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Believe it or not, there is a type of modeling where your posing and runway skills don’t actually matter…

In fact, quite honestly we don’t even care what your face looks like, whether or not you have braces, how high your cheek bones are or how chiseled your jawline is. Struggling with acne/break outs? We honestly couldn’t care less. But, how…?

Because Fit Modeling serves an entirely different purpose.

What Does A Fit Model Do?

Photos by Northern Lights Photography Studio Make up by Deb Reimer of Milwaukee Fashion Week.

Clothing and product designers need real life, every day people to work essentially as human-mannequins. The job of a fit model is to test out the clothing for the designers to get an idea of how their garment will fit their future buyers. Once a week for about 1-3 hours, a model will try on clothing and move around a bit so the designers can see how the product fits a real life human, and how it moves comfortably on the body.

Ever order clothing off a fast fashion/super cheap website, and when you get the product you wonder how it could ever possibly fit an actual human? You can bet Fit Models were not utilized (or even thought of?) during the development of the garment!

Fit modeling eliminates this problem altogether by ensuring proper fits, and is a standard procedure with reputable clothing brands.

Qualifiers of Becoming a Fit Model

Okay, maybe they won’t make you do THIS, but mad props to Nick Montag for his skills.

While many traditional modeling aspects do not apply to this division of modeling, a Fit Model must have measurements that just so happen to fall between the designated, target clothing size for the particular brand. (The measurements vary slightly from brand to brand.) And, just how closely does one have to fall within the target measurements?

A half an inch, MAX.

For example, if the posting is looking for a model between the heights of 5″5 and 5″8, models who are 5″4 are too short for the position, and models 5″9 are too tall for that particular fit modeling position.

Fit Models also have to have great communication skills to be able to articulate how the clothing fits, feels, or mention any pulling or discomfort the garment may cause. Designers enjoy working with pleasant, reliable models who have a strong sense of team work and a collaborative spirt.

Oh, and you most certainly be reliable…

Release dates for clothing are crucial, and if a fit model isn’t present for a scheduled fit, it could potentially uphold release dates for an entire line of clothing.

Yikes.

Often times, clients will have a few alternate fit models on call in case their main fit model is not able to make it to a session. Then, it’s up to the next fit model to be ready and flexible to be able to show up at the product development center at a moment’s notice. Clients favor models who follow up to emails QUICKLY as for many, it is the primary way models are contacted.

How Much Does Fit Modeling Pay?

Even though photos are not taken (well, a few phone snap shots may be taken for designer reference) Fit Modeling actually pays substantially MORE than print or catalog models:

  • The entire line of a garment falls on the reliability of only 1-2 fit models for that particular brand
  • It can be extremely difficult to find a Fit Model that happens to fall within the EXACT parameters of a particular size.

Therefore, higher pay.

Fit models can be compensated at either an hourly rate or a flat-fee per session. Depending on the fit model’s experience and the client’s needs, these rates tend to fluctuate between $50-$200 total for a session.

If you know your measurements fall within the specified range within a half inch tolerance, you are a good candidate! You will want to follow up with your agent to confirm they have your most up-to-date stats/measurements on file. If they think you’re a good match, they will set up a “Fit Appointment” or “Go See” with the client.

The Initial Fit Appointment:

Consider this the easiest audition of your life, and a chance to get a behind-the-scenes-look into what goes on in the product development side of fashion. You will be instructed by your agent on what to wear (standard runway attire is usually a great go to) and will be provided with all of the details and contact information before your scheduled appointment.

The a member of the technical design staff will meet with you to verify your measurements, and may have you try on various articles of clothing. They may snap a few phone photos to reference later.

That’s it…

Agency Notes & Tips

Agency talent know the importance of reliability, so leaving early is imperative. You may have to navigate your way around a massive office complex, so allowing enough time to arrive to the venue is extremely important.

