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A "born" Artist that works as a Fashion Model and recently started a Fashion Company: SaAm Designs.  I also do Commissioned Oils in my spare time.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to become a Model and avoid scams - Part II

JANUARY 31, 2013
Now that you have the perfect attitude, mind set and look, it's time to build your portfolio (Model's photo book) . I emphasize "build," because it is important for you to understand that achieving a great portfolio is is not achieved over night! Being photographed and knowing how to pose, knowing your body, knowing your best angles, having the proper clothing, finding great locations and most importantly a good photographer can take time and loads of practice. A portfolio and comp card is a Model’s greatest asset in this business, when it comes to booking jobs or even getting an Agent. If you are in your early teens, a portfolio is not as important when you are just beginning…an Agent will not expect a full portfolio and will help you achieve one. If you are about 19 yrs. old and up, an agency will expect a decent portfolio from you right from the beginning. If you are starting in this field late, you must come already seasoned and ready to work or at least appear that way. Achieving a great portfolio is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do! If it is possible, you can go to a couple of agency "go-sees" (interviews) and ask for a couple of comp cards/zed cards (to take away) that you might use for examples of the type of photos you’ll need. Getting some sample comp cards (or sample zed’s) from an agency may be hard to do, if the agency is absolutely not interested in seeing you again, but DON"T be deterred. You can go online to see established Model’s comp cards such as: “,, or, ” – here you get access to amazing photo shoots, Model Zed cards and the whole works.
Shot in a basic suburban yard 
     Shot in a basic suburban yard  

With this knowledge, my best advice is to create a personal homemade binder, I call the “look book.” This book will become your Model Bible and should be broken up in organized categories such as: hair, make-up, location, lighting, clothing/looks and themes. Fill this book with cut outs from catalogues , U.S. Fashion Magazines and European Fashion Magazines. Whether you’ve determined that you are the high fashion type or the commercial type, shoot your portfolio according to the market you fit best. Remember to keep in mind the location of where you live. The West Coast is not considered High Fashion, but rather Commercial, so if you are determined to do High Fashion you will have to be willing to relocate to the East Coast or Europe to truly pursue that. Once you’ve made a look book, it is time to practice being a Model. Choose a “look” from a magazine or your "look book Bible," go to a mirror and practice, practice, practice this look! A Model must know what she looks like to the camera, without a mirror being placed in front of her! This confidence of one’s self, only comes with lots of practice posing in front of your mirror. Another technique is to take a magazine, find different photos and try to immolate exactly, the facial and body pose of the photograph. Now it is time to put the posing to the test, get a friend who may also be starting out in the biz and you can take turns practicing shooting each other. You can also use a tripod and shoot yourself with a timed camera. Develop or scan through your photos (if you have a digital) to see what you look like to the camera (your audience). By doing this regularly, you will become comfortable with being in front of the camera and confident that you know what you look like w/out a mirror telling you. Additional ways to get in some practice, as well as, possibly getting great shots to put in your portfolio is to check out your local Junior Colleges and Art Schools - Photography Department. You’ll be able to find eager students that are always looking to practice their photography skills and will usually negotiate a photo disk for your time called TFP = Time for Prints. The final step is finding a good fashion/commercial/head shot photographer. If you happen to see other Model’s work that you love - never hesitate to ask for a referral. You should always interview any photographer you are considering shooting with. Remember, a photographer will only put their best work in their books. If you are not wowed by their work, move on fast!!! If the Model’s in their book don’t look great, chances are: you won’t either. If the lighting or the styling looks terrible, chances are that you’ll end up unhappy. A test shoot with a professional photographer should only cost approximately $275-$575. The more established, or known the photographer, the more likely they will charge the upward amount. With this, you should receive about 4 to 7 looks (looks: changes of clothing/make up/hair), and about 200 – 600 or so shots. A make-up artist is about an additional $175. She/He should also be interviewed. If you aren’t good at styling or do not have the clothes, hiring a Stylist will again be another $175. Again, they should be interviewed. I believe if you’ve done your look book Bible, you should be able to put together some comparable gear on your own. Tune in to find out “10 ways to take a great Photo!”

