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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Friday, August 31, 2007

Dania Denise in a Fashion Show? (Update #2)

Okay, so you know how in the post below I was talking about participating in a small, local fashion show for a college? Yeah, well it turns out that the show isn't going to be so small...it's being held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in CA and is expecting a turnout of 600 people! There are going to be 43 models--including yours truly...YAY!--with four outfit changes.

Even though we won't be getting paid, we get 50% off 5 tickets so my friends and family can get in for only $5.00. And there is already going to be a photographer taking pictures at the event and I will be getting a CD of the high resolution images for my portfolio use. Score! My boyfriend says he still plans on taking pictures of me anyway so hey, I get two great shoots in one! Sweet!

The fitting tonight went really well. I arrived at the school and met with the show coordinator and she gave me four outfits to try: a long, slinky and form-fitting crushed velvet black and burgundy dress that flared out at the bottom, silky purple pants and a black sleeveless top, a light and flowy summer dress with matching belt and a golden dress that is marilyn monroe style.

Unlike other times when I've tried on clothes for a designer, only to have them not fit me right and totally disgust the designer, this time around was completely the opposite! I can't tell you how amazing it felt to walk into the room and have the fashion show coordinator clap her hands and jump up and down because she was so pleased with how I fit everything. She was so excited, which definitely excited me. So I have my four outfits all set.

I have a dress rehearsal on Saturday, September 8th and the actual show is going to take place on Sunday, September 16th. The show itself is going to be huge with a lot of lighting, tech, and special effects. Each model is going to walk up two short flights of stairs and come to a small platform.

We'll be standing behind a huge white screen and when the light hits the screen, the designer's name will appear as well as the model's name and then we're going to strike a pose, so the audience will only see our silhouette. Then the lights will cut out and we'll go back down the stairs and then appear on the catwalk. She compared the look to "Project Runway." How cool is that?

So needless to say, I am giddy and totally excited about this show! Luckily, I do have some fashion/runway experience but I am positive that this is going to turn out a million times better than the past shows I've done, where I had a negative experience. I can't wait to get the photos from the event and share them with you here!

Wish me luck and for all you gals under 5'8", I'll proudly be representing you all!

Dania Denise in a Fashion Show?

Hmmm...little ole 5'4" me tearing up the runway? Thought you'd never hear that, huh? Okay, so it's for a college fashion show which isn't exactly New York Fashion Week or anything to brag about, but hey, it's still a fashion show and one that I'm actually volunteering for...yep, no pay. Hard to believe, I know! But I do make exceptions to the rule.

While I don't care for fashion shows and the runway scene normally, this sounds like a fun event that will help Brooks College in CA showcase their students' work. Plus, any fashion show that has an open height requirement is one that I will usually want to do, since it's always nice to work with folks who aren't so snobby about how "tall" and "runway" are always together like PB&J and are open to working with shorter models. haha.

Last night I was actually practicing my runway walk in my 4 inch heels from Victoria's Secret (they're way sexy, thank you very much!) and I have no problems strutting my stuff in those high heels so I'm confident that I will do well against the taller gals.

I'll be going to the final fitting tonight at the college to see what styles and clothes fit me and hopefully they will decide to book me for the show, which will be Sunday, September 16th.

Hah, I LOVE having a photographer as a boyfriend! If I do get booked for this show, in lieu of monetary compensation, I am going to have my boyfriend photograph the event in order to get some hot runway shots of me for my portfolio. How cool would that be? See, there's method to the madness.

Anytime I do a free event, I always find some way to benefit so getting images of me in action will give me a great opportunity to not only get more experience with fashion/runway but to also add those images to my freelance portfolio. It doesn't matter if you've done huge shows or local ones, they all amount to real-life experience so if anyone asks if you have runway experience, don't think that doing small shows don't count because they do so proudly say, "Yes, I know how to do runway!"

I'll be sure to keep you all posted if I do end up doing the show.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Few New Things On Here...

