Your Modeling Genre

Your Modeling Genre
Posted on Sunday 10th of April 2011
3 comments • Read 5287 times • 7 minute read

To make it in modeling the first thing you have to do is realise your own identity. Knowing what genre or variety of modeling you wish to do is very important, you can not possibly do everything. So choose what you want to do and aim for that, become as best as you can within that category. However there are certain things you have to remember and these are very important to consider when choosing your categories.

Firstly. Some genres of modeling just will not suit you, you might be too short, you might be too big, and you just might simply not have the look for that category. Understand that is how it is; dont waste your time trying to beat the system, just move onto the category that does best suit you

Secondly. Think carefully about what you want to do, but dont limit yourself too much. For example if you want to be a model but you only want to model bodyparts, and only prepared to travel 10miles from where you live. You are obviously limiting your working potential and realistically, you may not get many offers of work. Personally, I normally only hire models who are prepared to travel a long distance - as the ones who are prepared to travel further, are often the more serious models, and therefore I'll get the best images. If you were to choose, fashion, hair, catalogue, bodyparts and swimwear and prepared to travel nationwide; then you make yourself more versatile and useful to photographers, remember most photographers will pay travelling costs, I know I do, and this gives you a much bigger bit at the modeling cherry

Thirdly. Im on a few modeling websites, and I speak to a lot of models who believe just because they get their boobs out they are a model. Well I am afraid this isnt even remotely true. This will attract a certain type of photographer, but not necessarily the ones you want. But more importantly, if you want to be taken seriously within modeling this can actually hold back your career. If your desire is to get into glamour or adult modeling then that market is there and plentiful, but very rarely is the path back possible.
For instance. If you go into glamour and adult modeling, you will NOT get an advertising company to take you on to promote a product or service on their behalf, and many of these clients would actually request you to sign a contract stating you have not done any of these genres of modeling before. Why? You ask. Well the answer is simple. If a company pays you to promote their product then out of the wood work these glamour/adult images, even if taken years before suddenly appear on the internet (and they will) then that is your and the clients reputation ruined, and believe me they will sue you for it.

So the secret is getting the right balance of categories, making yourself accessible to photographers and being knowledgeable in your craft. I've listed a few of the different genres of modeling below, read them and understand what they entail, then select the best ones for you.

Fashion Modeling

Someone who earns a living as a fashion model could be working in two distinct but related areas. Photographic, being photographed in clothing products in the studio or on location for catalogues or magazine. The other area covered by fashion is to be able to do catwalk, although this isnt essential for this category it would help you greatly within the industry


Regarded by seasoned models and aspiring models alike as the most desirable type of modelling. If you have the looks and aptitude it is extremely rewarding both professionally and financially. The obvious requirement for this type of modelling is for the model to be photogenic.
As with all types of careers, modelling is a technique that has to be learnt and applied. Photographic modelling requires a particular set of skills: How to pose, in other words how to arrange yourself in front of the camera i.e., your limbs, features, expressions, even your fingers, to produce attractive images.


Catwalk or runway modelling requires a different set of skills. The ability to "walk", turn and sometimes dance, although for complicated routines, dancers are usually booked to "pad out" the models. Models who have a dance background can find catwalk modelling quite easy. Obviously the physical requirements for catwalk modelling are fairly specific - tall, slim with striking looks.

Lingerie and Swimwear

Many models choose Lingerie and swimwear modeling, this is an opportunity to look good and sexy in images that really attract the eye, however this is a genre of modeling you really have to practice, it is not enough to be confident enough to model lingerie, you have to know how to work your body, whether standing sitting or simply laying there, there are angles, shapes and positions you have to be able to adopt in order to make the garments your wearing look good. All bodies have creases, fold, marks and blemishes we do not want to show, and you have to know how to look natural, whilst hiding these and making the garments look good too - not easy.
Again read magazines, see how the models are presenting the garments then practice, practice then practice some more.

Commercial Modelling

This is purely a photographic area of modelling which encompasses lifestyle, product advertising, and images to illustrate magazine articles, stories, book covers and to illustrate a concept or theme. It is commercial modelling whenever you read "posed by models", images that depict a feeling such as happiness to be with a building society, insurance company etc. It is a style of modelling often used to create a visual image of feelings. It can also demonstrate a product such as a car or a sofa.
Being photogenic is essential, with the ability to portray emotions, assume a character and generally perform in front of the camera. Commercial models tend not to model in the fashion modelling category due to lacking some of the specific requirements - Height, figure, look.

Glamour Modeling

Glamour is one of those areas that causes more confusion, than any other category , the reason being is many models do view this category as an adult type genre, where in realism that is not the case, especially if you set your ground rules from the beginning.
The main pre-conception of glamour modeling is the kind you would see in many mens magazines such as FHM and Nuts, this is very much an adult genre and suits models of a certain build, size and look. Do not get me wrong, this is a very successful area of modeling and there is a fantastic career to be had from this style. It is a very competitive area, but there are always photographers looking for great new talent. The other side of the glamour industry, does not involve the modeling requirement s of the above, for good examples of the this side of Glamour modeling, take the time to look at high end magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan , this form of modeling is more striking and Chic. It creates a beautiful and striking image that is in so much demand within the high end magazines and publications. The style of make-up and hair are very different and the photographic poses are very specific. Instead of posing to model the clothes, the poses are to attract the eye to the model.

Promotion Modelling

Promotional modeling is a very busy category of the industry, as customer and client expectations grow, then promotional work with become greater, This can be anything from being a grid girl of a racing circuit, to handing out samples or promotional literature at concerts or other events. So although not always the most glamorous area of the industry, it can in itself be very lucrative and rewarding and should not be dismissed, as it affords plentiful opportunities for work even to the novice model. It rewards the hardworking, vivacious, eager, reliable model with recommendations and many repeat bookings.
This type of work opens doors to more prestigious areas. Often regarded by more experienced models as their apprenticeship, who even when established may use promotion work as additional income between assignments.

Fetish Modeling

Well this is another one of those ambiguous areas of modeling, with a lot of different spin-offs. Most models will view fetish modeling as dressing up in leather or maybe as a gothic which is indeed part of the Fetish look; but please be aware before you do go into this area you research it properly, this can involve a very wide and sometimes darker side of the photographic and modeling industry, including bondage and S&M. Now again if you have the right look for this genre and you go into it with your eyes wide open and are totally aware of what the client requires of you, it can be a very lucrative and exciting part of the industry. But I can not stress enough do your home work on it first and make sure you have total understanding of your limitations and the photographer understands and accepts those limitations.

Plus Size

This a term used in modelling for models that are a dress size 16 or above, (in London it can be a dress size 14 and above). The requirements for this type of model are the same as for fashion models, both photographic and runway, but obviously with a larger body size. With the modeling industry turning its back on the waif type size 0 models plus size or "real" women are starting to make great steps forward into the industry. Plus size models get a great response from the Fetish fashion market, giving a third dimension to an otherwise 2 dimensional market.

Mature Models

Although this it is not a genre as you can choose to be in it or unfortunately opt out off. Mature models deserve a mention. This has taken a whole new turn within the industry in recent years, there have been a number of highly successful advertising campaigns in recent years involving older models; and with the Gok Wans TV shows showing the more mature model that there is a place for them within the industry, it has truly made a case for the 40s is the new 30s

I hope this has helped you with deciding which genres may interest you, I can not stress enough how important it is to research each genre thoroughly for yourself, and make sure that working in that genre isn't going to effect any future work/careers - be that modeling work, or non-modeling work.


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