If you are just starting out in the business,
you probably would like to know what it takes to make a successful model.
While good looks are a start, it takes much more than that. The most important
quality needed to land paying jobs is a professional attitude. To be more
specific, you should:
˙ Respond promptly to inquiries
Keep a calendar to schedule
Be on time!
Give adequate notice when you must
˙ Be polite to all, even those who do not deserve it
˙ Develop a portfolio and purchase business cards/comp
Beware of the dark side
Unfortunately, there are many photographers who will look to take advantage
of you. It is fine to offer your time in exchange for prints or a CD to
build your portfolio. If someone asks you to pose nude, and you do not feel
comfortable with that, don't do it! In my opinion, you should never do nude
work for free, it will only benefit the photographer. Check for references!
Who has the photographer worked with? Can you contact other models? Are they
using that photographer's work? One model I know responded to a request for
a studio shoot in Manhattan and found out that the "studio" was
the photographer's small studio apartment (with bed conveniently open). She
walked out. If it happens to you, do the same. Another model was posing for
a painter who insisted on touching her to show her the position he wanted.
She told him immediately, and firmly, "don't touch me!" A
professional will never touch a model, unless she requests assistance.
Many people are so anxious to get into the modeling business that they will
take any photo they have and post it on a website like onemodelplace.com
. This is a big mistake. First impressions last a long time. Don't use
snapshots unless they are outstanding, which is rare. Never use
webcam shots! Your friend's point and shoot camera will often produce red
eye, which will not show your face well. It will be worth your time and
investment to find a professional photographer with credentials who will
build a portfolio for you. If you work out an agreement to do time for
prints (TFP), make sure you get some 8x10 prints that have been retouched.
Don't settle for a ten cent CD, even if you are a beginner.
Time For Prints or CD
As mentioned above, a good way to get quality photographs is to offer your
time in exchange for prints and/or a CD. Before you do this, ask the
photographer if any of the images will be retouched and what quality the
files will be if they are in digital format. Small format files may be ok
for web display, but they will not produce quality prints. Warning:
Many models have offered their time in exchange for prints or CDs and have
never received either. Do not sign a release until you have the prints you
desire, or a CD with readable files, in your possession. If you are looking
for decent images, ask to see the portfolio of the photographer. Even
amateur photographers should have an online portfolio for you to see. If you
can't see the work they do, it's probably not worth your time.
One way to meet photographers and build your portfolio is to attend a
workshop. You will normally be paid according to the work you do. While
nudity is rarely required, it will pay more. You can specify in your
modeling release how the photographs will be used. If you don't want them
displayed on the internet, write it on the release! Have business cards
ready to hand out with your email address on it and possibly a post office
box. Be careful about giving out your phone number or home address until you
know the photographer. For email, setup a Yahoo or Hotmail account apart
from your personal email. If you would be interested in attending a workshop
in the NYC area, you can contact me for more
A good photographer can assist you in putting together a portfolio that will
help you find jobs. Portfolios should portray different styles unless you
are looking for work in one particular field. Some models are quite
successful modeling only swimwear or lingerie. If you limit the work that
you are willing to do, you will limit the number of assignments that will be
available to you. A portfolio book of 8x10s and a website, or listing on a
modeling site like One Model Place, and comp cards are necessary to gain
exposure for work opportunities. Your photographer should be able to help
you in all of these fields.
Find models that are successful. No, not the supermodels, but the ones who
are working every day and making a living at it. Model forums at Model
Mayhem and One Model Place are good places to ask questions. People will help you. If you need more
help, contact me. I'll be happy to answer any
questions I can.