Okay, so I finally took the time to figure out some features and other things I could add to my blog to make things easier for my readers out there. As you'll see, on the right-hand side of the page is a Google search box. You can search for anything either on Google or on my blog. So if you are looking for a post I've written about "casting calls" or "agencies" (for example) just type it into the search box and it'll show all my past posts that contain those keywords. It's a really great way for you to find more posts that you may not have read yet. So hopefully that helps.

The other features and links are just there to help me make some extra change on the side using Google AdSense if any of you are familiar with it. I don't know if anyone would actually click on any of the links but I tried to pick stuff that related to this site...not sure how accurate Google is going to keep it though...I guess we'll see. :) I put up a shopping cart link that I believe is near the bottom of the right-hand side of the page, after the paragraph telling more about me. I chose body care, hair and skin care and some other online goodies that I thought people visiting this blog may want to check out.

Any feedback, good or bad, is definitely appreciated so feel free to shoot me an email or IM me on Yahoo Messenger. Remember, if you have any questions or want me to do a post on a certain topic, emailing me is the best way to communicate instead of putting it in the comments section.

So that's the update on me. Working on a couple new things and I'll be sure to have some new posts up soon.

Dania Denise

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Being a Full-Time Model vs. a Model With Other Interests

This post was inspired by a forum convo I had with another model. While venting about how I hated having to turn down a well-paying gig because of my new full-time job, she replied, "Well if you get so many well-paying gigs, then why don't you just do that full-time?"

That got me to thinking about how many young girls, models or not, have this misconception that once you're a model, that's it and there's nothing else. In a perfect world, all models could model full-time and not have to get a regular 9-5. But this is far from a perfect world, as we all know.

For those of you who would have asked me the same question, ask yourselves this: do you really believe that modeling is the end-all and be-all of life? Do you believe that modeling is a 100% foolproof way of not ever needing a real job?

Just a little reality check: not all modeling gigs pay well. If you're lucky enough to get a handful of gigs a month, then yes, you stand to make really good money. But even modeling has its dry spells. Certain looks are only "in" during certain times of the year, so it isn't uncommon for a model to have to get a part-time or full-time job in order to support themselves and pay bills.

Younger models who still live at home or are in high demand and are pampered by their agents don't have to deal with this as often if at all. Definitely enjoy that while you can because once you get out on your own, it's very rare that modeling alone will make the cut when it comes to paying bills and other living expenses.

What many models lack nowadays is common sense. Yes, it did hurt to have to turn down a well-paying gig so that I didn't get in trouble at my new job, but on the flip side, what good would it have done me to accept the gig and in turn, lose a well-paying, salaried job?

While I would have the print job on my resume and a few hundred dollars in my bank account, I would have been out of a permanent, stable job that paid thousands of dollars a paycheck. See where the common sense plays in?

So don't be naive and think that if a model has a regular full-time job in addition to modeling, that they aren't successful as a model. Modeling has an expiration date on all of its models and no one is an exception to the rule...especially since not all of us make it to supermodel status that affords longer job security than other models.

I would never want to be a full-time model who only lived in that bubble. It's much more of a benefit to me to be a "smart" model who has other interests and passions that allow me to do more with my life. My full-time job involves journalism, which is one of the careers I am passionate about and that will take me far as a backup when modeling doesn't work out anymore.

If you're going to be a model, so be it, but be a smart one that has other fields of interest to keep you going. Ignorant models who fulfill the stereotype are never appreciated in my book. Just because you're a model doesn't mean you have to act like one. No one wants to live paycheck to paycheck or not know where their next source of income is going to come from.

 Modeling does involve pounding the pavement and hard work, but I've paid my dues and while I may have to turn down a gig here and there, I'm still able to make good money doing something I love that will still be around long after my looks have faded and no one wants me to pose in front of a camera anymore.

Photoshop & Retouching Pictures

I personally love Photoshop. Not just because it helps with retouching pictures, but because I actually know how to use it. But there is a bad side to Photoshop, which is what this post is all about.

