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Should you become a model?

Despite the glamour and hype you have seen about the modeling profession, it's hard work. It's boring (sometimes). It's tedious. It's filled with rejection, ups and downs, It's a lifestyle, not an 8-5 job. Not all jobs pay well. Unless you are seriously committed about modeling, willing to work at it on your own time, live a healthy life style, etc., you will not succeed as a model. You have to understand that there are lots of other people who want to be models. They are doing everything they can to be successful. Are you willing to put the time and energy into competing with these people, 24 hrs a day?

The ultimate test for an aspiring Model
Well almost... Send your photo and resume to reputable agency. Setup an appointment and you will find out very quickly if you have what it takes. These people are very busy, if they don't like the photo you won't get an appointment. If they like it you will be invited for an assessment. Then again if you don't have what it takes they will tell you on the spot. (they want quality models).
 

If rejected don't give up yet! Each agency is different and has different expectations and requirements from their models. Always ask about any immediate physical changes (haircut, weight loss, skin treatment, dental work etc.) and work on it for the future. Some agency/established models offer good training in the form of workshops/courses) for local fashion shows and print work. This can be a great way to gain confidence and experience.

How to get started and some tips to Succeed?
An agency should represent models. The model should have a portfolio, and comp cards. The agency provides you with work (That is their main purpose. It is safe to say that they work for you!) They make a commission on your fee (Typically 20%). Check to see if the agency is reputable and genuine. The agency should provide you with a few photographers name. It's your choice to get the photographer you want. Pay the photographer for the photo shoots not the agency. The agency provides you with safe working environment and looks after legalities of the paper work for the job. They provide their clients with "Professional" models. Keep copies of all-important papers, such as contracts etc. You may need these if you have a dispute with the agency. It is wise to choose the agency carefully so you can stay with that them. Constantly changing them gives you a reputation of being flighty and unprofessional

How to approach an agency?
The oldest way to go about it is to visit them. Book an appointment ahead of time by phone. Bring at least 2 pictures. They don't have to be professional pictures. A head shot, natural and clear. Also a full length shot that somewhat reveals your figure, a clingy dress , swimsuit, figure flattering clothes or other tight fittings garments should be worn. Forget about baggy clothes! It will tip off viewers that you have something to hide. Ask lots of questions. Ask to see what work their models are currently doing? Ask for names and phone number of clients and call them to verify the
information, be concerned if they promise you work right away or promise you high salaries. If they don't allow you time to think about it or if they use pressure techniques to sign the contract, be concerned. They should not ask for money up-front for classes or training. Be concerned if the they claim to be looking for ordinary people. Reputed agencies/coordinators might have open interviews during the week, give them a call and find out. Also you can send your photo and resume as mentioned earlier.

Portfolio: What is it?
It's a collection of your modeling pictures. How many pictures you need varies. You should only keep strong pictures, you are only as good as your worst picture! Models should aim for quality not quantity! Avoid using 2 pictures of the same shoot (same look) Black and White is the favorite of the industry. 9 by 12 inches are the standard size. A basic but versatile portfolio would have a casual head shot, styled head shot, body shot (conservative swimsuit ), a fashion shot (sexy) , action shot, an editorial shot and even a catalogue shot. As you gain experience replace the older pictures with newer one. Keep your best picture at the end to leave a lasting impression! Do not wear jewelry for those prints, it takes the attention away from you. The wrong choice of undergarments may show panty line or bra straps and will distract the viewer (on the job, or in interviews it can mean the difference between looking professional or not). Tailor your portfolio for your strengths and the type of modeling you are doing.
What is a Comp card?
Comp card is a card with a few pictures on it. It also has the information on how to reach modeling agency. It contains your statistic and measurements. The model pays for them and your agency will tell you how many you need to get started.

Tips on how to choose a photographer
Avoid "portrait photographer" they often don't understand the need of the fashion industry. See the photographer's portfolio. Do you like it? Does it represent the style and format your looking for? Commercial photographers might be a good source of work! Keep that in mind. Be concerned about photographers who seek to take nude pictures of you or claims to be working on a swimsuit calendar. Photographers should be professional and respectful and you should bring a friend along. Always be cheerful, you never know when you might get a free shoot or a free picture or an extra roll done at no extra cost! If you bring your own clothes to the shoot, always bring extra. If the photographer for example like your look and decides to do an extra roll you will be ready to benefit from it. Keep an open mind photographers loves to do editorial shots.

