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, December 2, 2011

What to Say & Not Say to Modeling Clients

This topic was inspired by Katie J.'s question. Katie wrote:

what are good things and bad things to say to an agent, casting director,designer,and photographer. Basically what are the good and bad things to say to people in the industry. 

So let's get to the topic at hand!

When it comes to working with "clients" in the modeling industry, there is a lot of back and forth communication. It is important to know how to talk to such professionals, as well as present yourself as a serious businessperson. As with most things in life, there are "right" and "wrong" things to say to people in the industry.

Regardless of which industry professional you're working with, there are some types of conversation that should be avoided. So let's deal with what not to say first:

What Not to Say to Industry Professionals:

- Don't talk about the competition unless you're asked who you've worked with or who your favorite pro is (designer, photographer, fashion magazine, etc.). Otherwise, it's just in poor taste. Clients know there are others out there doing the same thing they are but when dealing with clients, treat them as if they're the only one that exists.

- Don't automatically give a list of demands of what you must have or how you operate. This comes off as "diva" behavior, which is definitely not appreciated in the industry. Instead of demanding things, ask about what the working conditions will be like, what the client's policies are about certain things and then take it from there.

- Don't discuss your personal business. This includes the drama in your relationship, the awards your kids won in school (if you're a parent) or how broke you are. Keep it business, especially if you've never worked with this client before. Save the small talk for when you're working together and are more familiar with one another.

- Don't cuss during your conversation with clients when discussing business matters, even if it's in a lighthearted and joking way (i.e. I was like, "Oh, $h!t, I can't believe that happened!"). It's inappropriate. Period. If the client cusses, that's a different story but maintain your professionalism and avoid the potty talk.

- Don't brag about other projects you've done. There is a difference between talking about what you've worked on and making it sound like you're holier than thou. Focus on the gig at hand instead of spotlighting your credentials.

- Don't put in your two cents where it doesn't belong. In other words: keep your thoughts to yourself! For example, when working with photographers, don't critique them about their work or make suggestions as to what they can change/improve. That's just rude. Another example would be telling a fashion designer what fabric to use or what changes should be made to the outfit you're wearing. They're the client and the industry professional. Know your role as the model and stick to the responsibilities you have.

- Don't ask if you can leave early because you have something else to do. If you're still in the pre-planning stage of a project you've been hired for, talk about your schedule of availability and find out how long the client will need you for. Do not take on the project if you cannot be committed to the time frame. In some cases exceptions can be made where they will work around your schedule but in general, don't make the client feel as if there are other things more important than them.

- Don't tell a photographer when you expect them to have the photos ready for you. The photographer will let you know how long it will take to get the images. If they don't deliver the pictures by the date they tell you, then it's okay to inquire about when they can get them to you but do so in a professional way--don't be demanding about it.

- Never gossip negatively about other industry professionals to clients.

What You Can Say to Industry Professionals:

- Talk about how excited you are to be working with them. This doesn't mean be a kiss-up but showing genuine enthusiasm makes for a positive first impression to clients.

- Let them know that should they ever need a model for future projects, you'll be available. Such a move is networking at its best. If the client knows you're reliable and do good work, they'll hire you again.

- For modeling gigs that require certain outfits, props, accessories, etc. let the client know if you own any or all of those things needed and mention that you'd be more than happy to bring them to the set. Not only does this show that you're prepared, it gives the client less to worry about and could increase your chances of being hired over the competition who may not have those things.

Dealing with Modeling Agencies

Because modeling agencies are a different industry professional than designers, photographers and casting directors, below is a separate list of what to say and not say to agencies:

What Not to Say to Modeling Agencies:

- Do not go on and on about how you've wanted to be a model since birth or ask questions about the supermodels you idolize. It's boring to agencies and unfortunately, that's not what they want to hear about.

- Don't name the other agencies you've submitted to unless they ask. Again, don't talk about the competition.

- Never badmouth another agency or client or air their dirty laundry with details about your working relationship with them and why you had a bad experience. It's poor taste and something that should be kept between the people involved.

- Don't try to negotiate the amount of agency commission--that's set in stone and is not within a model's right to discuss.

- Don't ask the agency to break down how much money you'll make...they won't be able to give you an accurate answer.

- Don't talk about yourself in a negative way to agencies, such as how insecure or shy you are or that you're super religious and won't do this or that. You want to focus on your positive traits.

- Don't focus the conversation on how busy you are with school, work, etc. This could backfire and make the agency think you don't have time to accommodate a modeling career.

- Don't "tell" the agency what you want them to do for you or insist on the type of modeling you want to do, especially if you don't meet the physical requirements.

- Never debate, challenge or otherwise argue with what an agency is telling you. If you don't agree, that's fine but there is no need to say it...keep it to yourself.

What You Can Say to Modeling Agencies:

- Talk about why you'd be a good fit for their agency. Play up your strengths instead of your weaknesses.

- Discuss your availability and current schedule, as well as if and where you're willing to travel.

- Feel free to talk about what goals you have for modeling and what you'd like to accomplish.


KWSM ♥ said...

Hi Dania. I would like to ask how to know if the modelling agency is a good one? Thanks


Dania Denise said...

Hi, Kathleen! Instead of finding the answers to your question in the "Answering a Reader Question Series", you'll find it as a regular blog post, titled "Easy Ways to Tell If a Modeling Agency is Worth Looking Into." Thanks for reading!

rnewsome4 said...

Dear Ms. Dania,

First off, I really want to acknowledge and thank you for your advice and tips. It's really hard to actually find someone who has modeled before to give potential models an insight into the fashion industry. Now I can start off telling you how passionate I'm am about becoming a model but I know you probably get that line almost everyday. My main question to you is how did you keep your faith and chase your dreams into a modeling career? I know in order to become a model patience is key and persistence plays a role as well. My only difficulty at this time and finding that one agency that can lead me into carrying out my dreams. Trust me, I've done all my research and I've found some potential places but I can't help to think about the fear of rejection. Don't get me wrong I have a great amount of confidence but everyone has the feeling of rejection. I know the fashion world is full of criticism and rejection but how did you get pass those moments where you thought you were a couple steps ahead but ended up being knocked a couple steps back?
And other than your great advice given on the blog what advice can you give to me personally as a potentially new up and coming model?

Raven S. from Chicago

I would like my answer in a Video Post ...thank you!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Raven! Thank you for requesting a video reply for your excellent questions! Since it is the holiday weekend and I'm out of town visiting family, I'll do my best to get your reply posted on my blog within a few days. So please bear with me and I thank you for your patience...I promise I'll get your questions answered for sure! :-)

Dania Denise said...

Hey, Raven! You'll find your questions answered in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question Video Reply #3." :-)