To All you models out there……..today I want to speak to you not as the model manager but as the photographer and give you some modeling advice.
Are all the clients that book you as a model are well
established photographers working for clients high price clients you need? If not, then you need
to present yourself as more than just a model. You need to fill in the gaps and
be invested in making whoever your client project is work. On top of this, you are
in business and you are the product, you or your manager needs to market
yourself and worry about all the business things that goes into your modeling career.
Learn how to do your own hair and makeup. The
ability to do your own hair/makeup will enhance your marketability and the rate
you can charge. Many photographers cannot afford to pay a good hair stylist/MUA
for their personal work and then pay you. And, you probably don’t have the
portfolio to work trade with these people who do hair and makeup neither. If
the shoot doesn’t require extensive hair/makeup then the client may also be
willing to pay more for you since these people do not have to be there which
keeps costs down.
also need to have a good and diverse wardrobe. Many photographers are not going
to have a stylist who can pull clothes (and even then it’s hard to pull that
off without a big name client). If you can fill enough of this role to help
make their idea a reality it could really help you book more shoots since
getting good clothes is hard.
you are a freelance model, try to negotiate rates with local studios. Doing
this means you get the same rate but at the same time reduce the cost of the
shoot for the photographer. It’s a Win-win.
I also understand the variable rate thing models always as for but
it only puts more obstacles in the way when you are offering a variable rate. Above
all you should be easy to do business with and it makes it simple when you can state
what you will and won’t do, state what you expect if it’s rained off, state
what you expect with travel expenses, and how far you will travel. All of this
instills confidence for your client to know that you know what you are doing and
will show up for the shoot. If you always respond to a client with “what is
your budget”, then that is a reflection on you and says that you have no idea
what you are worth as a model. People who are not experienced do this all the
time. Confidence in what you are worth is telling by what you charge so keep
this in mind. Lastly, if I have told you the scope of the job my budget, my
budget technically has nothing to do with what you should charge for your
services because the job is the same whether it is you or another model.
One more thing
to remember; many new models think that they should be paid with no experience
and no portfolio. First you must pay for quality training and quality headshots
and comps. I, as a photographer of many years have had even experienced models
give me “amateur shoots” instead of an experienced commercial or fashion
modeling shoot. This happen even when they are well aware that the shoot is for a web
catalog. When I pay, it is usually based on experience. I have fired models
that claim lots of experience and are lifeless, not photogenic, don’t know
their angles or poses, and just un-knowledgeable. Everything you say you
are able to do will come out during the shoot so if you say you are good and
you are not, the shoot will be the telling point.
If you are unexperienced freelance model, don’t try to charge
until you have the experience to deliver. Photographers will book you on
your rate, your experience and willingness to get the job done. For example, I got quotes for a glamour nude shoot
in my area and was quoted by four models the same hourly rate. For that rate,
here’s what was covered.
- Playboy nude &/or bondage
2 - Playboy nude
3 – Implied Nude only with 2 hr min + right of refusal on publication
4 - Only artistic nudes with a 3 hr minimum
Now 1 & 2 were very attractive and experienced models and was
confident in delivering what my client was looking for and open to getting the job
done, compared to 3 & 4 who were good looking but not very experienced and
they priced themselves out of a job completely.
I will end this blog on this note, I have worked with models who
got in front of my camera and seemed to be reading my mind. Before I could say
do this, they did it. Those models, I would pay/request top dollar for any day
because they clearly have put time into perfecting their craft. That makes my job
as a photographer totally enjoyable. Then, there were those who just had
no clue what-so-ever and unleash assaults on me as a photographer both knowing
and unknowingly. For example:
1. I have had models walk in with their iPods, iPhones, or
whatever and ask that I change the music to whatever nonsense that they want to
listen to. That is a no-no. It is not about you. I have had models bring all types
of music. I know that music can set the tone and vibe and I am cool with trying to agree or accomodate but
if I am paying and you are a experience model, it doesn’t matter what is on in the background. Just do your
thing. You are here to model, not DJ.
