Whether you are signed with a modeling agency or are a freelance model, here are the top 5 materials you will need to work as a professional model:
Also known as “Comp Cards”, these 4X6 inch cards that feature a head shot or upper body shot on the front, and three to four additional photos of the model on the back. You will want to think of your comp card as a modeling business card; it is what you will take with you to any modeling/runway auditions, in addition to giving them to the photographers you work with. Your comp card should showcase yourself in various outfits and looks. Do your best to showcase as many different styles as possible to show off versatility across different model markets. (See “Top 10 Photo Shoot Outfit Themes) Make sure that the front of the comp card showcases your natural look–no dramatic makeup or overly done up hair; present yourself as a blank slate to the potential client. Remember, you’re not exactly modeling yet, so keep your outfits simple and leave cute animals and babies out of your photos… The focus should be on you and your natural complexion. I recommend ordering your comp cards here.
Measurements, statistics, stats–whatever you want to call them–are vital to your knowledge as a model. Make sure that you memorize all of your own current measurements in inches. You will be asked to list your stats for any modeling job, so it is critical that you know them and know how to take them. (They will also be featured on your comp card.) Keep a fabric measuring tape in your modeling bag.
Women will need to know the following measurements :
This measurement is different from your bra size; it is the measurement around the fullest part of the chest (over the nipple, to be exact). Do not list your bra size instead of this measurement.
This is the measurement around your waist, or the smallest/thinnest part around you. Although this is usually just above the belly button, it is slightly higher or lower for some people.
Take the measuring tape and wrap it all the way around the widest/fullest part of your butt. This is your hip measurement.
In addition to these measurements, you will need to know your exact height in inches, shoe size, and all clothing sizes.
Men will need to know the following measurements:
- Chest: Measurement around the fullest part of the chest
- Waist: Measurement around the smallest part of the waist
- Inseam: Pant length (crotch seam down to the floor)
Ah, the classic 9X12 inch modeling portfolio. While not completely extinct, this is definitely something any serious model should obtain as more photos are accumulated. Fill your portfolio with professional photos from trade shoots (or Trade For Prints/TFPs), fashion shows, or any publications. Do not put every photo from your last photo shoot in this book; similarly to the comp card, we are going for a variety of outfits, looks, and locations. It is better to have fewer, excellent photos than a bunch of average ones. Remember, when it comes to portfolios, you are as strong as your weakest photo! Take your portfolio to agency interviews, talent expos, and auditions.
Even more important than any physical portfolio or comp card is your social media presence. ESPECIALLY INSTAGRAM. Now is the time to up your gram game to give yourself more exposure and network on a local, national, or even global scale. Treat your first 9-12 Instagram posts like you would your portfolio. Make sure that you include or tag your agency in your Bio, and include your agent’s email address. This will direct potential clients or photographers to your agent–and if they are legit–they will reach out to your agent directly, with a personal introduction and model inquiry, instead of DMing you with a bunch of emojis inviting you to ‘become a Brand Ambassador’. Agents are great at negotiating rates with potential clients on your behalf, in addition to weeding out less than desirable projects with suspicious or inexperienced prospects…
By now you have established yourself as a model and have had a number of photo shoots under your belt. It is time to create your own digital space for your work that gives potential clients, agencies, and photographers a place to learn more about you, view your photos and contact you (or your agent) directly. If you are with an agency, or thinking about agency representation, the agency will usually have its own modeling web database that they will have you create your own account on. This is a HUGE advantage because traffic will already be directed to your page under your agent’s name. (It will not be your sole responsibility to drive web traffic to your site). Read, “Should I Get an Agent?”
If you are an unsigned or freelance talent looking to start a website for your work, I would encourage you to invest in a secure domain that is http accredited right from the start. (You won’t be able to go back and change this later!) Your hard work is worth protecting, so security should be a top priority. I recommend WordPress for servicing your site. They are secure and have so many modern web templates to choose from. (They even have layout options specifically for digital modeling portfolios!!)
Make sure that your usernames are the same across all of your social media platforms. This is a mistake that I made early on…my Instagram username is positivelife5489. Also, be sure to add your new website link in the website portion of your Instagram page to help drive traffic to your website!
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