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Showing posts from February, 2007

Shooting with Natural Light

Ever wonder why outdoor shoots start so early in the morning, often before the sun is even up? Don't worry, there is method to the madness. No matter what you're shooting or where, you can't have anything without the right lighting. In a studio it doesn't matter what time of day or night you're shooting (unless you're posing next to a window with natural sunlight pouring through) because the lighting in this area is controlled. But photographers don't get that luxury when it comes to using natural sunlight. Often, shoots will take place around 6:00am--yes, AM not PM--because this gives the photographer and the crew, if there is one, enough time to play with the camera settings and get a feel of how the shots are going to turn out. Soon as the sun peaks out, it's go time and you've only got a certain window of time to get the best photos. I always tend to shoot between 9-10am, not so early, unless there is a certain look I'm going for

I'm an Anti-Model Model

That probably doesn't make any sense, does it? What I mean to say is that while I do model and it's a big part of my life, I don't act like it...unless I'm giving advice or something about it. My model persona is different from the everyday person I am. I don't go into my regular 9-5 as a model and I believe that the model attitude and tendencies need to be left at the photo shoot. It isn't necessary to always look the part, unless you're modeing full-time and getting paid well, then of course you need to be "on" at all times. But if you're not at that level, keep yourself humble. If I'm not at a photo shoot or speaking in front of the public, I could care less how I look. For work, I roll out of bed, into jeans, a pullover sweater and sneakers and that's my uniform. No makeup, no fancy hairstyles. It's funny because my coworkers know when I've been doing something related to modeling or acting because I'll come in do

Getting an Entourage/Crew

Having a crew or entourage isn't just for the models who have already made it. It is possible to have your own crew who's there to help make you look fabulous! I've been blessed with friends who specialize in all of the areas that are important to a model. When it comes to needing a photographer, I have at least four people I can turn to. The first is my boyfriend--needless to say, I get as many free photo shoots as I want with him! The second is my best girlfriend who went to the Brooks Institue of Photography in Santa Barbara. The third is a photographer who I met through We did a couple of TFPs together and continue to keep in touch. The last photographer is actually another girlfriend of mine who went to high school with me. Each of these photographers does excellent work and their looks are all different. So depending on what mood or look I need to create, I have a great group to choose from. My best guy friend is my stylist. He kno

How I Got Started

After reading my posts, you're probably wondering who I am and how I got started in this whole modeling thing. So I figured it was time for an introduction. I've been modeling and acting since I was 15. I got a flyer in the mail for an open casting call in San Francisco. I went with a snapshot of myself and got a callback. My parents paid money upfront and I took on-camera training classes for tv/film acting. You're probably wondering how I can advise people to not pay for agency representation when I did it...the thing is, we got scammed. The company that held the casting call pocketed the money and my parents never got a dime back. However, I was lucky enough that everything else, including the panel of agents that I auditioned for--was legit and I got signed with an agent out of San Jose.  I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I was in myself that I allowed my parents to spend that kind of money without being able to get it back. This is why I'

Significant Others

So what does being in a relationship have to do with modeling? Depending on your situation and who you're with, it could have a lot to do with your field of work. For the ladies, if you have a boyfriend who is very jealous, insecure, possessive or overprotective, being a model or pursuing a modeling career may not make him very happy. It isn't easy for most men to watch their girlfriends be the sex symbol of every man's dreams, or to watch them signing autographs and getting close with male admirers for photographs. The same actually goes for male models with girlfriends as well. But at the same time, these kinds of situations are ones you need to discuss with your significant other. If this is a career you really want to pursue, it would be wise to take into account the sacrifices you're willing to make because one of them could be breaking up or a temporary separation. Modeling is going to put you in the public eye and men and women alike are going to fa

Pay Day!

Even a handful of modeling jobs can mean big money. Whether its a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, working models generate a pretty decent income. However, getting paid as a model has its own process that you may want to be familiar with. If you're freelancing your skills, you may either be paid directly after the shoot or a few days/weeks later (I highly recommend getting payment after the shoot). Make sure to have an invoice (it's really easy to create your own on your computer),a Model Release Form or some other form of paperwork that lists the amount you are to be paid for your work. Never negotiate pay through a verbal agreement--ALWAYS GET IT IN WRITING!!! When you're working with an agency, payment takes a few weeks to come through. So don't get your hopes up of getting your cut within the next day or two. There is a very involved--and oftentimes, very slow--process of paperwork that needs to be completed when it's time to pay up. First, th

