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.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Shooting with Natural Light

Ever wonder why outdoor shoots start so early in the morning, often before the sun is even up? Don't worry, there is method to the madness.

No matter what you're shooting or where, you can't have anything without the right lighting. In a studio it doesn't matter what time of day or night you're shooting (unless you're posing next to a window with natural sunlight pouring through) because the lighting in this area is controlled. But photographers don't get that luxury when it comes to using natural sunlight.

Often, shoots will take place around 6:00am--yes, AM not PM--because this gives the photographer and the crew, if there is one, enough time to play with the camera settings and get a feel of how the shots are going to turn out. Soon as the sun peaks out, it's go time and you've only got a certain window of time to get the best photos.

I always tend to shoot between 9-10am, not so early, unless there is a certain look I'm going for. I would advise other models, no matter what experience level you're at, to always shoot before noon. During this time of day, the sun is at its highest peak amd causes horrible glare and harsh shadows on your face. But that doesn't mean that when noon hits, the shoot is automatically over.

Each situation is going to vary upon the weather, if it's overcast, etc. But starting a shoot before noon gives you a better chance of getting the correct lighting. If you look at the proofs of a shoot that started in the morning and went into the afternoon, you'll notice a gradual change in the way the light reflects off of the model and the background.

It may surprise you to know that when the sky is overcast, that's actually the best time to take pictures because there is no harsh glare or shadows from the sun to worry about. So don't cancel any shoots on account of it being overcast, unless it's about to rain, of course.

You don't want to get into a situation where you start too late and then you start to lose sunlight with each passing minute. This causes you to do a rush job and those are no fun and usually don't turn out good quality pictures.

However, shooting at twilight (the time when the sun is setting and the moon is rising) produces some of the most amazing pictures I've seen. Shooting during this time is tricky because you have to be set to go with everything and once twilight hits, you're really racing against the sun to make sure each shot is good.

You only have a few minutes so if something comes up or if there's a delay, you'll lose your chance and will have to wait until the next day. If you want to find out what time twilight is, go to any website that deals with the weather, such as Theweatherchannel.com and look up the temperatures for your town. They normally list what time the sun will set, which is the time you need to set your shoot for.

So it may not be fun getting up at the crack of dawn and you may not feel like you can be beautiful at such a ridiculous hour but this is the golden time for photography so make the most of it. Now you know why I stress so much about the importance of getting enough sleep!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm an Anti-Model Model


That probably doesn't make any sense, does it? What I mean to say is that while I do model and it's a big part of my life, I don't act like it...unless I'm giving advice or something about it.

My model persona is different from the everyday person I am. I don't go into my regular 9-5 as a model and I believe that the model attitude and tendencies need to be left at the photo shoot. It isn't necessary to always look the part, unless you're modeing full-time and getting paid well, then of course you need to be "on" at all times.

But if you're not at that level, keep yourself humble. If I'm not at a photo shoot or speaking in front of the public, I could care less how I look. For work, I roll out of bed, into jeans, a pullover sweater and sneakers and that's my uniform. No makeup, no fancy hairstyles. It's funny because my coworkers know when I've been doing something related to modeling or acting because I'll come in dolled up, with my hair down.

My resume and talent speaks for itself--I don't need to on a daily basis. As I sat at my latest audition for an NBC show, the girl next to me asked me to check her makeup. I told her she was cool and we began to talk about how much we hated putting on makeup. The show I was auditioning for called for all types of people, not just models but we had to be in full makeup. She looked shocked when I told her that I detest putting on foundation and a whole layer of makeup.

"But you're a model, right?" she asked me. I told her yeah, but that I was the most anti-model model she'd ever meet. She laughed and actually thanked me for telling her that because, according to her, "I had this whole image of models who only care about makeup and what they're wearing. You totally just destroyed that negative image I had. Thank you."

That made me feel so great. The saying really is true that if you can affect even one person, you're doing a good job. Of course, I don't let my looks go all to hell on a daily basis. I will get dolled up if I have to go somewhere or if I'm running errands, but I still wear little to no makeup. That's just me. So don't feel like you're required to look the part all the time. It's fun to me to blow people away when they see my photos online or in a publication. I've been called a chameleon and I take that as a compliment. I want to be accessable and approachable to people and it's hard to do that when you're always looking like you're about to walk down a runway 24/7. I like to breathe and wear regular clothes and look like a regular person.

People notice you faster and you leave a lasting impression when people see you as a regular person and then see your model persona. If you're always glammed up, people get used to that and don't tend to care much. But if you keep your looks on the down-low then when your model alter ego comes out, it causes waves. That's the kind of attention I like. I'd rather hear people say, "Wow, she looks great, I didn't know she modeled!" instead of, "Oh, that's how she always looks."

Always keep 'em guessing...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Getting an Entourage/Crew


Having a crew or entourage isn't just for the models who have already made it. It is possible to have your own crew who's there to help make you look fabulous!

I've been blessed with friends who specialize in all of the areas that are important to a model.

When it comes to needing a photographer, I have at least four people I can turn to. The first is my boyfriend--needless to say, I get as many free photo shoots as I want with him! The second is my best girlfriend who went to the Brooks Institue of Photography in Santa Barbara. The third is a photographer who I met through Onemodelplace.com.

We did a couple of TFPs together and continue to keep in touch. The last photographer is actually another girlfriend of mine who went to high school with me. Each of these photographers does excellent work and their looks are all different. So depending on what mood or look I need to create, I have a great group to choose from.

My best guy friend is my stylist. He knows my wardrobe better than I do and has a great eye for colors and he knows exactly how I want to look and what needs to always be in place whenever I'm in front of the camera. He also keeps track of all my accessories and helps me shop for clothes and other necessities I need for shoots.

When it comes to makeup, I have a girlfriend who is a pro. She is trying to get into the professional makeup artist field and I decided to help her portfolio along by hiring her to do my makeup on my shoots. We discuss what colors go with what outfits ahead of time and she uses a range of products, but our mutual favorite hands down is MAC. She knows the look I'm going for and respects my need to not look overdone. She never gets crazy with my makeup and always asks me for my opinion with each look she experiments on me with.

I've been extremely lucky to have such a strong group of people working with me (not working under me or working for me because without their efforts, I wouldn't be where I am). Not only are they professionals in their own right, but they're also my closest friends who love to help me achieve my modeling goals, while being able to do what they love.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming for a model to do it all on his/her own. Before you look into hiring and paying out the nose for a makeup artist, hair stylist, stylist or photographer, look around you. Maybe one or two of your friends are really great in one of these areas. Use their talents to help you and to help them develop their talents. It's a cost-efficient and reliable way to have people who are going to be in your corner and who will help you succeed. Keep your friends close--I always do.

How I Got Started


After reading my posts, you're probably wondering who I am and how I got started in this whole modeling thing. So I figured it was time for an introduction.

I've been modeling and acting since I was 15. I got a flyer in the mail for an open casting call in San Francisco. I went with a snapshot of myself and got a callback. My parents paid money upfront and I took on-camera training classes for tv/film acting. You're probably wondering how I can advise people to not pay for agency representation when I did it...the thing is, we got scammed.

The company that held the casting call pocketed the money and my parents never got a dime back. However, I was lucky enough that everything else, including the panel of agents that I auditioned for--was legit and I got signed with an agent out of San Jose.

 I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I was in myself that I allowed my parents to spend that kind of money without being able to get it back. This is why I'm so adamant about telling models that they don't have to pay for agency representation. I've been there and done that, and I got lucky. But so many others don't.

After doing a couple of photo shoots and commercials in the Bay Area, I decided to switch to a different agent and sent out my headshot and resume to different agencies in San Francisco. I got a callback from the agency that I'm currently signed with and it's been smooth sailing with my representation ever since.

