Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting Started ...

The Basics

Take care of yourself! Features indicative of good health are a must.

Shiny and healthy hair is important.

Fitness is important. Consider working with a trainer who works specifically with models. Tell them of your modeling goals and how you aspire to look.

Decide what kind of model you hope to be. Technically, anybody can be a model. However, do remember that if you don't meet certain requirements, the work available to you will be incredibly limited, and you may have to compensate in other departments (reliability, technique, etc).

·       A Plus Size Model: If your body is full and curvaceous, you may be able to be a plus size model.

·       A Runway Model: Most women on the catwalk are at least 5'8”, very skinny, and small-breasted. Men are mostly between 5'11” and 6'2”.

·       A Print Model: Most editorial female models are at least 5'7”, but a beautiful face with great personality are really important for print models.

·       An Underwear Model: For women, this requires large breasts but small hips. For men this requires broad shoulders but slim waists.

·       Other Types of Modeling: If you don't fit any of the face or body descriptions, perhaps you can be a foot, hair or hand model

Consider your "look". There is more of a curvy California look, a svelte New York look, a waif-like European look, girl next door, swim suit or lingerie (usually requires the bust to fill out the suits and a very thin waist)... Know what you're equipped with, but also work to pull off other looks.
Educate yourself. There is a lot you can learn from reading books and articles on modeling. Reading quality guides, articles, and books will both help you to improve important skills (like posing) and to better understand how the industry works (how to find an agent, etc.). Realize that it's tough. The modeling world is jam-packed with pretty faces. Just because you are good looking does not mean that you can succeed as a model.

In the modeling business, it is not just about looking great. You have to fit the want or need of specific jobs just in order to get a chance. Modeling is only for serious people who carry unique looks and characteristics. Since there are so many people trying to become models in today's world, it will be very challenging to get a breakthrough and will only come through patience and perseverance.

Realize a model does not have to be like a supermodel, however with a lot of effort you may reach that supermodel status!

Portfolios and Modeling Agencies

Take some snapshots. This doesn't mean candid shots of you and your friends, but rather shots of you up close without a lot of makeup and on a plain background. You should shoot them in nice natural light without a lot of distraction in the photos. These are meant for agencies to get a look at you in a raw state. Consider a head shot, a body shot, and profile shots.

Consider getting some professional shots taken. Professional photography, even if it is expensive, will give you a better idea of what kind of look you give off. You may eventually need these photographs to snag an interview, so think of it as a worthwhile investment!

Get your favorite professional shots printed into 8 x 10’s. Save these in case you are asked to leave a photograph anywhere before you have professional ones done.

If you've got enough of these photos, consider putting everything into a portfolio, or "book." Bring this portfolio with you to castings or to agencies.

Take and know your measurements and stats. Basic measurements are height, weight, and shoe size.

Know your clothing measurements such as dress size, hip, waist, chest etc...

Know your own personal stats, such as hair color, eye color, skin tone etc...

Visit a modeling agency. Almost every major city has multiple modeling agencies, and almost every agency has "open-calls" where they look at new talent.

Bring your snapshots and/or portfolio. They will often ask you to walk or pose for them. They may take a headshot or take your measurements as well. If they reject you, don't get disheartened; often an agency is looking for a diverse set of models, so you may just not fit their model lineup right now.

When Working

Be professional, polite, and courteous. Always turn up on time to any appointment or shoot. If you're late or rude, word soon gets around and then nobody will want to work with you.

Be organized. Models often get called off places at the last minute and have very busy days. You need to be on top of things if you want to succeed. Buying a day-to-day planner can really help.

Confirm whether or not there will be a make-up artist (MUA) on site for any work you are doing. Sometimes you are expected to bring certain things with you (such as base foundation) and if they don't have a makeup artist booked you need to prepare accordingly. Be truthful about your measurements. Don't say you're skinnier than you are just to get a shoot. Once there, the stylist will have problems and you will get found out. Word will get around and you could find yourself without a career!

Treat modeling like a real job. Girls that don't take it seriously have small chances of succeeding in their modeling career. Realize that it is harder than it appears and there's a lot of work behind all that glitz and glamour at fashion shows. Modeling is a full time occupation that requires constant attention. One week away from it and your career can be over. Understand that modeling has only a small window of opportunity, and even if you take a short break, you may never be able to return.

