How do I get started in Modeling?

Getting Started
How does one get started in modeling? There is no one way for a person to get started. Different models have reached success through different routes. If one wants to become a doctor there is a set course of schooling, experience and testing. But for modeling there is no clear path. We do know of some of the ways models have gotten started in the
past. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it might help in your efforts to launch a career in modeling.
Front Door - Go to the Source
The bulk of the work in modeling is booked through Modeling Agencies. So literally go to the front door of the modeling agency. This is the number one way for a wannabe to start. You have to do some research to find where the modeling agency door is, locally or other big city, and that they are not a scam agency. The Modeling Advice site has
links to list of modeling agencies and info on how to check out an agency. Naturally not all small or enormous agencies are always listed. Always look out for the agency which wants to acquire fees right away and upfront for helping you to start out. Many reputable agencies will pay you for any types of audition and by this usually show
themselves as a reputable agency. You can approach a modeling agency through their open call, schedule an interview or by submitting a cover letter and photographs. Give them a call or email them and ask how they want new talent to contact them. There is no reason to try another way of getting started until you have been turned down at the
front door.

Know Someone
Some models get started because they have an in. You hear stories of someone who has a friend who models and goes to a photo shoot with them and is then discovered by the photographer. Some might have an aunt who modeled or runs an agency and helps to get them started. Others might work in a related field and one day finds them not
working beside the camera but in front of it. In smaller markets child models are most often used because they are an art director's, buyer's, or photographer's kid. Knowing someone in the business can help a lot in getting a career in modeling started. You should never underestimate a connection offered to a reputable agency.

The Fates
Modeling agencies are in fact constantly looking for new talent. This is very true in fashion modeling. This segment of modeling is composed mostly of young models. By the time a model is thirty their career is over. There is always a need to find the next generation of models. Because of this need for new talent, folks involved with modeling
agencies are looking for new talent. This can be modeling agencies' personnel (owner, booker), photographers, art directors, and of course the "model scouts." Some agencies are in fact large enough to employ an individual who is just out looking for that next generation of new talent or to fill new needs of a client. Unfortunately, the term "model
scout" is being used more often by rip off organizations, web space salesmen and scoundrels, so one is correct in being suspicious of anyone calling themselves a model scout. But there are numerous stories of models being discovered at the mall, on the beach, or other public place. So if you hope to start your career in modeling by waiting for the
fates to smile on you, plan on spending a lot of time hanging in out in public places

Hard work
Some models do work their way into modeling (I have also heard from models that modeling is hard work and all models work their way into the business). These models track down test shoots and put together their comp cards and portfolios. They study and practice being a model by working on their expressions, posing, runway walking, hair
styling, make up, working in front of a camera and how the business works. These models may work freelance or have nonexclusive contracts with a number of modeling agencies. In smaller regional markets, where agencies do not have the resources to develop new talent, an agency might not work with a model until they have developed their skills
and marketing materials. If you enjoy the process of modeling and doing good work, then all of the time and expense that go into this process can be its own reward. If you have to make a living at modeling, you should be sure you meet the basic physical and aptitude requirement of the type of modeling you want to become before you invest your
time and money into this process. If you want to be a high fashion model and do not have the size or “looks� requirements no amount of hard work will make you a career model.

Try to Buy Success
There is a whole industry built around this approach to getting started in modeling. Very few models actually come from this avenue of trying to start a career. This area includes many of the modeling school, modeling camps, model searches, Internet listing services, modeling contest, modeling conventions, and pageants. This is not to say that these
activities can't be interesting, educational and fun. Most of these organizations will take on and take money from almost anyone who wants to be a model. This leads to a very low percentage of career models that actually come from these activities. Most of these organizations survive by playing on people’s dreams, ignorance, and pocket
books and not by finding and developing top modeling talent. But in spite of this sometimes someone does make it and this is what these organizations feature in their sales pitches and videos.
What are the height and size requirements for a high fashion model?
This does seem to be the burning question. The general guidelines for women are; 5'9" to 6', around a size 6, 34B-24-34, and between 14-21 years of age. For men around 6' (a couple of inches over or under,) size 40R. Are there exceptions to this? You bet. Is it fair? No. Are there petite sizes and plus sizes? Yes. Do commercial, glamour, acting, or
smaller markets care anything about these sizes? Not much. Only if you want to work high fashion in the major markets, like New York, are these numbers important.

Are there jobs for models who specialize in just parts of the body?
Yes. Hand models are often hard to find especially when you need one. It has been my experience that many models will have photogenic faces and good bodies but their hands and feet can be just horrid. Often times you will use one person for the face and have a hand model reaching into the picture to provide the hands. Of course the
photographer makes it look like one person but in fact there are two. With jewelry photography we look for good hands, nice neck, and ears. A good ear is very hard to find as they have to be shaped just right, the skin has to be very smooth, and you want them pierced for only one earring not 25. Unfortunately, paying jobs for jewelry modeling
seldom come along. It is best to find other industries that need good-looking body parts. Parts models follow similar career paths as regular models. So if you are interested in this type of modeling read through the Modeling Advice section of this site.

How much do models make?
What you hear about is the fabulous big bucks that super models make. Out of all the models in the world, only a handful of them make this top dollar. Their yearly income can be in the millions. But for most models it will be far less, assuming you get any work at all. As a general rule for markets outside of New York, modeling fees will be in the
range of photographer's fees. For a market like Portland, Oregon, the last I check modeling agencies were asking $150 an hour. As you move to larger markets fees for photographers and models will go up (I saw one agency in New York asking $250 per hour) This may not bring you the big bucks of a super model but it will give you a good living if
you can find steady work. And that is a big "if".
Can a modeling agency tell just from a snap shot if I have what it takes to be a model?
Yes and No. One of the normal screening practices for modeling agencies is to have you send a couple of snap shots of yourself, usually a head and shoulder shot and a full-length body shot in a bathing suit or tight clothes. From these snap shots some say they can tell if you have what it takes for modeling. They say, "Don't spend money on
getting photos taken, a Polaroid by your friend is just fine".

Why is everyone giving different advice on modeling?
Remember the story of the three blind men describing an elephant. One man felt the trunk, another the tail and the third the leg. Each had a different description of what the elephant was like. The modeling industry is the same way. The modeling industry is big with many specialties. What I have experienced is quite different from what fashion
photographer Richard Avidon experienced. And what he has experienced is quite different from what glamour photographer Jeff Dumes has. And what we all have experienced is quite different from what the modeling agencies are going to tell you.

Another part that leads to different views on the industry is that we are all small business people - each one running their own business in their own way, and hopefully better than the competition. This leads to a lot of different ideas of how things work and how things should be done. It can also lead to confusion and present opportunities for con-
artists. There is a set way to become a doctor, there is, however, no set way to become a model. This leaves the door open for the "expert" to "guarantee" to make you a top model for only a small, non-refundable fee. Watch out and try to educate yourself on the many parts of the modeling industry.
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