Alright, so my blog is kind of all over the place with posts, but mainly it will be for modeling and such.
So here is an uber long post of all you aspiring models out there who want to know how to get in and how to get going….
So a little about me, I’m a freelance model and have been freelancing for a year now. I have been featured in 2 magazines and more than a couple shoots ranging from High Fashion to Bikini modeling. Its not like I want to freelance, but its my only way to model. I cant get into an agency because my hips (ass) is about 3 inches too big and my portfolio isn’t filled with things they are looking for, So i will go over what they are looking for from what they told me and how to put it together and such.
First things first:
- Booking your first shoot:
Now this the initial first stage of getting your portfolio started and beginning to network (which i will go over in another bullet point). You need to find a photographer who is probably just starting off as well and ask if they want to collaborate and do a Time For Print (TFP) shoot. Photographers will tell you where to put your hands and where to look and how to look and how to sit/stand for the optimal pictures that will look the best and that you both will use in your portfolio.
If you want to get into an agency, take your TFP shoots in front of a plain background, like in a studio or something. They want you to showcase yourself and not be distracted by anything else in the back that they might see.
If You want to be freelance, take it wherever you please, the more creative the better.
- What to ask:
When you are looking for a gig or a photographer in your area to do a TFP shoot, make sure you have enough information. Ask for their website and or portfolio so you can see their work, look for anything that might have their name in that and find them on social media so you can have an idea of what they look like as well to make sure they dont look shady (I’ve cancelled shoots because of this, its just me being careful).
Ask if you can take an escort (its ALWAYS a good thing to take an escort with you. Friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, doesnt matter… its just good to have someone else there).
Story time: I was going to book a shoot with a guy who was an experienced photographer and wanted to shoot at his home studio and said escorts were allowed, BUT the escort had to hold lights and equipment and couldnt come inside when the shoot was happening… RED FLAG… if that happens, don’t go through with the shoot. That’s just someone trying to take advantage of you.
Anyway… and you ask for all the details of the shoot (When, Where, What genre, style, wardrobe and (if not previously mentioned) if there will be a makeup artist (MUA) present) and find whatever you can on the photographer you can before the shoot. Knowing the photographer by his/her work and face and what you see on social media is important.
Alright, so as mentioned in the first point, you need to network. (Also, this covers how to find a photographer).
Finding a gig and photographer are somewhat difficult depending on where you live. The cities with the most opportunities for modeling that I have seen so far are Dallas, TX., Los Angeles, CA., NYC, NY., Atlanta, GA, and the market is pretty good in Houston, TX. too just to name a few.
From what I have seen, LA, NYC, Atlanta, and Austin (TX) are the best for Film Actresses/models.
To find gigs in your area, I suggest a few sites…
http://www.modelmayhem.com/ – This has alot of TFP castings on it, and not as many paid castings, but the paid castings usually pay well. Once you figure out how to get around, its a really great site.
http://www.onemodelplace.com/ – More acting gigs than model gigs, but its still a good site. Very well organized and very visual for those of us who want a few more pictures here and there. Very easy to navigate, but do NOT buy the Silver/Gold/Platinum membership. its a waste of money and you can get along just fine with the free “Bronze” membership.
http://www.craigslist.org/ – okay, it may seem fishy, but this is how I have book the vast majority of my gigs… This is how I got in a fashion magazine… Craigslist. Yes, 70% of the castings for “models” are porn gigs, 20% are scams, but 10% are legit, and if you look close enough, you can find those.
Dont trust the CL castings with very little information, and (unless you want to break into it later) the word “Adult/mature”. Adult/mature = porn. or it could also equal erotic or fetish shoots. I personally dont do those shoots because I am not comfortable with it and I don’t want provocative pictures to end up where they aren’t supposed to.
If the casting says “Looking for models, contact me for details” and the pay is “TBD or DOE” (To be determined & Depends on Experience), then dont book it… If it reeks of shadiness, its probably fake. Make sure the ad has shoot details and pay clearly stated. I suggest taking a screenshot of the castings you apply for and saving the ones you get contacted about so you can have the ad/shoot details right there and if they try to change anything on you, you can say “well thats not what your ad says, your ad says blah blah blah….” and they cant try and cheat you out of something promised in the ad.
I also Highly suggest making a Flickr portfolio. All your work is in one place and if someone needs to see your portfolio, you can send them that link.
Shooting is the easy part. You meet with the Photographer, He/she sets up their camera and lighting, You prepare yourself for the shoot, fix your makeup/hair/eyebrows/eye boogers/whatever. Usually Photographers will pay Upfront before the shoot, so if that is the case, make sure you put your money in your wallet so you won’t lose it and then no one will be happy.