When I turned 18, I knew that I wanted to pursue modeling hard and needed to get myself work aside from what my agent was getting me, so that's how I began freelancing. As a result, I was able to snag gigs such as being JET Magazine's "Beauty of the Week", Break.com's "Girl of the Day" and a score of other great projects I had the pleasure to be a part of.

Now that I'm older and done with college, I'm really able to take my modeling career to new heights. Being that I am a commercial/print model, I know that I won't be walking down a runway very often if at all, but there are a bunch of other opportunities that suit my type of modeling just fine. I'm currently planning my next couple of shoots and am experimenting with edgier looks and poses to expand my portfolio.

I actively use Craigslist as a source for these jobs and while they've been hit or miss, the ones I do get add to my resume. I believe in being "classy, not trashy" and while the type of modeling I have been doing lately is very sexy, I do not do nude or adult work of any kind. I believe in being able to be sexy without showing a lot of skin.

As my career evolves and I get to network with more people, I hope to make my name a household one and show that no matter what height, shape, size or ethnicity you are, you can make it in this industry. I want to be a living, breathing example and I hope others will do the same.

Significant Others


So what does being in a relationship have to do with modeling? Depending on your situation and who you're with, it could have a lot to do with your field of work.

For the ladies, if you have a boyfriend who is very jealous, insecure, possessive or overprotective, being a model or pursuing a modeling career may not make him very happy.

It isn't easy for most men to watch their girlfriends be the sex symbol of every man's dreams, or to watch them signing autographs and getting close with male admirers for photographs. The same actually goes for male models with girlfriends as well.

But at the same time, these kinds of situations are ones you need to discuss with your significant other. If this is a career you really want to pursue, it would be wise to take into account the sacrifices you're willing to make because one of them could be breaking up or a temporary separation.

Modeling is going to put you in the public eye and men and women alike are going to fall over themselves to be able to stand next to you and brag to their friends that they met you. Some boyfriends and girlfriends just won't be able to get over the possibility that you'll be heading off to places or meeting new people with fast-paced lives that are more exciting than their own. It's normal for them to worry that they may never see you when they want to or that they'll somehow lose you to someone else.

I've seen and heard of instances where a jealous boyfriend/girlfriend interrupted photo shoots, showed up to an event and caused a scene, as well as models who gave up their careers to keep their relationship together, or who let their careers fall apart by neglecting their modeling duties: showing up late, carrying and using their cell phone to talk to their significant other during shoots, etc. Not a pretty sight.

If you're in a relationship, whether you're male or female, and are planning to get into modeling or are already into it, do yourself and your boyfriend/girlfriend a favor and communicate about what your career is going to need from you and what you will need from him/her to make it work.

Having someone in your life and being in love is a great thing, but it's even greater when that person believes and supports you in what you're doing. If this isn't a situation you're in, you may have to make a difficult choice between your significant other and your modeling career.

Whatever decision you make, make sure that it's your decision and yours alone. Don't allow your potential and talent to be overshadowed by someone who refuses to let you shine.

Pay Day!


Even a handful of modeling jobs can mean big money. Whether its a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, working models generate a pretty decent income. However, getting paid as a model has its own process that you may want to be familiar with.

If you're freelancing your skills, you may either be paid directly after the shoot or a few days/weeks later (I highly recommend getting payment after the shoot). Make sure to have an invoice (it's really easy to create your own on your computer),a Model Release Form or some other form of paperwork that lists the amount you are to be paid for your work. Never negotiate pay through a verbal agreement--ALWAYS GET IT IN WRITING!!!

When you're working with an agency, payment takes a few weeks to come through. So don't get your hopes up of getting your cut within the next day or two. There is a very involved--and oftentimes, very slow--process of paperwork that needs to be completed when it's time to pay up.

First, the client needs to send the paperwork to the agent, who makes sure everything checks out. The agent then sends the paperwork back to the client with the total amount due. That's when the people in the accounting department do their job of making sure that all of the payment info is accurate and calculate what percentage is going to the agent and what percentage is going to the model.

This process can take a few weeks to a month or two. Normally, there is a part of the Model Release or other contract signed that states that payment for a job can take upwards to 90 days...that's a pretty long time to wait for a check, so if you're a model, don't go out and splurge on a new wardrobe just yet.

Be realistic and be patient. If you get enough jobs, be comforted by the fact that you'll always have a check to look forward to!

What a Real Agency Does


It's so easy nowadays for scammers and con-artists to label themselves as an agency and pry on model hopefuls. Don't be fooled! Do your homework and avoid being a part of a terrible scandal...

Below are just a couple of ways to understand what legitimate and reputable agencies do and how they operate.

Legit agencies make their money solely by charging commission, or a perantage, of the bookings they get for their models. At the same time, the client who goes to the agent to book the model in question, is also charged a fee.

That's a great source of income for any working agency, so don't be fooled into the general misconception that you need to pay an agency upfront in order for them to sign you. That is the first and foremost red flag warning you should recognize. If an agency is getting its models consistent work, then they are making more than enough money and don't need to charge potential models up front.

Avoid attending casting calls or talent showcases that are on the weekends or in the evenings...agencies work Monday thru Friday from 9-5 (give or take an hour or two) and will not work on weekends! If you look up any reputable agency on the Internet, you'll find that all of the dates and times for their open casting calls fall within the business hours and days I mentioned above.


One exception would be small market agencies who may not have the resources to accommodate open calls during the week and will instead hold their casting calls a few times a month or a year and the date may fall on a weekend. However, I've also seen complaints against agencies who people felt were scams and mentioned that the open call was on a weekend, which made them suspicious.

So what's the bottom line on this issue? Use the Internet to your advantage and do thorough research to find out exactly who the agency is and whether or not others have shared their experiences, good and bad, online.

Like any legit business, a modeling agency is required to have a license to operate. Look for this license when you are in the agent's office, which shouldn't be hard because these licenses are required by law to be displayed in plain view at the place of business. No license, no way.

Looking like a thriving agency can be as easy for a scammer as taking out pages in a magazine, framing them and telling you that they started that model's career. Don't be fooled by all the razz of large posters, photos and the decor of the office. When you're talking with the agency, be sure to clarify that they aren't a modeling school, affiliated with any modeling conventions or other purposes other than managing and booking jobs for their models.

Be aware of your surroundings. Even the smallest agency that has a good group of talent on-staff will have phones ringing, people dealing with paperwork and talking to their talent. If none of that is going on, or if the conversations you hear aren't mostly about a booking or something related to modeling, that could be a bad sign. Even modeling agencies have slow days but it isn't hard to tell whether or not what's going on in the office while you're there is legit or just for show.

The Better Business Bureau is a great site to do a background check on agencies you may be suspicious of. Note any complaints and what the topics of the issues were about. If an agency has a fairly large number of complaints dealing with money, that isn't a good sign. Agency websites can also be deceiving. The world of technology and Flash software can make the biggest scammer look legit. Make sure to note if the agency is showcasing their models or showcasing themselves.

Working, legit agencies don't need to push hard to sell themselves. That's not what the website is for. An agency website is designed to showcase its talent and services, as well as instruct new models as to how to submit themselves for consideration. Also be careful of agencies that promote themselves heavily in the newspaper or on the radio for general casting calls that aren't related to a special event or promotion. When was the last time you heard FORD or Elite on the radio begging people come to their casting calls?

The Deal with Modeling Conventions


Conventions are put together with the intention of getting hundreds of potential models, actors and performers in one place to showcase their talents to big time agencies and casting directors. Sometimes these events are used for other purposes, such as scamming the very people who have their hearts set on getting signed at these conventions.

Before signing up for a convention, ask for the list of agencies that are attending. You can call them to confirm they will in fact be in attendance. Make sure that they are the heavy hitter's not new agencies just starting up. The same applies here with investigating complaints online with the BBB.

