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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.
Monday, October 22, 2012
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
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
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.