Over the last couple of years I have been shooting models. During that time I have seen it all. Novice Models that are lured into bad practices, abused, promises and falls forecasts by dubious agencies and photographers. So here is some advice from an old boy.
“ I am pretty and have the looks, that’s enough”.
Hmmm, where did I hear that before? Reality is that those models need to take a look at a fashion or glamor magazine and try to step into the role of those models. Soon they will realize that it is not obvious and requires a lot more then just been pretty.
Do you have what it takes?
Fashion, seasons and trends change constantly, as a model you will have to adapt constantly. If you cannot or you’re stuck and rusted away in a certain style or trend then your career will be short-lived.
Models must change their appearance just as trends do. What is “in” this year will be “out” next year. Scouts are looking year around for models that have a completely different look than their predecessors. Many agencies look for edgy models with an intense sense for fashion.
A good agency is always looking for new faces, if you think you have the necessary charisma, take the first steps and visit an approved model agency.
Does and Don’ts
There are hundreds of unscrupulous and unprofessional agencies that exploit ignorant and novice models. So be aware, however with a few simple rules you can separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Never sign anything during your first visit to an agency.
- Visit several agencies and compare.
- Make a list of those agencies where you feel comfortable.
- Always take someone with you, to ensure your safety during the first meeting. If the agency does not allow you to be accompanied then something is wrong.
- Do not show up in your best outfit, be moderate with makeup. Remember, the agency is looking for people with a natural talent. So present yourself as natural as possible.
- Never sign a contract without going thoroughly through the contract conditions. Consult a lawyer if in doubt (conditions).
- It may seem nice if one guarantees you work. The reality is that it is not a normal job and therefore there can be no guarantee. If they offer you guarantees for continued work, drop that agency.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the commission; that is the percentage of the payment that the agency deducts from your income when completing a job.
- All agencies take a percentage, but the percentage can vary between agencies. Do not accept percentages above 35%, or below 15% (then something is wrong)
- Question them; ask for samples of their work and references. Including clients and models that have worked for or were a customers to the agency.
- Research the agency that interests you, and find out what other people have to say about them.
- The best advice “Choose a large and recognized modeling agency.”
- Starting models are bombarded with all kinds of conflicting advice. Therefore, be extremely careful when gathering advice. It is important that you choose an agency and not the other way around.
People who know.
Agencies are best placed to help new models and guide their careers. An agency performs a variety of functions, such as advising and educating, managing the portfolio and providing shoots with customers. In many cases, the agency will also manage the financial side.
There are dozens of agencies. It is important to approach the proper authorities. Set your expectations for a possible rejection so that it does not become a disappointment.
Agencies find work for their models and present them to potential customers, such as designers and photographers.
An agent that helps and encourage you to find modeling work, will top off an average rate of 20% – 33% off of your income.
Before you start approaching agencies you need to determine the type of work you want to do that best fits you . This is determent by your looks, age, height and physique appearance.
“A model without Personality is like a pub with no beer.”
Do you have the right attitude?
Attitude, attitude, attitude. In other words, a pretty face is not sufficient. And just as important as your appearance is your mental approach. If you do not have the right attitude for that particular role, the career will be short-lived.
Aim high, and accept that you will not always succeed. Commit for 100% at each shoot.
It is essential to be hard working, trustworthy and willing to learn. You should be able to follow instructions even if they go against your own ideas.
Do not work to impress.
Realize that the shoot is not about you. You play a role in a much broader project. A role that you have to perform to the best of your abilities, it is essential that you are able to get away and not emotionally involved. Due to the high competitive nature of modelling, accept that you will not always be selected. This is not a rejection, you will have to deal with this and accept it. Just so you can expand your career
The world is changing
Fashion is and continues to change. Where in the past the “super-skinny” models held sway, the current trend is “healthy-slim”. In many cases, the “size zero models” are even banned.
Most agencies charge a minimum body mass index (BMI) of 18. Another development is the growth and reputation of “Plus” models or one size bigger.
The customer is getting taller and bigger; hence the demand for clothing that fits larger men and women. This means more demand and work for the larger models. It is difficult to predict how the fashion world will change in the coming years. But that change will happen is undoubtedly a fact. It is important that you remain flexible.
What type of model are you?
The word “model” makes one think of images of fashion and catwalks. After all, this is the most famous part of modelling, especially with global superstars such as Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. However, this work is not the only form of modelling. There are other choices like glamor or maybe you are the athletic type, you may decide to work as a fitness model. Work that suits you best depends to a large extent on your body shape.
However, there are other factors you should keep in mind. For example, there is no point in pursuing a glamorous career if you do not want to partial undress (such as lingerie and artistic nude).
If you are determined to become a fashion model, you must meet certain criteria. A certain height and weight is mandatory and needs to be kept under control once you work. The reason is not just aesthetic; it has a practical side as well. , Fashion designers do not create clothes for specific models. Instead they design clothing with most universal sizes. If you match those sizes, you will always fit in what they produce.
Before you begin your career you have to decide which direction you want to go. This will help you build confidence and clarity while focusing on your goals.
Model and Portfolio
Many want to be a model, but not everyone has “the skills and charisma” to succeed.
The key to success is in your hands. There are only two ways to (disregarding scouting) become a model. Either by participating in an “agency” or act as a “freelance” model. For both you must have a professional “portfolio” with quality “pictures”. The portfolio is your business card or sign.
A portfolio should be suitable for the type of model you want to be. Your portfolio should emphasize your good angles and shows versatility with your capacities and capabilities to be put in extra dividends.
The “portfolio” is an essential tool, a model without portfolio will find difficult or no work. Once you have a professional portfolio you can start marketing. Do not engage with just any photographer; select them in the same way as you would select an agency. To many so-called “photographers” have other intensions and motivations then providing a perfect portfolio.
Modelling can be glamorous, with the potential to earn a lot of money in a very short time. But not easy to achieve. Many are called, few are chosen. It’s not just standing in front of the camera, or a riff on the catwalk, it is a “lifestyle.” As a model, you will have to invest a lot of time in yourself.
Taking care of your skin and hair. Remember to take your beauty sleep in time and drink lots of water. Avoid alcohol and smoking, as they affect the skin. Promote yourself with various institutions and companies. It is important to understand that some agencies will approach you positively and others will reject you. This does not mean that you’re not a good model. All what it means is that your profile probably does not match the profile of the agency or it is not what they are looking for at this time. You must have a thick skin and be able to handle rejection.
Remember, the hardest part is the first step. Getting self-confidence and faith in your self. Once you are started it will become easier and easier while you get more recognition within the industry.
Thank you for reading, Stephan Fouquaert