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, June 20, 2007

Latest Pictures From Agency Shoot


So I finally got the images back from my photo shoot that I did for my agency. I received a link to an online gallery to look at the proofs, but I will also be getting a CD of the full-resolution images for my own personal use.

First the photographer, Brooke Duthie, has to send the CD to my agency in San Francisco so they can start choosing which images they'll use for my comp card and for my portfolio on FORD's website. After they're done with that, they'll mail me the CD, which I can then use for whatever I want.

I made sure to ask what the photographer's policy was when it comes to using the images on the Internet for my personal portfolio. I was told that the images were mine to do whatever and that they weren't picky about how I used them online. However, they did mention that while I don't have to, they would appreciate it if I gave the photographer proper credit for the photos, whether it was his name on the image in small font or mentioned somewhere on the page where the image is displayed.

I loved the images we got, so it is no trouble for me at all to put the photographer's name on all the images I intend to use online. Give credit where credit is always due.

Now I'm just crossing my fingers and waiting to see which ones FORD likes and will use. From there, it'll hopefully only be a matter of time before I start getting bookings for magazines, catalogs and other print work. Wish me luck!

Here are a few of my favorite ones from the shoot...enjoy!





Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Latest Photo Shoot: Stickie Brand Clothing


I'm really excited about my latest shoot. One of the photographers I have been working with recently, asked me if I'd be interested in being one of the models for a women's clothing line, Stickie Brand. Of course I said yes and we set up a shoot in his studio this past Sunday.

I visited the Stickie Brand clothing line website and absolutely love their stuff. Really simple tees and tank tops that can easily be worn as casual or dressed up with some accessories for a more trendy, urban look.

The company is in the process of redesigning its website to update their new items so they wanted to have images to work with ASAP. I did two outfits for the first shoot, which were an orange baby tee with light colored jeans and heels and a brown tank top with dark jeans and the same shoes.

We played around with a couple of poses and facial expressions ranging from full-on smiles and laughs to flirty smirks and the famous sexy pout.

I only did two outfits that day to start with so the photographer could submit them to the company for their approval. Luckily, they LOVED my photos and were very impressed with the way they turned out. The photographer said they were very interested to know who I was and want me to come back and do future shoots for their line! I'm hoping I'll build a great working relationship with them that can lead to other opportunities, such as being the company spokesmodel, brand representative, etc.

This is why it is important to network with photographers and keep in touch with them. Each time you create a great shooting experience with a photographer, that makes you memorable to them. This increases your odds of being referred to a client for future work and getting more exposure.

I'll be sure to update this post to include more photos as they become available. I'm scheduled for another shoot for Stickie Brand that is supposed to include a handful of other models next Sunday so I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Location, Location, Location!


This is for my models shooting outdoors. I've already made a post about doing poses when shooting outside but I wanted to share some more information about why location is so important and what to expect when scouting locations for your next shoot.

Aside from being able to play off of objects and your surroundings, a good location can establish the perfect theme for a model and photographer. Modeling has become quite an adventure for me when it comes to finding places to shoot with the photographers I work with.

Sometimes they will already have a few locations in mind or they'll want to completely go on the fly and find places to shoot the day of. This isn't really a bad thing at all. Sometimes the best photos come from spontaneous shoots in locations you would never have thought of before.

So if you're new to the modeling game and you're driving around with the photographer (or following him/her in your own car) and you seem to be doing nothing but aimlessly driving around instead of shooting, don't take that as a sign of them not knowing what they're doing...it's all a part of the process! :)

Here are some examples of shoots I've been on where being on location wasn't so simple and came with some risks:

Our photographer got inspired and decided to have us climb the top of this tanker, which was so high up in the air, I was scared I was going to fall off! Note the 4-inch heels...definitely not a cakewalk!



This is the shoot where a security guard approached us and told us that if we weren't gone by the time he came back around in 10 minutes, there would be legal consequences.



