So you want to be a model?
Whether its for fun or an actual career, you need to know a few basics of how to work with a photographer. Ive worked with alot of great models and some that were really terrible to be around, so I thought it might be fun to do a series on modeling from a photographer’s perspective. Note: these are just my opinions and dont really count for anything, but talking with other photographers, we usually want the same things, so I hope this helps out anyone looking to get into the modeling game.
Getting started.... so whats the best way to actually get your feet wet and get started with a few modeling jobs? Well, first off, if you have no experience, then you need to be willing to work for free or at least TFCD or TFP – those initials are important and often used for beginner photographers and models, they mean “trade/time for cd” and “trade/time for prints”, respectively. This means that you agree to model for a shoot and they will give you a cd of pictures or prints.
*Let me add a disclaimer here... just because you are new, have little or no experience, does not ever mean you need to be doing porn or nudity shots. If that is the market that you want to enter, go for it, but either get paid or work with someone reputable – never, ever do nudity for free (unless its an artist that you respect) and without some kind of contract as to how it will be used and how much you own the rights to it.... it could come to haunt you down the road.
First off, let people know that you are wanting to model... put it out there on facebook and let your friends know so if they see an opportunity, they can let you know. You can also find new photographers on craigslist, but make sure you communicate thoroughly with anyone you do not know and never meet anyone alone for the first time. If there are photographers in your area (or that you are willing to go to), then email them and let them know that you are a fan and would love to model for them if they ever needed someone – be aware though that experienced photographers are rarely going to do a “normal, pretty” shoot – its probably going to be out there and involve costumes and crazy makeup, so be aware of what you are agreeing to. Personally though, the best way for me to find models is to go through www.modelmayhem.com – this is an easy site to set up a portfolio and synopsis of who you are and the kind of modeling you want to do... it will also help you to find photographers that you want to work with.
As for your portfolio and what needs to be in it. You need at least 1-2 clean shots of yourself – that means neutral clothing, minimal makeup and low key hair – this will give the photographer a much better idea if you are someone they want to work with – it also helps you appear much more professional than someone with blurry cell phone pics. You also need at least one head shot (close up shot of your head from the shoulders up, preferably smiling), and a full body shot so they can get an idea of your body type. It also helps if you add 5-10 more photos of you – preferably in the style that you want to be photographed in. You can take these yourself or with the help of your friends, but honestly, it would be in your best interest to spend a little money and get professional shots taken – not only will your pictures stand out and give you alot more credibility as a model and a professional, but it will give you experience working with a real photographer and seeing that process up close.
Use your summary to tell about yourself – where you are from, what experience you have, what kind of shoots you want to do and what you are willing to do.... dont make this extremely long because it will bore people and they will click off your profile... but dont make it so short that there isnt anything there.
Above all else... dont lie! Dont lie about your size and your experience – I know its girl code to always say you are a size or two smaller than you are, but you cant do this with a photoshoot because usually the photographer is looking for a specific size range, and probably has a wardrobe already lined up that they have spent money on. If you show up, and those clothes dont fit because you have given the wrong size, then you will have wasted both you and the photographer’s time – which probably means that they will never hire you again, and will probably warn other photographers about you as well. So just be honest, as photographers, we dont care if you are a “big girl”, sometimes thats what we are looking for, so own it!