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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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dania Denise Mini Meet & Greet

Meet Jackson: an up-and-coming male model that I know is going to do very well in the industry!

Jackson's mom emailed me to ask for help with finding agencies for her son, as well as for my general feedback as to whether or not he had potential. She sent me some snapshots and I liked what I saw and told her so. After giving her the names and websites of agencies for Jackson to check out, she mentioned that if I happened to be in the Sacramento area they would love to meet me in person to thank me for the assistance.

Little did she know that I am based out of Northern California and not far from Sacramento at all! So we quickly set up a mini meet and greet at a local Panera Bread. I had a great time with Jackson and his mom...we talked about any and everything related to the modeling industry and it felt good to be able to answer all of their questions and concerns face-to-face.

I made sure to get a flick of myself with Jackson so that when he hits it big, I'll be able to show I was there from the beginning. lol. :-)
What impressed me most about Jackson is the fact that he's practical, realistic about modeling and doesn't have stars in his eyes. He's got his head on straight and is very mature for his young age (he's 19). He's currently seeking agency representation in Los Angeles (close to where he goes to college) and I know with the right agent, he will be successful.

Although he has the height for fashion and runway, Jackson's more interested in commercial/print, catalog and fitness modeling, which I completely agree with--after all, he works as a Hollister model and was hired by them specifically to attend their castings for new models. He did a test shoot for Hollister and is waiting to find out if he'll be used in their upcoming campaigns. So it seems that either way, modeling will be in his future!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Modeling Agencies Might Cover Costs But That Doesn't Mean a Free Ride

Contrary to popular belief, getting into the modeling industry isn't free. When the proper channels are followed, it is possible to become a model without going broke. I've discussed this topic a lot on my blog so I won't go into a lot of detail at this moment and instead stick to the topic at hand: when agencies cover a model's costs.

In some instances, a modeling agency will take on a new model and pay for the expenses related to his/her first test shoot to create a portfolio, headshot and comp cards. Obviously, this is great because it means the model doesn't have to come out of pocket for it. But that doesn't technically mean it's a free ride the whole way.

Whenever an agency foots the bill for things like setting up a newly signed model's career, they're not doing it because they enjoy it--it's because they feel confident that the model will book work. That means they'll get paid and receive a good return on their "investment." Remember: modeling is a business. Period.

So what does that mean for the model? The act of an agency paying for such costs can be viewed as a short term loan of sorts. Younger aspiring models that aren't familiar with this concept should know that loans in general means borrowing money from someone but having to pay it back at a later date and time. This can also be applied to agencies representing new models.

When an agency tells a model they will pay for the costs of their test shoot, portfolio creation and printing expenses, it doesn't mean they give the model the money to take care of everything. In most cases, the agency takes care of things on that end. But it still qualifies as a loan because it's an amount the agency will require the model to repay over a period of time.

How does that work? By getting hired for modeling jobs. Let's say Model A has her start-up costs paid for by the agency, which totals an amount of $750.00 (this is just a hypothetical amount). That means Model A technically owes the agency $750.00. Now let's say Model A starts getting hired for all kinds of stuff: runway shows, catalog shoots, etc. As you know, agencies make their profit from "commissions," which is a percentage that the agencies take out of a model's earnings for each assignment they get. With each new modeling job Model A books, the agency takes out their commission, which includes the amount of money owed from covering the costs of the test shoot, headshots and printing costs from before.

The result: the $750.00 originally covered by the agency gets paid back with each commission taken out from the jobs Model A works. Within a few months (or however long it takes), the loan balance is paid off and Model A no longer technically owes the agency any money.

This is the ideal situation, however. Not all female and male models that get signed to agencies book work--at least not consistently enough to continue having a contract. Should an agency invest in starting a new model's career and it turns out he/she doesn't get hired for anything or only a few gigs, that means there's still a loan balance left to pay back. What does that mean for the model? It means if they don't get enough work to pay off the loan via the agency's commission, they'll have to pay the remaining balance out of their own pocket.

This is completely legal and part of the agency/model business relationship process. Most agency contracts have a clause somewhere that states the model agrees to pay back any expenses owed to them in the event that the model isn't able to earn profits for the agency. Failing to follow this--if it applies to a model--could lead to the agency filing a lawsuit or taking other legal action to make sure they get their money back.

As scary as that may sound, it doesn't happen all the time--at least not consistently enough that aspiring models should lose sleep over it. I'm sure there are instances where an agency won't force a model to pay back what they're owned in the event of not being able to book work, but it's better to know both the good and the bad about this subject.

This is why there are several options to paying for the costs of things like the first test shoot and printing the materials needed to market a model. For more info on that, please read this blog post: The Deal With Agencies & Test Shoots for Portfolio Building.

Should you happen to be an aspiring female or male model that gets their costs covered by the agency, I don't want you to start panicking about how much you'll end up owing if you don't book work. I don't mean for this post to be a scare tactic (although I'm sure I'll receive blog comments or emails saying as much, lol)...the purpose of this post is to inform you of one of the many realities that happens in the modeling industry.

It's important to keep in mind that the word "free" may not necessarily have the same definition within the modeling world as we tend to think of it. Models who get their costs covered should put all their energy and focus into being the best model they can be so they'll book work, make money and--in turn--make the agency money.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Did You Know...? #14

...According to a recent study done by The Model Alliance, an outfit that agitates for higher wages, estimates that the average regularly-employed model makes $27,000 a year. Part-timers and men make less.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tips for Watermaking Modeling Photos

(This post will be mainly beneficial for freelance female and male models.)

You know what's really cool? This is my 1,000th post!!!!!!! Thanks to all my readers and subscribers for their support, questions, compliments and love...here's to another 1,000 posts in the future!!!

Okay, now let's get down to business. :-)

Now that you've read my post before this one, titled "The Importance of Watermarking Modeling Photos," it's time to get to the info about how to use this tool properly. As I stated in the other post, freelance models can find a lot of comfort in using watermarks on their photos because it discourages people from ripping off the images and/or abusing them.

Below are some tips and things to keep in mind when it comes to using watermarks for the purpose of protecting modeling images:

Use Watermarks When Submitting to Modeling Gigs

You don't have to use watermarks on every single photo you've ever taken. The most important place to use this tool is on any modeling images that you plan on emailing to potential clients when submitting yourself for gigs. For example, anyone that's used sites like Craigslist or Model Mayhem will know that oftentimes the person posting the casting call will ask models to send their images as attachments to a certain email address.

This is a situation where you want to make sure the watermarks are in place. If the person isn't legit and is just looking for photos to misuse and/or abuse, receiving your watermarked images isn't going to make their day and they'll more than likely delete them. Disaster averted. If the client happens to be legit, they'll be fine with the watermark (it won't be the first time they've seen one and will understand the reason for it).

Just make sure you put the watermark in a good spot (keep reading for more info on positioning the text).

Create Your Own Watermark

For those of you that are savvy enough in Photoshop or have a similar photo editing program that allows you to use text with images, it is totally acceptable to create your own watermark to place on your pictures. Not sure what the watermark should be? Below are my recommended suggestions:
  • The name of the photographer or the company (i.e. John Doe or John Doe Photography)
  • The photographer's website (don't forget to include the www. and the .com part)
  • The photographer's logo. This is an actual image or design, which a photographer may or may not have (if they don't have one, that's okay, just choose from either of the two methods above)
Here is a link to a pretty good tutorial about how to create and place a watermark on a photo:

I do not recommend using your modeling name as the watermark (if you're creating a desktop wallpaper then obviously this is okay because you're using the text not really as a watermark but as part of the design). But for watermark purposes, the text used is supposed to list the owner of the photo. Remember, models do not own their modeling pictures--the photographers do. So you must credit the photographer/photography company when placing watermarks.

FYI: You don't need to use the copyright symbol in the watermark.

Consider the Placement of the Watermark on the Photo

In my other post about this subject, I included examples of various ways watermarks appear on modeling images. There are a couple of different options but it's up to the model to determine where they want to position the text onto the picture itself.

