How to Become a Model: A Beginner’s Guide

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Thinking about a career in modeling? Here’s what you need to know to get on the track to supermodel status.

Do the glossy pages of Vogue make you weak in the knees? Do you stomp every sidewalk like it’s a Milan catwalk? Do you have “the look”? If you answered yes, then you just might want to be a model.

The world of modeling has something for everyone. There are so many niches and specializations that you can find at least one that fits your look and personality. Once you decide becoming a model is the right move, it’s time to choose which path you’ll take to get there. There’s a lot more to the modeling profession than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.
Let’s Get Physical

The first thing every aspiring model needs to know is what their best features are and how to flaunt them. Inspect your face, free of makeup and with your hair pulled back. Gone are the days when the industry demanded strict symmetry and Eurocentric features. The concept around beauty and the process of finding the perfect model has changed significantly in the industry. What is interesting about your face? Do you have full lips? Sleepy eyes? A gap in your teeth? Any of these can be advantageous when it comes to being remembered by casting agents.

Make faces in the mirror. Practice over-the-top emoting, laughing on cue, and bending your body into interesting positions while still looking natural and comfortable. Get comfortable in heels or other shoes you don’t normally wear. You may be asked to run, jump, and even skip in heels. Learn how to move fluidly, with small movements between shutter clicks instead of completely different poses from snap to snap. Think of each session as if you are trying to create a stop-motion flip book and act for the type of personality of the brand you are modeling for. Your photographer will thank you… Your photographer will thank you.
Build Your Modeling Portfolio

Once you know your angles and your poses, it’s time to hire a photographer. Remember to communicate with the photographer to understand the process and how they will shoot. In order to get your face out there, you’ll need more that a few selfies and party pics snapped on your iPhone. You’ll need to build a modeling portfolio. Portfolio standards have evolved a lot over recent years and you want to make sure your portfolio is professional and polished

Make Love to the Camera

Get started on your modeling portfolio with a captivating headshot. However, this may not be an easy process, as it can be difficult to find the perfect one. Headshots can be just head and shoulders or from the waist up. Your headshot should show you in your “natural” state. Simple makeup, minimal jewelry, and minimally styled hair. If you have facial hair, it should be well groomed. In other words, leave the winged liner, statement jewelry, and teasing comb at home. Smiling or serious, your headshot should put your best face forward and be the first image in your portfolio.

Next, you’ll need a full body shot. Make sure your posture and form are proper so that it can accurately display your body. These are usually very simple, wardrobe-wise. You’ll need a fitted white shirt or tank top and a pair of dark wash skinny jeans or a tailored trouser. Long skirts or jackets or too many layers just cover up what the casting agents are looking for. Ladies, break out those heels and gents, a casual dress shoe will do the trick. Keep it simple and classic—you can get creative in other photos.

You might also want to include a swimwear shot. Many people protest at the idea of a swimsuit photo. Just try to remember that some jobs require a uniform and this is one of those jobs. Keep the photo fierce or playful, especially if you want to explore commercial modeling.

Now let’s have some fun! You can form a more well-rounded portfolio by including different types of work. To show your versatility you’ll want to include some editorial work in your portfolio. Find a theme, create a look, and collaborate with a team if you don’t have anything striking enough.

Commercial modeling is arguably the hardest to get across in your portfolio. Take your photographer to a food truck festival and really enjoy those tacos. Use your purse or backpack as a focal point in the shot. Pore over magazine ads, and try to recreate them. Take inspiration from other models and portfolios to see how they pose with products. Commercial modeling is acting in print and can be incredibly hard to sell. But when you do it right, the photographs are incredibly compelling and sell both the product and your abilities as a model.

Lastly, you’ll want to include any tearsheets you have. A tearsheet is a page torn out of a publication where you’ve been featured. For your digital portfolio, linking to the publication will suffice. If you are going to include tearsheets in your physical portfolio, be sure that they have cleanly cut edges and are in protective plastic sheets. It will leave a bad impression if your pages look tattered.

These are your portfolio must-haves. This will leave you with a small collection of photographs. You can fill it out by adding other shots from these categories. Make sure there is at least one of you smiling, and end on a compelling headshot.

Go Out and Play

You have a portfolio, some experience, and an itch to do more. Depending on the kind and form of modeling work you are interested in, you have several options available to you:

Bulk up your portfolio with more images. Photographers are expensive and worth every penny, but not everyone has that kind of financial freedom to pay every time you want to boost your portfolio. Find photographers who are just getting started and arrange some TFP (Trade for Print) sessions. The same goes for stylists, hair and makeup artists, and designers. Most—if not all—creatives need portfolios, and therefore often need models. This is also a great opportunity to try things out of your comfort zone and grow as a model, as well as a way to keep your portfolio fresh.

Volunteer. Work with local retailers and designers to help facilitate fashion shows. Walk every runway like it’s Paris Fashion Week. Treat every booking like it’s for Vogue. If fitness modeling is your goal, work with a trainer. Be their spokesperson. Be their walking, talking before and after ad. Acting, yoga, posing for life drawing classes, and dance classes can connect you with different sides of yourself. As you learn different ways to emote and move your body, you’ll be able to incorporate that knowledge into your work.

Article By: Format Team from 15th August 2020

Gareth Henry

Gareth Henry

Commercial from Fusion I have been doing some influencer content creation and working with some jewellery brands.