Becoming a Model on a Budget
It takes very little time and money to find out if you have what it takes. It takes time and money to get started! First of all avoid all scams.

Make a commitment to yourself to keep the same look for a year. If you change your hair color (by the way your hair color should be natural), length or style (preferable length is : shoulder length), loose weight etc... your portfolio will not be up to date. You will need new pictures and that can get costly.

Searching for an agency/coordinator: If you intend to send pictures and introduction letters to agencies, mail the information only to reputed and well known agencies / coordinators in the area where you want to work in and where you can easily travel to (on short notice). Also keep in mind that only One agency / coordinator should represent you.

Before you spend a fortune on a portfolio, decide if you want to go international or work local. Local work will not require a fancy portfolio. If you want to work in international/national markets you will need a top quality portfolio or you will get turned down real quick. Only work with the best photographers of repute.

When you go to the Photo Shoot make sure you know at least 36 poses. Practice. Look at magazines and practice the poses. Not all photographers take the time to help new models with posing. If you are not ready, the shoot will have poor results. At the end of the shoot thank every one involved and let the photographer know that he / she can count on you if he / she needs someone to work on future projects.

Some photographers are more picky then others. Some will simply turn you down because they believe you can't make it as a model? Some will refuse to take pictures unless they have their usual makeup, hair, and wardrobe stylist. That is not bad but not cheap! Most will do a minimum of 3 rolls of film and will refuse to do only one. There is all kind of photographers, students, part time, professionals etc. All can be good or bad. Students often do shoots with aspiring models for free , they exchange the model's time for photos. Part time photographers don't make a living at this, they have great interest in it and are usually building up the equipment and the portfolio. They do that by offering photo shoots at cheaper rates, trade time for pictures or do the shoot at cost! And then there is the professional with all the equipment and years of experience, they might give you a break but don't count on it (don't forget they make a living at this). Also keep in mind that when you gain the experience and start getting more work, you will need the Highest Quality prints to represent you. You might find it to your advantage to get started with the help of the professional photographers but make an informed decision. What matters from any photographers is how he/she meet your objectives of providing great prints.

Where to find people willing to help you?
Try your community college, check the newspaper, check the online modeling forum and the news group alt.models on the internet. Is there a photo club in your area?

Model's Safety
Be always careful when meeting these people, bring a friend and use your judgment. Meet in public places first. When going to the photo shoot, call a friend and let him/her know where you are, how much time the photo shoot will take and what the phone # is. Call your friend back at the end of the session, or have them call you at a certain time, near the end of the photo session. There are a lot of people who are Honest and looking to help you. Unfortunately this industry as seen many scams and it's the good people (both model and photographer) that suffer from all this. It's hard to trust people but by being careful you can benefit greatly. A legit photographer will be understanding of the above safety measures and will have no problem ensuring your safety. It could be a good subject of conversation on the first contact.

Learn makeup skills and get to know how to style your hair in different ways. Clothes at many stores can be purchased and later returned, make sure you can return them and get what you want for the shoot! Put tape underneath new shoes, so you don't scratch the bottom, you will be able to return them too after the shoot! Clothes if they don't fit or are not flattering enough can be changed quickly by using cloth pins (try paper clamps!). Use them in the back of your dress, it will make it snug (in some case you look like you lost 15 pounds instantly) It's also good at making skirts shorter.

What's Next !
Ok so you have your agency, your portfolio and your comp cards. What happens next?
Well modeling is like a business, you need to pay rent and advertise, that's the commission you pay the agency / coordinator for promoting you and finding work for you . Your investment is your portfolio. You have been sitting around the house for a few weeks now waiting for a call? You finally get one! It's a "go see". Your agency/coordinator called you, usually on a short notice you have to meet the client. You bring your portfolio, it's like a resume for a job. They look at you and your book. You give them a comp card (like a business card) so they can remember you when you leave. You later find out if you get the job or not. If you get the job, the agency charges the client, then keeps a commission and pays you. After the job is done you might get pictures from the session. That is the best thing to have in your portfolio (referred to as tear sheets). And then the cycle repeats itself. On the job show your great personality, this is what will get you repeat business! Also keep in touch with your agency/coordinator, visit them once in a while to show interest.

For more information on how to get started please click here to contact us!