For the purpose of submitting modeling pictures to clients via email, I would recommend putting the watermark right in the middle of the image. Make sure the transparency of the text is slightly faded so that the text itself isn't actually blocking the image.

Here's an example of this type of watermark placement:

For other uses, like posting modeling photos online in a portfolio, gallery or album on a social networking site, watermarking isn't mandatory and you don't have to use them. But if you'd rather play things on the safe side, there's nothing wrong with protecting your images. However, you don't have to put the watermark right in the middle.

It's okay to position the text in a more discreet--yet visible--spot on the photo. Like this image below:

Just FYI: when posting pictures on websites that use Flash, you don't have to worry about someone being able to "right-click" on images and doing a "Save As," where they can then save the photo onto their computer. Flash websites disable this function so if you've got a modeling website that uses flash, you don't have to necessarily use watermarks because it will already be protected.

One More Thing...

When creating your own watermarks and putting them on your modeling pictures, don't forget to save a version of your image with the watermark and without one. Failing to do this could end up being a pain in the butt if, for whatever reason, you need to remove the watermark.

Oh, and before I totally forget (this is very important): watermarks should not appear on the hard copy, printed versions of pictures models use in their portfolios! Did the photographer who gave you your images put a watermark on the photo you want to use in your portfolio? Contact the photographer and ask them to give you a hi resolution version that is free of watermarks and make sure to mention that you need this version for your hard copy portfolio. They'll understand and will be more than happy to accommodate such a request.

The Importance of Watermarking Modeling Photos

(This post will be mainly beneficial to freelance female and male models.)

Have you ever looked at photos and noticed an annoying, kinda faded image or text on it? That's what's known as a "watermark." Trust me, it's not there for the purpose of annoying you--it's to protect the ownership and intellectual property of the photo's creator.

I'm sure you all know that folks do crazy things like steal other people's images from the Internet to pass off  as their own or (even worse) manipulate the pictures. Because of such bad intentions, the use of watermarks has become very commonplace in the modeling industry, especially on the photographer side of things.

So how does this subject apply to models? Well, for one thing, freelance models in particular should care that they are taking the proper steps to make sure their photos are safe and difficult for someone else to rip off or misuse. Unlike represented models, there is no agency acting as the middleman, shopping around a model's images to clients in a safe way. Freelance models have to submit their own photos directly to potential clients, which does come with some risk.

Unfortunately, a small handful of "clients" that look for freelance models are guilty of ripping off images from models that submit to their castings. In most of these cases, they obviously were never offering a real gig in the first place--the post merely served as a way for them to receive modeling pictures that they can then take advantage of.

Watermarking, however, serves as a barrier to prevent the chances of something like that from happening. There are a few different ways to use watermarks on modeling photos and it's up to personal preference as to how models end up using it on their own pictures.

Below are a few samples of watermarks and how they can appear on photos:

The way these watermarks are laid out on the images makes it very difficult--if not downright impossible--for someone to try and pass off these pictures as their own work or try to manipulate it. While there is the chance for someone to try and airbrush the watermarks off, it would take way too much time and in the end the overall quality of the picture wouldn't look good. It's easy to see how watermarks serve as a deterrent.

In addition to discouraging abuse of images online, having a watermark is also an opportunity for photographers to advertise their company name, website, etc. to people looking at the picture. So it has a double purpose that is a win-win for the owner of the photo.

My best piece of advice for models interested in placing watermarks on their pictures is to use the name of the photographer, his/her website or logo (if the photographer has one). Any of these versions works well as a watermark.

Wondering just how to put a watermark on your pictures or have other questions about them? I've got another post right after this one that will answer all those questions and concerns.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Modeling Agency Photo Galleries: A Good Resource

You know how adamant I am about browsing through modeling agency websites? There's a reason. The main ones are to find out what an agency's requirements are for its models, the types of models it represents and locating information related to open calls and/or submission instructions and guidelines.
But that's not the only reason why thoroughly going through agency websites is so beneficial for models seeking agency representation. Oftentimes, new models wonder if they have what it takes or if their look is one that would interest agencies. Other models--typically the ones with experience--worry that their look might not be in demand or may have even been told by agencies before that they already have too many model with their look currently on the roster.

To alleviate these types of concerns, it's helpful to actually look at the photo galleries of the models an agency is currently representing. In a few cases, you could be asked to "login" to view the pictures or some other type of limited access message might pop up. If you find yourself in this situation, move on to a different agency website or, if you choose, follow whatever steps are necessary so that you can view the models' photos.

What's to be gained by looking at models' photos on an agency website? A lot. For one thing, it gives you an idea as to whether or not you'd be someone they'd potentially sign. If you're a male model, view the male models' galleries--same for the ladies. View the photos of the models in the division you're hoping to pursue professionally. That means if you're a male model hoping to do runway, you should be looking at the photos of the male models in the runway division of the agency's website, not the commercial/print or lifestyle division.

Do none of the models look like you? That could be a good thing--meaning that an agency might be looking for a fresh face that stands out from the others. Do a lot of the models look like you? That could translate to an agency not wanting to take on another model with a look they already have a lot of...or they could totally be willing to bring you on board. But even if a majority of the models have a resemblance to you that doesn't mean you shouldn't still submit--because you should--it just means being prepared for the possibility of having an agency reject you because their division with your look could be too full at the moment.

Remember, when I say "look like you," that doesn't mean your identical twin. If a model has the same height, measurements, hair color, skin tone and hairstyle, that translates (in the modeling industry) to having the same "look." Keep that in mind when looking at the models' photos on an agency website.

It's not easy looking at the "competition" that's already reached a point you've hoping to achieve--a modeling contract--but viewing modeling galleries on agency sites are a great asset in doing research to see if you'd be a good fit for a particular agency. Not to mention that oftentimes, they'll also post the non professional snapshots or Polaroids of the models. It's always fun, in my opinion, to see how agency represented models photograph when they're in a "natural" state without all the makeup, fancy clothes and retouching.

So if you want to see if an agency would like your look, you'll more than likely get an answer by seeing who they've offered contracts to so far. But don't let this step prevent you from submitting, use it as a research tool.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Modeling Fees That Are Okay to Pay For

(This post is intended for models seeking agency representation, not freelance models).

Of the many concerns that comes with wanting to pursue modeling, cost tends to play a major factor and rightfully so. With so many scams and shady people out there, new and aspiring models often wonder just what amount is legit and what is okay to pay for and not pay for.

Seeking an agent to represent you? The good news is that getting signed to an agency almost all but removes a model from the potential of getting scammed or taken advantage of. The most legit and reputable agencies only deal with other legit and reputable professionals and assume responsibility for protecting their models.

However, there are fake agencies out there, too, whose purpose is to get as much money from people as possible. So how does that help newbies figure things out?

Below are the types of modeling fees that are okay to pay for if you're dealing with an agency that you know to be legit and reputable:


When new models get signed, the agency then sets up a "test shoot," which is the photoshoot where the images will be used to create the model's beginner portfolio, headshot and comp cards. Before you jump down my throat to tell me that you've heard that you're not supposed to pay for portfolios, please read my blog post about this very subject (if you haven't already):

The Deal With Agencies & Test Shoots for Portfolio Building

Please read that post first in order to understand the perspective when I say that the portfolio is an expense/modeling fee that's acceptable to pay if you're dealing with a legit and reputable modeling agency.

Online Modeling Portfolio on Agency Website

You're probably thinking, "Okay, Dania, you just said a portfolio was okay to pay for now what's this about an online modeling portfolio?!" Let me explain.

I do have a post I plan on writing that will address this topic in much greater detail but for now let me summarize my points by saying that in today's world of the Internet, agencies know that online exposure is more important than ever for getting their models' images and names out to potential clients. If you've ever visited any modeling agency website, you'll know that there is always a photo gallery where you can view each model's photos and stats.

Not all agencies approach the online portfolio the same way. Some agencies automatically create online galleries for all the models they sign, which appear on the official agency website. Others only list their newly signed models and/or the ones currently in demand. Some agencies cover the costs related to having a model's images in an online gallery hosted on their site. Others charge a fee to cover that expense.

