So, you want to be a model? Iím going to start by saying Iím not a model. However, as a photographer, Iíve worked with lots of them. I specialize in shooting portfolios for beginner models. Some of the models Iíve helped to get started have taken off into phenomenal careers that have them jet-setting all around the world. Iíve also seen some disappear into anonymity. Iíve been around long enough to put the pieces together, and have a sense of what it takes to succeed in the industry. It didnít take me long to see that having a beautiful face and body is not enough to make a modelís career take off. As you might expect, thereís more to it than that. Hereís my no-punches-pulled advice for anyone who wants to be a model.
1. Be professional and reliable.
It should go without saying, but sadly, a lot of people donít really get it. Modeling is a business, so you have to treat it that way. If youíre booked for a shoot, show up on time. Donít call at the last minute and say your car broke down and you canít make it. Do everything you can to be the most professional and organized person on the shoot. Follow up on phone calls and confirm your appointments. Arrive five minutes early for your meetings. A model who develops a reputation for being flaky wonít last long, but a model who is professional and committed to the job will turn everyoneís head! If youíre working freelance, your clients will recommend you to their associates, or hire you again themselves. If youíre represented by an agency, word will get back to your agent, who will be more likely to recommend you for other jobs if youíve gotten good feedback.
When youíre just getting started, hire the best photographer you can find to shoot your portfolio. A good portfolio is a solid investment. If you are serious about modeling, youíll make that money back quickly in bookings. If youíre trying to get by with snapshots and poor quality photos, youíll have a much harder time booking work.
2. Learn about clothing.
Unless youíre going to specialize in nude modeling, youíre going to have to know about clothes! Learn what looks best on you. Learn what cuts of clothing are the most flattering on your body. If there are certain types of clothing that donít look good on you, then know about that too. Even better, find ways to wear that unflattering clothing so it fits you better. Figure out which labels and brands suit you best. Know your sizes and always be honest about them. Lying to wardrobe people about your measurements means extra embarrassment later when youíre popping buttons on your jeans! Keep an eye on fashion magazines so you can follow trends and keep your wardrobe current. The added bonus of flipping through fashion magazines is that you get to be inspired by the worldís top models at work!
3. Know your job.
A lot of people get into modeling because they think that theyíre good looking. Beyond that, they donít think much about the job. It takes much more than being gorgeous to be a model. It takes a real understanding of what a modelís job is. At least in the commercial world, a modelís job is to sell a product. Whether itís jeans, perfume, jewelery, cars, cell phones, pencils, or whatever, a model is only there because they are promoting the product. When youíre doing commercial modeling work, you should not be thinking, ďHow can I look better?Ē Rather, you should be thinking, ďHow can I make this product look better?Ē Donít be afraid to share your ideas and make suggestions about poses and angles.
Learn as much as you can about modeling and the industry. Read and watch interviews with models and photographers in the media. Talk to other models. Join modeling communities online. Take classes. Learn new skills that apply to your job. One of the most important skills model should learn in order to do their job better is how to convey emotion and attitude through pose and facial expression. The best models are able match the mood or feeling of the image the team is trying to create. This takes some practice, but if a model can master it, it becomes a very powerful tool.
Great models understand that theyíre just one part of the team. Every person on that teamĖincluding hair dresser, makeup artist, photographer, art directorsĖis there for the same purpose too: to sell the product. Models who realize that theyíre no more or less important than anyone else on that team end up being the most successful.
4. Take care of your body.
Realize that your body is your product. I said before that looking good is not a modelís entire job, but it certainly is a big part of it! As a model, you have to take better care of yourself than the average person. Learn everything you can about nutrition. Iím not saying you should starve yourself into anorexia, or that you should be perfect. I mean, what is ďperfectĒ anyway? Itís a crazy ideal that no one can match. But you do need to have some discipline about your lifestyle. Youíll need to eat healthy and nutritious food to keep yourself looking and feeling your best. Exercise regularly to stay fit and toned so your body matches the image of the type of modeling work you want to do. Care for your hair with quality products that donít damage it. Your hairdresser can help you with this.
Your health and well-being extend beyond those obvious points about nutrition and exercise too. Itís also important to get enough sleep and to try to reduce stress in your life. If you take care of those things, itíll make it easier for you to follow through on the next tipÖ
5. Have fun!
Modeling should be fun, and if itís not, youíre probably not doing it right! I know a lot of the stuff I said above might seem a bit heavy, but itís actually not. When youíve taken care of the business side of modeling, and you are comfortable with your position in the job, itís actually pretty easy to relax and have a good time in front of the camera. Itís really obvious when someone is comfortable in front of the camera, and thatís when a model can really shine. Enjoy your job! Itís a dream to be a model, and if itís not your dream, then youíre probably in the wrong line of work!
Anyway, those are my tips. Based on my experience, thatís pretty good advice. If youíre still interested in being a model after reading all of that, then congratulations! Youíre already off to a great start.