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Top 5 Tips to Manage Your Modeling Career

Top 5 Tips to Manage Your Modeling Career

Know your type

Models, just like actors, fall into types. Are you a “girl next door” look, or a “sultry siren?” Are you sporty, preppy, mysterious, or studious? Knowing your type helps you know how to dress for your type (“sporty” and “preppy” can wear polo shirts to an open call, but “mysterious” should not) as well as the types of modeling jobs you might get offered.

Use modeling resources like fashion magazines and other fashion modeling info to determine your type and how to best showcase your type during modeling calls.

Know how to look your best

Looking your best is about knowing what’s right for you. It’s about maintaining a healthy weight for your body type, and knowing what types of hair color, cut, and style most flatter your face and body. It’s also about exercising regularly so that your skin and body look healthy and strong, and about getting enough sleep – after all, it’s called “beauty sleep” for a reason!

Looking your best also means knowing not to drink too much alcohol (which leads to red eyes) or eat too much salty, greasy food (which leads to bloating and greasy skin).

Take care of yourself, so you’ll have the best body and face possible to present to the world.

Know how to dress – and behave! – at an open call

Each open call has its own set of requirements for models, so make sure to follow those rules to the letter. If you have three minutes to strut your stuff, don’t go a second over your allotted time.

In general, you’re going to want to wear fashionable, flattering clothing that does not have any visible logos or brand names. Choose clothing that makes you look good but is not distracting on its own – you want the talent scouts and modeling agencies to remember you, not your unusual outfit.

Always be polite and friendly while at an open call, even while waiting in line. If you look frustrated or bored, or if you are loud or begin making a scene, people will think you are difficult to work with and you’ll be less likely to get called back.

Know how to behave on the job

Anyone can get hired for a single modeling gig. If you want to be a model and get hired repeatedly, you need to know how to behave on the job. You need to arrive on time and be ready to be polite, respectful, and friendly to everyone you meet. You need to know how to put in long hours without complaining or looking tired. You need to know how to stand still and let people fuss over your appearance, you need to know how to take direction, and you need to know how to be gracious at the end of the day even if all you want to do is go home.

The better you are to work with, the more likely you are to be hired back.

Know how to manage your finances and your work-life balance

Only a small percentage of models work full-time in the modeling industry. Most models combine modeling with other types of jobs, from working as restaurant servers to working in busy offices. Some models get into modeling while they are full-time students, either to save money for college or to start paying down student loans right away.

That means you need to plan your modeling career with the idea that you’re going to balance modeling with another job. When you become a model, you’ll earn money – but you’ll probably need another job as well. Find a job that allows you to continue going to calls, participating in shoots, and building your portfolio.

You also need to learn about good work-life balance: no matter what your job is, you need to have enough time to pursue your modeling career, get plenty of exercise and sleep, and have time to unwind with your family and friends. If one part of your life gets out of balance, you won’t be at your best – so learn how to practice balance now, because it is a skill that will last you a lifetime.


Do you have advice about modeling, or tips for people who want to know how to get into modeling? Let us know!

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Never judge a (model portfolio) book by its cover!

Model portfolio books for independent models

Independent models are usually represented by multiple agencies and have non-exclusive or regionally-exclusive contracts. When you’re in City A, you shouldn’t attend a go-see with a portfolio book emblazoned with the logo of City B Agency; especially if you were sent to the go-see by City A Agency.

Independent models should carry a portfolio book that has a black cover

We often hear from aspiring models who ask, “Can I get a bright portfolio book? I want people to notice me!” It’s natural to think that way when you’re starting out. You want to stand out from the crowd and a bright portfolio book will surely attract a lot of attention. You’re probably right. Agency directors and casting agents will certainly be saying, “Remember that glowing portfolio book? That book was really bright.” They remember your book! But do they remember you?

Never judge a book by its cover

When clients are selecting models for an advertising campaign, they don’t call the modeling agency and say, “Just send me the model with the brightest book.” A model’s portfolio book is just a container for the important photos inside. It’s the photos that should go, “Pow!” When the go-see is over, and the client says, “We’ll hire the girl with the amazing book!” … it’s not the actual book that impressed them…it was you!

Every model, from beginner to international supermodel, should carry a personal portfolio book with a black cover. The book itself should conform to industry traditions. The contents are the personal part, so focus on the content of your book. Work hard to improve it and keep it fresh.

Portfolio Mart sells a wide selection of portfolio products that have been specifically selected and designed for independent models. All of them have black covers. Call us and we’ll help you select the portfolio book that’s most appropriate for your experience level, your target audience, your location and your budget.

Do you have advice about modeling, or tips for people who want to know how to get into modeling? Let us know!

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How to Prepare for your Model Test Photo Shoot

How to Prepare for your Model Test Photo Shoot

Start planning for your photo shoot. The sooner the better!

10-14 days before your photo shoot

• Cut out pictures from magazines that you like: the pose, mood expression, angle, attitude, or energy. Try these looks on for size by practicing your posing, walking, and facial expressions and moods in the mirror before the shoot. Memorize how your body feels for each look that you prefer, so you can duplicate it when the mirror isn’t in front of you.

