Note from author: I got a lot of nice feedback from the last article I posted so I thought I would share another article I wrote about the modeling industry. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you,

jillian ann

by Jillian Ann

When you first start modeling, chances are that someone told you that you were beautiful, amazing and could be a star. Well, let's have a little reality check! There are a million beautiful people who all want to model. So, even if your mother or boyfriend think you can be a star, they are not the industry. In fact, most of the time, they really don't know enough to tell you that are qualified to model. So, to see if you have what it takes to be a model, one of the first things you will need is a portfolio.

Let's talk about what makes a portfolio. In the good old days, you simply carried a book around with big pictures. Well, in the now, your portfolio can very easily be digital and on a place like or any of the other modeling portals. The fact of the matter is that your images are what people will consider when they make the decision to book you. The better your portfolio is, the better work you are going to get.

To start off, have someone take the following images of you:
  • Full length, front image from head to two in a swim suit
  • Full length back and side image, again from head to toe
  • A close up of your face straight on with no smile
  • A close up of your face in profile
  • A close up of your face smiling
Also, have someone take images of you that are just casual, but not overdone. Wear little to no makeup rather than wearing too much, especially if you're unsure about what you are doing.

These are just the first images you will need to build a portfolio. These are the images you can send to agencies along with your stats. I recommend submitting your snapshots to local agencies in addition to putting them online.

Once you have these images, get out your tape measure and measure your height, bust, waist, and hips. Now, be honest when you do the measuring. You can't lie about these things because other people will measure you too to make sure your measurements were accurate.

Next, take the images as well as some Polaroids and put them up on the places like or or and any other model portals you can find. That is the first step.

Once you have that done, you will now hopefully be contacted by photographers. You can also easily contact photographers yourself and direct them either to your online portfolios or you can email them your images.

Now, the industry works like this: if the photographers really like your look and think you're amazing, they may pay you, but that is not the norm, especially when you are just starting out (unless you are doing nude work -- if you are doing nude work, the chances of making money right off are possible but even then, that is not always the case). However, for fashion, commercial and editorial work, don't expect to be paid a lot right away. If photographer think you're good enough looking for their books, they may do a TFP shoot rather than a paid one. Also, don't take it personally if you are rejected. In fact, prepare yourself for being rejected and expect it. If you get offended at having been rejected, you wont last long in the business.

Also, remember that your face is a product and photographers all have different tastes, so there is a very large chance that the really good photographers wont shoot you right away or if they do, it wont be for pay. There are, of course, exceptions. There are people who will do it just to help you out and, as I said earlier, there are also those who will pay if you do some nudes. But there is a ladder of photographers and, as a new model, if you are not amazing looking, you have to pay your dues and work your way up the ladder.

When you first start, shoot with everyone who will shoot you for tfp. This will help you learn how to work in front of the camera and will also help you understand your business. If you expect photographers to pay you for this and you have no tearsheets and you have never been in a magazine, the chances are slim to none that you will be paid. The only time you will make money is if they want you for their book or if they want you for a project or for a paying client.

Here is the best way I know of to build a book: Start locally and find the photographers near you. Ask them if they would consider a tfp shoot with you so you can build your book, but before you do this, you need to have the things mentioned above ready to go. When you email them, send them your images, links, contact information and measurements. Tell them what you will and wont do as far as nudity is concerned and tell them the type of modeling you are interested in doing. Tell them that if they want to test, you will be there. If no one will shoot you for free locally, then ask them how much they would charge. The only way you're going to build an amazing book is to be an amazing model and the only way you're going to be an amazing model is if you shoot all the time. Once you do a shoot, you need to get the images and look for the best ones. I have found that the easiest way to tell the best one is figure out which one pulls you in first. It also helps to get other peoples ! ideas and input.

If no one will shoot you for free and you can't afford to pay people to shoot you, you can get a digital camera and shoot yourself, or you can ask a friend to be the photographer and shoot you. If, however, it seems that everyone is turning you down, it could just be that modeling may not be your calling.

Building a book is a process. You need to study other people's books. Also, look at top model portfolios and magazines and try to emulate them, but add yourself to it. Take what they have done and expand on it. You need to study. Get magazines and books; play with makeup and clothing; and take the ideas to the photographers. Get involved and get their feedback.

You will also need a makeup artist and a stylist. The photographer will be able to provide this usually, but it may cost money. I highly recommend makeup artists and stylists unless you know how to do it or it is a play shoot when you are just playing around and can do it yourself. Go to the mall and ask the makeup reps to help you and teach you. MAC is really good for this. Get some books about how to do it and educate yourself so that when you test, you can do basic makeup if there isn't a makeup artist available.

The better your portfolio is, the better work you will get. I have become the muse for many photographers, but the only way to do that is to be a good model. The only way to be a good model is to work. So go do your homework and enjoy it.

Jillian Ann

THE BUSINESS OF MODELING (posted to our Yahoo Group on 9/1/04)
THINGS NEVER TO DO AS A MODEL (posted to our Yahoo Group on 12/27/04)

Note: This article was originally posted to our Yahoo Group on October 15, 2004

posted 11/5/04
article copyright 2004 jillian ann
page copyright greg price