How to Become a Model: A Complete Guide
Thinking about becoming a model? This guide explains it all.
The modeling industry has certainly been a competitive one for decades. Back then, you had to be skinny, slim, young, and have a particular face to even be considered potential. Luckily, this has changed over the last several years, and now, people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and body types can aspire to become a model.
Even though the modeling industry has changed, it's still quite competitive and requires tons of hard work and dedication. So, if you want to become a model, read the complete guide we've created below!
Choose What Kind of Model You Want to Be
You should first have clear in mind what kind of model you want to be. Knowing what type of model you want to become will help you know how to build your portfolio, what kind of agencies to look for, and what poses you should start practicing.
Fashion models are the types you see on the cover of a Vogue magazine. They tend to work for high-end brands and designers such as Prada, Gucci, and Dior. Editorials are highly selective with models, as they look for people that fit into their "ideal" look.
The ones who strut down a catwalk and showcase a designer's clothing line are known as runway models. Now, because the designer's clothes are a specific size, runway models tend to be the same height and weight.
Fitness models are the ones who wear fitness attire. They're usually athletically built, toned, and fit. They are also the ones you see in athletic commercials performing exercise routines.
Part modeling involves modeling certain parts of your body, such as hands, feet, arms, and legs. Hand models, for example, get booked to showcase jewelry, and feet models book jobs with shoe labels.
The name says it all. Glamour modeling is focused primarily on appearance, facial beauty, and body shapes. Glamour models as a whole are usually curvy, and they also tend to book lingerie and swimsuit photo sessions.
The commercial modeling type is open to diversity and fresh, new talent. They're also less restrictive than the other modeling types. Commercial models advertise various kinds of products and services in different campaigns, catalogs, and commercials.
These are the kinds of models you see on billboards and posters. Usually, these models in photos are selling a product. However, it all depends on the client's needs.
Build a Portfolio
Once you've narrowed down the kind of model you want to become, it's time to start building your professional modeling portfolio. And no, this doesn't mean asking a friend to take photos of you on a good day and use them to showcase yourself. There's so much more involved in creating the perfect portfolio.
Hire a Good Photographer
First thing's first—top-quality photos require a good photographer. Hiring a professional will help you get the images you need for your ideal portfolio.
You can start by researching the different photographers in your area and looking at their work. Study their photographs and see if they match your criteria. Explore their website and get to know their style.
For example, if you need to include portrait shots in your portfolio, find a photographer specialized in that field. Or, if you're thinking about joining the freelance model career, you can always hire an advertising photographer or several of them since that's the kind of work you'll want to be doing.
And of course, before making a final decision, see what their prices are and what they're willing to offer. You'll want to hire a photographer that can provide a package that meets your needs, not just promise you something that isn't worth it. Consider the amount of photos you'll get, any extra price rates to look out for, and whether you'll get digital and/or printed copies. There are photo studios that have popped up pretending to help models, when all they care about is offering you photographs. Those are places to avoid.
Whether you have experience in modeling or not, it never hurts to practice, and the only way to improve is by doing just so. Gather inspiration by checking out fashion magazines and portfolios of other models to see if you can emulate any poses that draw your attention.
Play around with the different camera angels and discover what you consider to be your better side. You also want to get familiar with the types of lighting and which one is more flattering for you.
Another great way to practice is by posing in front of your mirror. Mirrors don't always allow you to discover your best angles, but it's a great way to get started.
Create a Hard Copy Portfolio
Even though we're living in an era that practically lives online, a hard copy portfolio is a must if you desire to become a model. As a model, you'll have to present your "resume" to each agency you showcase to, and your portfolio is just that. So invest in making it look as sleek and professional as possible, as it'll be your main tool in helping you find jobs in the modeling world.
Always Choose Your Best Photos
Only choose the best of best photos to include in your portfolio. If you have the slightest doubt about a particular image, don't even consider it an option. If you're indecisive about determining which photos to include, ask the people you trust for advice.
Remember to be versatile and to include a wide variety of photos in your portfolio. This means that you don't want to limit your portfolio to only headshots. Instead, try using photos that showcase different poses, angles, outfits, and locations.
Keep it Updated
It's crucial that you keep your hard copy and online portfolios updated. If you participate in newer photoshoots and campaigns, include the best shots in your portfolio.
