FOR FRESHERS MODELS ONLY
Modeling is one of the most fascinating career options and extremely popular among youngsters. Known for its glamour and competition, Modeling is an exciting as well as lucrative profession dominated by women. Good earnings and instant popularity are the main advantages that a career in modeling can offer. As Modeling is also considered as a gateway for entry to the film industry, the competition in the modeling career is also very high although there is constant demand for fresh faces to launch and promote various branded products. This glamorous field offers opportunities to travel and meet different classes of people.
Scope of Modeling Career in India
Today, modeling is one of the most popular career options in India. And a career in modeling doesn't demand high educational qualifications. Physical attributes are more important. Modeling in India is mainly categorized into print modeling, television modeling, still modeling, showroom modeling, ramp/live modeling, advertising modeling etc. The job opportunities are available in product advertising, live fashion shows, music videos, in garment fairs and acting in television programs or films.
Before staring a career in modeling, one must know all the details about this profession. This profession needs dedication, lot of hard work and perseverance for being successful. It is a short-term and highly competitive career. Modeling requires a lot of patience and stamina. The models have to face a very hectic schedule and physical and mental stress.
Keeping in mind the craze for modeling career we are hear to help you.
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Questions & Answers
How do I get started in Modeling?
There is no single path to follow for getting started. Different models have found success through different routes. If you want to become a doctor, for example, there is a set course of schooling, experience, and testing to follow. But for a career in modeling, there is no clear path. Some of the ways that I know models have gotten started in the past are listed below. Although it is by no means an exhaustive list, it might help you launch your career in modeling.
Front Door - Go to the Source
The bulk of the work in modeling is booked through modeling agencies. So, literally, go to the front door of the modeling agency. This is the number one way for a wannabe model to start. You will have to do some research. First, find out where the modeling agency door is, whether locally or in some big city. Second, determine that it is not a scam agency. The Modeling Advice site has links to a list of modeling agencies and information on how to check out an agency (The Agency). You can also approach a modeling agency through their open call, by scheduling an interview, or by submitting a cover letter and photographs. Give them a call or email them and ask how they want new talent to contact them. There is no reason to try another way of getting started until
Some models get started because they have an in. You hear stories of someone who has a friend who models and goes to a photo shoot with them and is then "discovered" by the photographer. Or maybe someone has an aunt who modeled or runs an agency and helped him or her get started. Others might work in a related field and one day finds them working not beside the camera but in front of it. In smaller markets child models are most often used because they are an art director's, buyer's, or photographer's child. Knowing someone in the business can help you get started in a modeling career.
Modeling agencies are constantly looking for new talent. This is especially true in fashion modeling. This segment of modeling is composed mostly of young models. By the time a model is 30, his or her career is over. There is always a need to find the next generation of models. Modeling agency personnel (owner, booker), photographers, art directors, and of course the "model scouts" are the ones who are out there looking. Some agencies are large enough to employ an individual whose sole job is to look for that next generation of new talent or to fill the new needs of a client. Unfortunately, rip-off organizations, web space salespeople, and scoundrels often use the term "model scout", so you should be suspicious of those calling themselves model scouts. But there are many stories of models being discovered at the mall, on the beach, or in some other public place. If you hope to start your career in modeling by waiting for the fates to smile on you, you must plan on spending a lot of time hanging in out in public places.
Some models do work their way into modeling (I have also heard models say that modeling is hard work and all models work their way into the business). These models track down test shoots and put together their comp cards and portfolios. They study and practice being a model by working on their expressions, posing, runway walking, hair styling, makeup, working in front of a camera, and learning how the business works. These models may work freelance or have nonexclusive contracts with a number of modeling agencies. In smaller regional markets, where agencies do not have the resources to develop new talent, an agency might not work with a model until they have developed their skills and marketing materials. If you enjoy the process of modeling and doing good work, then all of the time and expense that go into this process can be its own reward. If you plan to earn a living at modeling, i.e. as a career, you should be sure you meet the basic physical and aptitude requirements for the type of model you want to become before you invest your time and money into the process. If you want to be a high fashion model but do not have the size or look requirements, no amount of hard work will make you a career model.
Try to Buy Success
There is a whole industry built around this approach to getting started in modeling. Very few career models, however, actually succeed through this avenue. This area includes many of the modeling schools, modeling camps, model searches, internet listing services, modeling contests, modeling conventions, and pageants. This is not to say that these activities can't be interesting, educational, and fun. But most of these organizations will take on and take money from almost anyone who wants to be a model. This leads to a very low percentage of career models that actually come from these activities. Most of these organizations survive by playing on one's dreams, ignorance, and pocket book and not by finding and developing top modeling talent. But in spite of this, sometimes someone does make it and this is what these organizations feature in their sales pitches and videos.