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How to become a Model and avoid scams - Part I

So you want to grace the glossy covers of high fashion magazines, stomp the runways, receive worldwide recognition, all, while being paid the big bucks? Who doesn’t? It seems as though these days, everyone wants to be a Model, while thousands more will never have a legitimate opportunity or worse be taken for thousands of dollars! In this multi- series of blogs, I will share my honest advice, experience, and some stories from other Model comrades about how to maneuver through the mean avenues of the sometimes wicked world of Modeling. You’ll learn how to stay smart and not become a victim of a Model Scam! Modeling can be gas money or quite lucrative, it all depends on a million factors, some of which you have absolutely NO control over and some which you do. In this and all forth coming blogs, let’s focus on what you 
can do to make a difference.

 Headshot focused on eyes 
  Head shot focused on eyes

First, if someone walks up to you at a mall with a business card, check it against the Model/Actors Guild: list! This list has a nationwide listing of reputable agencies for all categories of Modeling (even Body/Hand or “Parts” Modeling) and of course Acting. If the agent/agency is not listed, it is quite possible that they are a scam or some overpriced school that is masking themselves as an agency, promising you many jobs if you complete their series of expensive classes/training. If an agent or manager asks for money, RUN!!!! No legitimate agent would ever ask for money as payment to be in their agency. The agency’s income is generated by the job/s you book through them in the form of a commission. This commission fee is usually 20% for print/runway work and 10% for commercial, tv, film or video work. If they want you to get photos for your portfolio, they will offer a list of their approved photographers (you may additionally find reputable photographers from the former website given:, but should still allow you to pick your own. They will show you examples of what kind of looks you need for your portfolio, usually giving you a couple of comp/zed cards of other Models in their agency as a sampling.  A comp or zed card is a photo compilation of a Model's work that is printed on a card that is usually 5"x 7" or so in size and includes his/her measurements and their agency of representation's contact information. Sometimes a faux agent will have a scam going with photographers and try to strong arm you into shooting only with them (then they split the $$$). If they are scarily adamant and/or the price seems very high, that’s a red flag that there could be something up. Later, I will go into detail about how to properly vet a good photographer. 
A primary mistake most novice Models and even veteran Models make is not knowing, “who their target market is.” Sometimes Models tend to believe the hype that all it takes is beauty or slimness to succeed and everything will miraculously fall into place. Unfortunately, having a career as a Model is a lot more involved then most will ever imagine. It (the business of Modeling) needs to be treated with the same respect as any other job you’d seek out in the corporate world. You would never show up to an interview without first having researched the company you are seeking a job from! The same goes with Modeling. The more you know about Modeling, a client, an agency, or manager, before attending a go-see, casting, or meeting, the better your chances are of getting into that agency and/or booking the job.
Knowing your market takes mindful research and some dedicated work. You must know your personal bright points and where you are deficient. Look at 100′s of magazines and/or catalogues, attend fashion shows, watch the Style Channel, read any books about the business of Modeling/Fashion, anything you can to gain knowledge. Check out these websites that allow you to see professional Model's work from around the world:,, Find a particular Model that seems to mirror your body and/or face or hair style, thus, a Model that has your look. Be realistic, don’t choose a Model that you wish you looked like. See what kind of jobs, campaigns or commercials this Model tends to get. More than likely, you’ll fit the same type of categories and thus the Client’s tastes. This should be the look you go for in your portfolio shots, as well as, how you should dress when seeking out an agency to represent you. 

Today with the internet (Model blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), Life style mags, tabloid news, as a juicy source of knowledge, it is easy to research and even track a particular Model to see how she or he may dress on an every day outing and how they style themselves. Putting on a “Model’s face or persona” into your daily routine, further enhances your chance of becoming one. Live/act the part at all time, become the Model. Lady Gaga, although not a Model is a great example of a dedicated performer who is an interesting character whenever she is out in public. Naomi Campbell, who is a High Fashion Model, makes it a point to look like a Model whenever she ventures out as well. Both Ladies are perfect examples of someone that is “being in character” at all times.  

Tune in for the next installment: Part II