It is one thing to use Photoshop in order to create a cool effect (like the photo associated with this post) or to magically get rid of a zit or other small detail...but it is another thing to use Photoshop to make yourself appear flawless is every photo you take! This may seem harmless but could prove disastrous in a worst-case scenario.

Photoshop and photography have gone hand-in-hand for some time now. At first using this software program was limited to just the photographers who needed to retouch images to meet the client's standards. However, more and more models are learning this software and are able to use it for their personal reasons when retouching their own photos.

Personally speaking, the most I do when it comes to my own photos and Photoshop include cropping the image, resizing, lightening/darkening, and adding text, logos or graphics. When it comes to my photos, I like to look as real as possible. One of my biggest fears is to have someone see me and say, "Hey, she doesn't look anything like this photo!"

Unlike Playboy, which publicly admits to airbrushing and Photoshopping the crap out of their models, I like to look like me. And while I wish I didn't have stretch marks, blemishes and uneven skin tone, I still refuse to completely mask that behind Photoshop.

When shooting my 2007 calendar, I went over the images with my photographer. She is a perfectionist and can spend hours retouching just one image. I told her that I didn't want too much work to be done because I didn't want my photos in my calendar to seem "unreal." She did follow my directions...to an extent...lol. She used Photoshop to reduce the severity of my stretch marks in one shot, and evened my skin tone for shots that showed my stomach. Those kind of changes I could deal with.

But on a different occasion, she touched up a swimsuit shot I did in a yellow string bikini. The original looked fine, although my uneven skin tone and some stretch marks were visible. Her retouched version looked amazing...it was perfect and if I actually did have that type of skin in real-life, I'd have nothing to worry about. But while it was a beautiful picture, it wasn't one that I could use.

This particular image was one that I often used when submitting to gigs that called for swimsuit models. But I couldn't submit the Photoshopped version because, in a sense, it is false advertisement. To send out the retouched image would more than likely get me the gig but what would happen when I showed up on the shoot with skin that looked nothing like the photo? Enough said.

So, models, when it comes to using the wonders of Photoshop to get rid of all the stuff that bothers you, keep it to a minimum and don't let it get out of hand. Clients and casting directors will not be pleased if the photos you submit don't match how you are in person.

We all have the little things that bother us that we wish we could change but at the same time, we are our own worst critics and most times the things that bother us the most tend to go unnoticed by others. Don't let Photoshop turn you into a fantasy model. Be as real as you can in more ways than one.

Photographer Personalities

Being able to work well with a photographer is vital when it comes to being a good model. Having the right people skills will help you in letting loose in front of the camera and bringing a lot of personality to a shoot, whether you're one-on-one with the photographer or working with a whole crew. However, each photographer has his/her own personality that may or may not be so easy to work with.

Based off of my past modeling experiences, I thought it would be helpful to list examples of the types of personalitites of the various photographers I've worked with over the years (I won't be naming names of course!).

This may help you in the future if you should ever work with a photographer who has a similar personality. This is not to say that ALL photographers act like this...this is merely based off of my professional modeling experiences.

The Buddy

This type of photographer is very friendly (but not in a creepy way). He/she is able to make you feel comfortable within minutes of meeting them and makes you feel at ease. They love to joke and laugh while out on the shoot. Their interactions with their models allows the model to feel as if they have known this photographer for a long time.

These types of photographers tend to stay in close touch with the models, not just for shoots, but as a friend. They tend to call or email to check up on their models and ask about their lives and update them on projects. They get the shoot done and enjoy the process from beginning to end.

The Dictator

This type of photographer is very set in his/her ways and knows exactly how they want their shots to be. They may be very stubborn and not as open to creativity from a model regarding a pose or shoot. When posing they tend to bark directions and are more comfortable when they are in control of the posing and setting. They may appear uncomfortable or uninterested if the model offers an idea for a pose or location.

The Indifferent

This type of photographer is so carefree that he/she often will just go with whatever the model suggests. This can be a good or bad thing for a model. These photographers tend to find locations the day of the shoot and just shoot on the fly without any real planning. They may not have a set idea or theme in mind but just want to point and shoot...this allows the model to be as creative as he/she pleases.

