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Mark Emery Photography This is the PDF version of the posts that can be found on my blog. All new tips and updates will be made within this document. If you have any feedback please feel free to drop an email to mark@markemeryphotography.com You can download the latest copy at http://markemeryphotography.com/docs/Tips-For-New-Models.pdf

MARKSE

Tips For New Models 3.1 I've been asked a number of questions by people that are looking to start out in modelling or have recently done so. As some of them are common questions I thought the answers and other issues prompted by them should be documented and shared.

Table of Contents Getting Started......................................................................................................................................3 What sort of model am I?................................................................................................................3 I'm unsure if being a model is for me. What do you think?.............................................................3 Portfolio Images...................................................................................................................................4 I need some initial images, what should I do?.................................................................................4 Can I take some photographs myself or have family help?.............................................................4 What look am I going for?...............................................................................................................5 What should I have in my portfolio?...............................................................................................5 Online Portfolios..................................................................................................................................5 Should I use one of the many Profile Sites or create my own web site?.........................................5 Should I sign up to more than one profile site?...............................................................................6 As an Internet Model, should I still get things printed?...................................................................6 Models Beware.....................................................................................................................................6 I'm being asked to sign a model release, what should I do?............................................................6 I could win a competition by submitting photos, should I?.............................................................6 Agents making first contact.............................................................................................................6 I've been offered a free make-up session and shoot, good or not?..................................................7 Your family and friends can be your worst critics...........................................................................7 I'm not sure about someone who wants to work with me................................................................7 I've changed my mind about a shoot, what should I do?.................................................................7 The information you share....................................................................................................................8 What should I say about myself on my portfolio web site(s)?........................................................8 Should I update my profile if I have my hair cut or coloured?........................................................8 I'm a dancer, is it worth mentioning?...............................................................................................8 How can I show the photographer what things I'd like to try?........................................................8 Communications...................................................................................................................................8 I'm not happy handing out my phone number, any ideas?...............................................................8 Bringing or working with others..........................................................................................................9 Can I work with my partner?...........................................................................................................9 Can I bring someone with me?........................................................................................................9


Getting Started What sort of model am I? It's an important question that needs answering very early in your modelling career, if not at the very outset. Do you have the height, body proportions and facial structure to compete with the best of the catwalk and fashion models? Are you serious about this being a reasonably long term career that you'll put your heart and soul into? Will you accept that your looks are your primary asset and keep your body in top condition, eating well and keeping fit? If so find yourself a photographer or two that will help you put an initial printed portfolio together. Study their work before you approach them for a shoot. Review images from that market and ensure the images taken of you properly reflect it. Think of yourself as a brand and don't take part in any shoots that may produce images that spoil your brand image. Insist on control of the images and where they may go, getting it all documented in a signed contract. Next go visit some agencies, but read the notes below before you do, particularly the ones on portfolio content, costs and fees. If successful you'll be a “Real World Model”, working with clients that want to see you in person for castings, along with your professionally printed portfolio. If you've not quite got the look or shape to fit within that category or just don't want to work in those circles there's a wide range of alternative work out there. You'll probably be using the web to find much of your work so may find yourself referred to as an “Internet Model”. If you don't have the height of a super model don't give up on wanting to work in fashion if that's your dream market. London Alternative Fashion week had a petite model I've worked with working the catwalk and looking great. Keep in mind that the height and figure the top designers use only represents a small percentage of the population. The rest of us still need to wear clothes and someone has to model them for catalogue shoots and shows. I strongly believe that looking great comes down to a sense of style and a state of mind - how you dress and how you carry yourself.

I'm unsure if being a model is for me. What do you think? Before you start out in modelling you need to be able to answer “Yes!” to a number of questions. •

Have you given a lot of thought to what type of modelling you want to do; Fashion, Catwalk, Catalogue, Lifestyle, Body Part, Pin-up, Swimwear, Lingerie, Art-Nude, Glamour or Adult?

Can you convey with assertion to those that might work with you what your willing to do? You don't want to turn up to a job only to find they're asking more of you than you expect. Being uncomfortable at a shoot will most likely come across in the images, walking away from a shoot may hurt your reputation as a model. So make sure you and the team you'll work with are on the same page.

Are you willing to work in physically uncomfortable environments like high humidity, heat or cold in order to get the shot? Lots can be done with Photoshop these days but many photographers would rather create the shot in the real world.

Does getting up before dawn to get the right light for a location shoot sound like something you'd do?

Is getting the right amount of sleep part of your routine? Being a party animal in the days leading up to a shoot can leave you tired to the point that it


will show in the images, no amount of concealer will fix it. •

Would you be comfortable taking direction from a photographer or shoot director, effectively be their mannequin or clothes horse for a number of hours?