What a Real Agency Does

It's so easy nowadays for scammers and con-artists to label themselves as an agency and pry on model hopefuls. Don't be fooled! Do your homework and avoid being a part of a terrible scandal... Below are just a couple of ways to understand what legitimate and reputable agencies do and how they operate. Legit agencies make their money solely by charging commission, or a perantage, of the bookings they get for their models. At the same time, the client who goes to the agent to book the model in question, is also charged a fee. That's a great source of income for any working agency, so don't be fooled into the general misconception that you need to pay an agency upfront in order for them to sign you. That is the first and foremost red flag warning you should recognize. If an agency is getting its models consistent work, then they are making more than enough money and don't need to charge potential models up front. Avoid attending casting calls or talent sh

The Deal with Modeling Conventions

Conventions are put together with the intention of getting hundreds of potential models, actors and performers in one place to showcase their talents to big time agencies and casting directors. Sometimes these events are used for other purposes, such as scamming the very people who have their hearts set on getting signed at these conventions. Before signing up for a convention, ask for the list of agencies that are attending. You can call them to confirm they will in fact be in attendance. Make sure that they are the heavy hitter's not new agencies just starting up. The same applies here with investigating complaints online with the BBB. Many conventions charge upwards of hundreds to thousands of dollars. Know what you're paying for. You shouldn't feel pressured to stay where the convention is taking place. This is just another way that the convention can save themselves money by getting discounts on room rates and getting more of your money into their pockets. If the

Have a Backup Plan!

There's nothing wrong with reaching for the stars and seeing yourself on the pages of magazines, catalogues or strutting down a runway. But turning these dreams into a reality without having a plan B or backup plan is unrealistic. Definitely shoot for the stars and put as much effort into getting into the modeling game as you can, but make sure to have something legit and stable to fall back on. Having a plan B, C, D, etc. can only help you and not hurt you. Realistically speaking, the chances of anyone getting to Tyra/Giselle/Adriana status is slim but not impossible. However, you need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If the modeling thing doesn't work out for you once you get into it, or if you just don't get anywhere at all with it, you don't want to be left out in the cold without any other options. For the younger gals and even the older ones, learn to balance your schoolwork with your efforts at modeling. Think about college or if that i

Model Behavior

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to talk about model etiquette...the dos and don'ts when it comes to being a model. This may be obvious or self-explanatory but if it wasn't still a concern (or at most, very annoying) then I wouldn't have to make this post. Being a model does not give you the right to be a diva, especially if you're just starting out or have a few years of experience under your belt. There are enough bonafide divas in the world and it's important to maintain a positive and fun attitude and personality, no matter how far you get into the modeling game. The "holier than thou" attitude and thinking that you're better than somebody else is a quick way to make enemies and burn your bridges--not to mention that people won't want to work with you. Be smarter and more mature than that. 1) Be on time. There is nothing worse than having a photographer and crew waiting on one person. It's even worse when the missing/late p

Fashion Shows--A Little Reality Check

I'm not writing this entry to dampen anyone's mood or try to change your view but I just figured it would helpful to shed a little light of reality for the young girls/ladies who see fashion modeling/runway modeling as being glamorous. This type of modeling is really only glamorous for the people watching it! What you see on television is only a fraction of what really goes on. When you model for a fashion show, be warned that the environment is insanely hectic and VERY FAST PACED. This isn't one of those situations where you're preparing for a photo shoot and get to take your time to make sure every detail is perfect--there is no time to do this in a fashion show. You have to share a space with a bunch of other girls so you need to try to have some organization with your clothes, shoes and other accessories in the flurry of activity. You will have the fashion show's director or assistant screaming at you to hurry up and put on your clothes, and trust me,

Stock Photography

If you've ever wondered what stock photography is all about, it's actually pretty simple. You know when you go on websites or look at certain magazine ads and see the models being used? Many of those images are stock photo images. Stock photography companies specialize in random photos for use in publications, both online and in other forms of media. As you'll notice in the image associated with this post, that's me...this image was from a stock shoot I did in San Francisco, which was then uploaded to the Getty Images Stock website. Someone at saw my picture and paid the fee to use the image on their site. Pretty neat, eh? Stock photography involves real-looking, everyday models as well as gorgeous model types. Young, old, male, female, no matter the shape, size or ethnicity of the models, stock photographers want them all! These companies make money by allowing clients to purchase their images for a certain price or rate. Models who do sto