Be creative on shoots. Photographers want to see you pose in various works, work for the camera, and interact with the world around yourself. Runway coordinators want you to put attitude in your walk (or very specific emotion).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Some Tips for Fashion and Glamour Posing

Whether you are searching for a career in Glamour Modeling or Fashion Modeling, it is very important for you to realize that there is more to becoming a model than just standing there looking beautiful.

One very important factor in becoming a good model is posing, and in order for you to learn the different poses needed for the type of modeling career you are seeking it will take practice, practice, practice.

Make Your Posing Look Natural

When preparing for your photo shoot, there are numerous steps you can take to ensure you are comfortable while posing and your photos will look more natural.

Get Posing Ideas

Before you head to your photo shoot, pick at least ten poses you really like from fashion or Glamour magazines, or poses you’ve learned from previous photo shoots. Take time to practice each pose in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable and have the confidence of knowing you look great doing these poses.

Hands and Facial Expression

Also, focus on what to do with your hands and pay attention to facial expressions. A pose is virtually dead and unimaginative without a “look”. You should be able to close your eyes, imagine a thought, open your eyes and sell that thought. Practice this technique and your photos will come alive.

Become an Idea Factory

Unless you are shooting for an advertising agency or some other type of special interest session many photographers recommend that you bring some of your own posing ideas to the shoot. In addition to your ideas, the photographer may have his or her own idea of how the session should go.

Rapport with Your Photographer

Always work with a photographer you feel you can trust. This will make communication between the two of you easier and give you the confidence to express your own ideas.

Always listen to what the photographer tells you. If you are really uncomfortable with the pose, let your photographer know how you feel, in a nice way. Remember, he is looking through the camera lens and might see something you don’t.

If the photographer says she wants something different in the pose, try looking away from the camera or giving a unique facial expression. This is where your practice in front of the mirror really pays.


When posing you should always keep good posture unless the photographer instructs you to do otherwise. Hold your stomach in to give your abdomen a more toned appearance. If you have gained a few pounds stick out your chin a little to avoid the appearance of a double chin in your photos.

Keep your fingers slightly apart and pointed away from the lens. Let your hands fall naturally into position whenever possible. Remember, you want to be yourself – on purpose.

Now that you have learned what to do, consider these things you should try to avoid while posing.

Things to Avoid when Posing for a Photographer

Misplaced Body Language

Body language and expressions come naturally but the language you are projecting might not be what your photographer wants in a particular pose. You need to consciously focus on ways to prevent these habits while posing.

Don’t hold your breath during a pose. Stay relaxed and your photos will look as if you just happened to be sitting this way when the photographer walked up.

In most pose situations you want your arms, legs, wrists, etc. slightly bent unless you are directed to do otherwise Most people don’t stand or sit with their arms and legs completely stiff. A good point to remember is, if it will bend, bend it.

Mona Lisa Smile ?

Another posing tip to remember is that you don’t always have to smile. You should have a good variety of smiling and serious looks. But, sometimes you will want to give a large, open-mouthed laugh. If you are supposed to be happy, look the part!

Your Eyes are the Windows to Your Soul

Don’t always look straight into the camera. When you cut your eyes to the left or right, you create an air of mystery. When you look up and away, you are annoyed. Tilt your chin slightly down and look straight ahead for a sexy look.

About Blinking

Beware of the Blink! If you have to blink, try to blink between exposures. This is not always easy, especially if you are working in a photography studio. Some models get into a habit of anticipating the strobes and start to close their eyes when the picture is about to be snapped.

Get into the habit of not paying attention to the flash and concentrate wholy on the pose, your body language, hand position, etc. and your images will come out as you expect.

Be Bold !

Never be afraid to try out some of your own poses in front of your photographer. Most photographers are glad to hear suggestions from you.

How do You See Yourself ?

When you look at your final images don’t be critical of yourself. Find positive ways to improve your posing. Discover your strengths and weaknesses and shoot for the stars.

I am certain that Tyra Banks still works on her appearance and her posing artistry even though she has achieved a degree of stardom. Shouldn’t you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Finding Modeling Jobs Through the Internet

The internet can be a great place to find modeling work with small businesses and individual photographers. However, the vast majority of modeling work that can be found through the internet is of the glamour and artistic varieties (of which a large percentage is topless or nude), or is of the 'adult' or pornographic varieties that most models aren't interested in. Commercial modeling work is almost always booked through agencies, not through the internet.

