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WELCOME TO MODELING 101!!!
There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Models wouldn't get very far without professional photographers.
Regardless of what kind of modeling you're into, both female and male models alike greatly benefit not just from the images from the shoot but the networking that takes place as a result.
Oftentimes, models are able to develop a list of go-to-photographers they regularly work with. Those types of business relationships are golden in the industry because everyone involved benefits. Of course, first thing's first: you have to know how to work with photographers and be the type of model they would drop everything to shoot with in a heartbeat.
Below are some helpful tips that can be applied to most situations when it comes to working with photographers:
COMMUNICATE LIKE A PROFESSIONAL
When contacting photographers, don't talk to them like they're your bestie. That means messaging/emailing them using complete sentences with good grammar that are free of typos. No emojis or other goofy things you'd normally include in a message you'd send to a friend. Always keep that first impression in mind and how you would like to be perceived by the person you're contacting.
You want them to take you seriously and that can be hard to do if they receive a message that looks like it's been composed by a drunk person.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Before reaching out, make sure you've not only checked out the photographer's portfolio, website and social media pages, but also read their bios/about page and anything else related to their background history and experience. They didn't include this info on their sites just for fun.
No two photographers are alike and you can tell a lot about someone based on what they write about themselves. It will also help you, as a model, find out if that individual would be someone you'd want to work with.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT & HOW TO ARTICULATE IT
Don't expect the photographer to figure out everything for you. Are you in need of new headshots? Do you want to create a portfolio to aid you in booking gigs as a freelance model? Does your agent want you to update your images?
Tell them that.
You'll get the end results you're looking for a lot quicker if you get to the point, as well as a relevant and direct response in return. You'll also get bonus points if you have reference/inspo images and/or a mood board that clearly shows the look and feel you're going for.
TELL THEM A BIT ABOUT YOU
This doesn't mean submit a full biography. Keep all correspondence simple and straight to the point. If you don't have modeling experience, then say so. Briefly describe your level of experience, if any, and what your purpose is with wanting to work with them.
SET EXPECTATIONS & HOLD UP YOUR PART
Once you've opened up dialogue with a photographer, there is going to be a lot of conversations back and forth in the time leading up to your shoot together. There should ideally be at least one in-person meeting prior to working with each other, especially if you've never met offline before.
Whatever expectations, agreements, arrangements, etc. should be followed by both parties to guarantee a positive outcome. Figure out locations, if you'll be taking care of your hair and makeup or if additional pros will be onset/on location and confirm who is responsible for doing what.
As long as you do what you're supposed to, the photographer will have less to worry about, making their job easier--that's what you want and they'll love you for it.
ARRIVE EARLY, BE PREPARED & READY TO GO
Because common sense is a superpower, I have to do my due diligence and state the following because I continue to hear ridiculous stories about models showing up to shoots not prepared in the most basic of ways:
- Early is on time and on time is late. Arriving 10-15 minutes early should be the approach all models have towards business.
- Have good hygiene: take a shower, shave (stubble is a major no-no, ladies!). Bottom line: don't be gross. This includes cleaning under your fingernails.
- Have your wardrobe organized, including accessories and footwear.
- Have some idea of what types of poses you'll be doing. Practicing in the mirror and studying reference images before the shoot are all ways to prepare yourself and take most of the guesswork out of the situation once you arrive.
GIVE & TAKE
As stated before, not all photographers are the same. Their shooting styles, personality and work ethic are going to vary across the board. Work with each one accordingly and you'll quickly get a sense for how to get photos you'll both be happy with and a working relationship you'll want to continue in the future.
New models, don't expect all photographers to tell you what to do and how to pose. Some are more than willing and even enjoy guiding new models with posing, while others will expect you to figure it out along the way with a bit of help from them when necessary.
A lot of shoots when it comes to posing simply requires going with the flow, experimenting with poses and understanding that not all of the images are going to look perfect. The photographer knows this, too, so it's not like they're expecting you to knock it out of the park each time they snap a photo.
