This section is aimed at the aspiring model and meant as a resource to quickly familiarize with the modeling world at a glance.
It is intended for the newcomer model in order to avoid spending unnecessary money, wasting precious time and risking potential dangers of scams.
Before anything else, it’s crucial to educate yourself on how the modeling world works.
Here are the absolute basics. Models are hired by clients and are part of a marketing strategy, most commonly planned out to increase brand recognition, drive sales for a given product, promote events or compliment a story in a magazine.
They either freelance and obtain jobs on their own, or as in most cases, get representation with a model agency or even several model agencies, spanning across different types of clients, all the while specializing in select modeling categories which fit their physical attributes and needs of the market.
Agencies handle just about most things for you, from finding you work, handling paperwork, administrating contracts, billing and managing your career as well as the direction of it. All for a typical low percentage of your earnings in return.
Clients and projects come in all shapes and sizes, creating a need for a large variety of different model categories, each with their own unique specialized field of expertise and body requirements.
It’s absolutely crucial for you as an aspiring model starting out, to find out what category or categories of modeling you would fit in with the best according to the market.
You can either get in contact with an agency for advice or perhaps a more simplified take on it would be to take a look around in magazines and advertising to compare yourself and get an idea of where you fit in.
While at it, you may also like to browse our model category section for a brief summary of the most popular categories.
When you’ve established your most likely model category, based off of your body features and interest, you need to plan your next step.
If you’re going to be a model, then you’re going to need to model for someone right? But how will you go about finding this someone? Will you freelance or will you try to get agency representation?
Starting out with no prior knowledge, opting for agency representation seems to be the better option as jumping straight into freelancing can be a tough cookie right off the bat with no prior knowledge, network or experience in the industry.
Knowing your main model categories of interest, next you need to find a model agency that specialize in your category. Agencies may specialize in many different categories, while at the same time completely excluding others.
If you attempt to seek out an agency that operates within a category different from yours, you won’t have much luck compared to one that does specialize with your main model category of choice.
It makes sense if you think about it, because an agency specialized within a certain category, wouldn’t be able to find you work if your features deem you better for another modeling category, which they don’t have any clients for anyway.
Take for instance if you were the sporty type with a very powerful physique, an agency focusing more in fashion would have a hard time finding you work as their clients are seeking less curves and more slim proportions.
Well how do you go about submitting to an agency? In most cases, there’ll be a section on their official webpage, outlining their submitting criteria.
You’ll want to follow their guideline, but in the event that an agency does not have any description available, it is perfectly fine to call them up and politely ask for their submitting directions.
This usually conforms to sending a few pictures with little to no makeup and simple clothing. They should consist of a few pictures showing your face from the front, from the side and in full showing your whole body.
They’ll want your contact information, your height, age, eye and hair color, dress and shoe size along with your measurements and a short, concise and very brief description about yourself in just a few lines, along with mentions of any specialty skills or talents.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the location of the agency you’re submitting to, because should you be accepted, any work they’ll find for you will most frequently be in their own area.
This means you’ll have to commute far to get to a job if you are signed with an agency a long ways off from where you live.
When accepted with an agency, you’ll need to create your portfolio. it serves as marketing material to promote you to potential clients in need of the category of model you correlate to.
Different model categories will need different types of pictures in their portfolio. Your agency will be able to recommend an excellent photographer, who is able to create the pictures your agency need to best promote you to their clients.
This is one of the few places, where you’ll have to consider investing some money. Either way you look at it, your agency will need marketing materials in the form of pictures to show potential clients, before they’re able to consider booking you for a job.
That’s it. You’re now in development within your first agency and are ready to take on what you’ve set out to do, which is modeling.
You may be booked directly for a job, or you may be asked to attend a casting for a client who’s looking for a specific model for their project.
If they like you, you may be booked for a modeling job and later find yourself in a magazine or advocating for their product.
The harsh reality is, that sometimes other models were sorted out in order for you to land a job and vice versa. Modeling must be approached with some level of modesty, appreciation and respect to truly understand and value whenever you’re chosen over someone else.
In that same spirit, also note that modeling for a client, means being professional. It is a job you are hired to do, because it is a need and because you fill that need for them.
You may experience different working days, even going exotic places at times, but don’t be fooled. Modeling is a tough job that depending on the category, often requires planning, sacrifice and the endurance to be on your feet for hours on end, while also retaining enough professional tact to perform flawlessly with a cheerful attitude throughout the entire duration.
Other than being professional and doing a good job on the modeling part, clients will perceive and take note of your positive nature. This might sound a bit obvious, but if you’re doing a professional collaboration with someone, why not make it with someone who not only is good at their job but also fun to be with during the project?
In this industry, people talk and rumors travel fast. Being all around nice and fun to be with, can further improve chances drastically for future opportunities and collaborations.
Unfortunately, there are too many heartbreaking tales out there of new hopeful models being used, exploited and scammed to the point they had to yield in frustration and forfeit their dreams of becoming a model. For the sake of your safety, we’ll try to bring you a few of the worst offenders in the following.
Whenever submitting for representation with an agency, we sometimes hear horrible stories on how models have spend a lot of their savings on an entrance fee up front, before being accepted into an agency. Please remember that the way model agencies earn a living, is by taking a small percentage commission from whatever they negotiate a client has to pay for hiring you as their model for an assignment. They shouldn’t have to ask you for money, so if they do, assume they are trying to scam you.
Sometimes we hear how new models have come across photographers, who either out of greed or ignorance, persuade models into spending their hard earned money on creating entire portfolios, prior to seeking out representation with a model agency. Agencies will most often have their own preferred style for your portfolio, knowing what has the best chance for you to land jobs with their clients.
Take note that most agencies are ok with new models just submitting simple snapshots of themselves for evaluation. It has to be said, however, that although most photographers will have pure intentions to help you out, but because they just don’t know better, it might end up costing you a lot of your money for pictures that aren’t going to advance or help your career.
And that concludes the model guide. Our aim for this section was to bring an ultra short, organized, clear and hopefully somewhat helpful guide for the aspiring model starting out, or for those who simply came to seek out a little extra information about the modeling industry in general.
If you crave more insight information, then feel free to stay and check out some of our interviews with prominent people from the modeling industry for more stories, tips and tricks.