Many conventions charge upwards of hundreds to thousands of dollars. Know what you're paying for. You shouldn't feel pressured to stay where the convention is taking place. This is just another way that the convention can save themselves money by getting discounts on room rates and getting more of your money into their pockets. If they insist that you stay at the hotel of their choice then this is one convention you may want to skip out on.

While conventions will get you maximum exposure, it may make it harder for you to catch the eye of anyone interested. It's hard to make yourself stand out when you're competing against hundreds of other people. When you do meet with the agents or others big wigs who are present, you may not get a lot of one-on-one time with them to make a good enough first impression. Not to mention that many conventions operate on a strict time schedule so you have to be where they tell you to be and go where they want you to go.

Make sure to have your parents look carefully into any convention that you may be interested in going to. Also keep in mind that there is so much more you can do for yourself by taking your future modeling career into your own hands by meeting with these agencies on your own instead of having to share the time with a bunch of other people.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Have a Backup Plan!


There's nothing wrong with reaching for the stars and seeing yourself on the pages of magazines, catalogues or strutting down a runway. But turning these dreams into a reality without having a plan B or backup plan is unrealistic.

Definitely shoot for the stars and put as much effort into getting into the modeling game as you can, but make sure to have something legit and stable to fall back on. Having a plan B, C, D, etc. can only help you and not hurt you.

Realistically speaking, the chances of anyone getting to Tyra/Giselle/Adriana status is slim but not impossible. However, you need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If the modeling thing doesn't work out for you once you get into it, or if you just don't get anywhere at all with it, you don't want to be left out in the cold without any other options.

For the younger gals and even the older ones, learn to balance your schoolwork with your efforts at modeling. Think about college or if that is a possibility for you. Plan how you want to combine college life with modeling. Maybe you also want to be a vet or a nurse.

Make space for those plans as well. If you make it big in your modeling career, obviously you won't have to worry about this stuff right away, but I'm talking about if things slow down in your modeling career or if you can't even get your modeling efforts off the ground--both of which are highly likely to happen.

Higher learning isn't for everyone but it is a viable option for you. For example, even though I've been modeling and acting since I was 15, I went to college straight after high school and got my B.A. in Radio/TV with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Journalism.

 I enjoyed modeling but knew that I wasn't going to make it big right away, so I took a hiatus from modeling altogether so I could focus on my academic life. After four years, I got my degree and now I have a stable and well-paying job as an editor for an online magazine.

This course of action now allows me the opportunity to model part-time or even full-time, while I still get a paycheck that allows me to pay my bills and afford my comfortable lifestyle. My job also allows me to take paid leave in case I need to leave for a gig. Trust me, it's hard to leave for a few days for a shoot when you don't have any money coming in to fund your modeling excursions!

Just because I took a break from modeling back then, that didn't mean I gave up on it. As a result of my planning and decision making, I now have the reassurance that if I don't make it as big as I want or if I wanted to walk away from it completely, my degree and skills will let me get any job in the broadcasting field. So now I'm set and know that I can take care of myself.

I'd hate to see anyone pursue modeling so hard that they neglect the rest of the alternatives that life has to offer. Rejection is hard and the moment when you realize that you won't be a model is hard as well. But waiting too long to get your life back on track is even harder.

Be wise, be smart and educate yourself about the other goals and aspirations you have aside from being a model. Whether it's going to college or going after a different dream job, the important thing to do is make sure you can take care of yourself when the modeling world won't.

Model Behavior


Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to talk about model etiquette...the dos and don'ts when it comes to being a model. This may be obvious or self-explanatory but if it wasn't still a concern (or at most, very annoying) then I wouldn't have to make this post.

Being a model does not give you the right to be a diva, especially if you're just starting out or have a few years of experience under your belt. There are enough bonafide divas in the world and it's important to maintain a positive and fun attitude and personality, no matter how far you get into the modeling game.

The "holier than thou" attitude and thinking that you're better than somebody else is a quick way to make enemies and burn your bridges--not to mention that people won't want to work with you. Be smarter and more mature than that.

1) Be on time. There is nothing worse than having a photographer and crew waiting on one person. It's even worse when the missing/late person is the model. Whether you only have one person waiting on you or ten, it's just unprofessional and rude.

2) Leave early. Traffic, accidents, and forgetting things are all normal everyday factors but they can be avoided and if you are running late due to these conditions, don't expect sympathy from the photographer or casting director. Unless you were attacked by aliens or are dying (which I hope isn't the case!), there is no excuse for being late.

It may sound ridiculous to you now, but it's always best to leave a half-hour to an hour earlier than you normally would to get to your shoot. Embrace this quote given to me by one of my favorite teachers: "If you're 10-15 minutes early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late."

3) Be prepared to work. If you know you've got a big shoot, or even a small one, make sure you take care of yourself the night before. Go to bed earlier than you normally would and get extra rest so you're not dragging yourself out of bed the next morning. Pack anything you need--clothes, makeup, paperwork--the night before and do a checklist so that in the morning all you have to do is get up, grab your things, and go.

4) Bring snacks. Some photo shoots can be long and you may or may not get a long enough break to eat a decent meal. If you have the time to eat breakfast, that's great. If not, make sure to bring little snacks with you to munch on on your way to your shoot. Also keep a bottle of water on hand to avoid being dehydrated. Sometimes these snacks and drinks are already provided for you on the shoot, which helps.

5) Be professional. Leave the catty attitude at home. It's so tacky and rude to be disrespectful or argue with the photographer or anyone on the crew or staff. Everyone is there to work and the atmosphere should be as tension-free as possible. If you're not getting along with anyone, especially the photographer, do not make a scene and refuse to continue the shoot. Keep the lines of communication open and allow the crew to do their job. They expect the same of you.

6) Don't whine or complain. This can be the most annoying thing about any model. Don't spend more time complaining about your location or whining about what you're wearing than you spend modeling. That just makes you look immature and childish. I'm not saying bite your tongue if you're uncomfortable about something.

But all means, speak up, but address your concerns in a grown-up and professional way. Screaming a little if the water you're posing in is too cold is one thing, but if you're making squeamish noises and are paying too much attention to what's bothering you, you'll only be wasting time and money.

7) No trash talk. Please don't air anyone else's dirty laundry. Trash talk and bashing other people in the industry, whether it's an agent, another model or photographer is very disrespectful and in the modeling game, who you know can make or break you so don't think that small comments or leaks of gossip won't be taken seriously. Avoid a trainwreck and keep your bad experiences, opinions and judgements to yourself. Trash talk has no place on a shoot, even if others are doing it. Be better than that.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fashion Shows--A Little Reality Check


I'm not writing this entry to dampen anyone's mood or try to change your view but I just figured it would helpful to shed a little light of reality for the young girls/ladies who see fashion modeling/runway modeling as being glamorous.

This type of modeling is really only glamorous for the people watching it! What you see on television is only a fraction of what really goes on. When you model for a fashion show, be warned that the environment is insanely hectic and VERY FAST PACED.

This isn't one of those situations where you're preparing for a photo shoot and get to take your time to make sure every detail is perfect--there is no time to do this in a fashion show.

You have to share a space with a bunch of other girls so you need to try to have some organization with your clothes, shoes and other accessories in the flurry of activity. You will have the fashion show's director or assistant screaming at you to hurry up and put on your clothes, and trust me, they will SCREAM at you to get your fashion butt out on the catwalk in time.

Every second counts and lagging even just a bit can throw off the timing and rotation of the other models. And Heaven help you if there ends up being a few seconds of time where a model doesn't appear. If you were supposed to be where that gap in the line is, chances are you will never work in runway again...or at least with that particular designer.

Be comfortable with your body and being in front of others, because as soon as you step off of the catwalk, you've got to bare all and get naked quick--breasts, butts, you name it--to get in and out of your clothes and into the next outfit as soon as possible.