Photoshoots are a give and take process. When you work together to create that dynamic, you'll know--namely, when you see the photos that come of it.
BE APPRECIATIVE & GIVE CREDIT PROPERLY
After the shoot is done, send the photographer an email/message to thank them for their time and that you're looking forward to seeing the final images. It's the little things that count, no matter what industry you work in. And don't wait a week to say thank you. Do it the same day or the following day.
When you receive your pictures and start posting them online, practice common courtesy and give credit to the photographer in the caption. Tag them, include their social media handle, link to the website, etc. The way we give credit these days has changed because of social media so make sure you're giving credit where credit is due and in the correct ways.
Just as you want your images to give you exposure, open up networking channels and modeling opportunities, the photographer also wants the chance to have their work catch the eye of others.
It's a two-way street and if you take the time and consideration to do your part and make the tips listed above part of your business routine, photographers will be more than happy to do the same (if they are legitimate and professional, of course).
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
We all know that when it comes being a man in the modeling world, the territory is going to look a whole lot different than any other industry.
One of my most popular blog posts is titled, "Real Men Wear Makeup!" and in the same vein of this theme, I decided to do a post about one of the most important items male models should have in their possession at all times: pressed powder.
If you're the kind of guy who is completely clueless about makeup in general, the good news is that pressed powder is one of the easier items to understand the role of when it comes to modeling.
One of the worst ways to take a photograph is to have a shiny complexion. Whether it's sweat or you have naturally oily skin, shine in front of the camera always results in unusable images. The way to combat that shine is by using pressed powder.
Isn't All Powder the Same?
There are a variety of powders on the market but as long as you focus on the pressed powders, that will narrow down your choices properly. How do you know if an item is pressed powder?
Well, for one thing, the label will clearly say so. Additionally, it's easy to identify because it is literally pressed into a compact (check out the photo associated with this post). You've likely looked at a pressed powder compact countless times without even realizing it (or caring, haha).
Loose powder is something you don't want, at least not for the purposes I'm stating in this post,especially for newbies. Does loose powder also combat shine? Absolutely. BUT for male models that need something easy to use on the go, whether it's for a casting, shoot or otherwise, pressed powder is going to be your go-to-product.
Why Is Pressed Powder So Special?
One, it's super convenient and easy to transport. The compact is small so you can toss it in your back pocket, a bag/backpack or keep it in your car.
Two, it's easy to use. Unlike loose powder, which is known for being extremely messy, pressed powder application only involves dabbing a powder puff (aka the white poofy thing that comes with the compact) into the pressed powder and then patting your face with it--never rub! And you don't need much, either, so a little will go a long way over time.
Where's the Best Place to Get Pressed Powder?
Not all pressed powder is created equal. There are two common places to find this item: your local drugstore or at a makeup counter at any department store.
If you're wondering which route is the best or if one is better than the other, my personal opinion is that it all boils down to price point and your budget. Anything you purchase at a department store makeup counter will be pricier. Obviously, drugstore items will be cheaper but that doesn't mean it won't necessarily be good quality.
Major makeup brands are sold everywhere so it's not like you can't find a recognizable name at a drugstore. The debate over whether to buy from a drugstore or a department store is always going to be split down the middle but ultimately the decision is up to personal preference and maybe some trial and error now and then.
Don't have a female friend, girlfriend/partner, etc who can guide you through the drugstore to select the best pressed powder for you? Then going to the makeup counter at a department store to find out what color/shade would work best is a good place to start.
You don't have to buy anything at the makeup counter if you're not ready. There's also nothing wrong with getting an idea of what product is best and then going to the drugstore to get it at a more affordable price (don't think I haven't done that once or twice!).
One More Thing to Keep In Mind
Not only do you want to make sure you stick to looking at pressed powder, you'll also want to make sure it is translucent. In layman's terms, you want powder that doesn't have any actual color to it.
Remember when I said that there's different types of powder out there? Well, there is such a thing as powder foundation. "Foundation" is the makeup item that has color to it and when applied to your complexion all over, it creates a smoother, uniform appearance.