There are several approaches to finding clients through the internet:
  • Models can find local photographer's web pages through web search engines, and then individually contact those photographers by e-mail or by telephone to ask for work.
  • Models can look for photographer's advertisements for models on modeling-related and photography-related message boards, and then individually contact those that look like a good match for the model's work interests.
  • Models can post messages on modeling-related or photography-related message boards announcing their availability for work. Potential clients can respond to the model's message through e-mail.

When contacting a potential client by e-mail, or when posting a message advertising for modeling work, it is a good idea to include all the information about yourself that a client would need to quickly determine if you are a good candidate for his/her project. The following information should be included:

  • Location: The city and state (or province) you are located in. Clients in faraway locations are less likely to be interested in working with you, and if you neglect to include your location they may not bother to contact you at all. For personal safety, don't give your complete street address to anyone over the internet until after you've checked them out. Just the city and state is fine for initial contacts.
  • Physical characteristics: Age, height, weight, measurements, dress/suit size, shoe size, eye color, and hair color. If you have any permanent marks like scars, tattoos, or unusual piercings, these should also be mentioned.
  • A sample photograph from your portfolio, or a link to your web site where the client can view your portfolio.
  • The type(s) of modeling work you are interested in doing. If you neglect to include this, clients may assume you are not available for the type of work they are interested in hiring for.
  • The type(s) of modeling work you are not interested in doing. If you aren't specific about this, it's possible you may receive offers to work in porn videos or other work you find unsavory.
  • The times and days of the week you are usually available for modeling work.
  • The rates you normally charge for modeling work, if you work frequently. If you don't model frequently, it's often better to say something like "rates are negotiable and depend on the nature of the assignment."

Once a potential client has expressed an interest in hiring you for a modeling assignment, you can begin discussing the details of the assignment with the client and negotiate what the payment terms will be.

Is It Safe To Work With People I Meet Through the Internet?

Most of the time, yes. However, there's always a possibility of running into a troublemaker posing as a photographer, so it is advisable to take some common        sense safety precautions when dealing with people through the internet. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don't give your full name, home address, or home telephone number to anyone until after you've checked them out.
  • Ask potential clients for references from other models they have worked with. Check the references.
  • As you meet other models in the course of your work, stay in touch with them so you can ask them about good and bad experiences they've had with some of the clients you might work with.
  • Make sure all arrangements for a photo shoot or other modeling assignment are decided in advance, or be prepared to deal with unexpected surprises.
  • When meeting an individual client in person for the first time, you could arrange to meet in a public place (for example, a coffee shop) or bring a friend with you.
  • If you are a minor (under 18 years of age), a parent should be involved in arranging all of your modeling work, and you should always bring the parent with you to any photo shoots or meetings with clients.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To trade ... or NOT to trade?

How do you get quality photos without paying an arm and a leg?

Well, "trade" may be the way to do it.

You'll probably see the abbreviation 'TFP' or 'TFCD' ... it means 'trade for prints' or 'trade for CD or DVD'.

The basic concept is that a photographer is trading his/her time behind the camera for a model's time in front of the camera.

To confuse things slightly, the terms TFP and "test shoot" are sometimes used interchangeably, and sometimes test shooting can also have the implied meaning that the model is paying a photographer to start the model's portfolio or that the model is being tested for possible use in an upcoming modeling assignment for the photographer's clients.

If in doubt as to the purpose of a particular photo shoot, be sure and ask the photographer.

TFP arrangements are intended to benefit both models and photographers.

The fact is, we all need new photos from time to time, and there are situations where both models and photographers might want new photos without having the expense of hiring somebody to get them.

There are a variety of reasons that a model might consider TFP.

* A new model may not have the funds to hire professional photographers to start his/her portfolio.

* A working model may want to update her existing portfolio because her appearance has changed since her last photos were taken.

* A model may want the experience of modeling with different photographers who would not ordinarily be in a position to hire him/her.

* A model may simply want to practice modeling at little expense.

In any of these cases, a model might offer to do a photo shoot with a photographer in exchange for a few prints or a set of digital photographs provided by the photographer for the model's use.

There are a variety of reasons that a photographer might consider TFP.

* A new photographer may not have the funds to hire professional models to start his portfolio.

