Allied Publishing Books and Training Manuals

How to Start a Modeling Career

beautiful young female model posing for fashion shot photo
Are you interested in starting a successful modeling Career? Successful models are famous, rich, and have lucrative life. They travel around the world for free and do what they love.

Most models begin their careers in large metropolitan cities, such as Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. Most well-established modeling agencies are based in large cities. However, modeling opportunities are available in smaller cities where models can find editorial, advertising, catalog, runway, and other suitable modeling work.

There is no age requirement, but it’s a good idea to start young in order to work longer in the modeling industry. Models over age 40 falls into a category called adult or mature models. There are modeling jobs available for people of all ages.

You may wonder whether or not to attend a modeling school. If you can afford it, modeling schools will teach you about makeup, posing, and guide you getting involved in modeling. However, attending a modeling school cannot guarantee you a modeling job.

Modeling is often associated with fashion and beauty. However, there are different types of models. Almost anyone can be a model, but you may not qualify for certain type of modeling career based on your height and weight. You may choose to become one among the following model types:

1. Runway models

This is the most commonly known type of model. Runway models often travel to different countries to attend various fashion shows. Runway models are tall, slender, toned with flawless skin, great facial features, and healthy hair. Female models should be at least 5′8″ and skinny. Male models should be at least 5′11″ and fit.

2. Print Models

Commercial print models are often called supermodels. They are usually female celebrities with beautiful face, great skin and hair. They are highly paid for editorial work seen on Covergirl, Cosmopolitan, or Seventeen to attract more revenues for certain brand they represent. Female models are at least 5′7″ with beautiful face.

3. Glamour Models

Glamour models do modeling that emphasizes on their sexuality to make the product they represent more attractive. They are found posing for catalogs, calendars, and men’s magazines.

4. Plus-Sized Models

They are known as full-figured or extended size models. These types of models can represent products in cosmetics, stock photography, watches, pharmaceutical, footwear, and plus-size clothing.

5. Body Part Models

They showcase a model’s attractive body feature such as hand, foot, legs, or hair representing a product.

6. Fitness Models

The model should be in good shape with lean muscle tone.

7. Bikini Models

The model should be at least 5′5″ tall and physically fit body.

8. Underwear Models

Women should have medium to large breast and small hips. Men should have broad shoulders and slim waists.

9. Alternative Models

These models do not fit in common modeling standards, but they possess certain rare attributes.

You should try to find out the type of modeling that is best for you. Runway modeling shows occur in fall or spring when fashion designers decide to showcase new items. Commercial print models appear in photographs in magazines, catalogs, and billboards. Explore modeling image that works best for you.

young female fashion model leaning against a break wall

Model Composite

To break into modeling, you will need a model composite.

Model composite acts as your business card. It is certain images of you printed into 8 x 10s, which includes:

1. Headshots: Your headshot should look professional without a lot of makeup and on a plain background. These are meant for modeling agencies to get a quick look at your photo and stats.

2. Additional shots: The other shots might shows you in swimwear, business clothes, glamor shot, or whatever markets you plan to get into. These shots will go on the other side of your 8 x 10s composite.

3. Your stats: Take your measurements, such as your height, weight, shoe size, hip, waist, chest, bust, and dress size. Your stats should also include information such as hair color, eye color, and skin tone. Your composite should include your stats printed on one side below your headshot.

You may want to have 20-50 composite printed and ready to make an appointment with several modeling agencies. The photographer you choose should have adequate experience in shooting model composites and portfolios. Not every photographer has the experience to create professional model composites and portfolios.

Working with Modeling Agencies

Every major city has multiple modeling agencies. Make an appointment and take a model composite along with you. You may be asked to walk or pose during an interview. If you’re an experienced model, you will have portfolio also that shows your photos during each assignment you had before. However, to begin with modeling, you won’t need to spend a lot of money creating portfolios.

You should try to research the reputation of modeling agency, and only consider those with good reputations. The job of an agency is to provide you with assignments and will charge you a commission when you model. However, if they ask you for a few hundred dollars up front before you do any work, walk away. No agency should be asking you for more than $40 when meeting you, and most might ask for $20 or less, depending on the agency.

Make sure to never sign a contract with an agency unless the agency is reputable and the contract seems legitimate. A good agent should be helpful and have your best interests in mind.

Remember that modeling is a business and should be taken seriously. You should always show up on-time and be ready. If you show up late, don’t look professional, or lack positive attitude, your reputation will be ruined.

Beware that models often get called to places at the last minute. You’ll need to be organized and always ready if you want to succeed.

Have a professional relationship with photographers and treat them with respect. They’re the one trying to bring out the best look in your photos and have direct impact on your success. Photographers want to see you pose with different props and backdrops. Be sure to listen carefully to photographer’s recommendations.

Find out whether or not there will be a make-up artist present on site. On certain assignments you’re expected to bring with you your own makeup if they don’t have a makeup artist scheduled, which could be the case of small job assignment.

A client may ask you to sign a consent form. Before signing any contract, be sure to get a copy and share it with your agent. Don’t sign a contract that gives client more power over images than they should have.

Remember that modeling job is a full time occupation once you get involved. It requires constant attention. Even if you take a short break, you may never be able to return. Once you become successful, you will have a very busy schedule with lots of opportunities.

By Robert Stevens – 2019 – Update 2020
Copyright © 2019-2020 Allied Publishing
Provided by
Allied Publishing

For additional articles written by Robert Stevens, see Robert Stevens is the author of How to Start a Successful Model Portfolio Business published in 2019.

Share this on