What are the height and size requirements for a high fashion model?
This is the burning question. The general guidelines for women are height 5'9" to 6', around size 6, 34B-24-34, and 14-21 years of age (more details). For men the guidelines are height around 6' (a couple of inches over or under), size 40R. Are there exceptions to this? You bet. Is it fair? No. Are there petite sizes and plus sizes? Yes. Do commercial, glamour, acting, or smaller markets care anything about these sizes? Not much. Only if you want to work high fashion in the major markets like New York are these numbers important.
Are there jobs for models who specialize in just parts of the body?
Yes. It has been my experience that models that have photogenic faces and bodies do not necessarily have photogenic hands and feet. Hand models, for example, are difficult to find and frequently a photographer uses one model for the face while another model's hands may be reaching into the picture. Of course the photographer makes it look like one person, but in fact there are two. Jewelry photographers look for good hands, a nice neck, and photogenic ears. As with hands, good ears are hard to find, as they must have the right shape, with smooth skin, and pierced for only one earring, not five. Paying jobs for modeling jewelry, however, seldom come along. Body-parts models follow career paths similar to regular models. If you are interested in this type of modeling, be sure to read through the Modeling Advice section of this site.
How much do models make?
You hear about the fabulous big money that supermodels make, but only a handful of models in the world ever achieve this kind of income, which can be in the millions. Most models earn far less, assuming they get any work at all. Modeling fees for markets outside of New York, as a general rule will be in the same range as a photographer's fees. For example, in Portland, Oregon, when I last checked, modeling agencies fees were $150 an hour. As you move to larger markets fees for photographers and models go up (one agency in New York was asking $250 per hour). While you may not have the income of an elite supermodel, you can make a good living if you can find steady work. And that is a big "if".
Can a modeling agency tell just from a snap shot if I have what it takes to be a model?
First the YES part. Reviewing snapshots of potential models is a normal screening practice used by modeling agencies. You send them a couple of snapshots of yourself, usually a head-and-shoulder shot and a full-length body shot in a bathing suit or tight clothes. Some say they can tell from these snapshots whether you have what it takes for modeling.
You should send good, clear, properly exposed, properly composed photographs in which you are properly positioned. They can use these photos as a screening tool. This means that if there is an opening for someone with your look, the agency will be interested in meeting with you in person to see if, in fact, you look like your picture. This does not necessarily mean that you have or do not have what it takes to be a model. It just gets you an interview and maybe on to a test shoot.
Now the NO part. Most would-be models send bad pictures, or they may look great but they don't meet the agency's needs at that moment, or the agent guessed wrong. Modeling agencies say, "Don't spend money on getting photos taken; a Polaroid by your friend is just fine." But when they talk about sending in a simple snapshot, what they are really looking for is at least an advanced amateur level of photography or a would-be professional photographer level. Having taught photography for a number of years, I know that most beginners have problems with exposure, focus, and composition, let alone knowing how to position models for their best look. You may not want to trust your career to your best friend's ability as a photographer unless they meet the advanced amateur criteria.
You should try sending your photos to several modeling agencies to see if they are interested in you. One agency may be full of blue-eyed blondes while another may have none and be in need of one. It can be as simple as being in the right place at the right time. For example, one agency or photographer may tell a would-be model that he or she doesn't have what it takes; that wannabe model then goes to another agency and becomes a star model. I remember photographing a young 14-year-old whom I thought just didn't have the classic beauty look and told her I doubted if she would accomplish much in this field. Fortunately, she did not listen to me. She started working out, kept up her modeling and beauty work, switched over to the pageant side of things, and became Miss Oregon.
The initial snapshot, interview, and test shot are just screening processes to find those who would have an easier time in modeling. A special few may still find some measure of success in modeling by hard work and developing special talents. They may not become superstars but they can find enjoyment and financial rewards pursuing a modeling career.
Are modeling conventions and searches a good place to start a modeling career or are they a total rip-off?
I have never personally been to one of these events (nor are any of them asking me to come and check them out) and I have not seen any 60 Minutes type of journalistic investigation on them. I have looked over their web sites and I have seen endless chatrooms that call these events the biggest rip-offs out there. I don't know of any top models that have come out of conventions and searches, although I do know of one TV actress discovered at IMTA. What I do know is that for the money some of these organizations charge, you could fly to New York, stay for week, and do open calls at every top agency in the city. Personally, I don't feel that they are a very good investment. There are better ways to get discovered.
One young model hopeful, Cheryl, emailed me and told me of her experience with Model Search America (click here to read her letter).
Here is a string of postings from the Modeling Advice bulletin board (before its unfortunate demise) of a mother-and-daughter's experiences with model searches (click here to read).