If you are a creative model with a lot of energy, this type of photographer may be easy to work with. New models and those who aren't as comfortable in front of the camera may have a difficult time trying to figure out what the photographer wants.

The Above and Beyond

This type of photographer is so creative and is bursting with so many ideas it can be overwhelming. He/she may have one set theme/look for a shoot but once they are inspired, that could easily turn into three, four, or five looks in one day. Instead of working with what was originally agreed upon, they like to switch things up and throw out suggestions such as a new location, new outfit, new theme, etc.

Often this is done on the day of the shoot and because the photographer's mind is racing a million miles a minute, it can be frustrating or overwhelming for a model to keep up. Sometimes this can get out of hand and can result in a long day of shooting. They do not like to be limited to what's already been done and often think of ideas that are very out of the box, which may or may not interest the model.

The Enticer

This type of photographer can appear to enjoy shooting the models a little too much (this mostly happens with male photographers shooting female models). They can come across a little creepy but are professional and do not try to get close to the models physically. While posing they may get overly excited and may say things like, "Oh, yeah, that's sexy...", "Mmmmmm, I love that", etc.

While these sayings can be totally innocent and a part of the photographer's way of expressing his excitement over the poses/photos, it can sound sexual, which may make some models uncomfortable. In addition to making these comments, the photographer loves to entice the models by directing them to remove items of clothing, "That's great, now try unbuttoning your shirt..." and other types of requests in order to see how far they can get you to go in a photograph. If you are a model who does not do glamour or implied nude work, this type of photographer may be difficult to work with.

The Perv

This photographer is all about taking advantage of the models, both in front of the camera as well as behind. This type of photographer can either be professional or a complete scam artist only interested in shooting nude and half-naked girls. They tend to be aggressive and already know exactly what kind of shots they want.

These photographers should be avoided at all costs. There are photographers who specialize in glamour and adult photography but do not act in this manner. They will never violate your comfort zone or force you to do something you do not want to do.

Agencies vs. Managers

Many times there can be confusion as to who does what in a model's life and who is a part of it. It's already common knowledge that for most models, having an agent is a must.

Aside from it helping with exposure, agency representation helps weed out the bad elements so 99% of the time (I say 99% instead of 100% because these days you can't really be 100% sure about anything) you are only dealing with legit photographers, art directors, crews, etc. and are getting the best pay.

But what about managers? I know there are model hopefuls out there as well as established models who may be wondering if they need a manager and what exactly a manager does.

I can safely tell you that most models do not need a manager. If you already have an agent, they pretty much act as your manager. If you are freelancing and/or don't have agency representation, then a manager may help you but it is not going to make or break you to not have one.

Managers are more or less associated with actors and actresses or those in the entertainment field, such as singers and musicians. In the entertainment field, managers serve as your go-to person for career advice, networking purposes, talking to potential clients, helping with legal advice and paperwork related to contracts, etc. There are different types of managers that serve various purposes: personal managers, business managers, and road managers.

Unlike modeling agencies, managers do not usually have huge rosters of clients. They tend to develop and foster close-working relationships with a small handful of talent (actors, musicians, singers, etc.). Managers help counsel, develop and market their talent just like agents do for their models.

So as a model, you technically would never need a manager. Your agency already takes care of the majority of duties that entertainment managers do...and then some. So don't feel the need to have both...it is, in a sense, a waste of time, especially since most managers operate using contracts like modeling agencies do and it wouldn't serve you any good to sign a contract with a manger that would conflict with your agent's or that would hold you back from your real potential as a model.

Having an agent is more than enough for one model to have. They are like your managers so don't feel like you're missing out by not having a manager in your entourage. It is because agencies also double as managers that many modeling agencies have the word "Management" in its title.