Look for the Right Agency or Agent
You can always aim to seek clients on your own. But, working for a modeling agency makes it a lot easier for you to find job opportunities.
Finding a reputable agency might be challenging if you're new in the industry, so keep the following tips in mind.
Do Your Research
Do your research by reviewing their websites and online reviews. Check out what models they signed for and what kind of work they have to offer.
When searching for an agency, be sure they meet your needs and requirements. All agencies have their own set of rules, and you want to make sure you follow through with all of them before presenting yourself to them.
Don't Pay High Fees for Photographs
If an agency asks you to pay upfront for any service fees such as portfolio creation, training, then don't be overly surprised. Legitimate agencies do have fee's that come attached to them, so expect to budget that if you are trying to get signed. Any person that tells you that modeling is free hasn't modeled professionally before.
Read the Contract
Yes, the objective is to sign a contract but, read carefully before agreeing to anything. When signing a contract, something to keep in mind is whether you're looking for something exclusive or not. If your goal is to sign with several agencies, then be sure you don't sign into an exclusive contract.
Also, look at the contract's expiration date. It all depends on how long you want to commit to. If you're looking for a long-term commitment with an agency, then you might want to sign a 3-5 year contract if the agency offers one.
Another important thing to consider before signing a contract is seeing what the "exit clause" is. It's always smart to know how to get out of the agreement in case something comes up.
Ask the Right Questions
Don't ever be afraid of asking any questions. It's important you get clarification for whatever doubts or concerns you may have, and it's the agency's job to properly inform you of their operational methods and contracts.
Prepare your questions beforehand. Make a list of all the questions you can ask during your interview.
Check out the agency's website to see if they have a separate "FAQ" section. They might have the answers to some of your questions there.
Don't know what to ask? You can start by asking how the agency operates in terms of booking and setting up photoshoots. Or, you can ask about their photographers or if you're able to choose your own.
Either way, whatever question you ask, agencies shouldn't give you a hard time answering your concerns. If they get defensive or hesitant about responding to your inquiries, then it might be a red flag. The way you and the agency interact is the best way to know whether or not you want to continue moving forward with them.
Stay Alert for Red Flags
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that not everyone you encounter in the modeling career can be trusted, so you need to be careful. Stay alert and look out for any potential red flags from modeling agencies. If any interaction of any kind makes you feel uncomfortable, walk out promptly. Remember to never pay for a modeling job or accept a check prior from someone you have not met in person.
A comp-card is basically a business card for models. Sometimes, even though modeling agencies take an interest in you, they might not have the time to set up an interview and audition. So, in these cases, providing a professional comp-card is a quick yet highly effective way of letting them know what you're made of.
It's also good to have comp-cards in case you want to gain exposure worldwide. Instead of sending out bulky mail with your portfolio, you can send out your comp-card.
A professional comp-card is printed double side on paper. One side, or the front of the card, should be a headshot, and on the back, you should include four other photos of yourself. Then, make sure to include your details, such as your full name, measurements, age, and location. It is very common to use digital comp cards as they can be changed on demand, rather than having to print all new ones.
Even though lots of models practice on their own, you can always sharpen your skills by taking the right modeling classes or watching model videos online. They're not necessary but can be helpful by giving you extra training. Modeling schools teach not only how to pose. They teach you how to follow a healthy and nutritious diet, how to convey your character in photoshoots, and some even make you take acting or dancing classes to improve posture and poise. Many model training schools are online, so attending a model boot camp can be done any where.
Evaluate Yourself Honesty
Before doing anything, you should make an honest evaluation of yourself. In order to know what kind of modeling will suit you best, you need to consider factors such as your height, body type, and skin type. An honest evaluation will help you determine what kind of model you can aspire to become. Be realistic with yourself.
Network the Right Way
Networking is another word that means communicating and interacting with other professionals in your business field. The idea behind networking is to build and maintain strong relationships with people that'll help you advance in your career.
As a model, a large network will open many doors for you and present you with regular jobs and bookings. If you want the right people to recommend you and put in a good word for you, then you need to know exactly who to speak with and how.
Where to Network
Some of the best locations to start your networking are exhibitions, fashion events, and even on the job! Settings like these are filled with powerful and influential professionals that could help you grow as a model.
