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.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
From time to time I get comments from readers, stating their concerns that certain modeling pictures can be seen as "slutty" or may give the model a "bad rep", among others. Such comments really irk me because these kinds of statements can negatively influence an aspiring model, which could result in having him/her decide to not pursue the a modeling career--not to mention that oftentimes such statements come from people who themselves are not actually in the business. The stance I take on such matters is from a business standpoint, which is the tone I'm going to take while writing this particular post.
I must say that not all modeling requires being sexy or wearing next to nothing. There are different fields of modeling to choose from and your height, look and stats will be the main determining factors as to which one you'll be the most successful in. If you are an aspiring model that is worried about being forced to get naked or next to naked, please take the following facts into account:
- You will never be forced to do anything, especially if you have an agency representing you. Freelance models will have to be more cautious but again, if you do your homework and can avoid shady operations, you shouldn't find yourself in a situation where you would be forced to do anything you don't want to.
- If you are under 18 years of age (in the United States), you will not have to get naked or deal with implied nudity--that is illegal. Underage models are required to have a parent/guardian present at all castings, shoots, interviews, etc. so this should not be an issue.
- Models that are of age do not have to do anything involved with nudity as long as you state that up front, either with your agent or to your clients (if you are freelance). Agencies and casting companies will ask you what types of work you are comfortable with doing. So if you state that you won't do nudity or anything very sexual in nature, you won't be booked for that type of work.
As far as doing certain modeling images that may be considered "slutty", those viewpoints are entirely subjective and should not be used to unfairly judge a model that is simply doing their job--not to mention the fact that it was their decision. My take on this is if you are conservative and don't like seeing those types of modeling images, then don't look and don't judge the professionals that pursue modeling as a career and are successful at it--mind you, I am not referring to glamour modeling, which oftentimes requires partial, implied or full nudity. I'm talking about high fashion and editorial shoots that sometimes amp up the sex appeal level in their images.
Aspiring models that have conservative backgrounds or family members/parents that are super conservative will have more of a challenge in establishing a professional modeling career in the high fashion, runway and editorial fields. If the opinions of your family are going to bother you to the point of dictating how you pursue modeling, then perhaps you should opt for the safer route of commercial/print or not take on modeling altogether. It's your choice and unless you are underage, it is your sole, adult decision to do certain types of modeling work that may involve being a bit more sexual or risque.
As far as doing intimate couple shoots, it will be up to you to decide whether your relationship status will interfere with this type of work. Obviously, single models won't have a problem but if you have a boyfriend, fiancee or husband (or vice-versa for male models), then the nature of such shoots could be a sticky situation for you, unless your significant other is completely comfortable with it. Committed models (male or female) should definitely be prepared to have conversations with their significant others prior to doing couple shoots in order to make sure the lines of communication are clear. Is your significant other super jealous? Then you'll probably want to keep the couple images you do out of their line of vision--unless you appear in a huge billboard ad or magazine advertisement. That's a whole different story. Overall, be true to yourself. If you don't happen to have the support of your significant other and/or family--which is very unfortunate--you'll really have to sit down and reflect on whether you'd rather walk away from a potentially rewarding modeling career in order to avoid making waves or if you have no problem jumping in, giving it a shot and not caring about anyone's opinion.
To family and friends of models/aspiring models in the fashion, runway, editorial fields: the young ladies and men that do these types of modeling are professionals participating in an industry that is tough, cold, critical, competitive and promises no guarantees. That is a lot of pressure to subject yourself to willingly. No one says you have to agree with their choice to be a model and take part in what you may see as "questionable" or downright "inappropriate" photoshoots. But showing some form of support and not adding to their worries or frustrations will help them go a long way, even if they find that modeling is not a good fit for them. Unless they are underage, respect their decision as an adult. Posing with a male model in a CK ad doesn't make a female model a slut, nor does it mean that she will fall in love with that person or some other model they work with and fall into a life of debauchery. Keep the lines of communication open and if the images your son/daughter, sister/brother, cousin, granddaughter/grandson appears in bothers you that much, then politely let them know that you only wish to see the more family friendly photos. Models, if you know your family is very conservative, do what you can to minimize their exposure to any images that you feel they'd be offended by but don't bend over backwards to do it. It isn't impossible for them to avoid or ignore the pictures they don't want to see.