* A working photographer may want to experiment with new equipment or unfamiliar photographic techniques without the added expense of hiring a model.

* A photographer may want to produce material on speculation of possible future sales without the added financial strain of paying models out of his own pocket.

* A photographer may want to test the abilities of an unknown model before agreeing to hire the model for future work.

* A photographer may want the experience of working with different types of models than he would normally encounter in his day to day work.

* A photographer may simply want to practice photography with little expense.

In any of these cases, a photographer may offer to do a photo shoot with a model in exchange for a few prints or a set of digital images given to the model.

So, not surprisingly, novice models and novice photographers tend to be the most willing to do TFP work on the most generous terms, so it's wise for both model and photographer to consider whether the other person's skill and experience is sufficient to get them the quality of photos they expect from the session.

Unless your motivation for a photo shoot is simply to get some experience, you are not doing yourself any favors by making poor quality photos that neither model or photographer can use.

Try to trade with people who have samples of past work to show you, particularly if you like the look or style of their work.

Perhaps, the most important thing that model and photographer contribute to the photo shoot is their skill and experience.

Before a TFP shoot, the photographer will most likely expect the model to sign a release form.

The terms of the release used for TFP may or may not be more restrictive than the general releases used on regular work, depending on what the model and photographer have agreed to for their TFP session.

Releases limiting the photographs to "promotional use only" are frequently used when beginners work together. However, in cases where a more experienced photographer is working with a less experienced model, it is fairly common to use a general release so the photographer can recoup some of the income lost (from shooting the model for free)by selling some of the photographs from the model's TFP session as stock photography or art prints.

TFP sessions can be a great way for anyone in the industry to practice their craft and get great new photographs, but since there is so much variation in the way that different individuals handle TFP arrangements, it's important to make sure both sides are on the same wavelength about their expectations when setting up a TFP session.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Portfolios, Comp Cards, and Websites ...

A traditional portfolio is a big black album that contains photos of the model in a variety of settings and poses. There are several different sizes available. A good source for these in Seattle is Glasure's Photos.

While it is recommended that models have a portfolio -- the fact is that most commercial print work in the northwest is booked solely on the basis of the model's comp card and possibly a brief in-person interview with the client.

So, a portfolio, or the lack of one, rarely comes up in booking this type of work.

Now, that's not to say that you shouldn't have a portfolio, but you can probably get by without one if your comp card is doing the job. It will also depend on the types of clients your agency works with; so be sure and ask your agent if you should have one.

When interviewing for freelance modeling jobs, you'll find that having a portfolio is more important.

This is partly because you will be dealing with clients that have less experience hiring models. They typoically want to see more material before making a hiring decision.

Someone Told Me I Need to Have Nude Photos In My Portfolio. Is This True?

Unless you are actively seeking nude modeling work, you do NOT need to have nude photos in your book. In fact, having nudes prominently displayed in your portfolio might cause some commercial clients to turn you down for work if they find the images distasteful. Models that do both commercial work and nude work usually build two separate books, one for each type of client.

The Northwest is still more conservative than most other areas. You do NOT need to do nude modeling to be successful.

Do You Need a Comp Card?

For the majority of commercial modeling work, you need to have a comp card.

A comp card is a compilation of several key photos that will display your versatility.

Some of the major poses you need on a comp card are usually:

1. A Headshot
2. A shot in a business suit or dress
3. A shot in swimwear or athletic wear
4. A casual fashion shot

The comp card will also list your vital statistics and clothing and shoe sizes.

You need a comp card so your agent can send it out to a client who might be interested in hiring you.

For freelance modeling jobs with small business owners or individual photographers, a comp card may not be necessary. But you will want to have something that you can leave with the client while they're considering which model to hire.

If you don't have a comp card, it's a good idea to give the client a resume and a small photograph with your contact information written on the back.

Actors/Talent generally don't use comp cards. The actor's agent usually sends the actor's resume and 8"x10" headshot when submitting to clients for possible acting work.

Do You Need a Web Site?

In most cases, a web site may be a waste of time for you.

However, if you are looking for non-commercial or freelance work or are soliciting photographers for photo shoots through the internet, then having some type of portfolio on the web is important.

Each of the sites that offers free model listings has its own quirks and limitations, so it is a good idea to get listed with more than one service.