But signing to an agency that doesn't have "Management" in its title does not mean you won't have a manager or won't be managed--because you will. That is the agency's sole responsibility: to represent you and help you manage your career by booking you for gigs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Navigating This Blog

Just a quick note to let you all know that I'm slowly but surely making moves to make this blog more user-friendly. As far as I know, there is no search feature that allows you to type in a topic and jump straight to it on my blog and since I have well over 100 posts, I know it can be hard to find what you want to learn more about.

The best alternative I was able to come up with so far is by adding hyperlinked words throughout my posts. By clicking on the word or words, you'll be sent directly to another post that relates to a similar topic.

When I started getting emails/comments about topics that I've already covered, I realized that not many people want to take the time to go through the long list on the right-hand side of the page. So I figure this way will be easier to jump from topic to topic. On some of the older posts, there are links to related topics that can be found at the bottom of the post after the comments part...so check those out, too.

The hyperlinks are in bold and are blue (they turn purple if you've already clicked on them) so they stand out from the rest of the text. Hopefully this helps everyone get the most out of my blog.

Thanks for all the support, comment, and emails...it is an honor to be appreciated and to be seen as a mentor. As long as you keep reading, I'll keep posting! :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Why Tearsheets are Just as Good as Money

Money is always good, I'll always stress that, but when it comes to other important assets to a model's career, tearsheets are gold. If you are ever offered a modeling gig that is willing to give tearsheets instead of pay, take it!

Tearsheets are important because they show legit proof that you have been booked for a particular gig and that it has been published. This type of payment is often better than money because it is a quick way to build up your resume and portfolio.

Clients tend to take a model more seriously when they see that he/she has a good collection of tearsheets. As opposed to a really nice image from a photo shoot, a tearsheet contains all the elements that show it has been published: text, captions, logos, etc.

For those of you who aren't familiar with what a tearsheet is, it is literally a copy of an image that has been torn out of the actual publication. While seeing a piece of paper with a torn side may sound unappealing, having a portfolio filled with tearsheets is a very good thing to have.

Sometimes models and photographers end up getting tons of copies of the magazines, brochures, etc. of the work they have appeared in. Because it can be annoying to tell someone to look through the table of contents to find the page you're on, it's much easier to tear out the actual page.

For those who do modeling online and have appeared on websites, online galleries, and advertising banners, you don't actually have anything to tear out. A good alternative to including online work in your portfolio as a tearsheet is to simply print out the actual web page.

Depending on what kind of options your computer has, you can set your printer to print the entire page that shows it is currently on a live site and not something you just photoshopped. Try to print online modeling images on good photo paper.

Below are two of my own tearsheets:

This image goes across two pages in the magazine Mocha Bride so it's okay that the fold shows...it's just additional proof that it actually was published:

So when it comes to gigs with tearsheets, definitely go for it!

Hair Show Modeling

One type of modeling that is often overlooked is hair modeling. Hair shows are huge around the country and there is no end to the castings for hair models. You don't have to be with an agent to book these types of modeling gigs so this is excellent for new models and freelancers. Some hair shows have an open height requirement so that is also a plus, but it's best to double check that if it isn't stated.

Hair shows work just like runway shows except instead of focusing on the clothes, the focus is on the hair. Hair stylists from all over the world make their mark by showcasing their best 'dos on the runways. Some hair shows are smaller than others but either way, the experience is definitely worth it and is great for a resume.

Runway modeling is involved so for new models who want to practice strutting their stuff, hair shows will give you plenty to work with. This type of modeling is also great for models who know they don't qualify to walk in a high fashion show, but love the idea of doing runway.

Some hair shows pay their models and some don't. For the ones that do not offer monetary compensation, they often provide a whole lot more to make up for the lack of money. Any hair show that states it will give its models tearsheets (if you are hired to appear in print form for their hair style book or magazine), copies of photos taken (if a photographer has been hired for the event, which they usually are), food, transportation, and obviously a free hair cut, color and style, is definitely the type of gig you want to get.

Even though I am a stickler for modeling gigs that don't pay, hair show modeling is a definite exception to the rule. If you think about it, many of the hair stylists that are at these hair shows work at salons that charge way more than any of us would care to spend on our hair. For them to offer models a FREE cut, color and style, the salon is literally giving away hundreds of dollars' worth of services...so you are getting paid, just in a different way.

