Getting Started as a Model
"I really want to model, but I don't know where to start." This is a question I get asked so very often, so in today's blog I am going to give you a run through on how to get started! In this blog I will mostly cover freelance modeling as it can be a bit more difficult getting the groove on, but in each topic I will also lightly cover agency modeling.
If modeling is what you really want, then I highly encourage you to go ahead and take that first step! The time is now and I believe in you! Read on to learn all that you need to know on getting started as a model.
Types of Modeling
There are several different types of modeling out there. Maybe you have the look for it all, or maybe you have a stronger point in just one. These types include runway, high fashion, commercial, lifestyle, beauty, boudoir, swimwear, and fitness. Determining where you fit as a model will make the journey much more easier for you. Having a clear vision of what you're chasing after will help open the doors of opportunity. Visualization and action are the keys to manifestation!
The average model height is 5'7, but some agencies require a minimum height of 5'10. If you meet either of these heights, you have the advantage of being able to do just about every type of modeling with the guidance of an agent. If you do not meet these heights, fear not! I, myself, am a petite model with a height of only 5'4! And with six years of experience, I can assure you that despite your height, you can be a model! I mostly work as a freelance model, so I have to put in a little extra work by basically working as my own agent. Whether you freelance or sign with an agency, both directions have promising results if you stay committed.
If you want to submit to an agency, you will need some basic digital shots. These shots will include a headshot, full body shot, side shot, and bikini shot. Agencies want to see the real you, so these photos should have very little to no makeup, and very basic clothing. I suggest a black bikini and a black tank top with black heels and form fitting jeans.
As I mentioned before, agencies have strict height requirements. Petite agencies do exist, however they are rare and are not available in every city. If being agency represented is what your heart is set on, but you're simply not tall enough, there is a way around this! If your city has a modeling agency, then it most likely has a talent agency. Talent agencies usually include two divisions; modeling and acting. Acting has no height requirements, and being on the agency's roster will open you up to potential print opportunities. Clients may also reach out to your agent asking for petite models, and when this happens...boom! You have the advantage of being one of the few petite darlings on the roster. Can't act? That's okay! You can do commercials or extra work which require hardly any acting skills.
And now, onto the freelance dreamers! Nothing better than working for yourself AND keeping all of the money for yourself! It can be exhausting constantly finding your own work, but not having to give a percentage of your check to an agent is very rewarding. Eventually, clients will find you on their own which is also rewarding.
So how did I get started? I was lucky enough to have a friend who was a photographer to take some photos of me. I then used these photos to open up a Model Mayhem account which is where everything took off for me. More on Model Mayhem later on. Of course not everyone knows a photographer, but you can still get your portfolio started with ease! Most cities have a model group on Facebook. Do some digging in the search bar and you may find one! For example, my city has one that is called, "Las Vegas Photographers and Models Community," and another that is called "Las Vegas Models, Actors, Actresses." If you find a model group, make a post asking for TFP (Trade for Portfolio) photos. State that you want to get started in modeling, but don't have the right photos yet. For best response, you should include a few photos of yourself. These photos can be cell phone photos, but should be good quality and showing off your face and body. No mirror selfies, photos with sunglasses, and definitely don't include photos that have other people in them. If you can't find a model group, then do a little google search to find a photographer local to your area. You can reach out asking if they do TFP, but you will most likely have to pay for their service. Look at this as an investment. Investing in yourself is always a good thing; invest to be the best!
Model Mayhem is a great tool for not only finding model bookings, but also using as a portfolio. You just need to know how to use this resource correctly by representing yourself professionally and being able to recognize the scammers. Many models look down upon this site, but this is how I got started, and it has brought me so many incredible and well paid bookings. I highly recommend using this site if you're going to freelance. It's free, it gets you work, and you have a place to direct potential clients when they want to see your portfolio.
A MM profile includes a profile photo, photo gallery, an about me section, and model details such as stats, types of modeling, and whether you take only paid booking or are open to trade. Take a look at my profile as an example here.
If your portfolio looks amateur, you are bound to be hit with creepers and scammers. Represent yourself like a professional by posting nice photos and a simple bio that talks more about you as a model rather than what you like to do for fun. I recommend stearing clear from boudoir or sexy photos until you've established your portfolio.
How do you spot the scammers? Well, a common scam on MM is receiving a message for a major photoshoot that pays over $2k, and as a deposit they will pay you half up front. But for the deposit, they need your personal info including your home address. Umm nope! Nobody needs your address upfront for a booking, and clients that are offering that much money are most likely going to go through an agency. Use common sense, and ALWAYS do some research on whoever is reaching out to you before even responding. Look for a website, reviews if applicable, references, and scope out their portfolio. Personally, I won't work with anyone who has an unflattering portfolio even if they're offering payment. Those photos will be posted somewhere, and I prefer the world to see me in the best photos possible.
Wishing You the Best!
I hope you found this blog helpful with getting started as a model. I am so excited for your new journey, and I want to congratulate you for taking the first step by learning how to get started! Future posts will include looking like a model, posing, facial expressions, and much more, so be on the look out! Modeling is an exciting career, but it can also be nerve racking. If you have any questions, or want me to write about something, please don't hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.