. The days of bikini or lingerie subscription websites are long past because so much of that style content is free on social media. The days of solo-model websites being successful with average girls are long past. The days of solo-model websites featuring just topless or artistic photos are long past.
Yes, there are minor exceptions; girls that have had a long following, maybe as far back as being a non-nude teen bikini model; a website run by a hobbyist in a certain niche that has never had more than 75 members and he doesn't care because all the photos are taken in his garage (no investment) and he is doing it just for fun.
That is not what I'm talking about today in either age range - doing it just for fun in the garage. If anything, I'm wishing to go full speed the other way and do higher quality photos and videos compared to whats I've done before.
The Search Basics
Scouting for teenage females to be glamour style or nude models can be done using many different methods. Some are costly, some require large amounts of time and labor, some break the rules of a venue or website, some risk public ridicule and some are legally questionable.
Some of the methods are proven, some are just plain silly. Some considered very normal that worked well in the past now get a person attacked by social media warriors. Some methods can't be used with the lower age range.
I'm going to explain exactly what I and the friend helpers tried in detail below, but separate it into the age groups. That being said, some methods overlap here and there.
Three things that searching in both age ranges had in common are: no tattoos, no drug usage heavier than marijuana, and no crazy ass boyfriends expecting to run things.
Most of the search was limited to Colorado area girls to make it as easy as possible to do the project without excessive hassle, labor, or expense. I remain part owner of a building that was used as studio space in the TrueTeenBabes days (current use 1/2 storage and 1/2 car detailer) so it would be easy to get restarted. Danielle and others that would be the part-time helpers are here, and all sorts of lighting equipment and other gear is here. Working from the Denver area is key to the search.
Please keep in mind that I'm not looking for girls to take photos of and simply call her a "model". I'm looking for a specific style of girl, with a specific type of look and personality, to do my specific style of work on a project that would continue for at least one year, hopefully longer, as described above. Anything else would be a frustrating waste of time, money and labor.
The Age 14-16 Search & Results
For new models in the TrueTeenBabes age range of 14-16 the search I'm referring to began in May 2016 and ended December 15th, 2016, with a break of about 5 weeks in September/October.
The first step was to prepare websites with nice information and photos where prospects and their mothers could check it out. These websites are business related explaining who I am, where I'm located, what I do, what I'm looking for, what I pay the models and all sorts of information.
I created several websites using a variety of domain names to present the information in different ways, with different text and images, and to increase the chance of getting traffic from search engines. I included behind the scenes photos and videos so anybody that spent a few minutes on the site could see how I, Danielle and other helpers worked, the fun involved, studio and outdoor locations, and that it was a legitimate deal as opposed to a mechanic shooting weekends in his garage.
All the sites were modern and worked well on all devices because most girls these days have a phone in their hand all day and night.
I also created a fake teen solo-model website using some of Jaclynn's first images so the girl and her parents could envision how the results of photo shoots would be presented to the public and marketed.
The second step in this age range was to look at previous applications and emails. Over 2014 a few girls applied for TeenGlamourGirls but for some reason couldn't do the work. Some had been 13 or 14, so now would be 15 or 16. There ended up being 53 girls in this category, but almost all of them from outside Colorado. I spent a couple of hours cutting it down to girls in Colorado, girls within 2 hours by non-stop flight to Denver, and after reviewing many, many Facebook profiles, girls that seemed to have a sister in the required age range. The total was down to 26.
I created a professional appearing email message with good photos, accurate information and links back to more details and the online application. I then used the proper tests and systems to send it to insure it would not hit the spam box in their email accounts.
This resulted in a few bounced emails and just a single application. It came from a beautiful girl that had participated in teen pageants and more. She was all for it, but her father was not at all interested.
The third step was to review our current connections and resources. TrueBabes had run for 11 months in 2014-15 and a few of the girls shooting in that time frame may have younger sisters or cousins that would be within the range we are looking for.
None of those local connections helped in the search or resulted in a single application.
The forth step was to use my profiles at sites such as ModelMayhem and OneModelPlace to scout girls there. While there was several replies, as has been common for years, very few express a desire to do anything but normal fashion work. Some even shied away from bikinis before we could even discuss lingerie. We must remember that every girl that joins a modeling site is thinking of fashion modeling as they see on TV and not my style of work.
The modeling websites provided many pretty teen girls responding to messages and asking questions but none that fit my needs, or that wanted to proceed if swimwear or lingerie was part of the equation.
The fifth step was printing business cards to pass out at any place we spotted a girl or two that may fit the project. This is common, and those that read "The Four Fs" blog from 2014 know that many of the first 25 models TrueTeenBabes could be traced back to just 2 or 3 post card size flyers distributed in 2000. For 2016 I had professional cards created with my name, Danielle's name and another volunteer helper's name.
Its very hard for a guy my age (57) to approach a teen girl without looking like a weirdo these days. I did visit a mall with Danielle so she could be the contact person, and supplied cards to a girl closer to the right age range to pass out on my behalf.
Unlike fall 2000, there was no large events taking place in May or over the summer months that concentrated large numbers of high school age females in one place so we could get cards out to the best of the best.
We also visited a couple of weekend modeling school classes to leave cards on windshields of mothers and got cussed out by the modeling school sales lady soon after. She called my work porn, but of course she would because if she lets the girls know they don't need the damn classes to have fun and make some money, she wouldn't make her commission.
We also tried passing out cards at a couple of concerts, a small ComicCom / Cosplay type show, and teen night at a local dance club.
Overall, the distribution of business cards was much like the modeling websites. Several emails, a few phone calls, some applications but nobody that fit the plan because they only want to do fashion shoots or have the wrong body style for my work. Certainly not the scouting success of 2000.
The sixth step was general online networking using profiles on Facebook and Instagram, along with other social media sites that are not directly related to modeling, to try connecting with the right prospects. This is a tricky deal. Most sites frown on older people connecting to younger people so I have to get somebody else to do it.
Back in 2014 a girl named Briana from Denver contacted us about TeenGlamourGirls. We couldn't get her involved, and later she became pregnant, but she had stayed in touch through Facebook. In 2016 with her at age 16 I hired her to do Facebook networking. Over a few months she created a decent following, but any time she posted an attractive photo of Kelsey or Jaclynn and stated we had modeling jobs open to do that style of work, she was attacked. Eventually it became a worthless exercise in cussing by her detractors (teen social media warriors) and she gave up.
As long as the models stay in prom dresses or simple casual clothes all is fine, but as soon as the bikinis and lingerie come out the radicals shift to calling it porn, child abuse, illegal, blah, blah, blah. And, sure enough there will always be some plumber or car mechanic playing photographer that jumps into the discussion saying "you girls can model for me and not have to wear that crap!" Of course, he is an hobbyist and doing it just to get next to teen girls and doesn't pay them anything.
About a month after Briana became frustrated Sarah Orion (TrueBabes 2014) was looking for some extra work. She took over the profile, and created another on Instagram, but pretty much the same thing happened. Some girls would message, but none would leave Facebook to go visit the sites with more information and where they could apply right online. In some ways its as if they are afraid of leaving social media, even for just a few minutes, because they might miss another cat photo post or continuing drama between a boy and girl that went out on a single date seven months ago.
This is unfortunate because Facebook, of course, is an online location for many, many teen girls that may not have thought to look into modeling previously due to age or height, but would do great with me. Thankfully, there is other ways to reach the target group on social media.
The seventh step is online advertising. This can take many forms, on many sites, and be free or very costly. Go get yourself a beer right about now and as soon as you get back I'll walk you through it.
Online advertising is dominated by Google and Facebook, with Bing, Yahoo, StumbleUpon and several others also in the game. For our purposes this advertising is sub-divided into search engine ads, banner ads and social media ads.
The very first thing you need to know about advertising for models 14-16 is that very few places will approve. Yahoo closed my advertising account back in 2011 when we did the "10th Anniversary TrueTeenBabes Model Search". Google and Facebook limit the text we can use in advertisements and the text and images that are used on the site that the advertisement links to. It often draws criticism from the website on which it is displayed.
Google runs a large advertising network that places ads within other websites.
Example: Say you run a blog where you discuss digital cameras and studio gear. You can sign-up with Google Adsense as a publisher, create space on your page layout to install the Google scripts, and display ads related to certain keywords such as "cameras", "dSLR", "photography", "camera reviews" and more. The ads can be banners in the correct size for your page layout, or small text paragraphs that look somewhat like search results. The ads contain links to the advertisers website and you'll be paid based on the number of times the link is clicked.
It is those downstream websites (blog owners, publishers) that often reject advertisements for teen glamour models (14-16), and frankly there are very few places those ads would be effective.
Google, through the Adwords program, also places text ads in the top 3 slots and last 3 spots of the first page of the search results. To place these ads you create a Google Adwords account, select keywords or key phrases that you hope searchers will use, then bid on those keywords. More popular keywords are more costly, with the terms I've used running from $0.51 to $1.24 per click. You set a daily budget (limit) so spending doesn't get out of control.
Testing the keywords "teen modeling" and "teen modeling jobs" today displayed ads for two modeling schools and a site recruiting girls ages 18+ to be nude webcam girls. A number of other keywords I used in the past produced near the same results.
I turned Google ads on for a two weeks in May, using different text and destination "models wanted" websites to see what would work better. Click here for a screen capture from the Adwords control panel.
Clicks means the number of times the link was followed by the web surfer. Impr means "Impressions" which is the total number of times the ad was shown. CTR means "Click Through Rate" which is the percentage of people clicking after seeing the ad. Avg. CPC means "Average Cost Per Click", and Cost means the total amount I spent that day.
Over 13 days in May the ads were shown a total of 484,170 times and generated 6169 clicks to the modeling job websites. The total cost was $4045.52.
The modeling job websites they visit when clicking ads are slightly different. The domain names and basic colors differ, but both work great on computers and mobile devices.
One displays teen glamour style images, including lingerie photos, and indicates the model would get $1000 for her first shoot weekend and 50% of the profit from that point on, with the website running at least one year and her average being at least $2500 monthly, including months in which there are no photo shoots required.
The second displays teen glamour style images - but swimwear and shorts/cute outfits only. This site offers the model $100 an hour and mentions shooting every other month to keep the site updated, and averaging $1200 for each shoot weekend.