If you already have a location picked out, then great. But the real fun comes when you and the photographer are driving around. If you are going to be in this situation, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1) Don't pick the prettiest places to shoot: The photo should be of you. It usually isn't a good idea to choose a busy location that takes away from you in the picture. You should be able to stand out easily. Never let the background take away from your place in the photo, unless there is a specific look you and the photographer are going for.

2) The ugliest places can look amazing in a photo: Alleys, warehouses, places littered with some trash, fences, all of these come across beautifully when photographed the right way with a model. Be open-minded if your photographer picks a place that is less than glamorous to pose in.

3) Be prepared to walk: Not all of the places you'll shoot at outdoors are going to be easy to get to. Outdoor shoots can involve locations where you'll basically be hiking up hills, through dust, sand and other debris. Wearing heels may not be the best during these times so if you know you'll be footing it to a location, throw on some durable sneakers. Don't worry about how you'll look...you only need to look pretty in the photos, not getting to the location!

4) Scout locations carefully: When driving around, keep in mind the colors you're wearing and how it will photograph. Avoid choosing a location where you'll blend into the background or that will match the outfit you have on in terms of color or pattern. Shooting photos where there is shade will eliminate harsh shadows so don't pick a building or background that is out in the sun...this makes for the most difficult lighting.

5) You may be breaking the law: Seriously! There have been too many times when the photographer and I have shot at locations that were private property (railroads, train stations, the back of businesses, on someone's farmland). I don't condone breaking these laws, but if you have the perfect location that you just have to shoot at, get in and get out as fast as you can.

I've been approached by a security guard during a shoot who didn't write us a ticket or arrest us but he made it clear that if we were caught there again, there would be legal consequences so always be mindful of where you're shooting.

6) When shooting in front of someone's house, always ask permission beforehand: It's better that they know ahead of time and even if they say "no", that's better than shooting on their property on the sly and then getting caught. If they're not home, then it's fair game in my opinion. Just make these kinds of decisions wisely.

7) If possible, don't shoot in public places: Sometimes it can be fun to be the center of attention while out on a shoot but people tend to be very distracting and think it's fun to make a spectacle of themselves during your shoot. If you have to shoot somewhere where there are people present (shopping mall, restaurant, neighborhood, etc.), plan your poses ahead of time and execute them as fast as you can.

Never linger because then you'll never get people to leave you alone. It's not easy to pose when people are asking you what you're posing for, are bugging the photographer to ask where they can get copies and so forth.

Once a photographer and I just had to shoot in front of this brick wall that was on a busy street. So many people drove by whistling and making comments that the photographer quickly hustled me out of sight (and I wasn't wearing anything skimpy--just a cute pair of black shorts and a green tank top!).

Still Waiting on Your Photos?

This post is for the models who have already done a shoot with a photographer and still haven't received their images, whether it was through TFP, TFCD or any other type of shoot.

This can be a very frustrating situation and one where you need to be aware of how you react because above all things you still want to remain professional.

When shooting with a photographer, make sure it is understood exactly how things are going to work when it comes to getting your images from the photographer. Most photographers will have your images ready for you within one (1) week after shooting with you.

Keep in mind that photographers are busy people, some with a full-time job during the week in addition to their photography and others who do photography full-time and keep a busy calendar/schedule. Most times a photographer will not give you a timeline they know they cannot meet.

Be sure to discuss the method of pick-up. Are they going to snail mail you a CD of the images? Are they going to email them to you? Are you going to pick it up from them in person? These details need to be ironed out and agreed upon by the end of the shoot to avoid any delays.

Of course, things don't always turn out as planned. If you still have not received your photos by the deadline the photographer tells you, give him/her a call or shoot an email asking when would be a good time to talk about getting the photos from them. You may have to make different arrangements so keep your options open and take the photographer's schedule into consideration as well.