Freelance Modeling

For those of you who have been modeling for a while and don't want to just rely on your agent to find you work, freelancing is a great option and one that I've been using for a few years now. This post will also be useful to models who freelance and have no agency representation. If you have a non-exclusive contract with your agent, this frees you up to do work with other companys without having to worry about agent loyalty. Another perk is that when you freelance your own projects/gigs, you get to keep 100% of the agency involvement, no percentage! Be cautious when you begin freelancing and have an idea of what kind of work you want to be booked for and who you want to work with. I've already spoken about Craigslist but this is a good site where many freelance models get the bulk of their gigs. Choose wisely and only choose projects that are paying. Being a start-up company or working on virtually no budget is an understandable situation but you as

Posing in a Studio

Shooting in a studio can be very intimidating and even frustrates me sometimes because you feel restricted. Unlike being outdoors, most studios are just plain white in background, or some have pull-down backdrops you can work with but it really isn't the same thing. The other thing about studio shooting is that the camera is solely focused on you. Feel the pressure! You may hate studio shoots or you may love them. If you're having a hard time getting the hang of posing using a studio setting, here are some suggestions that may give you a better experience: - Try posing with a prop. Using a chair, stool or whatever objects may be laying around the studio can help you find your bearings and are a great way to warm up with your poses. - Start off slow. Some simple poses to do by yourself without the aide of props include: one hand on your hip with your weight shifted to one leg, so your hip juts out a little bit; putting both hands on your hips and spreading your f

Posing Outdoors

I can't tell you how funny it is to see some amateur models strike these poses that just look ridiculous. And I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just being truthful. If you're concerned about how to pose or are worried that you're not good at it, there is help. The first thing to keep in mind: throw out the images of the models you see in the magazines, on the runway, whatever. Do not try to imitate these poses because they may not work for you. Posing is a huge part, if not the whole part, of a model's job and it needs to come naturally. You need to be comfortable with your body and develop your own style. Of course, there's nothing wrong with copying poses in the beginning to experiment and see what you look good doing. But once you get to the stage where you're doing more photo shoots, either for your own portfolio or for a gig, you're going to need to start owning your poses. For me, posing outdoors outside of a studio is very help

Be Vain...Look in the Mirror!

Well, I don't really want you to be vain...there are enough divas out there, that's for sure! But what I am talking about is getting comfortable with yourself and knowing what expressions and different looks your face makes, as well as your body. The best practice any model can do is practice posing and making facial expressions in front of the the privacy of your own home, of course, we don't want people thinking you're nuts! Practice smiling and not smiling in front of the mirror. Note things that bother you and see if there is any way you can fix or tweak it so that you feel comfortable making this facial expression in front of a camera. Or note things you like...maybe you'll come across a facial expression that you like and it could end up being your "signature" look. Maybe you're self-conscious about the way your facial expressions are. You won't really know unless you are aware of the way you look, smile, mug (not smili


Okay, we all love to play with our hair, change it up and try out different looks. If this describes you, you might be a little disappointed if you're trying to be a model. When submitting your photos to agencies, keep in mind the way your hair is. Is it dyed? Highlighted? Cut really short? If you end up getting signed, this look is the one that your agent will want you to keep, especially after you've taken pictures and put together a professional modeling portfolio. With that in mind, don't submit your photos if you think you may want to change up your hair color or style. Do that first, and then take pictures to submit. It'll help if you don't feel the need to be a chameleon after a few months. Any changes you want to make to your hair have to be run by your agent first. If you're allowed the change, you also have to redo all your photos because obviously you won't look the same. Or maybe you got signed with your super cute streaks but

For the Fellas

Don't worry, guys, I haven't left you out! Of course, being that I'm not a male model, the posts addressing you may not be as numerous but when I get info that I think will benefit a male model hopeful, I'll post. :) When it comes to height and weight, well, for the guys the standards are pretty high just like with the female counterparts. Each agency does operate on its own height and weight requirement but here is a pretty standard requirement, according to Commercial/Print and Editorial/Fashion Modeling: - height: 5'9" to 6'2" - weight: 120 to 170 pounds It isn't uncommon for agencies specializing in Editorial/Fashion Modeling to bump the height requirement up to a minimum of 5'11". As far as your weight, men get a little bit luckier on this topic than the ladies, so if you're pretty fit, you should have no problem with weight requirements. Surprisingly, you don't have to be built like a Chippen