Both age 13-16 range modeling job websites had these facts in common; they clearly mention "girls ages 13-16 only" twice; they both state "no tattoos" twice; they clearly state we are hiring models to build a solo-model website around and they displayed slim beautiful teen models (14-16) such as Libby, Jaclynn and Kelsey.
Those 6169 clicks resulted in about two dozen adult males contacting me to ask where they could see more of my work, and only 49 persons completing the online modeling job application. Of those 49 applicants 1 was a male age 26, 3 women above age 30, 34 in the age range of 17-29 and just 11 in the correct age range of 13-16.
Most of the girls, in the correct age range or not, didn't fit the style of work they would see on the site when applying, or having a solo-model website built around their beauty in the current marketplace. The two most common issues are body style/weight and tattoos.
Of the 11 in the correct age range I replied to two for further information. One was from Nebraska, and the other from right in the Metro-Denver area.
The girl from Nebraska, age 16, was busy at school, as a high school cheerleader, and on a gym based cheerleader team that attends competitions. Her mother was supportive but time would not allow her to commit to a website unless she dropped something else and she selected to stick with the cheerleading.
The girl from Metro-Denver, age 13, and her mother never replied to my emails or the printed information sent to the home address. I have to assume the girl applied without mother's knowledge, and once her mother reviewed the information and photo style she didn't approve.
Overall, the $4045.52 spent in May at Google brought only two applicants that seemed by the original application information and photos to fit the plan I'm pursuing.
The major reason for that is because Google has no way use any demographics, such as location, age or sex to limit to whom the ads are displayed. Anybody in the USA with Google access might use those search terms or keywords for any reason, and the ad is displayed. Many outside persons might click the advertisement just curious to see the destination website, and that click costs money - even when they are male.
The same can't be said for Facebook advertising. On Facebook persons create their profile by listing their sex, age, city, state and other information that can be used by Facebook and those advertising there to insure their ads are displayed to the target market.
Ford, for example, can place advertisements for the latest large 4-wheel drive truck and have those ads displayed only to males, ages 25-55, in western states with mountains such as Colorado, Utah and Wyoming while displaying different ads for Corvettes to males in the same age group, but large cities in California. They call this marketing to the most likely "demographic" (group).
In the case of my ads this is a very valuable tool. Once an advertisement is created, and approved, I can set the demographics so that the ad is only displayed in the timeline of profiles that fit the intent of the advertisement. If I want females, ages 13-16, in Colorado only, I can make that selection. It limits the total people viewing that ad, but those that do should be in the target demographic according to data in their own profile.
Before I get into details and results a few quick notes are in order.
Facebook owns Instagram and the same advertising system manages both sites. The ads will display on Instagram to girls in the target demographic if they have their Facebook and Instagram profiles linked together. Girls in the demographic that haven't tied the profiles together would only have a chance of seeing the ad on Facebook.
Facebook is full of fake and inaccurate profiles. Mothers may create a profile using pictures of teen girls from another state to "friend" and spy on their own daughter or the daughter's boyfriend. Deviant males in their 40s and above have been known to create fake teen female profiles in an attempt to chat with real teen females. Younger teen females, say 15 or 16, have been known to mis-state their age as 18 or 19 to meet college age boys or be invited to parties with those the college age range.
Facebook ads are more expensive per click. But, with the demographic controls each click is much more likely to be a teen female in the right range compared to Google, even after factoring in the fake profiles.
Facebook ads targeted by the demographic controls to persons under 18 can't use images of models in lingerie. If the images in the ad use models in swimwear it can't be thong style or Brazilian cut swimwear.
Facebook ads can link to a page on Facebook or to an outside website.
Facebook ads linking to an outside website are carefully reviewed before being displayed to Facebook users. If ads are set to display to persons under 18 on Facebook the outside website linked within ads can't display nudity, lingerie or thong swimwear, and the outside websites can't redirect to other websites or contain links to other websites that contain nudity or lingerie.
The review process happens each time the ad is started and randomly while it is running. Say I run an ad August 1st to 5th, then turn it off. If I come back on the 15th and turn it back on, even without making any changes to it, the review process starts again.
The review process can be a bit odd at times. The classic example is an ad that runs over a weekend that has been approved on Facebook (ad image and text) and at the destination website (link in ad). I'll turn it off Monday through Thursday. Friday afternoon I click the button to turn it back on for the weekend, and it is not approved - even though the ad text hasn't changed, the ad image hasn't changed and nothing on the destination website has changed.
I've always felt that within the approval department their may be a few on the staff that are a tad conservative and therefore not approving the ad for personal reasons. This issue happens with both previously published and new ads. The solution is to resubmit the ad in an hour or two without changes and hope for a different reviewer.
The limitations on Facebook about the destination website places me in a tough spot. My policy is to be very up front with the girls, and mothers, about what style of work I need to do to have a high membership website. It is not a good thing to indicate to the girl by photos on the application website that I'm doing fashion photos, then get her at a shoot and bring out lingerie as a surprise. Its a very bad thing to start a business relationship with them using deception and likely to cause the girl and her mother to back away, or at a minimum look shy and uncomfortable in the images. Both of those ruin the intent of the project - to have a profitable solo-model website that runs at least one full year.
To abide by the Facebook policies, yet try and be up front with the prospective models and parents, I need to apply a bit of "filtering". This is done by creating a nice "Bikini Models Wanted" application website that follows the rules by limiting photos to cute outfits and bikinis, and works well on mobile devices because thats pretty much all a teen uses to access the Internet these days. The links in the ads all run to that website.
Girls see the advertisements and if interested click the link which takes them to the "Bikini Models Wanted" website. Once there most review the information and bikini photos, and if they are interested in that style work they complete the online form and upload images.
The form and images they submit come to me by email and that is where the filtering starts.
The first step is to look at the age on the submission. Forms listing age over 20 are deleted. Forms listing 17, 18 or 19 are moved to a different folder. That, if I'm lucky, leaves me with a series of forms submitted by girls 13-16 that are interested in modeling in bikinis, as they read about and saw in images on the application website.
The next step is to go through the forms submitted by 13-16 year olds and check the "weight" line. The truth is that many applicants from Facebook and Instagram ads, like with Google, are girls that maintain a body style that would not be photogenic in modern swimwear or the other outfits used in my projects.
To understand that statement please consider that no popular TrueTeenBabes model weighed over 130 pounds, and the most popular on that site and their own solo-model websites, such as Jaclynn, Kelsey, Victoria, Libby and Amanda, all came in between 102lbs and 116lbs. That slim, trim, tan style is what works best in my photography and has proven to be, by far, the most popular with the paying subscribers over the years.
Each of these images is a screen capture of forms received in 2016. Keep in mind, the applicants are completing that form on a site that states both "ages 13-16 only" and "no tattoos" multiple times, and is full of photos of Jaclynn, Libby, Victoria, Jenny and Mary.
I can't explain it. I started shooting images of girls in swimwear part-time way back in the 1980s and I've never experienced a time where so many young women either refused to read the information, or think the clear statements about age limits and tattoos do not apply to them, or look at images of Jaclynn and think they can do the same work when they weigh 78 to 102 pounds more than she does.
Please understand that I'm talking from a business prospective. These are likely very personable young women, but they are no closer to being a "slim, trim, bikini model" and fitting my projects than I am to being an NFL player as an out of shape 57 year old.
It is at this point that I start looking at the images the girls have submitted. Many girls submit only facial photos so its hard to judge how they may fit the outfits. More recently girls submit these stupid images with a fake dog nose created by some sort of filter used with Snapchat. Why would a girl want to look like a dog in any photos, much less try to get a modeling job with their face covered by a dog nose and tongue? In any case, if the photos don't show her facial features or shape I try to find her on Facebook or Instagram to review additional images.
The photo review stage often reveals tattoos, even on girls as young as 14, and those applicants are deleted. The photos often cause me to think the weight number they provided is not accurate, with a girl of around 150lbs typing 115lbs, and those are deleted. Often other details are revealed, such as images that look like a gal years older than the age they stated on the form. I ask about it by email and learn its a 25 year old that replies with something like "My friends all say I look 16" or "I still get carded" and "so thats what I put down".
A sample summer 2016 Friday afternoon to Sunday evening run of ads on Facebook and Instagram was displayed 39,964 times (often multiple times in same girl's timeline), was clicked 643 times and cost $436.11.
The 634 clicks that took girls to the "Bikini Models Wanted" website resulted in 67 online forms being completed and 298 photos being submitted. Some of the clicks may have been the same girl clicking more than once. Even if we cut the clicks in half to account for two clicks per girl we are talking about 317 girls being interested enough in the "Bikini Models Wanted" advertisement to leave Facebook or Instagram. To get only 67 online forms submitted means just 21.13% keep that interest after seeing more images and reading the information. Even accounting for older or thicker girls that do not complete the form that is a low percentage.
The kicker is that at that point in time the visitors to the "Bikini Models Wanted" website are only reviewing information and images related to bikini modeling because the ads can't promote teen glamour or lingerie modeling.
Most of those 67 online forms are deleted in the filtering steps described above - Girls too old for the 13-16 project, girls lacking the body style for my work, girls with tattoos, and girls with other issues that prevent them from being a good candidate.
The weekend I'm discussing resulted in just 5 prospects with high enough potential that I would invest more time and effort. The problem is that, due to the Facebook/Instagram policies, those 5 do not know I'm considering them for a more daring style of work, and that the work would be published on a solo-model website.
The next step is to contact the girl, and her mother, to explain the solo-model website business and why the work produced needs to be a bit more daring compared to whats available free on Instagram. This is usually done by sending a letter to the girl's mother that explains the project, requests that she and her daughter visit the main "Teen Glamour Models Wanted" website that is not limited to just bikini photos, and if interested to contact me directly by phone.
This last step - actually getting down to business explaining the project in detail, confirming the girl's interest in my daring style of work, and seeking permission from a parent was taken by mail, email or in person at least 40 times between early May and the end of September 2016.
Around a dozen parents replied. Most ask the same questions, with the most popular being along the lines of; "If I let her do this can she wear less revealing cloths?" or "Can it be done off the internet because she doesn't want anybody to see her in those outfits?" or the variation of that "Can you block people she doesn't want to see it from seeing it" or my favorite considering the multi-page letter I sent explaining the solo-model website business, "What are the photos going to be used for?"
Another five or six girls sent short emails saying "Mom said I can't do it" or "Mom says I have to wait until I'm older". The other parents or girls were never heard from again.