If you find yourself with an agency that is legit and reputable, and they are asking you to pay a fee to have your modeling images hosted on their website, make sure the fee is reasonable. I've seen fees ranging from as little as $9.00/month or yearly fees that are under $100. Both of which I would consider affordable. But if the online gallery fee is outrageous, then obviously think twice about whether or not you'll want to pay for it or if the agency is one that you want to work with.

Travel, Parking & Other Misc. Costs

Unless you've been booked for a modeling assignment, don't expect to have someone pay these types of costs for you. When agencies send models out on castings and go-sees, the money (if any) that it takes to get you from point A to point B and back will come out of your own pocket and that's commonplace. Agencies would go broke if they had to foot the costs for all of their models to get to castings and go-sees.

Traveling to a client usually happens within city limits, which at most means driving or taking public transportation. Be prepared to shell out a couple of dollars for gas, parking, bus ticket, whatever is related to your travel costs. Should you be asked to travel much farther or get on a plane, chances are the agency will negotiate with the client to have this particular travel expense covered.

Quick Tip #56

Category: Modeling Agencies
For: Male Models

While male and female models aren't exactly the same, when it comes to seeking agency representation, sometimes they tend to get lumped in together. Tired of competing against female models? Look into modeling agencies that only represent men. Obviously, there's still going to be competition but at least it'll be against other men.

Note: Men only agencies are mainly found in larger markets like New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Small to medium-sized markets don't typically have agencies that just represent men but it doesn't hurt to do research to find out for sure.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Free Photo Retouching Opportunity for Models & Non-Models

When it comes to retouching and modeling photos, it's easy for retouchers to get carried away. We've all seen examples of extreme results where the model doesn't even look real. The role of retouching is a big one in the modeling industry and while appearing flawless is the goal, you don't want to go overboard.

Magazines, ads, catalogs and other publications do call for a high level of retouching most times. But for those of you getting photos done for things like your headshot, comp/zed card and general modeling portfolio, you don't want to appear like an airbrushed creation.

Not all photographers stick to the minimum when touching up photos for models. The best headshots and comp cards are those where you can't really tell any extensive retouching has been done.

For those of you that have modeling images that are in need of subtle retouching that gets the job done and still keeps you looking picture-perfect, I wanted to post about an opportunity to have this service done for free. Yes, you read right: free of charge, free 99, no money, nada, zip, ziltch, no strings attached.

How did I come across this opportunity, you ask? Well, I was contacted via email by Jeff Wood, who is building up his business offering editing and touching up people's photos. He provided me with his before and after images to showcase his skills and I felt this would be a great way for you models out there, especially freelance male and female models, to have the chance to get pictures retouched free of charge.

Below are samples of Jeff's work:

To take advantage of this free service, please email Jeff directly at: beautifulphotoedit@gmail.com. His official website is still under construction but soon as it's up and running, I'll be sure to update this post with a link. I do not work with or for Jeff so please send all questions to his email and not mine--I have no answers, lol.

Please note, you do NOT have to be a model to get your photos retouched! Of course this is an ideal opportunity for models of all experience levels but even if you're not interested in modeling and just have some nice pictures that you'd like polished, contact Jeff and he'll take care of you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quick Tip #55

Category: Photographers & Modeling Photos
For: Male & Female Models

When receiving final images from a shoot, give credit where credit is due!

Plan on using your modeling images online? List the photographer's name, company name, website--whatever information there is that lets people know who took the picture. That includes tagging on Facebook, writing this info in the photo description box, etc. It's not that hard and doesn't take away from the picture at all.

Does the photographer have a logo they've included on some of the images? Then those are probably the versions you should upload to the Internet. Having the logo on the picture serves as credit by itself and means you don't have to take the extra step of providing credit in another form.

I always let any photographer I work with know that I provide proper credit on any and all of the images I use for online purposes. You'd be surprised how elated they get when they hear this. But their reaction makes sense. We all strive to be masters of our craft and something as simple as giving credit goes a long way. The same can and should also be done with other industry professionals involved in a shoot (makeup artist, hair stylist, wardrobe, etc.).

 Not sure how to go about giving credit? Ask the photographer if he/she has any preference.

How to Successfully Communicate with Photographers for Great Modeling Photos

(This post will be mainly beneficial to freelance models searching for photographers to either create or update their modeling portfolios.)

No model wants to shoot with a photographer for crappy images or pictures they can't (or don't want) to use in their portfolios. I've heard many unpleasant stories--and have a few of my own--as far as being super disappointed when working with a photographer and the end results that were generated.

However, such a process is one easily learned, since photoshoots are a huge part of a model's career and a task that is done over and over. What that means is while not all of your shoots are going to be amazing, the bad experiences are ones you must learn from. I don't know of any model that hasn't had at least one bad shoot. So don't get discouraged or allow one unpleasant experience to cause you to give up on modeling or feel that every photographer is a jerk, creeper, unprofessional, etc.

Hopefully the information below will help my fellow models (and aspiring) learn how to navigate the process of communicating with photographers and know exactly what each party is bringing to the table so that the pictures created are of a quality that everybody will be proud to show off.

Research Before Contacting

It goes without saying that before even thinking about calling or emailing a photographer to discuss possibly working together, doing research is a must! What does research involve? For starters, finding portfolios that show the photographer's work. These types of portfolios can be found on a photographer's official website (if they have one), social networking sites like Facebook and Model Mayhem, and photo sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram, among others.

References are good, too, if they're available. This means talking to models that have worked with the photographer you're considering and finding out what their experience was and if they'd recommend that you shoot with him/her.

Never work with a photographer whose work you haven't seen. Period. In addition to this just being common sense, it is important because you should only work with photographers that specialize in the type of modeling categories you plan on pursuing. Don't shoot with a high fashion photographer who only does that type of work when you're in need of commercial/print and vice-versa.

Many photographers shoot more than one type of modeling category and that's fine--just make sure they know how to shoot the type of modeling shots you need.

Have an Idea of What You Want/Need Beforehand

Want to know the most effective way of knocking out a photoshoot for your portfolio without hardly any snafus? Have a plan. Already having an idea/concept/theme of what types of photos you need is a great first impression to photographers and shows a model's professionalism. No one likes to have their time wasted and going back and forth asking each other what to shoot never makes for a productive creative process.

New models shouldn't use their "newbie" status as a crutch--you should have some inkling of what images you need from a photographer. Even telling him/her you're in need of headshots is something for them to work with. Then together through further discussion you'll be able to hash out the details.

A lot of photographers do provide a bit of guidance to new models and others willingly come up with ideas for model's photos but don't go into this business relationship expecting the photographer to come up with everything. It should be a collaboration.

Meet In Person Before Working Together

This is hugely important!!! One of the best ways to ensure that you'll be comfortable and confident in front of the camera at the shoot is when you've already established some sort of working relationship/interaction with the person holding the camera. Here is what I believe is the best way to conduct such a meeting, for those of you wondering how to avoid shady situations:

- Set up a meeting during the day. If evenings work better for either you and/or the photographer, that's fine but daytime meetings are usually the best. As long as the meeting is in a public place, that's what matters.

- Pick a public place: acceptable options include restaurants, cafes, a park, bookstore...anywhere that has people around. Options that are not acceptable: somebody's house (even if it's yours), the photographer's studio, the photographer's home studio.

- Escorts are mandatory for models under 18: underage models in the U.S. must have a parent/legal guardian present at all meetings and shoots with a photographer. Legit professionals know this and won't even try to set up a meeting with an underage model by themselves. Models of age can choose to bring an escort to the meeting if it makes them feel better but it's best if the escort isn't sitting at the table with you and the photographer--it's a distraction during a business meeting. Have your escort hang out close by until you're done. It's rare that anybody would try something in front of tons of people anyway--hence the emphasis on meeting in a public place.

- Bring any reference images or samples of the kinds of modeling photos you like and want to try shooting for (this can be printed out or displayed on your laptop, iPad, etc.). Photographers are visual people and seeing what you're going for is a direct way for them to understand what's being expected.