This is not what you want when it comes to pressed powder. The purpose of pressed powder is to absorb and eliminate shine. You don't want a powder with color in it because when you put it on your complexion, it's going to make it spotty and uneven.
Translucent pressed powder does look like it has some color to it in the compact and it's true that there are shades to consider (i.e. light, medium, dark) but that's just to get it closer to your natural complexion. When you actually apply pressed powder that is translucent, it won't change your skin tone overall. It will only make your skin appear matte and not shiny, which is what you want.
Think you've got it, guys? I hope so because trust me, it's not as complicated as it may seem. Once you get into a drugstore or makeup counter and start getting familiar with what's out there, you'll eventually start to see which products would be a good fit for you.
Add translucent pressed powder into your modeling life and you'll definitely see the difference, both when you look in the mirror as well as when looking at your modeling photos.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
If you've been submitting to projects on your own--depending on what resources you're using--chances are you may have come across gigs that mention wanting models with "video experience."
Sometimes they'll also refer to acting experience but in general, this means the client is looking for individuals with the "model look and build" but who is also comfortable in front of a video camera.
So what does this kind of job mean and what exactly does video experience have to do with modeling? I'm glad you asked. :-)
It isn't uncommon--and completely normal, in fact--for some models to have absolutely zero interest in acting in any capacity. And that's totally okay. It isn't mandatory for models to have acting experience. Does it help? It sure does and with the way the industry is going, many agencies are purposely sending their models to acting auditions, whether they like it or not. But that's a whole different story.
For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going to stick to the topic of submitting to modeling jobs that require some form of video or acting experience. For the sake of argument, let's stick to the gigs that don't have speaking lines for the models to say. Actually, there are many "non-speaking" gigs out there so again, this type of work isn't uncommon, should you happen to come across it while looking for modeling assignments.
Typically, models walk the runway and/or they take photos. So where does the video aspect come into play? It depends on the project but one of the cooler ways clients are getting creative with promoting their product, company, brand or idea is to use a combination of still images and video footage of the models.
What this ends up looking like for the female and male models that book this type of work includes but is not limited to:
Playing to the Camera. By this, I'm describing a model who is in front of a camera (the kind that shoots video footage, not still images) and going through a variety of expressions, doing a turn, flirting with the camera, playing with their clothing/wardrobe, etc.
Walking Around on Camera. This is where the model is walking casually towards the camera, away from the camera, in profile, etc. The model can be walking down the sidewalk, in a park, indoors, you name it.
Hanging Out With Other Models. It's always super fun to shoot a pair of models or a small group all interacting, laughing, enjoying candid moments where they're not looking at the camera or they may all be looking at the camera and playing to it together.
The best examples of this kind of modeling video experience would be any cosmetics/makeup commercial, fashion commercial, etc. If you're thinking to yourself, that's an acting job, you'd be correct. Kind of. Remember, not all models are actors but this situation is the best way to describe a job you may apply for that requires models to have video experience but not necessarily be "acting" on camera, saying lines and things like that.
What's the big deal?
You'd be surprised by how many models have no problem striking a pose and smizing when it comes to photoshoots or unleashing their inner diva on the runway but put them in front of a camera that is shooting video and they become deer in headlights. Some models are completely comfortable moving around, taking direction and expressing themselves on video, while others simply don't know what to do with themselves.
That's why. :-)
See where I'm going with this? When it comes to clients asking for models with video experience, they want to know that the people submitting to the job will not only be perfectly at home in front of a camera that is capturing them on video, but that they won't have any issues with following directions if told to flirt with the camera, toss their hair and smile, do a fun spin, interact with other models and/or play off their surroundings (indoors or outdoors).
If doing this doesn't come naturally to you, that's okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. Grab a mirror and practice so you understand how you look and move while doing various expressions and movements.
Watch commercials and see how the models/actors move and express themselves and use it for reference when practicing at home. Grab a friend and a phone and start recording yourself to get a feel for what that's like. Review what you've shot and tweak things until you feel like it's second nature.
