Here are ten simple tips I’d like to share for new models. These aren’t in any particular order, but I do think they’re all important and many of them are things I wish I’d known when I started. Have a read and feel free to share with any models you think might benefit from these tips.
1) Always credit the people you work with (photographers, designers, stylists, etc).
In some cases this might include tagging them, but even if you can’t tag them you should always include their name(s) every time you post photos. This goes for trade and paid shoots.
Exception: If you’ve been specifically asked not to credit them by name, you can credit them as anonymous.
2) Learn to communicate your limits both in text/messages and in person.
There will be people who ask you to do things you don’t feel comfortable doing and you need to be able to decline politely, but firmly. There are people out there who will push just see if they can get away with it and there are also people who genuinely mean no harm, but just want to know if you’re willing to shoot that thing. In either case, a polite, firm “No, I’m not comfortable with that” should be all it takes to stop the situation.
You can find more on limits in this blog post.
3) Not everyone is going to like you, your look, or every photo you post.
You’re not going to get accepted for every casting call you respond to and it’s likely that you’ll come across a few people who are especially critical. If you think what they have to say holds merit, keep it in mind. Otherwise, just ignore them and move on.
4) Cancellations will happen.
Everybody has to cancel occasionally, but you should do your best to prevent it. If you do need to cancel, please do so as soon as possible. Don’t wait. The closer you cancel to the shoot, the more of a problem it is for those you are canceling on.
5) Spend time getting to know some poses.
This can be done in many, many different ways, but the idea is to be able to come up with at least a few poses on your own. As you gain more experience you’ll find it easier and easier, but at first just pick out a few that you can remember.
6) Communicate with the photographers you work with.
Pre-shoot communication is incredibly important as it can solve a lot of issues. Make sure you understand the concept, what you need to bring/wear, where the shoot is, and so on. Most photographers I know would much rather have you ask questions than not to.
Please check out this post for more on communication.
7) Take care of your appearance, particularly before shoots.
This means avoiding chipped or bold/bright nail polish (unless requested), missing out on sleep, partying the night before, etc. Soon, you’ll probably develop a routine that you do before shoots to make sure you look your best. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy and you can do it all yourself at home if you want to (I do!).
8) Try to learn to do basic makeup looks.
No one should expect you to do anything really elaborate, but a basic clean, natural look and a smokey eye are often requested and not too difficult. I also suggest learning to cover blemishes as it’s a skill that comes in handy. You can find a lot of tutorials for makeup application on YouTube to get you started practicing.
9) Try your outfits on before shoots.
This will give you a chance to make sure you have everything and you can even snap a selfie photo of the outfit to send the photographer if you like. It also helps when you’re packing because you can see everything you need in the photo. Don’t forget plain, no-show underwear, too.
Need some tips on wardrobe styling? Here’s a blog post on that.
10) Find a few other local models you can talk to.
I think this one is one a lot of new models miss, but it can be incredibly helpful. Try to include some at your experience level and at least a couple that are very experienced. Most models are happy to support each other and share references so don’t be afraid to reach out.
If you enjoyed these tips for new models, I invite you to explore more of my New Model Guide.
Do you have tips of your own? Please share them in the comments! This definitely isn’t an exhaustive list and I’m sure the new models reading this would love to have input from others too.
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