This has got to be one of the Holy Grails of Modeling.
If you read the Watch Out For Scams section , you’ll know how difficult it is to get into modeling. There are just so many modeling scams out there.
Just how do you REALLY get started?
We are glad you found us. That’s why we are going to share these secrets with you. 😉
The very first thing to understand when breaking into modeling is that you must work with a reputable agency. Only a modeling agency can connect you with professional modeling opportunities.
A legitimate modeling agency:
- Will have a talent agency license
- Will constantly submit you for projects and send you out to castings
- Will only make money if you make money
- Will not charge you money to work with them
We want to jump start our model life and want to start right away.
We need an agent…
Okay, let’s google agents around the area, send some of our photos to them, and then request representation. 🙂
We do. And…
Days and Weeks pass by with no reply. 🙁
Maybe they didn’t receive it?
Okay, We’ll send it again…
Aww! This sucks! What do we do now?
The Biggest Mistake New Models Make
Whether you are sending emails or real mail during a blizzard (some of us did that), you will be wasting your time and money if you didn’t follow these steps first…
Know your Body Type and the Types of Modeling available
When a top modeling agency was holding an open call for new models, a long line started to form outside of the building.
As an experiment, we went up to some of the aspiring models and asked them some questions. To our surprise, many did not know their body type, nor what types of modeling they were trying to get into. Some didn’t even have photos of themselves to show the agency!!!
What did they expect would happen?
Needless to say, many were waiting in the rain for nothing. Some were either told to come back with photos or had their photos thrown away because the photos were not marketable enough.
Not knowing what type of modeling you are trying to get into is like applying to be a medical doctor- and not knowing what kind of doctor you want to be. Professionals will laugh at you and tell you to get a clue.
Check out the section on Types of Modeling so that you will have an idea what is available, and what fits you the best.
if you have a tall but average body and want to get into fashion modeling, you will need to lose weight, and have your photos updated.
If you are an introvert/not comfortable smiling and want to get into commercial modeling, you will need to practice those skills until it becomes natural.
Prepare for Rejections
The second step is to prepare yourself for rejections. Yes, this is actually a step because the modeling industry is a subjective and cut-throat business; sometimes even more so than the acting industry.
It is much easier for agents, managers, casting directors, designers, or clients to reject you than to put in the time to work with you. And with so many models to choose from in this intensely competitive atmosphere, you’ll spend most of your time hearing “No” instead of “Yes!” If you want to survive in this industry, you need to develop a thick skin.
Let’s get back to the agency problem…
Most new models know that in order to book high paying and brand name projects, they need an agent, and so go on a massive agency hunt.
The problem is that they are looking for agents before they are ready. This is why so many people are rejected by reputable agencies.
And when you get enough rejections, you consider quitting.
NO! WAIT! DON’T QUIT JUST YET!
It will be a shame for you to end your chance to model simply because you didn’t know what you were doing wrong.
The Top Ten model agencies in New York City such as Ford, Wilhelmina, Elite, Major, Click, Next, etc… say you can just submit Regular Digitals/Polaroid (photos of you without makeup and no Photoshop), for representation.
Almost all agencies state that photos don’t have to be professional and that they will accept pretty much any Digital shots of you.
However, in all our years working both as a model and in production, we rarely heard of anyone (friends or acquaintances alike) who got invited, much less signed with a modeling agency from their Digitals.
Let’s take a look at the Digitals of this model again. It’s obvious that she is attractive.
But who isn’t in this industry?
Imagine you are the agent going through these photos. You have seen hundreds of them, and after viewing just a few… they all start to look the same! Unless you are extremely unique, you are not going to be considered.
Long story short, the primary way to attract the attention of an agent is by having quality photos that best accent your features. They give you an enormous edge compared to Digitals because it proves that you are photogenic and marketable.
Does this mean we need to find a fashion photographer and pay him over $600 for photos?
That’s what most people think and they end up spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on photos that the agent may or may not care for.
DON’T DO THAT!
Master your Expressions & Poses
Want to know a SECRET? Something that will tremendously improve your chances of getting quality photos?
Something needs to be done WAY BEFORE you begin working with a photographer.
This major step is a SECRET because almost everyone take it for granted. You’ll laugh when we say it:
Practice looking naturally into the camera and learning how to pose.
Corny and obvious right?
Many new models are very enthusiastic and confident with themselves. That’s great. You need that in order to get started. Part of confidence is being prepared. It’s one thing to model in front of the mirror and another to do it in front of an agent and other models watching.
Let us give you an example:
Let’s say that a Top Ten agency gives you a chance and invites you to meet with them. During the meeting, they will take Digitals of you. They will ask you to give several poses with some smiling and non smiling expressions. If you don’t know how to pose, hesitate, or look awkward or unnatural in front of the camera, the camera will pick that up.