If there is a casting call for hair models that you're interested in, make sure they are legit...call the salon and ask to see their website if they have one, and look carefully at what they are offering for compensation. Some castings will only have enough in the budget to offer a free cut, color and style, and that's okay...but try to find the ones that give you the most. Sometimes you can even get free hair care products and gift bags, so choose wisely.

When it comes to a casting for hair models, it is going to be a cattle call. There will be tons of girls there so it's your job to make sure you stand out in the crowd. Make sure your hair is at its best and that it is healthy. The best models for hair shows are the ones with lots of hair, whether it's thick, straight, curly, in layers, etc. The more hair, the better. You don't have to do an elaborate hairstyle when trying out, either. Wear your hair how you normally would or choose a style that flatters your face and shows off your best features.

If you're a little low on the volume or have shorter hair, that doesn't mean you're out of the running...just play up your features and show them that your face and hair are a dynamite duo. You will be asked to walk down the runway so they can see how you move. They will not expect you to be a pro at it so don't panic if your strut is less than stellar.

Breathe, be yourself and let your personality shine while you do your walk. If you mess up, just keep it moving and don't think twice. It is common for them to take polaroids of you in order to place a name with a face but these photos don't have to be perfect.

This may seem obvious but if you want to be a hair show model, you have to be willing to let them do anything to your hair...and I mean ANYTHING. If you love your tresses and can't stand the thought of cutting them, putting crazy colors or anything else out of your comfort zone, THEN HAIR MODELING IS NOT FOR YOU AND DON'T EVEN TRY!!!

When doing this type of modeling, it is automatically agreed upon that you are allowing your hair to be at the mercy of whatever stylist touches it so don't waste your time or the salon's if you don't want anything extreme to be done.

To Answer a Question (Jemmica)...

Just to let everyone know, I'm still kinda unfamiliar with some of the features here on blogspot so I may do certain things the difficult way. For those of you who post comments, they get emailed to me but they don't have an email address that I can reply to. While I love comments and reading them, if you have questions that you'd like answered personally, there is an email link available here if you click on the "view my complete profile" link on the right hand side of the page. This will allow me to respond directly to you from whatever email address. :)

To answer Jemmica's question on where to get started and how I got started, you can click on the following links that'll take you directly to two posts dealing with these topics:

How I Got Started

Where Do You Start?

I realize that there are way too many posts for people to go through on here so I will begin adding hyperlinks that will let you jump from one post to another to make navigating easier.

Hope you find all your answers, Jemmica, (if not, email me and ask away!) and thanks for reading! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Don't Be Fooled

For my freelance models out there, finding well-paying and legit gigs can be difficult. Unfortunately, for models looking for work on places like Craigslist and even modeling sites such as Model Mayhem, there are many people who create posts requesting models to do jobs that aren't...well...modeling.

I hate seeing such posts because it is obvious that they only want someone with a pretty face to do grunt work that, many times, doesn't even pay. They claim you'll get great exposure, meet tons of people and--for the ones that are paying--earn great money. For the gigs that pay, the rates can be very nice, especially if you need quick cash, but read these postings carefully.

Aspiring and especially inexperienced models should make their choices wisely. If you're looking to get into promotional and tradeshow modeling, that's fine but be sure to choose posts that pay a high rate or high flat rate, are legit and actually involve the duties that qualify for this category of modeling.

The types of duties that should be avoided because they aren't technically "modeling" include:

- Passing out fliers.

- Standing on a random corner, handing out samples and pamphlets by yourself.

What you do want to look for are promotional modeling and tradeshow gigs that involve you working at an actual company's booth, interacting with the public, working at an actual tradeshow or public event, taking photos with the public, representing a specific brand and handing out those samples and working with other models. A popular form of promotional modeling involves acting as brand ambassadors.