In total over a roughly five month period I received the permission forms back, or set-up in person meetings, with just five girl-parent combinations.
One of them I eliminated rightaway when she arrived with her baby in tow. She had submitted photos taken when she was 14, was now 16 and produced the baby in between. Her body style had not recovered and she couldn't pose for my work.
Another didn't look much like the application photos, and frankly was a bit trashy sounding when at age 15 she used the word "bitches" five or six times in 10 minutes, while her mom just sat their acting as if that was cool.
A third, age 16, showed up with a brand new - but very amateur - tattoo.
The forth was super cute, about to hit 14 and she could be around for a couple of years, and had an awesome personality and look. After meeting in person with her and her mom all seemed great. Later that day the girl sent a message to ask if I needed more models because she was with her cousin who wanted to model. I replied with a firm yes and a link to the main "Teen Glamour Models Wanted" website. The next day I got a message that they changed their minds and didn't want to do it. I deduce that either the cousin, or the cousin's mom (girl's aunt), thought my photos to be too daring and convinced the mother to pull her daughter out.
The fifth in the group wanted to "just try it" before signing on for a full solo-model website one year commitment. An afternoon "test shoot" (my term) was planned but they didn't show up or reply to calls. About a month later her Instagram page had several photos from her "modeling shoot" (her term) with her in jeans and skirts at a park near my house looking very much like school yearbook photos. The markings on them indicate they were done by one of those ModelMayhem portfolio seller guys. Now, six months later, there are no additional model type photos there, so I assume the portfolio he sold them didn't lead to any modeling jobs.
That spring and summer model search using paid ads on Facebook and Instagram cost over $11,000, sent tens of thousands of people to the "Bikini Models Wanted" websites, and generated a number of applications - including some girls that appeared to be very photogenic. But, after all that time and money I could never close the deal.
Many, many stunning teen girls applied but didn't really want to do bikinis, much less more daring teen glamour photo work.
Many more that applied, and were fine with the bikini or lingerie shoots, didn't want the photos to be "where friends can see them", which pretty much eliminates everything except my office wall.
While all this weekend advertising was going on, and girls are clicking to the tame "Bikini Models Wanted" website, there was dozens of additional teen girls that didn't complete the online form, but did contact me by email or direct message on Facebook or Instagram with questions. Most of those questions are the same and refer to what the girl wears and where the photos would be seen.
After all these questions from at least one hundred different girls over the five month period it was not hard to come to a few conclusions.
Teen girls remain interested in trying to be a "model" but that interest stops, or is extremely limited, if it means showing off their beauty below the shoulders (shape) online. Fashion shoots, photos that look like a high school yearbook (girl in dress or jeans next to a barn or tree), or solid white backgrounds in a studio setting while wearing a prom dress, are all OK, but not much else.
Some teen girls are secretly interested is being cute, showing off, getting attention and would do lots of shoots if there was a way the images would never be seen by people they know.
Teen girls that do show interest, even in bikini modeling, risk being attacked. This is obvious when ads appear on Facebook because viewers can comment below the ads as they appear in the timeline. True example: Ad is running, seen by a girl named Cindy and she "shares" it with her friend Julie with the comment "Hey Jules lets try for this", but within five minutes, a third girl named Elizabeth chimes in and says "perfect job for sluts". Boom, just like that Cindy and Julie have not only lost interest, they are embarrassed to have ever shown interest. One chubby girl quickly takes two cuties out of the search with just 4 words.
Being paid doesn't matter near as much as being "liked". What I'm saying is that no matter how much money I offered, if the girl or her mother felt the images would not be 'liked" by everybody the girl or her family ever come in contact with online, it wasn't worth it.
Along the way I tried a few other things to get girls to at least visit the application site, or fully committed if they did apply. I sponsored a couple of girls in beauty pageants hoping that if they didn't win they would lean towards my work. I paid a helper to attend a teen pageant and pass out cards. Nothing worked to find a girl that had "it" in the beauty department and had "it" in the confidence department and had "it" in the super important resistance to social justice warrior and online harassment department.
I gave up on the search the last week of September. I simply had no new ideas and the things I'd done for many years didn't work any longer, unless I wanted to shoot "just for fun" or lock the photos in a double wall safe so nobody could see them or tease the girl about them.
The pause lasted just five weeks, until about Halloween weekend, when I had lunch with Danielle, then dinner with another former model, and they both encourage me try one more time. The next day I recruited another girl to also toss in a few hours weekly.
The new plan was to try a combination of the same things, and some variations of them, along with some new ideas from November 1st until December 15th.
On the surface it may seem strange to just repeat the same ads and methods but I felt the suggestions made by the three former models made sense.
One change was to have the former models manage the social media accounts where the messages came in from teen females. That way the interested girls would be talking "girl to girl" to somebody just 4-5 years above their age range that had been around the business on both sides of the camera as a model and helper. It made sense so I purchased Asus Android pads for the girls to use and put them back on the payroll so they would get paid for their efforts.
This time around the plan was to not wait for girls to follow links in the profile or ads, or send us a message. Because it was a 19 year old female running social media, and not a 57 year old male, she could be more proactive and actually "scout" girls. Rather than wait for them we would at least send a message to those that seems high quality.
The second change involved something that had been confusing me for a few years and I never figure out how to deal with it. The issue is what I'll call "mixed signals". Over the last couple of years of TrueTeenBabes, stretching into the reopened TrueBabes (2014-15), and continuing in the 2016 search, it was very common to get messages with one of two opposing themes.
The first of those themes can generally be titled as "This sounds too good to be true" and the statements to that affect are usually coming from a mother.
It makes sense because almost every girl in this age range that has considered modeling, and her mother, have been told they need to pay for modeling school and a modeling portfolio. Once they do that they are "up sold" additional classes, such as acting. They are told they should update the portfolio with a "new look". They are told they should attend the IMTA convention (pay to be entered, plus travel costs) (here) and once they do that they are told they should buy photos from the convention (here). And, if they are not one of the 5-10 selected out of the out of the 800 girls in attendance, they are told they just need a few more classes and a few more "looks" in that portfolio.
Heck, even the Miss Teen Colorado / Miss Teen USA pageants (here) cost the mother thousands of dollars, and those companies continue to draw money from those girls and mothers by selling them products (here) and even charge $125 just to see the pageant photos (here).
So, yes when I come along offering $100 an hour, or giving true examples of girls that averaged $3500 a month (broken down, that means over $200 an hour), it certainly sounds too good to be true or like some sort of trick.
If a mother would visit the office and give us an hour to explain the details, and show there are teen model fans out there willing to subscribe - just like non-sports fans are the biggest buyers of the yearly Swimsuit Issue - if the models are above average and the photos are higher quality and more daring compared to what is on Instagram, it is not too good to be true, but actually doable. In fact, with the loss of many teen model websites in the past few years, there is so little competition and its likely a good site would be a big success.
Attempting to counter the "too good to be true" issue over the extra six weeks of model searching I created yet another website that myself and the helpers would direct prospective models and mothers to review. This "models wanted" website stated pay rates of $40 an hour (down from $100), and made no statements about monthly income or ongoing residuals. It also tamed down the language about my years in business, fancy "on location" projects I had done in the past, and other true, but "bragging" style, phrasing.
The second of the themes I felt I needed to counter was the exact opposite and can generally be titled as "whats the big deal?" or "what else?".
This usually comes up with the older age group, but can in the 14-16 bracket when the girl, her mother or the girl's boyfriend, have seen "Top Model" shows on TV, or heard rumors online about this success or that success. The root of the issue is that they think what I'm offering isn't enough because they have heard that models making tens of thousands of dollars daily and traveling to exciting places is normal, not rare.
We've all heard those stories, and many of them are true, but the accurate ones feature models that have been in the business a few years and are working for large international companies or brands, not a girl age 15, with no modeling experience, attending the local high school, and shooting 2 days every other month.
Yes I am asking the new models to pose in both bikinis and lingerie and offering $100 an hour.
Yes, girls like Brooklyn Decker, Miranda Kerr and Irina Shayk all posed in bikinis for Sports Illustrated and lingerie for Victoria's Secret for a lot more money than what I offer.
Yes, there is a heck of a difference between an experienced star model thats been on dozens of magazines covers and in 100s of advertisements.
No, I can't match the pay rates or travel opportunities of a publisher such as Time Warner (SI) or international retailer such as Victoria's Secret, but I can point out that my experience and business plan is pretty damn good for what it is, and should be exciting for a girl in that age range with no experience.
To accomplish this I created yet another website that contained lots of behind the scenes photos and videos from projects in Hawaii, Miami, the Virgin Islands and others. From these materials I hoped they would get the impression that while my work is not meant for world famous super models, it is a big step above having to pay some portfolio salesmen and modeling school, and a giant step above the plumber-photographer guy doing test shots in the park at noon on Saturday without paying the models a damn dime.
In the dozen or so paragraphs above I mentioned two new "models wanted" websites, and that both featured text, photos and videos that don't precisely outline what I'm really looking for or plan to do. One site was more "mellow", mentioning just $40 an hour and lacking mentions of studio size or staff experience, and no indication of future revenue. The other was made to sound more "big time" than reality, with $100 an hour pay rates plus great ongoing income, mentions of two planned trips to exotic locations, talk of the years of experience, and the best of the best in photos.
In advertising I think this is called A-B testing. The goal was to sort of bounce back and forth. One day direct the links in advertisements or postings to the "mellow" website and the next day to the "almost big time" website. This allows us to see which receives the best response in terms of both total applicants and the quality of applicants.
Quick Sidebar - the "almost big time" website and linked social media mentioned two Virgin Islands photo shoot trips coming up in 2017. I also created awesome banners for those trips and paid to use them in ads, and placed some in the social media accounts. I was hoping to spark "real serious" interest from girls. Many fans also noticed the banners and sent messages saying they are happy I'm back, can't wait to see the results, or asking which models would be on the trips. I appreciate the messages but replied to those fans explaining the banners are used as more of a gauge to judge interest than a promotion for a real trip.
The December ending date for model search round two was selected so if things didn't work out I could proceed with winter plans I had in place, and because I figured that the holiday season would see girls and their mothers too busy to give my ads, websites or information much attention.
The last change I made starting in November was to expand the search outside Colorado.
The logic behind limiting the original search to Colorado was that is made it easy for girls to attend the shoots, and more likely they would continue to attend, and because its smart for the budget. That didn't work over the summer months so it made sense to look further out. To look a bit outside Colorado I again tried to use logic - which I'm often accused of lacking.