Ask What You'll Get in Return

All photographers have their own policies as to what models receive after a shoot. Before shooting with this type of professional, it helps to know what you'll be getting so ask for this info well in advance of working together.

In terms of portfolio updates, you want to make sure you'll be getting hi res files of the best images from the shoot. I say "hi res" because you might need to print them for your actual modeling portfolio/book. In most cases, the pictures will be used for display online but you also want to have hard copy versions handy to bring to castings when meeting clients.

Here are some general questions to ask a photographer on this subject:

1. How soon will I receive the final images?
2. Will I get to pick the ones I like best?
3. How many total images will I get?
4. How will I get the images? (email, mailed on a CD, link to an online gallery to download photos)
5. Will the final images be retouched?

Find Out What the Photographer's Shooting Style is Like

Some photographers shoot a million frames a second. Others take their time. It helps greatly to know what shooting style a photographer has because it lets you--as the model--know what to expect. For example, I personally do not like to shoot with photographers that shoot a ton of frames...I like to take a few seconds to make sure my pose in on point and for the photographer to provide feedback on whether or not I need to fix something. I also prefer to do quick previews of what has been shot in order to make sure we're getting something we both like.

Another trait I look for in photographers is if they talk and engage with me during the shoot to let me know if they like a pose, don't like it, suggest a change and so on. I cannot stand shooting with photographers that are silent the entire time. It makes me wonder if they like what I'm doing, as well as increases the pressure on me unnecessarily. I usually don't end up liking the photos that come from "silent" photographers because 9 times out of 10, they contain something that could have been fixed if the photographer had spoken up. It's like, "How could you not see that?!"

I have no problem with a photographer telling me, "Fix your hair," "Smooth that wrinkle on your shirt," "Look at the camera," "I don't like that pose, try something else." I will literally ask a photographer during a pre-shoot meeting, "Do you talk during shoots or will I be on my own?" Of course I say this in a lighthearted manner to get my point across, so as to not rub them the wrong way.

Because of my preferences, I make sure to look for photographers that embrace those shooting styles. It means both I and the photographer get to work together within our comfort zone. I'm not saying you should only look for photographers like the ones I've described. The bottom line is to ask what a photographer's shooting style is so that you don't go into the shoot unprepared. Over time and with more shoots under your belt, you'll eventually develop your own style and will be able to readily identify which photographers you'll know off the bat would be good to work with.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Victoria's Secret Photos Unretouched vs. Retouched

I'm so glad to have come across this link that was posted by a local photographer on one of the Facebook modeling groups I'm a member of.

It's an exclusive look at photos of Doutzen Kroes's shoot for Victoria's Secret. We've all see this supermodel grace the pages of the VS catalog for quite some time now but I guarantee that you haven't seen her like this: unretouched. VS apparently accidentally released the unretouched pictures and while they did damage control, once it was on the Internet, there was no way to completely remove them afterwards.

She still looks amazing--don't expect for her to look unbelievably unattractive or anything but when you see the side-by-side comparison of the original photos--known in the industry as the "RAW" image--next to the professionally retouched, end result, you'll easily see how even the smallest of photo manipulation makes a big difference.

I doubt this will change many aspiring models' beliefs that they have to be "perfect" in order to snag a gig the likes of Victoria's Secret but I do hope strongly that seeing the "real deal" on how seemingly "perfect" women like Doutzen require Photoshopping puts things into perspective that even supermodels photograph just like the standard working model.

Click below for the scoop and to view the pictures:

Victoria's Secret Revealed--Unretouched vs. Retouched Photos

Make sure you actually read the article/content that goes along with it, too.

*Original link/content is courtesy of the site FStoppers.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Keep Your Makeup Artist Happy

(Sometimes it gets tiresome to type out "makeup artist" a lot so I'll shorthand it to MUA interchangeably throughout this post, which is the industry's way of abbreviating this title.)

Needless to say, I've worked with a ton of makeup artists over the course of my career. I enjoy talking shop with them, finding out what got them into the makeup industry, etc. One of my favorite subjects to talk about are their pet peeves, aka things models do that they can't stand.

My favorite saying is that my job as a model is to "make the client's job easier." That includes others in the crew, such as makeup artists. Anytime I ask a makeup artist about what their pet peeves are or negative experiences they've had with models, it's for the main purpose of making sure I'm not guilty of any of those things--and if I am, learning what I need to change. Trust me, the last thing you want is to make your MUA unhappy...they're responsible for making you look fabulous!

Both male models and female models work with this type of industry professional and while male models don't wear as much or the same types of makeup products as the women do (in most cases)...when it comes to sitting down in the makeup chair, below are key ways for models of both genders to ensure the makeup artist loves (instead of loathes) them:

Find Out Info in Advance

It isn't uncommon for makeup artists to email/call a model (or have the person in charge of the gig do it) to pass on information/instructions about how models should arrive the day of the gig. Should you ever get such instructions, please follow them! I worked with a MUA recently who shocked me by saying more than a handful of times she's had models show up to a shoot or fashion show with their faces not prepped according to what she specifically told them well in advance.

Never received any such instruction/information beforehand? Then...

Arrive With a Clean, Moisturized Face

This goes for both female and male models. That means wash and moisturize your face as you normally would before heading to your modeling gig. And make sure to tell the MUA what is currently on your complexion. For example, anytime I'm working with a makeup artist, before they put anything on my face, I'll let them know I only have moisturizer on. If you have additional product on your face, let them know.

NEVER come to a MUA with makeup on from last night or an unclean, unwashed face. Doing so means taking extra time to remedy the situation and time is money.

Remove as Much Previous Makeup as Possible

There are times when a model is busy with back-to-back gigs. Just this past weekend I had to diligently clean my complexion from a shoot in order to make sure my face was as makeup-free as possible for a fashion show I had the very next day.

Models, this means paying attention to tedious matters, such as removing as much lash glue as you can from your lash line (if fake lashes were used), wiping dramatic liner from the top and bottom lashes and of course getting rid of lingering lip color. Sometimes eye liner, especially when applied to the lower lashes, tends to linger even after a thorough cleansing. In those instances, it's okay if you can't get it all off--there's only so much you can do and the MUA will be able to work around it. But don't leave a large majority of previous makeup on and expect the makeup artist to tend to your face. Their job is to apply makeup, not clean it off.

Don't Wear Makeup to a Modeling Gig Where a MUA is Provided

I'm sure there may be certain exceptions to the rule but why would a model do his/her own makeup when going to a gig when they know a makeup artist is going to be present? Believe me, models do this--I've had MUAs tell me so! Even if it's just foundation or concealer, the MUA isn't going to be happy. Clients have a specific look they want their models to have and that info is passed onto the makeup artist so having a model take that matter into their own hands only serves to start things off on the wrong foot.

Groom Your Face!

Male models with facial hair need to keep it nice and maintained when getting ready to work with a makeup artist. That means cleaning up any stragglers and shaving/lining up edges. Female models, check your brows the day before and if they need some cleaning up, tend to it asap! That means plucking stray hairs, grooming any facial hairs, including upper lip and chin hair...I know it sounds icky, but women have facial hair, too, people!

Male models, if your brows are unruly and you get them trimmed, maintain the results so that they look their best the day of the gig. If you've kept your brows natural and that's your "look", then leave them as is. Female models, however, can't risk having stray brow hairs. It might sound like something so small and trivial but I've heard it straight from the horse's mouth that working on a female model's brows that aren't groomed and have stray hairs is a nightmare for MUAs because it means either tweezing it themselves the day of or applying foundation or concealer to hide it. It's annoying to do, especially when knowing it could have been avoided altogether, had the model simply paid attention to it the day/night before.

Learn to Sit Still & Lean Forward

Not everyone is good at this and if it applies to you, start working on getting better because the last thing any MUA needs is a fidgety model. Male or female, realize when it's okay to shift a bit in the chair and when to remain still. When the makeup artist is working on the eye area, don't start blinking a lot--it doesn't help. It's okay to talk to the MUA while he/she is working on your face but know when to not talk, like when lip color is being applied.

