Do you hate waiting? Are you one of the most impatient people on the planet? Does it irk you to have to wait around for other people to get things done? When waiting around do you have the tendency to fidget or get irritated? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you will have a difficult time succeeding in the modeling industry.
"Hurry up and wait" is a popular saying not only in the modeling industry, but the entertainment world as a whole. Model or actor, the nature of the work entails being in a rush to...wait. You may even be hassled in the makeup chair to hurry up and get done, then report on set and...wait around for 15-30 minutes. It can be a confusing concept to grasp if you're not used to it. I think it is important to touch on this matter briefly because until you're in the situation, it can be hard to imagine what it's like to be on set for a photoshoot and why certain things take so long to get done.
First off, if the shoot consists of a crew of people, then chances are you're going to have to wait around for things to come together (this obviously isn't the case if it's just you and the photographer)--and if there is more than one model being shot, you'll have more than your share of waiting around to do. Models are required to be on set/location early, often without anything in place yet. Doing a shoot isn't as simple as the model showing up, getting hair and makeup done and then walking onto the set to start shooting--if only it were so!
Each part of putting together a photoshoot takes time and when you break it all down, it can add up to a long workday. Most models' call times are hours before they are ever required to be in front of the camera. This is where the patience comes in. For one, makeup and hair tends to take a long time (this isn't always the case for every photoshoot but I'm going to speak in broad terms to make things simple). From start to finish, it isn't uncommon for a model to sit in the hair and makeup chair for 1-2 hours--and if you've got multiple looks, you may as well get comfortable. Then it's onto wardrobe, which can take some time. And even after you've gotten all dolled up, you may still be required to wait around while everything is being set up. It may be a 10-15 minute wait but it could also be an hour or more. Additionally, each time a new look or location is needed, the photographer will need time to prep their equipment, redo the lighting, etc.
If you're unaccustomed to this type of work routine, it can be a culture shock at first. And if you're an impatient person by nature, you'll probably be ready to tear your hair out by this time. That's why it is so important to understand the way things work in the modeling industry. You are on someone else's clock--not your own. And while it may seem unfair that you're ready to work and everyone else isn't, that's just how it goes. Remember: "hurry up and wait." My best advice is to always bring something to help you pass the time, whether it be a book, homework or a handheld video game. I would avoid bringing a laptop or talking/texting on your cell phone simply because those are the type of items that can be more distracting to your work than helping to pass the time (btw, cell phones should be on silent or turned off and left in your bag or purse!). Some people get way too engrossed in email or a phone/text conversation and it can be like pulling teeth to ask them to refocus on something else so don't tempt yourself.
Downtime is also a great time to get to know the people you're working with, whether they are models or not. This can also be a good opportunity to network. There's nothing wrong with being social and getting to know others--it really makes the time fly by. Or if you'd prefer to be left to your own devices, that's fine, too.
Patience is vital in being a professional and personable model to work with. No one wants to deal with a whiner or someone who is in a rush. If you know the photoshoot is going to last a while, don't make plans later on in the day--chances are you'll be late. Anytime I have a photoshoot planned, I clear my whole day/evening of plans. Even if I happen to get out early, I'm more than likely going to be tired anyway. So keep your schedule free on shoot days and use the time afterwards for a little R&R.
If you have a serious problem with being patient and waiting around, then I wouldn't suggest modeling, freelance or otherwise.