My Advice For People Wanting To Start Out In Modelling
What you need to realize about modelling:
- It will either be too hot, or too cold.
- You will either be in a cramped space, or have too much room and have to figure out how to pose so you don’t look small.
- If you’re shooting in clothing you don’t own, it will probably be too big or too small.
- It will probably be too loud to hear direction, or so silent that every move you make sounds loud.
- You will have to shoot when you are feeling sick, uncomfortable, in pain, hungry, thirsty, sad, bored, angry, and stressed.
Despite all of those things, the images you create still have to look perfect. Be prepared.
When I’m posing I think about a bunch of things. I think about what mood I want to reflect in the images, how my body is posed from head to toe, what kind of lines I’m creating with my body, how my wardrobe looks and if I need to adjust it (or my hair or makeup), and a bunch of other things. When posing it’s really important to think about all of those things, because they’re all equally important. I’ve seen a shot get ruined by something small like whether the model’s toe is pointed or not.
Want to become well known and recognized? Network your ass off. Check out my list of links here. I update all of those website regularly with new content. Being recognized will be a huge asset, but it’s a lot of hard work. Many models and photographers I know don’t update their sites very often, or they only update 2 sites out of all 15 they advertise links to… I update all of them at least once a day (unless I’m travelling). It was difficult at first, but people know who I am now.
Want to actually make money from your modelling? Put work into your port. You can’t do 3 or 4 shoots, or even 10 or 15, and assume that people are going to pay you for your work. There are some photographers out there that pay every model they work with no matter what, but very few. Don’t count on that. You need to get high quality shots in your port. You will do a lot of TF* shoots before getting paid, and that’s fine. Every model has gone through that. The quickest way to do this is to hire photographers that you really like to shoot you and build your port that way. (Yes, pay the photographers.) I was very fortunate to have been friends with some very talented student photographers when I was starting, but if I did not know them, I would have paid for my starting portfolio.
Once you think your port is good enough to get paid, start with low rates and slowly work them up to your ideal rate. But don’t think of asking people to pay you without having an established portfolio and a fair amount of experience in your belt. You’ll just get laughed at.
NEVER stop doing TF shoots. I do very select TF shoots at this point, but the ones I do are reserved for amazing, established photographers, the chance to work with awesome designers, or ones that have a full team provided. There are a lot of people out there that say they will not work without getting paid, but I honestly do not believe that is the way to go. I have gotten some amazing images from TF shoots and have had some great opportunities come from those shoots.
It’s A LOT of hard work. This isn’t a job you can half-ass your way through and be even a little successful.
You give up time, and money, and other things to do this. I’ve spent more money than I can count on things like travel expenses to get to and from shoots, makeup and wardrobe needed for shoots, etc.
In a “normal job” I could get away with not looking 100% perfect for work, and I could wear the same thing more than 2 or 3 times without someone noticing or caring, and I could call in sick when I need to without having to worry about someone thinking that I’m flaking. I can’t do that as a model.
As a model I always have to make sure my appearance is perfect for each shoot. If I have a breakout or bruise, I don’t work.
I have to get new lingerie, clothing, and shoes regularly, so that I’m not wearing the same thing for every shoot, and because photographers will request things that I don’t have.
I’ve gone to work so sick I was throwing up in between sets.
I’ve done shoots while unable to speak because I had lost my voice due to illness.
I’ve done shoots while I had a concussion and was supposed to be staying home to rest.
I’ve done shoots with stitches in my hand after cutting it badly on glass the night before.
I’ve also had to cancel plans with friends, wake up at 3am to be at a sunrise shoot, and have studied and done homework in the car between shoots because I had 7 shoots in 2 days.
This is a hard job. Take it seriously. Doing things like showing up late or flaking makes other models look bad.