While dealing with this whole scenario, you also have to remember that when you step onto the catwalk in front of the audience, you've got to be sexy, cool, calm and collected and confident--basically, you need to act as if the director screaming in your face about how you're screwing up his show, never happened. So if you've got a few sensitive or emotional nerves, you may want to step down.

Don't worry, I'm giving you all of the negative stuff up front, but that's not to say that it's all bad, because it isn't. In light of the horrifying picture I just mentally painted for you, there is the great and exhilirating feeling of being in the spotlight and having all eyes on you and the outfit you're sporting.

It's completely fun to be the center of attention in a fashion show while you're strutting your stuff, walking your walk and playing up to the crowd. That part of fashion/runway modeling is indeed a reality--it's just the behind-the-scenes stuff that you need to remember as well.

Stock Photography

If you've ever wondered what stock photography is all about, it's actually pretty simple. You know when you go on websites or look at certain magazine ads and see the models being used? Many of those images are stock photo images.

Stock photography companies specialize in random photos for use in publications, both online and in other forms of media. As you'll notice in the image associated with this post, that's me...this image was from a stock shoot I did in San Francisco, which was then uploaded to the Getty Images Stock website. Someone at HowStuffWorks.com saw my picture and paid the fee to use the image on their site. Pretty neat, eh?

Stock photography involves real-looking, everyday models as well as gorgeous model types. Young, old, male, female, no matter the shape, size or ethnicity of the models, stock photographers want them all! These companies make money by allowing clients to purchase their images for a certain price or rate.

Models who do stock photography get paid pretty well and can create an ongoing relationship with stock companies, which opens up the possibility of more shoots in the future. This type of business keeps clients from having to book their own models and arrange photo shoots. For them, it's as easy as registering with a stock photography site and downloading the images of their choice!

So here is how the process works: a photographer hires a model to do a stock shoot (it can be solo, with another model or a group of models). They do the shoot according to the theme needed and afterwards the photographer takes the best images and uploads them to the stock photography website they are a member of (istockphoto, getty images, etc.).

Now companies and individuals can visit the site, search for the images they want, pay the fee to own the photo in order to use it for their advertising purposes and that's it! Stock photography models have to sign a model release.

There are many photographers that specialize in stock photography and are able to generate great income from it. While each shoot varies, many stock photography gigs pay well (not a fortune but great side income or steady income if you book a lot of this type of work). Most pay a flat rate of $150 or higher, depending on the length of the shoot, theme, etc.

The details/arrangements of what the photographer promises to the model in exchange for their time also varies from shoot to shoot. I've done stock shoots where I was paid but not allowed to have copies of the original images (in these cases, I went to the stock photography website and downloaded the images with the watermark).

On the other hand, I've also worked with stock photographers who paid me and allowed me to download the hi resolution images without the watermark for my portfolio use. Since stock photographers make their bread and butter from people buying their pictures, it is up to the photographer to decide whether you can get both pictures and compensation or just compensation.

If you're interesting in trying this type of modeling, there are online modeling communities/sites (Model Mayhem and One Model Place, for example) where photographers specializing in this type of work will post casting calls, which the models that are members of the site can submit themselves for.

Another way is to go to the stock photography sites and look at the stock models they feature. Find out the names of the photographers that took the images you like and see if you can do an online search to get their contact info--if they are legit and reputable, chances are you'll be able to find their website or at least an email address. Contact him/her and state that you saw their work on a stock site and are available if they need models.

Freelance Modeling

For those of you who have been modeling for a while and don't want to just rely on your agent to find you work, freelancing is a great option and one that I've been using for a few years now. This post will also be useful to models who freelance and have no agency representation.

If you have a non-exclusive contract with your agent, this frees you up to do work with other companys without having to worry about agent loyalty. Another perk is that when you freelance your own projects/gigs, you get to keep 100% of the profits...no agency involvement, no percentage!

Be cautious when you begin freelancing and have an idea of what kind of work you want to be booked for and who you want to work with. I've already spoken about Craigslist but this is a good site where many freelance models get the bulk of their gigs.

Choose wisely and only choose projects that are paying. Being a start-up company or working on virtually no budget is an understandable situation but you as a model need to make a living as well, plus because you already have agency representation and a resume, you should demand to be paid what you're worth.

If the gig in question is negotiable when it comes to payment, think carefully about how much you want to charge. Most photo shoots tend to be a few hours long or as short as 1 1/2- 2 hours. For shorter shoots, charge a flat rate and for shoots that will last longer than 3-4 hours, charge hourly. Play around with rates and see what pay you feel comfortable working for.

If a pay rate isn't already set for a gig, I'll charge no less than $75/hour and $200 flat rate, give or take depending on the project and what it involves..but that's me. Some people think that's too high to pay--some think it isn't high enough. Don't worry about people turning you down because of what you charge.

Good, reputable clients are always willing to pay a fair rate for a good model. You get what you pay for so know your worth and start freelancing in your free time. It's an excellent way to continue to build your portfolio and make more money!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Posing in a Studio


Shooting in a studio can be very intimidating and even frustrates me sometimes because you feel restricted.

Unlike being outdoors, most studios are just plain white in background, or some have pull-down backdrops you can work with but it really isn't the same thing. The other thing about studio shooting is that the camera is solely focused on you. Feel the pressure!

You may hate studio shoots or you may love them. If you're having a hard time getting the hang of posing using a studio setting, here are some suggestions that may give you a better experience:

- Try posing with a prop. Using a chair, stool or whatever objects may be laying around the studio can help you find your bearings and are a great way to warm up with your poses.

- Start off slow. Some simple poses to do by yourself without the aide of props include: one hand on your hip with your weight shifted to one leg, so your hip juts out a little bit; putting both hands on your hips and spreading your feet; 3/4 poses are ideal for studio shoots; crossing your arms in front of your chest; turning your back to the camera and looking over your shoulder.

- Sit down. If the studio floor isn't too dirty, sitting down offers you a score of poses--everything from crossing your legs to laying down on your stomach. Not only do these type of poses give your portfolio a dynamic range, but they're comfy, too!

Whether you end up liking studio shoots or not, you need to practice shooting and posing in that environment. Shooting outdoors won't always be an option and for all types of modeling, especially editorial/fashion and commercial/print, the nature of the shoots will call for being in a studio. Make sure you're ready.

Posing Outdoors

I can't tell you how funny it is to see some amateur models strike these poses that just look ridiculous. And I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just being truthful. If you're concerned about how to pose or are worried that you're not good at it, there is help.

The first thing to keep in mind: throw out the images of the models you see in the magazines, on the runway, whatever. Do not try to imitate these poses because they may not work for you. Posing is a huge part, if not the whole part, of a model's job and it needs to come naturally.

You need to be comfortable with your body and develop your own style. Of course, there's nothing wrong with copying poses in the beginning to experiment and see what you look good doing. But once you get to the stage where you're doing more photo shoots, either for your own portfolio or for a gig, you're going to need to start owning your poses.

For me, posing outdoors outside of a studio is very helpful. I love to use other objects or backgrounds to play off of. Being outdoors takes out a lot of the intimidation that shooting in a studio tends to bring. I feel more free and that free-spirited nature definitely comes out in my photos.

Example of having fun while posing outdoors and using your surroundings:



When you're outdoors posing, don't think so hard! Observe your surroundings and make sure to pick certain places or objects you know you can have fun posing with. I guarantee that once you start playing off of the objects around you, you'll be a posing pro without even realizing it!

Be Vain...Look in the Mirror!


Well, I don't really want you to be vain...there are enough divas out there, that's for sure! But what I am talking about is getting comfortable with yourself and knowing what expressions and different looks your face makes, as well as your body.

The best practice any model can do is practice posing and making facial expressions in front of the mirror...in the privacy of your own home, of course, we don't want people thinking you're nuts!

