How to become a Professional Model

March 13, 2014

I am always being asked about how to get into Modelling and where to look for Model Work, well I do not claim to be an expert but what I would say is to be mindful of those Model Agencies that take your money for a model photo shoot and giving you a few images and then you never hear from them again.


If you are in a position to afford a few decent photographers to be one of a model photo shoot, then why not post your images on a model portfolio online galleries, which are hosted by companies like Model Mayhem,  PurplePort, Purestorm, to name a few. Since you never know which casting agents could be looking at your images and work could come from it.


If you already have a portfolio, what have you got to lose, try introducing yourself to some of the reputable model agencies or model management, and hopefully they intern will share your images with potential clients, especially if they have an active website that attracts clients looking for fresh faces. 


You will find these agencies when you do a google search or by recommendation, as well as looking in a certain magazine and see which agencies are managing certain models. 


The other option is to find out all the social media model or photography networking groups or forums and get to know the models in these groups, who in turn will tell you how they get work, as well as to introduce you to photographers who can help with your portfolio building.


Social media sites like Facebook are forever popping up with new groups or of images of reputable photographers, who are always looking for new faces.  


You never know what doors a certain photographer can open, depending what relationships he or she has with certain companies. If certain clients or companies are looking for models for a certain type of job or style of photography for their project, you never know how it all comes together.


If you notice, photographers work that you really like, what harm is there if you reach out to that photographer, even if you have to pay for a  model shoot, at least you will get some great images to add to your portfolio building.


The other option to get your images for your model portfolio,  is normally an exchange of images or a CD for the time given by the models, with a photographer, this could be done by reaching out to a semi-professional or professional photographers who are also working at their own model portfolio building,  if you are lucky enough you may get paid expenses or a small fee. 


Remember you can seek out these potential Professional Photographers or even Semi-Professionals, by means of your network or try looking at some of the social media sites like Facebook.


Please Note, on that day or weekend of your shoot,  that you bring along a chaperone. Please remember, even if you already have some type knowledge or relationship with your photographer, it is good practice to let someone know your diary and whereabouts, as the saying goes, "shit happens sometimes", even with people you think you may know well. 


I cannot imagine any professional photographer objecting to a chaperone, a friend, partner or a family member, since they may be of some help in making tea or help in carrying equipment or even being a human light stand or just assisting with the shoot.  


However, on the other side, some photographers may object if they feel that the chaperone is affecting his or her creative flow or the model to do her or his photo shoot the way they wanted if they are always looking over her shoulder for approval, in what they are doing.


I remember one photoshoot I was doing and the father brought his daughter and he just stayed in the car until his daughter was finished, there is normally a way around the chaperone situation should it arise.  


For me, it's about the model having complete confidence in me, if they do not know me and my own personal reputation since there are so many negative stories in the media regarding models and photographers. 


With all the reputable model agencies, especially those that specialize in diverse culture models, looks and sizes as well as all the various categories of modeling that can be done.


It may be a good idea to find out the type of images an agency is looking for along with how do they prefer portfolios to be presented since you may find a difference with various agencies requirements.


Presentation of images is very important including a variety of images with quality to appeal to certain markets or agencies that you are trying to attract work from.


Once you have got a feel for what the model agencies are looking for our clients, then a good idea may be to have a professional photo book of your images done, to add to your presentation when you go for an interview for that job, that you have been working hard for.


You may also want to consider a dedicated website or social media page,  like a facebook page, dedicated to you becoming a model with images from your photoshoots or jobs you have done.  


You may also want to have on you, some business cards with your contact details to share with any potential clients you hopefully will come into contact with, or photographer looking for a new model to work with.  


In fact having a business card with a full-colour image of one of your photoshoot images will always leave a good impression as well.  


If modeling is something you really want to do, then youtube or Vimeo is a very good place to start doing some additional research on a life of a models journey, especially when it comes to advising on portfolio building and most important posing and makeup.


Along with some of the fee-paying model training Schools, model agencies or model management out there, which are either run by people who know the model industry well or certain photography companies that will guide and treat you professionally and respectful at the same time, since there are some sharks out there you would be well advised to stay well away from, since everybody with  a half decent camera these days will call themselves a photographer.


It has been pointed out to me on my journey in photography, that there is a big difference from the Professional Model Circuit that gets rewarded financially very well and the general model market that have to do a lot more work to make a living, in my opinion sometimes it's about being in the right place at the right time with a strong portfolio to get that job that will make a difference to our bank balance, as well as knowing the right people.


Finally if you don't make it, at least you tried and hopefully, you would have acquired some wonderful images along with some nice experiences to share with your friends and family.

Good Luck...

Walter James PhotographyWalter James PhotographyWalter James Photography

Anna-Marie Whitaker Johnson in Northamptonshire Photo Shoot 2014

Walter James PhotographyWalter James PhotographyWalter James Photography

Anna-Marie Whitaker Johnson in Northamptonshire Photo Shoot 2014


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