On the leaning forward part, I don't mean lean so far forward that you almost fall out of the chair. When sitting in a MUA chair, it might feel natural to sit back. But guess what? That means the MUA has to reach in to put on your makeup and that's annoying, not to mention uncomfortable. Scoot your bottom up a bit and lean your face forward slightly. The makeup artist will let you know if you're in a good position.

Don't Play With Your Cell Phone During the Process

Texting, talking on the phone, checking email, etc. makes it extremely hard for a makeup artist to do his/her job. Pay attention to the task at hand and not your phone. Leave the phone in a purse (for female models) or on the table (for male models)--whatever it takes to prevent you from reaching over and checking it. The cell phone's not going anywhere so focus on your job.


You don't have to be pro to understand why it's important for a model's face to be relaxed when it comes to applying makeup. Scrunching your face up, furrowing your brow, squinting and other movements can cause makeup products like foundation, concealer and eye shadow to go on unevenly, making for a messy end result.

I don't know about you, but getting my makeup professionally done is like getting a massage--I get totally relaxed. When your face is free of tension it means the products will go on smoothly and beautifully, which is how you definitely want to look when all is said and done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dania Denise Fun Flick!

I enjoy posting behind the scenes photos from my shoots...this one is from earlier today. It was a bridal themed shoot (in case you couldn't tell, lol).

The images will be used by the photographer, Marilee Caruso, on her business cards, fliers, website, etc. in order to promote her wedding photography services.

The dress I'm wearing actually belongs to the makeup artist, Randee Ratchet. Thankfully it fit me pretty well!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quick Tip #54

Category: Posing
For: Male & Female Models

Your eyes don't always have to be looking directly at the camera during shoots. However, when attempting to do this, prevent "demon eyes" where only the whites are showing by making sure your eyes/focal point is in line with your nose--not looking way off to the side. This will guarantee that enough of your irises appear in the photos and not just the whites of the eyes with only a little bit of the irises being visible.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tips for Using Facebook to Find Modeling Work

(This post is mainly beneficial for freelance models.)

It's no secret that social media has its advantages, especially when it comes to business and networking opportunities. Facebook has become one of the latest resources that models can tap into in order to find work and other professionals to connect with.

Although it's not set up to find castings like Model Mayhem and One Model Place, there are ways for models to stay on top of things in this category.

Do a Search for Industry Professionals

The great thing about social media is that everybody knows the importance of having profiles on sites like Facebook. From designers and photographers, to makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, modeling agencies and fashion publications, it isn't hard to find out who has a Facebook account and who doesn't. Is there a local company/brand/designer you want to try and work with? See if you can do a FB search by typing their name into the search bar and seeing what results pop up. Or you could do a general online search and see if a FB profile shows up.

Notice I said "local"? That's because it's not as likely that contacting Vogue Magazine (or some other world known brand/company/client) via Facebook and telling them how much you want to be in their magazine will get you very far. Be realistic when choosing who to contact and send friend requests to. I'm not saying you can't contact the heavy hitter names--because you can--but just know that starting with local clients is a more effective way to get the ball rolling when it comes to finding modeling work.

For the professionals that have profiles, it'll be your chance to connect by sending a friend request, message, etc. Making friends with industry people is encouraged because many are now using their profiles or fan pages to post casting call information, which is only visible to people on their friends list or who have "liked" their pages.

Make Friends with Photographers

Not sure where to start with networking with industry professionals? Photographers are a great place to start. Like I suggested above, do a search on Facebook for local photographers and see what their portfolios look like. Send a friend request and brief message of introduction if you like their work, they appear legit and operate on a professional level.

Successful photographers are published, work with clients and foster key connections with others in the industry. Being Facebook friends with photographers, as well as working with them as a result, is a way for models to get their foot in the door and have the opportunity to be introduced to that photographer's professional circle. When photographers enjoy working with male and female models, they'll talk to their circle about it and may even recommend them to clients for upcoming work and projects.

You don't have to be Facebook friends with every single photographer in your city. Remember, quality over quantity. Choose the best and it will lead to working with the best.

Join a Facebook Modeling Group

Anytime you get invited to join a modeling group on Facebook, accept it. I don't know about other areas but for me, there are a handful of FB modeling groups for the San Francisco Bay Area that I belong to. Some of them contain the same members and overlap with certain posts sometimes but it's still worth it to be in each one. For example, 2 of the groups are for local fashion magazines and its members have instant access anytime they post casting calls and other events where they need models. I can find out who to contact, what to send and can ask any questions I may have.

Oftentimes these groups are private or closed, which means you have to get invited. This is why networking is so important. The more industry affiliated people you add--both on a local as well as larger, national scale--the more likely you are to get wind of such groups and the higher your chances will be of getting invited and/or joining. Sometimes it's a lot of posts by other models asking people to vote for their modeling contests or "like" their pages but it does serve as a resource for finding potential castings as well.

Like Fan Pages of Industry Professionals

I kind of mentioned this already above but it's worth dedicating its own little portion. Not all of the industry pros that have FB profiles allow for friend requests and might only have fan pages that you can "like." If this is your only option, take it. Even if you can't add that person, they'll be notified of your "Like" and usually there is also the option to send a message. So there's still an opportunity to make contact.

I've been seeing more and more photographers, publications and other professionals stating that they want people to "Like" their pages so that they'll be able to keep track of people they potentially want to work with, as well as make sure those folks get info about new castings and modeling opportunities.

Social media is about promoting yourself but in most cases, you'll get faster results by also reaching out to others instead of just sitting back and waiting for them to find you.

Latest Shoot: Evening Gowns in San Francisco

I had the great fortune to shoot with San Francisco photographer, Gerry Gatchalian of G2 proImages. We networked on Facebook and--like Ming in the blog post I did before this one--I messaged him after seeing his casting call posted on one of the FB modeling groups I'm a member of.

Gerry was excited to work with me and we began planning our shoot together a few weeks ago. I'd never worked with Gerry before but know a male model colleague of mine who shoots with him a lot. He vouched for Gerry so I felt good about the upcoming shoot.

We both knew we wanted to shoot evening gowns...something elegant, feminine and sexy but classy. The location for the shoot was going to take place in the evening (8pm to be exact) on San Francisco's Embarcadero Street. The only concern was that I didn't own any gowns that really fit the look we were going for, which was bright colors that would pop in contrast with the nighttime setting.

Thankfully, I utilized my resources and decided to reach out to Sarah Dottery, who owns a bridal boutique (Blessed Brides by Sarah) and is actually one of the people I model gowns for during the bridal season. Bless her heart, Sarah was more than happy to let me pull dresses for my shoot free of charge. I was super happy! I went for a fitting and found two dresses I loved.

The day of the shoot I was responsible for my own hair and makeup so I used all my superpowers, lol. While I won't say it was "perfect" the makeup and hair photographed well--I was just glad it was at nighttime so I didn't have to worry about the imperfections being targeted in the sun.

I met up with Gerry and his assistant, Drew, on location in SF at 8pm sharp. We got right to work and I was thrilled that Gerry was the type of photographer that didn't take a million pictures a second. He took time to make sure my pose was ready, the composition and lighting overall was good and then he took the picture. He also let me preview what we were shooting along the way. Drew snapped away with his own camera, capturing candids and behind the scenes shots.

It was funny because the night we chose to shoot on location was the same night as this huge biking event called Critical Mass, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary. So while I was posing and doing my thing, hundreds of cyclists were whizzing by, whistling, yelling compliments and one cyclist even rode around me in circles, blowing kisses, lol. It was a riot! Then of course there were the looky-loos in their cars who honked, waved and told me they loved me. Ah, you gotta love shooting on location! ;-)

We shot from 8pm till about 10:30pm. I got lucky that it wasn't as cold as it usually is in that area but by the time 10pm rolled around, I definitely started to shut down because it was so cold. Thankfully Gerry didn't force me to continue because he knew that if I was uncomfortable, there was no way we would get any really good shots. So we called it a night--literally--packed up our stuff and headed home.

Below are some of our favorite shots:

Latest Shoot: Menswear for Women

Remember how I raved about working with student photographers? That opinion hasn't changed. Via Facebook I networked with a young lady named Ming, who had posted on one of the FB modeling groups I belong to about needing models to shoot a concept with. I checked out her profile, liked what I saw and shot her a message with my interest after sending a friend request.