I have had models say, “tell me what I should do”, “what should
I do now”, “I can’t think of anything else to do” or even
“I don’t know how to do that.” That is never a good sign for any
model, especially someone claiming to be experienced. Those are not the words that a photographer wants to hear. I’ve been
tempted to tell models “I am a photographer, not your modeling coach but
if you want me to coach you during this a paid shoot I am paying you for, then you
should be paying me.” I mean these are beautiful models, some even “agency
represented” models and I am still just left feeling that the agencies are
not worth much if they’re not developing their models. The freelance models don’t get a pass neither, some of those models are just
lazy and think that beauty alone makes them a great model. You are playing
I’ve seen models say “just keep snapping, just keep flowing with it. I
will “keep snapping” and “keep flowing” when you give me
something to snap and flow about. If you keep being unrealistic about your body
movements, “faces” and how to connect whatever is in your head with
what is being displayed to me then you will be asked to leave immediately. Of course, I do not
tell them that but I do count it as time wasted. I just try to get the best shots
that I could for the client and that model will land themselves in my “do
not shoot” file.
STARTING A MODELING CAREER
It has been said that the key to success in the modeling industry is not having deep pockets, but good contacts and knowing how to capitalize on those contacts. Yea? Or Nay?
The glamorous life of being a model is not as easy as you thought it would be. It’s not just posing in front of the camera. It takes a lot of confidence to be model whether you are a scouted one or not. For every casting, lies the representation of oneself. There are no hard and fast rules in casting but a model must be ready to market his/her skills for runway, editorial, commercial and other related categories. There are times when the model has to wait for long hours to see someone for just for four to five minutes. For every walk or pose signifies the hope to get booked by the potential clients. Many models struggle in establishing a modeling career in the U.S. for the main reason that the industry itself is highly competitive.
Either you work with a modeling agency that finds you work or you put together your marketing scheme and you out and find yourself a work, in both cases, the amount of effort is still the same as a self-starter model. You must exert a lot of effort for you to keep up with the demands of the modeling industry.If you consider establishing a modeling career in the U.S., here is a list of tips that you will need to invest in at some point to succeed:
This plays a vital role since it allows the agencies and clients to determine what you can offer. It presents the over-all qualities and skills you have and your work experiences. The cost of an effective portfolio ranges $50-$75 depending on the quality of materials used.
These are photo business cards used by models. These are left behind at castings for clients to remember. A set of 100 printed standard size composite cards roughly range $100-$200 and can run to $1,500 or more for complex multi-fold, printed color cards.
The best way to back up portfolio and comp cards is by including your strong photos. The stronger the photos you can furnish, the better the portfolio and comp card will be. That is why your photos must be consistently strong. A professional photographer typically charges $200-$1500 for a fee with higher prices for packages offering more photos. Now, were really talking about investment. An unsolicited advice for a starter is to consider working with great professional photographers because they can give you the best outcome. It will literally make you a better model from the experience and advice they give and they can offer you more established photos.
This is the very recent movement of agencies for their models. It’s a viral practice of linking a model to the modeling world in an innovative way. They are uploading model’s photos to websites and databases that clients can directly login to and see. Many modeling agencies have been doing it and is paving a way for the client’s convenience as the latter can simply search models from any computer, or even their phone while doing away the handheld practice of portfolios and comp cards. This generates what we call an agency website fee which is a new type of modeling fee. Some agencies will charge anywhere from $50 to $200 just to be a part of their agency database. In hindsight, this is worth to invest in since many clients can view the your resume with just the touch of a button.Additional points to consider are other necessary expenses for travel, meals, clothing and other expenditures. Some people will encourage you to go pay for classes like going to an acting school, ballet classes and all the stuff to help you with your movements being in front of the camera. You can also have multiple agencies if you travel a lot.
Also, you must constantly practice with your poses. You can do it by facing the mirror. It’s a bit awkward at first but you will get used to it and it will come out naturally as you go along. It takes a lot of practice because some of the clients just put you right in front of the camera and let you do the poses. Practice is the key to have better ideas to change poses every second because some clients will just keep on taking pictures without telling the you what to do and you will be able to optimize the entire shoot if you come prepared. It gets very tiring though but it’s normal, you don’t have to be a perfect human being to be a model.
