Becoming a Model

Becoming a Model
Posted on Wednesday 20th of April 2011
0 comments • Read 4142 times • 4 minute read

I've been a photographer for several years, helping models start off from complete novices to becoming confident in front of the camera, and developing their talent - so here is a very basic outline as to what is involved in becoming a model. The reality is harsh, and you are going to have to learn to take rejection and criticism as if it is second nature, if you honestly think you can take that, then you have taken your first step.

The next thing to remember is, as a new or aspiring model you have no real value, not to anyone within the industry, anyway. You have no proven track record, no testimonials not even a body of work that says here I am. Everyone that works with you, as one simple goal, and its Not to make you Rich or famous (sorry about that!) its to make money. Whether its an agency, a photographer, a design or even a promotions company they are there to make money from you - But they owe you nothing, so do not have the expectation, that agencies are going to fall over themselves to give you a placement within their agency, or a photographer is going to go out of their way to produce a free portfolio for you. Like any other industry in the world you have to pay your way through life to get what you really want. You have now left the comfort of your friends and family telling you your "fantastic" or "your really photogenic" or even "you look like the next Kate Moss, Jordan or Twiggy" because in reality in the modeling industry, you just look like 1000s of other hopefuls that enter the realms of modeling every year.

Having said all that I hope I have not put you off, because in reality you have as much chance as anyone else, and with the right information, advice and research you have a better chance than most. But please remain realistic and keep you feet firmly planted on the ground, dont just listen to the positive feedback, but learn from the negative, use any criticism as constructive, take the information away digest it and turn it into a positive. Modeling is a craft, it is a skill and it requires practice, so practice, practice and when youve finished practising go back and practice again.

The first thing that you must realise that the modelling industry is extremely competitive. Yes, it is glamorous but at times it can be a little tedious and even sometimes boring. It is not a Monday to Friday 9 - 5 job with every weekend off it is a way of life. You must be prepared to work very hard and give it 100% commitment if you are to have any chance of success. Remember not all jobs pay well and you need to be able to deal with the ups and the downs.

If you choose to take modeling seriously, whether its a part-time job or a full time career you will need to arrange to have your portfolio produced with a good professional photographer. Do not take short cuts with this; this is your main selling tool, without a good portfolio serious clients will not even know who you are!

This should be a collection of approximately 10-20 good quality photos that show a variety of both head shots and full body shots. Make sure that this includes a selection of different looks such as lingerie, swimwear, catalogue etc. As you progress through your modeling career and you do a variety of modeling assignments try to include photographs taken by different photographers. The alternative way to get a portfolio produced is by working with photographers on a time for print basis (TFP). Working with TFP photographers is a good way to build up experience and get used to working within a studio/location environment.

Once you have your portfolio you need to decide how you will seek modeling work. You might decide to represent yourself maybe by posting pictures and details over the internet to attract photographers or you could find a model agency to represent you. If you decide to go down the agency route, choose carefully and never go with an agency that asks for money up front as they are probably not genuine. They will make a commission from the fees charged for each job. The agency is there to provide you with a safe working environment and take care of the legalities involved. Make sure you keep copies of all contracts etc in case of any disputes that may arise.

The best way to approach a model agency is to visit them. Take 2 photos with you; these dont necessarily have to be professional ones, one natural head-shot and one full length body shot in figure hugging clothes that accentuate your figure. Wearing baggy clothes can give the impression that you have something to hide.

You can also seek modeling work by using portfolio hosting websites such as Madcows, which allow you to apply for casting calls, this is the most common way, and it allows you to take charge of your modeling career by putting yourself up for work that an agency may not.

Points to remember...

[bull]Punctuality is extremely important - if you are going to be late let the photographer know. If you are going alone, be sure to tell someone where you are going and who you are with. Also let the photographer know that you have told someone this. [/bull]

[bull]Be well prepared - take everything with you that you are likely to need. Different outfits that you know fit well and your own make-up in case this is not provided.[/bull]

[bull] Ensure the photographer is legitimate by asking for references from models they have worked with, though, most portfolio hosting sites have feedback sections.[/bull]

[bull] Make sure you know what the shoot entails and never feel pressurised into doing anything you do not feel comfortable about.[/bull]

[bull]If you have enough experience to feel comfortable enough to charge, then make sure you know your rates - it always looks unprofessional when a model says she does paid work only, but isn't sure what her rates are.[/bull]


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