Practice smiling and not smiling in front of the mirror. Note things that bother you and see if there is any way you can fix or tweak it so that you feel comfortable making this facial expression in front of a camera. Or note things you like...maybe you'll come across a facial expression that you like and it could end up being your "signature" look. Maybe you're self-conscious about the way your facial expressions are.

You won't really know unless you are aware of the way you look, smile, mug (not smiling), when you pose. Play around with different angles: tilt your head down, tilt it up, to the side, etc. Note how your profile appears. Maybe you have a larger nose that you're concerned about, but by practicing in the mirror, you may find an angle that's more flattering to your nose. This knowledge will help you feel more at home in front of the camera.

A great way to make this exercise seem less silly or intimidating is by doing your facial expressions in the mirror while playing music. Create different playlists so that you can change up the mood or feel of the expressions and emotions you're trying to convey. Being able to switch the expressions up will be a great asset for you as a model.

If you're busy worrying about how you look or how a certain smile may appear, you'll be too distracted during your shoots to produce quality pictures. Get to know yourself and grandstand in front of the mirror, pose silly, pose seriously...it doesn't matter. All of this is a fun way to assure yourself that when you strike your pose, you know the results will be great!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hair

Okay, we all love to play with our hair, change it up and try out different looks. If this describes you, you might be a little disappointed if you're trying to be a model.

When submitting your photos to agencies, keep in mind the way your hair is. Is it dyed? Highlighted? Cut really short? If you end up getting signed, this look is the one that your agent will want you to keep, especially after you've taken pictures and put together a professional modeling portfolio.

With that in mind, don't submit your photos if you think you may want to change up your hair color or style. Do that first, and then take pictures to submit. It'll help if you don't feel the need to be a chameleon after a few months. Any changes you want to make to your hair have to be run by your agent first.

If you're allowed the change, you also have to redo all your photos because obviously you won't look the same. Or maybe you got signed with your super cute streaks but your agent says they've got to go. Those are also possibilities you need to keep in mind and think about how you would react.

So, if you're actively searching for agency representation, be sure to be comfortable with your hair as it is for a while. Any drastic changes may hurt your chances of either getting an agent or of getting bookings if you have representation.

If your hair is really short and you want to grow it out, explain that to your agent and see if you can compromise. You may be allowed to grow your hair out without having to redo your photos until it gets to a length where it's obvious that your look is different.

In this industry, you are the product of an agency and it's the agent's responsibility to market your look to clients that they feel you would best represent. And sometimes that involves either a makeover you may not think is necessary or having to change yourself to suit their ideal. This all comes with the territory.

For the Fellas


Don't worry, guys, I haven't left you out! Of course, being that I'm not a male model, the posts addressing you may not be as numerous but when I get info that I think will benefit a male model hopeful, I'll post. :)

When it comes to height and weight, well, for the guys the standards are pretty high just like with the female counterparts. Each agency does operate on its own height and weight requirement but here is a pretty standard requirement, according to www.Models.com:

Commercial/Print and Editorial/Fashion Modeling:
- height: 5'9" to 6'2"
- weight: 120 to 170 pounds

It isn't uncommon for agencies specializing in Editorial/Fashion Modeling to bump the height requirement up to a minimum of 5'11".

As far as your weight, men get a little bit luckier on this topic than the ladies, so if you're pretty fit, you should have no problem with weight requirements.

Surprisingly, you don't have to be built like a Chippendale's beefcake. A little tone doesn't hurt but agents look for all body types so don't frustrate yourself with just going for a certain type. The body type you naturally are is the one you should try to maintain unless you get constructive criticism from an agent.

As far as facial hair goes, an agent will tell you if your scruff needs to go or if that's the look they want you to keep. Stay as you are when submitting yourself to agencies. Wait until you're actually interviewing with an agent to ask for suggestions about what you should or should not change about your look to make you more marketable.

Tradeshow/Promotional Modeling


Interested in tradeshow/promotional modeling? Okay, let me fill you in since I have some background in doing this type of modeling. (This kind of work normally is only for those who are 18-21+ years old)

A tradeshow is a convention where advertising companies and other related businesses come together to compare products, share ideas, network and introduce their services to the general public.

Each company has its own booth, where they do everything from presentations, sign up customers for their services, to handing out samples. A popular method is using models to represent a company.

This type of modeling usually requires girls and guys who are very outgoing, have no problem talking to strangers, can learn the product and company info fast so they can educate customers about it, and who are very attractive. Pay rates for these jobs vary between $10-25/hour and higher or agreeing on a flat rate for the number of days you work the event.

Most tradeshows last all day so expect to be on your feet, constantly interacting with the public and repeating the same information over and over. You get a lunch break and may have your meals paid for, depending on what terms you agree to.

Promotional modeling is somewhat along the same lines as tradeshow modeling but you may be representing a company at its own event, pushing a new brand at various venues, etc. For example, promotional companies are always looking to hire good looking guys and girls to promote new brands of alcohol.

These models are sent to various nightclubs in designated cities and required to mingle with the clubgoers, while handing out samples of the product and educating them about the product and/or company. Most promotional modeling requires you to be at least 18, but for anything dealing with alcohol, cigarettes or other adult related products, you must be 21 to be in that environment.

These types of jobs usually give you some kind of uniform to wear, which you either provide yourself (example: black shirt and khaki pants) or they'll provide one for you.

Tradeshow and promotional modeling give models great opportunities for exposure and to mingle with the public. Sometimes you even get free merchandise, which is always cool!

Time For a Change? How to Say Goodbye to an Old Agent and Hello to a New One


If you've already got an agent, good for you, that's definitely a step in the right direction! But what if you're unhappy with your agent or want to move on to a bigger and better agency? Well, there are a few things to keep in mind so that you make the best choice for yourself and your career.

If you're convinced that you're unhappy with your agent, ask yourself, "Why?" Make a list of specific pros and cons. If you're thinking, "Well, my agent just doesn't get me enough jobs," that's actually not a very good reason at all. Modeling is an on-call type of business. Your particular look may be in and it may not be.

Sometimes you have to play the waiting game even when you have legit representation. There are a lot of factors as to why you may not be getting very many gigs or bookings. Talk with your agent and ask what the market looks like right now for your look.

If your agent's good, he or she should be able to tell you about the latest trends that casting agents are looking for. Don't drop an agent without giving them a fair shot. Now if it's been a year and a half and you haven't been getting any bookings...that could be a problem you need to handle.

If you have justifiable reasons for wanting a new agent wait until you actually have another agency interested in you and willing to sign you before you leave your current agent. Take your time seeking out other agencies that interest you and where you think you'll have a shot at being signed. Check the status of your contract with your current agent.

Make sure that you plan to leave when your contract is up...you don't want to get involved in a breech of contract situation, those are just messy. Or if you just can't wait, follow your contract's instructions for how to terminate it. This is usually labeled as the "Exit Clause" or something similar. Typically all it takes is a letter, stating your intent to terminate your contract, effective immediately.

When submitting your photos to other agencies, make sure to remove the name of your current agent on anything you send in (that should be common sense because that's just tacky).

The most important thing to remember about this is to never burn your bridges. Do not bash or trash talk about the agent you're with, or any agency for that matter. Gossip will only make you appear untrustworthy. What goes around comes around, especially in the modeling field so don't be immature about it and taint your career. Part ways with your agent on friendly terms, even if you've had a bad experience with them.

Above all, if you are in any way unhappy with your current representation, TALK to your agent. That's what they are there for. Approach the subject in a professional way and ask questions if you are curious about anything going on or ask them to clarify things that you don't understand. Try to compromise and meet each other halfway. Maybe all it takes is a new portfolio and better photo shoots, who knows?

Before breaking with an agency, exhaust all possibilities. Millions of people seek representation and you're already ahead of the game by having an agent. Don't let your ego or high standards cause you to lose an agent who is more than willing to work for you.

Bathing Suits


Before you know it, summer will be here! Maybe you're deep into your workout schedule or you're still trying to stick to your strict diet. To break up the montony and maybe help you with some planning, I've decided to post some info about bathing suits as they relate to modeling.