Some of these sites offer better levels of service to models that pay a monthly or yearly membership fee, so be sure to read the fine print when getting signed up at a web site.

For a better and more personalized presentation than the free web sites offer, you can run your own web site or hire a professional webmaster to run a web site for you. Or you can set up a blog for little or no cost.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How tall do I have to be?

Do I Have To Be a Certain Height or Size To Work as a Model?

For fashion/catalog work, agencies and their clients usually have very specific and very strict requirements for height and size. While these requirements may vary from agency to agency, client to client, and region to region -- the following are typical for the better agencies in the Northwest.

For Women's Clothing:

• Height between 5'8" and 6'0"
• Measurements at or very close to 34" bust, 24" waist, 34" hips
• Dress size 4-6
• Age 15-24

For Plus-Size Women's Clothing:

• Height between 5'8" and 6'0"
• Dress size 12-16
• Waist at least ten inches smaller than bust & hips
• Age 19-30

For Junior's (Teen Girl's) Clothing:

• Height between 5'6" and 6'0"
• Measurements 32-34" bust, 22-24" waist, 32-34" hips
• Dress size 3-5
• Age 13-19
• Shoe size 8 or larger

For Men's Clothing:

• Height between 6'0" and 6'2" for adult men
• Height between 5'10" and 6'2" for teen men
• Suit size 40R
• Shoe size 10 or larger

For swimsuit and lingerie catalog work, a slightly curvier appearance is usually desired, and height is less important, so the agency's requirements for height and size may be relaxed by an inch or two for models with outstanding figures.

For glamour, figure/art, and most other types of freelance modeling, a wider variation in height and size is tolerated.

These types of modeling put more emphasis on the model's figure and less on the model's height and size, so these models are often up to 3-4 inches shorter and several sizes larger than catalog models.

In the case of figure models, the kinds of looks that artists seek in their models can vary considerably from artist to artist. Some artists even specifically seek out models that look as different as possible from the fashion model stereotypes.

For commercial work other than catalogs, the agencies still tend to prefer models that fit the guidelines for catalog work, since those models can be marketed to the largest number of clients.

However, there are some commercial modeling assignments that have entirely different requirements. For example, models over age 55 of all sizes and heights are used in print advertising for health products, medical services, retirement communities, and a variety of other products that are marketed to senior citizens.

Unfortunately, there are fewer opportunities in the Northwest for these non-traditional models, so a commercial model's ability to find any work may depend on working with an exceptional agency that handles a wide variety of print assignments beyond just department store catalogs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some Misc. Notes on Modeling ...

In the modeling world, the term "booking" refers to an agreement between model and client for the model to do some specific modeling work in exchange for some specific compensation from the client, at a specific date and time, and at a specific location.

The agreement can be formalized in writing, but in most cases it is done over the phone or through e-mail.

The term booking can also be applied to the process of making these arrangements, like if a client is said to be booking a model, the client is in the process of reaching an agreement with the model.

For agency models, a person at the agency called a booker usually makes all the arrangements with clients so the model doesn't have to worry about negotiations and other details of the booking process.

Once the agency and the client have reached an agreement about the work the model will do, the agency adds the booking to the model's appointment book and the model will be expected to follow through on doing the work for the client.

Can I Expect To Work Weekends Or Weekdays?

For fashion/commercial modeling, the vast majority of the work is during regular business hours on weekdays. You might encounter an occasional weekend booking, but you should generally plan on being available at any time during the week when your agent calls with a job opportunity.

For freelance modeling, you will probably be working with individuals and artists that have widely varying schedules. In many cases these clients may have regular jobs on weekdays and limit their photography and/or artwork to weekends.

For promotional modeling, your work hours will depend on the types and locations of the promotions you do. Convention and trade show assignments usually happen during business hours on weekdays. In-store promotions often happen during evenings and weekends when consumers are shopping instead of working. Assignments at night clubs, sporting events, and tourism-related events are usually on evening and weekends.

Are Modeling Schools a Waste of Money?

The simplre answer is: Yes. Modeling schools are usually a waste of money. In many cases, modeling schools are designed to get unsuspecting young people to pay for unnecessary training without regard to whether these people actually have a chance at succeeding in the industry.

Some modeling schools are outright scams, charging exorbitant fees and delivering little in return. Beware of high pressure sales tactics and quick promises of big-time modeling work in the future.

