How to Become a Model & Avoid Scams! Part 2

JANUARY 31, 2013

Now that you have the perfect attitude, mind set and look, it’s time to build your portfolio (Model’s photo book) .  I emphasize “build,”  because it is important for you to understand that achieving a great portfolio is not achieved over night!  Being photographed and knowing how to pose, knowing your body, knowing your best angles, having the proper clothing, finding great locations and most importantly having a good photographer can take time and loads of practice.  A portfolio and comp card is a Model’s greatest asset in this business, when it comes to booking jobs or even getting an Agent.  If you are in your early teens, a portfolio is not as important when you are just beginning…an Agent will not expect a full portfolio and will help you achieve one. If you are about 19 yrs. old and up, an agency will expect a decent portfolio from you right from the beginning. If you are starting in this field late, you must come already seasoned and ready to work or at least appear that way. Achieving a great portfolio is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do! If it is possible, you can go to a couple of agency “go-sees” (interviews) and ask for a couple of comp cards/zed cards (to take away) that you might use for examples of the type of photos you’ll need. Getting some sample comp cards (or sample zed’s) from an agency may be hard to do, if the agency is absolutely not interested in seeing you again, but DON”T be deterred. You can go online to see established Model’s comp cards such as: “,, or, ” – here you get access to amazing photo shoots, Model Zed cards and the whole works.

Shot in a basic suburban yard

Shot in a basic suburban yard

With this knowledge, my best advice is to create a personal homemade binder, I call the “look book.” This book will become your Model Bible and should be broken up in organized categories such as: hair, make-up, location, lighting, clothing/looks and themes. Fill this book with cut outs from catalogues , U.S. Fashion Magazines and European Fashion Magazines. Whether you’ve determined that you are the high fashion type or the commercial type, shoot your portfolio according to the market you fit best. Remember to keep in mind the location of where you live. The West Coast is not considered High Fashion, but rather Commercial, so if you are determined to do High Fashion you will have to be willing to relocate to the East Coast or Europe to truly pursue that.

Once you’ve made a look book, it is time to practice being a Model. Choose a “look” from a magazine or your “look book Bible,” go to a mirror and practice, practice, practice this look! A Model must know what she looks like to the camera, without a mirror being placed in front of her! This confidence of one’s self, only comes with lots of practice posing in front of your mirror. Another technique is to take a magazine, find different photos and try to immolate exactly, the facial and body pose of the photograph. Now it is time to put the posing to the test, get a friend who may also be starting out in the biz and you can take turns practicing shooting each other. You can also use a tripod and shoot yourself with a timed camera. Develope or scan through your photos (if you have a digital) t0 see what you look like to the camera (your audience). By doing this regularly, you will become comfortable with being in front of the camera and confident that you know what you look like w/out a mirror telling you. Additional ways to get in some practice, as well as,  possibly getting great shots to put in your portfolio is to check out your local Junior Colleges and Art Schools – Photography Department. You’ll be able to find eager students that are always looking to practice their photography skills and will usually negotiate a photo disk for your time called TFP = Time for Prints.

The final step is finding a good fashion/commercial/head shot photographer. If you happen to see other Model’s work that you love – never hesitate to ask for a referral. You should always interview any photographer you are considering shooting with. Remember, a photographer  will only put their best work in their books. If you are not wowed by their work, move on fast!!! If the Model’s in their book don’t look great, chances are: you won’t either. If the lighting or the styling looks terrible, chances are that you’ll end up unhappy. A test shoot with a professional photographer should only cost approximately $275-$575. The more established, or known the photographer, the more likely they will charge the upward amount. With this, you should receive about 4 to 7 looks (looks: changes of clothing/make up/hair), and about 200 – 600 or so shots. A make-up artist is about an additional $175. She/He should also be interviewed. If you aren’t good at styling or do not have the clothes, hiring a Stylist will again be another $175.  Again, they should be interviewed.  I believe if you’ve done your look book Bible, you should be able to put together some comparable gear on your own.

Tune in to find out “10 ways to take a great Photo!”

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