From years of travel experience I know that Concourse A at Denver International Airport is the quickest to get in and out of security (if walking the bridge) and the main terminal. Non-stop flights are best, and need to be limited to 2 hours or less. Frontier Airlines is Denver based, fairly priced and dominates Concourse A so I went to their website, reviewed the route map and flight schedules to select cities that would allow the girl to fly in one day, shoot all the next day and leave that evening.
This allowed me to search in Montana, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Utah, plus parts of Nevada and Kansas.
Over the course of six weeks I spent more money on ads and the helper working with the younger girls on social media did what she could. The six week period brought along around a dozen applicants, but only three actually fit the project when I delete the girls age 17 or above, girls with tattoos and girls that are just plain too thick for my style of work. There was no definitive pattern showing if the "normal", "mellow" or "almost big time" website worked best. It was about even, and the sample size was too small.
I sent information to the parents of three girls but never heard back.
The model search ads were turned off December 15th. The helper also stopped work that day. Two social media accounts were closed. Just one social media "model search" related account was left open for girls in the 14-16 age range, but updating it cut back to one post per week using an online service (HootSuite).
I could have done photos of at least 60 different girls in the age range of 13-16 in 2016 if I allowed tattoos, thick girls, full-overweight girls, or very attractive girls that pose in dresses or jeans - but nothing that reveals more than bare shoulders and facial features.
Unfortunately, none of those girls fit the definition of having "it" based on my experience both in the studio (style that is super photogenic), in dealing with teen girl personalities (confidence to fight off the detractors) and in subscription sales (style that large number of fans pay to review).
Don't stop reading here... more information and thoughts on this age range coming up below.
The Age 18-19 Search & Results
For new models in the TrueBabes age range of 18-19 the most recent search took place from May to December 2016 with the plan being to open a solo-model website or two. That said, know that some of the methods we tried, and I'm describing below, also took place in summer 2015 when TrueBabes was open and needed several girls in the same age range. In some ways I'm merging the search stories of both 2015 and 2016 below.
Searching in the age range of 18-19 or 18-20 has its good points and bad points.
Good Points - Your can advertise in more places, such as Craigslist or flyers posted on campus bulletin boards. Your ads are not as often attacked by social justice warriors. People do not frown at your business plan as severely. The modeling based social media sites don't usually ban your profile. Less people (girls, and maybe boyfriend) to seek "permission" from. Girls are usually easier to schedule because only dealing with her and not a mother's work schedule at the same time. In person distribution of cards or flyers can be done in more locations and is not as awkward.
Bad Points - A larger percentage of girls 18 and above have tattoos. There are more photographers (pro, amateur and fake) competing for the same girls. More girls age 18 and above have drug issues. Many girls age 18 and above have opportunities lined up outside of modeling that don't match well with being nude on a website. Girls age 18 and above are more likely to move away for college, work or love and that cuts the project short. Girls age 18 and above are more likely to be "bank robbers" (details soon). Girls age 18 and above that are not hired due to tattoos or being "thick" are more likely to cause issues online as social justice warriors (details below).
Overall, searching for new models in the 18-19 age range is much like the other age range, using many of the same options, and a few extras.
I prepared three websites. One talked bikini and lingerie modeling so it could be used in ads on sites that don't allow nude model ads (Google, Facebook and others). The second was straight up normal, but talking about TrueBabes. The third discussed nude solo-model websites only.
I took all emails addresses that I had available and sent them a nice email with good images to inform them of the new solo-model website opportunity with links back to the website where they could get more details and submit their own information and images. The addresses used in this included girls that applied in the past for TrueTeenBabes or TeenGlamourGirls that had now hit age 18, girls that had written or applied in the past but didn't follow through, and others.
In May this resulted in one application but the girl didn't meet the beauty standards I would require. I did this again in August and December with roughly the same results.
The funniest part of the email campaign was the reply I got from a super cute 19 year old girl. She wrote;
"My friend doesn't think I should do it because people might think I'm a slut so I started a go fund me to get a car, I don't expect you to donate anything but would you mind posting the link on any of your social media pages if you have any or your website?"
I guess it would be appropriate to type LOL right about now wouldn't it?
I contacted girls that appeared on TrueBabes during the short second version (2014-15) to see if they had little sisters, cousins or friends that would be interested. A couple tried to introduce me to girls they thought would be great, but those girls had trouble finding time in busy schedules to even sit and learn about it, much less do test shoots or real shoots.
I spent some time on the modeling social media sites, such as ModelMayhem, but that stuff depresses me. Way too many girls convinced they are the next world famous super model, even at just 5'4" tall, that are not interested in any work with a person that doesn't fully support that goal. Telling the truth, such as saying "Both the Ford and Elite Modeling Agency websites state they are not considering any women under 5'8" tall" will not get a reply, but it will get you blocked by that girl, and maybe banned by the site because it screws with the promises made by the portfolio sellers that run those sites. (Elite here).
Also, remember that one of the hoped for benefits of finding a couple of new girls outside the modeling sites is that they can be pretty much exclusive to the solo-model website I hope to build with them. If I did hire a girl from ModelMayhem, but she was also working with several other photographers to appear on several other websites, the commercial value of the solo-model website goes down.
One way to try to find girls that haven't been chasing the whole fashion modeling goal is to do it in person. Passing out cards on campus, at college sporting events and at entertainment venues such as dance clubs and concerts has proven to be very effective in the past. Two TrueBabes models in the age group, Danielle and myself all carried cards. I also hired a good looking young man in this age group to pass-out cards at nightclubs to girls that fit the profile, with an hourly wage and good bonus for each girl hired from his work.
Cards worked well to get girls to the websites but didn't result in many applicants. There was actually more emails asking if we did anything except nudes, or could overlook their tattoos, than there was girls applying for pose naked.
Part of that would be that the cards are just 3.5" x 2.0", so not much room for details. Here is a front and back sample of the 5 different cards produced to scout in the 18-20 age range. Others had different photos, names and emails on the front. Some had phone numbers, some didn't. The back side text was usually the same except different websites to visit for more info.
I, with helpers, tried general online networking with Facebook, Instagram and others. Thats a tough job. Lots of criticism and harsh discussion about the no tattoo policy and my use of the words "slim" and/or "trim" in postings for "Models Wanted". Truth is, too many social justice warriors ready to attack over anything that they don't like and its too easy to get distracted from the main point of being there. Let me give you a quick example.
With the profile for TrueBabes I was posting and looking for models. On Facebook there are many "Groups" dedicated to photography, and a few are specific to Colorado or the Denver area. I joined a few groups in 2014 as TrueBabes reopened. Most of the people there seemed to be hobbyists, with some looking to go professional. Much of the group was guys posting recent photos for review by others or to compliment the model. I clicked the "Like" button now and then, commented here and there on some photos or questions, and once when a guy was in a jam I loaned out some lights, and later invited him to help on a TrueBabes shoot. Most of it was directed at fashion work so I wasn't very active.
In June of 2016 a gentlemen posted some photos for review. The model was a thicker Hispanic girl from the Denver area. He had her in shorts, high heels and a tank top. Nothing odd, except that the shorts were a few sizes too small and made her belly roll over the button area of the shorts. To this day I don't know how she got in them, but she looked bad. In the public area guys and girls alike posted positive comments. I was shocked. I decided to send the guy a private message.
Mark, I've been in the pretty girl picture business 25 years and one thing I know for sure is that all a model has to sell is her image. If she looks bad or out of shape nobody will want to hire and pay her, which is the ultimate goal for most models. Those shorts are horrible, no matter what others say to be nice. You didn't dress her in a way that flatters her body style and should take the pictures down and plan a shoot with outfits that fit better.
He replied with some comments about how he shoots women in their "natural style" and I shouldn't be telling him what to do, and that he shoots "women not girls". I replied.
Dude, trust me, she will not want those shots online. I'm just trying to help, and please remember... you are the beginner and I'm the guy with years of experience thats made lots of money in the business. You shouldn't be upset at me, you should think about hanging with me like Toby did and maybe even try some of my cool gear.
He then pasted the line from my first message "I've been in the pretty girl picture business 25 years" in the public area and concentrated his comments on the word "girl". Within about 30 minutes a dozen members of the group attacked me for using "girl" when talking about a 19 year old. How I must be a sicko to think of her as a "girl" when its obvious she is a "women", blah, blah, blah.
I replied by saying the word girl isn't rude, nasty, derogatory and it also hadn't been used to describe the fat chick with her belly covering the beltline of her shorts, but rather as an expression of my time in the business. It didn't matter, I was kicked out of the group either for not saying every photo is fantastic or for being a pervert by using the phrase "the pretty girl picture business". Don't stress, its was only the first time I was attacked for using the term "girl". More to come.
Craigslist ads did bring many people to the "models wanted" websites but most had tattoos. Craig's is a funny place and can be frustrating. The main issue is what they call "Flagging", which is meant to help the site be user moderated. The idea is that if somebody puts a "Car For Sale" post in the "Computers For Sale" section, it can be "Flagged" by anybody that notices the problem, and if that happens to the same ad three times it is automatically deleted. Its meant to keep the site organized properly, and keep down spam and outright bullshit.
The three times the "Flag" is click must be from different IP addresses but that is easy to get around - computer, computer with VPN turned on, cell phone, girlfriend's cell phone, roommates cell phone and boom you have 5 flags, not just the three required for the ad to be removed.
Other Craigslist posters that are also looking for models, but offering less money, don't want to see my ads offering more money, so they flag as a way of getting my ads down. Its not just me, as I have a pro photographer friend in Boulder (just outside Denver) that was also experiencing the same thing at the same time. There is even a Firefox browser plug-in available to mass flag dozens of ads using proxies with different IPs for only $9 a month!
Posting Craigslist ads is easy, but keeping them up is hard because of the anonymous nature of the site. Anybody can flag ads they don't like for any reason. Most just do it, others do it after they send a rude email - but the email is anonymous and the code is assigned to the ad so once the ad is deleted I can't reply.
Most flagging that results in removal of the post I assume is done by competition, but I've never had a competitor be brave enough (honest enough) to actually contact me and identify himself. The wording of the ads (posts) can also trigger flagging, but not because the site itself doesn't approve of the word(s), but because girls reading the ad don't approve of the word(s) or what the word(s) mean.