It can be difficult to understand the demands and nature of the modeling industry if you are not a part of it, which sometimes makes it easy for critics and those on the outside looking in to pretty much say and judge as they please. But that isn't fair to the many models that work hard to establish themselves. Actors and actresses do sex/love scenes all the time but at the end of the day they come home to their families, significant others and even their children with no problems. The same can be said for models. Each role requires the model to play a part but when the camera is off and all is said and done, it's back to regular, everyday life.
While commercial/print couple shoots involve some romance and intimate moments, high fashion and editorial couple shoots take the sex appeal to an entirely new level. Being a male model in these fields means being confident, working well with female models and being comfortable with getting really up close and personal. Sex sells, plain and simple and the industry continues to use--if not exploit--this in order to sell their clothes, accessories, fragrances, etc. If you are interested in being a male model and want to pursue high fashion and editorial work, you'll have to throw all caution to the wind and know how to turn on your sexy persona in front of the camera.
So what does this mean when working with a female model? I will say that my approach to this topic is one that is solely from a business standpoint. As I've stated many times before, being a model is a job and there are duties that must be carried out in order to deliver the final results that clients want. If you happen to be working with an experienced high fashion/editorial female model, chances are you'll have nothing to worry about. Models that have done these types of couple shoots before know what to expect and won't cry sexual harassment. If anything, she'll be able to make you more comfortable once you two begin working together on the shoot.
Ultimately, you will be directed by the photographer and/or client. Remember, it is a modeling shoot so you won't have to be entirely responsible for coming up with poses and concepts. Such factors are usually planned out ahead of time--all you and your partner have to do is execute the poses as they are arranged by whoever is in charge. Unless specifically instructed, most of your poses with the female model won't involve you touching her in any inappropriate ways. If you're not sure how she feels it's okay to ask her. Like I said before, if she is experienced and has done this type of work often, she'll more than likely give you the green light.
Examples of couple shoots for fashion/editorial work where things can get pretty steamy:
Are there high fashion/editorial shoots that are overtly sexual and even controversial? Of course--have you seen the CK, Abercrombie & Fitch and other related ads out there over the years?! But because the shoots are being conducted in a professional setting with an entire crew, it's all within a controlled environment--it's no different than two A-list celebrities doing a sex scene in a movie...and I believe that the caliber of sex scenes in films today are much raunchier than many of the fashion/editorial couple advertisements out there. The modeling industry's main focus is to make money and that means selling sex when applicable. That's just the way it is. There's a reason why some types of modeling aren't for the shy or conservative!
To familiarize yourself with the type of poses required for high fashion/editorial couple shoots, simply do an online image search for these kinds of advertisements or flip through any high fashion magazine. You'll quickly see that the couple shoots range from PG-13 to R and maybe even NC-17. What I want to convey to aspiring male models pursuing these fields is that not every couple shoot you do is going to involve being half naked and grinding up against a female model. If you have a big issue with doing these kinds of shoots, a high fashion/editorial modeling career may not be the right fit for you. Maybe switch to commercial/print and try your luck there. Do what makes you comfortable but also keep in mind that in order to lead a successful modeling career in the high fashion/editorial markets, you will have to do such shoots and be okay with the nature of the poses.
Monday, October 25, 2010
The subject of pay rates is always mentioned when it comes to modeling, especially for new models that are trying to establish their careers. I've done posts in the past about this topic and ones related to it but wanted to also briefly mention the types of pay rates you may come across while submitting for modeling assignments.
Learning what you should charge as a model is one thing but there are also those instances where the pay rates for certain modeling gigs will already be established in the casting you submit to. In case you may be wondering if you're getting a fair cut for the work, there are a few things to consider/keep in mind when trying to ultimately decide whether or not to submit yourself.