In my professional opinion, two (2) weeks is the longest any model should have to wait to receive their images. Don't quote me on that and cuss out the photographer if you've been waiting that long, it is just my opinion. I've actually been waiting almost a month for some prints I was supposed to get but I am going to be shooting with that photographer later on this weekend and I do plan to have those prints before I leave that day! ;)

While it can be very irritating and frustrating to be put on hold for pictures, you do not want to come across as unprofessional or with a bad attitude. Be polite when you email or talk to the photographer and let them know that having the photos on time is very important to you. Don't be a bug-a-boo and harrass the photographer by loading up their inbox or voicemail with multiple messages no matter how upset you may be (easier said than done, trust me, I know).

In the worst case scenario, you may never get your photos, which is likely to happen. In this case, it's better to cut your losses and just suck it up. And if it takes months for you to get your images from a photographer, you may want to avoid working with them in the future. Do not burn your bridges. Instead, bow out gracefully.

TFP vs. TFCD


Doing TFPs and TFCDs are a great way to build up your portfolio at no cost to you. If you aren't familiar with what these are, they are basically a free trade of services between the model and photographer. No money is exchanged, only the time needed to produce the images.

Note that TFP means "time for prints" and TFCD means "time for CD." The two are not the same so pay very close attention to what kind of shoot you are signing up for when dealing with these two.

Each person has their own preference on which one they like best. Some people prefer TFPs because they want to add to their book (this is especially true for fashion/editorial models), while others like the freedom that comes with having all of the images on CD for them to use as they please, whether it's for their website, portfolio, etc.

One isn't necessarily better than the other. Pick the one that best suits your needs. Personally, I prefer TFCDs because I do a lot of my own photo retouching in Photoshop, not to mention the fact that it's always hard for me to just pick a handful of photos I like. With TFPs, you only get a few images that you and the photographer choose. 5 is usually the magic number but honestly, I need more than just 5 images for my website.

Many photographers prefer TFPs because then they don't have to worry about their images floating around on the Internet and people copying and using them without permission. Most photographers don't care what you do with your prints once you get them. Sometimes they'll also give you the same selected images for print on a CD as well, but it'll usually only be those chosen images.

On the other hand, some photographers feel it saves them a lot of time if they can just burn you a copy of the CD, since they still get to use the images they want for their own portfolios. So if you choose to work a TFCD with a photographer, be sure to ask if they have any guidelines when it comes to copyrights and if they require that their name appear on the image or not.

Some photographers don't care what you do with the photos or where they appear but there are many who have very strict rules about what needs to appear on the image itself when used online so they get the credit and people won't abuse use of the photo.

Anytime you plan to do a TFP or TFCD, research the photographer beforehand and make sure they shoot the type of looks and themes that you'll be able to use in your portfolio. Schedule a face-to-face meeting ahead of time before you shoot so the two of you can get to know each other and talk in more detail about the concept of the shoot. This avoids confusion or lack of communication when it's game time.

These types of shoots are great because they save you money and allow you to network with various photographers but at the same time, if you choose someone who doesn't fit your needs or doesn't do quality work, this free photo shoot can turn into a waste of your time as well as the photographer's. And there's nothing worse than having a batch of useless images.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Shopping With a Stylist


If you ever have the opportunity to prep for an upcoming photo shoot by shopping with the stylist assigned to that shoot, do it! You don't have to become a fashion guru to be a model, but it helps to know what colors and patterns look good on you and photograph well.

 Most stylists are really eccentric and like to put you in outfits that may be out of your comfort zone. Again, modeling does not mean catering to your tastes so just go with the flow.

While shopping with the stylist, be open-minded. Don't be outright disagreeable or put your thumbs down at an outfit they put together that you don't like. That's just rude and disrespectful. Chances are you'll already know what theme the shoot is for so the stylist will have to work within those limits.

At the same time, don't feel like you have to be fake and say that you love everything they pick out. Take some risks with the clothes you try on and try to see things from the stylist or photographer's point of view.

Don't be surprised if you wind up getting more clothes than needed. Even if you only need 3 looks, it's normal to buy 4 to 5 outfits. Sometimes the photographer may not like a particular outfit you and the stylist have put together and may want to suggest switching certain pieces of clothing out. It's always easier to have more to work with than to be limited by having less.

