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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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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:

Portfolio

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.