Also, agency talent know to NEVER discuss payment or rate information at these go-sees. Your agent will negotiate on your behalf with the client if you are being considered for the fit modeling position.

Do not ask your agent “if you got the job” the very next day. Most often, the design team will be reviewing a few other applicants. They will also need to meet as a group to discuss who their next fit model they believe will most successfully meet their needs.

They will inform your agent about the results in 1-3 weeks. 

Have you ever Fit Modeled?

Share your experience in the comments section below!

Be sure to check out our Auditions and Events page to join us at our upcoming open studio event!

Everything you need to know about Trade Shoots or “TFPs” (Trade For Prints.)

So, you want to get into modeling? Awesome! At this point, you probably know that your first step is to build your modeling portfolio & social media presence. Building a competitive portfolio is a lot of work, especially for someone who is just starting out. You will need to obtain a variety of top quality images that showcase you in the most marketable ways, so that you (and your agent) can effectively market you for future bookings. Your portfolio should always be growing and changing.

Hey… guess who is in a very similar position as you?

…Many up and coming photographers, that’s who! Just as much as you want to take part in professional photo shoots, there are people who just as much want to take your photos.

How it works:

When a project is done as Trade, it means that there is no monetary compensation between the two parties. This is the perfect opportunity to trade services to increase portfolio content for both the model and photographer involved. The model walks away with a few photos to use for her portfolio and Instagram, and so does the photographer!

Details to consider…

Trade work can be a lot of fun, but there are a few things you need to consider. First, you need to understand that photos obtained though trade do not give you the rights to the photo. Which means:

You are NOT allowed to edit the photo in any way. To be even more specific:

ABSOLUTELY NO FILTERS, PRESETS, COLOR OR LIGHTING ADJUSTMENTS, BORDERS, RANDOM EMOJIS, ETC.

When you agree to a Trade Shoot, you are agreeing to keep the photos in their ORIGINAL STATE, to reflect the photographer’s authentic work. Not only is tweaking the photographer’s photo rude and disrespectful, some photographers have trade agreement contracts that include penalization fines for tampering with their work. Agency talent know and understand the importance of respecting the photographer’s work, and always credit the photographer each and every time they share the photo on social media or other web sources.

So…who should I trade with?

It is flattering when you are contacted to collaborate for a trade shoot. However, just because you are asked doesn’t mean you should agree to shoot. First, take a look at the artist’s work: Do you like their style? Will working with them help you generate more marketable content for yourself? Can they provide you with credible references? Can you see yourself having a successful shoot with them…Have you met them in person before? Do you jive with their personality?

If you are signed to an agency, your agent may have a list of awesome photographers or models they think you would be a good fit for. I always tell our talent…when in doubt–REACH OUT! We are here to help!🙌

If you are a freelance model, you must use extreme caution when working with new people or participating in collaborations.

You will want to discuss all kinds of other details prior to agreeing to shoot, so be sure to read The Pre-Photo Shoot Conversation all models & photographers need to have.

Find this article helpful? Give it a ❤️so I know it helped you out! Have a question? Leave it in the comments section below! I respond to all of them!🙌

In a previous blog, I addressed the Top 5 agency Blunders that can get an agency-talent agreement terminated faster than a same-day rush casting call for Chicago Fire.

Yes…please read that blog (if you haven’t already) to avoid making some of the worst mistakes in the industry!

I’ve put together a list of the most common mistakes I see agency talent make when they first sign to the agency. While these rules may not be quite as harsh as the others, they will certainly hinder your potential and should be avoided at all costs:

1. Thinking you have more time to apply to castings

Follow up with your agent quickly. And I mean QUICKLY. DO NOT assume there will be more time simply because a specific deadline date was not mentioned in the casting notice. Many times, an exact deadline isn’t established. Why? Because the moment the casting or booking agent find the right person for the job, the job is booked.

2. Being unwilling to travel…even a little.

Traveling: Good. Stepping outside your comfort zone: Better.