Classes in dance and movement and classes in small business accounting can be worthwhile for some models, but community colleges or private instruction are probably better suited to teaching those skills than most modeling schools.

Also note that when signing new faces, modeling agencies usually don't care whether applicants have had training or not.

Can I Get Discovered at Modeling Expos and Seminars?

Not likely.

The same cautions that apply to modeling schools also apply to these events. Most of the 'modeling expo' or 'modeling seminar' events held at hotels and convention centers are just elaborate sales pitches for modeling schools or overpriced portfolio mills. Some are outright scams, taking lots of money from aspiring models and delivering little in return. Beware of high pressure sales tactics and big promises.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How do I find an agency?

Contact information for modeling agencies in your area can be easily found on the internet. Most will have a website.

Some agencies accept walk-in appointments, some take applications through the mail, and some have monthly or quarterly 'open calls' where aspiring models can meet with agency representatives.

You'll want to contact each agency in your area to find out the following:

1. Where is the agency located?
If you sign with the agency, you will need to be available on short notice to meet with potential clients. So, if you are more than 1 or 2 hours drive away from the agency, it may not work out for you or the agency.

2. What are the agency's guidelines for age, height, weight, and size?
If you don't fit their guidelines, don't waste any more time. 99% of the models that apply to most agencies are never contacted because they don't fit the agency's guidelines.

3. What kinds of clients does the agency work with?
The agency's answer should match with the types of modeling you want to do. Beware if the answer is something like, "We work with all the big names", or if the agency is hesitant about telling you what kind of clients they work with. Most agencies are very proud of their clients, big or small, and will have no problem telling you who some of them are.

4. Does the agency have mandatory classes or training programs that models have to pay for?
Agencies that provide and expect models to pay for expensive training are usually a rip off. So, the answer to this question should be no.

Some legitimate agencies do offer optional training and workshop sessions to their models, but it should not be mandatory.

5. What is the procedure for applying to the agency?
The answers to this question will tell you what to do next if you decide to go to the next step with the agency.

If an agency is interested in representing you, they will offer you a contract that formalizes the agreement between you and the agency. As with any contract, you should do your research and check with references before signing.

Please note: most worthwhile agencies won't offer you a contract immediately. Instead, they will ask you for photos that they can send to some of their clients for review, and if some of their clients like your look, then the agency will consider offering you a contract.

Some agencies (particularly the larger ones) may even have you do a few assignments for their clients as an independent contractor before offering you an agency contract, sort of like a "test drive" before making a commitment.

Be highly cautious of any agency that requires you to pay for modeling classes, pressures you to sign a contract right away, promises you big-money modeling work in the Northwest(remember, there isn't any), or asks you to pay hundreds of dollars in up-front costs before they can start booking modeling assignments for you.

If you don't fit the height, size, age, and weight guidelines for any of the legitimate agencies in your area, or if you live more than two hours away from all of them, then you're probably not cut out to be fashion or commercial model.

That doesn't mean you can't be a model, but you should probably look more seriously at freelance work that you can get without an agency, such as glamour, figure, or promotional modeling.

Should I Have to Pay My Agency?

Real modeling agencies make most of their money by taking a percentage of each modeling job you do for one of the agency's clients. This percentage is usually between 10% and 20%, and should be stated in your written contract with the agency.

So, if the agency is finding work for their models, they are making money on those percentages. That's their motivation for finding you modeling work if you sign with them.

In smaller markets like the Northwest, the profit margins for agencies are small, so most of them will also charge nominal fees for some of the services they provide to models, but any agency that asks you for hundreds of dollars in up-front fees or makes you pay for unnecessary training is probably not legitimate. Beware of bogus agencies that are just fronts for modeling schools or outright scam operations.

Some of the fees you can realistically expect to pay the agency might include the following:

• Some agencies have a small sign-up or application fee. Typically this fee is only a few dollars, or just enough to cover the cost of the application paperwork. Since many agencies are deluged with applicants, charging a token sign-up fee helps ensure that only those people that are serious about modeling actually apply to the agency. However, beware of any agency that asks for a large amount of money for signing up or for any other reason. Also note that application fees are prohibited in some jurisdictions.

• Some agencies charge a small fee to list the model on the agency's head-sheets. Typically this fee is less than $50 per year, but will vary depending on the agency. This listing should be optional, not required, but is highly recommended for being seen by the largest number of potential clients.