Tradeshow/Promotional Modeling

Interested in tradeshow/promotional modeling? Okay, let me fill you in since I have some background in doing this type of modeling. (This kind of work normally is only for those who are 18-21+ years old) A tradeshow is a convention where advertising companies and other related businesses come together to compare products, share ideas, network and introduce their services to the general public. Each company has its own booth, where they do everything from presentations, sign up customers for their services, to handing out samples. A popular method is using models to represent a company. This type of modeling usually requires girls and guys who are very outgoing, have no problem talking to strangers, can learn the product and company info fast so they can educate customers about it, and who are very attractive. Pay rates for these jobs vary between $10-25/hour and higher or agreeing on a flat rate for the number of days you work the event. Most tradeshows last all day so exp

Time For a Change? How to Say Goodbye to an Old Agent and Hello to a New One

If you've already got an agent, good for you, that's definitely a step in the right direction! But what if you're unhappy with your agent or want to move on to a bigger and better agency? Well, there are a few things to keep in mind so that you make the best choice for yourself and your career. If you're convinced that you're unhappy with your agent, ask yourself, "Why?" Make a list of specific pros and cons. If you're thinking, "Well, my agent just doesn't get me enough jobs," that's actually not a very good reason at all. Modeling is an on-call type of business. Your particular look may be in and it may not be. Sometimes you have to play the waiting game even when you have legit representation. There are a lot of factors as to why you may not be getting very many gigs or bookings. Talk with your agent and ask what the market looks like right now for your look. If your agent's good, he or she should be able to tell

Bathing Suits

Before you know it, summer will be here! Maybe you're deep into your workout schedule or you're still trying to stick to your strict diet. To break up the montony and maybe help you with some planning, I've decided to post some info about bathing suits as they relate to modeling. The first thing I want to say is that if you are between the ages of 13-16, please do not buy or wear string bikinis. This is just wrong in my book and not appropriate. You have all the time in the world to be sexy so wait until you're actually of age to wear these in photo shoots. Nothing disturbs agents, and people in general, more than seeing a young girl wearing a bikini that barely covers up what body she has. And even if you're built like an older woman, it's still better to be proper and dress your age. For teens, tankinis, halters, and one pieces are ideal. And no, I'm not asking you to wear a bathing suit that your granny wore back in the 1920s. There are tons

Some Wardrobe Tips

When it comes to clothes, there are a few things to keep in mind. When submitting your photos to agencies, many of them will tell you that your pictures do not need to be professional. They want to see you as you are without all the glitz and glam and Photoshop. Here are some tips I feel will help you out when you decide to start sending your photos in and are pretty general (this is in the event that the website doesn't give any specifics about submitting. If they have their own guidelines, then by all means, follow them--duh!) Every model hopeful should own a baby tee and/or tank top, either regular or with spaghetti straps. These types of tops are very generic and won't take away from your appearance. More importantly, it allows the agent to see your face, neck, top of your chest, shoulders and arms clearly. Keep sleeves, if any, short so they can see your skin tone and skin condition. Tank tops should be gray (heather gray is a popular shade that should be av


Being a model does involve makeup artists and hair stylists and who doesn't want to be pampered and fussed over? But if you're just beginning, you may not have the money or the resources to have your own entourage. In these types of situations, it's good to know how to do your own makeup. Let me say that the natural look will always benefit you better when you're putting together your portfolio, especially if you're a teen. Agencies love the youthful, fresh-faced look. Don't scare them off by slapping on too much makeup. If they wanted a 25-year-old model, they'd request one, trust me! Look your age. That being said, for younger girls between the ages of 13 and 16, please keep your makeup to a minimum. You most likely don't need foundation. Opt for tinted moisturizers. Lip gloss instead of lipstick is ideal and if you choose to wear mascara in your photos, use one coat--no tarantula eyes please! It's important to know what colors work

Men's Magazines

First of all, if you are under 18, this subject definitely does not concern you! ;) I've gotten questions from some model hopefuls, asking what it takes to be a model in men's magazines such as Maxim, FHM, KING, etc. These are men's magazines and this type of modeling falls under commerical print. The type of models sought out for this type of work can be of any height and weight (that's a plus) and generally are open to all ethnicities. These models are required to be very sexy and must be comfortable posing in next-to-nothing. Implied nudity is a big factor in this type of modeling. Implied nudity simply means that you are not completely naked but are suggesting that you aren't fully clothed, for example: being topless but holding your hands over your breasts, having your back to the camera while topless, etc. If you aren't comfortable enough with your body to do these types of shots, then I suggest not pursuing this type of modeling. This type of