Especially if you live in a Midwestern or predominately rural demographic, it is important to be able to travel outside of your hometown. Where are the jobs? Mostly in the larger cities. Milwaukee and Chicago are our primary booking cities. A close second place would be Madison, followed by Green Bay and Appleton, WI. If you aren’t willing to travel into the city for opportunities, we will question how much this interest really means to you.

3. Not communicating professionally

Have a question for your agent? Email him/her. Unless you know your agent outside of the agency, it is impolite to start funneling legal questions, booking inquiries, or invoice follow ups via DM on Instagram or Facebook…not to mention, speaking to people across many different platforms gets insanely confusing when it comes to following up with people.

“Hmm…did I talk to them on Instagram, Facebook messenger, snapchat…”

Anything–and I mean anything–business or agency related needs to be addressed by your agent’s preferred method of contact. For me, that is EMAIL. Which also means…

FOLLOW UP QUICKLY!!!!!!

Even if you are not able to do a job/event/show, it is important that you take a second of your time to email your agent to say, “Thank you for the opportunity but I am unavailable for the event.” Otherwise, I’m holding out hope that you will respond saying that you can do it.

…I’d rather you squash my hopes right away.

Following up quickly shows that you care. It shows respect and really goes a long way.

I appreciate you followuppers!!! <3

4. Not turning in vouchers, or leaving fields blank.

If you are booked for a paid job (not volunteer work) your agent will email you a talent voucher beforehand. Talent vouchers serve as extra proof of your hours/day working at a job. Types of jobs that require vouchers are: Fashion shows or hair shows, promotional events, extra work on film or commercial, and paid photo shoots. Once you are finished working the job for the day, make sure you have your voucher signed off by the client. Then, snap a photo of your voucher on your phone and email it back to your agent ASAP.

Forget to have your voucher signed? Let your agent know ASAP so they can confirm and verify your hours and rate with the client before too much time passes.

5. Not being EARLY

Make an entrance in agency-standard runway attire.

In this industry, on time is LATE. You must always be 15-20 minutes early for every booking.

When you are an agency talent, you will be traveling to all kinds of venues that you have never been to before. Always leave earlier than you think you need to in order to allow time for navigating, parking, and unexpected traffic. If you are running more than 10 minutes late to a booking for ANY reason, call your on site contact (that was given to you by your agent.) THEN…let your agent know you are running behind ASAP.

We would much rather here from YOU that you were running late, as opposed to finding out later by the client.

6. Not being prepared ENOUGH for auditions.

DETAILS. DETAILS. DETAILS…

If this is a runway audition, make sure you are dressed in COMPLETE Standard Runway Attire with the best RUNWAY SHOES. Your make up is minimal/natural. You have your Comp Card with you, and you know all of your measurements. But most importantly, be sure that:

You have researched this particular show/event, you understand the product or brand, and understand how the client wants the product to be showcased. You will need to deliver a solid runway walk that correlates to the style and brand that will be featured. And yes, you must do this with unquestionable confidence.

7. Being TOO EAGER or not being patient enough

Do not pester your agent for work. When we are notified of a position or opportunity, you will be notified. Understand that bookings tend to slow down before the holidays, and typically won’t pick up until a few weeks after New Year’s.

Also, please don’t go and sign up for every casting service imaginable just because you are desperate for work…many of these NON AGENCIES provide casting services in exchange for your personal contact information…which is then sold to third parties. Don’t be surprised if you start receiving all kinds of emails from other companies offering promises that are too good to be true.

Speaking of too good to be true, it’s just about that time of year again:

**Cue bumping club music**

“Does your child want to be a Disney Channel or Nickelodeon TV Star? WELLLL…NOW IS YOUR ONCE IN A LIFE TIME CHANCE! AUDITIONS WILL BE TAKING PLACE AT (INSERT HOTEL LOCATED IN A SUBURB OF MILWAUKEE HERE)…”

Okay, let me be the one to say it:

Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel do not need to host talent scoutings in the surrounding suburban cities of Milwaukee Wisconsin to scout talent…

THEY. JUST. DON’T!!!!!