In the meantime, you must also keep yourself abreast on your body measurements because in casting, you will be interviewed and you must be able to tell your clients your exact body measurements. Every second counts in the modeling industry and if you don’t give your exact body measurements, you and your client will waste time changing outfits just because it does not fit right on you.
LISTEN and RESEARCH
You must listen to the right people because they will help you grow and will polish you to become the model you have always wanted to be. Make a research on things to do and acquaint yourself to the modeling world. As a starter, you can’t be called a model unless you get the job so it is best if you look into the things that are necessary or related to the modeling industry.
BASIC STARTER WARDROBE
You may also want to prepare as the following:
⦁ Pair of jeans that fit good - not too tight, not something to lose
⦁ Black leggings⦁ Plain top or tank top - black, white or dark gray
⦁ Heels - nude and/or black
⦁ Plain nude bra and underwear - preferably the seamless ones
⦁ Bathing suit
⦁ Dark pants
⦁ Shoes - black and brown
⦁ Plain bathing suits or shorts - black or white
REMEMBER TO BE YOU
Lastly, always remember to be you because how you handle yourself reflects how you feel from deep within and clients will know it. There will be times when you get signed and there will also those moments when it will not be given to you just yet. In case you face the latter, don’t let it bring you down. Don’t let it stop you. You just have to keep going and thriving. You are the only person who can be you. Find the confidence to standout and don’t be afraid of the journey. Trust the process and the right timing. Patience is the key to survive in this industry. If it’s supposed to happen, it will. Above all else, wear your great self and you will go far.
How Can I Start A Modeling Career Without Failing?
My name is Aaron and I’m a professional photographer at C1Photography who works with models all the time as I also run a model management company called C1Model Management. My answer to this question deals with all types of photographic modelling genres. Most people who want to pursue modeling are always looking for fashion or catalog work and most of them are young and female.
So where shall we start?
Let me tell you about a up and coming model story of someone achieved some success as I was working with her. She is 22 years old; she has a lovely face, a very good body, a very nice personality, and no tattoos or piercings. I’ve photographed her many, many times for all sorts of products ranging from business, urban, lingerie, commercial, glamour, and fashion.
One day we decide to do another lingerie shoot. She arrived, as always, exactly on time but this time she pulled up in her brand new BMW. We admired her car quickly and then she changed and got on into the shoot. She was booked for 4 hours but the job was done in less than 3. The client I booked also gave her all the clothing; which was worth around $700. She was happy, and the client was happy too. The following week I sent her a link of all the shots selected and she was able to use those pictures for her portfolio.
This girl is now a full-time professional model and she has been modelling for 3 years. I like working with her because she’s good, and clients choose her because she is beautiful and takes outstanding photos.
Now, If all this seems like a dream story………..I’m going to stop you right here because this model is a long, long way from being a supermodel. Having said that, I would say that she is in the top 2%. I say that because 98 out of every hundred wannabe models, never get any modelling work, never make it onto the books of a reputable agencies, and simply don’t have what it takes or not discipline enough to be a successful model. Again, that is 98% of the people who think that they want to be models and has friends and family members telling them that they look great and can do it. 98% of those people who try modeling, fail.
So why do they fail?
Well, again, some of them just don’t have what it takes to be a successful model. They idolize models who are doing it and expect that their story will be the same. Others think that they are going to be top fashion and runway models knowing that they are 5’7 or shorter. Some inspiring models don’t have the looks, or don’t have the personality and aren’t prepared to make themselves available at short notice and think that the world owes them a living. Some people models just sit and wait to be ‘discovered’ and some refuse to invest any time or money into making their dreams come true so they all become time wasters.
They are some who are genuinely trying to do something with their lives and they just don’t know where to start so they to fall into the greedy hands of the con artists, thieves and perverts that exist in every business but who are drawn to the modelling industry because it’s so easy to find new people to get over on.
How can you get started in modelling?
There are many different types of modelling and some of them require different approaches, but let’s assume for a moment that you are interested in being either a catalog or fashion model.You can go after top agencies in the US but unfortunately, it isn’t the easiest thing to do. The reason for this is because everyone else wants to be on their books too and they get many thousands of applications and accept very few of them. They also have criteria’s that you simply have to match for example height, weight, size, and age.