Are you confident and comfortable with your body image? You may be asked by photographers to do something that would make others uncomfortable, such as wearing a jacket with no top underneath for a fashion shoot, or being tastefully naked (bare back and bottom showing) for a fashion shoot.

Would you be happy with friends and family seeing the images? If you did become the next Gisele Bündchen or Elle Macpherson could you cope with your face on the cover of a magazine or paper in every newsagent you pass and being recognised by the general public?

Assuming the bulk of the above got a “Yes!” and you accept the rest can be worked on, read on.. If the majority of the answers got a “No”, then maybe modelling isn't for you unless you think that you can turn that answers from no to yes with a lot of commitment and work.

Portfolio Images I need some initial images, what should I do? Without something to help promote you, be it a printed portfolio, profile on a suitable web site or agents card you'll have a limited chance of finding the right work. Don't expect model agencies to come to you, you'll have to go and actively search one out that works in the field you want to work in. I see new profiles on sites with no images all the time, it's like having a shop with the shutters down over the window despite being open for business. There are supermodels that were picked out of obscurity at the supermarket and turned into an international star almost overnight but it's not common, most will have to work hard to get themselves noticed. If you know an experienced photographer ask them for help. If you don't have any photographers to call on you can search online sites like PurplePort.com and invite some to work with you after reviewing their work to confirm they'll produce the quality you want. Even with an online site you'll need an initial set of photos to get people interested. If you get an amateur photographer to shoot images for you ask them not to crop feet off in full length shots and think about the composition of the images.

Can I take some photographs myself or have family help? Starting out with images you've taken yourself isn't a bad thing. Google for Miss Aniela for a brilliant example of a UK photographer who used herself as a model, got a massive fan base and now sells her fine art work and runs fashion group photoshoots. Forget shots taken at arms length with a phone in bad light. Countless others do this and post them to Facebook. You want to stand out from the crowd. You need to show you're serious by investing in the initial images. That need not necessarily be a large investment of money, time and effort are just as important. You have a few options open to you assuming you or a family member have access to a reasonably modern camera phone or compact camera. Have one of them take some initial shots for you, away from any clutter if possible, it's you you're trying to promote not the things around you. If a phone is all you have to hand use it, but find an assistant to help or put it in some form of stand. Phone cameras are generally slow devices when it comes to photography so avoid any shake at all


costs as this will blur or distort the images. Use quality light! If shooting indoors use a lot more than your average room lights. Most phone cameras will give a terrible grainy picture in low light, but given the right light and steady shooting they can create great results. If it has a self timer use it after fixing the device to something solid. If using daylight try and avoid harsh direct light as that can cast unflattering shadows, early morning or evening light is the best. Think about how the light is falling on your face and how you're facing the camera. When looking straight into the camera with the light coming directly at you your face will look wider than if it's slightly sideways on with the light pointed more at the semi-hidden or “short” side. Think about the composition of the shot, how you're interacting with your environment. You'll want to shoot both close up portraits and body shots. When shooting full length images, don't crop off the feet! You may look great in the image but a badly composed image will send the wrong message to photographers and may put them off without them even realising why. A well lit and composed low resolution shot is way better than a bad high resolution one. Keep in mind that your initial portfolio may only go online, where typically something around 600 pixels on the long edge will suffice.

What look am I going for? Think about the end result you're trying to achieve. Spend the time to do your hair and make-up and ask a family member or friend to assist. If you've got a limited budget you'd be surprised what clothes, props and accessories can be found in charity shops. Keep thinking variety. If you make the effort it will show in your images and send a better message to those that might wish to work with you.

What should I have in my portfolio? As much variety as possible! Keep in mind we're all human and tastes differ, photographers and agents too! An image that makes one person go “Wow!” might not even get a raised eyebrow from another. Your portfolio needs to be as varied as possible in order to increase the chances of triggering that wow response and making someone think “I need to work with this person!”. If you had a portfolio of 50 images all from the same shoot and in the same outfit chances are they'd be tuning out quite quickly. As the portfolio grows review it and keep only the best images in there. If a few images from the same shoot are in there try and reduce the numbers, for example a single head shot and full length shot in the same outfit. Keep in mind comments from people that have seen them. Even if you're not so keen on a shot, if it gets a lot of really good feedback it should stay, hopefully the image will grow on you and you'll learn to appreciate why everyone else loves it. If something constantly gets negative feedback listen to it, understand why it's being given and take the image out of the portfolio. Neutral or positive feedback is what you're after each time, with the .positive feedback being given to different images by each person that gets to view them.

