How To Become a Fashion or Commercial Model

Becoming a model can be difficult, or it can be easy, depending on how you approach it and the people with what you associate.

Here are some tips to help you in achieving your goal of becoming a professional fashion or commercial model:

Get an Honest Evaluation by Several Respected Professionals

Just because your family or co-workers think you would make a great model does not make it so. Being the prettiest girl or most handsome guy in your class does not needlessly make you a great model. It can help, but it will not sway a professional agent into signing you. Often times it is the ugly duckling that has the agents falling all over them to get him or her to sign with them. This is why it is essential to get the opinion of a professional.

You should also get the opinion of more than one agent or scout, because each agent / scout usually specializes in one particular area. Some only representative editorial (high fashion) models and others may only represent commercial models, child models, plus-size, showroom and fit models or petite models. Just because one agent can not represent you, it does not mean that another agent will not. Getting the opinion of several different types of agents / scouts is the best way to find out if you have what it takes to be a model.

Get As Much Exposure As Possible

The more exposure you get to agents, scouts and clients the higher the odds that you will be successful in finding representation and extremely hiring jobs.

When you are first starting out the most important exposure is to the agents and scouts. Why? Because they are the ones that have all the clients. They are the ones who are going to promote you and get you booked for jobs.

There are several ways you can get exposure to the agents and scouts:

1. Send your photos out by mail to hundreds of agencies – This can be a very costy and time-consuming method. If you add up the cost of printing several hundred photos with the cost of envelopes and postage, it can easily add up to hundreds of dollars. Not the best option.

2. Email your photos to the agencies – This can be fast, but often not effective. Almost all of the top agencies that post an email address on their website post a generic email that is rarely, if ever, checked. Agencies are so inundated with emails there is no way they can look through each and every one. Most agents have private email addresses that they only share with other professionals. Unless your photos are emailed directly to an agency by another reputable agent it is unlikely that your photos will be seen.

3. Attend a modeling convention – Modeling conventions are a great way for new models to get exposure and to learn about the industry. However, conventions can be extremely expensive and are well out of reach for the majority of aspiring models.

4. Submit your photos to the agencies through a reputable online scouting service – With the advent of the internet new models can now submit their photos to hundreds of the world's top modeling agencies with the click of a mouse. This has become the avenue of choice for most new models because of its simplicity and affordability. The majority of model scouts now use online scouting companies to assist them in their search for new models. Having a multitude of aspiring models in one place makes it easier for both the scouts and the models to find each other. Not all online scouting companies are created equal however so you should look for things like a) years of experience b) do they post a phone number and address c) are they a member of the Better Business Bureau and what is their rating d) do they have actual success stories or just post photos of supermodels that they do not represent, e) how many years have they been in business and f) do they have real agents working there or are they simply an internet marketing company running a portfolio hosting site.

Know Your Modeling Market

Knowing the best market for your particular look is essential to your success. In other words, do not try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Countless aspiring models drive themselves crazy trying to become supermodels and get nowhere. It was not until they were redirected into a market that best suited their look that their careers took off.

Editorial (high fashion) models are not the only type of models making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Commercial models are the most common and often have the best and longest running careers. You can be any age, shape or size and be a successful commercial model. There are unlimited options for commercial models because there are so many different types of jobs that commercial models can perform.

Do not Spend Money on Expensive Photo Shoots

When you are first starting out it is not necessary to spend money on expensive photo shoots.

All the agents and scouts really need to see in the beginning is simple snapshots. They just want to see how you look naturally with very little makeup and simple clothing.

If the agents and scouts feel you have potential they may then recommend that you invest in professional photos that are appropriate for your look and the market for which you are best suited. Some agencies may even offer to cover the expense of a professional photo shoot that you can then pay back once you start booking modeling jobs.

Here are some tips when taking snapshots for the agents and scouts to view:

  • Photos should be clear and in focus
  • Include at least one headshot and a full length shot
  • Keep makeup to a minimum
  • Keep hairstyles simple and well-groomed
  • Keep clothing simple and in good taste
  • Include a swimsuit photo if you are comfortable wearing a swimsuit
  • Do not send nude photos
  • Fancy clothing and makeup is unnecessary for kids. They should look like regular kids.
  • Include any experience or training that you have
  • Do not wear fur in your photos. It is offensive to some agents and clients, and it's just wrong.
  • Remember that first impressions are important

Modeling Schools Are Not Necessary

You do not need to go to modeling school to become a model. To become a fashion model you either have the look the agencies are looking for or you do not, modeling classes will not make a difference.

I personally do not have anything against modeling schools and some of the better ones can be very helpful in teaching poise, style, makeup and hair techniques. I just do not think they should be calling themselves modeling schools, but rather, finishing schools.

However, it is recommended that aspiring fashion and commercial models enroll in acting workshops if possible. Learning proper auditioning skills and how to work on set, with cameras, etc. will give you an edge over your competition.

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