These types of models get booked for special events, promotional campaigns and other happenings as needed by the company or casting agency (a casting agency is different from a modeling agency). These types of models represent everything from the latest alcoholic beverages (you have to be 21+ for these jobs ) to cigarettes and other types of products that need to be introduced to the public. Brand ambassador models often get booked for many gigs that are often on the weekends and at night. This is an excellent way to make a side income while getting exposure and networking with the public.

Never settle for anything less than what I mentioned above, unless you're just looking for a fast way to make money, which is fine. But when it comes to somebody who needs to hire one person to hand out fliers and do other meaningless tasks outside of the actual event, that does not mean you are modeling and it doesn't really increase your odds of getting "discovered."

These people know that the public will pay more attention to an attractive face instead of some goofy guy, which is why they post in the model casting forums and website in order to seek out girls and guys who believe that working for them will give them some experience. But that couldn't be further from the truth.

Modeling is a lot of things...what it is not is passing out papers to random strangers for hours on end.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Do You Model, or Do You Just Take Pictures?

I got the title of this post from one of the photographers I work with and I thought it was such a simple statement/question that had so much food for thought contained in it.

I find it comical that there are so many girls out here who call themselves "models", yet all they really have are a bunch of pictures and no resume or agency representation. In those cases, they are just pretty girls who take pictures. Sometimes people get the misconception that if you do a bunch of photoshoots and have a nice portfolio to show off, that qualifies them as a model.

Well, I guess I shouldn't say they can't be called "models," so for lack of a better word, I refer to those types of individuals as "non-working models." I don't know of many people who want to model but not make any money or get any real exposure.

So please don't get confused about it...in general (correct me if I'm wrong), the goal of being a model is to be a "working model" who not only has a great arsenal of professional, quality images, but a resume with actual jobs they've booked, tearsheets, and payment for their services.

I'm sorry but if you've spent your time taking pictures and haven't accomplished any of the above, then you are not a working model--you're just a person or a "model" who takes pictures. Unless you're completely stuck on yourself and enjoy having nice pictures of yourself, you should always strive to be better than that.

While modeling is fun, it's even more rewarding when you are getting compensated for your talents and services and are able to make it into a working career, either part-time or full-time.

I find it hard to take some "models" seriously when they don't have any past published work to show for their efforts. Even freelance models make money and build up a resume so saying that not having agency representation is the reason you don't have a working modeling career is no excuse.

That's why I don't associate with too many female models in the business. I've met too many who went on and on about this great shoot they had or this great location they went to do a photo shoot, yet they aren't paid for the shoots or compensated in any other way that shows they are making a working career out of it. I just roll my eyes. Haha.

If any of the behaviors I've described in this post sound like you, go through your photos and your past modeling experiences and ask yourself why you want to be a model? Is it just to take flattering pictures of yourself or to make a serious attempt at a career?

I'm not one to tell you how to run your modeling goals but if you are content with being a "model who just takes picture," do the rest of us "working models" a favor and don't try to take our title unfairly. Aside from taking pictures, we work very hard to maintain and build our reputations, resumes, and income. Take pride in what you do and do it well.

Inexperienced Models

Being an aspiring model who is inexperienced can be difficult but this is where natural talent comes into play. Lately I've seen a couple of posts on Craigslist from young girls, posting about how they are inexperienced and hope to find quality photographers there to work with in order to build a portfolio. Some of them even go as far to state that they are looking for a photographer who is good at giving direction and teach them how to pose.

First off, inexperienced or not, don't expect most legit photographers to "teach" you your job. Yes, being inexperienced is one thing and it is understandable that you may not know how to pose the right way but that is why they are called "test shoots."

 Most photographers are not experienced in showing models how to pose and the ones who do usually hate doing it. At most they will give you some direction (chin down, head to the side more, etc.) but do not expect to show up to a test shoot, stand there and ask the photographer, "Okay, what do you want me to do?" That never works.

Also, there is some misunderstanding that having a pro portfolio put together on your own will give you a better chance at getting signed to an agency. You don't have to have a portfolio at all if you are trying to get signed. Many aspiring models don't realize that and stress themselves out trying to take a bunch of photos.