• Some agencies charge a small fee to display the model's photos and statistics on the agency's web site. Typically this fee is less than $50 per year, but will vary depending on the agency. This listing should be optional, not required, since very little commercial modeling work is found through web sites.

• Most agencies charge a fee to make copies of the model's composite cards to distribute to agency clients. Each agency has its own preferred layout and logo design for its model's composite cards, so the model's first batch of cards usually needs to be created by a print shop that works regularly with the model's agency. Once the first batch of cards is used up, many reputable agencies give the model the option of going to any print shop to get extra copies printed. This allows the model to shop around for the best deal on printing if he/she wishes. However, the cost of printing extra composites is often cheaper through large modeling agencies because of volume discounts offered to those agencies by their preferred print shops.

Before a model can start working, it is not unusual for the model to spend several hundred dollars on photography and composite card printing, but often a model pays the photographers and print shops directly for those services, rather than paying for those services through their agency.

The agency may recommend a list of photographers and printers to you, and they may even have a staff photographer available to you at a reasonable rate or a print shop that already knows the agency's comp card format, but your agency should not demand that you use a specific photographer or printing service.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Can you make a living as a model in the Northwest?

The simple answer, "probably not."

There just isn't enough work available in the Northwest to make a full-time living doing modeling.

Only a very small percentage of all the models in the Northwest make enough money to live on just from their modeling.

Here's how it breaks out:

Fashion/Catalog/Commercial Models: Most print models working in the Northwest don't make a full-time income from their modeling work. There are a limited number of modeling assignments available and too many models are competing for those assignments.

Most models only do a few modeling assignments each year, and then work regular 9-to-5 jobs for income between modeling assignments.

Most successful models from the Northwest move to larger market regions like New York or Miami after a year or two, where they have better opportunities to earn a full-time living from their modeling work.

If your career goal is to be a full-time fashion or commercial model, the Northwest is not the place to be. Sorry.

Glamour/Figure Models: Freelance models working in the Northwest spend most of their time contacting potential clients (photographers, artists, webmasters and small business owners) to find modeling assignments.

The most dedicated freelance models make excellent money, but they have to be constantly on the go and constantly in contact with new clients to keep a steady stream of assignments lined up.

Most freelance models don't pursue modeling as a full-time occupation, preferring instead to work a regular 9-to-5 job during the week and doing occasional modeling work for clients in nearby cities on weekends for a little extra income.

Many models find that the number of potential clients is larger in other regions of the country. So, they end up moving -- often to Southern California.

Do you Need an Agency?

Well, for fashion and commercial print work, the answer is almost always yes.

Most companies that hire models for ads and commercials go to one or two modeling agencies in their area to find models, so you will have a very difficult time getting this type of work as a freelance model.

Advertisers generally don't have time to search modeling web sites to find models.

For glamour, figure/art, and other varieties of freelance modeling, you most likely do NOT need an agency.

Most of that type of work is booked directly with individual photographers and small business owners. These types of clients are generally less likely to use modeling agencies when looking for models.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Types of Modeling ...

Fashion Modeling is all about selling clothing. Often this involves not just showing the product, but also showing a 'feeling' or 'attitude' that entices people to want to buy the seller's clothing.

Three major categories of fashion modeling are:

1. Editorial
2. Runway
3. Catalog

Editorial Fashion is what you see on the pages of fashion magazines. When most of us think of modeling, editorial fashion modeling is what most of us think about -- but it is almost exclusive to New York and a few other major markets. Unfortunately, there are very, very few editorial fashion opportunities in the Northwest.

Runway is live modeling at fashion shows. Again, you aren't likely to find many high profile fashion shows in the Northwest. You may find a few runway modeling opportunities at local department store fashion shows, mall fashion shows, and bridal expositions.

Catalog Fashion includes modeling for department store catalogs, newspaper advertisements and circulars, and on-line shopping sites that sell clothing. There are some opportunities for this type of modeling in the Northwest. But, there are many models seeking this type of work. You'll need to be the right size and shape, have the right look, and be with a good agency.

There are other types of modeling jobs available in the Northwest ...

Glamour Modeling is all about using sex appeal to sell photography usually in the form of calendars, postcards and other publications. It's not about selling clothes or cars or cosmetics.