If I state in my post that I'm looking only for girls in a certain age range or that do not have tattoos I get dozens of anonymous emails from people that I assume to be females telling me that not hiring girls older than 20 or that have tattoos is illegal, and shortly after the post would be flagged and deleted.
Posts that didn't mention the age range or the no tattoo policy stay online longer. Once a reply comes in from 30 year old with a bunch of tattoos, and I reply "sorry no tattoos", it triggers a whole other batch of silliness and time wasting. The following is a real conversation, through Craigslist anonymous email.
Please tell people that you DO NOT want anyone to contact you if they have tattoos...
I guess I get it if the brand doesn't want to not sell their products because of the models free spirit...too bad. :( I wanted to send 5 frames my 1 year old boudoir shoot! and recent selfies, because I have lost nearly 80 lbs since that shoot. I love my new sexy thin body too. I am disappointed. Please edit your craigslist posting.
- If I may professionally request that you may respond, ONLY if you want the selfies any way despite the tattoos. Thank you.
I kindly replied:
I appreciate you taking they time to write and will use your advice when posting our next advertisements. I wanted to reply about the tattoo issue. Nobody here wants to limit a "model's free spirit". Not at all. No way.
The decision to not hire new models with tattoos or fake breasts is purely business. The truth is that younger hip guys enjoy and understand tattoos, but older dudes (40-70) are the ones paying for monthly subscriptions to my websites and they tell me they prefer "old school" style of girls - slim, trim, all natural, no tattoos like the old days of the Baywatch TV show or 1970s/1980s Playboy magazine.
I have to produce what the subscribers are willing to pay for or I go out of business. It is a bit like a car dealership. Visit the Toyota store today and you'll notice they do not offer very many pink or lime green cars. Thats because not as many people are willing to pay for pink or lime green cars. Some will, but not that many - and the car dealer wants to sell as many cars as possible so he sticks to white, black, red, grey (silver) and other colors.
I want to sell as many website subscriptions as possible, and have those fans (men) enjoy the site and stay for months and months (paying me each month). Years ago when I tried a few new models with tattoos subscribers complained, and many left. Think about it - if just 500 subscribers out of thousands leave that means over ten thousand dollars a month in lost income. I have a huge studio to pay for and a few employees to pay and give benefits too. I simply can't do work that subscribers are not willing to pay for, just like the Toyota store can't have a lot full of pink and lime green cars.
I wish I could hire girls with tattoos because the model search would be really damn easy. Unfortunately, I wouldn't get paid enough to run this place and pay the employees.
Then she replied again:
Thank you so much for taking so much time to elaborate on the matter of how important it is to not limit any one, professional or not, because of their free spirit. I will be honest with you very quickly, and let you know that I did not read more than half of your email. I am convinced that you were well aware that I was upset and I didn't even expect anyone to actually respond.
That being said, thank you again for taking the time to professionally respond to someone who is professionally concerned and personally concerned. It is extremely rare these days that someone handles those type of responses towards their own business, in a business &" professional way it at all! :)
Have a wonderful day and if any of my professional, 100% natural, professional colleagues, who are not tattooed ;) and would work well for this, I definitely have everything inside of me to tell them to come to you after this experience.
And again three minutes later:
I also wanted to add that you were very thorough... And I wanted to make sure and continue to be honest with you, and let you know that because you were so thorough, the professionalism kind of started falling through after 1/2 way. :) just a tip to try to wrap up everything you said into a professional paragraph or two next time. If you have the patience with and you in that moment of course, we are only human after all. And I am the one that triggered that within you! Sorry for that ;)
Just incredibly honest. :) It's why I am a social media marketing specials and a art/Per Gig model for supplemental income.
and since I'm feeling chatty, I'll have you know random stranger named Jimmy, but I'm actually looking into adding vintage burlesque performance to my skill set very soon! :) I'll let my natural friends know have a great day
OK then, so goes a day in the life of trying to use Craigslist to find models. That was a casual exchange. Some girls threaten violence, calling the state employment department, blah, blah, blah - all because I don't want models with tats.
That girl never actually applied or sent images, but when we do get models with tattoos sending photos, I have this standard reply:
Thanks for the message and interest in my work. You certainly are an attractive young lady.
Unfortunately, I can't use models with tattoos for this project. I do both photo and HD video and the HD video portion makes retouching too time consuming. My main project is a nude website that features models around 18-20 that are tattoo free. Its a simple marketing technique that works for us.
While that may not fit you please take note of it. I pay a finders fee to persons that refer new girls I hire. If you send along somebody you know or meet and I shoot them, you get $250 for the referral. There is a place on the form for them to list your name.
Many samples and a behind the scenes video also available on our model search site.
Thanks for your time,
I use a variation of that for girls that are older. I reply to everybody as gently as I can hoping one leads me to the girl(s) I need.
BackPage was never a good source. Its more sexual and doesn't seem to attract many girls in the age range and style we need. The only emails I got from ads there sounded like druggies.
Overall Craigslist and Backpage haven't panned out and seem to be full of druggies, tattoos and the occasional "bank robber" (which I'll explain below).
Online advertising on other sites can be used. SexyJobs.com is built just for that purpose - for those hoping to hire nude models to place ads, and those wanting to be nude models to see lists of open jobs. It seems to be dominated by ads for webcam girls, and browsing I didn't see many that seemed to fit.
Google doesn't take direct ads for nude models, but you can use terms such as "lingerie" and other related keywords and bid to get in the top three slots (see details in 14-16 section). I tried for several days in 2015, but just a couple of hundreds dollars worth in 2016 with the results being applicants outside the body style I'm looking for.
Facebook advertising is discussed extensively above so I'll be quick here. A company can't use Facebook/Instagram advertising to directly search for 18-19 year olds to be nude models. If the company is willing to build extra websites to comply with Facebook policies, and then advertise for "swimwear" or "bikini" models, you can get large numbers of females in the selected age range to click the ad and visit the "bikini models wanted" website(s). Some of them will apply there and submit photos. That is when filtering kicks in.
Filtering is taking those bikini model applications and deleting those that don't fit the long term goal of a perfect Denver area nude model due to tattoos, body style, age, facial features or location. A $400 weekend budget on Facebook advertising might results in 40 online applications. I'm being super picky looking for the girl(s) with "it" so my filtering will likely cut that 40 applicants down to just 4-5 girls.
Next we take a look at those 4-5 on social media to see if the photos submitted match the girl's current style. It is very damn common for girls to send older photos when they now weigh a bit extra, or to send photos in a bikini taken before they got tattoos but to have tattoos now while applying for a "no tattoos" photo shoot.
Now, with filtering, you are down to 3-4 bikini model applications and are crossing your fingers hoping that one of them is secretly harboring the desire to do nude modeling. Those 3-4 girls get a nice professional email with some information, some photos, and links to visit a website full of all the details.
Remember, they originally applied for bikini modeling so springing this nude stuff on them is a shock. Curiously, the tracking links embedded in that email almost always reveals that each and every girl clicks to visit the website where the project is explained in clear words, along with photos and videos. And, Google Analytics on the website itself shows them spending on average of 5.5 minutes there, which is enough to review all the text and photos, plus at least start viewing a sample video. Clearly, there is some interest at that point. But, just as clearly that interest dies fast because very few applications are submitted.
I assume that interest dies due to what I call "The Internet Factors", and I'll get to them again in a few minutes.
Through all the posts, social media, paid advertising and distribution of cards, we had tried sending the girls to different websites. One site offered "$2500 In Just One Weekend", while another would be mellow and say "$100 an Hour", and in the middle our normal TrueBabes $200 an hour. It didn't seem to make a difference.
The model search methods discussed above didn't result in finding a model that was perfect, and would stay active for at least a full year for a solo-model website. Counting back to 2015 when TrueBabes was open and a search was going on, it did bring us a batch of email addresses featuring girls in the 18-19 age range.
I had email addresses for girls that had been 15-17 back a few years ago applying for TrueTeenBabes or TeenGlamourGirls, I had email addresses for girls that replied to "Bikini Models Wanted" ads on Facebook in 2015 and 2016, and I had email addresses from several girls that contacted us through other means such as Craigslist, cards passed out at clubs, and more.
In June and July of 2016 I sent newsletter style emails titled "Model Search News" to each girl hoping some that may have not been interested, or happen to be too busy, a month or two previous would now want to apply. Many of those emails show in the click tracking that they had never been opened. Maybe girls have a new email account, or more likely they are caught by spam filters.
Email is hard to deliver these days. Most services, such as GMail, use a scoring system and when the score is too high the message is moved to the spam folder. The list of words that earn points, which is bad, gets larger and larger. Some are just plain silly. The term "As Seen On TV" is bad, and the term "TV" by itself scores .5 points on the bad side, which is why if you ever look close at the links in TrueTeenBabes newsletters that should direct to TrueTeenBabes.tv they don't. They actually go to TrueTeenBabes.net and a page there that redirects you to the ".tv" site. Four direct links to the real ".tv" site would mean 2 bad points in the spam testing.
There are several sites available where I can send test emails to check the negative score (here), but its pretty hard to describe a nude modeling job that pays decent money and is lots of fun without using words they hate. The previous sentence scores at least a 5.5 and a 7.5 would get the emails in the spam folder!
In August I dreamed up what I thought was a great idea that I called "Topless Try-Outs". I guessed that many of the girls on that growing email list might be interested, while at the same time not be sure they could do it, would enjoy doing it, or actually had the body that was prefect for it. I also thought that if we could just get a few of the top quality prospects in the door, and they had a chance to meet Danielle while she did their hair and make-up, and then had fun in a simple shoot wearing lingerie and topless, with no worries about who would see them, they would enjoy it and want to progress to more.
I selected a perfect weekend in late summer. I decided to make it a paid topless tryout photo shoot so the girls would know how serious I am. The offer was $250 for the make-up and shoot time combined. I created two different emails - one very slick and professional and sent from the "Models Wanted" website, and the second more casual words and a single attached image that was sent slowly two and three days later from a few different Gmail and Outlook accounts hoping to avoid spam filters.
I imagined this would be popular and even went so far as to create a schedule chart limited to five time slots Saturday and five more on Sunday. The emails went out Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of the week previous, giving the girls at least 8 days to reply and schedule. There was 109 emails, after all the photo reviews, filtering, double checking of social media to insure no new tattoos.