• Begin to pick out the clothes that you will bring to the shoot. Your choices should provide you with a variety of looks that flatter your figure. Avoid flashy and distracting patterns that can deflect the client’s attention away from your body and your face. You will look better in your photos if you wear solid colors. Black, grey and beige are classic choices. Similarly, articles with classic and traditional styles are preferable. Be sure to try on all your clothes ahead of time to ensure that they fit properly; not too tight or overly loose, your clothes should be snug on your frame, not squeezing it in. As for shoes, choose thin heels. No clunky shoes, as they don’t shoot well. Your shoes must be pristine. No scuffs or scrapes. Also the soles (bottoms) must be clean and cannot be made of materials that scuff or otherwise mark up floors and backdrops. Go shopping if you must!

• Stay out of the sun and do not use tanning beds. Tan lines are nearly impossible to cover up with make-up. It’s much easier to get a pale model to look tanned than it is to get a tanned model to look pale. If you feel the need to look tanned, use high-quality self-tanning products which “color” your skin rather than tan it. The key is to apply it evenly (often you need help with this) and you need to stand around nude until the product is completely dry.

• Likewise, if you smoke or habitually drink coffee, consider having your teeth whitened professionally or use one of the many over-the-counter whitening products available.

7 days before your photo shoot

• Avoid drastic changes in your appearance (especially your hair) until your shoot. A trim is advisable at this time, and if you do color your hair, now would be the time to get a touch-up if your roots are showing or the color has faded. Be sure you are familiar with your stylist’s styling techniques so that you can look your best on the day of your shoot. If your hair is dry, consider a deep-conditioning treatment to bring back the shine.

• Also, try to consult with a make-up artist to get some tips. Be sure you are aware of the proper way to make-up your face for a fresh, natural look. If you are feeling adventurous you may inquire about techniques for more “edgy” looks.

• Drink plenty of water and avoid salty and fatty foods. The water will cleanse your system and help to clear out your skin. Salty and fatty foods may cause your body to retain the water that you are using to purge your pores, so that’s not a good thing.

3 days before your photo shoot

• Tend to your nails by giving them a manicure and pedicure. Avoid colored polish. The natural look is preferred.

• Try to avoid wearing make-up as much as possible over the next few days. This will allow your skin to work out any problems it might be having now. Foundation, concealer and cover-up only go so far.

• SLEEP! Be sure to get the amount of sleep that you require to be properly rested for the entirety of the next day. For most people, this is about 8 hours. Do not over-sleep though, as too much sleep can often cause lazy and sluggish tendencies the following day. Keep in mind that dark circles, bags and blood shot eyes can ruin your shots.

• Women (and men!) should shave or wax unwanted body hair the day before the job. This will give enough time to allow any red marks to fade. When shaving, always shave in the same direction that the hair is laying down. If you shave “against the grain” you’ll end up cutting the hair off below the surface of the skin, and you’ll have “razor burn” as the ingrown hair tries to force a new hole through the skin.

24 hours before your photo shoot

• Do not wear any tight clothing for at least 12 hours prior to your shoot. Anything that presses against your body will create reddish pressure marks that can take hours to go away. (This includes undergarments and socks.)

• Be sure the clothing you are bringing to the shoot is clean (no stains, rips, or other imperfections) and properly ironed, pressed and hung.

• Ready all the make-up and styling materials that you could possibly need to prepare for the shoot. The following is a pretty complete list of everything you might need.

• Hair: Headband, rubber bands, bobby pins, brushes, combs, hair appliances (curling iron, rollers, straighteners), styling products such as hair spray, gel, straightening balm, mousse, molding putty, etc. (As above, be sure to consult your stylist.)

• Skin: skin cleanser and moisturizer; make-up kit; body make-up; cotton balls and swabs, make-up sponges, mirror, body lotion, clear or nude nail polish, clippers, nail file, polish remover

• Other: safety pins, small sewing kit, clothes pins, clear nail polish (for runs), light dressing robe, scarf or makeup mask to prevent makeup transfer, dress shields or clear, non-scented deodorant

• Music, books or magazines for downtime

IMPORTANT: Bring your portfolio and/or any recent photographs that you have had taken.

Modeling test photo shoot

The night before your photo shoot

• SLEEP! Review the previous discussion about the importance of sleep.

• Be sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin and hair. Be sure that your hair is properly prepared for bed to avoid tangles and frizziness the next day.

The morning of your photo shoot

• Be prompt. Lateness reflects poorly upon yourself and the people who’ve put their confidence in you. Remember time is money, and when it comes to photo shoots, a little time is a lot of money.

• Eat a filling, yet light, breakfast. Be sure that what you eat will provide you with enough energy to shoot for at least 4-5 hours. Lunch breaks are scarce in the fashion industry. However, feel free to bring some healthy snacks. Fresh fruit and other nutritious yet satisfying foods are encouraged. Avoid coffee, chocolate or anything else that may stain your teeth.

• If necessary, wear clear unscented deodorant to protect your clothing and prevent flaking.

• Wear your hair natural and down, you will have time to fix it before your shots are taken.

During your photo shoot

• Avoid wearing undergarments beneath your pants, dress or skirt. Most undergarments create unwanted “bumps” in your outfits or protrude from beneath your clothing in an undesirable manner.

• Be friendly and try to bond with your photographer. The model/photographer relationship is a special thing. If you aren’t “clicking” with your photographer, you more than likely won’t be happy with the results. No amount of lighting or styling, no matter how masterful the photographer, can replace a good relationship. If you aren’t comfortable it will show.

• HAVE FUN! A photo shoot isn’t all work; as the subject of the shoot everyone else involved feeds off your energy. If you aren’t upbeat, then the shoot won’t be fun for anyone involved.