Finding a Photographer

How do I Find a Photographer?

Every model needs a portfolio and composite cards. These are the basic marketing tools of the model, just like a resume would be to any other job seeker. At a minimum, a model should have a good clean head shot, and one good, simple full-length shot (in something that will show off the shape of the model -- a fitted dress, a leotard, swim wear, lingerie, etc.).

If you are already with a reputable agency, they will likely have a list of competent photographers who you can choose from. Also, other models might be able to give you suggestions on the photographers that they have preferred to work with.

Unless you are posing for the photographer's work in exchange for free portfolio prints, you'll also have to consider a budget. For a head shot and full length shot, figure anywhere from $50 - $500 for the session and an 8x10" print of each. If you are getting many more looks (for a composite card), expect to pay anywhere from $250 - $1500 for session and prints.

Before having photos done, it's best to talk with your agency to find out what their suggestions are. Again, they can't force you to have certain types of photos taken, but if they are a legitimate agency, they will want to give you advice on how to make you most marketable (again, the more money you can make, the more money they can make). Some agencies have very specific suggestions such as number of shots taken in studio and number taken on location, where locations shots are to be taken and what type of backgrounds, what type of studio background and what type of colors, print sizes, pose length (close head shot, medium length to waist, 3/4 length to hips, full length), film, and even lighting. It's best to discuss these requirements well in advance so that you can let the photographer know (and have time to play) the shot you need.

For your portfolio work, you should plan on paying for a stylist/make-up artist. You need to look you very best, and paying for a stylist is like getting a free course in "how to make YOU look beautiful." Again, your agency or photographer should be able to recommend a competent professional in an affordable price range.

Remember that as a model, you are responsible for your own decisions and conduct. You need to let photographers know if you feel that their conduct or requests are unprofessional (or making you feel uncomfortable). If the behavior continues, you have the right AND responsibility to leave a photo session immediately.

How Should I Prepare for a Photo Session?

Modeling is perhaps the most difficult of professions, because you are judged on both your performance AND your looks. There are many simple things you can do which will help you appear professional and successful (and therefore leading to more jobs and requests).
bullet Weight is ALWAYS an issue with models. While you should not be anorexic, you need to maintain desired weight levels and exercise on a daily basis to keep muscles toned.

  • Along with exercise goes proper healthy eating habits. This includes lots of fruits and vegetables as well as laying off the fats and snacks. Also avoid caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and other substances which will deplete your energy and health.
  • Don't change your looks before a job! Avoid last minute perms, colorings, or haircuts unless you are specifically instructed to do so. Longer hair is almost always preferred on models because it is more versatile (you can make long hair look short, but you can't make short hair look long).
  • Avoid wearing make-up except for actual jobs and interviews. Make-up of any kind blocks up pores in the skin leading to unhealthy skin (and sometimes acne and pimples). Bath a couple times a day and use appropriate skin care products to keep your skin as healthy as possible.
  • Avoid the sun! Getting sunburned is not only bad for your career but it's also unhealthy. Also, tan lines are nearly impossible to cover up with make-up. It's much easier to get a pale looking model to look tan than it is to get a tan looking model to look pale. If feel the need to look "tan," 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.
  • All models need professional manicures and pedicures to keep their nails in great shape.
  • Be CAREFUL! Bruises, scars, scratches (and worse yet, tattoos and piercings) wreck your product (your body). Always remember that you body is your "product" and keep it in as pristine shape as possible.
  • Women (and men depending on the project) should shave or wax unwanted body hair a 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 skins, and you'll have "razor burn" as the ingrown hair tries to force a new hole through the skin for itself.
  • Always arrive at each job freshly bathed and showered. Hair should not only be shampooed but also conditioned to give it more body and "height.". Bring your own curling irons, hair spray, combs, berets, brushes, etc. that you'll need for your hair.
  • For most clothing shots, the model should expect to pose without underwear on. Because underwear shows up or creates lines or bumps in the fashions being worn, typically the model will wear ONLY the clothes provided.
  • If you will be posing in revealing clothing such as lingerie, swim wear, or nude, come to the photo session wearing loose fitting clothing and no socks or underwear. Anything that presses on the body creates reddish "pressure marks" which take up to an hour to go away. If you have a shoot like this, do not wear any tight clothing or clothing with elastic in it for roughly 12 hours before the shoot.

If you are "Testing" or doing "Portfolio" work...

  • Practice walking, posing, and depicting different facial expressions/moods on a regular basis.
  • Pick out clothing ahead of time which will give you a variety of looks and which flatter your figure. Avoid distracting patterns which lead the viewer's eye away from you. All black or all white outfits are always good choices. Similarly, clothing with simple and classic "lines" also are beneficial. It's best to bring a much wider selection of clothes than what you will need so that the photographers and have choices to pick out what they feel will work best.