The idea I thought was great, and my helpers or friends thought was smart, crashed to earth real hard when only one girl replied within the week time frame.
It was late August, and I had planned to continue searching through September, but very little effort was put forth after the failure of the "Topless Try-outs" weekend.
As discussed in great detail in the 14-16 section above, around Halloween I had settled down, visited friends, drank a few (too many) margaritas and decided to try again. Like with the 14-16 range, the plan was to go six more weeks, ending December 15th and to be a bit more "forward" on social media approaching girls, rather than waiting for them to see our posts and approach us.
It didn't work. There was a few more discussions with potential models, and a few more emails added to that silly list, but not much else. The bottom line is that reaching out in some ways created dumb drama. Many girls would reply back rudely with harsh comments such as "thats slutty" or "WTF makes you think I'd do that trash?". Before the end date arrived one of the helper friends, that was also a TrueBabes model, got very frustrated, insisted I come take the Android pad away and hasn't spoken to me since. I can only assume she took those comments to heart and is rethinking her own particpation in the age of "everybody is equally beautiful, nobody should show-off" or the social justice warriors will attack!
Its Not Just Me
Model searching in 2016 ended with a lot of frustration and a total above $40,000 spent on advertising, labor, printing, website designs and more. With not a single "it" girl to show for that investment.
This post is not only an exercise in taking the fans on a detailed walk behind the scenes of my model search efforts here in Colorado, it is an admission of failure. For an egotistical guy that had the business pretty much his way for 10-12 years, not being able to restart on my own terms is tough to admit.
On May 1st of this past year I was convinced there was two more 15 year old Jaclynn/Libby/Kelsey types, or clones of them that had just hit 18, right here in Colorado just waiting for me to invite them in front of my cameras. I was ready to go - like a fast horse in the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby.
I clearly remember talking with a friend about getting back in the business, why I wanted two models in the same age range, and other details when he asked me "which age group do you think you'll find girls in first?". I laughed, but within minutes we had made a bet not only on the age ranges, but on how quickly it would happen. I was so sure of things that I was already planning some equipment upgrades and looking at potential summer travel dates.
That extreme over confidence reminds me of another subject I've followed very closely for almost three years - that being MH370. To recap, Flight MH370 was a Boeing 777 owned by Malaysian Airlines that disappeared March 8th, 2014 with 239 persons onboard 40 minutes into a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with all normal communications and tracking electronics ceasing to function at the same time. Days later logs from a satellite flying 20,000 miles over the Indian Ocean revealed that the plane had actually turned around, flown back across the Malaysian Peninsula, skirted Indonesia and flown due south for over 5 hours until it ran out of fuel in the Southern Indian Ocean more than 1500 miles from land (Australia being nearest).
Days turned into weeks of searching for debris on the ocean surface but nothing was found. In October of that year, after months of research and very complicated math analyzing the burst frequency and burst timing of satellite signals, an underwater search area was selected and a multi-million dollar search started using 4 ships.
Media reports at the time confirm that the search leaders in Perth, Australia had been so confident in their math, assumptions and equipment that they had Champagne in the office ready to chill and uncork as soon as one of the sonar sleds being towed behind the ships displayed the wreckage.
Sounds a bit like me doesn't it? Severely overconfident, and stubborn.
While some civilians found small parts of the plane 3000 miles away washed up on the shores of South Africa, Madagascar and Re'union, the official search team never found a trace. After 27 months scanning the sea floor in an area the size of Pennsylvania at a cost topping $150,000,000 the search was called off, and called a failure. There is no indication they'll every try again.
After 6.5 months searching an area the size of Colorado, and slightly beyond, at a cost topping $40,000 my model search has been called off, and called a failure.
I take some solace in the fact that it is not just me. Others that are also looking for super high quality girls, ages up to about 20 or 22, that are slim, tan, free of tattoos and not featured on dozens of other websites are having the same damn issue.
Below are a few stories or quotes from others in the business. Because some adult site owners know me and openly converse with me, but prefer in public to not be listed on the same pages as TrueTeenBabes or models under age 18, I'm leaving out personal and website names.
Out in Internet land there is a website that is about 10 years old. It grew very fast by featuring exactly what I'm looking for these days. Slim girls, no tattoos, all natural with great facial features, hair and smiles. One online magazine story a few years ago mentioned it came darn near topping 50,000 subscribers, but something in the low 40,000 range was more the average in their best days. Thats a lot of subscribers.
For most of the ten years the owners did all the photography and filming in California, and some in Europe. They don't produce only nudes like TrueBabes, often featuring soft girl-girl or boy-girl scenes. Very high quality stuff.
Recently on a forum where adult website owners discuss things, and bitch a lot, a guy brought up the fact that recent updates on this popular website were noticeably lower quality models and photography. This is important to other webmasters because they earn commissions sending traffic (potential customers) to other websites. Lower quality samples reduce initial sales, and lower quality updates reduce recurring sales they would earn a part of. The discussion branched off into commissions, and whats known as pre-checked "cross-sales". That is the dirty trick of selling a new customer another website with a pre-checked box on the join page that he may not have noticed. This popular site had never used that trick, but seemed to be now.
Eventually the website owners jumped in with this comment:
"Being a US-based company the cost of filming in Porn Valley has gotten too high when you factor in the cost of finding models without tats and flying them here from across the USA. Even shooting in Prague or Budapest is getting expensive. We all know what a quality shoot costs, we can do the math, then we look at the discounted join price caused by piracy, do some more math....and it amazes me ANY paysite today can afford high end shoots (without a little, ahem, 'help' along the way)."
Let me break that down for you; "cost" meaning they are spending a bunch of money advertising, hiring scouts and more to try and find models without tattoos that are just right for their subscribers; "flying" meaning that they can't find enough hot girls without tattoos that want to pose nude for good pay rates in Southern California so they must pay for airfare, hotels and more to bring the few they do find in from other states; "Prague" meaning they often take expensive trips to Eastern Europe because there are more slim girls there, and tattoos are rare; "discounted" meaning they had to lower their monthly rate to keep subscribers because so many leave when the expensive to produce content is pirated; and "help" meaning they felt they had to do the pre-check cross-sales trick to help keep revenue up so money could continue to be spent upgrading the site, updating the site, and of course finding new models.
A review of their free areas and list of models confirmed what I guessed. More than half the models have Eastern European names such as Katia and Katarina. The only reason to go to that expense is because, like me, they can't find the slim, trim, tattoo free girls here that want to do that style of work.
My TrueBabes work is mellow, non-sexual, so I thought I would have an easier time in my search.
Each year the adult industry produces two trade shows in Las Vegas. The first, Internext, is geared towards online adult businesses and is not open to the public. The second is the Adult Video News (AVN) show which concentrates on DVDs, Blu-Rays, adult stores, strip clubs and the like. It is limited to business 2 days, and open to the public for sales, autographs and things like that other days. It is common for content photographers to visit those shows and do some fast shoots with girls there. Recently I read a discussion between a gentlemen here, and a photographer in the adult website business at the show looking for girls to shoot.
Guy Here: "You're at AVN? fuck me."
Photographer at AVN: "I am. Most of these girls are ugly as fuck, too much make up and plastic and they have such a low IQ...I'm bored man."
So, it seems even the companies that set-up displays at the big trade shows are having issues doing business with high quality girls.
Most of the readers here know the names Don, Lonnie, Bill, Vince, Jim, Brent and others that are, or have been, non-nude teen model website photographers/webmasters over the years. While many of those sites are gone, and I discussed that in detail back in 2015 here, the ones that are still around deal with many of the same issues. Finding top quality girls is hard. If the standards are lowered and a girl is signed up for shoots, it doesn't often go as planned.
One photographer recently related a story from 2015. He found a cute girl, 15, located a couple of hours down a Florida highway from his studio. After a number of emails and phone calls back and forth with her mother a shoot date was selected. The plan was the mother would drive over with the girl Friday evening, our photographer friend would check them into a nice hotel and take them to dinner, and the next morning they would start a multi-hour photo shoot that would pay the girl at least $500.
After dinner he left them at the hotel and hit his own studio to get ready. The next morning he arrived back to pick-up the girl and her mother not knowing that Friday after dinner the girl's 19 year old boyfriend had arrived and told the girl, and her mother, that she was not allowed to be a model on the internet. The girl and mother didn't resist, and the next day after hanging at the pool a while, they left to drive back home.
Our photographer friend not only didn't get the new model he expected, he was out around $400. His website featuring non-nude teen models is no longer updating because of incidents like that. Its just super hard to find great models, and when standards are lowered you risk losing money or customers.
Another recent story from another non-nude teen model photographer is all too familiar. I don't know the full details, but the basics are 16 year old poses for the website, boyfriend above age 20 feels he know everything about everything related to models and websites. Boyfriend, being sneaky through another model, sends word to the photographer and demands she be paid thousands more dollars for that simple afternoon shoot or he'll "cause some shit to come down".
Both of these non-nude teen model stories happened in Florida. Remember, for more than six years I had an awesome studio there and some great helpers. It was set-up perfectly, but had to close due to stories like those - and much worse. I wasn't sad when it closed, I was relieved and felt like I had just been released from jail.
There is a reason my lawyer buddies call it "Flori-Duh".
I could go on and on with more model failure related stories but I won't.
I can't speak for those other guys, but I had my energy directed towards a certain type of girl to fit into a new type of project I've been thinking about over the past couple of years. I may call it a solo-model website in this long boring blog, but in my head I have workable ideas that I thinking would make it better, or at least different enough to attract more fans than I've ever had on a solo site.
I just can't find the damn "it" girls!
Yes of course if I wasn't looking too use the pictures for profit on a website pretty much every single girl would have let me take her pictures, even in a tiny bikini. That includes the 13 year old that just got her first Facebook account a month before applying to be my shots, to the 32 year-old that tried repeatedly to convince me that she looks 15 or 16. All of them would have shown up for photo shoots in swimwear and lingerie if the pictures were for my own portfolio or to display in my office.
The Internet Factor
This could also be known as the social media factor because no matter what age range we are discussing we can't get past the fact that in many families, peer groups, high schools, colleges and other arenas, it is considered appalling, nasty, repugnant and repulsive for a girl to show off her physical beauty on the internet in a manner not approved of by the vast majority of her friends, and their families, and anybody else that may tied to the girl through social media.
For a teen girl this means that if all the friends - short, tall, slim, thick, tattooed or natural, stunning or average - get to do something with equal praise and reward, it is acceptable.
