Do I want to be a model
Despite the glamour and hype you have seen about the modeling profession, it's hard work. It's boring (sometimes) and it can be tedious. Prepared to be constantly rejected, get ready for some major ups and downs. Modelling is a lifestyle, not an 9-5 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,
it's a very competitive business. Are you willing to put the time and energy into
competing with pretty much everyone you meet, 24 hrs a day?
Where do I start
You'll need a modeling portfolio, I'm sure you'll all know what one of those is but for those that don't it's basically a selection of pictures showing yourself in different outfits and poses. The standard size for the photos is 9 by 12 inches and you'll need around 10 - 12 photos. Make sure you focus on quality rather than quantity, remember, you're only as good as your worst photo. Make sure your portfolio has a selection of both head shots and full body shots. Make sure you get a variety of different looks such as swimwear, catalogue and lingerie, you get the idea, also get a couple of black and white shots in there. Avoid using pictures of the same shot.
It can be very advantageous to have photographs from different photographers in a
portfolio. This will show the versatility in terms of styles and it will prove that
a model can work with a variety of different people. Obviously, the cost of hiring
different photographers for a portfolio is prohibitive, but there are many excellent
photographers out there who will do prints for time - and of course many more bad
ones. If you research what's on offer well, it can be an excellent alternative.
Before going ahead with a photo session ask to look at the photographers portfolio to see if you like his style of photography. No doubt if you go to the photographers studio to book the appointment he will have examples of his work on display anyway. If you've never done modelling before this will also be an excellent practice run for you. Avoid photographers wanting to take nude shots, if possible take a friend with you to the shoot.
The Comp Card
You'll definately need one of these. A comp card is what your modelling agency will use to market you.
What is a comp card? A composite card (sometimes called a ZED) is a model's business card. In most cases, your comp card is your one and only opportunity to make a good first impression. With that in mind it is important that the images on your card are your absolute best and nothing less. Additionally, the printing and reproduction quality is extremely important. Poor reproduction makes your images look bad and as a result - makes you look bad. Besides a great head-shot, the comp card will have other photos that show your experience, your versatility, range, and what type of work you are seeking. For best results all of the photos should be the highest quality you can obtain at your stage in your modeling career. Make sure the you have them printed on rigid card that will withstand a bit of wear and tear.
Be careful! Do NOT have a modeling agency print your comp card. If
you do - they will put their logo on it. You are going to want to sign with as many
agencies as possible if you are serious about getting work. Comp card printing can
get expensive - print them yourself and give each agency copies - they have stickers
that they can put on them with their contact information and you will save money.
An agency or co-ordinator should represent models. The model must have a portfolio, and comp cards. The agency/coordinator 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.
GOLDEN RULE - Don't go with an agency who asks for money up front! You'll probably never hear from them again and I ceratainly doubt you'll ever get any work from them.
Also check to see if they are reputable and genuine. The agency/coordinator provides
you with a 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/coordinator.
It is wise to choose the agency/coordinator carefully so you can stay with that them.
How do I 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. A sk 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.
1. Always be on time, if you cannot, be let the Photographer know. Punctuality is very important."safety tip": If you are not taking anyone with you to the shoot, let someone know where you are and with whom. And be sure to tell the photographer that someone knows where you are.
2. Always go prepared : ie...clothing changes that you know will fit you. Don't always think that he/she will have everything that is needed for the shoot.
3. Always take your own make-up; even if he/she has told you there will be a make-up artist there. Always think of the could be's.
4. Get references, as many as you can. That would include other models and/or assignments that the photographer has had. Check and double check. And be sure that a legitimate photographer is doing the same with you. Never take anything for granted.
5. Get phone numbers and addresses if possible, if he/she is hesitant. You might want to rethink the shoot.
6. Make sure that you know exactly what the shoot consists of, and never feel pressured to do anything that you do not feel comfortable doing. If nothing else, go by your gut feeling.
7. Always take along enough "cash" for cab fare etc. In case the photographer cannot provide adequate transportation. Most will, but always be prepared for the "just in case".
8. Keep in mind that modeling is a business, not a personal venture. You need to be prepared to negotiate with prospective employers, regarding everything from pay to content. Don't just drop out of contact because you don't like what's offered - either negotiate or say, "Thanks, but no thanks." You never know, the employer you turn down could well have your dream job later - and if you treat him or her rudely or with disrespect, you'll likely miss out.
9. Don't ever do anything that you might be sorry for later. What you do today can affect your carreer later down the road. "If you pose for a photo that you cannot show your family and friends, and be proud of it, it wasn't worth doing". Mainly YOU should be proud of it.
10. If you have a verbal or signed agreement on traveling expenses etc. Make sure that it is followed up on. Written is sometimes the best.