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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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.