However, any girl that tries to use her inherited beauty and body shape to her advantaged on a website will be attacked on social media.
She can expect those attacks to double or triple from her peers if what she is doing has sex appeal or is perceived as appealing to a prurient interest. Some have been bullied so severely they select to end their own life (here). Thats not the only time.
"Might As Well Face It... It's our generation's crack cocaine. People are addicted. We experience withdrawals. We are so driven by this drug, getting just one hit elicits truly peculiar reactions.
I'm talking about Likes. They've inconspicuously emerged as the first digital drug to dominate our culture.
What was your highest liked post on social media? I bet you know. We have that figure stored in our memory like we remember the time when we got the "highest." Likes aren't just trivial feedback points, they're something we internalize."
With that addiction in mind, imagine being a teenage girl and having people not "like" you, what you are doing, the photos you are in or the website that is built around your physical appearance.
In the current age of social media justice warriors and demands for equality in everything, teen girls are afraid of not being "liked" so they don't stray from the pack. And, as we all know, a pack is controlled by the lowest common denominator (bottom of the pyramid) - which in this case means the average looking girls. In no way can one girl try to stand out or be different from the pack or she will be verbally beaten into submission.
Lets face it, all modeling that involves showing off ones own physical beauty or sex appeal - not clothing for sale - is under siege right where every girl from age 13 to 30 lives these days, on social media. Plus, any heat she takes online will be double offline when she tries to attend the next football game, join the cheerleading squad or mingle at a party.
This justice warrior "nothing sexy allowed" attitude is not limited to just teen girls. It happens all over and to the families, and of course certainly to the photographers.
Above I explained how using the phrase "pretty girl picture business" on Facebook got me called all sorts of silly names, and banned from a photography group there. Darn near the same thing happened on Craigslist several times when I used terms such as "Cute College Girl Models Wanted" as the heading, or the line "Scouting for teen girls (18-19) to model for our popular pretty girl website". Both the words "teen" and "girl" are now considered overtly sexual, and the speaker a pervert of some sort, in today's social justice driven USA.
Consider for just a minute this simply fact; In the past 12 years only one Miss Teen USA pageant winner was under the age of 18, with all others being 18 or 19, and two of the 19 year olds hitting age 20 within weeks of winning. Damn, they barely allow a girl to be a teen to these days to win a teen pageant? How did this happen?
During the summer months searching in the age 14-16 range I put together a couple of very simply behind the scenes videos from photo shoots to post on YouTube. Nothing fancy, daring or sexual at all. The plan was to send girls there, with their mothers, to see how a shoot was done. Within just a few days people started complaining in the comments section, and to YouTube. A few days later the videos got put behind that silly adult warning disclaimer. Simple videos of Tessa or Libby in a photo shoot behind an adult material disclaimer? I had to move the videos to my own site.
Its interesting to note that most of this silliness seems to be limited to just the USA. Many photographer friends, including one discussed above, have an easy time finding slim girls without tattoos that want to do the work when visiting Europe.
For the age 14-16 range I ran a little test one weekend and directed Facebook ads to girls in Canada (English speaking areas) and Australia. Both had a higher "success rate" - meaning, of girls that viewed the ads a higher percentage of them visited the models wanted site and submitted the online form. Curiously, almost all of them submitted bikini selfies - which matches the job they are applying for. In the USA, its actually very rare for a girl to submit bikini selfies with her bikini modeling job application. Some don't send any photos at all.
With all these online applications in both age brackets, and inquiries coming in by email or direct message that never fill out the online form, I know there are girls out there wanting to do what I do (and often much, much more). The issue is they don't want to be "unliked" or socially attacked for doing it.
That brings me to a new type of model that in many ways have a few things in common with bank robbers. Sounds either crazy or dumb doesn't it? Read on and think about it.
Most of the time a real bank robber doesn't do it full time. He or she only do it when they need money, and even then only when all other options are exhausted - meaning for that brief moment in time they feel they have no other choice and they promise themselves they'll never do it again.
When a real bank robber does the deed they are usually doing it in a manner in which they hope not to be seen or recognized - meaning they wear masked or hats or sunglasses hoping nobody they know sees them, or police can identify them.
And, most often a real bank robber doesn't tell their family or friends what they just did - meaning they don't want to be "caught" or "outted" or "embarrassed".
Over the last few years, as social media grew and attacks on those "showing off" have run rampant, girls didn't stop posing in tiny outfits, nude or even doing porn videos. Like the real bank robber they limited it to when they feel they have no other choice because they need money fast, they did it in a manner in which they didn't expect to be recognized, and they did it while not telling their friends and family and hoping nobody would find out.
And, darn it, some people have figured out how to take advantage of these new "bank robber models". It took a second story about an adult website company being sued for me to grasp the concept, but it works like this.
Advertise for regular models and use a website that provides no information about the modeling, such as lingerie or nudity. Sort through the applications and find cute girls to offer above normal pay rates for a quick adult video scene or two, but within the offer cover the three things a bank robber is most worried about - needing money fast, hoping to not be recognized, and keeping the deed private.
"Hey Tiffany, I don't have any fashion gigs open right now but if you need money fast I can fly you out in the morning and right back the same day, its a quick $2500 cash for a porn scene for a German DVD company so nobody there will recognize you, and we keep all our videos and records under lock and key so none of your friends will ever find out. Give me a call if interested."
That simple offer gets tossed out a hundred times a week hoping just one or two girls accept. It promises the girl the money she feels she needs quickly, includes a bit of privacy in being seen ("Its Germany only"), and assurance nobody will ever hear about it in her family and friend circles. It meets the three main goals of a bank robber.
Ever wonder how those USA based "casting" and hotel room "amateur" websites get such cute girls? That appears to be it - by sort of convincing them they just need to take a tiny risk and rob the bank known as an afternoon video shoot.
Unfortunately, as you likely expected, much of it appears to be lies. Two companies, totaling 5 websites, have been sued in the past year for being misleading or outright lying in that situation. You can read a multi-page story on one such website here.
Yes, many of those girls have tattoos and don't fit my needs, but many would have at one time. My point is that in the years before the social media activism and drama of today, I feel many of those girls would have been interested in a site like TrueBabes or a solo-model website of the same style imagery. Now, they only get in front of the camera when they think nobody they know will ever see it.
The bank robber attitude explains a lot of other things from the 2015 (TrueBabes only) and 2016 model searches, like why I get asked where the photos are going, who is going to see them, can they be blocked from public view and more.
To most super cute, ultra photogenic, girls it just isn't worth the social media drama to be involved in the show-off style picture business in this day and age.
Things change, and maybe over the next year or two things will trend the other way, which would be good for fans, but likely too late for me to get back involved in the limited way I wish to be.
The Missing Tidbits
I originally started writing this report in early October when I thought the search had ended. I'm an bald, semi-brainless, old fart so when I'm thinking of writing something longer than a few cuss words I open a new Word file, hit enter a few times and start typing short little notes of things I want to discuss or include. I then go back to the top line and start punching out the story. As new things come to mind, I scroll down and add them to the notes. As things are written above, I delete them from the notes below (or they get repeated).
So here we are, the long sad story of my most recent failure is done, but damn it, look down there - I have more notes and gossip and silly morsels of truth I didn't get twisted into the previous 23,000 words of time wasting drivel. I say fuck it, you might as well suffer through this last bit of crap - presented in no particular order - because what else do you have to look at since I failed to find any new and exciting teen models.
One of the girls that shot with us a couple of times in 2015 for TrueBabes related a story this past summer about how she went to meet a photographer from a Craigslist ad at a Starbucks. She didn't tell him she had already posed for TrueBabes, but in conversation she mentioned seeing models wanted ads for the site. The guy went on to tell her he knew girls that posed here, they hated it and they never got paid, blah, blah, blah. That, as she well knew, is bullshit. I always pay exactly what I promise because I want the girl to come back, and bring her cute friends. The TrueBabes model didn't work with the guy because she knew he was a liar, and because they had trouble scheduling the big time photo shoot because it could only be done in his mother's home while she was at the hair dresser or bingo.
Fans write now and then and say they are surprised I haven't found new models. The truth is, if tattoos and thick thighs and bouncy bellies fit my needs, I'd have 100 new models a month. Its weird, but I do get a lot of online applications, direct messages and emails from girls that are just plain too large for my style of work. At times it makes me think the under 20 crowd is not too smart. I mean, how can somebody that is 5'4" tall and weighs 160-180 pounds look at a "Bikini Models Wanted" website featuring images of Jaclynn, Kelsey and Libby (none over 118lbs) and think they fit that style of work?
The paragraph I just typed I could type again with tiny alterations when it comes to age. It fucking amazes me, or frustrates me, the large number of women ages 25 to 35 that apply on a "Bikini Models Wanted" website that specifically - in two places - says ages 14-16 only.
Speaking of ages, time to sort something out. In this blog I used the term 14-16 age range in many places, but in others used 13-16. The difference is due to the sites I advertise on. The age for TrueTeenBabes style work always started at 13, but some people won't run ads for 13-16, but will for 14-16. Telling the story I tried to match the range with the ads I was talking about.
The ages for TrueBabes also listed two ranges, but for a different reason. What I was scouting for in 2016 was ages 18 and 19 only for solo-model websites, but back in 2015 when TrueBabes was open I searched for 18 to 20. The story above includes some information from the 2015 search mingled in, so it also mentioned the 2015 age range here and there.
In a number of places above I mentioned the time and effort put into Facebook advertising. In real dollars it came to over $32,000 (here), then add in the cost of Google ads, printing, paid helpers and everything else, and it tops $40,000 combining the summer of 2015 (TrueBabes) and the 6 1/2 months in 2016 (both age groups). Do you realize how many margaritas could be consumed with $40,000?
Yes, in 2014 with a friend I was able to do a bunch of amateur video work with girls around Colorado and Wyoming. Thats because we took anybody that showed up in a broader age range, with tattoos (except on breasts) and if they were thick but not fat. Also, because it was a one time deal and we didn't need them to be dependable for ongoing shoots, weekly webcam events or an solo-model website, we didn't worry about them maybe having a drug issue or rude boyfriend.