Let's say you're looking at a casting that needs models and is paying a really good rate. One thing I have noticed in my experiences is that in most cases (not all), the higher the pay rate is, the shorter the shoot will be. This applies to modeling jobs that are paying its models by the hour, not flat rate. For example, if the casting states the pay rate is going to be more than $100 per hour, that usually means the shoot will last anywhere from 1-2 hours...maybe 3. In essence, getting paid $100+ per hour is nothing to sniff at but just be aware that this means you aren't going to be looking at a half day or full day shoot and will walk away with tons of money in your pocket afterwards. Trust me, clients set their pay rates for models the way they do for a reason. Many people won't turn down this kind of pay rate, however, so if you're looking to make some quick cash within a short period of time, this will greatly benefit you. Case and point: I did a shoot recently for a website that needed lifestyle images of couples for their site. Me and my "boyfriend" for modeling, Lyndon, submitted ourselves as a couple and got booked. The pay rate was set at $125 per hour and was non-negotiable. Luckily our shoot lasted 3 hours so we walked away with $375 each. Not bad for what was a relatively easy and very laid back shoot.
Now if you're looking to make the big bucks--I'm talking about $500 and higher--the majority of those types of shoots will require you to work for half a day or longer. This can vary from 4-8 hours. In many cases, the casting will state that models should expect a very long day of shooting, not to mention hair, makeup, wardrobe and the other elements that come with setting up this type of photoshoot. When pay rates tend to be in the high hundreds to thousands of dollars, it is almost always a flat rate, which means you aren't getting paid by the hour. This pay rate arrangement allows clients to book models that can shoot as long as they are needed, instead of keeping an eye out on the clock each hour.
Unless the casting you are looking at says the pay rates are negotiable, 99% of the time the pay rates they list will be set in stone so it won't exactly be a situation where it is adviseable to try and get a higher rate. The economy is affecting every industry, including the modeling industry, so clients aren't always able to secure the budgest they normally would be able to afford. As long as you feel the pay rate is fair for the amount of work and length of time they need you for, go ahead and make that money!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Parks, shopping centers, sidewalks and other similar venues are wonderful places to do shoots because you have a lot to work with. Unlike working in a studio, you often cannot help the presence of the public milling about. If you are working with a photographer on location in a public area be prepared for the looky loos. Some know how to conduct themselves, while others can become outright distractions. This is especially the case when it comes to female models--you don't even have to be scantily clad for a wiseguy to toss out a couple of catcalls. New/inexperienced models may not know how to handle this kind of attention, which is natural, however you must recover from the shock quickly and put your focus back on your shoot. It's okay to laugh and be a bit bashful about receiving attention from the public during a shoot but that should only last for a minute or two--then go straight back to work. If the distractions become too much to handle, the photographer will make a judgment call so allow him/her to delegate how the rest of the shoot will go. Of course if you are super uncomfortable, express your thoughts to the photographer. But on the flip side, modeling is about following direction and if the photographer wants to shoot in an area where there are tons of people around, it is your job to perform and deliver. Period.
I am not trying to be harsh but I cannot stress enough how important it is to be professional and just roll with the punches. Being uncomfortable is one thing but if you allow it to bother you to the point where you can't take good photos, then you probably should find another line of work to pursue. Models deal with situations that regular, everyday people would never want to deal with: posing in swimwear in freezing temperatures, being extremely up close and personal with a model of the opposite sex, changing in front of strangers (for runway shows), etc. Shooting and dealing with attention from the public is yet another circumstance that you just have to suck up and use to your advantage. Anytime I'm shooting outdoors I always expect to have someone make a loud and distracting comment, stand behind the photographer and stare at me while I'm posing, working while a small crowd gathers to watch what's happening, having people pull out camera phones and snap a couple of shots...the list goes on and on. I take it in stride, smile and keep on posing. For instance, years ago I was shooting in front of San Francisco City Hall. As I was posing, a huge tour bus filled with tourists pulled up and as the people spilled out of the bus, the first thing they saw was me and the photographer. Within minutes I had Dutch tourists whipping out their cameras and taking my picture. Personally, I thought it was hilarious--I joked with the photographer later on that they'd be disappointed when they got home, developed the pictures and realized that I wasn't some American supermodel.