Before going to any special event, do your research beforehand. Any guests or speakers that'll be at the special event are normally announced days or weeks before it starts. You can gather their information and get to know them by following their work on social media and reading up on their brand and history.
Who to Network To
The modeling industry is competitive, and each model looks out for themselves. Yet, there are some peers and other fellow models that are willing to help out.
You should also network with the photographers you work with. The photographer will enjoy working with you if you're friendly, engage well with the camera, and communicate throughout the photo session. That way, they can contact you again in the future or even recommend you to other photographers.
How to Network
You want to show them that you're genuinely interested in getting to know them. Get to know them by asking questions and finding out about them while also opening up about yourself. Doing so will add some warmth to the conversation, as long as you keep it friendly and casual and not interrogative.
Also, avoid being on your phone while in the presence of important people you can network with. If you're constantly on your phone, you'll come off as rude and unapproachable.
And try your best to stand out. Professionals will take an interest in you if they're able to see your originality. Show a sincere interest in their work, and explain why you love their pieces.
And, try not to ask for the job right then and there. Asking for the job upfront will make you seem desperate. You need to prove yourself and convince them why they should hire you as a model.
Treat it Like a Day Job
If you want to become a successful, full-time model, you have to put in the work, and dedication like you'd do so with any other day job. Despite how glamorous the lives of models can be, the most successful ones keep their focus on their careers and not on the fancy side of it.
Remember that agencies will want to book professional models with good control and direction. So, no matter what, always stay professional, even at special events, parties, and on social media.
Another great tip is to set the goal of doing at least one productive thing a day that'll help you advance in your career. For example, you can visit a potential client, make an important phone call, update your portfolio or search for bookings online.
Take Care of Yourself
If you want to become a model, remember that it's all about aesthetics, and for that reason, you need to take care of your face and body. Even though people with various body types have the opportunity to model, you need to make sure you treat yourself right, as caring for your body is a huge part of the modeling career.
Be Prepared for Rejection
If you're starting out, then chances are you'll be getting lots of rejections at first. And even though it's a completely normal part of the modeling industry, you shouldn't let it get to you.
So, prepare yourself mentally for any doors that might shut in your face. Many successful and famous models were told "no" countless times and were rejected before they advanced in their careers. Even the person you think is the best model of all time has been turned down before their big break so, look at their example and gain motivation from them.
Embracing rejection is not easy, but you can start practicing not letting it affect you. Practice the ability to let criticism bounce off you.
Create a Strong Online Presence
A hard copy portfolio is ideal for when you have face-to-face meetings with agents. However, most agencies and potential clients will search for your online profile. This is where you should have both a great social media profile and a website.
Keep it Authentic
Modeling agencies are on the lookout for natural talent. In other words, even though filters and effects make your photos look great, they're not good to use if you're hoping to get scouted. Take photos that highlight your natural features and avoid over editing your images.
Get Creative With Your Content
Once you choose an appropriate platform that showcases your photos well, such as Instagram, create content that best represents your style and personality. You want potential clients to get a good insight into the type of person you are, and it'll all be reflected in what you post. Show your viewers your authenticity and versatility.
Once you've established an aesthetic theme to your profile and you've published your best photos, try to get as much exposure as you can. You can do so by using the right hashtags, tagging different brands, and sharing your recently published posts on other social media platforms. You also want to make your social media account public so that modeling agencies can look at your profile.
Maintain Your Online Reputation
Once you post it online, there's no turning back. Keeping this in mind, make sure you're careful with what you post. Inappropriate photos, foul language, and offensive posts will push away any potential clients.
Your social media content will be visible to all potential clients. So, avoid doing things such as posting photos of your food, pets, and too many selfies.
How to Become a Model—Revealed
A modeling career is a tough yet exciting thing to get into, but don't get discouraged just because you feel you don't fit in with the requirements. Remember that everyone has the chance to become a model. All you have to do is keep working towards your goal, follow the tips mentioned above, and not give up! Many people stop and get bored applying to castings, don't do this! The more you apply, the better your chances of getting a call back audition.
Ready to get started on your career as a model? Here at Latitude Talent, we give potential models the chance to enter the entertainment world by connecting them with other agencies and casting opportunities on an interactive platform. Contact us today for more information!