Most agents will only ask for snapshots of a headshot, body shot, and 3/4 shot...some will even tell you they don't want professional photos, so don't feel like you have to put together your own book to showcase. If anything, do one or two test shoots with good and reputable photographers so you can get used to being in front of a camera and find out if it's something you really want to do before you commit too much time and energy into it. Chances are that if you do get signed, your agent isn't going to use any of the previous photos you've taken and will set up a photo shoot for you in order to build your portfolio.

There is a way to be inexperienced without looking like you're inexperienced. Modeling is all about coming alive in front of a camera and trying new things. You don't have to copycat every modeling pose you've seen. If a photographer knows you're new, he/she will have some idea about how to make you comfortable enough to get good pictures. Even if the photographer ends up posing you completely, unless you bring your own flavor to the pose and have fun with it, the image will come out looking like it was posed.

This is where practicing in the mirror at home can be a big help. It doesn't matter if you feel stupid but it is important to feel comfortable looking at yourself in the mirror and playing with poses. Once you create a comfort zone, that will come across in your photos. Most photographers will not take kindly to having to "direct" an entire shoot...like I said, it isn't the photographer's job to show you how to do your job.

When networking with a photographer to do a test shoot if you've never taken professional pictures before, be sure to communicate with him/her (please have a parent or guardian over 21 present at any meetings and shoots if you are under 18) and explain why you want to be a model, the type of shots you're looking for and what clothing/outfits you plan to wear. The more prepared the both of you are, the better the chemistry will be when shooting.

For some people, posing and modeling comes naturally. If you're not one of those people, you may run into some problems if you want to pursue this industry. Having confidence and knowing how to play up to the camera is a must when it comes to modeling and you can't be fake about it (unless you're really good at it! haha). Don't let your inexperience make you feel insecure about your abilities but at the same time, don't expect others to teach you what you should already possess knowledge about. Be responsible for yourself and know what you want.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Models Be Professional!

So this post was inspired by my boyfriend/photographer. He was going through one of his recent shoots with a model and was looking up her personal info that was listed on her model release form. He told me her email was "sweetcheeks@..." This not only made the both of us laugh till we cried, but it made me realize that this was a topic that I haven't really touched on yet.

I always talk about being professional as a working model and maintaining business relationships but how you present yourself is a whole 'nother part of the industry. Many people don't think twice about even the littlest things but those can be the ones that make or break you. Excuse me if I come across as anal but I take my modeling career seriously and for those who really want to become a part of this industry, they should take it seriously as well.

When it comes to marketing yourself, regardless of whether you have agency representation or not, it is important to keep in mind how other people perceive you. That being said, when it comes to contact information and allowing other people to get a hold of you, please, please, please be professional about it! What I mean by that is don't have cutesy, stupid email addresses or corny, teeny-bopper voicemail intros. It is so unprofessional and can come off the wrong way.

Even if you are a young model, there is a way you should present yourself when it comes to your modeling career. You are dealing with people who want to do business and it can be discouraging or hard to take someone seriously who has an email address like: sexymama14 or missnewbooty. That's just tacky, tacky, tacky. By all means, keep whatever email address you want, but when it comes to modeling gigs, bookings, networking with photographers, etc., create a special email account that is simple. Stick to your first and last name or whatever your model alias is, if you have one.

The same goes for voicemail intros. Sure, it's funny to have some random movie clip, song, or silly and random introduction to your voicemail, but I can tell you right now, many professionals in the modeling field will be less likely to leave a message. If it's too overwhelming for you to change your intro or you can't bring yourself to take off your favorite song, then you may not be as serious about your career as you thought. Honestly, it isn't going to kill your social life to have a regular voicemail intro, especially when it betters your chances of getting hired for a gig. Your agent especially will expect you to have a decent looking email address and voicemail intro.

When it comes to growing up and assuming responsibility for what you enjoy and want to do in your life, making these small changes can make all the difference between being taken seriously as a working model and being passed up for someone who presents themselves as a professional model. Just food for thought.