Yes, it can be unnerving to have someone other than the photographer watching your every move but instead of letting it get to you and knock you off your game, benefit from it. Instead of seeing it as something terrifying, look at it as if you're a celebrity--heck, to the common passerby you are for all they know! Enjoy the attention--trust me, 99.9% of models naturally enjoy being the center of attention or else they wouldn't be in this field! If things get out of hand with the spectator distractions, the photographer and/or client will move the shoot to another location. If they decide to stay where they are, put your best foot forward, smile for the camera and do what you do best. That's really all there is to it.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Hey Dania!. I read your post about modeling with braces, and since a lot of people think I look good with braces, I thought I could deal with that later. But my question is, do you think I have the right body for modeling? I'm 13-14, 5'9 ft., weigh 110 but most people assume I weigh 95-100, and I wear nighttime contacts, so my eyesight won't bother me during the day. But the two things I'm worried about are, 1) that I'm really on the pale side because of, 2) I have freckles and my skin is very sensitive to sunlight. I don't think I've ever seen a model with freckles, and I don't know if an agency would be willing to hire me, especially in south Florida, because I stick out like a sore thumb with my pale skin. What do you think?
Please answer!! =)
Hi, Amanda, and thanks for the questions. First, your height and weight sound ideal for fashion/runway/editorial, although I don't know your measurements. If you are in the ballpark of 34-24-34 (bust, waist, hips in inches) or smaller, then you are good to go. When it comes to measurements you cannot be larger than one inch in any of these three areas, although it is fine if you are smaller.
Freckles are actually "in" right now so that would work in your favor. I know of a booking agent with DNA Models and she has posted online before stating that fashion models with freckles are in demand so I don't think you'll have a problem there. Because fashion models often work outdoors on location in addition to shooting in studios, your sensitive skin could pose a problem when it comes to an agent trying to book you for work. If they have to filter out or can only submit you for fewer gigs because of your condition, it could act as a deterrent and make you less marketable. Agencies want to give their models tons of work and if there is any reason why they wouldn't be able to submit you to something, it means a loss of business for them and you cannot further your career.
If the sunlight in the Florida area is going to be a problem for you pursuing a modeling career, you could look into getting agency representation in the New York market, since that area isn't really known for its sunny weather most times. It could be worth looking into, especially since you are already at the ideal height for that type of modeling. Or you could try looking into representation with a Florida agency that regularly sends its models to New York for work. So you have a couple of options, which you should definitely seek out--it's the only way you'll get your questions answered for sure. So go for it and good luck!
Needless to say, Craigslist has gone downhill pretty fast over the past few years. Although there are still a few legitimate modeling opportunities to be found in the "Talent" section under the "Gigs" category, many are simply crap disguised as a potential modeling assignment. Perhaps what I dislike the most about searching for modeling gigs on Craigslist lately is the huge amount of posts asking for modeling services but not willing to pay. Even despite stating that the work would gain a lot of exposure and the people involved have won awards, are well known, etc., monetary payment is nowhere in the picture. That being said, when I do come across posts that offer payment to models, it definitely catches my attention.
The most recent post I came across that was offering pay for looking for models to participate in a fashion show for a newly launched clothing line. The show was scheduled for December and the models would be paid $375 each for the day of the show, including prep time and rehearsals. Not bad, right? So I sent an email of interest and the next day received a reply that they were interested in working with me. So far so good, right? The email they sent me explained that they have had problems in the past with booking models that later never showed up for work. As a result they now ask for a $5 deposit, which is given back to the model the day of the show. Of course that was the first red flag. The email went on to say that a short online form would need to be filled out and that the $5 could be paid online as well. I clicked on the link they sent and was taken to the online form, which asked for my name, mailing address and contact information. Additionally, they had a payment section of the form, which asked for the following information:
- Credit card type (VISA, Mastercard, etc.)
- Full credit card number
- CVC code (the three digit code on the back of the card)
- Expiration date
- Billing Address
Not only did I not like the fact that they forced people to enter a credit/debit card number (no PayPal or other safer online payment option was offered), the site itself was not a secured one. How could I tell? If you've ever purchased something online, you've probably noticed that the payment page URL contained "https" instead of the regular "http". Without that little "s" in the beginning of the URL, any financial information you enter can easily be stolen by someone.
I didn't fill out the form and instead replied back to the email asking if there was a PayPal option I could use instead since their payment page wasn't secured. No reply...and I don't expect one, either. Later I entered the email address associated with the message I received into Google and came across other Craigslist posts with the same modeling assignment, spawning different states in the U.S. and many were flagged and removed because they were identified as scams.