Is video experience mandatory for modeling? No. Do you have to take on acting in order to succeed as a model if you have no interest in acting? No. However, if you want to spread your wings a bit and have a shot at booking the types of gigs I described above, taking these extra steps to add to your skill set can only boost your abilities and marketability as a model, as well as give you an opportunity to add more experience to your resume so it could definitely be something worth looking into if you're up for the task.
Monday, July 30, 2018
In the past, modeling agencies were a type of secret society that not just anybody could penetrate, let alone try to locate.
Then came the Internet and along with it total access via websites from the very agencies model hopefuls had been searching for--equipped with submission information and open call guidelines that opened up the modeling industry to the masses...or at least those gutsy enough to send in their snapshots or walk through the agency's doors.
Now we're in the social media era where the modeling industry has once again needed to update their way of doing business. While being scouted on IG is all the rage, this latest version of the modeling beast can actually end up confusing newbies even more when it comes to figuring out where to begin and what to do/not do.
So what does it mean to be a model in the age of IG?
It is still important to have other online tools in place to market yourself as a model (i.e. some kind of website or fan page, being a member of modeling groups on Facebook, Model Mayhem, etc.) but IG has made it a lot easier for new models to share their images and experiences with the world, including potential modeling scouts. Not to mention building up a long list of followers.
Everyone is familiar with IG handles and that makes networking with photographers, stylists and other industry pros a breeze. Because IG is solely based on the visual, it provides a quick reference for anyone curious about who you are as a model, the type of work you do and seeing your journey unfold.
Needless to say, it's one of the best and fastest ways to display an online modeling portfolio.
EVERYONE'S DOING IT...
Okay, maybe not everyone but there's a whole lotta folks on it. Anyone who wants to get into the modeling game professionally, knows having an IG profile set up is a surefire way to generate interest. That includes modeling agencies.
The agencies in particular have really taken their use of IG to the next level with contests, BTS images to let the public into their world and spotlight their favorite models. They've even created hashtags for aspiring models to use that literally does the legwork for them as far as finding new faces.
The fact that the agencies, clients and other industry pros are on IG means you've decreased that networking gap by a huge amount just by having a profile on there and following them.
...INCLUDING SCAMMERS, CON ARTISTS & SHADY PEOPLE
Hey, you can't blame the bad apples for also jumping on the same bandwagon as the legitimate folks in an attempt to get over on more people. Just as us "good and upstanding individuals" are enjoying the opportunities IG presents, so are those that only want to make a quick buck.
It goes without saying that it is still extremely important to be cautious when you get contacted randomly by someone through DM claiming to be this, that or the other. If you've gotten a message from somebody claiming to be a model scout or agent, this inquiry needs to be treated the same way you would with anything that might sound too good to be true: you research the crap out of them and ask plenty of questions.
See if they have a website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn profile...do a basic online search and see if anything comes up. Can't find anything other than what's on their Instagram? Then be very careful. This is when you need to ask questions about their business/operation and if they have relevant links or information they can EMAIL you.
To be honest, I hate doing business via DM on Instagram because for one, I always end up accidentally hitting the "send" button before I'm ready to send the message and it's not as convenient to send files, docs, etc. as it is with regular email. Asking them to send you more information through email is a good test to see if they're serious or just lazily going about trying to target people for whatever bad intentions they have.
I can't speak on every single possible situation you might come across because that would be way too much to go into but when it comes to getting scouted or told an agent loves your look and wants to sign you, I can say that you should think twice before jumping on the so-called "offer."
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Have you received a DM out of the blue from someone claiming to be a modeling scout or agent? Don't do a happy dance just yet. There's a couple things you need to do first:
What Do They Want?
Did they come across your profile and tell you they love your look so much that they want to offer you a very high paying gig with a prestigious client/brand/company? Guess what: they're full of crap. Just as with traditional means of trying to get into modeling, no reputable company or modeling agency is ever going to hire a model (male or female) without any kind of interview or casting call.