Terms like "pin-up" and "cheesecake" are sometimes used to refer to glamour modeling. Some bikini and lingerie modeling and some nude modeling falls into the glamour category.

The majority of glamour modeling in the Northwest is booked directly with individual photographers and small business owners, often through word of mouth contacts and contacts made through the Internet.

The height and size requirements for glamour models are usually less strict than for fashion/catalog models, and glamour models are often a few inches shorter or a few sizes larger than a typical fashion model. The minimum age for glamour modeling is 18 years for most assignments because suggestive poses and/or nudity are often involved.

Commercial Print Modeling includes clothing catalogs and circulars and includes advertising for a variety of other products and services. Ads for local businesses like jewelers, hair salons, and restaurants may use commercial models. There are a fair number of opportunities in this field. However, there are many many models are competing for the same assignments, so you will need to be with a good modeling agency to have a chance at getting most of those assignments.

Commercial clients in the Northwest almost always hire their models from modeling agencies in Portland and Seattle, so you'll have almost no chance of doing this kind of work as a freelance model.

Figure Modeling, or 'artist modeling' as it is sometimes called, simply means nude modeling for art photographers or for artists in traditional mediums such as painters and sculptors.

There are many photographers and artists in the Northwest that hire figure models. Art schools and colleges also hire figure models to pose for their classes.

In most cases the rates of pay for figure models are very low compared to the more commercial types of modeling. Most figure models do the work because they are more interested in the art than in making a lot of money.

Figure models are rarely hired through modeling agencies.

Figure models and artists often find each other through the Internet, or through word of mouth passed from artist to artist about which models are good to work with.

There are no specific height or size requirements to be a figure model. The kind of looks that artists seek in their models will vary considerably from artist to artist. The minimum age for figure modeling is 18 years because nudity is usually involved.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What type of modeling is available in the Northwest?

This isn't a major market like New York or Miami, so it's easier to say what kind of modeling is NOT happening here in the Pacific Northwest.

There is virtually no editorial fashion or national-level print work going on … and while local publications do run a limited amount of fashion-oriented editorial material, the fact is -- local photographers are rarely called upon to provide editorial material for national publications.

So, if editorial modeling is your objective -- then you need to head to New York or another major market area. You’ll need the right look they want … and you’ll need the backing of the right agency.

What you’ll find here is this -- most of the modeling work that is available in Washington falls into four categories:

1. Catalog and other commercial print modeling. This includes modeling for department store catalogs and circulars, as well as advertisements for local businesses like jewelers, hair salons, car dealerships, and so on.

2. Freelance 'glamour' and 'art' modeling. This includes most of the bikini/swimsuit modeling and the more tasteful varieties of topless/nude modeling that is done for calendars, postcards, posters, and art prints, and for artists in non-photographic media such as painters and sculptors. Physique or fitness modeling is also sometimes included in this category.

3. 'Adult industry' or 'adult entertainment' modeling. There are a number of options for that type of work in this market – but the topic is outside the scope of what we are discussing in this article.

4. General modeling opportunities. These are possible areas where beginning models can get started. And while not very lucrative, chances are new models can make a little money and have a good time. This category includes:

a. Promotional or convention modeling, which can include everything from handing out brochures and product literature at trade shows and conventions to handing out food samples at grocery stores. Car show modeling (or 'import' modeling) is a popular subset of this category.

b. Fashion shows at shopping malls, department stores, and bridal shows.

c. Modeling for amateur photographers and photo clubs, some of whom hire models for the purpose of practicing their photography.

d. Modeling at photo workshops. These are usually set up by an experienced photographer for the purpose of teaching a small group of amateur models and photographers how to create pleasing images together.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ten Tips for Beginning Models ...

1. Always be on time -- but if you cannot, please let the Photographer know. Punctuality is very important. (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. Bring clothing changes that you know will fit you. Don't always think that your photographer will have everything that is needed for the shoot.

3. Always take your own make-up; even if your photographer has told you there will be a make-up artist there.

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 the photographere is hesitant, you might want to rethink the shoot.

6. Make sure that you know exactly what the topic of the shoot is -- and never feel pressured to do anything that you do not feel comfortable doing. If nothing else, go by your gut feeling.

7.  It is always good to take your own car to the location of the shoot -- or, have a friend or parent act as your chauffeur.

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, make sure that it is followed up on. Written is sometimes the best.