The first thing I want to say is that if you are between the ages of 13-16, please do not buy or wear string bikinis. This is just wrong in my book and not appropriate. You have all the time in the world to be sexy so wait until you're actually of age to wear these in photo shoots.

Nothing disturbs agents, and people in general, more than seeing a young girl wearing a bikini that barely covers up what body she has. And even if you're built like an older woman, it's still better to be proper and dress your age.

For teens, tankinis, halters, and one pieces are ideal. And no, I'm not asking you to wear a bathing suit that your granny wore back in the 1920s. There are tons of bathing suits in these styles that are still very cute and trendy and won't make you look old-fashioned. I've seen one piece bathing suits that look hotter than two-pieces!

For the older models, the bathing type is open depending on the look you want to create or what the nature of the shoot is. If you've got it in all the right places, well, you're set. If you're very busty, please don't overdo it with the cleavage. No matter how sexy you're supposed to be, spilling out of your top just isn't cute...you've got huge breasts--we get it!

If you've got unsightly stretch marks on your butt, or upper thighs, opt for a mix and match bathing suit with boyshort bottoms. They offer maximum coverage and are very sexy in a playful way.

Last, think about patterns. Some are way too busy and will draw the viewer's attention immediately to the bathing suit and nothing else. Of course, if you're modeling the bathing suit, then that's fine. If you're doing swimsuit shoots for your portfolio, keep the colors mostly to solids and the patterns to a minimum.

Adding accessories to swimsuit shoots such as earrings, bangle bracelets and sarongs can make any ordinary bathing suit look spectacular! Not to mention that sarongs allow you to play around with more poses and can be the perfect addition to your look.

Some Wardrobe Tips


When it comes to clothes, there are a few things to keep in mind. When submitting your photos to agencies, many of them will tell you that your pictures do not need to be professional. They want to see you as you are without all the glitz and glam and Photoshop.

Here are some tips I feel will help you out when you decide to start sending your photos in and are pretty general (this is in the event that the website doesn't give any specifics about submitting. If they have their own guidelines, then by all means, follow them--duh!)

Every model hopeful should own a baby tee and/or tank top, either regular or with spaghetti straps. These types of tops are very generic and won't take away from your appearance. More importantly, it allows the agent to see your face, neck, top of your chest, shoulders and arms clearly. Keep sleeves, if any, short so they can see your skin tone and skin condition.

Tank tops should be gray (heather gray is a popular shade that should be available anywhere). Try to stay away from black and white. Gray is a happy medium that looks good on all skin tones/complexions. If you have fair skin, stay away from white colored tops because they will make you look paler and likewise, stay away from black colored tops because they cause a very unflattering contrast with your skin. And remember: no logos, patterns, prints or brand names on the shirts! Advertise your favorite brands when you're representing them as a model and are getting paid for it!

Olive skin tones and darker skin tend to look better in white tops but for this purpose, gray tends to bring out the best in your skin and complexion. White on darker or tanner skin tends to make the shirt stand out too much, leaving you in the background. You don't want the agent to focus on your super white shirt--you want them to focus on you!

Wear comfortable jeans that aren't baggy. You're not Britney Spears, so please don't wear pants that are too low on the waist. Your jeans, or shorts, should be comfortable and sit at a decent place on your hips. You won't impress an agent by showing off your Victoria's Secret thong undies, and you definitely won't impress anyone by showing your crack. Yeah, I said "crack", don't be bashful about it because so many girls do this and it just looks horrible.

Keep your wardrobe simple and to the point. Don't let your clothing distract or take away from you in the picture. Save all of your other to-die-for outfits for your photo shoots!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Makeup!


Being a model does involve makeup artists and hair stylists and who doesn't want to be pampered and fussed over? But if you're just beginning, you may not have the money or the resources to have your own entourage. In these types of situations, it's good to know how to do your own makeup.

Let me say that the natural look will always benefit you better when you're putting together your portfolio, especially if you're a teen. Agencies love the youthful, fresh-faced look. Don't scare them off by slapping on too much makeup. If they wanted a 25-year-old model, they'd request one, trust me!

Look your age. That being said, for younger girls between the ages of 13 and 16, please keep your makeup to a minimum. You most likely don't need foundation. Opt for tinted moisturizers. Lip gloss instead of lipstick is ideal and if you choose to wear mascara in your photos, use one coat--no tarantula eyes please!

It's important to know what colors work well with your complexion and what brands will be good for your skin. If you are prone to breakouts or the occasional pimple, learn how to use coverup to make your complexion appear flawless.

Depending on the nature of the photo shoot, you may have to glam up a little bit more than usual. In these instances, you'll obviously have to wear a little bit more makeup. But as a general rule, always remember: less is more.

Men's Magazines


First of all, if you are under 18, this subject definitely does not concern you! ;)

I've gotten questions from some model hopefuls, asking what it takes to be a model in men's magazines such as Maxim, FHM, KING, etc. These are men's magazines and this type of modeling falls under commerical print. The type of models sought out for this type of work can be of any height and weight (that's a plus) and generally are open to all ethnicities.

These models are required to be very sexy and must be comfortable posing in next-to-nothing. Implied nudity is a big factor in this type of modeling. Implied nudity simply means that you are not completely naked but are suggesting that you aren't fully clothed, for example: being topless but holding your hands over your breasts, having your back to the camera while topless, etc.

If you aren't comfortable enough with your body to do these types of shots, then I suggest not pursuing this type of modeling. This type of modeling, when done right and in good taste, can make for very classy photos. Each publication sets the tone of the way they present their models. If you are interested in appearing in these types of publications, skim through different magazines until you find one that suits your style.

For example, magazines such as KING and other black men's magazines, put a lot of emphasis on big butts and heavy-chested women. Maxim on the other hand, is all about the sex appeal of appearing in scantily clad clothing, while FHM tends to actually show partial nudity.

This category of modeling is very risque and adult in nature, and you must go into it with a sense of maturity. There are a number of ways to go about submitting your photos to these publications in the hope of getting a magazine photo shoot. There are photographers who set up photo shoots with models and use the chosen photos to submit on your behalf to the magazine (most photographers have great networking sources and connections that allow them to submit girls they've taken pictures of straight to the magazine itself). For this, playing the waiting game is a big part of it. If the people at the magazine like your look, they'll contact you.

Another option is entering the various modeling contests and competition that these magazines hold each year. Maxim's Hometown Hotties competition is one of the biggest. Of course, this requires you to submit your own pictures and personal info, which will be compared to thousands of other hopefuls. It may not be the best way, but there have been some contest participants who didn't win but were used later on by the magazine for upcoming photo shoots.

You can also go about contacting the magazine yourself. Many of these magazines list their contact info: email, mailing address, etc. Find out who is responsible for booking the talent for shoots and send them an email or letter with a few photos, introducing yourself and ask how to go about submitting your photos for publication. You never know unless you try.

Craigslist


Oh, what to say about craigslist. When it comes to modeling gigs, it can be both good and bad so I'll just give some basic outlines. This particular entry should be read by all young girls who are under the age of 18 and by their parents as well.

Craigslist is comprised of people who are offering services, goods, etc. It's anonymous and you are dealing with strangers. It is easy to be scammed and taken advantage of. When used properly and with caution, Craigslist is an excellent source for getting modeling gigs, among the hundreds of other things that are on there.

There is a section called "Gigs" and under that is a sub-section called "Talent". This is where you will find everything having to do with all types and kinds of modeling. Please note that while there is an "Adult" section dealing with adult modeling and XXX type of stuff, these posts do randomly get posted under the "Talent" section, so be careful as you go through these.

For beginner models looking for ways to expand or start their portfolio, there are tons of great photographers who post on craigslist all the time seeking models to work with for TFP/TFCDs (Remember those? If not, check my post about Model Lingo but it's basically a free photo shoot).

