Oct 03

Make money as a life model

Reading Time: 4 mins

Working as a life model is a creative way to make money from your body.

You can make around £15 per hour for your trouble plus you’ll get to see yourself recreated in a host of (hopefully) beautiful paintings and sculptures. It’s a double whammy!



What does life modelling involve and is it for me?

Elderly female life model

First of all you need to decide whether this really is for you. Bear in mind that a bunch of complete strangers will be staring at you intently – whilst you’re naked of course – for hours on end.

  • Expect life modelling sessions to last around three hours, with a couple of breaks for rest.
  • Remember this isn’t about being beautiful or in top shape – if anything, you’re likely to be in more demand if you have a unique look or an interesting body shape – so don’t let any paranoia about your looks stop you.
  • However, you need to be comfortable with both nudity and a certain amount of discomfort and boredom.
  • You may also be asked to create your own poses, so practice in front of the mirror and consider taking some lessons as a life model to get a feel for what art directors may want you to do.
  • It is also fairly common to ask two models to pose together – you may be asked to pose with a member of the opposite sex so ask yourself honestly how comfortable you are with the idea.


How much can I make as a Life Model?

Male life model

Pay varies widely but you can expect, on average, between £12 and £15 per hour depending on where you live in the country.

  • In London you should expect to make about £15 an hour (that’s what is recommended by RAM, The Art Models Register) and it will be around that amount in large cities.
  • Outside of the cities and in the regions it’s likely to be a couple of pounds less than that per hour but it does vary from venue to venue.

These days life modelling is a professional occupation and most employers regard life models as employees.

You will probably find there isn’t much work going that pays in cash so prepare to have to work on PAYE and supply a National Insurance number.


How do I get started?

Female life model

Your first port of call should be local art colleges and education centres. Here a couple of contacts to get you started.

  • The Art Academy, 020 7407 6969
  • The London Sketch Club, 020 7352 8209, contact them to offer your services to members
  • Also keep an eye out for adverts in shop windows and local papers too.
  • Your local Gumtree website may also throw up the odd life modelling job too so check in every now and then.
  • It may also be worthwhile posting on Gumtree yourself stating your availability as a life model.

the art models register (fam)

There’s also a mega handy website The Art Models Register (RAM) – a sort of unofficial life modelling union – which features jobs all around the country. All the jobs are restricted to RAM members only – but membership only costs £35 per year so it’s probably worthwhile signing up if you’re struggling to find work elsewhere.

Being on the public list of RAM members could make a big difference. Some colleges and private art groups only employ RAM members and Bare Facts model booking service for London also only supports RAM models.

  • London applicants must audition at the life drawing workshops in Holloway or Richmond but RAM does state that most applicants are accepted.
  • Outside of London there is no need to audition so you join as an Associate Member initially. Then, once you’ve sent two tutor references from jobs you can convert to full membership at any time, for no extra charge.


Life model alternatives

Male life model from behind

If you decide being a life model isn’t quite for you, there may be work out there as a hand or foot model.


Have you tried working as a life model? Share your experiences by commenting below – we love to hear about your money-making tips and experiences.


Other ways to make money





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Interesting topic

Jay Spencer
Jay Spencer


Alex Harris
Alex Harris

Hello there, I am looking at making little extra money as life model. I sincerely apologise but I have no experience but if you are patient and happy to teach me then I am happy to do my best for you.


I am no longer looking for models. Please do not contact me.

honeybee davis
honeybee davis

hello, my name is Honeybee Davis. I have no experience in life modelling but it has always been an interest. Iam from London and am 18 years old. if you would like any details of how i look email me and we can discuss what you have available.


I’m Ben, an artist from the Northwest. I’m currently looking for amatuer female life models for private drawing sessions. First timers welcome. Any age over 18. My rates vary but start from £80 per hour. If you are interested or would like more information please email me

Kathy johnson
Kathy johnson

Hi I’m Kathy and I’m replying to your advertisement for a life model,first must tell you that I’ve never done this before but I’ve been looking for vacancies as it’s something I’m very interested in and I feel I would be a natural at this type of work as I’m very comfortable in my own skin..if you still need someone please contact me on 07500302142 ..thanks..kathy

Carol vickers
Carol vickers

Hi I am interested in doing part time work as a life model live in the West Yorkshire area


Im a male based in Telford, Shropshire who has lost a lot of weight but also now work out a lot so have developed an interesting figure. Having been on the artists side of life modelling I’m interested in giving it a go. Where could I start??


Are you still looking for models?

I would like to be considered too.


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