Prior to shooting, we messaged each other religiously about the look we were going for, what I needed to bring, what she was bringing, location, date, time, etc. Even in her writing I could tell she was professional and was very excited about working with her. It was a TFP shoot so in exchange I would get copies of the best images for my portfolio, which was fine with me. The only time I do free shoots these days if is I really like a photographers work and/or they want to shoot a concept/look I need in my portfolio. Both of which applied to Ming.

We met up in San Francisco at the de Young Museum. I brought a garment bag with a bunch of different options and she brought a few items along as well for wardrobe. I arrived camera ready with my hair pulled back into a low chignon and with my face on point, thanks to my makeup artist, Sophia Musto.

The concept was "Menswear for Women." I've personally always been a fan of women wearing men's clothing in fashion. I think it's super sexy. Once we knew what I was going to wear, I got changed and we set out to shoot. I knew right away things would work out wonderfully with Ming. She's got a great work ethic and is super efficient. We would pick a location, set up and shoot for a bit, preview what we'd shot, make tweaks if necessary and then move on to the next location. We spent about 2 hours shooting and got a lot of great images.

Below are our favorites:

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Model, Agency, Client Process

New and aspiring models have quite a learning curve to tackle when getting into the modeling industry. While there are plenty of resources and information available, it's normal to still have a fear of the unknown, especially since you don't know what to expect until you're actually doing it.

When it comes to what models do, how they interact with agencies and clients it can be a bit confusing for those that are new to the whole thing. While not every model leads the same exact career, there are some processes that are commonplace.

So if you're wondering how things work, who deals with who and what's next, allow me to break it down...at least in the most basic aspects (there are more details that can be included but for now let's keep it simple):

The Model Gets Signed to An Agency

You can't be an agency represented model without an agent! Once the contract is signed, the agency's next step is to guide the model through setting up their first test shoot with a photographer, which is how their portfolio, headshots and comp cards are created. Now that those materials are done and in place, the agency will go to work submitting the model's name and images to their connections, as well as to any castings that they feel the model would be a good fit for.

The Model Attends Go-Sees, Castings, etc. for Clients

Agencies act as a matchmaker of sorts in order to put together the right models with the right clients/types of projects. In most cases, clients will contact agencies to let them know of an upcoming project that they need models for. They'll provide them with details about what's needed and from there the agency will go through their roster of male and/or female models to see who will be the best potential fit.

Sometimes the agency will send one or more models to the same casting calls and go-sees. Doing this increases their odds of getting one of their models chosen for the gig. It varies from client to client and what is needed. The model shows up to the casting call or go-see and meets with the client in person.

The Model Gets Hired

When the casting call or go-see is over, the client will then go back and review all the submissions and make their final decision. They'll inform the agency as to which model(s) they want and from there the agency will notify the model(s) and provide them with further details about the assignment (shoot date, time, location, etc.).

The Work is Done, Now the Payroll Process Starts

The model has performed his/her service and the project is all said and done. Now comes the payment part. Many new and aspiring models falsely believe that the agency is who pays the model. Not quite accurate. It is the client who pays the model--the agency is the middleman that gets the money to the model.

Now that the work has been completed, the client is then billed by the agency for the agreed upon amount. This starts the payroll process, which doesn't always happen right away. Once the client receives the invoice from the agency, they will handle payment on their end and cut a check, which is then sent to the agency's office.

When the agency gets the check from the client, which can take a few weeks or as long as 90 days, they'll then take their commission from it (20% is the average commission most--not all--agencies charge in today's market). The remaining amount is then sent via check to the model.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

As I stated already, no two models' careers are exactly alike but as far as interacting with agencies in regards to castings calls/go-sees, working with clients and the payment process goes, this is the gist of what the average, agency represented model can expect their routine to consist of.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quick Tip #53

Category: Photoshoots
For: Male & Female Models

When doing a shoot with more than one outfit/look, always wear your least favorite outfit first. It takes some time to "warm up" in a shoot, which means the poses and expressions aren't always on-point right away. This is normal so don't panic if you don't like what you see when previewing the images on the photographer's camera.

The more comfortable a model gets as the shoot progresses, the better the poses and expressions will be. So remember, put your least favorite outfit on first and save the best for last. By the time you get to your #1 pick, you'll have adjusted completely and feel right at home in front of the camera, guaranteeing amazing results you'll be proud to showcase in your portfolio.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Did You Know...? #13

...Even if an agency expresses interest in a model, it isn't 100% guaranteed they'll get signed. When agencies choose who to bring onto their rosters, it's not just one person making a decision--it's usually more. When a person from an agency states they're "interested" in a model that has submitted to them for possible representation, the process doesn't end there.
The agency staff member that expressed initial interest has to take the model's photos, info and other materials to their higher-ups and discuss things in greater detail. This could mean having a panel of the agency's decision makers talking about a model's chances at being successful with their agency, pros and cons, etc.

The final decision could be up to one head honcho, such as the agency's President, Owner, CEO, etc. or it may require a vote from a handful of agency staff.

So if you've gotten initial interest from an agency but are wondering why it's taking so long for them to get back to you or if you later find out that they won't be proceeding with signing you, that could be why. Unfortunately, agencies aren't obligated to explain any of this to you so if you find yourself in this situation, it may shed some light as to how and why things played out the way they did.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dania Denise's Favorite Finds: Pond's Wet Cleansing Towelettes

From time to time I come across products that I just love so much I have to share them with anyone who cares to listen, lol. I think this could be one of my latest blog post series: "Dania Denise's Favorite Finds." Whaddaya think? :-)

Anywho, being in the entertainment industry, I deal with situations where I'm always on the lookout for products that will make my life a lot easier. Needless to say, being a model/actor means dealing with experiences that the every day person wouldn't typically have to worry about. Like hair and makeup and doing damage control.

It's common knowledge that modeling tends to involve a lot of makeup and tons of product in your hair--even for male models, although of course not as much as their female counterparts in most cases. When it comes to makeup in particular, I'm always working to keep my complexion healthy. I have ezcema and a combination skin type, which means I'm cautious about what goes on my face. Thankfully, over the years my complexion has acclimated to having tons of makeup applied to it but that doesn't mean I take any chances when it comes to skin care.

In the past, I've just used regular cleanser to remove my makeup and it worked fairly well for a time. Every so often I like to break my routine, however, and seek products that maybe I've been missing out on (I'm not one of those gals that is up to snuff on the latest, must-have products 24/7...I simply don't have the time to keep up with such stuff). Last year I decided to try and find a makeup wipe product so that I wouldn't run through my cleanser more than I should be.

I tried one product--the name I can't recall right now...maybe it was Oil of Olay?--and it was nice. Not fabulous but it was definitely a perk to not have to rewash my face twice (or sometimes even more) using my cleanser. I simply used the wipe and it sped up the process of my skin care routine. When I ran out of the wipes I headed to the drugstore (Walgreens) to restock. As I was looking for the wipes I had bought the first time, I came across the Pond's Wet Cleansing Towelettes. Pond's is a skin care brand I've trusted for years...I currently use Pond's for my moisturizer and love it. I checked out the package and read the ingredients on the label. I especially liked that it was formulated with Vitamin E, not to mention that Pond's is one of those brands that I knew my skin wouldn't have a negative reaction to.

So I purchased a pack of 30 wet cleansing towelettes "Original Clean." After the first time using it, I knew I was hooked! Each towelette was super wet--not just "damp" like the first product I tried--it actually had bubbles on the towelette when I pulled it out of the package, which I personally like. It only took one towelette to completely clean my face of tons of makeup layers.

The best thing I love about Pond's Wet Cleansing Towelettes is that after wiping my face down, it's SO smooth and soft that during the summer months, I didn't even need to follow up with moisturizer! Now that fall and winter are approaching, I of course moisturize afterwards. But overall, my skin feels amazing afterwards, like it's literally taking a breath of fresh air.