Please steer clear of all of these radio and TV advertisements this time of year. THEY ARE NOT AGENCIES!!

BUT…

They DO know that you probably just got your taxes back and are therefore more likely to drop larger amounts of money on a perceived pursuit of your child’s hopes and dreams…

Instead of embarking on fictitious “New-Year-New-Me pursuits”, let’s pause for a second to reflect on what actually WILL boost your marketability and opportunities to be cast in local work. It starts with having MARKETABLE photos:

8. Not having marketable photos

Always have RECENT professional photos that have been approved by your agent uploaded to your digital modeling portfolio. Your agent needs natural looking photos of you that are applicable to your age bracket and market in order to effectively market you.

Do not dress inappropriately for a photo shoot and then expect your agent to use those photos to market you because: We won’t.

Your photos must adhere to the Agency Standard in order for your agent to utilize them for marketing purposes. Be sure to read, “How to Dress for a Comp Card Photo Shoot” so that you are completely clear on the expectations of outfits and styles to obtain marketable photos from your next photo shoot. Your agent’s job is to market only the strongest photos of all the agency’s talent.

In short, wardrobe should be:

  • Age appropriate
  • Well fitted and NEW looking attire.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO LARGE PRINTS/PATTERNS OR BRAND LOGOS
  • Ironed/steamed, with ZERO stains or unintentional holes/tears
  • CLEAN shoes. No scuffs. No dirt. No exceptions.
  • Neatly styled hair. (No “messy bun” or bedhead looks” because they do not photograph well. All flyaways need to be tamed with hair spray and bobby pins. This silkening oil changed my photo shoot life. <3
  • The most marketable photos will depend on your location and local market.
  • For more details on how to obtain your basic agency photos, read this blog.

This really shouldn’t be a problem, as you have entered this field because you are probably passionate about it for the right reasons: You like having your photos taken, so you prioritize photo shoots and shoot regularly and frequently with a variety of photographers.

9. Not knowing how to take digitals

Front View Digital: Model & Singer, Nick Montag

Digitals (aka snapshots) are “non professional grade” photos that can be taken from your cell phone, and they are just as important as your professional photos.

Digitals serve a variety of purposes in the modeling and talent industry. When a prospective agency or casting director wants to see what you look like naturally–without the professional make up artists, high powered lighting, and photo edits, they will ask for digitals. But just to be clear:

DIGITALS ARE NOT SELFIES.

To learn how to take digitals, read this.

10. Not knowing how to download your resume as a PDF and attach it to an email.

This is such a vital skill for so many different last minute opportunities!! Not to mention, if you plan on applying to an agency (or any job for that matter) it is a basic necessity to be able to send your resume and head shot as attachments in an email.

I’m no videographer, but I did make a two minute tutorial on how to do this. Check it out on IGTV here.

Okay, I have one more. Consider this a bonus one:

Putting all of your hope into ONE audition

Learn to go about living your life after an audition!!

So much easier said than done, this is a skill that requires time and experience to master. The best thing you can do is to submit for as many castings as possible, and be pleasantly surprised if you receive a callback. This industry is filled with rejection, and you must learn resiliency if you are determined to persevere.

Learn to get in the habit of auditioning for things, and then forgetting about them and moving on with your life. You should have other hobbies and interests that keep you balanced while you are in between gigs.

Find this article helpful? Have any other questions? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo credit⬆️: David Bernacchi

Digitals (or “snapshots”) are JUST as important as your professional photos, if not even more so important. Often times, casting directors or agents want to see what you look like naturally, without all the fancy lights, professional make up, and photo editing. In fact, we don’t even want you to pose in your digitals. We literally just want to see your basic body shape, height, and overall look in the present moment.

