So You Want To Become A Fashion Model?
Modeling, fashion photography, make-up artistry and all other facets of the modeling industry have soared in popularity in recent years. It’s not surprising considering the number of reality TV shows which focus on the modeling industry. We often get requests from new, aspiring models who want to know how to get started in the modeling industry. We will therefore provide our two cents on how to begin the process of becoming a paid model.
We want to start by saying that the following is simply our opinion, which was formed by knowing and observing the careers of many models. Everyone has different experiences so please take everything we say as simply our view on the modeling business.
“I must be super skinny to be a model.”
“I must live in New York, Milan, or Los Angeles to be a model.”
“All models make lots and lots of money”.
“Modeling is all about looks. Models get paid just to stand there and look pretty.”
The truth of the matter is that models come in all shapes and sizes. You can make a living regardless of where you live, but of course larger cities have more opportunities. Oh, and about the money. The reality is that most new models scrap by, because the big money in modeling is paid to models with experience. But most importantly, modeling is actual work and it takes skill. The more experience you have the better you will get and the more paid jobs you will get.
We assume that if you are aspiring to be a model that you are starting from ground zero. This means you do not have a “book”, you do not have an agent, and you have limited experience in front of the camera. Some of you may already have started in some of these areas, but we’re assuming that most of you are just starting on your quest to become a sought after model.
I want to become a model, but where do I start?
Well, you start by getting some pictures of yourself! But many people cannot afford to pay an accomplished fashion photographer that charges hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a photo shoot. There are alternatives. Many photographers are willing to work for free simply for the experience of shooting a model and having rights to the pictures. This is especially true of new photographers who are also trying to build their book. New models should seek out photographers who are willing to work for a price that the model can afford. If all else fails, contact a local college which has photography classes. Many of the photography students would love to shoot an aspiring model.
We strongly recommend that you do NOT take pictures of yourself with your camera phone or other cheap camera and then plaster these pictures on modeling websites in hope that you will be discovered.
A good quality picture of an average model is far more impressive than a poor quality picture of a great model. Therefore, you want your shots to be as professional as possible and that pretty much excludes taking pictures with camera phones. And please do not think that just because your cheap camera takes large megapixel images that you have a decent camera. The reality is that camera phones and cheap pocket cameras have inexpensive lenses and have other qualities that do not compare with professional or semi-professional camera equipment.
But all I got is my pocket camera?
If all you have is an inexpensive camera and you cannot afford a professional photographer, then we’ll give you a few tips to have a fighting chance in getting pictures that are passable.
Have somebody else hold the camera. Do not try to hold the camera yourself!
Choose a spot that has a good background. It should be one color. Do NOT stand in front of a book case in your bedroom or some other area that has a busy background. Got an all white or all black sheet without pizza stains? Pin it on a wall and make sure it’s very tight. Stand a few feet in front of it and have your picture taken. You want a clean, consistent background so people look at you in the picture and not the stuff behind you.
Take a variety of pictures. Angle your body. Change your expression. Load only your best pictures on modeling sites. If you’re not sure about a picture, then do not use it, rather reshoot it.
Use auto white balance on your camera. Auto white balance helps eliminate that yellowish look when you do not have good flash equipment.
Brokendollmodels.com welcomes everyone. However, we focus on photographers, models, make-up artists and other professionals in the modeling business. If you load pictures on brokendollmodels.com that are not of professional quality, then your pictures will be marked as candids. Candid shots do not get the same exposure as professional shots. You may at any time update your portfolio with professional shots and request us to update your status. Our goal is to give our members maximum exposure, but we of course promote the most professional shots and members.
But what pictures do I need?
The first thing to understand about modeling is that the model is a canvas. The client, who may be an apparel company, magazine, photographer, etc uses the model for a purpose. That purpose is often to sell something. It may be clothes, jewelry, bedding, vacation packages to Belize, whatever… So what do you think the client will want to see when they look at your book? The client typically will want to see what potential you have for their project. Again, you the model are a canvas and you will be used for the clients project. Therefore, when you are starting out as a model you should make sure you get shots of you that are simple. This is why a good headshot is important. You’ll want a shot which shows your eyes, hair out of the face, with your best angle, and which accentuates your features. You’ll also want a half body shot and a full body shot. You can still have fun and get some edgy shots, shots with motion, etc, but ensure your portfolio of shots has basic shots which show you as you are.
How sexy should my shots be?
Ok, who is going to be looking at your shots? If you’re trying to get hired for Maxim or some other magazine that leans heavily on sexual appeal, then you can have some sexy shots. But keep it in good taste. We personally feel that a good model does not need to bare all to get a great, sexy shot.
Should I hire a make-up artist?
In the vast majority of cases, we believe you should hire a make-up artist. They may charge you or they make trade time for photos. But in the end, we believe that you should have a make-up artist. The results will typically be better than if you do your own make-up.
What do I do when I get the pictures?
Get a composite, or comp card. These are also known as zed cards. They serve as the latest and best of a model’s portfolio and are used as a business card. It should have a minimum of two pictures. Use both sides. It should also have your stats, such as height, weight, bust size, hips, hair color and contact information. Provide these cards to agents, photographers, or anyone else interested in hiring you as a model.
You’ll also want your pictures in a book. Put your best shots in a book. You are only as good as your worse modeling picture! As the old saying goes, “presentation is everything.” Your book should be professional. Have your best shots in the front of the book. You want the book to make an impact on anyone looking at it. Get your family and friends to look at your pictures and listen to their feedback.
Also join as many modeling web sites as possible. We of course are partial to brokendollmodels.com but there are many other sites which you can join. Get your name and face out there! Your goal is to get exposure. Do not feel obligated to pay high fees to modeling websites. If a website does charge fees, then make sure you know what you are getting. Some sites will charge a nomimal fee of $10 or $20 a month to give you more exposure and other benefits. That may be reasonable, but make sure you understand what you are getting.
If there are modeling agents in your area, then seek them out. Most modeling agencies have open calls which allow you to show up and show them your book. Contact these agencies to find out when their open calls will occur. Go to the open calls with an open mind. Figure out what look the agencies want. You may need to get new pictures of yourself and try again.
What if I do not get signed immediately by a modeling agency?
Do not be discouraged if you are not signed immediately. Modeling agencies are often looking for specific qualities in a model for a client. Remember…the modeling agencies make money from their clients. Models are simply a commodity for many of these agencies. Modeling is first and foremost a business. Thus, if you are not signed immediately, then update your portfolio and try again. Many of the most successful fashion models were turned down repeatedly by modeling agencies before they got their big break!
What else do I need to know about modeling?
If you want to be a model, then you need to want it for the right reasons. It is very unlikely that you’ll become a super model overnight. It is much more likely that you will spend months or even years working and traveling for low paying modeling jobs. However, modeling can be a lot of fun! You’ll meet a large number of people and be exposed to a variety of situations. Modeling, photography, and the creation of beautiful pictures is very rewarding. Pursue modeling because you love it and you’ll be guaranteed of being happy you did it!