I have had a few girls emailing me asking me how to get started as a model. Instead of writing the same thing each time, I finally decided to write a post about it, which I hope that aspiring models will find useful.
When it comes to getting started as a model, you must first recognize that everyone’s situation is unique. If you are young, tall, fit a size 2/4, and live in a big city, then the best way you can try to get started is by sending your photos to a bunch of legitimate local agencies or attending a lot of casting calls to see if anyone is interested in representing you.
However, if you do not fit the fashion model criteria, then you will most likely not be signed by agencies like Elite and Ford.
Don’t fit the agency criteria? Not a problem. I know several models on Model Mayhem who have successful careers without being signed by agencies. Those models have been published in magazines that many aspiring models only dream of and have landed amazing gigs. They have had success on the Internet and there is no particular reason why you can’t either.
1. Set realistic goals as a model. If you are under 5’9″, then you cannot be an editorial fashion model but you can be a glamour, promotional, nude, or fitness model. Establish your limits in terms of what types of shoots that you want to do. If you are not comfortable shooting nudes, then don’t do it. Get a friend to take a few photos of you so that you have some photos to show to potential photographers or to upload on networking sites.
2. Once you know the types of shoots that you can and will do, you can find a photographer who takes the type of photos that you are looking for. To find a photographer, join a networking site like Model Mayhem where you can browse the profiles and portfolios of many photographers in your area that you could potentially work with. Some will do trade shoots (ie. you don’t have to pay for the shoot) and some won’t.
3. Select the best photographer in your desired genre that you can find. Images are what sell you, therefore it’s best to have great images to begin with. If you have great images, better quality photographers are more likely to work with you.
4. Your portfolio. Do not put up a bunch of snapshots, pictures of your boyfriend and your party crew on your online modeling portfolio. Only post photos from professional photographers and also a couple of images that show what you look like without make-up or retouching.
5. Continue to work on yourself. Make sure that you take care of your skin, get enough sleep, workout and eat healthy before you start looking for people to work with. If you don’t look like the images in your portfolio, photographers will not like it (ie. show up weighing 30 lbs more than what you look like in your photos)
6. Work hard. Just because you signed up and got approved to be on a networking site for models, does not mean that modeling jobs will come to you. Most likely, they won’t. There are hundreds of thousands of models on the Internet who are looking for the same thing that you want. Therefore, you should be proactive and go after the jobs yourself. There is a saying “the harder you work, the luckier you get” and truer words have never been spoken when it comes to freelance modeling.
7. Your reputation. In the modeling industry, just like anywhere else, your reputation is important. If you show up late, don’t show up at all or show up tired and hungover, people will talk. However, if you show up on time ready to work, have a good attitude, look great and show that you truly care about the outcome of the shoot people will like working with you and you will get more modeling jobs.
8. Don’t quit your day job. Once you start getting paid to model, keep your day job, unless of course you begin to make more per month as a model than you do working at your day job. Very few people ever get there. If you are lucky enough to go full time, realize that you will have dry spells therefore it’s very important to have your living expenses covered.
9. Watch out for scams. Scam artists love to prey on young girls who have high hopes and dreams of being a model, so be aware. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. I wrote a post on how to avoid modeling scams, so give that a read as well.
10. Don’t get discouraged. If you do not get selected for a modeling gig, do not take it personally. Just because someone said “no” does not mean that the next person will also say “no”. It just means that there was a different model that was more suited for that particular job. Keep on putting yourself out there for people to see and keep on networking. A lot of times, modeling is about who you know and that your reputation is like.
I hope you found it helpful. 🙂
Wishing you all the best,