Digitalsin addition to your professional head shots and portfolio photos–are used for all kinds of things:

  • Extras castings for TV, Film, & web series
  • Fashion Shows
  • Promotional events
  • Applying to an agency or mother agency
  • Fit modeling

Digitals do not require professional photography. They can be taken from your phone, however…

DIGITALS ARE NOT SELFIES…

THEY ARE ALSO NOT MIRROR SELFIES.

Your digitals should be taken by someone else, or by having your phone set up on an awesome phone tripod. I highly recommend getting one BEFORE you actually need it.

This one ROCKS. And for $20, you can’t go wrong.
Click photo for details.

Okay, now let’s get into how to actually take great digitals…

1. Wear a well fitted, simple outfit

Avoid patterns and graphics–they are too distracting. Avoid hats, sunglasses, and excessive jewelry. If you have been asked to wear specific attire, wear it. Otherwise, stick to the basics. Standard runway attire would work perfectly for your digitals.

Girls & Ladies: Wear black leggings, a black cami, lightly padded bra and age age appropriate runway shoes. In some cases, your agent may ask you to stand barefoot. ABSOLUTELY NO JEWELRY.

Keep your make up simple (daytime/natural). If you are submitting for a top level or exclusive agency, they will probably be very strict on not wearing any make up at all in your digitals. When in doubt, ask your agent or corresponding casting director.

Boys & Men: Well fitting jeans (nice jeans without much distressing) and a well fitted T shirt will work perfectly with runway shoes. Take off all wrist bands or watches. Oh, and take your phone, wallet a & keys out of your pockets.

*Cue Adam Sandler’s, Phone Wallet Keys*K

2. Consider your background & light

Remember, the focus should be on YOU…not your messy bedroom. Find a solid color wall to stand in front of that is in a well lit area. Your light source should be directed at you to avoid shadows.

3. No need to pose

Stand straight up with tall posture with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides. If you have long hair, make sure it is out of your face. Your face should be relaxed–no need to smile.

TIP: The camera should be in line with the center of your body (about belly button height, instead of being aligned with your face.)

4. Snap 4 photos: Front, Back, and two side profiles.

Stand directly in front of your phone/camera for your front facing shot:

Model & Singer, Nick Montag

Notice how Nick stands straight up with great posture. Hands are relaxed and at his sides.

Next, you will want to take your Profile shots. Profile means “side-view”. They will want to see profile/side views of you from each side:

Profile side LEFT
Profile side RIGHT

Along with a back view:

Back view

5. Upload your digitals to your talent account within your agency’s database

And be sure to keep them updated. Your agent will need to have access to them at a moment’s notice for any last minute casting opportunities!!

TIP: I always appreciate when our talent email me to let me know that they have uploaded new digitals 🙌

Special shout out to Nick Montag for his awesome digital modeling! Nick was booked on the set of Chicago Fire (thanks to his awesome digital!) The episode is set to aire February 6th at 8:00PM on NBC! Nick is also the lead singer in our pop cover band, Down 2 Dance.

Still have questions? Let me know in the comments section below–I’m happy to help!

Want to know a secret? It actually isn’t just all about your look or acting capability. When you are signed to an agency, you take on a new role of responsibility. Being signed to an agency is an honor, as your agent has decided that you possess qualities that–with consistency and determination–will yield to success in your local market.

Agency talent are held to a higher standard of professionalism, reliability, work quality, and communication. Whether you are modeling brands on the runway or advertising a product in a commercial, it is important to know that not only are you representing yourself, you are representing your agency as well. Agency work is a complete team effort: be good to your agency, and your agency will be good to you.

1. Quick follow up

In a fast paced industry like this one, prompt communication is essential. Often times, there is not a lot of lead time on auditions, so you need to be checking your email periodically. If you are selected for a call back, we will need to confirm your audition or self tape audition ASAP. You should also know your schedule a few weeks out so that when we touch base, we can confirm dates for auditions or bookings.