Like I had said, Photographers will tell you how to sit, where to look, how to stand, where to walk, where to place your hands and feet and whatnot so they can get the best photos out of it.
Keep moving and changing positions, The more poses you can do, the more chances for good photos you have.
One thing I found out when i was at the Studio for the fashion magazine photo shoot, The photographer, Zhanna Kurmanova, said “The more weird and awkward the pose, the better it looks in pictures”, and she is very right. I have had to hold the most uncomfortable and strange positions that just felt awkward for good shots, but the pictures came out looking very interesting and cool, so it was worth it.
And for all you people who say “Modeling is easy, its just sitting/standing still for a few hours.”, you are very wrong.
Modeling is somewhat easy, yeah, but Its not all roses and rainbows. I’ve gotten blisters from standing in shoes for hours, Bruises on my knees from kneeling weird for a good shot, almost in need of a Chiropractor from bending in odd ways. Don’t even get me started on keeping hair under control. Hairspray becomes your best friend.
ALSO, Always, Always, ALWAYS sign a model release form. It ensures that the images are owned by both parties and are not stolen images from the other party and that the images are, in fact, you, and sometimes it can include things about the images not being distorted or watermarked dramatically in some cases.
I have not signed a model release once and it fucked things up so bad. The photographer put HUGE ugly watermarks on my photos that made me look like a cheap model and it just looked horrible. He tried to sue me, I almost sued him, now no one can use the images or post them anywhere because I didnt sign the model release and I didn’t add in the model release that the watermarks should be small and subtle…. so yeah, ALWAYS SIGN THE RELEASE FORM.
- What Agencies are Looking For:
I have attempted to put together my portfolio of all my measurements and experience and such things for 2 of the biggest agencies in Texas to see.
When you go to an interview, wear something that showcases you, but is simple. If you have long legs, wear shorts and a white tank top (thats what they prefer), and a pair of sandals. I wore a short dress that showcased my legs and collarbones. Make sure your hair is out of your face and you are wearing minimal makeup (foundation, concealer and mascara is about all you need).
Make sure your nails are nice and pretty and manicured, and your skin is clear and soft.
Walk with poise and confidence.
When I went to my first agency interview, I was confident I would get signed and I was jittery with excitement, but what I received back was nothing more than disappointing.
I went to Neal Hamil and i got an interview. I went in and they said that I look beautiful and like a model they had been a “Mother Agency” for, Bay Berger, a supermodel. She is gorgeous. I was getting excited. “A mini bay berger” they said.
They had me do a runway walk in the office. I failed miserably. I was stiff and awkward (I don’t do runway, I do print, so it was expected), They looked at my portfolio a few times and sent me downstairs with someone from their office. Downstairs is where they send models who need to go to model camp… It was well over a thousand dollars. I couldn’t afford it. It was just to teach me how to walk, give me a free photoshoot, and basically how to be a model. I felt myself sink in my seat and my heart drop. It was nothing I could do or pay for. I declined and proceeded to cry on the drive home.
My next interview was Paige Parkes. Once again, I was excited, I had seen them once before but they never called me back, but I got to see a consultant about modeling for them.
She took my exact measurements and height. She took a look at my portfolio and my experience. She was constructive with criticism, and was trying to help me…
She told me i needed a new Modeling Resume, and I had no idea how to make one, so I still dont have one, because the last one i got from the internet was shit.
She said i needed to shave 3 inches off my butt. I had been working out heavily and doing lots of squats so my butt finally looked good, but they are looking for a 36 inch hip measurement and I’m a 39… I can’t lose that weight healthily.
Their ideal measurements are 34/29/36. I’m 36/29/39. They wont even sign anyone without those measurements. The consultant told me so herself.
Again, i was heartbroken. I can’t sign with an agency, I might never end up on the cover of Elle or Vogue or be on a display at the mall, but I can try, it will be harder, but I can freelance and I can sure as hell try. And thats why I freelance. I want people to know my face, I don’t want to be invisible.
So I hoped this helped you some, I might go back and edit things if I think of anything else, but until then, I think this is about it.
I will leave my sites and such down below so you can see my shoots and so i can prove I actually am in 2 magazines for you skeptics…
Portfolio – https://www.flickr.com/photos/amandabarbisch/
Model Mayhem – http://www.modelmayhem.com/3327110
OneModelPlace – http://www.onemodelplace.com/models/amanda-barbisch
Adadi Fashion Magazine – http://issuu.com/adadicollection/docs/adadi_lookbook-final/16?e=10641682/7420436
Adadi Collection – http://adadicollection.com/
Cigar Magazine (pg 6) – http://www.blurb.com/books/5479948-otl-magazine