The bottom line: be super diligent about checking out posts on Craigslist that seem too good to be true. Do online searches using any information that the post provides and see what turns up. If it is a scam, chances are other people have caught them in the lie and have posted about it on the Internet. Second, you shouldn't have to pay a deposit in order to be booked for work. It just doesn't make sense.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Commercial/print is a completely different world than that of high fashion and editorial modeling. While the latter types of modeling focus on selling designer clothing, brand-name accessories and the like, commercial/print focuses on selling products, concepts and ideas to the average, everyday consumer. The nature of commercial/print shoots is not as stylized or sexual as fashion and editorial so if you're a guy who is nervous about being so close to a female model, rest assured you won't have to deal with being super touchy feeling with your "co-worker".
Not all print shoots are the same in theme or concept, although there are some factors that you'll commonly run across. The roles male print models are required to play include: husband, boyfriend/fiance and even father/head of the family. Because we are talking about modeling with a female model, we'll leave the family man scenario with the children out of this post. While there are modeling projects that may require you to be solo, many of them will involve shooting with a female model who will play your significant other. The scenarios/situations you will be taking part in will require you to assume your role--very much like an actor does. Just as the woman by your side has to pretend to be your wife/girlfriend/fiancee, you have to do the same.
If you're worried about being close to someone you don't know or are worried about a jealous real-life significant other, I'll tell you right now that you'll need to leave those concerns at the door. Working with a female model is a part of your job description as a model--it comes with the territory. In the case of print male models, your interaction with your co-star will deal with real world situations and nothing raunchy. Typical physical interactions with a female model for a commercial/print shoot include, but are not limited to: holding hands, hugging, her head on your chest/shoulder, light kisses (pecks on the cheek for example--not making out), gazing into each other's eyes while holding each other close and cuddling (on a couch, bed, etc.). Remember, you are creating an image of a couple in love, enjoying everyday activities and events with each other. As far as commercial/print goes, that is about the extent of the physical contact you will have to do with your female counterpart. The only exception I would see to this situation would be if the shoot, while commercial in nature, has to involve more intimate shots--sometimes stock photography requires this. In these instances you may have to actually kiss your partner on the mouth, hold each other a bit closer, etc. But rest assured, the images will be PG, especially since such pictures will ultimately be used to advertise towards mainstream audiences.
As a male model, you are responsible for selling the image the client wants. For that moment in time, the female model is your girlfriend/wife/fiancee so use your acting skills and bring that natural chemistry in front of the camera. It really is just pretend and if the woman you are modeling with is professional and experienced, she'll make your job easy. It isn't uncommon for two models to work together for the first time but end up talking and interacting as if they have known each other their whole lives by the end of the shoot. So have fun with it, give the shoot your all and bring those couple images to life for the benefit of the camera.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I was able to get a hold of more images from recent lifestyle shoots I've done so I decided to have some fun and make them into collages and share them here. I've also included one of the stock images that was actually chosen for publication to accompany an article on the website HowStuffWorks.com (you can see the original article and image here: How to Fit Into Dress Codes in the Workplace). =) Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Many aspiring male models get excited by the thought of getting to pose with beautiful female models. However, there is more to this part of the industry than the mere fantasy of the situation. For male models, having strong shots in your portfolio showcasing your ability to pose with a female model plays a crucial part in the strength of your modeling work. Having the right couple images will make you stand out among the competition and show clients that you are capable of delivering the pictures they want for their product, whatever that may be. But how do you go about initiating the steps towards not only working with a female model but ensuring that the experience is a positive one that you will both benefit from?
There are a couple of ways to go about this and while there are always the exceptions to the rule, horror stories and other uncommon occurrences, I am going to talk in general terms about the process. If you happen to have specific questions or concerns about working with a female model, please send me an email so that I can assist you personally with your situation. This particular post is to address the general topic so I don’t want to go into too much detail about the “what if” type of stuff.