2. Professionalism. Professionalism. Professionalism.

Cheetah print bodysuit: A wardrobe staple this year! You need one in your life–Click photo!

There is a reason clients come to an agency to hire talent for specific jobs instead of taking a chance by hiring people off of Craigslist. Clients will happily pay for the added “polish” that an agency talent is guaranteed to provide. That said, the way you carry yourself, how you dress, how you write your emails and how you speak are all important factors that separate agency talent from the rest. Make sure that you emulate professionalism in all tenses. Check on this blog to understand the specifics and expectations of Agency standard professionalism.

3. Being flexible & willing to adapt to change

Totally in love with this blazer. Click photo for details<3

Sometimes the runway choreography changes. Sometimes your outfit changes. Sometimes the venue changes. Please keep in mind that the directors do everything they can to minimize changes, but sometimes they are necessary. Have a willful and collaborative spirit in light of unforeseen circumstances. DO NOT COMPLAIN or carry a negative or resentful energy. People will notice, and the odds of you being hired by that client again are extremely slim. This is a very competitive industry, and everyone is replaceable. Stay humble, work hard, and be pleasant to work with.

4. Have Integrity

Your agent works for YOU. Never trash talk your agency. If you are displeased with your agency, there is probably a misunderstanding of expectations, and you should contact your agent to discuss any questions you may have. If you are still displeased, simply ask if you can terminate your contract early, or wait for your contract to expire and simply choose to not work with them again. It makes you look unprofessional when you start trashing your agent. Other agencies will not want to take you on if you have been known to trash previous agencies.

Another case when integrity is important is when a situation arises when you notice that you are being “poached” by another agent or client:

If a client is trying to “pay you directly” by trying to avoid paying agency fees by not having your agent involved, that should be a red flag to you as a talent. If your agent isn’t involved, who is holding this person responsible for your payment? And, how will you know if what they intend to pay you is even fair compensation? Not to mention, if something goes wrong…you’re totally on your own.

As if that wasn’t enough, if your agent finds out you are working with one of the agency’s clients without their intervention, your agent can terminate your contract. (Yeah, we’ll fire that client too) But think to yourself…is it worth losing all of the opportunities provided by your agency by trying to go around them for just one job? All to avoid paying a 15%-20% Agency commission?

If you think you are being poached by a client, politely tell the client that you work closely with your agency and you honor your Agency Agreement.

And then tell us…we’ll need to know!!

5. Understanding the talent-agency relationship

Gold chain belt. A subtle way to tie the look together. Click photo for details!

By now you probably know that your agency (or the agency you will have someday) has your back. Agencies don’t make money unless you work, so we want to get you booked for as many things as possible!

It is also important to have realistic expectations going into an agency. You should understand Where You Fit into the Model Market, Understand the Importance of Reliability, know how to Dress for a Comp Card Shoot, know what to wear to a runway audition, as well as how to audition for runway. Trust your agent’s feedback on your photos, and let them help you. They know what will book as opposed to what won’t!!

Your agency will provide you with the materials you need to be successful, as well as groom you for optimal marketability. Your agency will do their best to market you and put you in the best light to potential clients and casting directors. You will be notified of castings and opportunities by your agent, and it is your responsibility to follow up promptly when those opportunities arise.

It is your agent’s job to keep you safe and away from low-value opportunities. (I hate the word “scam”–it’s too vague.) If you are offered a collaboration via DM through Instagram to “collab”…send it to your agent. We’ll tell you right away whether or not the opportunity is worth pursuing.

Your agent networks, supports your endeavors, and always has your best interest in mind. I strive to be my talent’s personal cheerleader, mentor, and booker.

You should have a solid, team-driven working relationship with your agent. Do your part to help us help you, and you will find the most success in all your endeavors!