The price is decent as well, especially when you buy it at the drugstore. A pack of 30 is like under $10...anybody can afford that! And the whole pack lasts me maybe 1-2 months--I only use it when I have to take off makeup for a shoot, show or if I have to go to a casting/go-see where I have to arrive "camera ready."

The only downside I can find to the product is that over time as the number of wipes gets used up, the package's resealable, peel away type top starts to lift up, letting air in. I find that I have to put my eye cream jar on top when I'm not using it to keep the air out. It's not a major deal but it's a little annoying. Thankfully, I've never had a pack completely dry up on me. It's good at removing eye makeup but not so much with mascara. I usually just give it 1-2 swipes and will then use my cleanser to remove the rest of the mascara. Again, not a biggie but just something that's good to know beforehand.

So if you're looking for a makeup wipe that gets the job done pretty well and leaves your skin feeling good, I would recommend giving the Pond's Wet Cleansing Towelettes Original Clean a try. There is a pack of 15 if you don't want to risk being stuck with 30 in the event that you don't end up liking it. Male and female models of all skin types--even sensitive--I think will like adding this product to their skin care routine. And of course you don't have to be a model to use it, lol. It's a good product to have in general.

If you do end up trying it, let me know what you think!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Top 4 Reasons Why New Models Don't Get Signed to Agencies

Mistakes, large or small, can make or break the chances new models have when trying to gain agency representation. Too often I get emails from aspiring models, wondering why they haven't heard back from the agencies they've submitted to. While I can't say they all make the same mistakes (or any mistakes at all in some cases), a good number tend to be guilty (usually unaware) of any or all of the following 4 situations...

Mistake #1: Sending Blind Submissions

Guess what? Sending random pictures to a slew of agencies isn't how you get into the industry. There is more to seeking representation than submitting pictures that you think are pretty cool. There are rules and guidelines to follow. This is important to keep in mind because agencies get flooded with submissions every day. Without those rules and guidelines, there would be no organization and these businesses wouldn't be able to run smoothly.

If your attempt at looking for agencies consists of sending camera phone pictures or not very good quality "professional" pictures to all the agencies you can think of, it's not likely that you'll hear back.

The Solution: Instead of sending blind submissions, do actual research and target the agencies that you meet the requirements for. Additionally, find the instructions for sending submissions--typically found on the agency websites themselves--and follow those rules/guidelines to a tee.

Mistake #2: Not Meeting the Requirements

I know it sucks but if you're a 5'3" female aspiring model and you submit to a high fashion agency like IMG or Elite, guess what? You're not going to get a reply from them. If you're a 5'10" female aspiring fashion model but your measurements are larger than the 34-24-34 standard (I'm not including plus size size requirements in this example) and you submit to a high fashion agency, you also will be waiting for a reply that won't come. Same goes for aspiring male models.

There are different categories of modeling and each one comes with its own significant requirements. Height is the main determining factor, size/measurements are second. A model's look of course is a major factor as well but the first two are what's going to give new models the criteria they need to figure out which agencies to submit to.

The Solution: I wish the rules could be changed but until they actually do, I would not advise submitting to agencies that you know you don't meet the requirements for...height or otherwise. Focus on the agencies that have the divisions you are eligible for and put your efforts into submitting to them. It'll be worth your time much more than hoping you can beat the odds and become that one exception to the rule.

***Update: You are allowed to submit to agencies that you don't meet the height requirements for--it's not like you absolutely can't. I personally don't recommend it, especially if you're more than 2+ inches short of the minimum height requirement. However, in the case of shorter models hoping to get signed to a fashion/runway agency, if you feel you can be that exception to the rule, what will improve your odds would mainly be having a high fashion "look" (i.e. strong bone structure with prominent cheekbones, interesting features, etc.). If you look like a print model, it's less likely that a high fashion agency will be interested.***

Mistake #3: Not Sending the Right Photos

New models that really do their homework on the industry should know off the bat that professional pictures aren't mandatory to submit to agencies. I'm so thankful that a huge majority of agencies are now stating directly on their sites that they prefer non professional, digital snapshots and that professional pictures are NOT necessary. That's coming straight from the source...so that means do not waste your time trying to contact photographers or put together a portfolio if you're new...agencies don't care about that, they want to see the snapshots.

I've done countless posts where I've talked about why snapshots are better to submit than professional ones so I won't go into that here but just know that unless an agency's websites literally says they only want professional pictures, don't send pro pictures or stress yourself out about trying to create them.

The Solution: Again, it goes back to reading the instructions/guidelines given on each agency's website. Find out if they want pro or non pro pictures. Then prepare your submission accordingly. For the websites that have photo examples of how snapshots should look, that means make your snapshots look like those. Are examples not given on the site? Google "model snapshots" and you'll find tons of examples. Still stumped? Email me (daniadenise@gmail.com) and I can give you some! 

Mistake #4: Not Taking Location Into Consideration

New models often don't even think about where an agency is located--they just submit and hope that the agency will send them plane tickets and fly them to their new destiny as a top model. Sending pictures to Elite, Wilhelmina or Ford in New York or Los Angeles when you live in Texas, Colorado or some other very far away spot won't turn up good results UNLESS you'd be willing to move to be near the agency. So while it is still possible to have an agency interested in a model that doesn't currently live within the vicinity, the deal can't be sealed if the model can't or won't move to pursue their modeling career.

If you know you're not in a position to move away from home, why would you submit to agencies in far away locations? Agencies don't front up a bunch of money to give a new model an entirely new lifestyle if they want to sign them. Actual money isn't made right away after signing with an agency so the idea that a model will be sent for by an agency and completely financed to begin their career is a super long shot (not saying it's impossible but it rarely happens).

The Solution: Keep your agency search local--within a 2 hour's drive from where you live. You'll have a much better shot at snagging an agency if they know you're close enough to be reliable. Castings, go-sees and other modeling assignments come on short-notice and if you live hours away, chances are you're not going to be willing and/or able to hop on a plane and fly to a casting at the last minute. Submit to as many agencies within that 2 hour driving radius and see what happens. Remember, don't send pictures to an agency far away unless you won't hesitate to move if they want to sign you.

At the end of the day, if you haven't committed any of these common mistakes and are STILL without any reply from agencies you've submitted to, it's more than likely a matter of your look not being what they need right now or they may have too many models with your current look, to the point where they can't accommodate signing on new models at that time.

Should you find yourself in either of those situations, the best you can do is wait at least 6 months to 1 year before resubmitting yourself again, which is totally acceptable. So don't feel that the doors are closed to you forever if agencies pass on you the first time around.

Dania Denise Nor-Cal Meet & Greet: Final Update

Alrighty, I've got the final details confirmed for my meet and greet that I posted about before! Below is the confirmed info for anyone that is able and interested in attending:

When: Saturday, September 22nd
Time: 1:00PM
Where: Starbucks @ The Hacienda Crossings Center, 4930 Dublin Boulevard  Dublin, CA 94568

I'll more than likely be indoors working on my laptop until people show up...since I don't know what any of you look like (lol) please don't be shy--introduce yourself!

For those of you reading this for the first time who haven't checked out my other two posts about this, I'm basically making myself available for any of my readers who want to meet me in person and talk shop about anything related to modeling. This will be a great opportunity to get one-on-one advice/guidance and learn more about what it really takes to be successful in the modeling industry, as well as get any questions answered.

Male and female models of all experience levels and ages are more than welcome to attend, although I would discourage bringing small children/babies. Parents of models are definitely encouraged to come along, too! You don't have to be a Modeling 101 reader or subscribe to my posts to be at the meet and greet...everybody and anybody that wants to come can do so. :-)

So now you know where I'll be on Saturday and I hope it's where you plan on being, too!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quick Tip #52

Category: Posing
For: Male & Female Models

Experienced models will totally relate to this saying, "If the pose hurts, you're doing it right!" So true! Anytime you're doing a pose and you feel "comfortable," that means it's not going to photograph well. I swear, it happens every single time. The only exception are simpler poses like standing up where you're not doing much. What I'm talking about mainly refers to poses where you're sitting down, kneeling, lying down, etc. Anything that involves some kind of stance where your body is dynamically posed in some way.