Another model convention/search organization you may want to check out is ProScout. Modelnews.com has posted some comments about ProScout for you to consider.
What do you know about Emodels now Options Talent now Trans Continental Talent now Wilhelmina Scouting Network now who knows?
I can't keep up with this group. They keep changing their name and their antics. Emodels merged with Options Talent that merged again to be become Trans Continental Entertainment Group, Inc., and then changed its name to Trans Continental Talent, Inc. Then it moved into an agreement with Wilhelmina to form Wilhelmina Scouting Network. More changes have occurred since this last. According to news reports they plan on continuing to do business as usual. I have seen some postings where they are calling themselves Transcontinental Talent.
What to Look For
If you are looking for a paid model listing site and you actual want to have some hope of getting work from it, consider these factors before signing up:
1) The site should be easy for someone who wants to find a model to use starting with the home page with clear directions for the model seeker(photographer, art director, and such) to follow. Most sites clutter their opening page with model mania news, how a model should sign up, and stories of not so famous models. If a potential client can't find how to search the site and feel welcome, they are not going to stay.
2) Does the site have a good search system? Many of the model listing sites let you search by size, gender, hair color, ethnic background, and planets in the solar system, but most fail to let you search by city. Since 90% of the work for models outside of New York does not include travel money, only local models will be used. If I, as a photographer, can't find what talent this site is listing for my area, the site is useless. Again, most of these sites want you to think top casting directors from around the world are going to find you so they don't include city search and in reality these sites are useless.
3) Does the site use thumbnail (small pictures) of the models and do they load quickly? I am amazed at how many of these listing sites think an art director or photographer is going to sit there while 5 or 6 high K files down load, and do this time and again trying to get an idea of the talent the site is offering. Or worse yet, where their thumbnails are 80K files rather than a quick-load 3k. Believe me as a photographer you go through a couple of these and you are out of there. You quickly don't care what talent is there - you have a life to live.
4) Does the model get to include other information? Many of these sites let you post just a couple of photos and vital statistics. After a photographer, or other potential client, has narrowed the choices down, extra info, like resume or interview questions can help show a model's personality and experience. Not only do you like a model to have that "look", but you also want to know she or he is someone you can work with. This extra information can help with that.
5) How easy does the site make it to contact and book the model? This part does not seem to be a problem with most sites. Many sites just let potential clients email you. Other sites try to be more like an agency and screen clients and set up bookings. The key point is that if someone does respond to the web listing, you must have a plan on how to proceed. Remember most of these sites are open to the whole world, so you do not know for sure who or what might contact you. You need to work out a system to qualify clients and make sure they are legitimate.
6) What does the site do to attract potential clients? The bulk of these sites just try to get listed on search engines and hope someone finds them. A few actually have a plan for attracting clients and a very few of those actually have budgets with which to do so. If potential clients can't find the site or are not driven to it, it does not matter what else the site does right, it will eventual fail, and along with the site's failure goes any hope of the models finding work.
The final marketing tool is the personal appearance. In its different forms it can be the "go see", the "cattle call", or "doing the rounds". If a photographer or art director has worked his or her way from your composite to your portfolio, then they will probably want to take a look at you. They may meet with you individually or they may look and interview several models at one time (the cattle call). This is the moment when a photographer has a chance to see you and evaluate you in person. You will be evaluated on your physical features, your professional appearance, and your working relationship. From here you get the job - or not!
Doing the rounds is at the beginning rather than the end of the marketing cycle. After identifying businesses that might employ models you get to do cold calls; that is, you drop in and see if the business uses models and you drop off your composite. This cold call can be done by phone, also. What is most effective will vary among photographers, art directors, and casting agents. This is why you sign with an agency as this is what they are supposed to do - market you.
So, how do you find who is using models and who to cold call or to whom to send your composite? The first place to start is with the professionals who traditionally work with models. This would include photographers, advertising agencies, graphic design firms, some public relation firms, and casting companies. Most of these can be found in the yellow pages for your city or a local business directory (available in some libraries). Then you must call, mail, e-mail or walk in the front door to see if they use models. Be prepared for a lot of rejection!
You should evaluate your city or region to see if there are businesses that are major users of models. A business directory can help locate these businesses. In Portland we have two major department store chains with their own studios, as well as manufacturers such as Jantzen, Pendelton, Columbia Sports Ware, Nike, and several catalog mail order companies. All are heavy users of models and at times have hired freelance models to fill their needs. You will have to research your own community to see what your local opportunities are. I knew of a small town in Tennessee that had a photo studio that specialized in photographing furniture and kept models busy just sitting on sofas to add a human touch. You may have to turn over some stones to see if there are any hidden opportunities in your town.
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