WELCOME TO MODELING 101!!!

There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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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.