Agency represented male models will more than likely be submitted to modeling gigs that require them to work with female models so those images are taken care of in that respect for their portfolios. Freelance male models, on the other hand, will have to be hands on when arranging test shoots in order to get couple images for their portfolio. That means contacting not only the photographer but the female model as well. Do you happen to already know a female model (or a few) that you’ve worked with before or know personally that you feel would help you get the job done? Then congrats, you’re in the best case scenario and more than likely don’t have to read the rest of this post! Having familiarity and previous working experience with a female model will help greatly in achieving the shots you’ll need for your portfolio—not to mention the two of you will not have to worry about being uncomfortable with each other.
If you don’t happen to be in this fortunate situation, don’t fret…you’ve got options. You will have to do some networking/searching in order to find the right female model. But before you even involve another model or photographer in your project, do some planning and know what you want to shoot. By the time you start contacting people to set up the test shoot, you should have a good idea of the theme, style, clothing and location you want. Let the people you are working with know that you’re looking for shots to update your portfolio and that the theme involves posing as a couple with a female model. It is ideal to have reference images so that the photographer and female model know what type of look you are going for (such images include advertisements in high fashion magazines or ads from a brochure or catalog). By knowing what you want ahead of time, the smoother the process will be and the more likely you’ll be to get exactly what you want.
Now on to finding your female model. It is best to find a female model that physically works well with your current look. Of course it is important that you not have all of your couple images in your portfolio with the same female model. As you get more experience working with a female counterpart, you’ll want to set up more shoots down the line with other female models to show your diversity. But for now, choose a female model that complements your style, height, appearance, etc. for your first couple shoot. She doesn’t necessarily have to be the same ethnicity as you but having such images is helpful (many clients only want to cast couples that physically appear to be of the same ethnic background to target their particular audience, although there are others that have no problem hiring models that would qualify as an interracial couple—it’s up to what the client wants). The bottom line is that the first set of shots you should have as a couple in your portfolio should include a female model that appears to be the same ethnicity as you (notice I said “appears”…that means she doesn’t have to literally be the same ethnicity as you). Your next couple shoots afterwards can have female models from various ethnic backgrounds if you want.
I would advise against choosing a blind casting method like Craigslist—you have no idea who you are going to get. Instead, you’ll want to turn to a social networking site that allows you to view the female model’s professional portfolio. This can include online modeling communities like Model Mayhem, One Model Place or even Facebook. Seeing her professional work will allow you firsthand to see her potential, abilities and if she would be a good fit for you. Don’t feel like browsing through hundreds of model profiles? Then you also have the option of posting your own casting call through the site—this method is available if you are using an online modeling community…Facebook does not apply unless you choose to pose your casting as your status or something similar. Posting your own casting call for your project will allow you to state the nature of your shoot, the type of female model you are looking for (you can list specifics if you want: height, stats, hair length, ethnicity, etc.) and how potential models can contact you with their interest. From there all you have to do is browse through the models that have submitted themselves to your casting and then choose the one that you want to work with.
From this point on the process is similar to setting up a test shoot with the photographer. It is helpful if the female model is local so that you can meet up in a public place prior to setting a shoot date. Use this face-to-face time to discuss your ideas, talk about outfits and locations and to see how the two of you interact with each other in general. Also bring along your reference images so that she can see what you have in mind. If you feel comfortable with the female model and she seems to have no problem interacting with you, that is a good sign that the both of you will work well together in front of the camera.
my girl friend wants to be a abercrombie fitch models, do you have any suggestion?
Hi, Anonymous. As the post you commented on states, (Do You Want to Be an Abercrombie & Fitch Model?), your girlfriend will have to actually get hired at the local Abercrombie & Fitch store. So have her head over to the mall, shopping center or other location where there is an A&F so that she can fill out an employee application. If she has the right look and meets their other qualifications, she'll get hired and that will be her first step towards being considered for A&F's modeling opportunities and print campaigns.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
(This post works for both male models with agency representation and freelancers but will be of most use to freelance male models.)
Don’t worry, the title of my post doesn’t mean that I’m starting a match-making service or pitching the latest reality TV hit. The point of this post is to highlight the importance of having female models in a male model’s portfolio. Regardless of what kind of modeling you plan on specializing in, having a female counterpart in your work is essential. Of course there will be a time when you’ll have to work with male models as well but for the most part it is male/female couple images that make for some of the best pictures in your portfolio. It also showcases your strengths when it comes to chemistry and selling the product in question.