Online Portfolios Should I use one of the many Profile Sites or create my own web site? Armed with some good initial shots you'll want to put them online unless a printed portfolio is the only medium you plan to work with. Do you create a profile on one or more of the online sites or register your own domain name and have a dedicated site? There are plus points for both. A site like PurplePort.com can have your images online in minutes and visible to many others that


may want to work with you. The downside is that your images may sit next to images from other genres that you might not want to be associated with or alongside models that are competing directly with you. Basic profiles are free on the vast majority of the profile sites. You can create your own site with firms line 1&1 and use their site builder software to get initial pages online very quickly. You're then in control of what people see when coming to the site. The down side? Bringing traffic and customers to it. Hopefully once you've got some initial images up you'll then be able to find more photographers to work with you and grow the portfolio. I recommend purpleport.com for it's ability to provide distance based search results and other sites like net-portfolio.co.uk and modelmayhem.com. Don't let other models on these sites make you think you also have to work in the genre they've chosen. Stick to your chosen field(s) and try and find others that want to work with you.

Should I sign up to more than one profile site? Unless you've got a very active agent getting a queue of people wanting to work with you, get yourself on as many portfolio sites as you have the time to update. Where sites allow it (some will want a paid for account) make reference to your other sites and profiles. If you or your photographer use Flickr ensure to put your details with all of your images, either a profile ID or URL.

As an Internet Model, should I still get things printed? If you do find yourself going on casting calls for face to face meetings consider a printed portfolio. Even though we live in a digital age with online portfolios and iPads there's nothing quite like paging through a well printed set of photographs. If you're not going on casting calls a good portfolio can inspire the creative team you work with to do something different if shared at a shoot location with the stylist, makeup artist and photographer.

Models Beware... I'm being asked to sign a model release, what should I do? Don't sign it unless you're being well paid for the shoot and it has a paragraph spelling out exactly where and how the images may be used by the photographer. Sadly in this Internet enable age many people are getting rich on the back of other peoples no or low paid work.

I could win a competition by submitting photos, should I? Read the competition rules and small print fully. If you didn't take the shot you don't own copyright, so ensure you have the photographers permission first. Unfortunately there are a large number of firms that will offer a big prize for the winning photograph, for example of their customers wearing their make-up. Most of these competitions want you to assign all rights to the organisers. Regardless of winning it or not beware that the people running the competition could use your images in a global ad campaign and not give any credit or reward for its use. These competitions save them a fortune as they don't need to cast models, pay for them, stylists, make-up artists, photographers and studios. Their gain is everyone else’s loss.

Agents making first contact Some “agents� have been known to approach potential models via scouts in clubs with offers of hundreds of photos for a portfolio and many are sadly tempted. Find out their charges and what


you'll get in return. If the charges are high then they may just be trying to get cash out of you with no real intention to promote you and get you paid work. If they're excitedly saying you're the next best thing and will get you loads of work they should be paying you to sign with them! If they're that confident you're a star in the making their agents fees from the first few jobs will cover the initial investment they make in you and your portfolio. If you're tempted to pay for their services ask them how many lighting, make-up and costume changes you'll be able to fit in the time allotted and ensure there are no hidden costs. My personal opinion is that an agent or photographer offering half a dozen professionally but lightly retouched images is worth much more than a set of 400 images that have been shot machine gun style. There is no way those 400 are all going to be retouched.

I've been offered a free make-up session and shoot, good or not? Beware those that offer free photo shoots with a free image. Ask them why they're doing it. More often than not the free image is small and any additional images will have a high premium that will leave a bitter taste in the mouth. I have a number of friends that have been stung in this way, unfortunately all before I knew them and I could pass on the warnings. If offered a free shoot ask if it's “Time For CD” (TFCD) and what size images you'll get. If the photographer is doing it to practice their art, then fine. If they're using it as a way to take money off you research what you'll get out of it. If you'll come away with the right number of quality images at a cost that's reasonable and with no restrictions on their use then go for it.

Your family and friends can be your worst critics Not because they'll say bad things about your images, but because they may be reluctant to do so in the fear of hurting your feelings. Find people that can give constructive feedback to help you improve all aspects of your work.

I'm not sure about someone who wants to work with me.. Based on the opening disclaimers in some models profiles on sites like Model Mayhem, it's clear that a few people are using such sites to try and get dates with models. Try and answer a few simple questions; •

Is the photographer your going to work with established with their own studio or use a studio that knows them well?

Have they worked with other models that can give you references?

Where are you expected to work?