Are they offering to sign you to their agency based on your IG profile alone? Again: crap, crap, crap. With the super small exception of online agencies that don't technically have a physical office and instead work with models by having them listed on their database and matching projects as they come up--legitimate agencies don't just make it rain contract offers on people they've never met in person, especially since filters and other photo tricks make it so that you have no clue what that person is going to look like when they walk through the door.
Are they interested in working with you but want you to pay fees for whatever services they're offering? Yep, you guessed it, more crapola in a box.
Do they want you to send them risque/nude/inappropriate photos via DM or to a certain email address? Do I even need to write out my response to this situation???
These common situations typically happen through email but now they've transitioned to Instagram as well (Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn are also obvious methods of scammers trying to poach victims so that goes without saying).
Be smart about who is contacting you and try to find that paper trail to see if they are who they say they are. At the end of the day you are not obligated to give anyone your information, money or time. That's what the "block" feature is for--you underage guys and gals, this is definitely directed at you. Do not communicate with someone about modeling jobs without your parents' guidance.
DEAL WITH THE SOURCE
Want to get on an agency's radar on IG? Then follow their profile. Use the hashtags they use and when making contact, DM them directly and make sure the profile is verified. If you're not sure of the profile's authenticity, don't follow.
There are a lot of "fan" IG accounts that may look like the real deal but are not and you have no idea who is in charge of them.
When in doubt, go to the modeling agency's website and see what their social media handles are. That is the best way to guarantee you're following the right profiles.
ON YOUR IG...
Keep your photos relevant to the types of modeling you want to pursue if you plan to use IG for jump starting a modeling career. Remember to have quality snapshots of yourself with little to no makeup in addition to the more dolled up images. You can't--and shouldn't--always be filtered or have cat ears in all your photos.
If you're more interested in freelancing and aren't that concerned about grabbing the attention of a modeling agency, then make sure the modeling images you post are with quality photographers and not all a bunch of selfies taken in front of your bathroom mirror. Make sure you're adding new posts whenever you do a shoot so potential clients can see your hustle and that you're serious about modeling.
Mix up your profile with some fun videos and boomerangs. When doing videos, have posts where you're talking to the camera. This is as good as it gets for first impressions. These days, models who are well spoken and can showcase their personality in front of the camera in terms of video and not just still images, are a surefire way to engage not only a fan base of followers but people who may want to hire you for their next project.
Network! Don't just follow, send DMs to briefly introduce yourself and your goals for modeling. They may not get the message since yours will likely be one of millions but don't let that discourage you. Like and comment on their posts...showing this type of engagement could possibly get you on their radar. If they like your comment or respond back to it, even better.
Don't be content with just sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be noticed. Social media is about being social so hop to it!
Sunday, April 29, 2018
The modeling industry is far from perfect and despite the strides in technology and social media that make it easier than ever these days to find out how to submit to agencies and pursue a modeling career, there are still pitfalls that unsuspecting newbies tend to find themselves falling into.
Even if I've done a post similar to this one, I think it warrants bringing up again (or at least think of this as an updated post of sorts) to continue educating and informing those of you that aren't sure whether to move forward with a particular opportunity, project or individual/company.
Nudity Should Never Be Involved
Never. Ever. EVER!
Are there very hyper-sexualized images of models in magazines and advertisements? You bet. Sex sells. It's not a secret. However, just because certain fields within the modeling industry rely on selling sex and sexy models, when it comes to newbies submitting to agencies, they don't want to see your goodies.
Many agency websites make it a point to mention that nude photos are not wanted or required. Even lingerie snapshots for female models is discouraged. Two-piece bikinis are the least amount of wardrobe you should ever wear when sending in digital snapshots for agency submission.
The same goes for the male models: shirtless is common for men wanting to get into fashion/runway/editorial modeling but nude or sexually suggestive images are not. Boxer briefs or even Speedo type bottoms are the bare minimum (no pun intended).
This rule of thumb should also be kept in mind when sending images to potential clients for modeling assignments (for freelance models). This is mainly in regards to run-of-the-mill gigs where lingerie, underwear or other sexually suggested themes aren't part of the project.