For male models just starting out it is important that you obviously focus on creating images that highlight yourself as a model: look, style, versatility, etc. If you get signed to an agency, you’ll have a helping hand in establishing your portfolio and getting your foot in the door. Freelance male models, however, will have to take a more direct, hands-on approach to marketing themselves via their book (remember, that’s model lingo for a model’s hard copy portfolio). Being able to take fantastic solo photos is great but you can’t deny that having a stellar image of yourself alongside a female model can take your portfolio and modeling abilities to the next level. Think about many of the editorial ads you see for male models in the high fashion and editorial industry—many of them involve having the men paired up with women. In fact, couple photos are among my favorite types of modeling images to both create and view in publications. Nothing sells like the chemistry between a male and female model, in my opinion…especially when it’s done right.
On the flip side, aspiring male models that want to make the cut in the print modeling field can also greatly benefit from having images where they are posing with female models. While the nature of the shoots won’t exactly be as steamy as, say, a CK cologne advertisement, there are many instances where a print male model can’t pull off a certain image alone. For example, print male models take on a variety of “roles”, which can be similar to being an actor playing a part. Men in the print world not only play the solo role, they may also be called upon to be a family man or the romantic interest, which means you’ll have to pose with a female model that will have to play the part of your wife, fiancée, girlfriend, etc. From walking hand in hand, cuddling in bed, capturing intimate moments (little kisses, hugs, gazing into each other's eyes) or even shopping with the wife and kids, male models in this part of the modeling industry should include these types of lifestyle images in their portfolios. Telling a client you are capable of pulling off such images without any proof to back it up will leave you in the dust of your competition.
The bottom line: check out different types of couple images according to the style/nature of the modeling you want to do and arrange for test shoots with female models in order to get similar images for your portfolio. It is helpful if the female model is someone you have worked with before or know personally but if you can manage to generate great chemistry from working with someone for the first time, go for it. Remember, chemistry in front of the camera is essential to pulling off the final product. If you’re concerned about violating anyone’s comfort zones, being too aggressive/not aggressive enough, etc. don’t worry, I’ll be making another post with tips male models can use to make sure each couple shoot they set up is a success.
Friday, October 1, 2010
"Booking out" is an industry term for letting your agent know which dates/times you are not available for castings, shoots, etc. While most agencies operate in their own way, the concept of booking out is an important one that all agency represented models should take seriously.
As you may or may not know, being signed to an agency means being ready to attend a casting or modeling assignment at the drop of a dime. Oftentimes you can expect your agent to notify you of a casting with less than 24 hour's notice. Because of this, it is crucial that you keep your agent up to date on your weekly availability. Booking out was created to prevent agencies from submitting you to a casting or gig that you cannot make it to. Nothing is worse than telling a client/casting director that a model they have submitted suddenly won't be showing up because you are not able to attend. In this situation no one wins.
It is up to you to find out how your agent prefers you to book out. This could include emailing your booker at the agency directly to say what dates during the month you will be busy/unavailable or using an online system of keeping track. For example, my agent uses an online site outside of the agency's official website, where I can login to not only update my resume and add photos to my digital portfolio, but also book out. This is in the form of an online calendar that allows me to highlight the days I won't be available and lets me write a brief description of why I am not open for work or castings (out of town, doctor's appointment, sick, etc.). Because I tend to plan my events and work projects outside of modeling well in advance, I make sure to book out certain dates months ahead. Now all my agent has to do is login, check out my calendar and make sure that the work she submits me for fall on days when she knows I will be available.
Booking out may sound tedious but it is an essential tool that allows you and your agent to be on the same page, communication-wise. The last thing you want is to tell your agent that you can't go to a casting, shoot, fitting or fashion show because you're busy with something else at the last minute. Making that a habit is the quickest way to get on your agency's bad side and could cause them to turn to other models within the agency to give the work to instead of you. So plan ahead as best you can and book out whenever you think you won't be open for a modeling assignment. This concept is especially helpful for models that are in school, participate in extracurricular activities or have other commitments that they can't miss. If you're not sure how to book out, contact your agent and find out.