Near the top of this page I mentioned wanting to use female helpers with GoPro cameras to add a bit of "Reality TV" to any new website. At the end of this paragraph you'll find a link to a photo of the exact style of teen girl / group I'm describing. The girl in the middle (blue dress) is 16, all others are 15. The girls to the immediate left and right of the blue dress both contacted me about doing the work, but both backed away after the discussions with them and their mothers included shots too daring for social media and weekend excursions for the "Reality TV" style filming. Photo here.
I might have said this once or twice, but I do get a bunch of applications that have high potential in both age ranges judging only by the photos submitted. Thats not the snag in my plans. The issue is parents and girls having second thoughts when they consider what friends will say, or the girls telling their friends what they applied for and receiving a negative reaction. And, with older girls them being committed to a solo-model website for at least one year, when they would rather just get a big "bank robber" type payday today and be gone.
If for a hobby I wanted to photograph girls in any age range this weekend it would be easy to arrange 4-6 different girls as long as it was normal clothes and/or I falsely promised the shots would be going directly to my awesome connections at some big agency or magazine. Unfortunately, that silliness - while fun - doesn't motivate me or produce income that can be used for bigger projects.
I salute all the guys that right at this very moment are mentally planning an email to send me about all the fancy models they know, shoot by the dozen on weekends or manage as their big time agent. Good for you, but please don't confuse yourself, don't compared yourself, simply prove yourself. Go out and start something with one or more of those girls that runs smoothly for at least a year, averages no less than 400 monthly paid subscribers, generates enough revenue to do what I was hoping to do, including shoots in fun faraway locations, and at the end of the year remains very profitable. Its one of those "actions speak louder than words" deals. Don't email yet, take action, cut out the damn words, then when its actually been working great for a year, send that email.
Up above I talked about fake agents or photographers that turned out to be truck mechanics or plumbers. Let me make one thing perfectly clear - I love truck mechanics and plumbers, they are swell dudes. I only mention them because it was part of the story, not to be derogatory.
Over the past year or two I have developed a barf reaction to four phrases I hear from some females that apply on my various "model search" websites.
One, "I ain't got time for all that". This comes out when girls apply on a site that explains everything in great detail, but later send me a question such as "what are the photos going to be used for?" I usually reply that everything is explained on the website and that they should read that information to learn the details. They come back with "I ain't got time for all that". My very next thought is - if you can't read for 5 minutes, where will you find the time to pose for 5 hours? - but I never reply.
Two, "I look 16". This comes out weekly from girls ages 18-35 that want to model, and may be doing it for free with amateurs from social media sites, and now want to get paid as a model but not be naked for TrueBabes. They shift their focus to the younger age range and claim to fit there. Closely related are the phrases "I still get carded" and "Most people think my daughter and I are sisters". Note - I have never once viewed photos of a girl making these claims and agreed, yes she looks 16. Not once. Never.
Three, "I know its says no tattoos, but...". This comes out very often and the word "but" is always followed by some additional, but false, words such as "but mine are cute" or "but mine are the kind men like" or "but mine aren't like those trashy girls" or the closely related "but mine are classy unlike most girls".
Four, when I get an application outside what I'm looking for and reply to explain I'm looking for girls without tattoos, or girls that are slimmer, or girls that are in the age range I posted, I often receive a reply along the lines of "you just don't know what people want to see" (or "men want to see"). Hum, I do know this - since I opened the first website in 2001 I have never received an email from a paying subscriber, or random web surfer, requesting I add models with tattoos, that are overweight or that are in their 20s or 30s pretending to "look 16" or "look 18". Never, not one single time, nada!
Concentrate on this one for a minute. In the "pre-Facebook" years two mothers lied about their daughters age to get them on TrueTeenBabes at age 12 years and 6 months and nobody in those families thought it was weird. Now, the social media world attacks any 16 year old girl that wants to do the exact same modeling and hassles her mother into withholding approval.
In this blog I spoke of "other issues" a few times related to models. Thats a loose reference to things I, as an old bald dude, just don't want to be around. Say I check a girl's Facebook profile to review up to date photos and she, at age 14-19, repeatedly uses the terms "niggas" or "bitches" or "hoes". No thanks - doesn't matter how cute she is. Or, if in her pictures she is repeatedly, at age 14-19, flipping the bird (aka middle finger), no thanks. Oddly, I see the term "niggas" used by a heck of a lot of 14 year old white girls these days.
Did you know that a website is bad, but a fake online magazine is good? Yeah, me either. Over the past several months I would talk to girls or mothers and some would not be OK appearing on a "website", but mention a "magazine" that is requesting the girl model for them. I'd track it down, or follow a link, and find out it was one of two things: A hobbyist with an free Instagram profile that uses the word "magazine" or a free blog on Tumblr, Wordpress or BlogSpot that uses the word magazine in the title. For some reason sending their own photos to a "magazine" to post for free is "modeling" while being paid by me isn't because its going to be on a "website".
Some of my boredom days testing Facebook ads saw me wasting money in other areas just to see what would happen. The way south Florida area around Miami and Ft. Lauderdale resulted in the best click through rate with ads for teen models. I wonder if the growing Cuban, Colombian and Brazilian communities down there have something to do with that.
At one point I said fuck it lets just do something in California. I thought of the thousands of girls playing on the beaches and figure that for sure I would get top quality applicants. Wrong - the click through rate was actually very low. I guess they really are on the beach, and not on Facebook with my ads scrolling past.
I guarantee that by the time you got to this line another reader stopped after just a few paragraphs into the section titled "The It" and sent me an email about how I'm all wrong, and this website and that website are doing "great" with the average looking girls, or the girls with tattoos, or thicker girls. I'm glad he feels that way, but he is wrong. I talk to website owners every week. I'm very open with them and they back with me. Some of these sites that fans think are rolling along great are barely making it. Some have silly numbers like 87 subscribers. Some webmasters, while they won't admit is to fans, are working part time jobs outside the shoots to pay their bills and are on the verge of shutting down or turning it into a weekend hobby.
Think that previous paragraph is bullshit? Please consider this simply fact - there are fewer teen model (13-17) websites running today as compared to 2014, and that was less than 2010. The business is dying due to lack of quality models.
After not doing it day to day the past few years, and having time to see old mistakes, I think I have some new thoughts and ideas that would be fun and interesting. Sadly, my efforts to find the "it" girls fell way short.
When it comes right down to it I find myself sort of stuck in the middle - I'm not an desperate amateur shooting in cheap hotels with any girl that wants to show up for a few dollars or drugs, but I'm clearly not a big Hollywood or Miami production company or big brand name (Playboy, Vivid) that can draw in the quality girls that work hard at the gym to get this style of work. My plans do draw girls, but not the style of girls I want to work with. I guess a need a better plan, or as Huggy Bear would say, a "better rap".
Within 24 hours of this post some fans from back around 2007 will email and remind me of the Jordan Leigh solo-model website and how she was a thicker teen girl in comparison to others. They are correct, but she also didn't have the fans of other models. My old records seem to indicate that her site had a top subscriber number of 239, while slimmer girls such as Libby in the same year, and more recently Jaclynn, easily passed 800 for brief periods of time and averaged above 500 for months in a row. The costs of producing the websites are the same, making it obvious that a slimmer girl produces more revenue, and that provides more opportunities in the budget to do better shoots in better locations, and try new things a tight revenue stream would not allow.
Modeling schools are retail sales organizations just like a used car lot. Of course they will tell the 5'3" tall girl she has great potential to "make it in the business" because the sales people work on commission just like a damn used car salesmen. The fact is that most legitimate fashion modeling agencies - not modeling schools - need girls to be 5'8" at the minimum, and most a bit taller. This link to Elite Agency in New York informs girls to not even bother sending in photos if they are under 5'8" tall.
None of the five most popular TrueTeenBabes models ever topped 5'6" tall, with Jaclynn at 5'3", plus Libby and Kelsey at 5'5". Fashion modeling agents need the tallest photogenic girls they can find, but I don't. Other website owners don't, but damn is it hard to get the mother of a 5'3" girl to not trust the modeling school class and portfolio salesperson.
In the age 18-19 section above I showed the standard email I use when a girl applies that has tattoos. Its pretty simple, and certainly not at all rude. In November a girl replied to that message by saying "you musta fuckin voted for Trump". Life sure is weird these days.
Yes, I think there are solutions to the issues discussed here - I just don't know what they are. Is it my age - maybe the same words coming from a young hip guy with full hair and artistic tattoos on muscled arms around age 24 would produce better results. Is it my words - maybe I don't have the right "lingo" to stir up enough enthusiasm in modern-day teenagers and I need to communicate only in Emojis. I simply don't know.
Recently in a discussion with a retired engineer friend in California he stated "Any problem that can be solved with money is not a problem, its an expense". Great line, and I don't know if its original, but I do know that I tossed a bunch of money at the "quality teen model shortage" problem in the past several months and didn't solve a damn thing!
As I sit here typing these juicy tidbits, with a half full margarita glass wetting itself on the mouse pad, my mind keeps pulling up all sorts of funny little things to add. Unfortunately, I have kept you readers way too long and can't risk you hurting your hand punching the screen at my whining, so I'll leave you now with just one more strange, but very true, morsel to consume and contemplate.
At least three times in the past 5 years, including once in 2016, I've had a female in her thirties apply on the site for the TrueTeenBabes age range (under 18). That in itself is weird, but the best part of the story is that they all had good looking daughters around age 13-15 that wanted to apply and had showed my website to the mother. Curiously, these moms all thought it was too daring for their daughter, but decided they wanted to pretend to be age 16 and do it themselves. Trying to apply logic and common sense to that makes my head hurt and my feet stink.
So Now What?
This paragraph in not supposed to be here. The damn story is over, done, finished and should not be continued. But, then something weird happened. Between January 5th and 28th five girls in the 14-16 age range, and three more in the 18-19 age range, submitted applications and photos online.
There are no ads running, there is no social media being updated (except two automatic photo posts in my profile), and there are no helpers talking to girls online or passing out cards. They all came from Facebook or Instagram - but in that time frame all searching was shut down. It seems silly to me, but I can only guess it was girls that saw ads previously and bookmarked them, or girls we followed but didn't have the time to reply at that time. Now they have some free time, are bored, and decided to see what would happen.
Too bad I've moved on, and out of the Denver area, now living 120 miles west in Avon, Colorado near the Beaver Creek ski resort, some really cool bars, burger joints and pizzerias, and a few random teenage snow bunnies that I should be giving a card to, but maybe not.
February 1st, 2017
Avon, Colorado. USA