Oh, what to say about craigslist. When it comes to modeling gigs, it can be both good and bad so I'll just give some basic outlines. This particular entry should be read by all young girls who are under the age of 18 and by their parents as well. Craigslist is comprised of people who are offering services, goods, etc. It's anonymous and you are dealing with strangers. It is easy to be scammed and taken advantage of. When used properly and with caution, Craigslist is an excellent source for getting modeling gigs, among the hundreds of other things that are on there. There is a section called "Gigs" and under that is a sub-section called "Talent". This is where you will find everything having to do with all types and kinds of modeling. Please note that while there is an "Adult" section dealing with adult modeling and XXX type of stuff, these posts do randomly get posted under the "Talent" section, so be careful as you go through

Piercings & Tattoos in Modeling

For those of you who want to model and have body piercings and tattoos, be cautious, as these can make or break a potential modeling career. If you don't have any tattoos or piercings other than your ears, you may not want to rush to get them if you want to model. When you sign with an agency, they will ask you what piercings or markings you currently have on your body. Most ideally would like just your ears to be pierced. If you have your belly pierced or you have numerous ear piercings, an agent may tell you to take them out while out on shoots or going for auditions. If you don't mind the possibility of your piercings closing up, this shouldn't be a problem. But if it is, then you may not be a happy camper. Tattoos will usually hurt more than help your modeling career, unless you're into commercial/print modeling, where you can cater to this specific type of audience. You may not get as much work but there are clients out there who need models with real t

Modeling Schools

This is a very touchy topic but everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so I'll post mine. I believe you can have a successful modeling career without enrolling in a modeling school. There are a number of modeling agencies that frown upon these type of operations for the simple fact that these model hopefuls pay out the nose for training that will not guarantee them representation or a great career. That's the risk factor involved with modeling: it's not guaranteed and is something that either will or will not happen for you. Period. My reasons for not recommending attending these types of schools is pretty obvious: they charge way too much money, many of them are total ripoffs, in the end you have all this training but it's still ultimately up to you to get an agent. Many agencies will state that they prefer to sign models that have little to no experience. This gives them the opportunity to mold the model in a way that fits the agency. This also keeps

The Parents

I've read many posts from aspiring models (mostly girls, although there are a few guys here and there), saying they want to model but aren't sure if their parents will go for it. So I might as well say my piece on this subject in case any of you are in this situation. (And, yes, those are my parents in the photo accompanying this post :D) First off, for young people between the ages of 13 and 18, while this is a critical age to begin modeling--especially for girls--it is also a critical stage for school and academics. Dealing with school and grades is probably one of the first concerns any parent has. For girls who get signed to high fashion/runway agencies, depending on the amount of work they get, school isn't a big priority, as these young models spend hours flying from location to location, working show to show and living in model dorms. But for these situations, there are tutors and home schooling options. These work just fine for models who have gone throug

Don't Change

Many aspiring models think that they have to change the way they look or tweak themselve in order to impress an agent and get signed. That couldn't be further from the truth. If you've been scouted or signed to an agency, don't do a thing to change your appearance. Even if you think your hair looks funky or your eyebrows aren't shaped enough, your agent hired you as you were for a reason. They liked what they saw. With that being said, if you've been signed or are being considered for representation, don't do any great makeovers or fancy stylings in an attempt to look even better to them. Doing that may hurt your chances and can make a difference between being signed or not. Trust the people who work at the agency--they're professionals and know what they're looking for. Don't add insult to injury by walking into their offices looking totally different (or even slightly different) than when they first met you. This will cause them to not

Not Just Anyone Can Do It

While having a conversation with my boyfriend/photographer, he brought up the time we did a shoot out on Ocean Beach. He had given me his camera because I said I wanted to take a picture of him. He hated the way he looked and this led to our present conversation. He told me how much more respect he has for models because it wasn't until he was standing on the other end of the camera that he realized that modeling is more than just smiling at the camera. If modeling was as simple as that, we'd all be doing it. It really is a type of art and the role that models play in front of the camera is an experience that can only be described accurately for those who have done it. For some models, being in front of the camera allows them to morph into this other persona. Depending on what the shoot is for, you need to become that idea or embody the mood. These all come across in pictures, which is why I, as a working model, refuse to do photo shoots if I'm not in the mood.