When in front of the camera, the entire body should be in action, your muscles should be tense to some degree as you are holding the pose. Whether it's high fashion or a lifestyle image, to some degree your body should be alert. Depending on the pose, you'll be able to feel a slight burning in your muscles--similar to holding a pose while doing an exercise like yoga.

So remember, if you're holding a pose and it's a bit uncomfortable or if the photographer tells you to rest and you literally feel your entire body relax at that moment, it means you're posing in a way that will produce the best photographic results.

Why Multitasking & Posing Go Hand-in-Hand in Modeling

Posing is the major duty of any model, male or female. Even runway models are required to post at the end of the catwalk. This skill comes naturally to many models but does take time and a lot of practice to master.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that comes with posing is the fact that it requires a model to multitask mentally. How so? Well, there's a lot that goes into posing--namely the details. It doesn't take much for one tiny posing error to throw off or even ruin an otherwise amazing photo.

This subject is hard for me to explain in words (if I had the time, resources and crew I would love to do a video blog about this topic...it's on my to-do list) but the best way for me to capture the essence of what goes into posing and why it requires multitasking is to imagine yourself striking a pose in front of the camera.

Actually, you know what? I want you to get up right now and do a pose in front of the mirror. Don't think--just do.

Got your pose? Good...now hold it. Hopefully you're in a position to be able to still read this blog post as you're doing your pose because the next step is to ask yourself the following questions. If you're not in a good position to do both, read this first and then ask yourself these questions in your head or have a friend/sibling read the following questions out loud to you while posing and make adjustments as needed:
  1. Is my whole body posed or just certain parts?
  2. What do my hands look like? Are they posed in a way that will photograph well?
  3. What am I doing with my feet? Are they positioned in a way that makes the pose look good overall?
  4. Are my arms blocking my torso in any way?
  5. Am I sucking in my stomach?
  6. Is the pose I'm doing flattering to my body shape?
  7. How is the angle/position of my head/face? Is my chin properly posed at the right angle?
Below is a breakdown of each question and why it matters in modeling:

1. Is my whole body posed or just certain parts?

It's easy for models to pose and "think" they've got a complete pose when, in reality, only their top half is posing or vice-versa. When it comes to full body images, your entire body should be posed. This doesn't mean some crazy, off-the-wall dynamic where every appendage is doing something different. For example, say your pose is simply having your hands on your hips or posing them near your face/neck area. Well, what are you doing with your feet and legs? Are they just boring or are you doing something with them?
This is a good example of a model that is posing with her whole body. Her legs are posed just slightly but it's enough to make it an overall interesting image, as opposed to her legs just being straight and together.
You should be posing even if there's a part of your body that's not showing on camera. When sitting down, for example, although the focus is on your upper body, your posing will be more successful if you're also positioning your legs a certain way. When your entire body is involved, it influences the pose overall...plus, it's just easier to do, in my opinion.
When I shot this, I was sitting on a stool. I posed my entire body: I squeezed my arms together, with my hands placed in between my legs, holding the edge of the stool and I scooted myself towards the edge of the stool--just short of falling off. I stuck my butt out a bit to create a nice curve to the small of my back and I spread my legs wide and braced them to keep my balance (I also had on high heels). I incorporated my whole body from head to toe...literally.
2. What do my hands look like? Are they posed in a way that will photograph well?

Being mindful of how your hands and fingers are is crucial in a majority of poses. I'm sure you've all seen the ANTM episode (from the petite cycle, I believe), where they described a model's hand as "the claw." Amazing picture but that dang "claw" just messed it up. 
The claw! If she had just relaxed her fingers a bit or chosen a different way of holding the bad, this would be a cool photo. Even the hand not holding the bag looks awkward--is it on her hip? In front of it? If it's not on her hip, why is it posed like that?
When posing, look at your hands/fingers. Are you unconsciously clenching your hands into a fist? You'd be amazed how naturally people do it without even realizing it. It's important to have the fingers properly spaced out (not too much) but not so close together that it would look funny. Depending on the angle, if you don't pose your hands right, it could look like you're missing fingers or have a stump (believe me, I've seen it and it's pretty comical).

3.  What am I doing with my feet? Are they positioned in a way that makes the pose look good overall?

Similar to my response for question #1. If your upper body is posed great but your legs are kinda blah, the whole image will be blah. There isn't a whole lot you can do with your feet/legs but with time and practice, it is possible to create nice poses where the lower body works in harmony with the upper body.

4.  Are my arms blocking my torso in any way?

Depending on the angle, it is important to try not to unnecessarily block your torso with your arms for posing where you are standing (there are a few poses where this can be done in a nice way but not many)...the main reason being that in photographs, it can make a model look "wider" than he/she really is, which is never flattering.

5.  Am I sucking in my stomach?

It doesn't matter if your stomach is already pretty flat--believe me, it can be sucked in more. The camera captures and emphasizes problem areas, even the ones we didn't think were there. Anytime you're posing, it's just good habit to suck in your stomach while shooting, especially if you're doing a 3/4 angle or profile. Not only does it photograph better, it makes your posture better when posing.
See what I mean?
 6. Is the pose I'm doing flattering to my body shape?

This is where models need to be realistic. This (pardon my French) damn pose below is NOT for everyone:
Yes, this pose looks very cool...it screams high fashion but we're not all high fashion models. 9 times out of 10 I've seen non-fashion models do this pose (and are so serious about it) and I've gotta say it just looks absolutely terrible! Just put your hands on your hips normally and command the photo with good posture (chest out, stomach sucked in, back straight) and trust me, it will look much better and work in your favor.

Okay, aside from my mini rant about that pose, it is vital that models choose poses that flatter their figure. I can't stress this point enough. What looks great on a super tall, lithe body doesn't always translate well for a shorter model and vice-versa. Work with poses that are meant for your modeling category and I guarantee that regardless of your body shape/size, you'll look good.

7. How is the angle/position of my head/face? Is my chin properly posed at the right angle?

On this point, I'm talking specifically about the actual posing of your head/face, not facial expression. One of the most common feedback models get from photographers while shooting is, "chin up" and "chin down." These angles make a huge difference.

Posing with your chin down too much means a serious forehead shot and it throws the proportions/angles of your face off whack (namely, making your eyes look demonic as you're staring up at the camera). Putting your chin up too much means an up the nose shot. However, there are exceptions to this rule when it comes to having the chin up too much...but it mostly applies to beauty shots so unless you're doing beauty/portrait or certain stylized headshots, don't have your chin up so high.

Good examples of closeup shots where the models' face is at a good, neutral angle to the camera.
Leaning your head too far sideways can photograph as if your neck is broken. But just the right tilt/angle remedies things perfectly.
I don't know about you, but this pose makes my neck hurt just looking at it. Had she tiled her head a few degrees upright, it would have been perfect.
As you can see, there is a lot of mental things a model has to cross of the multitasking checklist while posing. Sounds overwhelming, doesn't it? That's because it is and is one of the many reasons why modeling isn't as easy as it seems, nor is it for everyone. It isn't possible to strike the perfect pose every single time, which is why it takes hundreds of photographers to find the key 1 or 2 that end up being used to produce the final results.

The best solution I have for learning how to multitask while posing? Practice, practice, practice. Get out there and do test shoots as often as your schedule allows. Create your own mental checklist of things to keep in mind while posing and test it out during the shoot.

When I shoot and feel I'm not getting the pose I want or if I feel like I'm missing something from my mental checklist, what I often do is ask the photographer how the pose looks (to see if he/she spots something I can't since I can't see myself). Or I'll ask if I can preview the image in the camera after the image has been taken. This allows me to see what needs to be improved. Oftentimes, I'll let the photographer know, "Hey, I would love to try that pose again. Could we reshoot that?"

This experimentation is best for doing test shoots with photographers--not for when you're on an actual modeling job you've been booked for. Well, it's okay to ask if you could try a pose again but if the photographer and/or client likes what you're doing and hasn't offered any suggestions on what should be changed, chances are you're fine so just focus on doing a good job and pose as is appropriate for the project.