Until you've worked with a photographer and trust them you may want to insist you use reputable studios or public places. If you're uncomfortable insist on bringing a chaperone. If they're a professional they'll understand.

I've changed my mind about a shoot, what should I do? Let the photographer know and be honest as to why if you can't attend. If you can attend but don't feel excited about it think about the people being let down. There may be a make-up artist, stylist and others, not just a photographer. Be assertive, think about how you might work with them to turn the shoot into something you'd be more interested in. Doing a “No-Show”, especially without any calls as to why will work against you. I've seen a model get a single “no-show” post against her profile who now appears to be finding it hard to get any work, despite many messages on multiple sites. She goes by different names on SkillPages and PurplePort but she's obviously the same person from her images. Building a reputation takes ages, destroying it can be done in seconds.


The information you share What should I say about myself on my portfolio web site(s)? Don't put too much personal information, it's not a dating or friendship site! Keep that sort of thing to other sites. You want information about modelling and photography, shoots you've done or would like to do. Some of the sites will allow you to select the different fields you are looking to work in; Fashion, Swimwear, glamour, body parts, etc., others may expect you to spell it all out. Only put things that you are very comfortable doing. If you've never done something before be very upfront about it, tell the photographer when you'd like to try something new, having checked out their styles of work first. The last thing you want is awkward moments and photos where you look uncomfortable. Put up information about your clothes and shoe sizes, height etc. The photographer may want to pair you up with another model, height differences could be an issue. Be totally honest about sizes to avoid any embarrassment on the day.

Should I update my profile if I have my hair cut or coloured? Yes! If you decide to dye your hair another colour, or change its length update your profile immediately. If there is work already planned then do your best to let people know in advance as they may have booked you because of the way you look at a given moment.

I'm a dancer, is it worth mentioning? My personal experience is that dancers are very much aware of their bodies, balance, how to move and pose. If you've had dance lessons of any description for a while I recommend you mention it.

How can I show the photographer what things I'd like to try? You can show the photographer things you'd like to try by adding photos to lists. On Flickr a basic account is free and you can search for images created by others and add up to 18 of them to a Gallery (of which you can have many) or mark them as your Favourites. Be warned that some photographers (myself included) don't like it when people add lots of favourites and have no photos of their own, so upload at least a couple of your own, set up your buddy icon and put something about yourself in the profile. PurplePort allows favorites and lists, Model Mayhem allows you to add photos to lists and Net-Portfolio allows favourites for premium members. I don't currently recommend Pinterest due to the copyright issues around it.

Communications I'm not happy handing out my phone number, any ideas? Phone numbers are something some are reluctant to hand out, making planning a shoot that much harder for the photographer or anyone assisting them. Emails and SMS messages are okay but often a proper conversation is much more productive and immediate. Especially if there are last minute issues around a shoot. If you're a minor (under 18) see if a parent or guardian can act as your manager and keep your own number private. If you're older but uncomfortable handing your number out there are some options. If you still have an old phone from your last upgrade get a Pay & Go SIM in it and give that number out to anyone


new you work with. Once they've done enough to earn your trust give them your usual number if it would make life easier for you. An alternative is to give each photographer a new and unique phone number. Firms such as Flextel.co.uk do a phone number forwarding service that enables such a set-up. Like Flextel most of the companies providing these services don't charge for an account, they make their money through a percentage of the call charges. The Flextel service can change the Calling Line ID (CLID) to the forwarding number you've picked for the person calling so you know it's them calling no matter which phone number they call from. The downside is they must give you their current contact number to return any calls. If for whatever reason you don't want contact from them again you can delete the forwarding number or point it to an answer phone service. If you do use a service like this keep in mind that outgoing calls will reveal your number unless you go via the services dail-out relay whereby you call the service provider then give it the number to call. Most of them also don't forward SMS messages, only voice calls.

Bringing or working with others Can I work with my partner? If your partner is looking to get into modelling too ask the photographer if you can work together once you've got a good understanding of what they want. Make sure your portfolio has some shots of you together and put them at random points in your portfolio. Don't get too upset if the photographer asks you to work with someone else, keep in mind that you may have been picked to compliment someone who was selected before you.

Can I bring someone with me? As long as they'll be comfortable with the nature of the shoot then I personally recommend bringing a chaperone. It will help you relax, your photographer or make-up artist might also benefit from an extra pair of hands and eyes if they are willing to help out rather than just be a spectator.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found something of use within. If you did and subsequently have stories to share on your successful experiences in the modelling world I'd be more than happy to include quotes from them in a future version. Best wishes,

MARKSE

Tips For New Models  

By Mark Emery Photography

Tips For New Models  

By Mark Emery Photography