If you're submitting freelance for a catalog job modeling commercial/print type clothing or a product, the casting director/client shouldn't be asking you for snapshots in your bra and panties.
This is where common sense definitely comes into play. And, hello, it's the Internet, folks! You can't just be sending photos of yourself in various stages of undress to anyone because goodness knows where it's going to end up.
Legitimate Email Addresses Are Company Email Addresses
Do you realize that ANYONE can create a Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account? It goes without saying to err on the side of caution if you are contacted directly by someone claiming to work with a modeling agency and you notice their email account is from an address that doesn't end with the name of the agency.
The proper way to deal with this situation is to contact the agency directly by phone and provide them with the name and email address of the person who contacted you. Ask them if they can verify that this individual does, in fact, work for them or not. If they can't, block that person ASAP. Don't respond back, don't tell them you've contacted the agency. Just block their address and avoid all contact.
Although in the past I've mentioned not contacting agencies on the phone, this is one of those situations that is an exception to the rule. Any agency will want to know if someone is trying to commit fraud using their company name and chances are they'll be grateful that you reported it.
Even if the person does end up being verified by the agency, it is better to check first and make sure before jumping into a conversation with that person.
No Legitimate Client Books Models They've Never Met
You get an email out of the blue that so-and-so found your images/profile on [insert social media site here] and they think you'd be perfect for their upcoming modeling assignment. All they need is your mailing info, personal contact info, maybe even financial info to move forward and secure a location, shoot dates, etc., blah, blah, blah.
They even mention that the shoot is for a large and well-known client/brand/company/publication who you'd benefit greatly from working with. You're thinking to yourself, "OMG, I can't believe this is happening!"
Well, you shouldn't believe it. Because it's not real.
I like to think of this fake opportunity as the modeling version of getting an email from an African or Arabic prince who is dying and wants to give you his fortune.
I could devote paragraphs breaking down why no one should ever think this kind of offer is legit but I'm hoping you can tell by my sarcastic tone why any model--especially you noobs--should hit "block" and delete any correspondence even remotely similar to this.
No reputable and famous or well-known client/brand/company/publication will EVER contact you directly or have someone do it on their behalf based on some photos of you they came across online.
While you may be sad upon learning that it's a sham, just know it's not your fault and there really isn't anything you can do to prevent sick and depraved individuals from trying to take advantage of unsuspecting model hopefuls, except to block them and even notify/forward the email offer to the actual client/brand/company/publication so it is on record and they are aware of the situation.
No Legitimate Client Sends Payment Upfront to Models, Either
The fake opportunities described above usually come with an eye-popping ridiculous payment amount for hiring you as a model for their project. It can range from a few thousand dollars for a 1-day shoot to tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sorry, but who in their right mind would send that much money to someone they literally never met? And we all know people lie online, especially when it comes to their pictures, so why on earth would a legitimate company/brand/client/publication think that it's a smart move to send a big payday to a model they discovered online but otherwise know nothing about?
Agency Interviews Don't Happen Outside the Office
Aside from a formal model search or casting call held somewhere (and advertised as such), the typical agency interview 99.9% of the time will take place at the actual office of the agency. Not a Starbucks, not a rented out space in some random part of town, not a hotel and definitely not someone's private residence.
Again, if the individual that contacted you for the interview is legitimate and employed by the agency, they will have you come to the agency's office during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Not after the agency has closed for the day. There are no after hours for interviews.
Think about it: if open calls for agencies always happen during that small window of time on certain days of the week between 9-5, why would they consider inviting models to an interview that happens after the office has been closed?
It just doesn't make sense and neither does such an opportunity. Pass on it. In fact, run away. Far, far away.
The Bottom Line
The sad news is that there are probably many more major red flags I could list that are out there but these are at least the most pressing ones that I still tend to see or hear about people falling prey to that I felt were the most glaring issues to highlight for the purposes of this post.
Should I come across any others I will either add them to this post or create a new and updated one so that it pops up as newer content. Either way, you can believe I will always do my best to keep an eye on the growing red flags trend when it comes to modeling and hope that all those who read this take heed and always err on the side of caution.