These are great opportunities to get professional shots without having to pay for them. Most photographers will post saying they are looking for models for TFP/TFCDs to add to their portfolio or will list if they are looking for a specific kind of model and what project it's for.

If you are considering working with any photographer from Craigslist, be sure to read over the post carefully and make sure that it is a photo shoot where beginners or models with little to no experience are wanted. Note where the photographer is from (if it's listed) and the nature of the project, if given.

Contact the photographer via the email address given and take things from there. Make sure before you meet up with this photographer, that you've seen their work. When you first contact them, ask to see their portfolio and choose a photographer whose style matches yours and/or the type of look you want to create.

If you're under the age of 18, have your parents arrange the photo shoot with the photographer and make sure that an adult who is over 21 is present with you during the shoot. Any professional, legit photographer will be open to having supervision on the shoot, especially when the model is a minor.

Do not, do not, do not bring one of your girlfriends with you or someone who is under 21, even if they're 18. As I've said before, even up the moment you meet the photographer, this person is a stranger to you and there are a lot of suspicious characters who post on craigslist.

Stay away from photographer posts who say they will do the shoot in their room or personal residence. If they have a studio set up in their home, that's different, but even in this event, take a parent with you to that place first to see if everything checks out.

Craigslist can be a useful tool in networking and building your career but if you are underage and still starting out, be careful and involve your parents. Do not go about trying to get modeling jobs and corresponding with photographers on your own.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Piercings & Tattoos in Modeling


For those of you who want to model and have body piercings and tattoos, be cautious, as these can make or break a potential modeling career.

If you don't have any tattoos or piercings other than your ears, you may not want to rush to get them if you want to model. When you sign with an agency, they will ask you what piercings or markings you currently have on your body. Most ideally would like just your ears to be pierced.

If you have your belly pierced or you have numerous ear piercings, an agent may tell you to take them out while out on shoots or going for auditions. If you don't mind the possibility of your piercings closing up, this shouldn't be a problem. But if it is, then you may not be a happy camper.

Tattoos will usually hurt more than help your modeling career, unless you're into commercial/print modeling, where you can cater to this specific type of audience. You may not get as much work but there are clients out there who need models with real tattoos. If you have a small one that isn't so noticeable, my best advice is to learn how to use makeup to cover it up.

Dermablend is an excellent corrective makeup and coverup line that's not too expensive and comes in various shades to match your skin tone. However, don't lie and not mention it to your agent. Be honest upfront and when they ask to see it, make sure to mention that you know how coverup your tattoos for shoots. If you're sleeved (tattoos that cover your whole arm like the sleeve of a shirt) or you have really big, noticeable or multiple tattoos, you may not have a great chance at getting representation.

Many agents are just not willing to spend the time or money on a makeup artist to completely cover all your tattoos. They can easily opt for the next model hopeful who looks just like you but without the markings and piercings. Just something to keep in mind.

It's one thing to have personal expression through piercings or tattoos but you also need to realize that your agent is trying to fit you into the right categories to market you to. It's not so much of a sacrifice but just realize that once you get representation, you need to be mindful of more than you normally would regarding tattoos and piercings. If you really want to pursue modeling, then hold off. If you already have these markings and piercings, then don't add anymore unless your agent approves it.

Modeling Schools

This is a very touchy topic but everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so I'll post mine.

I believe you can have a successful modeling career without enrolling in a modeling school. There are a number of modeling agencies that frown upon these type of operations for the simple fact that these model hopefuls pay out the nose for training that will not guarantee them representation or a great career. That's the risk factor involved with modeling: it's not guaranteed and is something that either will or will not happen for you. Period.

My reasons for not recommending attending these types of schools is pretty obvious: they charge way too much money, many of them are total ripoffs, in the end you have all this training but it's still ultimately up to you to get an agent.

Many agencies will state that they prefer to sign models that have little to no experience. This gives them the opportunity to mold the model in a way that fits the agency. This also keeps them from having to spend time breaking bad habits. Also, each agency operates differently so it's impossible for a modeling school to teach you all the things you need to know, because it varies.

While you do get the glitz and glamour for a time with photo shoots, auditioning, etc. in the end, you're out of a lot of money. It's so much easier to build yourself up, arrange your own photo shoots and search agencies yourself. But if you are willing to invest the time and money, then so be it.

 For some people, it works better that way and there have been models, actors, etc. who went to modeling schools and had great careers. It's up to you in the end whether you think a modeling school will help your modeling career. I can't say yes or no but in my opinion, I always trust my own efforts than those of someone who has a lot more to gain than I do, especially when money is involved.

The Parents


I've read many posts from aspiring models (mostly girls, although there are a few guys here and there), saying they want to model but aren't sure if their parents will go for it. So I might as well say my piece on this subject in case any of you are in this situation. (And, yes, those are my parents in the photo accompanying this post :D)

First off, for young people between the ages of 13 and 18, while this is a critical age to begin modeling--especially for girls--it is also a critical stage for school and academics. Dealing with school and grades is probably one of the first concerns any parent has.

For girls who get signed to high fashion/runway agencies, depending on the amount of work they get, school isn't a big priority, as these young models spend hours flying from location to location, working show to show and living in model dorms. But for these situations, there are tutors and home schooling options.

These work just fine for models who have gone through it. For commercial/print modeling, the travel is considerably lighter and the demands not as stressful, so it is very possible to balance a modeling career in this field with school life.

Second, parents have to deal with the possibilities of getting you to and from gigs. If you can't drive, this means you'll be spending a great deal of time relying on your parent or guardian to get you where you have to go (of course if your agent is jet-setting you to places, that's a whole other story).

Third, trusting the agent to make the right calls and proper judgement for their child is also a huge concern. Many parents are wary of modeling contracts, reading the fine print, and worrying about how much this is going to cost them and what risks are involved with this kind of profession.

Because all parents are different and I can't say how they'll react, here is some advice I can give to you young models who want to help convince your parents that they should let you model.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Know what kind of modeling you want to do and look up the appropriate agencies in or around where you live. Learn their requirements and make sure that you meet them and are eligible.

REFER TO AGENCY WEBSITES FOR INFO 

These days, agency websites contain so much information aspiring models can learn from. Whether it's the requirements, types of models they represent or bios about the agency and the staff that runs them, knowing how different agencies operate can only help strengthen your case. Your parents will take you a little bit more seriously if you can explain to them what these agencies do and how you fit into the picture.

KNOW YOURSELF

If you're not a great student in school, your parents will more than likely not be too open about letting you participate in modeling--be honest with them about that. If you're a decent student, be prepared to defend yourself and explain how you plan to maintain your grades in the event that you have to leave school for castings, shoots, etc.

LAY OUT A PLAN/LOGISTICS

If you aren't old enough to drive, try to figure out how much driving your parents will need to do to get you to and from gigs, go-sees, castings, etc. If your parents work full-time, figure out who would be available to get you to your gigs.

DECIDE FOR YOURSELF WHETHER YOU WANT TO MODEL FULL OR PART-TIME

A full-time modeling career will most likely include special tutors or home schooling (if your career really takes off) and will come with its own changes in you and your parents' lifestyle. If you want to model part-time, it'll be a great way to get your feet wet and see if it's really something you want to pursue full-time in the future. Part-time modeling is ideal on weekends and after school, which may be more appealing to your parents.

SIT DOWN & BE UP FRONT WITH YOUR PARENTS

Tell them the reasons you want to model, how much work and effort you're willing to put into it and discuss the what-ifs. Go over the worst case and best case scenarios. Assure them that this is something you really want to do and that you need them to be supportive if you make it and to be equally, if not more supportive, if you don't make it.
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In the end, realize that underage models deal with situations and a lifestyle that regular young people don't and parents need to be prepared and ready to deal with that. If your parents decide they don't want you to model, don't hold that against them. They have their reasons.