If your agency is footing the bill for the shopping spree with the stylist, that's great but if you're coming out of pocket for this expense, don't worry. If you are concerned about your budget, prior to making the shopping arrangements with the stylist, ask him/her about the possibility of returning the items you purchase that you know you won't wear again. It's not uncommon to keep the tags on the clothes during the photo shoot--posing so the tags are blocked from the camera or Photoshopping them out of course--so that it is easier for you to return them afterwards.

Be sure to communicate with your stylist and get comfortable with him/her. They'll most likely ask you what kind of clothes you normally wear, what colors you have in your current wardrobe, what items of clothing you have already available to bring to the shoot, etc. Let them know what you're used to and what you haven't tried yet. The stylist will not force you to wear something you don't like. It's always best when each item chosen is favored by both people.

A stylist is there to make sure you look amazing in your photos so trust him/her. They are there for a purpose and it's to make you look good. If you are returning your purchases, don't wait too long and note each store's return/refund policy. Keep all receipts together as well.

Some Random Helpful Tips

So I was thinking about random modeling things--why, I don't know...lol--and I came up with some tips that can be very helpful when it comes to the hours before a photo shoot.

 Some of them are common sense but you'd be surprised at how scatter-brained you can get when you have a shoot to prepare for. Some of these tips are pretty miscellaneous but I've found them to be very useful:

Wear the right underwear. To be on the safe side, always wear thong or g-string underwear. This obviously is to eliminate any unsightly panty lines. It also helps if you aren't sure what outfits you're going to be wearing so the photographer doesn't have to spend extra time using Photoshop to erase peek-a-boo undies, or take extra time during the shoot to tuck it in.

Bring more than one pair of undies and make sure you have them in the following colors: nude, white, black. Stick to material that is soft and doesn't show through. Don't bring underwear that has prints or other types of patterns on them. Silk underwear works great as well as cotton. If you have lace underwear check to make sure the lace pattern/embroidery doesn't show through the clothes, especially if you have to wear a form-fitting outfit.

The clothes you wear when you arrive at the photo shoot should be loose and comfy. This will prevent imprints from your clothes onto your skin. For example, if you wear jeans or jean shorts and are driving or riding in a car, your clothes tend to dig into your skin, leaving you with telltale marks when you get undressed.

Usually it takes a few minutes for them to go away but you don't want your skin to look marked and weird...plus the key is to save the photographer extra time touching up your photos. Wear sweats, or other types of jogging pants that won't cause these imprints.

Don't wear deodorant. Unless you've got the perfect one that won't come off on your clothes, skip it. You don't want to take the chance of streaking up the outfits you put on, especially with dark clothing. So for the time being, don't use deodorant prior to your shoot...if you've already showered or bathed then you should already smell like a rose anyway!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Male Model Posing With a Female Model

All right, fellas, shooting with a beautiful female model may seem like a dream come true but before you get too carried away with the idea, remember that you're there to do a job. And it may not be as easy as you think.

If you've never posed with a female model before, don't worry about being nervous, that all comes with the territory. Don't be afraid to speak to your female modeling partner. The better you get to know her before and during the shoot, the better your photos will turn out and the more comfortable you'll be while posing.

There's nothing wrong with asking if it's okay to put your hand somewhere, like her thigh or around her waist. If the model you're posing with is already experienced, she won't even give it a second thought. Ask her about her modeling experiences and if she's used to modeling with a male model. That will help you learn her comfort zone.

Avoid looking like you're posing. Couple shots with a male and female model should look like the photographer captured the moment without the two of you being aware, unless you're looking at the camera of course. Look into her eyes and hold her like she's the woman of your dreams.

If there's a height difference (although that's highly unlikely, since those type of shoots make sure the models are both within the same height range) try to do poses that won't make her look like a dwarf compared to you.