It’s obvious that they won’t be interested in working with you because if you can’t even take a good looking digital, how can you be expected to perform in a professional but stressful setting ,where money and the agency’s reputation is at stake?
Keep in mind that this scenario is the agency already showing interest and giving you a chance to meet with them. You can imagine how they will respond if you send them mediocre photos of yourself. They won’t even bother to reply to your mail! 🙁
It is so important to start looking in the mirror and learning to look natural and confident, when a photo is taken. When you have gotten that down, work on different poses and learn. what angles you photograph best in.
Model agencies will expect you to have the three main facial expressions down. They won’t tell you, but you are expected to know this.
That’s why we are telling you this!
Here are the three examples:
The First Look that you should have down is the natural and relaxed look. The expression is natural with a content and confident attitude. It’s like staring off into space thinking about something important in your life.
The Second Look is a little smile without showing your teeth. The expression is a confident smile that you would give a stranger. It’s like saying in your mind: “Hey, I notice you. Looking good. What’s Up?”
The Third Look is more for commercial modeling, smiling with your teeth showing: The expression is an opportunity to show personality. It’s like saying: “Hey! It’s awesome to meet you. Guess who I am? Oh you are in for a treat because I am awesome.” (Notice there is some humor involved. The more you have fun with it, the better the camera will pick it up.)
Once you got the looks or facial expressions down, it’s time to practice some simple poses.
A great way to start is to find models that you admire and try out some of their poses. Remember to work on just a few and be able to do them well. Practice in front of the mirror and ask your friends or family members to photograph you.
This step is important because if you can’t look good in front of your friends and family (who you are comfortable with) how are you going to look good working with a photographer (who is a stranger)?
Modeling is all about practice.
Work with a Test photographer
Once you have mastered these facial expressions and simple poses that go with them, it’s time to look for a professional photographer.
Does this mean you need to spend a few hundred dollars with a photographer?
We are a firm believer that:
The modeling life should pay for itself. You should not have to pay a lot of money out of pocket to get into modeling.
This is why we suggest that you save your money and work with a test photographer first. These are the photographers that will shoot you for free- they are interested in building their portfolio just like you.
Check out our article on the Top 6 Reasons why new models should not pay for a photo shoot and
We’ll show you how to find them, and things to watch out for when working with them.
Come back to this section and start Step IV once you have the photos from the photographer.
Review your Photos and get Feedback
Now that you have the photos from the photographer… is it time to submit them to agencies?
Nope. Not Yet!
DO NOT send all of your photos to modeling agents! That is a sure way to show them that you are an amateur.
Agents will take one look and wonder why you sent so many. Do you not know which one is marketable? Why are there so many redundancies? They will be harsh and the photos you worked hard for will end up in the trash and deleted. 🙁
It’s all about Quality over Quantity. You are supposed to select the best- around 5 or so of your top pics.
How do you do that?
You need a fresh pair of eyes to look at your new photos and provide feedback so you can select the best ones.
Friends and family are an okay place to start but ideally, a professional opinion from someone who works in the industry is best.
Believe us, your friends and family will not be objective.
They will lavish you with compliments and make you feel good about yourself. It’s great to have support but…
You don’t need compliments, you need the truth.
You must keep your ego in check when going through your photos. Only wanting to hear praises will not get you signed with an agency.
If you are having a difficult time finding professional feedback and selecting the best images, you can contact us.
Follow us on Instagram and DM us with some of your photos. We will provide you with our objective and professional opinion.
We currently do this FREE of charge.
However, people have been sending us tons of their photos so please send just your top choices.
Also let us know what Type of modeling you are pursing and what region you reside in.
Submit your Photos to a Modeling Agency
Now you understand why looking for an agency is not the first thing you do when breaking into modeling.
Every one of the TOP 20 modeling agencies in New York City has a cabinet like the one above. So many portfolios! And they are all beautiful.
Don’t worry, agencies will not expect you to have a top notch portfolio ready to go. However,
You do need to prove to them why they should put in the time to work with you.
That’s why you must put your best foot forward .
With that said, and with the appropriate photos you have in hand, you are now finally ready to contact agents!
So what now? Is that all there is to breaking into modeling?
Nope, not even close…
There really is an unlimited amount of tips and tricks we have waiting for you. For example,
- Creating a marketable and competitive portfolio
- The difference between a Modeling Agency and Modeling Management Agency and what to look for
- What to do after getting an agent
- How to increase your chance of booking jobs
- How to build relationships so you can travel to other countries
and so on.
We learned from experience that it’s best not to overwhelm you with too much information.
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New articles and videos coming soon!