As much as it may disappoint you, wait until you're a little bit older and when you have more leverage, such as finishing high school, etc. Then try to bring up the subject again. Who knows how they'll react? But if you've done your homework on the modeling industry, what it takes and what route you plan to go, that can make all the difference.

Don't Change


Many aspiring models think that they have to change the way they look or tweak themselve in order to impress an agent and get signed. That couldn't be further from the truth. If you've been scouted or signed to an agency, don't do a thing to change your appearance.

Even if you think your hair looks funky or your eyebrows aren't shaped enough, your agent hired you as you were for a reason. They liked what they saw. With that being said, if you've been signed or are being considered for representation, don't do any great makeovers or fancy stylings in an attempt to look even better to them.

Doing that may hurt your chances and can make a difference between being signed or not. Trust the people who work at the agency--they're professionals and know what they're looking for. Don't add insult to injury by walking into their offices looking totally different (or even slightly different) than when they first met you.

This will cause them to not only question your motives but whether they are seeing the real you. What aspiring models have to understand is that agents want to hire you based on your looks but also your personality and the amount of self-confidence you carry yourself with. They want to know that you're comfortable as is. When you start developing your portfolio, you'll be made-up and dolled up with hair stylists and makeup artists. It's their job to worry about how to achieve the right look for you.

So be happy that you've been selected for consideration and take things from there. Wait for your agent to go over what they think needs to change physically, whether it's hair, makeup up, whatever. Don't try to read their minds and do it yourself. Once you've been signed and have been doing work, if you decide you want a change, please consult with your agent first! Dyeing your hair or cutting it into a new style means you have to do whole new headshots and portfolio pictures.

This will be your agent's call to decide whether to let you do it or not. And if they decide to not let you or if they change your hair or whatever else and you don't like it, you have to realize that this is a part of the business that you signed up for. There is trust that needs to develop between talent/model and agent. You can't get something without giving something in return and unless you're ready to truly fulfill that, don't waste an agent's time.

Basically, be yourself and don't try to mold yourself into what you see in the magazines prematurely. Let your agent decide the best route for you and communicate with them each step of the way so that you both get the most out of your working relationship.

Not Just Anyone Can Do It

While having a conversation with my boyfriend/photographer, he brought up the time we did a shoot out on Ocean Beach. He had given me his camera because I said I wanted to take a picture of him. He hated the way he looked and this led to our present conversation.

He told me how much more respect he has for models because it wasn't until he was standing on the other end of the camera that he realized that modeling is more than just smiling at the camera.

If modeling was as simple as that, we'd all be doing it. It really is a type of art and the role that models play in front of the camera is an experience that can only be described accurately for those who have done it. For some models, being in front of the camera allows them to morph into this other persona. Depending on what the shoot is for, you need to become that idea or embody the mood.

These all come across in pictures, which is why I, as a working model, refuse to do photo shoots if I'm not in the mood. If I'm not inspired, it will show in the photos and those are the worst kind of pictures to take. Now, if I was being paid to model full-time, I can guarantee you I'd be in the mood to shoot 24/7! But because I do it part-time right now, I'm picky about the shoots I do, when I do them and who I work with. And that's okay.

Being in front of the camera, for me, is exhilarating because I feel free. When the lens is pointed my way, I feel like the greatest sex symbol, the sexiest woman alive. And that's not to say I have a huge ego, but you do need the self-confidence to be able to truly believe that you are beautiful. You literally seduce the camera. And not everyone knows how to do that without feeling stupid or self-conscious.

Maybe looking at those ads in the magazines or whatnot seem like easy shots but those select few that make it into the publication come from a mass of hundreds of similar photos. They may all look the same, but trust me, each one has its own personality, its own nuance. And it's no easy task to choose just the right one. And the model is responsible for bringing life to those photos and for making them stand out from all the others.

Posing takes practice, time, concentration and inspiration. And not just anyone can bring all of that to the camera. Models definitely deserve credit where credit is due because only a select few are blessed with just the right mixture of looks and talent to pull it off seamlessly.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Body Talk


For you young, aspiring models out there, please don't be so fascinated by the air-brushing and Photoshop techniques that are so obvious. In terms of health and fitness, it's easy to say, "Hey, I want to have a body like Giselle!" But that's easier said than done.

First off, please realize that using supermodels as examples of body types you want to have is pretty unrealistic and setting too high of a standard for yourself.

Start off slowly with getting fit and trying to get a hard, toned body. Know that it won't happen overnight and you have to be disciplined and dedicated to whatever exercise and diet plan you are on.

Sure, we'd all like to have bodies like the ones found on the inside of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition but you also have to keep in mind:

1) More than likely, these women were born naturally thin. Because of their genetics, they inherited their body types and their height. If such genetics don't run in your family, then realize that this makes it very hard for you to attain the same body type.

2) For a majority of these women, they model full-time and get paid well to do their job. This allows them access to the highest profile fitness resources that most of us couldn't afford if we started saving money at the age of 2.

3) They are required to maintain their height and weight at all times, and live a life centered around a healthy lifestyle. Unlike us, they hardly have to worry about going to school, working a boring 9-5 and dealing with common, everyday stresses. This gives them all the time to focus on their bodies and health.

4) These women have expert trainers who aren't cheap and have them committed to daily, if not weekly, workout sessions.

5) With the money they make, these models are able to afford the best chefs or health foods around. And they have access to these types of healthy meals 24/7 and have the money to maintain their unique eating habits for as long as they need to.

Now with keeping all those factors in mind, it should be easy to see why it is unrealistic to use them as examples of how your body should look. If you're not over 5'8", chances are you will never look like them in the first place, no matter how hard you try.

Please don't think I'm discouraging anyone. I just want you young girls to realize the reality of the situation and with that in mind, I will tell you this: be healthy, exercise regularly, eat a balanced and well-portioned diet. Don't compare yourself to someone who has an entirely different body type than you. Do exercises that fit you and suit your lifestyle and stick to it.

By all means, be healthy because that is an important step in having a healthy mind going into the modeling world. But in order to be good at it, you have to believe in your body image and the way that you were made. Don't let anybody else--the media, the latest "it" model, other girls, etc.--dictate how you should look and how you should improve yourself. Do it because you want to and pick a celeb or someone who has a simliar body type as you and work to achieve that level of fitness and results. It can only help you in the long run.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Modeling Is More Than Being Pretty


It's so interesting to me that young girls are always asking if they're pretty enough to model. I wish I could make them see the reality that it takes more than looks to be a model.

Obviously, the physical aspect is the first thing that will get you in the door, but there's more that comes afterwards. The world of modeling is filled with superficiality and intense competition. Out of the millions of girls and young ladies who try out to be models, only about 1% make it to the Tyra, Gisele level.

All looks aside, it takes attitude and self-confidence to be a successful model. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and accept every good and bad thing about your body and appearance. If you love yourself, that's half the battle.

For you model-hopefuls out there, ask yourself these questions:

1) Can I handle rejection from an agent or a gig?

2) How would I handle multiple rejections?

3) Do I think I'm fat?

4) Am I insecure in any way?

5) If I was in a room with other models, all competiting for the same gig, how would I be feeling? Nervous, insecure, jealous, confident?

6) How much time and effort am I willing to put into modeling?

7) Do I want to model full-time or part-time as a hobby?

8) Would I let success change me as a person?

9) Am I willing to travel?

There are so many other questions you need to ask yourself but knowing that it takes a level of self-confidence to have a successful career in modeling will help you stand out from the crowd. Be prepared for scrutiny from people who don't want anything to do with you unless you're exactly what they're looking for. Be prepared to be friends with fellow models who are also your competition.

There is so much more to modeling than the physical part. It's up to you as an individual to decide if you have more than the looks to measure up to high standards and set yourself apart from the rest.