At a loss for poses? Start experimenting. Sometimes action shots look great if done the right way. Try leading her by the hand and walking towards the camera. Think of the cute little gestures guys do to their girlfriends: kissing her hand, holding her chin in your fingers, throwing your arms around her, etc. Even the smallest gestures can carry the picture.

At the same time, don't be afraid to look at the camera. One way to capture a variety of looks with limited poses can be done as follows:

1) You looking at the camera while the she is looking somewhere else:


2) You looking at her while she's looking at/towards the camera:



3) Both of you looking at each other:



4) Both of you looking away from the camera:




5) Both of you looking at the camera:


6) You looking away while she looks at the camera:



Don't be afraid to take the lead and at the same time, don't be afraid to let your female partner switch things up and take the lead from you. When you're in charge, make sure you are in the forefront of the picture with your female partner a little behind you. This illustrates the perfect balance of the male taking charge with the female following behind, but not in a way that she is beneath the male model.

Examples of male model taking the lead:




The key for male models posing with female models is to know how to switch up the mood and attitude. Be sure you can easily make the transition from manly man, to romantic sweetheart. You and your female modeling partner should be able to pose as one and not two entirely separate entities. Don't leave her out of your poses and to change things up, smile or laugh.

Female Model Posing With a Male Model

Ladies, this is where being a model definitely pays off! If you've never posed with a male model before, it's something you need to get used to doing. Not only does experience shooting with another model look great for your portfolio but it also helps to build up your people skills.

Not all models go solo on their shoots and if you have the right chemistry, any couple photo with a male and female model can turn out amazing.

If you're a shy person, throw all your insecurities out the window. The camera will capture any hesitancy or awkwardness between you and the male model. Just because you're posing with a man, does not mean the shoot or poses are going to get freaky. The model will respect your boundaries but you also have to keep in mind that the two of you have to capture moments as if you are the most perfect couple in the world.

Get to know your partner in the beginning of the shoot. Joke and play around as if you've known him for a long time. If you can act naturally and be comfortable with him then this will come across in your photos. When it comes to poses, there will be touching. This doesn't give him the green light to cop a feel so if you're iffy about people touching you, don't worry.

This is a job after all and you're there to sell the image, not your personal beliefs about how you feel about a guy touching you. Learn to get comfortable holding each other in an embrace. Don't be afraid to look him in the eye. Eye contact shows intimacy and when the camera captures that, it's magic.

Here's a great example of how eye contact adds to the romance of the image:


If either of the models had been turning away from each other, say to face the camera, that bond would have been broken and the vibe wouldn't have been the same.

There are ways to pose with a male model where it doesn't have to be so sexual. Often the best poses are the ones that are simple but still maintain that male/female connection.

Here's an example of a simple but fun pose:



When all else fails, use the location of the shoot to come up with suitable poses for you and your modeling partner. Play off of random objects and don't forget to keep your model composure. Swinging on a ladder may seem like the perfect pose but if you don't maintain your model stance, the picture will look awkward. When coming up with poses, play off each other and see what works. Don't just try to come up with good poses, come up with poses that will photograph well. There is a difference.

Great example of poses where the models use their surroundings:





Posing with a male model can be super fun if you have the right chemistry. When you look into his eyes, picture your boyfriend, favorite male celeb or your secret crush. For that moment in time, the male model you're posing with is your true love and to be successful in this type of shoot, you have to push that attitude and sell that image. When people look at your photo, you want them to see two people madly in love, not two models. And it can be done with enough practice.

Just because you're getting close with a male model doesn't mean you're cheating on your boyfriend...this is a part of your job, just like when Hollywood actors do a love scene. This doesn't mean you're degrading yourself or anything negative like that.

 If you've got an excellent photographer and both you and your posing partner know each other's comfort zones, there should be no reason you can't pull off a series of couple shoots that you can be proud of and wouldn't be afraid to show other people, including your significant other (unless they have jealousy issues, then those photos are best left to your eyes only...lol).

If you're a prude or really old fashioned, learning this skill will make or break your modeling career so get out of your comfort zone and learn to fall in love with a beautiful stranger for a day!