The most important thing to remember is that modelling is a skill to be improved on. Having a great portfolio is a must when taking your first steps into a modelling career but working on your skills and having a lot of determination will push you further in your career.
In the beginning, it is important to do as many jobs as possible whether they are paid or not paid. No matter how big or small the job is, you need as much experience as possible. Working on unpaid jobs and tests is crucial as it gives you the opportunity to network with other aspiring professionals and
to gain exposure.
There are two main types of a modelling portfolio – print and
online. It is considered best to have both. Print
portfolios are perfect to show agencies and at
castings, while an online portfolio can be viewed
unlimited times and has a wider audience.
Standard sizes of images in a print portfolio are
9 x 12 inches or 11 x 14 inches. These look best
in a professional binder with plastic sleeves to
protect your images. A tatty looking portfolio is
not an agency turn on!
This will be a somewhat pricey project but
worth it if you plan on taking it with you to meet
An online portfolio could be showcased on your own website, as a PDF link or as an online photo sharing album that everyone can access. Creating a PDF of images will look more professional than sending a link to a social networking album.lssuu.com is a great free resource to upload a magazine style portfolio. Hire a professional photographer and retoucher or a team to take the photos for your portfolio. You don’t want to spend time, money and effort
to get average images – so make sure you are working with the best! Similarly, do not scrimp on
your printing costs – a home printer will not do your fabulous images justice!
Your portfolio needs to consist of various styles -you need beauty, editorial and commercial looks. If you decide you would like sexier glamour or boudoir images you should have these in a
separate book. Glamour images will likely be frowned upon during high fashion castings or
FIND YOUR NICHE
Research magazines, websites and catalogues. Find models with a similar style and look to your own and make inquiries as to which clients are booking them and what photographers have shot them. Find out which agencies represent
them, who has represented them in the past and how they became successful in the industry. Later in this guide, we will look at social media. Research and follow models that you find
inspirational or who have a similar look to your own on social media so that you can emulate a
similar online following in the future.
Self-assessment is difficult in such an image-driven business. Ask advice from reputable photographers, stylists or industry experts
where they feel your strengths lie. Alternatively, speak to a model consultant or even friends to
get an honest answer. Once you know yourself, you’ll be able to sell yourself as a product with
more confidence and authority. Empire models
advisors will be able to give you advice and recommendations to help steer you towards
your most successful path. If you already know someone in the fashion and
modelling industry, make an effort to speak to them. Ask them for an honest opinion on your
RATES AND PROMOTION
When you are new to the industry you may have to
work for free while you build up your working portfolio and gain valuable experience. You can do this through doing TFP (time for print/photos) If you are not getting paid then often the other people working on the shoot with you aren’t being paid either, however, it is not wise to discuss the payment while you are on set. With a reputable team, you should have your travel expenses (within reason) paid for and food provided if the shoot is longer than a few hours.
When working for free you MUST be careful to work with reputable people.
See Model Safety for more information.
When you start getting a reputation for being
a good, reliable and professional model you
can start getting paid for your working time.
Whenever you are offered a job you should
inquire as to the pay rate and be ready to
negotiate. The working day rate for a freelance model
starting out can be anywhere between £50 and
£400. This will of course depend on the style of
modelling (e.g. commercial, editorial etc) and
the client. Once you have agreed a pay rate you should
stick to it. Demanding more money because
another model is paid more will earn you a bad
reputation – just remember the client for next
time and avoid making the same mistake again.
Even when you are working for an agency or have become a reputable model you will still sometimes be expected to work for free. For example: if you are offered the chance to work with an incredible photographer, whose work you admire then it is sometimes a good idea to forget the cash!