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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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why "Less is More" Works Perfectly in Modeling

The end results in modeling are all about the glamour and glitz, fancy hair, amazing makeup and extraordinary clothes. What many newbies trying to get into the industry fail to realize, however, is that the first stage in their journey will begin with the complete opposite.

To this day, some models that seek my advice may not believe me when I say that the best way to impress an agency is to dress down and submit non professional, digital snapshots.

I know, I know, at first it seems crazy--after all, how can anyone WOW big names like IMG, Ford, Elite, Wilhelmina, DNA, etc. with basic snapshots? But believe me, I would be the last person to steer anyone in the wrong direction. Once you better understand the modeling world and how it operates, the "less is more" mentality will make a lot more sense.

New models that have yet to be discovered aren't expected by agencies to be these amazing glamazons with glossy professional headshots, portfolios and comp cards. That's the whole point of being a "newbie"--in most cases, you're not going to have had previous experience or ever stepped foot into a professional photoshoot. In fact, it is not the agency's desire to see you glammed up the first time they meet you. They desire to see the plain Jane/Joe you are so that they know for sure what they have to work with, should they be interested in representing you.

Dazzling agencies at casting calls in some brand name outfit isn't going to get you far into the door. Why? Because your outfit--not you--is what will draw their attention. Modeling agencies don't care about what designer you're wearing--at least not for the purpose of attending a casting call for representation. They care about what your figure looks like. How can they tell if you've got the model proportions they're interested in if you're swimming in layers of fancy fabric or are wearing a style that doesn't flatter your figure?

This is why the "model uniform" of dark skinny jeans, heels and a form fitting, solid colored tank top or tee shirt (for females) and comfortable jeans/shorts, clean shoes and a fitted tee shirt (for males) works so well for casting purposes. As simple as this outfit may seem, it allows for an easy evaluation of a model's body type. It cuts straight to the chase and makes the agency's job much easier to do. Less is more.

Same with the snapshots new models send to agencies via email or snail mail. Less is more in this case because (once again), a true model's potential is easier to spot when it isn't being disguised by layers of makeup, fancy hairstyles and Photoshop airbrushing. Just as wearing a distracting outfit to casting calls backfires on new models, wearing these same get-ups in your snapshots will also cause your submission to more than likely get stuffed into the trash.

Wear the "model uniform" described above and you'll be golden. When agencies say they want non professional, digital snapshots, that is exactly what they mean. No fancy photography techniques, sepia color effects or crazy angles. No agency can focus on the model in snapshots when the clothes, makeup, hair and location are all drawing their attention away.

Makeup is a Godsend in professional photos because it helps to sell the image, product, etc. But in snapshots you're selling yourself so no need for the makeup palette. It makes it extremely difficult for agencies to tell if that's how your complexion is naturally, whether your cheekbones really are that prominent or are an illusion, thanks to contouring makeup. 

I came across a pretty cool blog post from a photographer (whose photo is the one associated with this post), who wrote a brief entry about how he helped his friend with casting models for 2010 Fashion Week. His comments further back up how amazing snapshots can be for models that just have that "it" factor:

(Quoted from the post)

"...I couldn’t tell if their I-just-woke-up-barely-in-time-to-go-to-a-casting-call-and-didn’t-have-time-to-get-made-up was real or carefully constructed. It wouldn’t surprise me if their disheveled look was real, and what makes them a model is that they can do that and still look better than everyone else."
Check out the actual blog post, which also has additional snapshots he took of the models that attended the casting. Keep in mind, readers, that these are snapshots of working models that get to attend castings for huge events like Fashion Week and that it is because of the photos the photographer took that some of them likely got booked. They're not wearing any crazy hairstyle, makeup, etc. Less is more yet again! If the pro models are pulling off this basic look and getting work, imagine what the right snapshots could mean for aspiring models looking for agencies!

Dan Nguyen's Model Casting Snapshots for 2010 Fashion Week (Spring/Summer)

Many aspiring models have emailed me for feedback on their photos they want to send to agencies and I have no problem telling them that, in my professional opinion, it would be in their best interest to retake the photos while keeping in mind that "less is more." To further prove that I'm not trying to pull their leg, I'll attach the snapshots that Doutzen Kroes submitted when she was looking for an agent. Are they the most spectacular photos she's ever taken? Definitely not but agencies have a trained eye and they can spot model potential in these simple photos.

Learning how to be okay with how you look in snapshots takes some getting used to--heck, I have to submit snapshots from time to time and I cringe knowing that I'm sending them off to a client but in the end, it's what gets me the gig. Same goes for submitting these types of basic photos to agencies.

If you can WOW them with a snapshot where you're not wearing makeup and have on regular clothes, that convinces them even more that once they get you on set in a professional setting, you'll be a force to be reckoned with. I can't tell you how many aspiring models have emailed me back to say that they got an interview with an agency after sending in their non pro, digital snapshots. It gets results for those that have what agencies are looking for. So, ladies and gentlemen, LESS IS MORE...LEARN IT, LIVE IT, LOVE IT!!!

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