These agencies has offices in NY and LA and competes with each other at times. If you want to still give them a try then all you need to do is to send them a snapshot of your face (don’t bother with a professional photo) and your personal details. If they are interested they will contact you and ask you to attend an interview. If they accept you they may offer you a contract. They will then arrange for you to be photographed by their photographers (or by a photographer they deal with) and they will pay for the photography session. They will then send you on auditions for modelling work. If you are not ready for auditions yet because of experience, they will also provide you with all the training you need.
For those people who are not into to the politics of modeling usually approach smaller agencies or management companies agencies that are respectable in your eyes. These companies don’t generally get the really exotic work and so they don’t get the high-flying supermodels either, but they operate in a very similar way and you should be safe with them as they too have offices in NY and LA.
Then you have smaller genuine agencies who will probably do less to promote you than the industry leaders, and although they won’t ask you to pay them any fees they may ask you to provide them with two essentials, photographs and comp cards. They also make you pay for this service for 2 reasons. Firstly, they are a small agency and won’t be making as much commission from you as a larger agency would so they really can’t afford to subsidize you and secondly, there are an awful lot of time wasters around them.
A good way of weeding out if they are serious about your modelling career is to understand that, although they are making you spend your money, none of it is going into their own pockets. When you see that you can know that they are a genuine agency and not a scam merchant.
Smaller agencies aren’t easy to get into either because some of them are specialists and only accept people of a certain height, weight, size or age, or only accept children, or people who live in certain areas.
Now, there are the other type of agencies that definitely will accept you. These are the people who will charge you money to join them, charge you for photographs, charge you for training, charge you for publicity, and charge you for an ‘assessment’.
WALK AWAY - the chances of getting any paid modelling work from these people is doubtful.
My last suggestion is getting a manager or a local photographer to help you with making a portfolio. The reason why I say manager over photographer is because you someone who is going to take the time to work on poses, outfits, getting the right looks, and exposure. Photographers, can also do this but usually at a cost. No experience photographer wants to spend their time with models who don’t know how to pose but if you find a manager who can help you, it would be worth it.
So, do YOU have what it takes?
So, you have that natural ‘girl next door’ look. You have, nice hair with natural color and in good condition. Your makeup looks natural and you what suits you. You also know how to look sweet and innocent. You are a fit and not underweight. You may or may not have tattoos, piercings and skin blemishes. If you do have them, you are limited to what genres you can actually model, if you don’t, then the door is open for you.
To the ladies that have tattoos and/or piercings. Piercings aren’t really a problem because they can be removed, but tattoos are very largely a matter of personal taste and many corporate clients simply don’t like them. Most professional photographers don’t like them either, because although we can take them out on computer quite frankly we have better things to do with our time and we would rather hire models who are not tattooed. However, there is work for tattooed models out there so don’t be discouraged, it just more work for people who don’t have tattoos.
As far as hair goes, it should be shoulder length or longer because it can be up, or down which help produces different looks during shooting. However, that is not mandatory, just preferred. Bleached hair is not necessarily bad, but there are an awful lot of models out there who bleaches their hair and you might just do better with your natural color. But, if your hair isn’t its natural, it is essential that the natural color doesn’t show at the roots.
Last part is weight and most people photograph about 2 sizes larger than they actually are, so excess weight can be a real problem depending on what you are modeling or the style of modeling you are doing. Nobody really knows why people photograph larger but most do. There are some exceptions, but that is the norm.
What do you have to do to succeed?
To go back to my story. With this particular model, after building her portfolio, as her manager I was able to get her signed to several small agencies. She is easy to work with never talks about her clients or her private life to anyone. She is being paid to model by clients and photographers. She always arrives on time and she conduct herself professionally. Because of this, she has made my job easy and any photographer who has worked with her before is likely to recommend her to clients and believe me, photographers have a great deal of influence in the choice of models!
But not all decisions are made by the photographer. When the client makes the choice the portfolio has a large part to play. This model has outstanding photos, we started working on her modelling career when she was 19. I have another model, very different, who also does extremely well too. She is in her late twenties. She has short hair, and great features. She is very similar to the female model mentioned above - very reliable, nice person, very professional, and take very good photos.
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